The College's mission is to prepare all students to be knowledgeable citizens of the twenty-first century and empower them to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. This can only occur in an environment that contributes to scholarship and to creative work.

Students have the right to a classroom environment that encourages learning. As a part of a community of learners, students and instructors should work together to create an environment of trust and mutual respect.

Student rights

All students at the University of Iowa have the following rights:

  • Students have the right of equal treatment from all instructors and staff at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). Differences in treatment are prohibited when based on race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy (including childbirth and related conditions), disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, or  associational preferences, see the University’s Policy Manual, Part II, Chapter 3: Human Rights.
  • Students have the right to expect certain practices of their instructors. Faculty members have the responsibility for creating in their classroom or laboratory a climate that encourages students' endeavors to learn. University’s Policy Manual, Part III, Chapter 15: Professional Ethics and Academic Responsibility
  • Students have the right to file complaints. When complaints regarding a CLAS course or instructor emerge, they should be initiated at the faculty or departmental level first. If a complaint cannot be resolved at the departmental level, the student may contact CLAS Undergraduate Programs (319-335-2633, to discuss their concerns. The College typically reviews formal complaints only for the current or previous semester. If the student's complaint is not resolved at the collegiate level, students may file a formal complaint utilizing the procedure specified in the University Policy Manual III-29.7. Additional information regarding Student Complaints Concerning Actions of Faculty Members may be found on the Dean of Students website at

We're here to help

CLAS Undergraduate Programs can:
  • Answer questions about college policies
  • Help navigate academic concerns
  • Explain how to meet graduation requirements, and more!

We'll be with you every step of the way.

Problems and complaints

Unwelcomed sexual behavior or sexual harassment

Disregard the steps outlined for other complaints and immediately schedule an appointment with the Title IX and Gender Equity unit in the Office of Institutional Equity or with any University administrative officer (non-confidential resources), or with one of the following confidential resources to discuss your concerns and identify possible courses of action: 


Students with complaints about discrimination also may contact the Office of Institutional Equity to report a problem.

Disability accommodation complaints

Students with complaints about disability accommodation should notify Student Disability Services in addition to the offices listed above, and may be counseled to file a complaint with the Office of Institutional Equity.

Complaints about other aspects of CLAS courses

If you have a complaint about any other aspect of a CLAS course, such as the classroom environment, the instructor, the course’s grading system, or class activities (including online and out-of-class activities), please take the following steps:

  1. Talk with your instructor about the situation.
  2. If you do not feel comfortable approaching the instructor directly or if the problem continues, you should next talk to the course supervisor (if one exists).
  3. Again, if the problem is not resolved or if you are not comfortable talking to the course supervisor, talk immediately to the department’s DEO (Departmental Executive Officer, also referred to as the department chair).
  4. If this does not resolve the situation, you may make an appointment to talk with a staff member to discuss the complaint and the CLAS formal appeal process in CLAS Undergraduate Programs, 319-335-2633,
  5. The student may then write a formal letter of appeal to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, which should outline the situation as well as the student's attempts to resolve the issue. Please provide copies of appropriate materials to support your complaint. Students with grading grievances are responsible for providing completed assignments, tests, quizzes, and all other documentation, except for grade records. (Departments keep all grade records; grades cannot be changed without the permission of the department concerned.) The letter should be sent from the student's UI email account to
  6. In attempting to resolve your complaint, the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education may convene a special committee to recommend appropriate action. The Associate Dean will notify you of the outcome of your complaint via University e-mail.
  7. Any CLAS student, after receiving a decision about a complaint from the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, may appeal this decision through the Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education.

Students also may wish to speak with the University Ombudsperson. The Ombudsperson is a specially trained University official who provides informal conflict resolution services for all members of the university community. All meetings are informal and confidential.

Student responsibilities

  • All students are expected to abide by the UI Code of Student Life and by the CLAS Code of Academic Honesty.
  • All students are expected to be engaged during class time. Students who sleep in class or read non-class materials during class disrupt the course, as do students who engage in other non-class activities such as using a cell phone and working on an assignment for another course. This behavior disrupts the learning environment for all involved and compromises the learning process.
  • The use of abusive or disrespectful language also damages the classroom environment. Inappropriate classroom behavior by students is a violation of the Code of Student Life. Instructors may take immediate disciplinary action against students who are physically or verbally disruptive in a class, or they may refer the matter to the Dean of Students.
  • Students are responsible for seeking help from University faculty and staff and for using the provided resources to meet the requirements of their major(s) and minor(s). All students should meet with an academic advisor at least once per semester to discuss the progress they are making toward their chosen degree.
  • Students are responsible for making sure that they will complete their degree requirements. This includes meeting both academic and administrative requirements set by the major and outlined in this manual. Faculty and other professionals will make every effort to guide you toward completion of all requirements, but the ultimate responsibility for satisfying these requirements is yours. You are responsible for being aware of the requirements, for meeting with your advisor to discuss your progress on a regular basis, and for asking questions about information that is not clear to you.
  • Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the information in the academic handbook. Failure to read this handbook will not excuse you from the responsibility to abide by the rules and procedures contained within it. If you would like to file an exception to any College rule or procedure, you must submit a petition CLAS Undergraduate Programs. Exceptions may be approved or denied.