Students

Support, Advocacy, and Conflict Resolution Resources

Photograph

Courtesy Tony Tieu

The College of Environmental Design is committed to helping students have a positive and fulfilling experience at UC Berkeley, free of bias, harassment, violence, and discrimination. The purpose of this site is to provide you with resources designed to support you if you, or someone you know is experiencing any of these issues.  

UC's commitment

The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities. Read more here.

This site covers five categories, plus campus resources to help you navigate the various processes. 

  1. Grade Appeals 
  2. Classroom Concerns
  3. Disability Related Concerns
  4. Sexual Harassment and Violence
  5. Harassment, Discrimination, or a Hostile Environment
  6. UC Berkeley Resources for Support, Advocacy, and Information

These issues are different, and there are resources specific to each one, as discussed below. Two general resources that students have also found very useful are the Student Ombuds’ Office and the Student Advocate


Grade Appeals

The following appeal process is adapted from the Procedures for Grade Appeals from the UC Berkeley Academic Senate

Grounds for [grade] grievance are application of non-academic criteria, such as considerations of race, politics, religion, sex, or other criteria not directly reflective of performance related to course requirements; sexual harassment; or improper academic procedures that unfairly affect a student’s grade.

You must first attempt to settle the matter informally. This should be done by discussing the issue with your instructor. You may also contact the department chair and Ombuds person, or another mutually acceptable third party who is uninvolved in the grade grievance process and can attempt to mediate the dispute informally. See these tips on resolving conflicts. 

If, and only if, these informal procedures have failed to settle the matter, and the one-year time limit has not expired, you may initiate a formal grievance process. The formal process is initiated when you submit the case in writing to the department chair. Details about what must be included in your case are available in the Procedures for Grade Appeals

There is also a helpful Formal Grade Grievance Checklist available on the same Academic Senate Grade Appeals page. 

For more information about the policy and process, see Academic Senate Grade Appeals policy (A207) 

Once again, we highly recommend that you seek assistance throughout this process from the Student Ombuds Office and/or the Student Advocate
 

Classroom Concerns

In general, if you have a concern about how a class is being taught (workload, scheduling, syllabus issues, tone of lectures or critiques, classroom climate, etc.), you may want to begin by discussing the situation with a CED advisor, the Student Ombuds Office, or the Student Advocate to review your options and determine how to proceed. You may also want to take your concerns to the course instructor to see whether the issue can be clarified or whether a resolution can be achieved informally. The Ombuds Office offers some tips on resolving conflicts. See the other resources on this page to see if any resources are particularly relevant to you. 
 

Disability-Related Concerns

Students have the right to accommodations for short-term or long-term disabilities. DSP is the place to go for this. In general, if you are dissatisfied with any DSP-related academic accommodations, the fastest process for resolving the issue is for you to directly contact your DSP Specialist. If a satisfactory solution cannot be reached informally, you may initiate a formal resolution by putting your complaint in writing. For more specific information, follow the links below.

Sexual Harassment and Violence

If you have experienced sexual harassment and/or violence, you are encouraged to first contact the PATH to Care Center, which “provides affirming, empowering, and confidential support for those who have experienced gendered violence, including: sexual harassment, dating and intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and sexual exploitation. Advocates bring a non-judgmental, caring approach to exploring all options, rights, and resources.” You can reach the PATH to Care Center at (510) 642-1988.

The Student Ombuds Office can also help you confidentially, including sorting out which next steps would best meet your needs.
 

Harassment, Discrimination, or a Hostile Environment

If you have experienced harassment, discrimination or a hostile environment at UC Berkeley, the number and variety of resources designed to help you may feel overwhelming. The Student Ombuds’ Office and/or the Student Advocate can help you sort out which of the following resources would best meet your needs.

  • If you would like to report a hate crime or hate-motivated act, you can do so on this Campus Climate website.
  • The Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) is responsible for ensuring the University provides an environment for faculty, staff, and students that is free from discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence. OPHD takes reports alleging discrimination and harassment on the basis of categories including race, color, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation/identity, including allegations of sexual harassment and sexual violence. Students can report an incident by email or phone. You can email ask_ophd@berkeley.edu to report an incident.
  • To learn more about the process of submitting an informal or formal grievance, see the Berkeley Campus Student Grievance Procedure on the Student Affairs website. 
  • If you have complaints about about the UC Police Department, see the UCPD Complaint Process.  
  • If you have been charged with violating the Code of Student Conduct and face suspension or dismissal from the university, Respondent Services can help ensure that you are informed of campus resources and receive assistance with the coordination of services and referrals. Learn more: Violations of campus student conduct rules 

Remember, the Student Ombuds Office or the Student Advocate can help you sort out which of these resources would best meet your needs. 


UC Berkeley Resources for Support, Advocacy, and Information

The following are some of the many resources available to assist you.

Student Ombuds Office

  • The Ombuds Office can be your first step, your last resort, or anything in between. If you wish assistance sorting through a campus-related conflict or concern, please contact us. The Ombudsperson will fully listen to your concerns, discuss your options, and help you get information and perspective that will empower you to make informed decisions in determining your next steps. The office is strictly confidential (even in cases of SVSH) and is not a place of record or report. The only exception to this confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm or danger. To explore this resource or to make an appointment, please call us at 510-642-5754.

ASUC Student Advocate’s Office

  • The ASUC Student Advocate’s Office (SAO) — effectively the campus public defender — is an executive, non-partisan office of the student government at UC Berkeley. We offer representation, help, and advice to any student or student group involved in a dispute with the University. Our caseworkers have experience and knowledge about all sorts of problems, including conduct violations, grade disputes, enrollment issues, financial aid problems, establishment of residency, discrimination, and harassment. All assistance is free and confidential.

Basic Needs Center

  • Basic Needs Security refers to the food, housing, and economic security of our community. We understand that basic needs have a direct impact on the mental-emotional-physical health, wellness, academic performance, professional development, and holistic success of students. Basic Needs is committed to accomplishing food, housing and economic justice on the UC Berkeley campus through a robust model of prevention, intervention and emergency relief efforts. 

CED Undergraduate Advising

CED Graduate Advising

Centers for Educational Justice & Community Engagement (EJCE)

  • The EJCE is a collaborative of offices and centers that advocate for, build capacity with and dialogue among and across diverse communities. Our community engagement approach enriches the academic success of students while fostering a campus climate that honors the dignity of all people.  Our work reflects interconnected identities and experiences through our collective and individual commitments to support and advance future global leaders.

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) 

  • CAPS offers short term counseling for academic, career, and personal issues and also offers psychiatry services for circumstances when medication can help with counseling. There is no charge to get started, and all registered students can access services regardless of their insurance plan.

Academic Personnel Office

  • This website includes a link to “Guidelines for Preventing and Responding to Faculty Bullying and Other Demeaning & Disruptive Behavior.”

Gender Equity Resource Center

  • The Gender Equity Resource Center, fondly referred to as GenEq, is a UC Berkeley campus community center committed to fostering an inclusive Cal experience for all. GenEq is the campus location where students, faculty, staff and alumni connect for resources, services, education and leadership programs related to gender and sexuality.

Graduate Assembly 

  • The mission of the Graduate Assembly is to improve the lives of University of California, Berkeley graduate students and to foster a vibrant, inclusive graduate student community.The Graduate Assembly is the official representative body of the graduate and professional students at the University of California, Berkeley. 

PATH to Care Center

  • The PATH to Care Center provides affirming, empowering, and confidential support for those who have experienced gendered violence, including: sexual harassment, dating and intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and sexual exploitation. Advocates bring a non-judgmental, caring approach to exploring all options, rights, and resources. You can reach the PATH to Care Center at (510) 642-1988.

Respondent Services

  • The Center for Support and Intervention provides resources, information, and referrals to students who have been charged with violating the Code of Student Conduct and face suspension or dismissal from the university. These charges can include sexual, behavioral, or academic misconduct. The goal of this service is to ensure that students who are engaged in the conduct process are informed of campus resources and receive assistance with the coordination of services and referrals.

Restorative Justice Center

  • The mission of the Restorative Justice Center is to create opportunities for people to connect on deeper levels by sharing stories, engaging in deep listening, and developing respectful relationships, and community-based strategies for responding to conflict and harm. When harm occurs, we offer processes for understanding impacts and needs, and taking accountability in ways that result in transformation and repair. 

Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment Prevention, Response & Support

  • This comprehensive website provides information on support, advocacy, policies and procedures, education, and more.

The Summer Institute is offering limited scholarships in the form of fee program waivers (valued at $3,400 each) to help reduce program costs. Students receiving the scholarship will be responsible for any additional fees through Summer Sessions and housing costs. To be considered for the scholarship, we are asking students to submit a one-page statement that would outline how this financial support will help fulfill your academic objectives and goals. This statement will need to be submitted online along with your completed application materials (application, resume, transcripts and application fee). Scholarship assistance will not be considered for any incomplete applications. The Summer Institute program office will begin reviewing scholarship requests with their associated applications on April 1. This delay in the review of your application will in no way affect your admittance into the program should you be a qualified applicant. All students will be notified soon after April 1 of the status of their application and scholarship.