We are aware that the formulation of guidelines and procedures governing academic appeals is an issue involving the very nature of academic freedom. Thus, any appeal and subsequent decisions concerning that appeal must be treated with the greatest concern for maintaining that freedom.
Membership of the Academic Appeals Committee
The Academic Appeals Committee of the Department of Chemistry, Geoscience, and Physics shall be comprised of two student members and three faculty members. One faculty member shall act as chairperson of the committee and shall be elected by the members of the committee. The committee shall be constituted by September 15 of each academic year.
Student members of the Committee will be chosen from those students who express interest. Notice will be posted at the beginning of the academic year. If more than two students are interested they will be chosen by lot. Students on academic probation shall not be eligible for membership. If any student feels they have a conflict of interest they may withdraw from the Committee.
Faculty members shall be chosen from those who are interested. If more than three are interested, they will be chosen by vote of the Department. If any member of the Committee is involved in a grievance, that member shall not serve and the Department shall select a replacement member. Members who wish to excuse themselves because of conflict of interest may do so, the Department shall select a replacement member.
Role of the Chairperson
The Chairperson of the Committee shall act as a facilitator for any meeting or proceeding and shall only vote in the case of a tie decision.
Examples of Possible Grounds for an Appeal
A student may consider the following as examples of grounds for an appeal:
- Error in computation of grade
- Clearly documented extenuating circumstances during the semester
- Questions involving academic dishonesty (see link to policy at bottom of web page)
If any student thinks he or she has a grievance in any matter pertaining to the Department of Chemistry, Geoscience, and Physics not considered in standing or Special Committee of the College, he or she may petition the Department of Chemistry, Geoscience, and Physics for redress. The following shall be the procedure for due process for any such grievance:
Process for Petition
A student seeking redress must initiate the process by approaching the Chairperson of the Department and obtaining a Statement of Grievance Instructor/Student Communication Form (Appendix A) and a copy of the appeals procedure.
- The student will then clearly state their grievance or complaint on the form and then present the completed form to the Department Chair, who will date it and pass it on to the instructor. The instructor shall have 10 working days to respond to the complaint in written form, and return a copy to the student and Department Chair. Any additional documents submitted by either the student or instructor shall be considered part of the Statement of Grievance Instructor/Student Communication Form. During this initial exchange, both parties are to explain their respective positions to each other. If no agreement is reached the student may contact the Department Chairperson. The Department Chair may either refer the matter directly to the Academic Appeals Committee of the Department of Chemistry, Geoscience, and Physics or meet with the student, instructor, and advocates in an attempt to resolve the matter. This meeting shall occur within 10 working days of the students contact with the Department Chair. If no resolution is reached, the matter will be referred to the Academic Appeals Committee of the Department of Chemistry, Geoscience, and Physics by the Department Chair.
- The student seeking redress shall submit to the Chairperson of the Academic Appeals Committee of the Department of Chemistry, Geoscience, and Physics a copy of the completed Statement of Grievance Instructor/Student Communication Form and any accompanying documents and a petition setting forth in detail the following:
- the nature of the grievance and the names of the individuals involved;
- a suggestion as to what might constitute appropriate redress of the grievance;
- any additional information that the petitioner deems appropriate.
- All parties involved may request an advisor, or other advocate, to assist and advise in the preparation of the petition and/or to attend any meeting or proceeding in regard to the petition.
- Appeals shall be initiated no later than 30 days after the beginning of the next full semester following that in which the grievance question occurred.
- The Chairperson of the Committee shall submit copies of the petition to the Committee and the individuals cited in the petition and the advocates. Within 10 working days of the receipt of the petition the Chairperson shall call a meeting of the Committee to consider the petition. At the time of this meeting, the Committee shall determine by majority vote whether or not the alleged circumstances in the petition warrant further investigation. Submission of a petition shall not automatically entail investigation thereof.
- If the Committee determines that the alleged circumstances do not warrant further investigation, the Committee shall report within 5 working days of the initial meeting to all parties involved. The report will be sent to all parties involved by certified mail to ensure receipt. The petitioner shall then have an additional 10 working days beyond receipt of the report to submit an amended petition.
- If the Committee determines that the alleged circumstances warrant further investigation, the Committee shall ask all parties and/or their advocates involved to present any evidence that they deem appropriate to the petition. All parties who are involved in the grievance petition shall be asked to have evidence ready for presentation at a second meeting to be held within 10 working days of the decision.
If any appeal is concerned with academic evaluation of a student, the student shall sign a waiver permitting the introduction of his or her class work. This is to include such items as tests, term papers, laboratory reports, etc., which the Committee may need to make a determination in the case. No work of a student shall be submitted to the Committee without such a written waiver.
After the above meeting the Committee, at its discretion, shall determine whether or not further investigation is warranted and shall have the right to request that all parties supply further evidence, which the Committee deems appropriate. Any third meeting must be held within 10 working days of the second meeting.
If the Committee determines that further investigation is not necessary, the Committee shall submit a written report of its findings and recommendations to all parties involved. Every effort shall be made to reach consensus of the Committee members on the recommendations. All decisions of the Committee shall be determined by majority vote. In the event of a tie decision, the Chairperson shall first ask the Committee to determine whether further investigation is warranted in order to break the tie. If a majority vote of the Committee affirms that further investigation is warranted, the Committee shall request that all parties supply further evidence, which the Committee deems appropriate. If a majority vote of the Committee affirms that further investigation is not warranted, the Chairperson shall cast the tie-breaking vote.
- The Committee shall prepare a written report on its findings and recommendations at the final meeting. This report shall be submitted to all parties involved within two working days of reaching a decision. All parties shall have 10 working days to respond to the report in writing.
- Within 15 working days of providing a copy of its report to the parties involved, the Committee shall forward a copy of the report and any responses from the parties involved to the Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry, Geoscience, and Physics and the Academic Dean.
- Any proceedings of the Committee in which evidence is presented shall be taped.
- The deliberations of the Committee will not be taped.
- These tapes shall accompany the written report and be submitted to the Department Chair and the Academic Dean.