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Student Fairness Committee

The Student Fairness Committee is under the jurisdiction of the university's Academic Senate and is guided by University Policy S14-3. This committee hears complaints of violations of student rights in instructional and curricular matters, including grade appeals, and, when appropriate, makes recommendations for redress. The committee also hears and seeks redress of non-instructional student grievances concerning individual members of the faculty, administration or staff and, when appropriate, makes recommendations for redress.

A grievance can be brought as a result of an unauthorized or unjustified act or decision by a member of the faculty or staff or an administrative officer which in any way adversely affects the status, rights, or privileges of a student. The SFC does not have the authority to receive complaints on matters of sexual harassment, civil rights, disability rights, or equity and diversity. Nor does the SFC deal with allegations of violations of the student code of conduct.

Disputes arising out of assignment of grades or grade appeals shall be considered and decided in accordance with Executive Order 1037. There is a presumption that grades assigned are correct. It is the responsibility of anyone appealing an assigned grade to demonstrate otherwise(EO 1037).

The SFC will hear grade dispute petitions when petitions are deemed to be appropriate and include evidence related to the following conditions:

  1. When there is evaluation of students that differs from announced requirements.
  2. When there are belated impositions of requirements.
  3. When grades are based on criteria other than academic performance in the course.
  4. When grading criteria do not provide a clear and consistent method of evaluating students' work or performance.
  5. When students' requests for information during the semester regarding their academic progress in the course are not responded to in a reasonable time (e.g., two weeks after the request is made).
  6. When students' requests for an explanation of how the posted course grades for a term were determined are not responded to in a reasonable time (e.g., the later of two weeks after the request is made or one week before the add deadline for the fall or spring semester following the term in question).
  7. When students are penalized for expressing opinions.
  8. When students are given to understand that they are removed from a course without due process of a hearing

Petitions must be filed no later than the end of the subsequent fall or spring semester following that in which the alleged cause of the dispute occurred. Prior to lodging a formal complaint, the student must secure informal, confidential advisement from the University Ombudsperson. Before the committee will accept a petition, the student must exhaust all available avenues for informal resolution (i.e., prior to filing a petition, consult with instructor, Department Chair, and the College Dean - if applicable - about the specific complaint).

Any student may contact the University Ombudsperson ADM 269, 408-924-5995.