Appeals and Grievance Procedure
Students should consult the current edition of UWG Connection and Student Handbook for information on grade and disciplinary appeals. The Student Handbook is available from the Student Services office located in Bonner House on Front Campus Drive. It is also available from the University of West Georgia's web site: www.westga.edu/~handbook.php. Go to the UWG website and proceed from there.
A student wishing to appeal a grade (either of a graduate course or an undergraduate course taken as part of a graduate program) based upon an alleged violation of grading policy should do the following:
- First attempt to resolve the issue with the faculty member by appealing the decision in writing to the faculty member within ten (10) business days of publication of the grade.
- If a student still is not satisfied with his/her final grade, appeal to the Chair/Head of the department in which the faculty member holds an appointment. This must be done within ten (10) business days of the decision rendered by the faculty member. Note that some departments and programs have additional appeal requirements that must be satisfied before proceeding to the next level. If the professor of the student's course is also a Department Chair, the student should appeal directly to the Dean of the College in which that faculty member holds an appointment, or to the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) if the professor is a Dean.
- If a student is unable to resolve the problem with the Chair/Head of the department, or the department or program appeals committee where appropriate, he or she can then appeal in writing, within twenty (20) business days, to the Dean of the College (or the VPAA in the case of a Dean) in which the faculty member has an appointment. If the Dean of the College or his/her designee does not believe that the student has demonstrated that the professor violated his/her stated grading policies he/she must inform the student in writing within twenty (20) business days of receiving the student's written appeal.
- If the Dean of the College or his/her designee believes that the student's written appeal has merit, based upon the issue of the faculty member's violation of stated grading policies, the Dean must appoint a hearing subcommittee consisting of three faculty members from the Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS), one university official and two graduate students. The Subcommittee of COGS shall meet and elect a Chair from among the six members. The Chair will conduct the hearing and may participate in all deliberations, including voting.
- Procedures Governing Grade Determination Appeals: In order to guarantee procedural fairness to the student and the faculty member involved, the following procedures shall guide such hearings:
- The Subcommittee will hear the case only if the student has exhausted all administrative remedies through the appropriate department Chair and his or her college Dean.
- The Subcommittee chairperson will consult with both the faculty member and student concerning the hearing procedures, the time, date, and place of the hearing and will ensure relevant materials reach all parties in a timely fashion.
- The burden of demonstrating a preponderance of evidence of arbitrary or unfair grading rests on the student. The student should realize such a charge is a serious one and refrain from taking capricious action.
- Both the student and faculty member shall be given an opportunity to present his or her case and to refute the case presented by the other.
- All matters upon which a recommendation will be based must be introduced during the hearing before the Subcommittee. Recommendations shall be based solely upon such evidence.
- Appellants who fail to appear after proper notice will have their cases heard in absentia.
- The chairperson of the Subcommittee will submit in writing conclusions and recommendations to the Dean of the Graduate School.
- If need be, within ten days of receiving the recommendations and the rendering of a decision by the Dean, the student's next option is to appeal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA).
- If a resolution of the problem is not reached at this level, the next level of appeal is to the President of the University. The appeal must be made in writing within ten days of the rendering of the decision by the VPAA.
- The final level of appeal is to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Once again, the appeal must be made in writing and within ten (10) business days of the rendering of the President's decision.
All academic appeals, regardless of their nature, shall be concluded no later than the following semester after cause for the appeal occurred.
If a student believes that his/her grade was unfair because of retaliation or discrimination on the part of the professor, he/she should first try to resolve the issue with the professor. If the student feels uncomfortable with meeting the professor alone, the student should contact either the department Chair, so that a third party might be present during the discussion. If the student still is not satisfied with the final grade, or not satisfied that the allegation of discrimination has been resolved, he/she should do the following:
- Discuss the grievance with the Dean or Director under whose jurisdiction the alleged behavior occurred. This administrative head as soon as possible will consult with those involved and attempt to resolve the student's grievance.
- If the matter is not resolved satisfactorily at this level, the student may present a written statement to the vice president (or comparable administrative head) under whose jurisdiction the matter falls, clearly delineating the grievance and supplying appropriate documentation. The vice president will also ask the administrative head who originally reviewed the grievance to present a written statement to justify the action taken.
- Upon receipt of the written documentation, the vice president will review the grievance in consultation, if necessary, with the people involved and with the university's Affirmative Action Officer. The vice president may choose to refer the grievance to a committee to review the case for a recommended outcome.
- If the matter is not resolved satisfactorily at this level, the student may appeal further in writing to the President of the university, who will review all relevant documents and may consult with those who can provide useful information.
- If the matter is not resolved satisfactorily by the President, the aggrieved student may, within ten days after the President's decision, appeal in writing to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, citing all reasons for dissatisfaction with the previous decision. (See Appendix J of the Student Handbook for a more complete statement regarding appeals to the Board of Regents.)
Students wishing to appeal dismissal should contact the Dean of the Graduate School in writing within ten (10) business days stating the reasons for requesting the appeal. The Dean of the Graduate School will then notify the appropriate graduate program director, who shall make a recommendation to the Dean in a timely manner. The Dean will consider the recommendation and will communicate his/her decision to the student. The decision of the Graduate Dean is final.