Approved by the Provost
Office of the Provost
This policy provides the terms and conditions under which a student may seek resolution to a claim that a specific academic decision or action has affected the student’s academic record or status, and has:
- violated published policies and procedures,
- been applied to the student (the grievant) in a manner different from that used for other students, or
- resulted in the assignment of a final grade for the course that is not consistent with the criteria for determining grades as described in the course syllabus.
The purpose of the policy is to ensure that each student’s grievance is evaluated objectively, bias is minimized, conflicts of interest are avoided, and issues are managed fairly, confidentially, and promptly through a systematic process to resolution.
SUNY Oneonta seeks to foster the values of respect, integrity, fairness, and transparency among staff, faculty, and students. There are occasions, however, when conflicts arise which require resolution. Such conflicts are normally resolved informally and in good faith. To this end, students should attempt to resolve conflicts through direct communication, either in person or through use of college email, with instructors. In cases where such communication proves unsuccessful or unsatisfactory, an individual student has the right to file a formal grievance that complies with the terms of this policy and its procedures.
Applicability of the Policy
This policy applies to all undergraduate and graduate students, and all courses independent of modality (classroom-based, blended, online) or schedule type (lecture, lab, independent study, etc.).
Confidentiality will be upheld by all parties to the highest degree possible at all stages of the grievance. This means that no issue regarding the grievance will be discussed with any person who is not directly involved in the grievance process.
- Matters Not Open to a Formal Grievance
A student may not submit a formal grievance in the following circumstances:
- A student disagrees with an instructor’s evaluation of the student’s academic work—unless the claim alleges discrimination, in which case the scope of the grievance may widen to include disparate treatment of an individual student enrolled in a course.
- A student has previously submitted the same grievance or a grievance based on the same circumstances;
- A student’s claim is against a College policy or procedures, or a College employee acting in compliance with those policies/procedures.
Grievant: The person(s) who submits the grievance.
Respondent: The person or persons cited in the grievance.
Students having academic grievances should adhere to the following procedures:
- A student complaint will first be presented by the student to the faculty member associated with the grievance. The student should contact the faculty member as soon as possible, or within 30 days after completing the course, and attempt to resolve the issue. The faculty member will respond to the student as soon as possible.
- If the student is unable to resolve the concern with the faculty member, the student may forward the complaint to the chair of the relevant department. The chair will convene a departmental Academic Grievance Committee, which will review the grievance and seek a resolution in a timely manner.
- The student’s grievance must be submitted to the department chair using the Student Grievance Form, which includes statements regarding:
- the grounds on which the original academic decision is being challenged,
- a description of the redress sought, and
- a description and documentation of the informal efforts taken thus far to resolve the matter.
- If the student is unable to resolve the grievance with the relevant department, the student may forward the completed Student Grievance Form to the Provost, who will work with the College Senate leadership to convene the Subcommittee on Academic Grievances to adjudicate the grievance.
- The Subcommittee on Academic Grievances shall consist of two undergraduate students and two alternates (chosen in the same way as students on other College committees), two graduate students, two faculty members and two alternates elected by the faculty, and one administrator appointed by the Provost. The administrative appointee and the faculty members shall serve three-year terms, except that in the initial election, one faculty member will be elected for a two-year term. Students shall serve one-year terms.
- The Subcommittee on Academic Grievances will investigate the grievance and will move into a confidential committee meeting to discuss the case in detail. Recommendations formulated for review by the Provost will be developed on the basis of formal votes in all cases.
- The Subcommittee on Academic Grievances will provide advice in the form of a summary analysis of the case with recommendations in a written report to the Provost, or designee, with a copy going to the grievant. The Provost’s decision on the grievance will be communicated in writing to all parties involved in the grievance.
- The student grievant will receive a response from the Provost within three weeks of submitting the grievance.
- All summary analyses will be reviewed by the Provost and Dean’s Council in an effort to detect institutional patterns that need intervention or correction. The analyses, moreover, will be retained, and ultimately destroyed, in accordance with the SUNY system’s current policy on Records Retention and Disposition for State-operated Campuses.
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