Undergraduate Grievance Procedure
Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 requires that each college or university establish due process for the resolution of academic grievances. This is to protect students from prejudiced and capricious academic evaluation. All undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts have a right to appeal grades which they deem unfair and unreasonable. The student must provide evidence indicating a mistake, fraud, or bad faith on the part of an instructor.
Students will not be able to grieve a grade unless it is accompanied by such evidence.
Approved by the CLA Executive Committee October 8, 2009. Approved as amended by the Collegial Assembly, December 10, 2009.
The procedures outlined in this document are only for the resolution of academic grievances of undergraduate students related to courses taught in CLA. Non-academic grievances (e.g., related to housing, affirmative action, student financial services, disability services, and so forth) should be referred to Student Affairs at the Student Activities Center (215-204-8531).
An academic grievance is a grievance related to the evaluation of academic work in a course. This may include, but is not limited to, a grade, attendance, and compliance with course guidelines. In a review of academic cases, policies stated on a course syllabus will be understood to have been viewed and accepted by the student concerned. All undergraduate students enrolled in courses offered by the College of Liberal Arts (henceforth CLA) may grieve any academic matter in which they believe they have been treated unfairly. At any time a student may withdraw his or her grievance, thereby halting the grievance process. Once the grievance has been halted it cannot be reinstituted on the same basis.
All grievances must be settled within the semester of filing the Stage I grievance with the department or program.* Students wishing to file a Stage I grievance regarding a fall semester course must do so by February 15 of the calendar year following the end of the given fall semester. Students wishing to file a Stage I grievance regarding a spring semester course or a summer session course must do so by October 1 of the same calendar year in which the courses were taken.** Students cannot appeal grades after they have graduated.
The CLA Grievance Procedure will be provided to students by all departments and programs when a student indicates a grievance may be made, and it should also be available via the CLA website and in the Undergraduate Bulletin. All documents and hearings related to a student grievance will be treated as confidential.
* Grievance hearings for Stage II and Stage III of the Grievance Process will not be held during the summer session exceptif the grade being grieved will affect the student’s: 1) warning or probation status, 2) participation in a study abroad program in the fall semester immediately following the given summer term, 3) participation in the CLA Internship Program in Harrisburg, PA or Washington, DC in the fall semester immediately following the given summer term, or 4) graduation in August of that very year.
** If circumstances warrant, students may appeal for an extension of time to file a grievance. Appeals should be in writing and sent to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts for consideration.
Attempting Informal Resolution
A student who believes s/he has a grievance should contact the instructor of the course and ask for specific clarification on the issue concerned. If that instructor is no longer in the employ of Temple University or is, for other reasons, unavailable the student will meet with the department or program chair or a designee. Should the parties reach an agreement about the dispute, they will write and sign a document showing the steps each party will take to resolve it. Copies of the signed agreement will then be distributed to the student, the instructor, and the department chair or program director. If one or another party is unable to come to an agreement, the student will contact the department chairperson, program director, or a designee, who will attempt to find a resolution to the problem. If no resolution can be found, the student may file a formal grievance in accordance with Stage 1 of the Grievance Procedure, as described below.
- The student presents a written statement outlining the grounds for the grievance to the Academic Grievance Officer, Anderson Hall 1214.
- The student statement will be provided to the faculty member concerned, with a copy to the chairperson of the department (or director of the program) and the department’s or program’s director of undergraduate studies (if one has been designated by the department or program).
- The Chair, or a designee, will arrange to meet with the student and the instructor within seven (7) calendar days of the receipt of the written grievance.
- The Chair, or a designee, will prepare a written record of the meeting and will provide all parties including the CLA Academic Grievance Officer with copies.
- This document and related correspondence is regarded as confidential and will only reside in the Academic Grievance Office’s file unless the grievance proceeds to Stage II.
- If the grievance is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student will indicate this in writing to the chairperson of the department (or director of the program) within seven (7) calendar days from the date of the Stage I meeting. This begins Stage II.
- The Stage II process must be completed within twenty-one (21) calendar days of the date of filing the Stage II appeal.
- The department or program will convene a Department or Program Grievance Committee consisting of three full-time faculty members and two undergraduate students majoring in the department or program offering the course for which the student has filed a grievance. If the instructor of the given course is a member of the Department or Program Grievance Committee, the department chairperson or program director shall designate an alternate committee member to hear the grievance.
- At a formally instituted hearing, the student and instructor may offer explanations of the situation, and the Committee members may ask questions of each. The Committee may also call upon other instructors or students to ask questions of them if necessary and appropriate.
- The student and the instructor of the course may provide additional materials, and the committee may request additional materials. The CLA Academic Grievance Officer provides the members of the Department or Program Grievance Committee with copies of all documents related to the grievance, attends the committee’s meetings, and provides procedural assistance.
- A copy of the Committee’s written decision will be provided to the student, instructor, department chairperson or program director, and the CLA Academic Grievance Officer within seven (7) calendar days of the Committee meeting.
Only after all methods for settlement at the department level have been exhausted can the student appeal the department decision to the CLA Grievance Committee.
The CLA Grievance Committee
The CLA Grievance Committee shall consist of 2 undergraduate student members chosen from the current pool of student liaisons, and 3 full-time faculty members elected to staggered three-year terms. In the event that a member of the Grievance Committee is either a grievant or a grieved against, that member shall withdraw from the Grievance Committee for the consideration of that grievance, and a substitute shall be appointed by the Dean. It shall be the duty of the Grievance Committee to receive information from parties involved in a grievance and conduct any hearings it deems necessary. The Vice Dean for Academic Affairs or her designee may also attend any hearings and review any documentation collected by the Grievance Committee.
To initiate this process:
- The student must file an appeal letter to the CLA Academic Grievance Officer requesting a review of the grievance. This letter must be received within seven (7) calendar days of the date of the letter informing the student of the decision of the Department or Program Grievance Committee. A copy of the original student grievance statement must accompany this letter.
- The CLA Academic Grievance Officer will send a copy of the appeal letter to the chairperson of the department or director of the program.
- The CLA Academic Grievance Officer will forward copies of all previous proceedings to the CLA Grievance Committee for review and arrange a meeting of the Committee.
- The Grievance Committee shall prepare a written report with recommendations for the resolution of the grievance. This report may include majority and minority opinions, should any members of the Grievance Committee so desire.
- The Grievance Committee report shall be sent to the student, the faculty member, the department chairperson or program director, the Dean, the CLA Academic Grievance Officer, and the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs.
- After reviewing the opinions of the CLA Grievance Committee the Dean of the College will communicate the decision to the student.
This decision of the Dean of the College may be appealed to the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, within seven (7) calendar days after the decision of the Dean, but only on the grounds that procedural defects substantially prevented the student from obtaining a full and fair hearing on the merits of the case.
Appeals to the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies shall be in writing and delivered via the office of the CLA Academic Grievance Officer.
First approved by CAS faculty meeting, April 17, 1979. Revised by the CAS Grievance Committee February 6, 1998; revisions approved by the College Executive Committee and distributed to the CAS Collegial Assembly March 19, 1998; language changed to reflect College of Liberal Arts September 1, 1998. Revised October 17, 2005 and approved by the CLA Executive Committee. Revised and approved by the College of Liberal Arts Collegial Assembly as amended February 20, 2007. Revised and approved by the College of Liberal Arts Collegial Assembly as amended December 10, 2009.