Grade Grievance Procedures for the Program in Biology
(Revised May 1992)

  1. It is imperative that a student first attempt to resolve a grade grievance with the instructor of the course. This conference should occur within two weeks of receiving the grade. If setting up such a conference is impossible due to off-campus activities of either the faculty member or the student, the student should inform the Associate Chairperson for Curriculum (ACC) in writing of his/her intent to pursue a grievance, and the ACC should respond in writing with a proposed timetable for dealing with the complaint.

  2. In the event that the conference with the instructor does not resolve the difficulty, the student should discuss the problem with the ACC, and should submit to him/her a letter detailing the nature of the complaint. The ACC shall solicit a response from the instructor and shall then determine whether any basis for a committee hearing exists. If the ACC is a party to the grievance, his/her role shall be assumed by the Associate Chairperson for Research and Facilities (ACRF).

  3. If the ACC concludes that there is no basis for a committee hearing, he/she will inform the student. If the student is not satisfied with the explanation, he/she may still insist upon a committee hearing.

  4. If the basis for a formal hearing is found to exist in the review described in item 2, or if the student insists upon a review in spite of the advice of the ACC, the grievance shall be referred to an ad hoc review committee.

  5. The ad hoc review committee shall consist of three persons to be appointed by the ACC (or ACRF, if the ACC is a party to the grievance or if he/she has decided there is no basis for a formal hearing): two faculty members and one student. The student member of the review committee will be an undergraduate if the grievant is an undergraduate, or a graduate student if the grievant is a graduate student.

  6. In the event that several appeals are being filed, all of which are derived from a common grievance, a single ad hoc review committee will consider all of the appeals. If the grievants include both undergraduate and graduate students, the status of the student member of the review committee shall be determined by the level of the course, as described above.

  7. In the case of a course cross-listed with another school or LS&A department, the affiliation of the person responsible for signing the grade report form should determine the department or school in which a grade grievance is processed.

  8. The ad hoc review committee will submit a written summary of its findings and recommendations to the student, the instructor, and the department.

  9. If the ad hoc review committee concludes that the assigned grade should stand, the ACC (or ACRF) will inform the student in writing that the grade will not be changed, and that no further appeal within the department is possible.

  10. If the ad hoc review committee concludes that the instructor did not act fairly, properly or judiciously, the ACC shall attempt to persuade the instructor to follow the recommendations of the ad hoc committee.

  11. If the instructor refuses to change a grade in spite of the recommendations of the ad hoc review committee and the urgings of the ACC, the instructor shall provide the student and the ACC with a written explanation for his/her refusal to change the grade, and the ACC shall provide the student with a written statement summarizing the procedures followed in processing the appeal, noting the recommendations of the ad hoc review committee, adding his/her own evaluation of the review committee's findings, and noting the refusal of the instructor to change the grade.

  12. These procedures describe the full appeal mechanism utilized in the Department of Biology to deal with grade grievances. When these procedures have run their course, no further appeal within the Department is possible.

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