Academic Complaints including grade grievances, classroom management concerns, etc. comprise the majority – but by no means all – of the concerns that are heard by the Student Ombuds.

Students who have grievances about their grades or general classroom management concerns are encouraged to thoroughly read the university’s policies relative to academic complaints. Students with complaints about courses that originate from the Kent campus should follow university policy 4-02.3 Academic Policy and Procedures for Student Academic Complaints (4-02.3); and those with complaints about courses that originate from one of the Regional campuses should follow university policy 8-01.4 Policy on Student Complaints (Regional campuses) 8.01.4.

Note that both Kent campus and Regional campus policies stipulate that students should first attempt to informally resolve any academic complaints with their instructors. If that resolution attempt is unsuccessful with the instructor, see the individual policies for next steps (e.g. for Regional campus classes, students may submit a formal complaint to the Campus Complaint Advisor; and for Kent campus classes, students are encouraged to contact the department chairperson or school director, and if no resolution is reached, they may submit a formal complaint to the chairperson or school director). After a formal complaint is submitted, a complaint committee comprised of faculty and generally a student representative will convene to review the complaint. Please refer to the respective policies for more information.


TIPS for proceeding with academic complaints

  • The Student Ombuds office recommends that if possible, the student and the instructor meet in person when attempting to informally resolve any academic complaint. This best affords them the benefit of face-to-face communication, as well as the time and privacy to discuss the matter.
  • Students may grieve whatever grade or classroom concern they believe is valid. The most successful grievances, however, are ones in which the student can substantiate errors or discrepancies, such as possible errors in the instructor’s grading, or significant departures from the course syllabus. 

  • When crafting the wording for the formal complaint, keep in mind that less is generally more. The complaint wording should succinctly focus on what the student is grieving. In general, it is best not to include details of extraneous life circumstances, personal stories, past grades or accomplishments, or speculate on other students’ grades, as these tend to detract from the real focus of the complaint.



Students who wish to appeal a dismissal from the university or an academic program should follow the appeal instructions on the dismissal letter/e-mail. Take note of whom the appeal should be sent to, and within what timeframe you need to submit the appeal. As mentioned previously, less is generally more. Students are encouraged to keep their narrative succinct and focused on the reasons why they believe the dismissal should be reconsidered and/or overturned.

Suggested email etiquette

Students are encouraged to consider the following etiquette when emailing university faculty or staff:

  • Use your email to address university faculty/staff. Emailing from a non-KSU personal account may result in faculty/staff mistaking it for ‘junk’ mail and deleting it.
  • Use a clear and succinct subject line. If you’re emailing an instructor, for instance, include the course number and topic of the email, e.g. “ENG 11011-001, final paper.”  
  • Be sure to include a salutation and signature, and be courteous, e.g., “Hello, Dr. X” or “Good morning, Professor Y, Thank you for meeting with me the other day during your office hours. I still have some questions about the final paper, and am hoping you can clarify some things.” Then be specific about the things you need clarified.
  • Remember that you are emailing and not texting so don’t abbreviate words or phrases as you might in a text message. For instance, don’t use ‘RU avlbl to meet 2day’ when you mean ‘are you available to meet today?’ Be sure to use standard punctuation, capitalization, grammar and correct spelling. Remember, as well, to proofread your email and correct any mistakes before you hit “send”
  • Unless you are physically incapable of doing so, your parents (or anyone else) should not be emailing on your behalf.