Grade Appeals

Students desiring to appeal a grade or an evaluation of their academic progress, not involving academic dismissal or suspension, shall proceed as follows:

A student who believes that his/her grade or evaluation is the result of prejudice or caprice or is otherwise improper shall first discuss the matter directly with the instructor involved. If the student and instructor do not reach a satisfactory agreement, the student may submit, within two weeks following reporting or posting of the grade or evaluation in question, an appeal in writing to the chairman of the faculty-student appeals committee. If a student finds it impossible to complete discussions with the course instructor within this two week period, he/she should notify the chairman of the faculty-student appeals committee of the need for additional time, and the chairman shall extend the appeal period by an appropriate number of days.

The written appeal submitted to the chairman of the committee should provide an account of the facts pertinent to the awarding of the grade and the reasons why the student believes the grade or evaluation to be the result of prejudice or caprice or otherwise improper. The student should be as specific as possible. If the student wishes to appear personally before the committee, he or she should include a statement to that effect. The committee may, but shall not be required to, grant such a request.

Upon receiving the student's written statement the chairman of the committee shall forward copies to the committee members and to any faculty member involved. The chairman of the committee will request from such faculty member the materials used in determining the grade or evaluation being challenged. The committee may also request clarification in writing or by interview from either the student or the faculty member. The committee may investigate the matter without interviewing either party, may interview both parties in the case separately or, at the discretion of the committee, may interview the student and the faculty member in the presence of each other.

If the committee decides to grant the request of the student to appear before it, the student will be given reasonable notice of the time and place of the hearing. The hearing need not be conducted according to the rules of law relating to the examination of witnesses or presentation of evidence. Any evidence may be admitted by the chairman, if in his/her discretion it is deemed to be relevant to the appeal.

In any appearance before the committee the student may be assisted by an advisor of choice if he/she has informed the chairman of the name of the advisor at least 24 hours before the hearing. The role of the advisor shall be limited to assisting the student and, unless the chairman of the committee specifically permits, the advisor may not directly question witnesses or otherwise participate in the proceedings. The committee may have the assistance of counsel for the University to advise the committee on procedural and other matters. The committee chairman shall direct the questioning of witnesses and determine the order of presentation of any testimony or other evidence. The chairman shall insure that the student, the faculty member involved, and all other witnesses are treated fairly and that no witness is intimidated or harassed. The chairman shall have the authority to recess the proceedings from time to time in the interest of convenience and justice.

In all cases the student shall be advised that the burden is upon him/her to show by the weight of the evidence that the grade or academic evaluation of which he/she complains was the result of prejudice or caprice or was otherwise improper.

At any time during the appeal process the student shall be entitled to examine his/her entire school file and shall also be entitled to examine the materials relating to the student which were used by the faculty member or members in determining the student's grade or evaluation.

The committee shall appoint some person, who may or may not be a member of the committee, to act as secretary of the committee. The secretary shall keep minutes of committee proceedings. Except in the case of actual hearings in matters involving academic suspension or dismissal, it shall not be necessary to maintain a verbatim transcript of testimony before the committee. The student may, however, record at personal expense any hearing or proceeding of the committee at which he/she is present.

A student who is dismissed or suspended for academic reasons shall be given notice in writing of the dismissal or suspension by the Dean of the college or school involved. The notice shall state the reasons for the action taken and the effective date of the dismissal or suspension.

If the student desires to appeal a course grade or an evaluation of academic progress which led to the dismissal or suspension, the student shall, within two weeks from receiving the notice from the Dean, file an appeal in writing with the chairman of the faculty-student appeals committee. The appeal should state all facts pertinent to the appeal and should be as specific as possible concerning the student's position.

If the student wishes to appear personally before the committee, he/she should include a statement to that effect and the committee shall grant such request. In such case the student shall be given reasonable advance notice of the time and place of hearing. The student may be represented by an advisor of choice who may assist the student but who may not question witnesses or otherwise participate in the proceedings unless the chairman of the committee specifically permits. The name of the student's advisor shall be supplied to the committee chairman at least 24 hours before the hearing. The committee shall not be required to grant a hearing at which both the student and faculty member(s) involved are present at the same time.

At the hearing conducted by the committee (if one has been requested by the student), the student shall first present his/her reasons for believing that the grade or academic evaluation which led to dismissal or suspension was the result of prejudice or caprice or was otherwise improper.

 The student may use any relevant evidence deemed proper, including affidavits, exhibits and oral testimony. The committee has no subpoena powers and cannot compel the attendance of witnesses before it. Therefore, the responsibility of procuring any desired witnesses on his/her behalf rests solely with the student.

Any recommendations of the committee will be based solely on the results of its investigation and, if a hearing has been held, the evidence presented at the hearing.

The student, if he/she wishes, will be allowed to record at personal expense any hearing at which he/she is present, and the student shall also have access to the official recording of the proceedings under such conditions as the committee may prescribe.

At the conclusion of its investigation (or, if a hearing has been held at the request of the student, within a reasonable time after the hearing) the committee shall determine whether the student has sustained the burden of proving by the weight of the evidence that the grade or academic evaluation complained of was the result of prejudice or caprice or was otherwise improper. If the committee finds by a majority vote of the entire committee, taken by secret ballot, that the student has sustained such burden, the committee shall submit its report and conclusions to the Dean and to the student involved. Thereupon the student's grade or evaluation shall be changed by order of the Dean in accordance with the committee's report and the matter shall be concluded.

If the student has been dismissed or suspended, and the change in the grade or evaluation removes the cause for academic dismissal or suspension, the student shall be reinstated and shall be given reasonable opportunity to make up any academic work missed. If conditions of subsequent performance accompany the reinstatement, these shall be communicated to the student.

If the committee finds that the grade or academic evaluation complained of was not the result of prejudice or caprice or otherwise improper, the committee shall likewise submit its report and conclusions to the Dean and to the student involved. In such case the student may, within ten days, submit an appeal in writing to the Dean setting forth any reasons he/she may have for believing he/she was not accorded a fair hearing by, or given a reasonable opportunity to present his/her case to the committee.

The Dean shall make such review of the record and of the facts of the case as he/she deems appropriate and, at his/her discretion, may interview the student and such other persons as the Dean desires. The Dean's review, however, shall be limited to matters of procedure and fairness and shall not involve the merits of the case. If the Dean desires, he/she may be assisted by counsel for the University. The Dean shall then either affirm the findings of the committee or, if he/she concludes that the student was denied proper procedural safeguards, shall direct the committee to conduct a rehearing either in whole or in part. The decision of the Dean shall in all cases be final and no appeal may be taken therefrom.

In the event that the committee decides that the grade or other academic evaluation should be changed, the faculty member who issued the grade or evaluation may appeal to the Dean if he or she feels that the procedures used by the committee were improper or that the committee did not properly consider all of the evidence. The Dean shall then review the record and the facts of the case as he/she would for a student appeal, as provided in section 10, and may return the matter to the committee for reconsideration. The decision of the Dean shall in all cases be final.

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