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UMass Amherst

Frequently Asked Questions

Students

I think my professor graded me unfairly. Can I do anything about it?
If you have not already done so, you should try talking to the professor. It may be a simple mistake that is easily corrected. But, if you have tried to clear the matter up and have not been successful, or if for some reason you are uncomfortable dealing with the professor directly, you might want to see if the department head can be of any help as an intermediary. Also, you can contact the Ombuds Office at any point for advice and assistance in addressing grade disputes or similar problems.
Can I drop a class after the Add/Drop deadline?
It depends on the circumstances, and you will need the approval of your undergraduate dean. Contact your undergraduate dean’s office or, for further advice, contact the Ombuds Office.
My professor will not let me take a make-up exam. What can I do?
If your professor is unwilling to reconsider, it is usually a good idea to contact the department head who is sometimes able to help resolve this kind of problem. If you are still unsatisfied, contact the Ombuds Office.
I have a problem and don’t know who to talk to.
You can contact the Ombuds Office. One of the staff would be happy to discuss your concern with you confidentially and help you determine what your options are and what resources are available.
I’ve been charged with academic dishonesty. What can I do?
You should contact the Ombuds Office to discuss the charge and your right to appeal.
I’ve received a bill and I have some questions about it. What can I do?
First, you should contact the Bursar’s Office and ask for clarification. If there is still a problem that can’t be resolved, contact the Ombuds Office.
I’m having a problem with my housing situation. Is there anything I can do?
If you live on campus and you have a problem with your housing, your first contacts should be your Resident Assistant (RA) and Resident Director (RD or ARD). They can usually help. If you still have a problem, contact the Ombuds Office to discuss your concern and the best way to handle it.

Faculty

I suspect that one of my students has been academically dishonest. What should I do?
The first step is to contact the student within 10 days of your suspicion. After speaking with the student, you can choose to take no action, to negotiate an informal resolution, or file a formal charge, which results in a hearing, overseen by the Ombuds Office in its role as the Academic Honesty Office. For a more detailed overview of what your options are, see our quick reference guide for faculty or the full text of the Academic Honesty Policy.
A formal academic grievance has been filed against me. How can I prepare for the hearing?
The academic grievance process is complicated and you should immediately contact the Ombuds Office for help in preparing for the hearing. In the meantime, you can review the academic grievance procedure.
I have a conflict with another faculty member in my department. What should I do?
The first step is to go to your department chair and see if they can assist in resolving the conflict. If you feel uncomfortable with your department chair, the chair is unhelpful, or the matter is personal, you can make an appointment to confidentially discuss your options with the Ombuds Office. The Ombuds Office may be able to help mediate the dispute or provide the appropriate policy guidance to resolve the problem.

Staff

I have a conflict with my supervisor or a co-worker, or I have concerns about personnel issues (layoffs, promotions, etc). What should I do?
If you can discuss the matter with a supervisor, this is usually the best first step. If that is not useful, you can go to the union representative or contact the Ombuds Office and we can attempt to resolve the conflict. If a union grievance is filed, the Ombuds Office will not be involved.

Parents

I or my student has a problem at UMass. Who can I get in touch with?
The best thing to do is have your child contact the Ombuds Office about the issue; due to FERPA privacy laws, we cannot always discuss student records with parents. However, the Ombuds Office can help refer parents and students to resources to help them resolve their problem, so we are generally a good first stop if you're not sure where to turn to for help.
Office Hours:

Monday - Friday
9 am - 5 pm
and by appointment

Contact Information:
Campus Center
Room 823
UMass Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9243
tel: (413) 545-0867
fax: (413) 545-9720
ombuds@ombuds.umass.edu