Undergraduate Student Grievance Procedure

The following procedures will be employed to deal with grade appeals and academic grievances other than matters of academic dishonesty brought by students against faculty members or faculty members against students. These procedures will serve three functions: (1) to safeguard the rights and academic freedom of both students and faculty, (2) to assure due process, and (3) to provide for consistency in handling undergraduate academic grievances throughout the University.

1. Procedures

1.1 Grievances against faculty or administrators.

Unethical actions by faculty or administrators should be reported as soon as possible so that appropriate action can be taken. The grievance must be made within six months of the alleged unethical action(s). Students should begin by contacting the office of their dean. The dean, or a representative of the dean, will describe the procedure to be followed and will aid the student in procedural matters. Further, the dean or representative will appoint a faculty member as an advocate for the student if the situation seems to warrant an advocate or if the student requests an advocate. If a faculty advocate is appointed, the student will participate in the selection of, and must agree to the appointment of, the person selected. The advocate need not be in the same college as the student.

1.2 Grievances involving student academic dishonesty.

The procedures for handling charges of cheating or other academic dishonesty are given in the policy on academic dishonesty (section II above).

1.3 Grievances involving change of grade (but not academic dishonesty).

a. All efforts will be made by the student and instructor involved in any grievance to settle all disputes that may arise. Grade appeals must be initiated within six months following the issue date of the grade in question.

b. If a grade-change grievance is not resolved by the student and instructor, the student may appeal in writing to the department head concerned, who will act as a mediator in the dispute. This appeal should be made within two weeks of the date of the decision of the instructor. At this time, the student may petition the dean of his college for an ombudsperson. The duties of the ombudsperson are to arrange meetings of all concerned parties and report actions taken at each level to the appropriate persons or groups. The role of the ombudsperson is to expedite the process and to ensure a fair hearing.

c. If the grievance has not been settled to the student's satisfaction at the department level, written appeal may be made to the dean of the college in which the course is taken. This appeal should be made within two weeks of the date of decision of the department head.

d. If the student does not feel that an adequate solution has been reached in the grade appeal dispute, he or she may appeal in writing to the Undergraduate Grievance Board which will arbitrate the dispute. This appeal should be made within two weeks of the date of decision of the dean. Appeals received during the summer will be heard the following fall term. Appeals should be addressed to the Undergraduate Grievance Board, c/o Chair (whose name is listed under Committee 3030 at www.ksu.edu/uauc/univcomm/).

e. The two-week time limits given in the sections above are intended to move the grievance process along at a reasonable rate. The limits may be modified for reasons such as illness, scheduled academic holidays, or mutual consent of both parties.

2. The Undergraduate Grievance Board

2.1 Notice of hearings

Notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be given to all individuals involved with the complaint not less than two weeks prior to the hearing.

a. The notice shall include a written statement of the complaint and the requested action.

b. The notice shall be accompanied by a copy of the rules describing procedures to be used at a hearing. The notice shall state that the individual shall be permitted to inspect any written evidence which has been submitted to the board by other parties.

2.2 Hearings

a. At the hearing, each party may be accompanied by (1) a representative, who is not an attorney, to serve as an advocate and/or assist in the presentation, and/or (2) an attorney, who may advise but not participate in the hearing.

b. All hearings shall be closed except for parties to the grievance, their advisors, and witnesses. However, upon request of the person against whom the grievance is lodged, the board may open the hearing with the restriction that the number of observers may not exceed that which the hearing room will comfortably accommodate. The chair may exclude from the hearing any person whose conduct disrupts, disturbs, or delays the proceedings. If the person charged fails to appear at the hearing or engages in conduct which makes a fair hearing impossible, the board may complete the hearing without the presence of the person charged.

c. The evidence against the student or faculty member shall be presented at the hearing. The person presenting the case shall have the opportunity to question all witnesses and to present witnesses and evidence in support of the charge specified in the notice of hearing. The person charged is not required to testify.

d. The student or faculty charged, or advisor, shall have the opportunity to question all witnesses, to present witnesses, and to present any other evidence. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, and any evidence relevant to a fair determination of the charges may be admitted, except that a previous statement shall be admissible only if the person who made the statement is present.

e. All members of the University community shall be obligated to cooperate with the board, and failure to appear pursuant to a reasonable request of the board, or intimidation or improper influencing of witnesses shall be grounds for disciplinary action by the board under separate action.

3. Composition of the Board.

3.1 Two faculty members will be appointed by the Committee on Academic Affairs of the Faculty Senate. The terms are to be two years, with one of the two original appointees serving for a one-year term.

3.2 Two students will be appointed yearly by a committee consisting of the president of the student body, the chair of the student senate, and the vice chair of the student senate.

3.3 A faculty member will be appointed by the provost to serve as chair for a two-year term.

3.4 A quorum is defined as full board membership present and participating in any hearing.

3.5 The board will appoint an appropriate alternate member to serve at any hearing in which a regular board member has disqualified himself or herself for any reason whatsoever.

4. Jurisdiction

The Undergraduate Grievance Board shall have final jurisdiction in all cases properly appealed to it and in all cases requiring dismissal or suspension. The execution of its decisions shall be supervised by the provost.

5. Powers

5.1 The board will have the power to summon members of the university community to present pertinent information and to supply expert counsel concerning any case presented to the board.

5.2 The board will have the power to dispose of grievances by one or more of the following actions:

a. Dismiss for want of jurisdiction or lack of substantial evidence. As in courts of law, the board will not entertain complaints of a trivial nature.

b. Issue a warning. A warning shall consist of a written or oral statement to the faculty member and/or student.

c. Censure. Censure shall consist of a written statement to the faculty member and/or student. In addition, copies of the statement will be sent to the head of the department and the dean of the college in which the course is offered or the faculty member is employed or the student is majoring, as appropriate, and to the provost.

d. Change of grade. In the case the board decides a grade should be changed, the board may consult appropriate faculty for a suggested grade. The student, the faculty member, and the dean of the college in which the course was offered will be notified that the board is ordering a change of grade through the Office of the Registrar.

e. Suspension. Students may be suspended for a specified period of time.

f. Dismissal. Students may be dismissed from the university for an indefinite period of time.

g. Other equitable action. In any case involving academic dishonesty, the board may take other equitable action in addition to any of the penalties provided by the academic dishonesty policy or any of the above actions