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Student Grievances and Inquires

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Student Grievances and Inquiries


A grievance arises when a student believes, based on established administrative policies and procedures, that he or she has been treated in an arbitrary or capricious manner by a University department or a representative of the University.

Grievances Covered by This Policy

A grievance against a University official arises when a student believes he or she has been subjected to inappropriate behavior by a department or University representative (faculty or staff) acting within their role and duty.

A grievance of personal misconduct by a faculty member or other University employee arises when a student believes he or she is the subject of inappropriate behavior outside of the employee’s role and duties within the University.

By way of example, grievances concerning violations of the University's Freedom of Expression Regulation may be addressed under this Policy. 

Issues of sexual harassment or discrimination: These issues should be referred to the Title IX Coordinator. For more information, please visit the Title IX website here

Grievances Not Covered by This Policy Include

Grade disputes: The grievance process for grade disputes can be found at here.

Informal Grievance Resolution

Prior to bringing a grievance forward against a University office or representative acting within their role or duty, students are encouraged to attempt a good-faith resolution of the grievance. This attempt may be made with the party directly involved with the disputed matter, or with the head of the department or unit in which the grievance arises. Please note that there are cases when it is appropriate to go directly to the formal grievance resolution process.  Attempts at information resolution should be initiated within 30 days of the incident in dispute.

Formal Grievance Resolution

Should a situation arise in which a student is unable to resolve his or her grievance informally, the University’s formal grievance process may be employed. This process, outlined below, should also be initiated within 30 days of the failed informal resolution if applicable.

Step I

A formal grievance is presented in writing to the Associate Vice Chancellor /Dean of Students (125 Umstead Hall). This written grievance must include the following:

Name, address and telephone number of the person making the grievance;

Identification of the office or individual against whom the grievance is brought;

A description of the specific University action or individual behavior resulting in this grievance;

The date or period of time in which the behavior occurred and the location of the incident; and

A listing of all individuals who witnessed any part of the incident in dispute.

Step II

Upon receipt of the formal grievance, a designee is appointed by the Associate Vice Chancellor/ Dean of Students to investigate the dispute.

If the grievance involves a University office or representative acting within their role or duty, the investigator determines the involvement of pertinent supervisors, department chairs and deans in the investigation. Depending upon the grievance, pertinent data (interviews, etc.) will be gathered by the investigator or the University office involved in the grievance. This data is then presented to the department for resolution.

If the grievance is based on personal misconduct by a faculty member or other University employee, the investigator gathers pertinent information and presents it to either the Provost (faculty complaint) or the Director of Employee Relations & Staff Development (staff complaint).

If a complaint cannot be resolved after exhausting East Carolina University's procedure described above, the student may file a complaint with the following agencies:

  • Complaints about East Carolina University may also be filed with the student's home state by referring to the following list of state agencies.
  • Students not residing in North Carolina and enrolled in a North Carolina institution that operates under SARA North Carolina may submit complaints to the organization listed below only after completing the complaint process established by the institution attended by the student. The SARA portal entity in the state where the student is located will be notified that the complaint was received and may assist as needed. Resolution of the complaint by the SARA portal entity in the instiution's home state is final. 
SARA North Carolina--North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (SARA-NC)
P.O. Box 14103
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
T: (855) SARA-1-NC  (727-2162)    
T: (919) 549-8614 ext. 4660
You may reach SARA-NC by email
Please visit the SARA-NC Student Complaint Process and complete the SARA-NC Student Complaint Form

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