Academic (Grade) Grievance

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The following steps must be followed by any student seeking to appeal a grade. This process does not address academic integrity allegations, faculty misconduct or discrimination.

Student grade appeals must be processed in the regular semester immediately following the issuance of the grade in dispute (by commencement for fall or spring), regardless of whether the student is enrolled at the university.

There are two stages to the grade grievance process, the informal process and the formal process. Each contains a series of steps.

Step 1: An aggrieved student must first confer with the instructor, state the evidence, if any, and reasons for questioning that the grade received was not given in good faith. The instructor must review the matter, explain the grading procedure used and show how the grade in question was determined. If the instructor is a graduate assistant and this interview does not resolve the difficulty, the student may then take the problem to the faculty member in charge of the course.

Step 2: If the grading dispute is not resolved in Step 1, the student may appeal to the department chair, director or other appropriate faculty within the department or school that offered the course. That member of the faculty may confer with the instructor to handle the problem. In most instances, the grievance procedure can be resolved with Steps 1 or 2 and does not go beyond this level.

Step 3: If the matter is not resolved after completing Steps 1 and 2, the student may then confer with the dean’s representative in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who will review the case. If still unresolved, the student may proceed to the formal process.

Step 4: No later than 10 business days after meeting with the dean’s representative, the student must provide a written statement stating the evidence, if any, and reasons for questioning that the grade received was not in good faith. Supporting materials should be attached as exhibits to the statement. The statement should be scanned, signed and submitted with all attachments as a single .pdf file. Please review the PDF iconGuideline for Statements of Academic Grievance.

Step 5: The dean’s office will provide the student’s statement with any exhibits to the instructor and request that the instructor provide the dean’s office with a formal written response within 10 business days.

Step 6: When the official, written response is received from the instructor, the dean’s representative will contact the student, who can then schedule an appointment to review the instructor’s response. After reviewing the instructor’s response, the student may submit a written request for a hearing before the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Affairs and Grievance Committee. The committee is a regular committee and meets weekly during the fall and spring term when school is in session. The dean’s representative serves as a non-voting, ex officio member of the committee.

Step 7: The committee shall always meet with the student and the instructor in an attempt to resolve the differences. In order to preserve the confidential nature of the grade grievance process and to protect the privacy interest of those involved, the hearing will be closed to the public. The committee chair will preside at the hearing and will rule upon all procedural matters. A student who fails to appear or refuses to participate at the hearing will be deemed to have abandoned the request for a hearing, unless the student can demonstrate that extraordinary circumstances prevented his/her appearance or participation.

Step 8: After all parties have been heard, they will be excused and the committee will deliberate in closed session. Once the committee has reached consensus the committee chair will submit their written recommendation to the Associate Dean for Student and Academic Programs. The associate dean will take final action after fully considering the committee’s recommendation. The associate dean shall inform the student, instructor, department chair or school director (if any), registrar (if appropriate) and grievance committee of any action taken. The decision of the dean is final.

It is university policy that students filing grievances and those who are witnesses are protected from retaliation. Students who believe that they are victims of retaliation should immediately contact the dean’s office in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For the purposes of this process, business days are defined as days the university is open.