The SAO’s Grievance Division handles all student grievances not covered by the other three divisions, including, but not limited to, DSP accommodations, discrimination, sexual violence, and non-traditional student concerns.
The “Complaint Resolution” Division
Below you’ll find a drop-down of frequently-asked-questions and helpful guides related to the above issues. Our Division contact information is available at the bottom of the page.
What is a Formal Grievance?
If you have been discriminated against by any University affiliate (e.g. staff, faculty, etc.), you may be eligible to file a formal grievance with the Division of Student Affairs. Formal grievances specifically apply to discrimination on the basis of color, race, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or veteran status. A formal grievance can only be filed after all other informal attempts at resolution have been exhausted.
Read the Berkeley Campus Student Grievance Procedure, paying close attention to:
- Section (I); Purpose and Scope
- Section (IV)(a); Filing a Formal Grievance
How it works:
Step 1: Informal Resolution
- Before filing, you must attempt to resolve the dispute informally. This can look different from case to case, but usually involves some form of mediation. The Student Advocate’s Office can help you create an informal resolution plan, or connect you to related resources.
- Informal resolution should be attempted as soon as possible after the incident or after you become aware that an incident may have taken place.
- The Student Advocate’s Office can help you create an informal resolution plan, or connect you to other resources.
Step 2: Document your situation.
- Be sure to collect any evidence that could support your claim.
- Some examples include, but are not limited to, email correspondence, meeting dates/timelines, potential witnesses and statements, a letter of support, etc.
Step 3: Filing a Formal Grievance
- Fill out the grievance form, located at the bottom of the grievance procedure website.
- If informal resolution fails and there is no unit- or departmental- grievance procedure, you may be able to file a formal resolution within the department or division in which the violation occurred, within 60 days of the date of the incident.
- If you are unsatisfied with the unit- or departmental-level decision regarding your complaint, you may file a formal student grievance with the Office of Student Affairs within 10 days.
- For the detailed timeline, please refer to the Berkeley Campus Student Grievance Procedure
For more information, please visit our page How To: Complete a Formal Grievance or reach out to our office directly.
If you have experienced gendered violence, including (but not necessarily limited to): sexual harassment, dating and intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and/or sexual exploitation, there are many ways to access support services:
- If you are in immediate danger, or if this is a medical emergency – Dial 9-1-1
- Use the C.A.R.E bystander intervention model if you are offering support.
- Identify an advocate – this person will be able to provide support, connections to various campus & community resources, and can assist you if you decide to report. These are the confidential advocacy resources on campus:
- The PATH to Care Center provides affirming, empowering, and confidential support for survivors and those who have experienced gendered violence.
- The Student Advocate’s Office – essentially the campus public defender – is an office of the Associated Students of the University of California and provides free and confidential, student-to-student, advocacy and casework services.
- Counseling and Psychological Services at the UHS Tang Center offers short-term counseling, crisis drop-in, group workshops, and consultation- students do not have to be enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) to see a counselor.
- The Family Violence Law Center in Oakland provides free legal assistance to a diverse community in Alameda County recovering from domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Talk to your advocate about whether or not reporting the incident is the right choice for you – healing looks different for everyone. If you choose to report, here are the campus resources:
For more information regarding campus SVSH policies, visit:
IMPORTANT: At NO POINT should you be asked to disclose the details of your disability to any staff or faculty of the university [other than your specialist], and attempts to coerce an individual to do so are considered discrimination. This pertains to your right to medical privacy.
Already registered with the Disabled Student’s Program (DSP)?
- Meet with your DSP specialist to make changes to your accommodations or to request a Reduced Course Load (RCL); IMPORTANT: RCLs are granted semesterly, and need to be re-approved in person by your specialist every semester.
- Request your letters immediately at the beginning of instruction for each semester.
- Visit the DSP website, and click ‘student login’ in the top right-hand corner.
- Visit your instructors in person to confirm their receipt and understanding of your specific accommodations, as outlined by your DSP specialist.
- If you are experiencing difficulty accessing your accommodations, or are experiencing discrimination on the basis of your disability:
- Document that you have been denied your DSP accommodations via email. It is very important to include both the faculty/staff involved and your DSP specialist on this email.
- Contact the University’s Disability Compliance Officer; again, include the faculty/staff involved and your DSP specialist on all email correspondence.
- Derek Coates | (510) 643-8996 | email@example.com
- If you are still experiencing issues accessing your approved accommodations, you may have grounds to file a formal grievance; see University Grievances (above) and considering opening a case with the Student Advocate’s Office.
Looking to register with the Disabled Student’s Program?
- Prepare to enroll with the Disabled Students Program by gathering all of the necessary supporting documentation needed to verify your disability.
- IMPORTANT: UHS Tang can provide disability verification for students enrolled in SHIP, and in some circumstances Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) can provide verification of psychological disability for students without SHIP
- Begin the Disabled Student’s Program Application Process online.
- Once your application has been submitted, you MUST schedule an intake appointment by calling the DSP receptionist; if necessary, an advocate can assist you during this call. | (510) 642-0518
- During your intake, you will meet your assigned DSP specialist who will further assist you.
For tips about thriving as a DSP Student at Cal, see our Best Practices Guide.
You should consider filing a graduate appeal if you have a complaint regarding:
- Dismissal from graduate standing;
- Placement on probationary status;
- Denial of readmission to your program;
- Disputes regarding joint authorship of research;
- Other administrative or academic decisions that terminate, or otherwise impede, progress towards your academic or professional degree goals.
For more information about how to file, read the Graduate Appeals Procedure.
- IMPORTANT: Appeal procedures can vary between departments.
- Please read the Graduate Appeals Procedure and consider attempts at informal resolution before completing and filing the Graduate Appeals Procedure Form.
If you would like to file a complaint about the UC Police Department (UCPD):
- Start by reading the UCPD Complaint Process.
- IMPORTANT: The time limit for filing a complaint is 30 calendar days from the date of the alleged incident. Sexual harassment allegations will be accepted up to 90 calendar days after the alleged incident.
- To go forward with your complaint, fill out the Citizen Complaint Form. Forms can also be obtained & filed at any of the following locations:
- The Police Review Board | 200 California Hall |510-642-3100
- UCPD | #1 Sproul Hall | 510-642-6760
- ASUC Student Advocate’s Office* | 412B Eshleman Hall | 510-642-6912
- LEAD Center | 432 Eshleman Hall | 510-642-5171
- OPHD | 2111 Bancroft Way Suite 300 | 510-643-7985
- Office of Community Relations | 2130 Center Street | 510-643-5299
*The Student Advocate’s Office is the only confidential resource listed by UCPD where you can receive the Citizen Complaint Form, and assistance completing/filing it.
For more information, please visit our page, How To: File a UCPD Complaint or contact us directly.
If you have been the victim of a Hate Crime:
- If you are in immediate danger, or if this is a medical emergency – Dial 9-1-1.
- Document the incident to the best of your ability; consider contacting a support person.
- Seek help from multicultural campus resources such as the Campus Climate Office, or the Division of Equity and Inclusion.
- Decide whether or not to report the incident to campus officials, or another reporting agency:
Visit the UC, Berkeley Division of Equity & Inclusion for more information about efforts to End Hate Crimes across University of California campuses.
The above information is meant to be a brief guide to some of UC Berkeley’s undergraduate grievance processes. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more in-depth support or for cases that relate to academics beyond the processes listed here.