University of Calgary : O. Appeals


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Graduate Studies Calendar 2018-2019 Academic Regulations O. Appeals
O. Appeals

The University recognizes that there are instances when a student may wish to challenge University decisions about grades or academic policy. When a dispute arises, every effort should be made to resolve the issues informally rather than resort to a formal appeal. If, however, a formal appeal is necessary, the student should follow the Appeals Procedures that are described below.

Appeals for reappraisal of graded term work, reappraisal of final grades, and other academic appeals are pursued through the teaching Faculty (the Faculty offering the course).

The Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeals Committee hears appeals against rulings by the Dean of Graduate Studies, or designate.

Students may obtain help in understanding the appeals process and in writing appeal letters from the Student Ombuds Office. For more information, visit: ucalgary.ca/provost/students/ombuds.

O.1 Reappraisal of Graded Term Work

A student who feels that a piece of graded term work (term paper, essay, test, etc.) has been unfairly graded may have the paper re-graded as follows. The student shall discuss the work with the instructor within fifteen days of being notified about the mark or of the item’s return to the class. If not satisfied, the student shall immediately take the matter to the head of the department offering the course who will arrange for a reassessment of the work within the next fifteen days. Students in faculties without a departmental structure should take the matter to the Dean or the appropriate associate/assistant Dean (Academic/Student Affairs) of the Faculty offering the course. The result of that reassessment should be given to the student in writing.

The reappraisal of term work may cause the grade to be raised, lowered or to remain the same. There is no limit to the number of times that a student may request a reappraisal of term work.

O.1.A) Teaching Faculty Appeals Committee

Reappraisal of term work is generally settled at the departmental level. If the student is not satisfied with the decision and wishes to appeal, the student shall address a letter of appeal to the Dean of the Faculty offering the course within fifteen days of the unfavourable decision. In the letter, the student must clearly and fully state the decision being appealed, the grounds for appeal and the remedies being sought, along with any special circumstances that warrant an appeal of the reappraisal. The student should include as much written documentation as possible.

At this stage the Dean of the Faculty offering the course, at their discretion, may attempt to resolve the situation without proceeding to the Faculty Appeals Committee. If the matter is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the appeal letter will be sent to the Faculty Appeals Committee.

The teaching Faculty Appeals Committee will not hear the appeal if the appeal letter does not detail the decision being appealed, grounds for appeal and outcome sought by the student, or if the chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee decides that sufficient grounds do not exist. If the appeal is to be heard and if the student has not already received a copy, the student is advised to request from the Dean’s office, a copy of the principles and procedures that govern the Faculty Appeals Committee for that Faculty. These procedures will detail the composition of the committee, the right of the student to have an advocate at the hearing, how the hearing will be conducted, and other information.

The Faculty Appeals Committee will report its decision to uphold or deny the appeal in writing to the Dean of the Faculty, the Registrar and the appellant as quickly as possible.

O.1.B) Reappraisal of a Final Grade

In the reappraisal of a final grade, the only elements that will be considered are the grading of the final examination, if any, together with a recalculation of the weighted components that make up the final mark. An exception may occur when an instructor evaluates a piece of graded term work or other component at the end of the session; that grade may also be considered in a reappraisal of final grade.

A student wishing a reappraisal of an individual final grade should first attempt to examine the final examination at the department or faculty office. Then the student shall obtain a Request for Reappraisal of Final Grade form from ucalgary.ca/registrar/student-forms. On the form, the student must indicate exactly what error was made in marking the examination and/or in computing the final grade and where the error can be found. The reappraisal will only be considered if the student provides a detailed rationale that outlines where and for what reason an error is suspected.

Students wishing a reappraisal of a final grade (excluding Law courses) must submit their request by the following dates:

Fall Term - March 1
Winter Term - June 30
Spring Intersession - August 15
Summer Term - October 15
Supplemental Examinations: 30 calendar days from the date the examination was written

The reappraisal form shall be sent/brought to the Registrar who shall forward it to the department head or Dean of the Faculty offering the course. Reappraisals of final grades are dealt with by the head of the academic unit in consultation with members of staff. Normally, the department/faculty will respond to a Request for Reappraisal of Final Grade within thirty days of its initiation. After the reappraisal is completed, the department shall return the form to the Registrar who shall inform the student in writing of the result of any request for reappraisal.

Students should be aware that the grade being reappraised may be raised, lowered or may remain the same. A student may request a reappraisal of final grade only twice in one academic year (July 1 - June 30).

Procedures for appealing a final grade reappraisal beyond the departmental level are detailed above in Appeals - Faculty Appeals Committee, and are the same for a final grade as for a piece of graded term work.

O.2 Appeals Against Faculty of Graduate Studies Rulings
Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeals Committee

If a student wishes to appeal a Faculty of Graduate Studies ruling (such as, but not limited to, the requirement to withdraw for academic reasons, the denial of continued registration, the denial of the right to graduate, specific requirements by the Faculty for the completion of a degree/course of study), the student shall address a letter of appeal to the Chair of the Graduate Studies Appeals Committee within fifteen days of the unfavourable decision.

In the letter of appeal, the student must clearly and fully state the ruling/decision being appealed, the grounds for appeal and the remedies being sought, together with all supporting evidence or documentation, if any. Mere dissatisfaction with a ruling is not sufficient grounds for an appeal.

In the process of deciding to initiate an appeal, the student may seek the assistance of the Student Ombuds Office.

If the appeal letter does not detail the decision being appealed, the grounds for appeal and the outcome sought by the student, or if the Chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee decides that sufficient grounds do not exist, the appeal will not be heard. If the appeal is to be heard and the student has not already received a copy, the student is advised to request from the Dean’s office, a copy of the principles and procedures that govern the Faculty Appeals Committee. These procedures will detail the composition of the committee, the right of the student to have an advocate at the hearing, how the hearing will be conducted, and other information. This information can be found on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website: grad.ucalgary.ca/current/managing-my-program/appeal.

The Faculty Appeals Committee shall report, in writing, its decision to uphold or deny the appeal, to the Dean of Graduate Studies and the appellant as quickly as possible.

Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies website for additional details on the procedures for appeals to the Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeals Committee: grad.ucalgary.ca/current/managing-my-program/appeal.

O.3 General Faculties Council’s Student Academic Appeals Committee

Procedures for appealing a final grade reappraisal beyond the Faculty Appeals Committee level are detailed below and are the same for a final grade as for a piece of graded term work.

General Faculties Council’s Student Academic Appeals Committee hears appeals of decisions made by Faculty Appeals Committees on matters of academic concern to students. The General Faculties Council’s Committee will hear an appeal only if there is reason to believe that the Faculty Appeals Committee showed bias, unfair procedures, or if there is substantial new evidence that could not have been presented to a Faculty Appeals Committee. Grades obtained in courses completed by the student in the appeals process will not be considered as new evidence. Before the General Faculties Council’s Committee will accept an appeal, the chair of that committee must be satisfied that departmental and Faculty appeals procedures have been fully utilized.

Students wishing to make an appeal to the Student Academic Appeals Committee must do so within fifteen days of the unfavourable decision from the Faculty Appeals Committee. A letter of appeal should be sent to the General Faculties Council's Committee (Administration Building, Room 165), and must indicate the decision being appealed, the grounds for appeal (i.e., alleged bias, alleged unfair procedures, or substantial new information), and the remedies being sought by the student, together with all supporting documentation. The appeal letter should also state the levels of appeal that have already been utilized.

The General Faculties Council’s Committee will not hear the appeal if the chair decides that sufficient grounds do not exist.

A student whose appeal is to be heard by the General Faculties Council’s Committee is entitled to obtain from the Secretary to General Faculties Council the principles and procedures governing the General Faculties Council’s Committee. These procedures will detail the composition of the committee, the right of the student to have an advocate, how the hearing will be conducted and other information. The principles and procedures are also available on the University Secretariat website: ucalgary.ca/secretariat.

The committee will normally give fifteen days written notice of a hearing to the appellant and to the head of the academic unit against whose office the appeal is being made. Normally, the General Faculties Council’s Committee will hear an appeal within thirty days of its acceptance. The chair of the General Faculties Council’s Committee will convey the committee’s findings in writing to the appellant, the respondent, the Secretary to General Faculties Council and the Registrar.

For more specific information and other principles governing student academic appeals, the Secretary to General Faculties Council should be consulted.

O.4 Academic Appeals

  1. The Appeals Process - In the case of appeal of a grade, the appeal should be to the Appeals Committee of that Faculty offering the course. A student who is placed on probation, suspended, or expelled from the Faculty of Graduate Studies, may appeal that decision, or any other Faculty of Graduate Studies ruling, to the Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeals Committee. The appeal, which must be initiated within fifteen days of the receipt of the letter from the Dean or their delegate, shall be in writing, addressed to the chairperson of the appropriate committee, and shall state specifically (a) the decision which is being appealed, (b) the grounds for the appeal, (c) the remedy being sought.
  2. Sufficient Grounds - A student must satisfy the Appeals Committee that there are sufficient grounds for appeal. The principles applicable to an appeal to a Faculty Committee are those of fairness as set down in relation to the Student Academic Appeals Committee of General Faculties Council that are filed with the Secretary to General Faculties Council. It is recognized that the specific procedures used to attain fairness may vary from one Faculty to another.
  3. Appeal from a Faculty Appeals Committee - Where a student is unsuccessful in an appeal to a Faculty Appeals Committee, they may appeal that decision to the Student Academic Appeals Committee of General Faculties Council, subject to the principles and procedures of the General Faculties Council's Committee as approved by General Faculties Council and filed with the Secretary to General Faculties Council.
  4. Notification to the Registrar - When an appeal has been lodged by a student, the Registrar shall be notified by the chairperson of the Faculty Appeals Committee or General Faculties Council's Committee, as the case may be, of that fact, and of the disposition of the case by that body.
  5. The Position of a Student Launching an Appeal Against Suspension or Expulsion - Where a student's appeal against suspension or expulsion is accepted for hearing and is under consideration by an appeals committee, a student shall be granted tentative registration and permitted to attend classes. If the appeal succeeds, the student will be officially registered and assessed fees retroactively to the beginning of the session.
  6. The Position of a Student Whose Appeal Against Suspension or Expulsion is Unsuccessful - In cases in which the student has been allowed to attend classes pending the disposition of an appeal and the appeal fails, the original date of the suspension or expulsion stands.
  7. The Effect on a Student's Permanent Record - Where a student has been suspended, expelled or placed on disciplinary probation and does not launch an appeal within fifteen days, or their appeal is unsuccessful, the notation "suspended or expelled from or placed on disciplinary probation by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, for academic misconduct" will be entered on the student's permanent record upon receipt of such notice by the Registrar from the Dean of the Faculty.

Where a student is suspended or expelled prior to the completion of the session, the symbols RW (required to withdraw) will be entered in the grade column on the student's record in the courses in which he or she was registered for that session except for the course(s) in which an "F" grade has been given as a penalty. Where a student is suspended or expelled after the completion of a session the final grade will be entered on the student's record in the courses in which he or she was registered for that session except for the course(s) in which an "F" grade has been given as a penalty.

A student's record will be cleared of the notation "placed on disciplinary probation for academic misconduct" when the probationary period has been completed, or upon completion of a degree program, or after three years have elapsed, whichever comes first. A student's record will be cleared of the notation "suspended for academic misconduct" at the time of readmission to the same Faculty, upon readmission to and completion of a degree program in another Faculty, or after three years have elapsed, whichever comes first. At the time the record is cleared of the notation, the "RW" symbols will be changed to "W", but any "F" grades, as given because of plagiarism, cheating or other academic misconduct, will remain "F"s. A student's record will not be cleared of the notation "expelled for academic misconduct." These regulations also apply to students on probation, suspension or expulsion for non-academic misconduct (see below).

O.5 Further Information About Other Appeals and Petitions to the University

It is expected that the procedures outlined above will be sufficient to deal with any student appeal. Students should note, however, that the current University Act, Section 45(2) states: "Subsection (1) does not take away or impair the right of any student or group of students to petition any of the governing bodies of the University in respect of any matter, but such petition shall be in writing and shall be transmitted to the governing body through the president of the university."

The Board of Governors has approved principles and guidelines to guide its Student Discipline Appeal Committee in considering student petitions. However, the Board of Governors recognizes that the General Faculties Council is the final body of appeal with respect to academic matters including, but not limited to, grades, examinations, refusal of continued registration, or the requirement to withdraw from the University for academic reasons. The Student Discipline Appeal Committee will not attempt to evaluate the merits of any course or program grade, or of any other decision relating to an academic matter. The Board of Governors and the Student Discipline Appeal Committee of the Board of Governors do not have any jurisdiction to determine petitions received from students pursuant to section 26(1) and 31(1) of the Post-Secondary Learning Act, where the petitions are in relation to courses offered and marked at an educational institution other than the University of Calgary, notwithstanding that the course may be credited toward a University of Calgary degree program.

A petition to the Board of Governors must be forwarded in writing to the University Secretary. The nature of the petition and the remedies sought by the petitioner(s) shall be clearly stated in a letter, and all supporting evidence or background materials included. If the Student Discipline Appeal Committee finds that the case has merit, the matter may be returned directly to the appropriate jurisdiction for a rehearing. In the case of substantially academic matters, referral will be to General Faculties Council for its determination as to the appropriate level of jurisdiction. The Student Discipline Appeal Committee may allow a hearing if it accepts jurisdiction in the matter and deems the facts to warrant such a hearing.

The Student Discipline Appeal Committee will not hear a petition for any remedy that may be obtained through existing appeal procedures within the University before those appeal procedures have been fully utilized, nor will academic decisions be set aside on the basis of minor irregularities in procedure.

In the case of a petition challenging a decision of the University body on procedural grounds such as breaches of natural justice or fairness, the Student Discipline Appeal Committee will normally refer the issue back to the level of appropriate jurisdiction for a rehearing and new determination of the question. In the case of a petition challenging a decision in which the student is denied permission to register, the student shall not be registered while the petition is before the Board.

For more specific information on the principles and procedures governing student petitions to the Board of Governors, the Secretary to the Board of Governors should be consulted.

O.6 Continued Registration While Under Appeal

Students who appeal academic decisions to the teaching Faculty Appeals Committee or the General Faculties Council’s Student Academic Appeals Committee have the right to continue their registration and to attend classes during the appeal process. The student is required to pay all fees. If the appeal fails, the student’s registration will be cancelled, regardless of the date, and all fees refunded in full. Students petitioning the Board of Governors are not permitted to register while under petition.