Students have the right to know the components of their final grade, to be graded fairly, and to understand why they were given a particular grade. For an appeal of a course grade to be considered, it must be based upon one or more of the following grounds: (1) arithmetic or clerical error; (2) arbitrariness, possibly including discrimination, based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or veteran status of the student or violations of the university's policy on sexual orientation; (3) the faculty member is alleged to have been capricious. Capricious grading constitutes any of the following: (a) the assignment of a grade to a particular student on some basis other than his or her performance in the course; (b) the assignment of a grade to a particular student by resort to more exacting or demanding standards than were applied to other students in that course.
1. The student shall attempt to reconcile the conflict or question in a face-to-face interaction with the involved faculty member(s) upon receipt of grade, but no later than five (5) academic days after official notification of the grade by the registrar.
2. If this attempt at resolution is not satisfactory, the student may request mediation from the course leader/specialty director within five (5) academic days. The course leader/specialty director will consult with both the faculty and the student and attempt to resolve the conflict based on the merits of the grievance (whether the grade appeal meets the criteria for a grievance). If a resolution is not reached, the course leader/specialty director will advise both the student and the faculty member of the process to initiate a formal grievance. In the case where there is (1) no course leader; (2) the course leader/specialty director is the involved faculty; or (3) for core theory courses in the graduate programs, the associate dean of the appropriate program will assume the role of the grievance facilitator.
3. If the matter is not resolved, the student may initiate a formal grade grievance with the Faculty and Student Matters Committee within five (5) academic days of meeting with the course leader/specialty director/associate dean. The student obtains the Student Grade Appeal form from the Office of Student Services. The form and all accompanying documentation should be completed and returned to the Office of Student Services within the five (5) academic days. All hand delivered/faxed materials should be dated and time stamped by the administrative assistant in the Office of Student Services. Materials submitted by mail should be sent certified, return receipt requested.
4. After the Student Grade Appeal form has been submitted, the Grievance Subcommittee of the Faculty and Student Matters Committee determines whether the student appeal will be processed further. If it is determined that the appeal does not merit a full hearing, the student and faculty member will be informed of the decision in writing within two (2) academic days.
5. If the Grievance Subcommittee determines that a full hearing should be held, a hearing will be scheduled within five (5) days of the deadline for submission of evidence:
- The subcommittee will review the Student Grade Appeal form, accompanying scholastic materials, and supporting papers provided by the student, the course leader/specialty director response, and the faculty response. Should there be no response from the faculty member involved in the appeal; the committee will process the appeal.
- The following people may be in attendance at the hearing: the student/complainant and the faculty member. In addition, a support person may accompany the student/complainant to the hearing, but the support person may not participate nor speak on behalf of the student/complainant. Faculty members on the committee who have previously taught the student or are the course leader/ specialty director related to this hearing should recuse themselves.
6. Merits of the evidence for the appeal will be discussed while the Grievance Subcommittee is in session. Only the members of the committee--and not in the presence of the involved parties--will vote on the appeal.
7. The final vote on the appeal must indicate one of the following:
- the appeal has justification
- the appeal does not have justification
8. The committee will inform the faculty of the vote in writing. If the committee determines that the appeal has justification, the Grievance Subcommittee will make a recommendation as to the actions to be taken. The faculty will have two (2) academic days to notify the committee of his or her decision to accept or reject the recommendations. Upon receipt of the faculty's response, the committee will notify the student in writing.
9. The student or the faculty member may choose to continue the appeal process by contacting the appropriate associate dean within two (2) academic days. The associate dean will review the documents and the Grievance Committee's recommendations, and make a decision within two (2) academic days. The student/complainant, faculty member, course leader/specialty director, and the chair of the Faculty and Student Matters Committee will be notified in writing of the decision.
10. The student or the faculty member may reject the decision of the associate dean and choose to continue the appeal process by contacting the dean. The dean will review the documents and make a decision. The decision of the dean is final. There is no further appeal process.
Ph.D. students must follow the Graduate School–Newark policy for grade grievances.