Graduate Student Grievance Procedures

Graduate School Grievance Procedures

The Grievance Procedure for Graduate Students Relating to Graduate Education and Support outlines general provisions and procedural steps for handling most grievances involving graduate students and faculty members, including issues such as academic integrity, remuneration, or joint publication. All conflicts should be dealt with in a patient, sensitive, and dignified manner.
Detailed information about the grievance procedure is at the Graduate School Grievances and Complaints page.


Grievance Procedure Specific to the Field of Food Science and Technology

If a graduate student contacts the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), Graduate Field Coordinator, Department Chair or Associate Chair, or others in authority, about conflicts they are having with their Special Committee Chair, the following steps will take place:

  1. If the graduate student is seeking advice, but not redress, then the person in authority can maintain confidentiality if requested by the student. Confidentiality or privacy will be maintained, unless this is specifically prevented by Title IX or Cornell Policy 6.4. In all instances, efforts will be made to mediate the conflict between the graduate student and the graduate advisor, and to find a mutually agreeable solution.
  2. If the graduate student believes they were wronged and seeks redress (that is, an action by the Field and the Department to address the wrongdoing), they must file a grievance, in writing, with the Graduate Field Office according to Graduate School Grievance Policy.
  3. The DGS will discuss the alleged grievance with the Department Chair & Associate Chair, and will discuss redress measures, commensurate with the situation. Examples of redress can include, but are not limited to the following:
    • The DGS or the Department Chair/Associate Chair will seek to mediate a resolution between the student and advisor
    • The DGS or the Department Chair/Associate Chair will actively contact other Field members to discuss their willingness to accept the student into their lab
    • The Department (Chair & Associate Chair), in consultation with the DGS, may allocate additional resources (e.g. GRAs) to the student or take other actions that would change the terms of the original offer letter made to the student. Such measures will only be taken in exceptional situations (i.e. the change causes exceptional hardship to the student or to the new faculty adviser).
  4. If the graduate student is not satisfied with the redress offered by the DGS and the Chair(s), they
    may continue the grievance procedure as outlined in the Step 3 of the Graduate School Grievance Policy.

Note: Offers of redress that involve financial decisions can only be made by the Department (Chair / Associate Chair), in consultation with the DGS.


The University Ombudsman

Staff in the Ombudsman’s office is available to discuss any grievance that a graduate student may have. A student who feels they are being treated unfairly in any way may contact that office at:

118 Stimson Hall
ombudsman [at]
607 255-4321

Additional information can be accessed at
The main purpose of the Ombudsman’s office is to seek the just and equitable resolution of conflicts within the University. The office is independent of the University administration and all other groups on campus.