8.20 / Court of Student Academic Appeals

  1. Purpose

    The faculty at Wichita State has established a procedure to resolve disputes arising out of the classroom through the Court of Student Academic Appeals. The court hears appeals for students who feel they have been treated unfairly in grading. The court is designed to help resolve differences that cannot be settled within the framework of the student-faculty relationship and offers an important safeguard for students. Any student may use the appeal procedure.

  2. Procedures

    1. Students should make every effort to resolve problems with the instructor before filing an appeal. A student must file an appeal within one semester after the grade is assigned (excluding summer). (The court reserves the right, in exceptional circumstances, to suspend this rule.)

    2. The student should pick up an appeal form in the Office of Academic Affairs, 109 Morrison Hall. The complainant should meet with the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs to determine:

      1. whether opportunities for resolving the problem with the instructor have been exhausted, and
      2. whether the problem is resolvable through existing University procedures other than the court

      The Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs may indicate that a case is inappropriate, but students maintain their right to appeal if they wish to do so.

    3. The student should make an appointment with the Student Advocate, officed in the Rhatigan Student Center, for assistance in:

      1. resolving the case and/or
      2. preparing the appeal
    4. The completed appeal is returned by the student to the Office of Academic Affairs for distribution along with a copy of the procedures of the court to the faculty member named in the appeal and to the department chair and dean. This will be the instructor's dean, not the student's, though they may in some cases be the same.

    5. The faculty member named in the appeal will submit a written statement on the case to the department chair. After reviewing the case, the department chair should form a judgment and/or attempt to resolve the issue without exerting pressure on either the instructor or the student. The department chair should indicate on the form:

      1. a recommendation to sustain the instructor's decision,
      2. a recommendation that the appeal be sustained, and
      3. a statement that the issue cannot be resolved at this level

      Space is available on the appeal form for these comments.

    6. After the department chair has made a recommendation, the case is referred to the appropriate academic dean. After reading the appeal and the recommendation of the department chair, the dean may clarify issues by discussing the matter with the student and instructor. The dean should indicate a recommended action and return the appeal form to the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will submit it to the chair of the court.

    7. The chair of the court will, after receiving the case, inform the student and the instructor in writing of its receipt and request from each a written statement and any additional information the court might need. This information must be received by the court within two weeks. The instructor and the student may visit with the court chair or write to the court about questions of procedure.

    8. The instructor and student will be notified in writing no less than seven days in advance of the projected date of the hearing along with information pertaining to the exact time and place of the hearing. The court should establish the time for a hearing only after both the student and faculty member have been contacted and have indicated they can attend the hearing at that time. If the faculty member is not on campus during the semester of the hearing, only the student need be called prior to the establishment of the time of the hearing.

    9. These procedures will be followed in an actual hearing:

      1. All hearings are closed.

      2. Members of the court will be faculty and students who have no connection with either party involved in the appeal.

      3. Hearings will be kept as informal as possible. A taped transcript of the hearing but not the deliberations will be made. These tapes will be maintained for one year. The tapes and all written material will be treated as confidential information.

      4. The instructor and student are expected to appear at the hearing. If the student does not appear for the hearing, the case will not be heard. If the faculty member does not wish to appear, the case will be heard.

      5. The student and faculty member may be represented by counsel from the University community but not by an attorney.

      6. Either party may ask members of the university community (students, faculty, staff) to present testimony relevant to the case.

      7. The instructor and the student will have access to the written statements of each other at least seven days prior to the hearing. These statements will be treated as confidential material.

      8. Relevant class records are to be made available to the court upon request.

      9. After opening statements by both parties, each will have the opportunity to question the other during the hearing, subject to academic decorum.

      10. Members of the court may question both parties to the dispute as well as those persons presenting testimony in the case.

      11. When questioning is finished, both parties, counsel and witnesses, if any, will be excused.

      12. Decisions of the court are based on a majority vote.

      13. For conducting business, a quorum consists of four members of the court.

    10. The decision and the rationale for the decision are reported in writing to each party and to the officials who reviewed the appeal by the chair of the hearing. Majority and minority opinions may be included. If the court has suggestions for improving or eliminating the conditions which led to the case, these should be detailed in a separate letter to the faculty member with copies to his/her department chair and dean.

    11. If the decision calls for a change of grade, the Office of the Registrar will be so advised; the chair of the court will authorize the registrar to make the official change. Decisions affecting other offices will result in similar correspondence with those offices.

    12. The court does not rehear cases.