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Student Grievance & Appeals Procedures

Tarleton State University is committed to providing an educational environment that is conducive to the personal and professional development of each individual. To further that commitment, the university has developed procedures for students to pursue grievances and appeals within the university community. This section describes various grievance and appeals procedures.

Academic Appeals

Student academic appeals are handled according to the following guidelines:

  • Each academic department shall develop its own formula for dealing with student grievances of an academic nature. Such a policy should be in writing in the departmental office and available to students.
  • A student who wishes to appeal a decision of a faculty member or staff member of an academic department should ask for a review by that person within 60 days of the originating event unless the departmental procedures specifically give more time than this. The person is expected to give the student a response within 30 days. If the person is unavailable, if a response is not made within 30 days or if the student is unsatisfied with the response then the student should inform the department head of the appeal. For an appeal of a course grade the originating event shall be considered to be the posting of the grade to the university record.
  • A student wishing to appeal a decision to the department head must do so within 120 days of the originating event unless the departmental procedures specifically give more time. The department head will review as specified by the departmental grievance procedures.
  • A student who is unsatisfied with the outcome of the departmental grievance process may appeal to the dean of the academic college. This must be within 30 days of the notification of the departmental decision. The dean will review the appeal and render a decision. The dean may require that the appeal be in writing.
  • A student unsatisfied with the decision of the dean, may appeal in writing to the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs within 30 days of notification of the decision of the college. The Vice President for Academic Affairs may decide that no further review is justified, may render a decision upon review or may appoint a five-member committee to consider the appeal. The committee will consist of a faculty member from outside the involved department as chair, two other faculty members and two student members. After hearing both sides of the grievance, the committee shall render an opinion to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who shall render the final judgment.

Academic Honesty Sanction Appeal

A student appealing an academic sanction imposed upon them by a faculty member, must follow the Academic Appeal procedure as described above. This appeal process is also described in the Faculty Handbook.

A student appealing an academic sanction imposed upon them by a Student Life Officer, must follow the procedure for Disciplinary Appeals as described below and in the Code of Student Conduct, section 7.1.

Disciplinary Appeals

This procedure for Disciplinary Appeals is as described in the Code of Student Conduct, section 7.1.

7.1 Disciplinary Appeals Procedure

Any student or organization has the right to appeal the final decision of the Student Life Officer or Judicial Advisory Council after the adjudication of the case if the case resulted in sanction(s) 5.1.4 (b) through 5.1.7. In all cases where the Student Life Officer has conducted an administrative hearing and rendered a decision, the burden of proof in an appeal should be with the student.

A student or organization that wishes to appeal their case through the due process procedure should request an appeal hearing in writing through the Vice President for Student Life. The appeal hearing is not intended to afford a full rehearing of the case. But merely to review the record of the case and the procedures followed in its adjudication. The appeal hearing may be denied, granted in whole or part, or other relief may be directed where appropriate. In the event that new evidence not available at the time of the administrative hearing is discovered, the case will be referred back to the original hearing officer/body. The request for an appeal hearing shall be submitted in writing to the Vice President for Student Life within forty-eight (48) hours after a disciplinary decision has been rendered. The written request for an appeal hearing shall state the following:

  1. Name of student or organization, address of student or organization, telephone number, and student’s identification number;
  2. Date of disciplinary action against the student or organization, and by who disciplined;
  3. Nature of disciplinary action;
  4. Circumstances which merit review;
  5. Signature of student.

7.1.1 Timely written notice of the appeal suspends the imposition of sanction(s) until the appeal is finally decided.

7.1.2 The Vice President for Student Life, within five (5) university working days, will forward the written appeal, and any documents or written evidence submitted at the hearing, to the University Discipline Appeals Committee Chair. On written request made to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs, a student or organization may request copies of evidence used to adjudicate the case. Two (2) university working days must be allowed to provide these copies.

7.1.3 The chair of the University Discipline Appeals Committee, upon further receipt of the request for review from the student or organization, shall set the date, time and place for the committee review and shall notify the student or organization of the same in writing. This shall be done within five (5) university working days after the receipt of the student or organization’s request. The University Discipline Appeals Committee shall meet within five (5) university working days after the student or organization is notified. The student or organization who fails to appear for their appeal, forfeits their right of appeal. Extenuating circumstances may cause the university to deviate from the defined time frames.

7.1.4 Grounds for Appeal: A written brief stating ground(s) for appealing the case should be presented by the student appellant within the designated time frame. The scope of the review shall be limited to the following:

7.1.4.1 Procedural error(s);

7.1.4.2 Insufficient evidence to support the finding(s);

7.1.4.3 Sanction(s) inconsistent with the finding(s); and/or

7.1.4.4 Misinterpretation of university rules and procedures by the hearing officer/body.

Additional information about the University Discipline Appeals Committee can be found in the Code of Student Conduct, section 8.1.

General Grievances

Prior to filing a formal grievance, students are encouraged to attempt to resolve the concern directly with the individuals involved. Students will find that most situations can be effectively addressed in this manner. In general, students wishing to review the action of an individual or department should direct their questions to the person(s) responsible for the individual or department.

Students are provided opportunities to address complaints and grievances through established university procedures for the following: sexual harassment, employment, admission to the university, disciplinary action, parking citations, academic matter (including grade disputes) and disability accommodations, etc. Procedures for handling these specific concerns should be followed.

For general grievances:

  1. Any student wishing to file a grievance shall notify the Dean of Students of that complaint in writing.
    • The written notice should state specifically what the grievance is, giving the name, address and telephone number of the student; specific date(s); and, if possible, names of any other persons allegedly involved either as witnesses or participants. The student should also state specifically what remedy the student seeks.
    • The written grievance must be signed by the student, hereinafter referred to as the complainant, and filed within thirty (30) university working days of the alleged incident. Determination as to whether complaints filed after this deadline will be considered is done on a case-by-case basis.
  2. An investigation, as may be appropriate, shall follow the filing of the grievance. In most instances, the Dean of Students shall conduct the investigation. These rules contemplate informal but thorough investigations, affording all involved parties an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to the grievance. The investigation process generally is completed within thirty (30) university working days from when the written allegation is filed.
  3. A written determination as to the validity of the grievance and a description of the resolution, if any, shall be issued by the investigator and a copy forwarded to the complainant.
  4. The investigator shall maintain all files and records relating the grievances filed for one (1) calendar year.
  5. The right of a student to a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint so filed shall not be impaired by the student’s pursuit of other remedies, such as filing of a complaint with the responsible federal department or agency.