Academic Grievance Policy

Academic Grievance Policy

1. The formal grade grievance procedure may be initiated by the student only after the student has tried to resolve the appeal informally with the instructor who has assigned the grade. Review and reconsideration of the issue by these two parties may be all that is required for resolution. The student should initiate the formal grade grievance process with the instructor as soon as possible after receipt of notification of the grade.

2. If the instructor and student cannot resolve the student’s issue, the student should make an appointment with the department chair. In the event the instructor is the chair of the department, the student should contact an associate dean in CSSAH and discuss the issue with this individual.

3. The chair may offer to meet with the student and the instructor if the student thinks that a mediating presence would be helpful. If the student would like to remain anonymous, and the nature of the concern makes anonymity possible, the chair may offer to speak to the instructor on behalf of the student.

1. If the department fails to resolve the student's grievance, the student may elect to file an Application for Student Grade Grievance to the CSSAH-GC. The application shall be filed within 30 working days from the first (1st) day of class, at the beginning of the following semester in which the disputed grade was issued. The first (1st) day of class is stipulated in the FAMU Official University Calendar for the summer, fall and spring semesters.

2. The Application for a Student Grade Grievance can be accessed and completed online at www.famu.edu/cssah. Handwritten forms will not be accepted.

3. The grievance is required to include the following information:

a. Specific details regarding the actions or events leading to the written grievance and evidence regarding the student's allegation(s) of arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory action or an unacceptable academic learning condition;

b. Redress (the remedy or resolution being sought) by the grievant;

c. Steps already taken;

d. Reasons for dissatisfaction with the response of the instructor and/or with the decision resulting from the formal department review;

e. The course syllabus that was provided by the professor to the class;

f. Any and all assignments; including graded exams, quizzes, homework, graded essays or research papers, e-mails, text messages, Blackboard Assignments or grades, etc.;

g. Any pertinent official university and/or dean’s excuse that grievant has in his/her possession;

h. Additional supporting documentation necessary to support the grievance.

5. Upon receipt of the grievance, the CSSAH-GC chair shall present the materials to the CSSAH-GC by the grievant for the purpose of determining if further discussion or a hearing shall be scheduled to resolve the grievance.

6. Hearing Not Warranted - After reviewing documentation provided by the parties to the grievance, the CSSAH-GC may determine that a College-level hearing is not warranted. The CSSAH-GC shall report its findings and make a recommendation to the CSSAH dean. The dean shall make a decision on the student’s grievance and notify the grievant in writing.

7. Hearing Warranted - After reviewing documentation provided by the parties to the grievance, the CSSAH-GC may determine if a hearing is warranted. A hearing will be scheduled by the CSSAH-GC chair.

8. Hearing Schedule - The parties to the hearing shall include the grievant, the instructor being aggrieved and the chair of the respective department in which the dispute arose. All parties shall be notified in writing by the CSSAH-GC chair as to the date, time, and location of the formal hearing ten working days in advance of the formal hearing.

Unless otherwise directed by the committee or its chair, all hearings will be held in Room 302 Tucker Hall from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. as scheduled.

9. Hearing Process - Each party shall be given five (5) minutes during the formal hearing to present his/her respective positions. Additional time may be allowed at the discretion of the CSSAH-GC. The CSSAH-GC may request additional information in the form of questions or documentation after each party has made his/her five (5) minute statement.

10. Legal Counsel and Witnesses – The CSSAH-GC does not serve as legal counsel, a legal entity or in any legal capacity for FAMU or the CSSAH. The CSSAH-GC only makes recommendations regarding the grading processes. The FAMU Office of the General Counsel addresses all legal questions, comments and potential legal issues involving the university.

For these reasons, the CSSAH-GC only hears cases involving the parties involved in a grade grievance, which includes the instructor and student. The department chair in which the dispute arose may be requested to attend a hearing to clarify matters of department procedures and guidelines for CSSAH-GC members.

Only the student making the grievance, the faculty member, staff member or administrator whose action gave rise to the grievance, and the appropriate department chair will be allowed to speak during a hearing. Pertinent information from witnesses having direct knowledge of the circumstances giving rise to the appeal may be submitted to the committee in written form, although the committee upon its own motion may call witnesses for oral testimony at a hearing.

Legal Counsel for both parties may be permitted to attend the formal hearing. However, legal counsel shall not be permitted to question either party to the hearing, witnesses of either party involved in the hearing or to address the committee.

11. After considering the formal grievance, the written response(s), and any verbal statements as previously indicated, the CSSAH-GC shall forward its findings and recommendations in writing to the dean within ten working days of the conclusion of the formal hearing.

12. Final Determination. The dean of the CSSAH will review the CSSAH-GC findings and recommendations in a timely manner. As soon as is reasonably practicable; thereafter, he or she will notify the parties to the appeal in writing of his or her decision and also will provide each of the parties with a copy of the CSSAH-GC findings and recommendations.