Universiteit Leiden

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Improper treatment

This page provides information on what to do if you think you have been improperly treated by a staff member or fellow student of Leiden University.

What is improper treatment?

By improper treatment is meant treatment that is unfair, contravenes regulations, shows a lack of respect, or is experienced as unpleasant or detrimental in some way. For example, your work is not evaluated on time or in accordance with regulations, you receive insufficient guidance or incorrect information, or you are spoken to in an insulting or offensive way.

Submitting a complaint

If you feel that you have been improperly treated by a university staff member or body, you can submit a complaint to the Ombuds Officer.

Also for alumni
If you have already completed your studies, you are still entitled to submit a complaint to the Ombuds Officer, on condition that the issue in question took place whilst you were a student of Leiden University.   

When reporting your complaint, always state:

  • your name and student number; 
  • a clear explanation of your complaint; 
  • when the issue in question occurred; 
  • against who or which body you wish to complain;
  • if you have been referred to the Ombuds Officer by someone else;
  • any procedures that have already been initiated in relation to your complaint. 

Send your complaint by email or post (see contact details on the right of the screen).

You can also submit your complaint in person or by phone. In this case, the Ombuds Officer will generally ask you to also submit written confirmation of your complaint. 

What happens after you submit a complaint?

The Ombuds Officer will evaluate whether he is the right person to deal with your complaint. If not, he will refer you to the correct person or body.

Independent and confidential
The Ombuds Officer has a fully independent position within the university and a duty of confidentiality. He will not discuss your complaint with the person/body you are complaining about, or anyone else, without your express permission.

Mediation and advice
After deciding to deal with your complaint, the Ombuds Officer will first investigate (with you) whether the complaint could be resolved through mediation. Many problems can be solved in this manner. If mediation is not possible, or not desired, the Ombuds Officer may offer advice on how you could improve the situation yourself, if this is feasible.
If, upon discussing your complaint, it becomes apparent that you have grounds for a formal complaint, the Ombuds Officer will explain the procedures for doing so.

Provisional assessment
At the end of the complaint procedure, the Ombuds Office will issue a provisional assessment in which he indicates whether he believes the complaint to be justified or not. This assessment is indicative and informal in nature; you cannot appeal against it. If you disagree with the Ombuds Officer’s provisional assessment, you can request that he initiates a formal investigation.  

Formal investigation
In exceptional circumstances, the Ombuds Officer can initiate a formal investigation. The conclusions and recommendations arising from this investigation will be presented to the relevant organisational body, and reported to the Executive Board. You can read about the procedures involved in a formal investigation in the regulations relating to the ombudsperson

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