Grade Policy

Department of Comparative Literature Grade Grievance Procedures

Any student in a course offered by the Department of Comparative Literature has the right to file a grievance against a grade he/she believes to be unfair. Grievances must be filed within the first eight weeks of classes of the first regular full term (Fall or Winter) following the completion of the course, or within eight weeks of the issuance of a grade removing an “Incomplete.” Two principles should be understood as part of the context of any grade grievance:

  1. A grade given by a faculty member may be changed only by that faculty member (Faculty Code B 5.01). A grade given in a class taught by a teaching assistant may be changed only by the faculty supervisor of the course. Departmental grievance procedures are intended to issue a recommendation, for or against a change, to the appropriate faculty member.
  2. While the Department wishes to see demonstrably unfair grades rectified, it will not automatically invoke the full procedure described below for every grievance. Grievances must be based on substantive grounds; merely disagreeing with the grade does not constitute grounds for a grievance. Grievances based on the argument that one instructor’s grading standards are stricter than those of others will normally not be pursued.

When a student wishes to invoke the departmental grade grievance procedure, these steps are to be followed:

  1. The student should first confer with his/her instructor (and with the faculty member supervising the course, if there is one) to make sure that both are aware of all the pertinent facts and to identify the issues that are in dispute. The Grade Grievance Officer will not pursue any grievance in which this first step has not been taken.
  2. If the first step fails to resolve the complaint, the student should then write a letter to the Grade Grievance Officer in which the objections to the assigned grade are detailed. This letter will form the basis for the Grade Grievance Officer’s investigation of the complaint. The instructor against whom the complaint has been lodged will be shown the letter and will have the opportunity to respond. The student must be prepared to make available to the Grade Grievance Officer any written work from the course if requested.
  3. If the Grade Grievance Officer feels that the evidence presented points to possible unfairness on the part of the instructor, he/she will convene a Grade Grievance Committee. After reviewing the letter from the student and any other written materials that have been requested by the Grade Grievance Officer, the committee will make a recommendation to the instructor against whom the complaint has been lodged. The student will be notified in writing by the Grade Grievance Officer about the instructor’s response to the recommendation.
  4. For undergraduate students, the Grade Grievance Officer is the Chair of the Undergraduate Committee, and the Grade Grievance Committee is composed of at least two faculty members serving on the Undergraduate Committee. For graduate students, the Grade Grievance Officer is the Director of Graduate Studies and the Grade Grievance Committee is composed of at least two faculty members serving on the Graduate Committee.
  5. The decision of the Grade Grievance Officer or the Grade Grievance Committee can be appealed to the Department Chair. The appeal must be based on concrete objections to the procedures employed in the original grievance hearing or on the existence of substantial new and relevant evidence. Disagreement with the original decision does not by itself constitute sufficient grounds for appeal. All written appeals to the Chair must be filed in writing no later than two weeks after receipt of the written decision of the Grade Grievance Officer.

Revised February 2010