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Academic Grievance Policy

ACADEMIC APPEALS
For the complete Rules Governing the Board of Academic Appeals
CWUR 2-90-040(2) Academic Appeal Procedures

Academic grievances are defined as the following:
(See Academic Appeal Process Section 2.C.)

  1. A claim by the student that an assigned grade is the result of arbitrary, capricious application of otherwise valid standards of academic evaluation; or
  2. A claim by the student that the standards for evaluation are arbitrary, capricious; or
  3. A claim by the student that the instructor has taken an arbitrary, capricious action which adversely affects the student’s academic progress; or
  4. A claim by the student that a university department, program, or office has made a decision not in keeping with university policy or taken an arbitrary, capricious action which adversely affects the student’s academic progress.

A student wishing to pursue an academic grievance must take the following steps to try to resolve the grievance prior to the filing of an official academic appeal:

  1. The student has made a good faith effort to solve the problem with the professor. (See Section C.1.)
  2. The student has made a good faith effort to solve the problem with the department chair. (See Section C.2.)
  3. The student has made a good faith effort to solve the problem with Dean of the College. (See Section C.3.)
  4. The Student must notify the dean of the college in writing of their acceptance or rejection of the dean’s recommendation. (See Section C.4.)

If resolution is not achieved, an appointment should be made to meet with the Dean of Student Success or designee before filing an official academic appeal with the Board of Academic Appeals to review the process.

The student must ask for a hearing within one academic quarter after determination of the grade. The emphasis of the procedure is on informal resolution of the grievance. Grievances, which call for a hearing before the Board of Academic Appeals, should be rare.

 

 

CWUR 2-90-040(2) Academic Appeal Procedure

(A) Academic Grievances

  1. Academic grievances are defined as the following:
    1. A claim by the student that an assigned grade is the result of arbitrary, capricious application of otherwise valid standards of academic evaluation; or
    2. A claim by the student that the standards for evaluation are arbitrary, capricious; or
    3. A claim by the student that the instructor has taken an arbitrary, capricious action which adversely affects the student’s academic progress; or
    4. A claim by the student that a university department, program, or office has made a decision not in keeping with university policy or taken an arbitrary, capricious action which adversely affect the student’s academic progress.
  2. A student wishing to pursue an academic grievance must use the procedures outlined in CWUR 2-90-040(2) (C). The emphasis of the procedure is on informal resolution of the grievance.

(B) Time Limit on Filing Complaint

  1. The students must ask for a hearing of the grievance before the Board of Academic Appeals within one academic quarter after determination of the grade of the course in question, or within one quarter after completion of the incomplete work, or in cases involving administrative actions after the fact, such as removal of incompletes, etc., one academic quarter after the administrative deadline for completion of such actions (in the case of spring quarter, by the end of the following fall quarter). The Board may suspend this rule in exceptional circumstances, such as, but not limited to, extended illness, sabbatical leave, etc., of one or both parties to the grievance.
  2. When any party to the grievance chooses not to attend the scheduled hearing, the Board will conduct the hearing with the resources available to it and render a decision resolving the grievance.

(C) Procedures Preliminary to Petitioning the Board of Academic Appeals for a Hearing (PAC approved 6/26/03)

  1. The student shall first attempt to resolve the grievance with the instructor. Within fifteen (15) working days of the contact by the student, the instructor and the student shall make a good faith effort to resolve the grievance. Should the instructor be on extended leave or no longer employed by the university, the department chair (or administrative supervisor in cases not involving academic departments) shall act for the instructor. The Board may suspend this rule in the case of exceptional circumstances; e.g., extended illness, sabbatical leaves, etc., of one or both parties to the grievance.
  2. If resolution is not achieved between the student and instructor, the student must ask the department chair or administrative supervisor to resolve the grievance. Within ten (10) working days of the contact by the student, the department chair shall meet with both parties to clarify the grievance and attempt to resolve it. If the grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, the department chair or administrative supervisor shall forward a written statement of his or her reasoning in the matter to the dean of the college and to the student within ten (10) working days of that attempted resolution.
  3. If a resolution is not achieved at the department chair level, and the student wishes to continue the grievance process, the student must present the grievance to the dean of the college or administrative supervisor within fifteen (15) working days of the department chair’s decision.
  4. Within fifteen (15) working days of contact by the student, the dean or administrative supervisor shall investigate the grievance and attempt to affect a mutually agreeable solution. If such a solution cannot be reached, the dean shall weigh the facts and any evidence or testimony. The dean will send a written recommendation which states his/her reasoning in the matter to the student and instructor, or designee, within ten (10) working days of having concluded the hearing. Within ten (10) working days, both instructor, and student must notify the dean of the college or administrative supervisor in writing of their acceptance or rejection of the recommendation.
  5. If the dean’s recommendation is not acceptable to either the student or instructor, either party may petition for a hearing of the grievance before the Board of Academic Appeals. The petition must be filed with the Dean of Student Success within ten (10) working days of receipt of the recommendation of the dean or administrative supervisor.

(D) Procedures for Petitioning the Board of Academic Appeals for a Hearing (PAC approved 6/26/03)

  1. A grievance before the Board is heard as if the matter has not been heard previously.
  2. A student may withdraw the petition for a hearing at any time by notifying the Board in writing through the Office of the Dean of Student Success.
  3. The parties to the grievance will be provided with the rules governing the Board of Academic Appeals by the Dean of Student Success.
  4. The office of the Dean of Student Success will provide the student with appropriate forms for filing a complaint, assign an advisor to the student, and accept the completed forms from the student after the student has consulted with the advisor.
  5. Within ten (10) working days of the filing of the student’s petition(after the student’s non-acceptance of the college dean’s recommendation), the office of the Dean of Student Success will provide the instructor with a copy of forms and materials prepared by the students and the name of an advisor for the instructor.
  6. Within fifteen (15) working days of their receiving the petition, the person against whom the complaint has been lodged must file a written response to the compliant with the Board chair and the student through the office of the Dean of Student Success.
  7. When steps 3-6 above have been completed, the office of the Dean of Student Success shall arrange for a hearing panel, and notify the parties involved of the time and place for the hearing.
  8. Other interested persons may, upon request of one of the parties to the grievance or upon the request of the hearing panel, submit in writing any observations or relevant information to the instructor, student and hearing panel.
  9. If, without prior notice, either party to the grievance does not appear at the scheduled hearing and does not present evidence that uncontrollable circumstances have prevented an appearance, it will be assumed that the party has nothing to add to the evidence already made available to the Board.

(E) Board Proceedings

  1. The hearing shall be closed to all but the members of the hearing panel, the student, the instructor, the student’s advisor, the instructor’s advisor, witnesses and a representative from the Office of the Dean of Student Success. The record will be retained for a period of three years. The material will be regarded as confidential. Copies of the record or any part thereof will be made available to the parties to the grievance by the records request process through the Business Services and Contracts office. The cost will be borne by the party making the request.
  2. The board may:
    1. administer oaths and affirmations, examine witnesses, and receive evidence;
    2. require witnesses to appear upon the request of any party to the grievance or upon its own motion;
    3. take or cause depositions to be taken;
    4. regulate the course of the hearing;
    5. hold conferences for the settlement or simplification of the issues with the consent of the parties;
    6. dispose of procedural requests or similar matters;
    7. make decisions or proposals for decisions; and
    8. take any other action authorized by this policy.
  3. All testimony will be sworn.
  4. Both parties to the grievance have the right to advice from a third party of his or her choosing during the hearing of the grievance. Either party may ask for a recess..
  5. Both parties to the grievance have the right to question the other party as well as any witness involved in the hearing.
  6. Members of the hearing panel may question both parties and witnesses. Questions must be germane to the issues of the grievance. The Board chair will rule on such matters.
  7. The hearing will be held in a physical space that is isolated acoustically from its surroundings and large enough to comfortably accommodate all participants to the hearing. The student and instructor shall be seated across from the hearing panel and separated by the advisors and representative of the Office of the Dean of Student Success. The student and the instructor shall not face each other.
  8. The Dean of Student Success, or his/her designee, shall facilitate the hearing, take responsibility for electronically recording the hearing, and oversee the various stipulations contained in policy and/or procedures.

(F) Decision of the Board

  1. Decisions of the Board are based on a majority vote of the hearing panel appointed for the hearing, and shall be based exclusively on the evidence and on matters officially noted.
  2. The decision and reasons for the decision will be reported in writing to both parties involved in the matter, to the officials who reviewed the appeal, and to appropriate authorities mentioned in the disposition of the decision. Minority opinions may be included in the report.
  3. Parties to the grievance will be notified in writing of the decision of the Board no later than five (5) working days after conclusion of the hearing.

(G) Power of the Board of Academic Appeals

  1. The Board may reject the grievance after due consideration.
  2. In cases involving grade changes or change in class status, the Board may order a grade changed or a change in class status.
  3. In cases or aspects of cases determined by the Board to involve procedural problems, the Board may make recommendations for adjustments to any of the parties to the grievance and/or to the appropriate authority.
  4. In cases involving conduct, the Board may take one or more of the following actions depending on the seriousness of the case as determined by the Board:
    1. The Board may issue a no contact or no trespass order to prevent continued or subsequent actions with respect to the specific situation in question.
    2. The Board may reprimand one or more of the parties to the grievance and/or lodge the reprimand with the appropriate authority.
    3. The Board may submit to the proper authority a recommendation for disciplinary action for any party to the grievance in accordance with provisions of the Central Washington University and United Faculty of Central Washington University Collective Bargaining Agreement and/or the Student Conduct Code (Chapter 106-120 WAC).

(H) Procedures for Implementing Grade Changes and Withholding Suspension

  1. If the Board decides a grade should be changed, the Dean of Student Success, or his/her designee, will send to Registrar Services a copy of the decision authorizing and directing that the grade on the student’s official record be changed. The student, the instructor, and the Dean of Student Success, or his/her designee will be notified by Registrar Services when the change has been accomplished.
  2. If the grade in question has resulted in the suspension of the student the Dean of Student Success, or his/her designee, will notify Registrar Services to withhold suspension pending outcome of the hearing. If the Board finds in favor of the student such that suspension is no longer a consideration, the board chair will notify the Board of Academic Appeals and Academic standing in writing of the decision and the suspension will be withdrawn. If the Board finds against the student, the Dean of Student Success, or his/her designee, will notify Registrar Services accordingly in writing, and the student will be withdrawn from the university or be subject to such action as the Board deems appropriate, and the student’s fee will be returned according to university fee return policy.

(I) Membership of the Board of Academic Appeals

  1. The Board shall be made up of fifteen (15) members, seven (7) faculty and eight (8) students.
  2. Faculty members of the Board will be chosen by the Faculty Senate from among faculty who are not members of the university’s administration. The definition of “faculty member” will be that which is used in the Central Washington University and United Faculty of central Washington University Collective Bargaining Agreement.
  3. Student members of the Board will be chosen by the Associated Students of Central Washington University Student Government (ASCWU-SG) from students who are not members of the ASCWU-SG. The definition of “student” will be that used in determining membership in the Associated Students of Central Washington University as indicated by the constitution.
  4. The term of office for faculty members will be three years with staggered terms. Faculty members may be appointed to serve subsequent three-year terms. Students may serve up to three years at the discretion of the ASCWU-SG.
  5. The Board chair shall be appointed yearly by the Dean of Student Success or his/her designee. The chair shall preside at all meetings and hearings before the Board and be responsible for all business of the Board.
  6. Hearings before the Board and judgments by the Board will be conducted and rendered by the hearing panel made up of the Board chair or his/her designee, two faculty and two student members of the Board. The Board can elect a pro tem chair from among the Board members to act as a hearing panel chair. The student and instructor shall be notified about the content of the hearing panel five (5) working days before the hearing and may request a change in the panel within one (1) working day after that notification. The Board chair shall decide if changes to the hearing panel are warranted and, if so, shall make those changes.

(J) Administrative Affairs of the Board of Academic Appeals

The Dean of Student Success or his/her designee will be responsible for the administrative affairs of the Board of Academic Appeals. The records of the Board will be housed in the office of the Dean of Student Success. All requests for a formal hearing of academic grievances will be filed with the Dean of Student Success or his/her designee, and it will be the Deans or his/her designee’s responsibility to advise students on the functioning of the Board; to verify and insure that required procedures preliminary to, during, incidental to, and following formal hearings are adhered to; and to call the Board into session. After a complaint has been filed and verified, the Dean of Student Success, or his/her designee, shall notify all parties to the complaint; to call for evidence and ensure safekeeping of said evidence; to keep and maintain the records of board correspondence, transactions, hearings, decisions, etc., and to implement the decisions and directives for the Board.

(K) Advisors for the Parties

  1. The Dean of Student Success or his/her designee will appoint upon request advisors to both parties to assist them in filing and responding to a complaint.
  2. The responsibilities of the advisors are exclusively as follows:
    1. To ensure that all informal prerequisites as specified in Section C of rules governing the Board of Academic Appeals have been completed by the complaint;
    2. To assist the complainant in properly completing or replying to the complaint form; and
    3. To make recommendations concerning presentation of necessary information to the Board of Academic Appeals (i.e., complaint form, letters of correspondence between parties, documents, witnesses, etc.).

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