Grades are often subjective in nature and students and professors may differ in the interpretation of the quality of work that has been completed and the grade that is deserved. These differences do not, in and of themselves, represent grounds for appealing or contesting a grade, and the student should respect the professor’s latitude in grading.
Where a student has evidence that a miscalculation has occurred, work was not properly recorded, or nonacademic criteria was used in determining a grade, he/she may appeal the grade. An appeal may also be made in cases where evidence is presented that a grade was determined based on race, religion, gender, ethnic origin, cultural bias, or when other nonacademic criteria was used in grading.
In order to contest a grade, the student should submit a written appeal to the Registrar no later than one month following the posting of a final grade. In the appeal, the student must state the nature of the grievance, including documentation supporting the grievance. The submission of the request will go directly to the Office of the President who may contact the student to request clarification of the charges. At the same time, a copy of the grievance goes into the student’s record indicating that the student is contesting a grade. Appeals shall be considered confidential unless both the complainant and professor agree otherwise.
The Office of the President will notify the student of his/her rights and the process by which the appeal will be investigated. At any time during the process, the student may retract the appeal in writing to the Registrar and/or Office of the President. At the time of filing the appeal the current grade is frozen and neither the professor nor Registrar may change the grade until the case is resolved or the appeal is withdrawn.
If the student decides to proceed with the appeal, the Office of the President notifies the professor and the dean, and within two weeks, the dean adjudicates the case with the professor and the student.
The ARB establishes a hearing committee made up of two professors and one community representative who are not familiar with the case. The complainant may petition to have one or more committee member removed and replaced for cause, and the ARB shall appoint a new committee member.
The committee reviews the materials submitted by the complainant and seeks comment and supporting materials from the professor and complainant. After hearing the complaint, the committee submits a report to the ARB with their initial determination.
If the committee determines that nonacademic criteria were used in the grading of the complainant, it may determine that the criteria used in grading the student was:
A significant factor in establishing the grade, and the student has the option of receiving a grade of P (pass) in the course or retroactively withdrawing from the course without penalty. A grade of P awarded in this way shall be acceptable towards satisfaction of a degree requirement, even if a minimum letter grade in the course had been required. If the student elects to receive a grade of P, the student may also elect to have a notation entered on his or her transcript indicating that the ARB awarded the grade.
Within five (5) working days following the decision, the complainant, professor, or any member of the committee may file an appeal based on evidence that the committee demonstrated bias or there is new material evidence in the case that was unavailable at the time of the hearing.
No punitive actions may be taken against the professor solely on the basis of these procedures. However, the use of nonacademic criteria in assigning a grade is a violation of the Faculty Code of Conduct and a separate personnel action may be taken.
Neither the filing of charges nor the final disposition of the case shall be viewed in a punitive manner as part of the complainant’s academic record, and no action taken by this process or the College shall impede any criminal or civil action taken by an outside court.