L&S Student Support & Advocacy

Students biking past Durant Hall

The College of Letters & Science is committed to helping provide a safe and supportive environment for all students at UC Berkeley, free of bias, harassment, violence, and discrimination.

Furthermore, the University of California is committed to a policy against legally impermissible, arbitrary, or unreasonable discriminatory practices, as described in the Nondiscrimination Policy Statement

UC Berkeley has many resources available to you and anyone in need of assistance. If you need support or guidance, feel free to reach out to your L&S dean. They are always available to help any student, staff, or faculty member find the right resource. This web page contains information on the following topics:

  • Grade appeals
  • Classroom concerns
  • Disability-related concerns
  • FERPA violation concerns
  • Sexual harassment and violence
  • Harassment, discrimination, or a hostile environment
  • L&S Advising
  • Blue Light Phones
  • More UC resources for support, advocacy, and information

For additional help, you may also consider these useful resources:

  • The Ombuds Office for Students and Postdoctoral Appointees.If you would like assistance sorting through a campus-related conflict or concern, please contact them. The Ombudsperson will listen to your concerns, serve as a sounding board, explore options with you, and help you get a new perspective and determine the next steps to take.

  • The Student Advocate’s Office (SAO)SAO is a student-staffed office out of the ASUC. They offer free, confidential casework services and resources to any student(s) navigating issues with the University, including academic, conduct, financial aid, and grievance concerns. 

  • UC Berkeley Campus Grievance Procedures for Students. This webpage outlines some of the processes available to students to report concerns to the University for appropriate response and follow-up. 

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 should 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 or another mutually acceptable third party who is uninvolved in the grade grievance process and can attempt to mediate the dispute informally.

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.

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

We highly recommend that you seek assistance throughout this process from the Student Ombuds Office and/or the Student Advocate’s Office

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 an L&S advisor, Student Ombuds Office or the Student Advocate’s Office 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.

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.

FERPA Violation Process

This procedure should be used for complaints regarding access to student records and for complaints alleging that student records are inaccurate, misleading, inappropriate, or otherwise maintained in violation of student rights to privacy. For more information, follow the link 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.

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’s Office 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 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

  • University Health Services (UHS) offers mental health services to all UC Berkeley students regardless of insurance plan. You may visit the Tang Center for more information and support. If the Tang Center is closed, call the after-hours counseling line (855) 817-5667. 

You may also reach out to the DEI office in your division for support:

L&S Advising

L&S Advising is available to support students with academic questions and concerns. Visit the “Navigate Services” page to determine how best to obtain support for common questions and concerns.

Blue Light Phones

Notice (and share with friends) that there are Emergency “Blue Light” Telephone stations located around campus. These can be used to notify UCPD that assistance is needed. If you need help, dial 911 or use a blue light emergency phone (identified by a blue light on top of the phone box or column).

More UC Berkeley Resources