Student Complaints and Grievances

The University of New Mexico takes student complaints seriously and has processes in place to ensure those complaints are investigated thoroughly. The information on this page provides a brief overview of complaint processes. For detailed information, please see the Student Grievance Procedure portion of the UNM Student Handbook.

SARA Complaints

The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories that sets national standards for interstate offering of post-secondary distance education courses and programs.  If a distance education student located in a state that participates in NC-SARA has a complaint about UNM, the student must first go through the standard procedure for resolution of student grievances, detailed below. If the complaint persists after using UNM's complaint procedures, the complaint may be brought to the New Mexico SARA portal agency, the New Mexico Higher Education Department. The SARA portal agency in the state where the student is located will be notified that a complaint has been received and may assist as needed.

Examples of the types of student complaints that may be brought to a SARA portal agency include complaints regarding job placement data, tuition or fee information, accreditation, professional program licensure requirements, or course transfer information. Complaints regarding grades and student conduct are not covered under SARA.

Academic Complaints and Disputes

Informal Resolution

In the event a student has a complaint in connection to the academic process, the student should first pursue informal dispute resolution with the appropriate faculty or department chair. The process is detailed in the UNM Student Handbook, under Student Grievance Procedure, Section 2.2. Most conflicts are amicably resolved through this route.

Formal Appeal Process

If the informal complaint process is not successful or is otherwise unsatisfactory, a student may pursue a formal complaint with the University directly. The process is detailed in the UNM Student Handbook, under Student Grievance Procedure, Section 2.3, and involves submitting a written complaint to the appropriate Dean.

External Complaint Process

If a student is dissatisfied with the University’s proposed resolution or final decision, the student may file a complaint with the New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) and with the University’s accreditation agency, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). If you are a student located in another state, please see the State Higher Education Contact table.

Important Deadlines in the Complaint Process

  • An informal resolution process must be pursued by the student within 4 weeks (28 days) after the student becomes or should become aware of the matter. (Student Grievance Procedure, Section 2.2.C).
  • A formal appeal to the appropriate Dean (as defined in Section 2.2.A of the Student Grievance Procedure) must be brought by the student within two weeks (14 days) following the conclusion of the informal resolution process. (Student Grievance Procedure, Section 2.3)
  • A formal appeal of a Dean’s decision may be brought by either the student or faculty member within two weeks (14 days) following that Dean’s decision. (Student Grievance Procedure, Section 2.3.F) The appeal of a Dean’s decision is made to the University Provost.
  • For complaints made to the New Mexico Higher Education Department, a student must submit a complaint form within 3 years of his or her last date of enrollment. See the NMHED site for complete details.
  • For complaints made to the Higher Learning Commission, a student must submit a complaint no later than 5 years after the initial matter arose. See the HLC site for complete details.

Discrimination, Harassment and Accessibility Complaints

If you have either observed or been the target of sexual harassment or discrimination — whether based on race, sex, gender, disability, religion or other protected status — you may file a complaint with the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity. Students also have access to the LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center for issues involving sexual assault, violence, bullying, and intimidation.