From time to time, difficult behavioral situations will arise in the classroom. This page is divided into frequently referenced areas of concern. Some of the resources provided here are cross-referenced elsewhere on this site for your convenience. We highly recommend familiarizing yourself with your crisis intervention and mandatory reporting responsibilities, at minimum.
The grievance and dispute resolution policy (PDF) covers general grievances submitted by students about staff or instructors. Included in this section are some helpful documents that will aid you in navigating this policy.
Student Complaints FAQs
What is the difference between a complaint and a grievance?
It can be difficult to discern between when a student is simply expressing displeasure and when they have legitimate grounds for filing a formal grievance. Students who are not familiar with our processes may believe that threatening to level a “formal complaint” will get them a more desirable or expedient result. This is untrue.
Formal grievances will only be heard under very narrow circumstances, and students must file their claim through appropriate channels. To announce that they are making a formal complaint does not qualify.
If a student wishes to file a grievance, they must file a Formal Grievance Form. The intent is not to make it difficult for students to make their concerns known; rather, in higher education, the onus is placed on the student to present their case in a thorough and compelling manner. Complaints that do not meet the threshold for a formal grievance (e.g., dissatisfaction with curriculum) may be resolved through informal mediation or other appropriate means.
Can a student grieve a final grade?
Generally, no. Final grades are not grievable outside of three narrow circumstances:
- an admission by the primary instructor of record that a clerical error was made;
- an admission by the primary instructor of record that a procedural error was made;
- the student is able to provide evidence that the grade was given on a basis other than academic.
All grades except I and DR are final when filed by instructors. Students may petition the UCLA Extension Registrar’s office (email@example.com) for changes to credit status, or to withdraw from classes, prior to the administration of the final examination, paper, or project. A change to a credit status requiring assessment of student work will be permitted only with the endorsement of the instructor.
An international student said they will be deported if I give them an F. What do I do?
Students should always be awarded the grade they have earned. Visa regulations are complex and students often misinterpret their responsibilities. A student would not be deported for receiving a failing grade in only one class. Students are required to make satisfactory academic progress over a number of quarters, and that progress is tracked by the International Student Office (ISO). If you ever have questions about a student’s visa status, please contact the ISO for guidance: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A student accused me of discrimination and said they are contacting a lawyer. What do I do?
A student may have many reasons for perceiving discrimination; however, this, too, must be proven through findings of fact.
Any cases where a student threatens legal action or claims discrimination based on a legally protected status must be reported to the SRRC (email@example.com) who will share with the Dean’s Office and Campus Counsel as appropriate.
I told a student my decision is final and they keep saying they want to speak to my supervisor.
Extension recognizes the authority of the instructor in the classroom and takes every possible measure to ensure that autonomy is maintained; however, students have the right to due process, including the right to appeal under certain, narrowly defined circumstances. If a student wants to appeal your decision, you must inform them of their options, whether or not you believe their appeal has merit. This includes who they may contact to appeal (usually your Program Director/CE). If you are not comfortable with your knowledge of the appeal process, you may refer a student to the Student Rights and Responsibilities Center (SRRC), who will ensure that due process is followed: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is a student will not cease contacting me to plead their case after I have rendered a decision on a matter?
Whenever possible, it is important that you communicate with the student directly before filing an incident report. In matters of potential harassment, it is critical to draw a clear and firm boundary. There is a notable difference between, “I ask you to please not speak to me that way anymore,” and, “I have made my decision. Please do not contact me regarding this matter again. If you wish to appeal, you may direct your concerns to X.”
If you are explicit with the student, in writing, that:
- your decision stands;
- they can appeal your decision (and how to do that);
- they must stop contacting you regarding this matter;
and the student continues to contact you, please file an incident report by e-mailing the Student Rights and Responsibilities Center (email@example.com) with the following information:
- Student name and (if known) ID number
- Class name, number, section
- Grounds for the complaint—must be specific
Students who deliberately ignore your directives may be held responsible for harassment and/or willful disruption under the Student Code of Conduct.
If a student ever makes threats of violence or places any member of the campus community in danger, you are not expected to confront them directly. Please prioritize your safety, call 911 (if needed), and report to SRRC as soon as possible: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the role of the Student Rights & Responsibilities Center (SRRC) in fielding grievances?
The role of the SRRC varies. We directly investigate complaints for which an Extension student is the subject. We also play a consultative role in conflicts where students are involved as complainants in order to ensure that due process is followed. In those cases, it is our role to help interpret policy and explain procedures to the parties in a neutral manner.
What happens during an investigation?
Every official, complete grievance that is submitted will be investigated. Investigations generally follow the same process, although steps can vary depending on the situation.
- Initial review conducted and response issued to complainant within 10 business days. If it is impossible to complete the investigation within that time, a projected timeline will be sent to the complainant within the 10-day window.
- Consultation conducted with the complainant; clarifying questions asked.
- Witnesses and subject of complaint are interviewed.
- Findings of fact are made.
- Decision is made based on findings; complainant is given official notification, including any findings of fact, grounds for decision, and appeal rights.
- Any necessary action is taken with subject of complaint. Apart from incidents of violence, the complainant is not informed of the details.
Is there a way to resolve complaints informally, or do they all require investigation?
Yes, complaints can be resolved informally. Apart from blatant law or policy violations, students and instructors may seek informal resolution through mediation or other reasonable method. To seek informal resolution, your Program Director/CE is the first point of contact, followed by the SRRC, and then the UCLA Office of Ombuds Services. Either party has the right to formalize or withdraw their complaint at any point in the process.
Can a student appeal directly to the Dean?
Because the Dean of UCLA Extension serves as the final appeal body for student complaints, conflicts are expected to be resolved at the lowest possible level. Students attempting to file a complaint directly to the Dean will generally be re-delegated to the appropriate department for handling. Depending on the severity of the allegations and complexity of the situation, however, the Dean’s Office may choose to hear any grievance brought before them.
I want to dispute the terms of my contract. Does SA508 cover me as well?
SA508 no longer covers staff or instructor grievances. Please refer to the Human Resources website for steps to file a grievance with the University.
The Student Rights & Responsibility Policy (PDF) (conduct code) outlines the rights and responsibilities of students enrolled at UCLA Extension. Included in this section are some helpful documents that will aid you in navigating this policy.
Student Conduct FAQs
What is due process?
Due process in the university disciplinary context is derived from the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. It includes the rights of students to:
- be notified of the charges against them;
- be given the opportunity to respond to the charges;
- a speedy and equitable hearing;
- receive discipline that is proportionate to the violation and founded on precedent;
- an avenue of appeal.
Our disciplinary procedures are not legally binding, but closely mirror the legal process. Students who are not given adequate due process in disciplinary matters have the right to bring legal charges against the University.
I’m not sure if my concern qualifies as a code violation. Can I call the Student Rights and Responsibilities Center (SRRC) for a consultation?
While some behaviors are clear code violations, others are more complex. We do not expect instructors to be experts on policy. If you ever have questions about student behaviors, or about the code in general, the SRRC is glad to consult via phone (310.825.0953).
Our strong guidance in any situation of concern is: when in doubt, report. We will never contact a student about a report before following up with you first.
If you are simply filing a report in order to make an official record, you are welcome to indicate that your report is “fyi only.” In these cases, we will not take action with a student unless we have additional reason for concern.
Do I need to file an Incident Report to the Student Rights and Responsibilities Center (SRRC) about academic dishonesty if I have already addressed it with the student?
Yes. The SRRC must be notified in order to ensure that the student was afforded due process rights. In these cases, the SRRC will take no action, but will keep the report on file in case of future incidents.
A student told me something happened off-campus with a classmate. Do I report this?
In some cases, especially those involving violence, the University has a duty of care to our students. This means if we have actual knowledge of an incident, we must put in place whatever remedies are within our control to keep our students safe while on campus.
Important: As a responsible employee, you have the additional mandate to report to the SRRC incidents of sexual misconduct and child abuse. While we may not always have the jurisdiction to help our students who experience incidents off-campus, we can connect them with resources who do. When in doubt, report.
How do I file an incident report?
To make an official Incident Report, please file an Incident Reporting Form and include as much of the following information as possible:
- Names/XIDs of all involved parties
- Dates, times, locations
- A chronological summary of the incident, including any pertinent quotes
- Any other evidence you might have (e.g. the allegedly plagiarized assignment, photos of damage, Canvas messages, etc.)
Please use factual, objective language only. Do not diagnose or generalize a student’s behavior. Describe the words and actions that took place without editorializing. For example:
- Do: “The student refused to show ID because he said I ‘might sell it to the government.’ He continued to speak in an elevated volume after being asked repeatedly to lower his voice.”
- Don’t: “The student was very paranoid and aggressive. I believe he may be bipolar.”
If there are details you believe are important for the SRRC to know, but that cannot be included in an Incident Report, please call 310.825.0953.
Incident Reports and any related communications are official educational records protected by FERPA. This means two things:
- The student has the right to review and request changes to their records at any time.
- Those records are discoverable with a subpoena. They may also be subject to Public Records Requests.
Please do not include anything in your communications that you would not want a student to read, or that you would not want to testify in court about having written, or that your family would not want to see in a newspaper headline the next day.
In addition, do not include others on these communications. Official conduct records should remain between the complainant (you) and the intended recipient (SRRC). If, upon review, the SRRC believes another party at UNEX has the legal “right to know” under FERPA, they will be included by the SRRC as appropriate.
I sent an incident report to the SRRC. When will I hear back about the investigation?
The student disciplinary process is confidential. Outside of cases involving sexual misconduct, you will not be privy to the factual outcomes of an investigation. In cases where it is determined that you have a legitimate educational interest under FERPA, you will be notified of specific outcomes on a “need-to-know” basis. (Example: A student is found responsible for academic dishonesty, which merits a change of grade by their instructor of record.)
How do I file a harassment charge if a student verbally attacks me?
It is an expectation that all Extension students behave in a manner reflective of UCLA and UCLA Extension core values. Power is placed in the hands of the instructor to maintain a safe environment for learning by holding students to these standards inside the classroom.
The policy definition of harassment is very clear: targeted behavior that is so severe AND/OR pervasive AND so objectively offensive that it substantially impairs or denies a person’s access to University programs or activities Targeted discriminatory words or actions based on a person’s protected status automatically qualify as harassment, whether or not they meet the two-part test described above.
If you experience or witness any of the behaviors so described, you have the right to dismiss the student from the day’s class. If such extraordinary action is taken, you must also make a report.
Name calling, profanity, and irritating behavior do not qualify as harassment, but nonetheless require intervention. For how to handle these situations, see the following question below: “How do I have a difficult student removed from my class?”
How do I have a difficult student removed from my class?
You may be surprised to find that many offensive words and actions are protected under the First Amendment. That is to say, although a student may behave in ways that are “mean,” “rude,” or “offensive,” they cannot be disciplined under the conduct code for exercising their right to free speech. Civility clauses, behavioral contracts, etc., are not enforceable and students may not be censored under these provisions.
It is largely within the instructor’s purview to redirect difficult student(s) toward productive dialogue … HOWEVER … if a student behaves in a way that is distracting to other students, effectively trampling the rights of others to access the educational environment, the content of the speech does not matter. The student may be disciplined for being willfully disruptive. Likewise, if you have to repeatedly direct a student to stop a behavior and they refuse to obey your directives, they may be disciplined for failure to comply.
For concerns about targeted harassment or discrimination, see the question above: “How do I file a harassment charge if a student verbally attacks me?”
I feel unsafe around a student in my class.
The first step is to ask yourself whether you feel threatened, or if you are being Many interactions we have with others can trigger our fear responses—some examples may include incidents or personalities that remind us of past trauma; people living with mental illness; people from different cultures who communicate differently than we are used to; dominant body language; and negative feedback. While we may not enjoy these interactions, they are not dangerous. The sense of threat is internal.
Rare situations do arise, however, when a student is a danger to self or others. Students who make direct threats of violence should be taken seriously, whether or not the threat is framed as a joke. Students who have extreme outbursts of anger, students who suddenly behave differently than usual, and students who demonstrate stalking-type behaviors or the inability to “let things go” may also be showing warning signs of potential violence.
When needed, call 911 immediately if you witness behavior that places a student or others in danger, including threats of violence.
Regardless of whether 911 was called, submit an Incident Report to the SRRC immediately after the situation has ended: email@example.com. Remember to use objective, factual language as provided above in the following question: “How do I file an Incident Report?”. The SRRC will attempt to initiate wrap-around support for the student.
A student said they want to file a formal complaint about me. I want to cross-complain/tell my side of the story. How do I do that?
Students have the right to file a formal grievance under narrowly defined circumstances. If the student is able to meet the threshold for filing a formal grievance, their complaint will be thoroughly investigated. As part of this process, you will have the opportunity to share your side of the story. Cross-complaints may be seen as retaliatory and are not appropriate under these circumstances.
If you believe a student has filed a grievance about you in order to retaliate or coerce you for a change in grade or other professional repercussion, please inform the SRRC of this behavior immediately: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SRRC did not uphold my complaint and I don’t agree. Where do I appeal?
In cases that do not involve sexual misconduct, only the student respondent has the right to appeal a decision made by the SRRC. If you have further concerns after a decision has been rendered, please speak with your Program Director. Remedies may be imposed by your department that may help to resolve the issue another way.
From time to time, incidents will take place in the classroom that do not rise to the level of conduct incidents, but nevertheless cause concern for health or safety. Some of these behaviors are captured under Policy 132: Workplace Violence Prevention (PDF). This section includes resources and tips for maintaining a safe and healthy classroom environment.
The SRRC liaises directly with the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) (PDF) to intervene and provide wrap-around support for UNEX students in distress. If you believe a student is in crisis, or has violated Policy 132, please report immediately to the SRRC.
Documents in this section cover basic classroom management and tools for upholding behavioral expectations.
As an employee of UCLA Extension, you are responsible for reporting specific incidents related to sexual harassment and violent crimes in a timely manner. Documents in this section cover your responsibilities under Title IX and the Clery Act.
Mandatory Reporting FAQs
A student told me they were sexually harassed and asked me to keep it confidential. Am I required to report?
Under the UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, any UC employee who is not identified as a confidential resource is a “Responsible Employee” required to report sexual violence, sexual harassment or other conduct prohibited by the policy to the Title IX director or designee. You cannot promise confidentiality to any student who reports these crimes to you. However, you can tell the student that you are required to make a disclosure to the Title IX Coordinator, who will treat their report as confidentially as possible.
Who do I report crimes to, and what details do I need to disclose?
If you have received a report from a student regarding criminal activity of any kind, you must report it directly to a designated Campus Security Authority (CSA). UCLA Extension has designated the following personnel as Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) as defined in the federal Jeanne Clery Act because each would likely be seen as an official to whom a report of crime victimizing a student would and should be made:
- Associate Dean of Administration
- Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
- Dean’s Office Manager of Communications
- Designated Dean’s Office staff
- Director of Student and Alumni Services
- Unit managers in the Department of Student and Alumni Services
- Director and Assistant Director of Facilities
- Facilities Center Coordinators
- UCLA-PD Community Service Officers assigned to our facilities
- Program Director, Pathway
Crimes involving sexual misconduct must be reported to the Title IX Coordinator. Your report must include names, locations, and any pertinent details of the incident. Please do not attempt to investigate on your own. If a student does not disclose adequate detail to make a full report, do not probe for more information. Refer the student to the Title IX Coordinator, who will inform the student of their rights and options before investigating.
Do students have to file a police report if they have been sexually harassed or assaulted?
Students should be encouraged to file a police report for any criminal activity that they may experience, but it is also critical to empower the student to make their own choices. If a student has not yet disclosed an incident of sexual misconduct to you, but indicates that they might, you may:
- Inform them that you are a mandatory reporter, and
- Refer them to a confidential resource in lieu of making a report. Confidential resources are:
- pastoral counselors
- non-pastoral counselors
- UCLA CARE Advocates
- UCLA Office of Ombuds Services
A student disclosed that they were sexually assaulted last year. Can you do anything about it?
There is no statute of limitations on sexual misconduct. While it may be more difficult to file criminal charges after a significant amount of time has passed, the University can still pursue a Title IX investigation and take whatever protective measures that are within its control to support the student.
Clery reporting requirements establish that the University must report a violent crime at the time it became aware of the incident, not at the time it happened.