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Academic Grievance Procedure

Both faculty and students have joint responsibilities in maintaining academic integrity. Conducive to learning is a precept of fair evaluation of academic work and a concern for human dignity.

I. Purpose:

The purpose of this procedure is to provide for the student and faculty an equitable and efficient method for resolution of student academic grievances.

II. Student Academic Grievance Procedure

An academic grievance is a complaint by a student:

  1. That there has been a violation, misin-terpretation or inequitable application of the academic regulations of the College, faculty, School or Department as written in the Policies & Procedures Manual, Personnel Handbook for Faculty and Pro-fessional Staff, Academic Catalog, Student Handbook, the By-laws of the School and/or Department, and the respective faculty member’s class handouts; or
  2. That the student has been treated unfairly or inequitably by reason of any act or condition which is contrary to the College’s established academic policy or practice governing or affecting students.

Under no circumstances may a grade be grieved if the student simply disagrees with an instructor about the quality of the student’s work. A grade may be grieved only when the student alleges that the instructor was acting arbitrarily or maliciously by giving the grade for reasons unrelated to the quality of the work in question. In any grievance alleging discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction, the student should pursue the Campus Discrimination Grievance Procedure.

III. Responsibility:

To substantiate the existence of an academic grievance: 

  1. The student must demonstrate the presence of an academic inequity or injustice;
  2. The student must establish that the specified alleged incident caused the academic inequity or injustice; and
  3. The student must be able to recommend a resolution of the grievance.

IV. Procedures:

All academic grievances will be initiated as soon as possible, but no later than ten school days after the next semester begins. All grievances will proceed in accordance with the time limitations indicated in each step, except as follows:

An extension or delay at any step will be permitted provided there is mutual written agreement between the principal parties at the procedural step involved; e.g., at step two between the student, the Department Chairperson, and the Instructor.

STEP ONE:

The student initiating a complaint shall contact the faculty member involved and attempt to resolve the grievance. If the grievance is not satisfactorily resolved within five school days, the student shall inform the faculty member IN WRITING that the student will proceed to Step Two.

STEP TWO:

The student shall have the right of appeal to the Director/Department Chairperson of the Department in which the faculty member involved is located. The complaint must be submitted in writing to the Director/Department Chairperson and the faculty member within five school days after the exhaustion of Step One review. The written complaint must clearly and concisely state the facts that initiated the complaint and must also recommend a solution of the grievance. The Director/Department Chairperson, in consultation with the faculty member and student involved, shall attempt to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution of the griev-ance and shall prepare a written summary of the meeting for all parties concerned. If the grievance is not resolved within three school days following receipt of the appeal, the student shall have the right to proceed to Step Three.

STEP THREE:

The student shall present the grievance in writing within five school days after the exhaustion of the Step Two review to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. A review and hearing will be conducted at this step by an Ad Hoc Academic Grievance Committee composed of:

  1. Two teaching faculty members, other than a Director/Department Chairperson, one selected by the complainant and one appointed by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs; the latter appointee serving also as committee chairperson;
  2. One student member of the Student Faculty Judicial Board appointed by the President of the Student Government Association, and one student appointed by the faculty member involved;
  3. One member of the Student Affairs Staff appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students;
  4. One member of the Academic Standards Committee appointed by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs; and
  5. The Dean of the School or a designee chosen by the Dean in which the faculty member involved is located.

The Committee will convene for initial deliberations within five school days follow-ing receipt of appeal. All written materials affected in Step Two will be available to this body. The student and/or the faculty member involved may request or be requested by the Committee to provide further testimony in the conduct of its review. Each party shall have the opportunity to respond to new testimony.

The Committee may recommend any of the following resolutions to the Provost/ Vice President for Academic Affairs/Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students:

  1. Acceptance of the student’s recommended resolution by the faculty member and reassessment of the situation with the Provost/ Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  2. Rejection of the student’s recommended resolution but re-examination of the situation by the faculty member based upon the findings of the committee. Such re-examination shall be conducted in consultation with the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  3. Rejection of the student’s grievance.

The Committee shall present its recommendations for resolution of the grievance to the Provost/ Vice President for Academic Affairs within five school days of its first hearing date. The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs or their designee shall review the recommendation and make a final and binding decision so informing all parties involved, in writing, within three school days.