Grade Appeal Policy
A. The purpose of the course final grade appeal policy is to provide the student
with a safeguard against receiving an unfair final grade in a course, while at the
same time respecting the academic freedom of the instructor which is vital to the
integrity of the teaching process at the University of New Orleans.
B. The course finalgrade appeal process strives to resolve the dispute between student
and instructor in the assignment of a course final grade at the collegial level. The
intent is never to embarrass or disgrace students or instructors, nor to assess penalty
or retribution on any party when mistakes are discovered, but instead to provide a
neutral forum for the discussion of differences of opinion.
C. Every student has the right to have a request for consideration of his or her final
grade reviewed by the chair of the department and the departmental grade appeal committee.
D. The course finalgrade appeal shall be confined to charges of unfair action against
an individual student and may not involve a challenge of an instructor's class grading
standard. It is incumbent on the student to substantiate the claim that his/her final
grade in the course represents unfair treatment, compared to the standard applied
to the remainder of the class. Only the final grade in a course may be appealed.
E. The following gradeappeal procedure affords informal and formal mechanisms for
arbitration of a grade disagreement between student and instructor.
A. A standing Grade Appeal Committee (hereafter designated as the Committee), one
for undergraduate appeals and (where applicable) one for graduate appeals, shall exist
within all departments.
B. The Committee shall consist of Five (5) fulltime faculty members (one of whom
is designated as " alternate") and three (3) students (one of whom is designated as
" alternate"). Students must be registered for at least six (6) credit hours during
the academic year and three (3) credit hours during the summer term.
C. The four regular Committee faculty members and the "alternate" (who shall serve
in the event a charge is brought against a regular Committee faculty member or in
the event a regular faculty committee member cannot participate) shall be elected
on an annual basis, prior to the second week of classes in the Fall semester, by the
faculty of the department. (For the graduate grade appeal Committee, the faculty members
must be Full or Associate Members of the graduate faculty.) Faculty members must serve
D. The two regular student members and the "alternate" (who shall serve in the event
a regular Committee student member is issuing the grade appeal or in the event a regular
student member cannot participate) shall be appointed, on an annual basis, by the
Department Chair. Only undergraduate students can serve on an undergraduate appeal,
and only graduate students can serve on a graduate appeal.
E, In departments with fewer than five faculty members, each eligible member will
serve on the Committee. The Dean of the College shall appoint eligible faculty or
student members from a related department to fill the remaining vacancies. (The Dean
of the Graduate School shall serve this function for the graduatelevel Committee.)
F. In the event of faculty or student vacancies on the Committee due to death, approved
leave, normal absence during the summer, or ineligibility to serve, the Department
Chair shall appoint a temporary replacement.
G. The Committee shall meet and elect, prior to the third week of classes in the Fall
semester, a Chair and a ViceChair, who will preside in the absence of the Chair. At
this meeting, the Department Chair shall verify that Committee members are familiar
with the grade appeal procedure.
H. All members of the Committee are voting members except the Chair, who shall vote
only in the case of a tie vote.
I. Three faculty members plus one student member shall constitute a quorum for the
J. Throughout this document, "weeks"/"days" refer to time periods that classes are
in session (excluding Saturday).
K. Since these are academic proceedings, attorneys or advisors are not allowed to
be present during any of the proceedings.
A. If a student believes that the final grade in a course is unfair, the following
informal mediation procedure represents the first course of action.
B. Within ten (10) class days following the issuance of final grades, the student
shall meet with the instructor to seek an explanation of his/her grade in the course.
C. If the dispute remains unresolved after meeting with the instructor, the student
shall submit to the Department Chair a formal written statement representing his/her
viewpoint. The student must present the written charge and supporting materials no
later than the end of the fourth week of the following semester (whether or not the
student is actually enrolled at the University). The statement must include the student's
request that the grade be changed from _____ to _____ and the specific reason (or
reasons) that the student believes justifies the change of grade.
D. The Department Chair shall serve as a mediator, attempting to resolve the conflict
between the student and the instructor. (In the event that the Department Chair is
the instructor subject to the charge, the Committee shall serve as the arbiter.) The
mediator shall act to accomplish the following:
- Meet with the student within five (5) class days, upon receipt of the written complaint,
to ascertain that he/she has a copy of the University's Course FinalGrade Appeal
Policy and that he/she understands the nature of the appeal process;
- Forward a copy of the student's written complaint to the instructor;
- If appropriate, request a written statement from the instructor responding to the
allegations presented in the student's written complaint and forward a copy to the
- confer with both parties, either separately or jointly, within ten (10) class days
of receiving the student's written complaint to attempt a resolution of the dispute.
A. If the dispute over the course grade cannot be resolved through informal mediation,
the student may request in writing that the Department Chair initiate a formal appeal
procedure involving the presentation of the case to the departmental Grade Appeal
B. If a formal grade appeal is requested, the Committee shall commence deliberations
within ten (10) class days after submission of this request. In initiating the formal
appeal procedure, the Department Chair shall take the following actions:
- Solicit formal written statements (which may be revisions of the original complaint
submitted for informal mediation) from the student and from the instructor, specifying
details of their respective viewpoints, along with any pertinent supporting documents
from the two parties;
- If necessary, clarify procedures for either or both parties in the preparation of
the formal written statements to be presented to the Committee; and
- Distribute the written presentations from both parties to the Committee (as well as
to the opposing parties) at least one week prior to the first Committee meeting.
C. The Committee shall conduct one or more meetings, at which time the Committee shall
take one of the following actions:
- May request that one or both parties write a more definitive statement when the language
in the original statement is vague and/or ambiguous and the Committee cannot make
a determination concerning the allegation of unfair treatment compared to the standard
applied to the remainder of the class;
- May decline to hold a hearing because the information presented in the student's statements
fails to meet the criteria specified in Section "Purpose", "D."; or
- May conduct a hearing with both the student and the instructor present (unless the
Committee goes into executive session to discuss procedural issues), whereby, both
parties will be allowed to call witnesses as approved by the Committee Chair, and
the Committee members may ask questions of any individuals involved.
D. At the conclusion of the formal review, the Committee shall meet in executive session
to deliberate, under the following conditions:
- The Committee shall limit its concern to the specific issues of unfairness specified
in the complaint as detailed in the student's written statement; and
- The Committee shall reach a final decision (by majority vote of those present) that
will either support the original course grade or designate an alternative grade.
Within five (5) class days of the Committee's decision, the Committee Chair shall
forward the Committee's decision (and written justification) to the student and instructor
concerned, the Department Chair, and the Dean of the College (or, for graduate appeals,
to the Dean of the Graduate School). If the Committee recommends a change of grade,
the Department Chair shall submit a Request for Change of Grade to the Dean of the
College (or to the Dean of the Graduate School). After expiration of the time period
for an appeal of the Committee's recommendation, the Dean shall forward the Request
form to the Office of the Registrar.
If either the instructor or the student wishes to challenge the procedural process
as defined in this document, he/she may appeal to the Dean of the College (or, for
graduate appeals, to the Dean of the Graduate School) for a review thereof. A written
statement, describing the procedural objections, must be submitted to the Dean within
rive (5) class days of receipt of the Committee's written recommendation. It shall
not be within the purview of the Dean to enter into judgment of the case, but only
to examine the procedure employed by the department. The Dean shall respond within ten
days to all involved parties. If the Dean determines that the procedures involved
were not properly followed, and the procedural violations could have been material
to the outcome of the hearing, the Dean will direct that the process be resumed at
an appropriate point.
(Adopted by the University Senate on 12 March 1996.)