Academic Disputes and Grade Challenges

The appeal procedure shall act as a vehicle for communication and decision-making between student and faculty and provide a process through which an academic grievance can be resolved. Justifiable cause for an academic grievance shall be defined as any act that is perceived as either a prejudiced or capricious action on the part of a faculty member in the evaluation of a student’s performance (e.g. challenges involving academic integrity, grades). Resolution of academic disputes involving faculty and students which are unrelated to either grade challenges/academic integrity will also be subject to due process as defined below.

  1. If a student questions a decision or other academic action taken by a faculty member, the first level of appeal is to discuss the matter with the faculty member and provide in writing any additional information which may affect the faculty member’s decision/action. This action is to be taken by the student within five (5) business days from the date of the incident. The faculty member will be expected to respond to the student’s appeal within three (3) business days. Mediation, defined here as discussion with the immediate persons involved with no legal representation, is optional but not required for complaints to be fully processed.
  2. If the issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, the student may submit within three (3) business days a written statement that includes the facts of the case and the proposed solution to the Program Administrator/Department Chair. Within fourteen (14) business days the Program Administrator/Department Chair will conduct an investigation.
  3. All aspects of the student’s complaint and the investigation will be kept confidential to the extent possible with regard to complaint filing, investigation and disposition. The investigation will be conducted in an impartial manner and will include an impartial decision-maker. If the school program designee cannot remain impartial, he/she will remove him/herself from the proceedings and assign the matter to the appropriate School Dean who will start the timeframe from the date at which they received the complaint.
  4. Upon completion of the investigation by either the Program Administrator or Department Chair the student will receive within ten (10) business days a written determination which contains the outcome of the complaint and the basis for the decision rendered.
  5. The student may appeal the finding of the Program Administrator/Department Chair in writing to the School Dean within five (5) business days. The written appeal will be reviewed in an impartial manner and the Dean will provide a written decision to the student within ten (10) business days from the date on which the appeal was received.
  6. The student may appeal the Dean’s decision to the Vice President for Academic Affairs within five (5) business days. The decision will be reviewed in an impartial manner by the Vice President and a panel representing a balanced cross section of the campus community. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will provide a written decision to the student within ten (10) business days from the date the written appeal is received. The final appeal is to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  7. Appeals involving grades must be presented by the conclusion of the semester following receipt of the grade in question. (For example, if the grade being challenged was received in Fall 2012, the grade appeal must be presented by the conclusion of Spring 2013.) Once initiated, the grade appeal will follow the process and timeline outlined above. Any grade challenge older than this one year timeframe will not be considered.
  8. Retaliatory conduct against any individual who has filed a complaint, who is the subject of harassment, who has provided information as a witness, or who has submitted an appeal will not be tolerated and will be grounds for discipline up to and including expulsion or termination. Further, complainants will be disciplined for filing false statements or testimony during an appeal and/or investigation.