Appeals Procedure for Program Admission, Retention, Exit, Grade Change or Scholarship Dishonesty
The appeals procedure provides each graduate student the opportunity to formally appeal a program admission, retention, exit, grade change, or scholarship dishonesty decision in the graduate program according to due process. When such disputes arise, students should immediately contact their advisor. Each appeal submitted according to this procedure must be an individual action by an individual student. Class action appeals by one student on behalf of several students are not permitted.
If a student wishes to appeal a decision, she or he must notify his or her advisor. The concern(s) should be put in writing, with a copy to the graduate coordinator, within five (5) working days after the student has received written notice of the action. The student's written request should include a brief summary of the facts of the case and reasons for making the appeal. With the aid of the Graduate Coordinator in scheduling an appointment, the student will meet within five (5) working days with the advisor, Graduate Coordinator, and Department Head to privately discuss the disputed decision.
If the dispute is not resolved in Step I to the student's satisfaction and if the student still believes that the appeal has merit based on the facts of the case, she or he has the right to file a formal written appeal with the Dean who will forward it immediately to the Graduate Grievance and Appeals Committee. Guidelines for filing a formal admission, retention or exit decision appeal are as follows:
- An appeal must be based on evidence that the program area in question has made an error in making its decision. The written appeal must describe specifically the challenged action of the program area. The students also should present all other evidence or documentation in support of his or her appeal; and
- An appeal must be kept on file in the Graduate Coordinator's office fifteen (15) working days after the meeting described in Step I has taken place.
Within ten (10) working days after receipt of the written appeal, the Graduate Coordinator must schedule a hearing before the Graduate Grievance and Appeals Committee. The committee shall be minimally composed of three faculty members, a graduate student, and the graduate coordinator serving as an ex-officio member. The faculty members shall be members of the Graduate Council, with alternates serving when there is a conflict of interest. The student appellant may, however, request in advance in writing that the student be excused and that his or her appeal be heard only by the faculty members. The committee shall conduct a hearing according to the following guidelines:
- At least 48 hours prior to the hearing, the Graduate Coordinator will distribute to committee members any written information in support for either the student or the program area involved;
- A detailed record shall be kept of the hearing, preferably a taped or video recording. The transcribed record will be signed by members of the Graduate Grievance and Appeals Committee asserting that the transcript is a true record of the hearing proceedings. Records of any Step II appeal shall be kept on file in the Graduate Coordinator's office and copies shall be provided, upon request, to the student who has initiated the appeal or the program area which is involved in the appeal. Usual and customary costs associated with duplicating appeals records shall be borne by the program area requesting copies;
- The hearing shall be closed;
- Both the student and representatives, and the Graduate Program Coordinator shall be permitted an advisor. Advisors may be members of the university community, i.e., students or full-time faculty or staff members;
- The Graduate Grievance and Appeals Committee chairperson shall begin the hearing by starting the tape recorder, announcing the name of the person who will be taking minutes, and reviewing the guidelines and procedures under which the hearing will be conducted;
The Committee Chair will then announce, "This Appeals hearing is being held on (date). (Name of student) is appealing the (program area) decision on (program admissions, retention, exit, grade change or scholarship dishonesty requirements). The following committee members are in attendance today: (members give their names);"
- In order, the student and the program area representative will present their cases. Both the student and program area representative may call witnesses, and the student, program area representatives, advisor, and committee members all have the right to question any witnesses who are called. The student and program area representative should be asked for brief closing statements;
- The Chairperson will then close the hearing with, "This Appeals Hearing is now concluded." The committee will meet in executive session and will present its findings, in writing, to the graduate coordinator within five (5) working days. The written decision and recommendations will contain a numerical report of the vote and will be signed by the members of the committee. The Graduate Coordinator will notify the student and the program area representative of this Committee's decision and recommendations. The Graduate Coordinator should forward a written copy of all proceedings to the Office of Graduate Education for inclusion in the student's file.