Academic Grievance Policy – Graduate Students

Approved by the President
5/22/2021

Policy Contact
Office of the Provost
(607) 436-2517
provost@oneonta.edu

Policy Statement

The purpose of the policy is to facilitate the resolution of a claim by a graduate student regarding a specific academic decision or action that has affected the student’s academic record or status and has:

  1. Violated published policies and procedures,
  2. Been applied to the student (the grievant) in a manner different from that used for other students, or
  3. 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 policy ensures the claim 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.

Policy Rationale

A graduate policy is necessary because the Subcommittee on Student Academic Grievances is composed of individuals and charged specifically to evaluate undergraduate grievances.

Policy Applicability

This policy applies to graduate students.

Policy Elaboration

Students must first attempt resolution with the faculty of record of the course in question, the chair of the department in which the course is offered, and the dean of the school in which the course is offered. If appropriate resolution is not found, students may file a formal grievance to the Provost. This grievance policy applies only to final course grades.

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.

A student may not submit a formal grievance in the following circumstances:

  1. A student disagrees with an instructor’s evaluation of the student’s academic work, but such evaluation does not violate published policies and procedures, has not been applied to the student in a manner different from that used for other students, and is not inconsistent with the criteria for determining grades as described in the course syllabus.
  2. A student has previously submitted the same grievance, or a grievance based on the same circumstances.
  3. A student’s claim is against a College policy or procedures, or a College employee acting in compliance with those policies/procedures.

Definitions

Grievant: The person(s) who submits the grievance.
Respondent: The person or persons cited in the grievance.

Procedures

Step 1: Informal Attempt to Resolve a Final Grade Concern

  1. Concerns about final course grades must be communicated through email to faculty members within 10 business days of course grades being posted. Faculty members are expected to respond within 10 business days.
  2. Should students not be satisfied with the faculty response, or should 10 business days pass without any faculty response, students may express concern through email to the department chair.
  3. Should students not be satisfied with the chair’s response, or should 10 business days pass without any chair response, students may express the concern through email to the academic dean (of the school that houses the department delivering the course), who will attempt to facilitate a resolution.

Step 2: Formal Grievance Process

  1. Students dissatisfied with the results of Step 1 may submit a formal grievance by completing and submitting the Student Academic Grievance Form to the Provost’s Office. Students are responsible for describing grievances and desired outcomes in as much detail as possible, and they are responsible for submitting all supporting materials, such as course syllabi, medical excuse notes, graded assignments/exams, as well as any relevant emails concerning the grievance. Inadequate documentation may result in the denial of the appeal.
  2. A Committee on Graduate Academic Grievances, a group of three faculty formed from the Graduate Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies (ex officio) will be convened within ten days. No member of the Committee Graduate Academic Grievances shall have been involved in the processes undertaken in Step 1 above.
  3. The Committee on Graduate Academic Grievances will investigate the grievance and will move into a confidential committee meeting to discuss the case in detail. The committee will review the supporting materials for the grievance, including but not limited to syllabi, course assignments or exams, gradebooks, and any relevant correspondence between the instructor and the student. Sometimes it is necessary for the Subcommittee to ask for additional information from the grievant or respondent to determine a fair outcome. Due to the investigative nature of this committee, the committee’s response may be delayed; however, a timely response is required. Recommendations formulated for review by the Provost will be developed on the basis of formal votes in all cases.
  4. After reaching its decision, the committee shall make a recommendation to the provost, who issues the final disposition of the grievance. The provost’s decision is final.
  5. The student, as well as the members of the Committee on Graduate Academic Grievances, will be notified via email of the provost’s final decision. If the student does not provide a SUNY Oneonta email address, then the student will be notified by U.S. mail.

Forms

Graduate student grievance form (Insert Link Here)
Student Grievance Form

Contacts

Questions related to the operational procedures of this policy should be directed to:

Office of the Provost
(607) 436-2517
provost@oneonta.edu

Related Documents/Policies

Previous grievance policy –
https://catalog.oneonta.edu/content.php?catoid=18&navoid=987&hl=grievance&returnto=search#academic-grievance-policy


Effective Dates

Approved by the President on 5/22/2021

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