Academic Grievance Policy – Undergraduate Students

Approved by the President
05/20/2021

Policy Contact
Office of the Provost
(607) 436-2517

provost@oneonta.edu

Policy Statement

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:

  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 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.

Rationale

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 at the department and school level, beginning with direct communication (in person or through use of college email) with their 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 students and all undergraduate courses independent of modality (on campus, hybrid, or online) or schedule type (lecture, lab, independent study, etc.).

Policy Elaboration

  1. Confidentiality

    1. Confidentiality will be upheld by all parties to the highest degree possible at all stages of this grievance. This means that no issue regarding the grievance will be discussed with any person who is not directly involved in the grievance process.

  2. Matters Not Open to a Formal Grievance

    1. 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

    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 in a timely fashion.

  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

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 e-mails concerning the grievance. Inadequate documentation may result in the denial of the appeal. The Subcommittee on Student Academic Grievances, consisting of three teaching faculty members elected through a College Senate voting process, the Associate Provost (ex-officio), and two undergraduate representatives, typically meets when classes are in session. Upon receiving a grievance, the Subcommittee reviews the supporting materials for the grievance, including typically 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 professor to determine a fair outcome. Faculty teaching the course are assumed to be experts within their own fields.

After reaching its decision, the Subcommittee makes a recommendation to the provost, who issues the final decision on the grievance. The provost’s decision is final.

The student, as well as the members of the subcommittee, will be notified via email of the provost’s final decision.

Forms

Student Grievance Form
Committee Summary Analysis of Submitted Grievance

Related Documents / Policies

Bias acts and hate crimes reporting: https://suny.oneonta.edu/bias-acts-and-hate-crimes/procedures-reporting

Effective Dates

  • Approved by the President/Provost on 5/20/2021
  • Latest Revision 6/19/2018

Back to top