Grievances and Complaints


When at all possible, complaints and disputes should be resolved through informal discussion by the parties involved or office against whom the student has a complaint or dispute. Students should first discuss the matter with the individual(s) or office(s) directly involved. In some cases, the student may wish to involve a third party (e.g., the student’s adviser or another faculty member) or the School of Education’s Office of Student Affairs (OSA) to help resolve the matter informally. If no satisfactory informal resolution results, students may submit a formal grievance to OSA, as outlined below. The formal grievance procedure should only be pursued after every effort has been made to settle disputes informally.

The following points provide clarification as to what may not be considered under this grievance procedure.

  • Discrimination and Harassment. Complaints alleging discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, gender, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, ethnicity, disability, marital status, or veteran status should be referred to the University’s Office of Institutional Equity (OIE).
  • Disability. OIE is responsible for the investigation and resolution of disability-related discrimination complaints received from faculty, staff, and students at Johns Hopkins University. For more information about filing an ADA or disability-related grievance, visit the OIE website.
  • Sexual Misconduct. Complaints alleging sexual harassment, sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct will be investigated by OIE.
  • Grade Disputes. Disputes involving grades are handled following the processes laid out in the School of Education’s grade appeals policy.
  • Student Academic Conduct. Disputes involving academic conduct are handled pursuant to the School of Education’s academic misconduct policy.
  • Student Non-Academic Conduct. Disputes involving student conduct of a non-academic nature are governed by the University’s student conduct code.

Procedures for Filing a Formal Grievance

If no satisfactory informal resolution of a dispute occurs, and if the type of grievance is not covered by a specific policy above, students may submit a formal grievance to OSA by completing the Student Grievance Complaint Form with a written statement documenting and describing the reason for the complaint, its consequences, any informal efforts at resolution made to date, and any supporting documents (where applicable).

School of Education Office of Student Affairs
6740 Alexander Bell Drive
Columbia, MD 21046

Review by the Office of Student Affairs
Upon receiving a completed Student Grievance Complaint Form, OSA will acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing within seven (7) days. The Student Grievance Complaint Form will be reviewed to determine whether the grievance should be addressed under this grievance policy or another policy or procedure (e.g., through OIE for a harassment/discrimination complaint, following the School of Education’s grade appeals policy for a grade dispute, etc.). If it is determined that the complaint falls under a different policy, OSA will refer the student to the appropriate policy and procedures, and, where applicable, will notify the appropriate University or School official or office (for example, notifying OIE when sexual misconduct is alleged).

If the complaint does fall within this grievance policy, OSA will inform the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs (or designee) of the complaint. The Vice Dean of Academic Affairs (or designee) may choose to address the matter directly or refer the grievance to the Student Affairs Committee for review.

Review by the Student Affairs Committee
When a formal complaint is forwarded to the Student Affairs Committee, an appointed subcommittee of the Student Affairs Committee will convene to review the grievance form, written statement, and supporting documents. The Student Affairs subcommittee reserves the right to pose questions to the parties involved as needed during its review.

The merits of the grievance will be evaluated within the context of University and School policy. The Student Affairs subcommittee’s recommendation will be reached by a majority vote and sent to the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs (or designee).

Vice Dean of Academic Affairs (or Designee) Decision
The Vice Dean of Academic Affairs (or designee) will review the subcommittee’s recommendation and make a final decision to be delivered in writing to the parties involved. A copy of the letter will be placed in the student record maintained by the Registrar’s Office.

Appeal to the Dean
A student may, as a final action, appeal the judgement of the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs (or designee) in writing to the Dean of the School of Education. In such cases, the Dean (or his/her designee) will determine whether the case warrants further consideration. At the discretion of the Dean, a new hearing committee may be appointed to review the case and make a recommendation. The Dean (or designee) will deliver a response in writing to the parties involved. Any decision rendered by the Dean (or designee) is final and no further channels are available to pursue an appeal within Johns Hopkins University.

Complaint to the Maryland Higher Education Commission
If a complainant has exhausted the university’s grievance procedures and the grievance has not been resolved to a complainant’s satisfaction, the complainant has the right to file a complaint with the Maryland Higher Education Commission (6 North Liberty Street, 10th Floor, Baltimore, MD 2120).