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Grievance Policy – Academic – Graduate

Formal student grievances regarding the actions of an instructor shall proceed according to the policy as follows:  

For the purpose of this policy, a working day is defined as an academic day (Monday through Friday) when school is in session.

For the purpose of this policy, a regular semester is defined as the Fall or Spring semester.

Appeals File: a file that contains originals or copies of all materials generated throughout the appeals process.

 

At any stage in the appeals process, should a decision necesitate a change in the official record (e.g. a grade change), the responsible party at that state shall make the required change and record such action in the appeals file.  
 

  1. The student will discuss the grievance with the instructor and seek a solution. This discussion, the first step of the grievance process, must take place no later than the last working day of the next regular term after the course in question.
     
  2.  If the problem is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student in conference with the instructor, the student is entitled to submit an appeal in writing (with documentation) to the department/division chair within fifteen working days of the date of the conference. Upon receiving a student appeal, the department/division chair submits, within fifteen working days, a written request for a response in writing (with documentation) from the instructor. The instructor replies to the chair’s request within fifteen working days. The department/division chair notifies the student and instructor in writing of his/her decision, within fifteen working days from the date the response is received from the instructor.  All documents must be retained for a minimum of  three years; upon sending the response to the student and instructor, the chair will ensure that the complete appeals file is delivered to the Office of Academic Affairs.
     
  3. If the problem is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student is entitled to submit an appeal in writing (with documentation) within fifteen working days of the date of the department/division chair’s written response, to the college/school dean with administrative responsibility for the department in which the appeal originated. The college/school dean obtains the appeals folder from the Office of Academic Affairs and reviews the student appeal and the corresponding written responses from the instructor and chair. The college/school dean notifies the student and instructor in writing of his/her decision with a copy to the division/department chair, within fifteen working days from the date the appeal is received. All documents must be retained for a minimum of three years; upon sending the response to the student, instructor, and chair, the dean will ensure that the complete appeals file is delivered to the Office of Academic Affairs.

  4. If the problem is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student is entitled to submit a written request for a hearing with the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee within fifteen working days of the date of the dean’s response. (Committee contact information available through the Graduate and Continuing Studies Office, 239 Kent Wyatt Hall, 662.846.4700). The Graduate Academic Appeals Committee chair schedules a hearing date, within fifteen working days from the date the request for hearing is received, and notifies the student, instructor, and chair, and the chair obtains the appeals file from the Office of Academic Affairs.  All parties may submit their cases in person to the committee.  The Appeals Committee notifies the student, instructor, and chair in writing of its decision with a copy to the appropriate dean, within five working days from the date of the hearing. All proceedings of the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee are confidential. All documents must be retained for a minimum of three years; upon the Committee’s sending the response to the student, instructor, chair, and dean, the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee chair will ensure that the complete appeals file is delivered to the Office of Academic Affairs.

  5. If the problem is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student is entitled to submit an appeal in writing to the Vice President for Academic Affairs within fifteen working days of the date of the Committee’s notification. The Vice President for Academic Affairs reviews the appeals file. Within fifteen working days after receiving the appeal, the Vice President for Academic Affairs notifies the student, instructor, and chair in writing of his/her decision, which is final, with a copy to the appropriate dean and the chair of the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee. All documents must be retained for a minimum of three years; the Vice President for Academic Affairs will retain the appeals file in the Office of Academic Affairs.

 

Grievances shall not encompass the quality of instruction, the difficulty of testing, the rigor of grading, or the appropriateness of the course requirements. The judgment of what standards are appropriate resides with the instructor, unless there is compelling evidence that those standards are arbitrary or capricious.

At every step, the correspondences from the instructor, the chair, the dean, and the Committee shall designate the date by which the next step, if indicated, shall be initiated by the student or respondent.

The Responsible Office and/or the Policy Owner:  Office of Academic Affairs

  
  • 02-14-2012 (Academic Council) 
  • SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation FR 4.5 and Policy "Complaint Procedures Against the Commission or Its Accredited Institutions" 
STATUS

Active

DATES


Last Change/Approval Date:

02-14-2012 (Revised, Academic Council)
12-13-2011 (Revised, Academic Council)
02-24-2009 (Revised, Academic Council)
01-20-2004 (Approved, Academic Council)