FAQ’s & Other Resources

Submitting an Appeal:

Any student at the University may appeal a decision regarding their Academic Assessment, an Academic Progression Matter or that they are responsible for Student Academic Misconduct or Student Non-Academic Misconduct.

A Student, who is defined as “an individual who is registered in a course or program of study with the University, whether for credit or not, at the time the subject matter of the decision under appeal occurred” may appeal a decision about themselves [See Sections 3.1(d) and 3.1 (l) of the Student Misconduct and Academic Appeals Policy].

The decision to appeal is yours alone.  If you are considering an appeal, please use the resources available to you to assist you in your decision.  Please also be aware that you must appeal within 10 business days of the decision you wish to appeal was made. There will be no extensions given to this deadline after it has passed. However, you may request an extension of this deadline, but your request must be submitted before the expiration of the 10 business day deadline.  See Sections 4.1 – 4.3 of the University Appeals Committee Procedure or the University Appeals Tribunal Procedure.

For additional information on the student appeal process, please contact the Student Appeal Office

If you would like further information on your rights, the Student Ombuds provides students with impartial confidential advice on any matter affecting them at the University. 

 Please see here for other supports available on campus

It is normal to feel overwhelmed, and there are resources to assist you.  Please see here for supports available on campus.

Please be aware that you must submit your appeal to the University Student Appeals Office within 10 business days of the decision you wish to appeal was made. There will be no extensions given to this deadline after it has passed.

However, you may request an extension of your appeal deadline, but your request for an extension must be submitted before the expiration of your appeal deadline.  Please submit your extension requests as soon as possible to the University Student Appeals Office (appeals@ucalgary.ca) and note that requests submitted on the appeal deadline may not be able to be processed and approved in time.  If you are submitting an extension request on your appeal deadline, you may want to submit your appeal as well in the event your request for an extension is not granted.

See Sections 4.1 – 4.3 of the University Appeals Committee Procedure or the University Appeals Tribunal Procedure.

The University Student Appeals Office is in the process of developing an online portal for students to use when submitting an appeal.  In the interim, please click on the "Submit My Appeal" button on the home page of the University Student Appeals Office Website for access to the Student Appeal Submission Form.  Appeals must be submitted to the University Student Appeals Office at appeals@ucalgary.ca before your appeal deadline, and must include the completed Student Appeals Submission Form, your appeal submission and all attachments.

According to the University Appeals Committee Procedure and the University Appeals Tribunal Procedure, all appeals MUST:

  1. include the Appellant’s UCID number and be submitted in electronic form through the University Student Appeals Office website;
  2. attach the decision being appealed and all related documentation, including all correspondence between the Appellant and the person that made the decision;
  3. list and explain all grounds of appeal, and include all evidence supporting any listed grounds:
    1. for appeals of decisions regarding Academic Progression Matters, the Appellant should include evidence detailing the Appellant’s plan to improve their academic standing; and
    2. for appeals that claim there is relevant new information, the Appellant must submit all evidence that supports their claim and explain why the Appellant was not able to provide the information earlier;
  4.  state the outcome the Appellant is requesting from the appeal process, including reference to any University documentation that supports the requested outcome;
  5.  indicate whether the Appellant would prefer to not have a Student sit on the University Appeals Committee panel;
  6. indicate whether a written or oral Appeal Hearing is preferred and why;
  7. indicate whether the Appellant requires an accommodation or any special consideration regarding their participation in the appeal process and Appeal Hearing, and, if so, what is being requested and why; and
  8. include a statement that all evidence and documentation provided by the Appellant in the appeal is true and accurate.

The Student Appeal Submission Form will assist you in ensuring that you have provided all of the required information.  See also the "Before I submit my appeal checklist" and "Writing Your Appeal" tips under the "Appeals Process" tab on the University Student Appeals Office website.

Note that you may fail to receive permission to appeal from an Appeal Review Administrator if you do not provide the required information.

There are different appeal processes and allowed grounds because the Alberta Post-Secondary Learning Act provides an unlimited right of appeal up to the University Appeals Tribunal for students appealing disciplinary decisions of the University (Student Academic Misconduct and Student Non-Academic Misconduct decisions).

An Advisor is defined as someone who will assist you during an appeal. Examples of who may be an advisor include a friend, family member, legal counsel or peer.

A witness is a person that you ask to attend your hearing to give evidence that supports your appeal.

Your witness(es) should have firsthand, personal knowledge of the situation and the evidence they give should be relevant to the grounds of appeal. 

Further information on the role of a witness can be found in the Witnesses FAQ.

 

All student appeals are heard by a panel of 3 members.  Most often, the panel is made up of two academic (i.e. professors) or non-academic staff and a student.  You have the option of whether you want the third member to be a student or another staff person.  Should you wish to have a student sit on the panel, the Student Appeals Office will select the student from our pool of appointed student panel members. 

The student that is on the panel will be someone: 1) you do not know personally; 2) not from your home faculty; and 3) not from the Respondent faculty.

Yes – as long as your case meets the following two criteria:

  1. the Academic Review Administrator has not yet issued their decision; and
  2. the deadline to appeal, as outlined in the decision letter from your faculty, has not yet passed.

If, for whatever reason, you notice further information needs to be included in your appeal, please contact the Student Appeals Office as soon as possible to communicate your wish to withdraw your appeal. Any re-submission is held to your original appeal deadline as outlined in the decision letter from your faculty, unless you explicitly request and are granted an extension in advance of your appeal deadline.

If your appeal deadline has passed when you contact the University Student Appeals Office, you are not permitted to modify your submission. If the ARA has already issued their decision regarding your appeal, you are not permitted to modify your submission.

The University Student Appeals Office strongly recommends that you read the Student Appeal Submission Form, the University Appeals Committee/Tribunal Procedure, and the Student Misconduct and Academic Appeals Policy carefully before putting together your appeal package. Do not submit your materials at different times; ensure that you’ve gathered all the information relevant to your appeal before you submit, and attach all documents to one e-mail.

Sometimes an Academic Assessment result leads to an Academic Progression Matter. For example, a student wishes to appeal a final grade, and if the student is successful on their appeal, their GPA will be adjusted so that they are no longer required to withdraw from their program.  In this instance, students should appeal both the Academic Assessment and the Academic Progression Matter, but may want to request that the appeal of the Academic Progression Matter be put on hold until the results of the Academic Assessment appeal are known.

No – you are not permitted to submit further appeal materials that modify your initial appeal submission after the ARA has issued their decision, even if this decision is issued prior to your appeal deadline. It is your responsibility to ensure that all materials to be considered by the ARA are included in your appeal submission. The University Student Appeals Office does not recommend submitting materials separately; ensure that you’ve gathered all the information relevant to your appeal before you submit, and attach all documents to one e-mail.

Within two (2) Business days following receipt of an appeal, the University Student Appeals Office will:

  1. acknowledge receipt of the appeal and provide the Appellant with a link to [the University Appeals Committee/Tribunal] procedure and a list of on-campus sources of assistance; and
  2. forward the appeal to an Appeal Review Administrator and to the Respondent…

The Appeal Review Administrator (ARA) will provide their written decision to the Appellant and Respondent within ten (10) Business Days of receipt of the appeal, but not necessarily on the tenth Business Day. That is, the ARA may issue their decision any time within this ten-day period, meaning that it is in your best interest to ensure that your appeal package is complete when filing.

If you feel overwhelmed or confused about the appeals process, please reach out to the University Ombuds Office for support in preparing your appeal package (https://www.ucalgary.ca/student-services/ombuds).

In the event the Faculty/Unit or Student Conduct Office determines that they are revising or reversing the decision that you are appealing, and you are satisfied with the revision or reversal and you no longer wish to appeal, you should withdraw your appeal.  See Section 4.12 of the University Appeals Committee Procedure or the University Appeals Tribunal Procedure.

Please see the Academic Regulations of the University Calendar.  Note that each faculty may have specific regulations on this topic.

Where students have been provided accommodations under the Student Accommodation Policy, they may wish to request that those accommodations be applied in the student appeal process as well. 

Should the student appellant wish to have their advisor represent them in an oral hearing, the student should request this representation as an accommodation. If a student appellant wishes to have additional individuals attend a hearing as support, the student should make this request as an accommodation request.

Please see Section 4.4(d) (g) of the University Appeals Committee Procedure or the University Appeals Tribunal Procedure for the requirement to include a request for accommodation in your appeal.

All appeal records, including your evidence and personal information, will be treated and maintained by the University Student Appeals Office as confidential records of the University.  Please see Sections 4.56 – 4.59 of the University Appeals Committee Procedure or Sections 4. 58 – 4.61 of the University Appeals Tribunal Procedures for more information.

Please see section J.1 Continued Registration While Under Appeal of the University Calendar.  Note that each faculty may have specific regulations that are different than the University Calendar.


Appeal Terminology:

The Student Misconduct and Academic Appeals Policy states that a possible ground of appeal is that relevant new information has arisen that could not have been presented earlier and that may have otherwise affected the decision being appealed [See Policy sections 5.5, 5.6 and 5.7].  If you have information that meets this test, please note that you are required to submit all evidence that supports your claim and explain why you were not able to provide this information earlier in your appeal submission.  [See Section 4.4 of the UAC and UAT Procedure].  For additional information on how to prepare your appeal submission, please see “preparing your appeal submission”.

Example A: The instructor that assigned your final course grade was also the individual that decided your grade appeal.  As the instructor made the initial decision, there is a reasonable apprehension of bias that the instructor had a vested interest in upholding that initial decision.

Example B: The appeal panel made their decision based, in part, on information that you did not know had been provided to them.  This is procedurally unfair as you were not given an opportunity to review that information and respond to it.

Example C: You were found responsible of Student Academic Misconduct (cheating) and put on probation. In talking to a friend, you found out that they had been found responsible for cheating in another course, but only received a failing grade on the assignment.  While this may feel unfair, this is not an example of procedural unfairness.  Each decision is made based on the specific circumstances, information and evidence of each student.

What does “reasonable apprehension of bias” mean?

Reasonable apprehension of bias is defined in the Student Misconduct and Academic Appeals Policy as generally meaning: that a reasonable and informed person, viewing the matter realistically and practically, would think that it is more likely than not that a decision maker was biased in respect of the decision under appeal (see Section 3.1 (j)).  A reasonable apprehension of bias does not require you to prove that there was bias, only that it is reasonable to apprehend that bias existed.  A reasonable apprehension of bias is sometimes described as being about justice not only being done, but being seen to be done.

In the University student appeal process, reasonable or “within a range of reasonable outcomes” refers to how an appeal panel reviews a decision that was made in a procedurally fair manner.  Unless the decision is clearly unreasonable, the appeal panel will typically find that it is within the range of reasonable outcomes

The University Appeals Committee Procedure and the University Appeals Tribunal Procedure both include the following language at Section 4.11:

If permission to appeal is granted, the Appellant is responsible to satisfy the University Appeals Committee (or University Appeals Tribunal, as appropriate) that the Appellant’s evidence or position is more likely than not to have occurred or to be accurate.  This is referred to as the balance of probabilities standard of proof.

In order to break this section down, let’s first discuss what a standard of proof is.  A standard of proof refers to the level or the degree you must convince a decision maker through your evidence and submissions that your version of events is correct and that your requested outcome should be granted.

Due to movies, tv shows and the news, most of us are familiar with the criminal standard of proof, which is ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’.  Generally, in a criminal case, the Crown prosecutor is responsible for convincing the decision maker that the accused committed a crime. If the Crown prosecutor is not able to bring sufficient evidence to prove that there is no reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime, the accused must be set free. Said the other way, if the decision maker is convinced there is no reasonable doubt about guilt, the accused must be found to be guilty.

The University student appeals system is based on administrative law, which uses a different standard of proof.  This standard is referred to as 'the balance of probabilities'.   Generally, the balance of probabilities standard of proof requires a decision maker to determine that one outcome is more likely than another, or 50 +1% more probable. This means that in order to be successful at an appeal, an appellant must provide enough evidence to convince an appeal panel that the appellant’s position is more likely than not, or 50% + 1% more probable.

The responsibility for the standard of proof belongs to the person who is alleging the grounds of appeal.  As such, in the University student appeal process, this responsibility is the student appellant’s.


Appeal Hearing:

In the event that your appeal proceeds to a hearing, the Panel Chair assigned to your appeal will determine whether the hearing will proceed in a written or oral format. Appeal hearings do not default to the written format in light of COVID-19. For a written appeal hearing to be granted, certain circumstances must have occurred; these are outlined in section 4.14 of the UAC and UAT Procedure.

If it is determined that an appeal will proceed to an oral hearing, the Student Appeals Office will conduct the hearing using a secure video conferencing application.

If you need more time than the hearing process allows, you can submit a request for further time to the University Student Appeals Office.  Please include the reasons for your request.  See Sections 4.20 – 4.22 of the University Appeals Committee Procedure or the University Appeals Tribunal Procedure.

Decision-makers, both Academic Review Administrators and UAC and UAT panel members, are deliberately selected from faculties and University units different from each other, the Appellant, and the Respondent. This ensures that any decisions made are done so with broad University representation and with the utmost fairness in mind. It also helps the Student Appeals Office ensure that decisions are made without any conflict of interest between any parties involved in an appeal.

A written hearing is where the parties make their submissions in writing only and have no opportunity to speak orally. An oral hearing is where the parties make written submissions and also attend an oral hearing in which they may speak to the appeal panel and ask and respond to questions.

The hearing commences with everyone in the room introducing themselves. Next, the Chair of the panel will provide a detailed summary of what to expect in the hearing. The student Appellant has the first opportunity to present their case. Thereafter, the Respondent and panel members are given an opportunity to ask the student Appellant questions. If the Appellant has witnesses, they will then be called into the hearing room one at a time to give their evidence and answer any questions of the panel members and the Respondent. Thereafter, the Respondent provides their response and calls their witnesses. The student Appellant and panel members will also have an opportunity to ask the Respondent and their witnesses questions. A break will then occur to allow the student Appellant and Respondent time to consider their concluding remarks. Concluding remarks will be made to the panel and the hearing will be adjourned to allow the panel to deliberate. At this time, you will be able to leave and the panel decision will be sent to your UCalgary email address at a later time.

If you do not attend your oral hearing, the appeal panel may choose to proceed with your appeal in your absence.  Please see Section 4.46 of the University Appeals Committee Procedure or of the University Appeals Tribunal Procedure.

* Covid-19 measures: If it is determined that an appeal will proceed to an oral hearing, the Student Appeals Office will conduct the hearing using a secure video conferencing application.

All UAC and UAT hearings take place in the Governors Boardroom, Room A167, in the Administration building. This room is large in its size and can be intimidating. The hearing panel and Student Appeals Office staff do their best to make the hearing atmosphere comfortable.

Boardroom A167 Photo

Typically, the hearing is attended by the hearing panel (Chair and two other members), the student Appellant, the faculty Respondent representative, legal counsel to the panel and sometimes a staff member from the Student Appeals Office who assists with the recording and hearing logistics. All witnesses must sit outside of the hearing room until they are called upon to give their evidence. The hearing panel sits on one side of the table and the student Appellant and faculty Respondent sit across from them. Legal counsel for the hearing panel sits close by the panel and the staff member who works the recording sits in front of the recording screen. There are name cards that direct everyone in attendance to their seat.

If your witnesses do not want to attend an oral hearing, you may want to consider having them provide their evidence in writing. A written statement is often not as effective as having a witness attend in person to answer questions, but a written statement can still be used as compelling evidence.

No.  The University Student Appeals Office will make a recording of the hearing, and no other recordings are permitted.  See Sections 4.47 – 4.49 of the University Appeals Committee Procedure  or the University Appeals Tribunal Procedure.


Appeal Outcomes:

Please see the relevant faculty sections of the University Calendar and any faculty policies, procedures or regulations to determine if there are any restrictions on your ability to register in courses.

Decisions made by the University may be reviewed by a Judge in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench. Certain decisions made by the University fall under the authority of the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

If you have been denied permission to appeal or had your appeal denied for an Academic Progression (i.e. required to withdraw) matter, you are not eligible to access other University of Calgary processes (i.e. extenuating circumstances withdrawal requests, grade reappraisals etc.) that may have been applicable to your situation.