Student Academic Appeal Procedures
Date of Current Revision: March 2016
Primary Responsible Officer: Vice Provost of Student Experience and Engagement
Student Academic Appeal Procedures
The University of Central Missouri provides a procedure for students who feel aggrieved in their relationship with the University, its policies, practices, procedures or its faculty and staff. This policy is not for reviewing instances where a student has been accused of cheating, plagiarism or other academic dishonesty. Also not covered by this policy are grievances based on discrimination. The types of grievances to which this procedure applies are as follows:
1. Types of Grievances (Also in the Student Handbook)
a. Other than Grading:
Grievances against a faculty member concerning a course, class or other academically related matters.
Grievances against a department or college (such as non-acceptance into an academic program) if the department or college has no procedure of its own for processing such grievances; if it does not, then the procedure provided herein may be utilized.
b. Final Course Grading:
Faculty members have the right and responsibility to grade the academic performance levels of students in their classes. Furthermore, they are expected to prepare instructional procedures and guidelines (i.e. syllabi) for distribution in classes at the beginning of each semester. These guidelines should include an outline of course content, basic instructional procedures, grading policies and practices, attendance policies and related matters of interest and concern.
This appeal procedure, as it relates to final course grades, is for use only in reviewing allegedly capricious grading by the instructor, and not for reviewing the instructor's actual grading policies; nor is it for challenging an assignment grade in relation to the judgment of the value of the work as judged by the instructor.
Capricious grading is defined as follows:
Refusal to correct the miscalculation of the grievant grade;
The assignment of a grade to the grievant through an unwarranted departure from the instructor's previously announced standards;
The assignment of a grade to the grievant on some basis other than performance in the course;
The assignment of a grade to the grievant by the unwarranted use of more exacting or demanding standards than were used for other students in the course. (NOTE: Different grading standards may be applied to graduate students enrolled in 4000 level courses, or to students with disabilities whose performance may be impaired.)
If a student feels he or she has been graded unfairly, they should begin the grievance procedures as described below beginning with Procedure - Level 1. Grievant has until the midpoint of the semester following the date final course grade is reported to file a grade appeal. At all levels, the burden of proof as to the allegations of the complaint shall rest upon the student. All proceedings hereunder are to be closed and all files confidential.
The timeframe listed below are recommendations for the appeal process, but in no case may an appeal be considered later than the midpoint of the semester following the date final course grade is reported.
If the grievance involves an instructor, the grievant should attempt to resolve the matter informally with the instructor within ten (10) class days of the occurrence of the grievance.
If an agreement cannot be reached, the grievant should submit a dated, written complaint to the department chair within five (5) class days of his/her meeting with the instructor. The written complaint shall state the following: the course in which the grade was received; the instructor whose grade is being challenged; he semester in which the grade was received; specific facts showing why the student considers the grade to be arbitrary and capricious; the relief sought; and the signature, address and local telephone number of the student. The department chair will review the circumstances, and attempt to arbitrate the matter. The department chair will then prepare a summary report, which will include the decision and the action taken. A copy of this report shall be retained by the department chair along with all other materials pertaining to the case. A copy of this report shall be forwarded to the grievant and the instructor. This should be completed within five (5) class days of the date of the complaint. A determination by the department chair that the complaint is patently frivolous shall be stated in his/her report. (NOTE: If the instructor involved is the department chair, Level 2 should be bypassed.)
If the matter is not resolved after the Level 2 decision to both parties' satisfaction, then a written statement should be submitted to the college dean within five (5) class days of the final decision at Level 2. This will initiate the college's grievance procedure, which will include either a meeting with the dean or the activation of a college grievance committee to consider the grievance. A report (like the one in Level 2) should be prepared and informational copies should be sent to the department chair, the instructor and the grievant. This procedure should be completed within five (5) class days of the date of the receipt of grievant's written statement. The grievant may request approval to be accompanied by a person of his or her choice at any meeting when the grievant's presence is required at Level 3. Grievant's request to be accompanied by a person of his or her choice shall be reviewed by the Dean or college grievance committee at Level 3. The grievant will be notified of the status of their request to be accompanied by a person of his or her choice within two (2) class days. A determination by the dean that the complaint is patently frivolous shall be stated in his/her report and shall be a final determination within this procedure with no further appeal.
If the matter is still not resolved to all parties' satisfaction after the Level 3 decision, and so long as the dean has not determined the complaint to be patently frivolous, then an appeal may be made by directing a letter to the Provost stating the grounds for the appeal. This should be done within five (5) class days of the date of the decision rendered in Level 3. The grievant may request approval to be accompanied by a person of his or her choice at any meeting when the grievant's presence is required at Level 4. Grievant's request to be accompanied by a person of his or her choice shall be reviewed by the Provost at Level 4. Grievant will be notified of the status of the request to be accompanied by a person of his or her choice within two (2) class days. The Provost will then review the file in the matter and decide, within ten (10) class days to take one of the following actions:
Uphold one or all of the previous decisions;
Overturn the decisions outright and make an alternate resolution; or
Refer the matter to a university grievance committee.
The Provost will appoint a committee of two students and two faculty members to review the matter within ten (10) class days from the receipt of the letter directed to the Provost. The committee will make its recommendation to the Provost within five (5) class days of completing its work. In the event of a tie vote of the committee, the Provost shall cast the deciding vote. The Provost shall immediately, upon receipt of the committee's recommendation, notify the grievant in writing of the university grievance committee's decision. Copies of the decision shall be forwarded to the grievant, and if applicable to the instructor, and to the college dean of the college involved.
The Provost's decision is final and binding on all parties, and once communicated, shall be placed in full force and effect immediately.
Established and archived prior to 1999
Updated April 2008
Edited for web links, formatting and plain language. Approved December 2015.
Edited for a timeline for a grade appeal. Approved by Academic Affairs and Student Experience and Engagement March 2016.
Previously annotated as II.H Student Academic Appeal Procedures. Renamed Student Academic Appeal Procedures for alphabetical listing, grammar and spell check, and transitioned into policy library April 2017