Student Complaint Procedure

It is hoped that minor differences can be resolved without requiring a formal complaint process. Nonetheless, there are situations where a formal process is needed to settle disputes through reasoned discussion and mediation. This process does not supplant formal processes associated with student conduct issues; administrative or academic processes and rules; or provisions of collective bargaining agreements. In addressing student complaints, we strive to respect the concerns of the complainant, respondent, and any other parties involved, while fully addressing the underlying events leading to the complaint.

A student complaint is defined as an academic or non-academic issue that a student has with a faculty/instructor, staff member, administrator, or department or program of The Cooper Union.

Resolution Process

  1. When a student has a conflict with a faculty member or instructor member the first level for resolution should be to discuss the matter with the faculty member. If the student is unsure of how to approach the faculty member/instructor to discuss the conflict, the student should privately discuss the matter with their Academic Advisor or Department Chair. If the conflict that the student is attempting to resolve is with either the Academic Advisor or Department Chair, the student should reach out to an Associate/Assistant Dean or in the case of HSS the Dean.
  2. If after attempting to resolve the conflict with the faculty member the conflict continues,  the student should then raise the conflict with the appropriate Associate/Assistant Dean of the School where the conflict exists or in the case of a conflict with an HSS Faculty member then the Dean of HSS.
  3. If the conflict continues to be unresolved with the intervention of the Associate Dean/Assistant Dean/Dean of HSS, the resolution will move to a more formal conflict resolution process. 
  4. The first stage of the formal resolution process will require the student to submit a written complaint to the Dean of their respective School or HSS. The Dean will be responsible for responding to the formal complaint. The Dean will be responsible to investigate the conflict and will complete the investigation as soon as possible. In order to ensure that the Dean can thoroughly investigate the conflict and review all of the facts to resolve the conflict it will be responded to by no later than thirty days. 
  5. Should the Dean be involved in the conflict or be the source of the conflict, the student should submit their written complaint the Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness. The Vice President will follow the same conflict investigation process as has been outlined for Deans.
  6. Should the student be dissatisfied with the resolution by either the Dean or the Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, the student may appeal to the President of the College for a final decision. 

If a student has a conflict with a non-faculty staff member, the conflict should be reported to the student’s advisor or the Associate/Assistant Dean of their academic program.  The advisor or the Associate/Assistant Dean will be responsible for reaching out to the appropriate department head and/or Human Resources for resolution.

If it is determined by an advisor that additional consultation is necessary to resolve conflicts related to discrimination, FERPA, ADA, etc. the Advisor will reach out to the appropriate administrator to be engaged in the resolution of the complaint.

Student complaints concerning behavioral concerns or issues with another student must be addressed through the Student Code of Conduct.

Complaints pertaining to issues of gender-based discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual misconduct must be addressed through the Policy Against Gender-Based Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct.

Complaints pertaining other types of discrimination must be addressed through the Cooper Union Nondiscriminatory Policy.


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.