Complaints procedure

It may be that you have encountered situations in your working environment or in the course of your own work, which have raised questions regarding academic integrity or a violation thereof. You may be wondering whether you should make a complaint. The sections below explain what you can do with your questions or complaints.  

Whom can you turn to?

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has an ombudsman. You can turn to the ombudsman to ask questions about academic integrity, to present them with dilemmas or to report a suspected case. As a matter of principle, all contact with the ombudsman is strictly confidential. The ombudsman has the authority to initiate a further investigation into the admissibility of a complaint and to issue a recommendation to the VU Executive Board.

Where can I lodge a complaint?

In general, it is advisable to contact the VU ombudsman before you do anything else. Your case will be looked at collectively to determine whether it provides grounds for a formal complaint.

You can make your complaint in a letter or email addressed to the VU Executive Board or you can direct it to either of these boards through the ombudsman.

What happens once a complaint has been lodged?

A full account of what happens can be found in the complaints procedure: Academic Integrity Complaints Procedure. The handling of a complaint can be outlined as follows.

Once the Executive Board has received your complaint, the ombudsman is asked to issue a recommendation on its admissibility. The complaint is then submitted to the Academic Integrity Committee together with the ombudsman’s recommendation.

The Committee first assesses whether the complaint is admissible and provides grounds for further investigation. If that is the case, the Committee informs all those involved and launches a substantive investigation into the details of the case.

Once the investigation is complete, the Committee advises the Executive Board about whether or not the complaint is well-founded. The Executive Board then takes a formal decision on this matter, ruling either that the complaint is well-founded (i.e. that there are sufficient facts to substantiate the complaint) or unfounded (i.e. that there are insufficient facts to substantiate the complaint).

If a complainant or defendant does not agree with a decision taken by the Executive Board or Governing Board, he or she may request a ruling by the National Board for Research Integrity (LOWI). The LOWI will only consider complaints which have already been subject to a decision by the board of the institution.

Source: Academic integrity at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam