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Student Appeals Procedure For Academic and Disciplinary Matters

Memorandum #4 - Student Appeals Procedure For Academic and Disciplinary Matters

March 22, 2021
Original Date of Issue: March 20, 1973
Reissued: October 2001

Student Appeals Committee

The College has established and maintains the following Student Appeals Committee and appeals process: 

a) The Student Appeals Committee shall be composed of a diverse pool of four students appointed by the recognized Student Government Association or such office or committee as represents the interest of all Community College of Philadelphia students; four faculty members shall be appointed by the Faculty and Staff Federation; and four administrators shall be appointed by the President of the College. A hearing committee will consist of one member from each of the representing groups listed above. The committee will receive training from the Division of Academic and Student Success. 

b) In appointing representatives to the Appeals Committee, the three appointing bodies named above will consider College-wide balance. The intention is to have a Committee dedicated to the fair administration of the appeals process and able to grasp collectively a full range of academic and disciplinary appeals issues. Every attempt will be made to have the appropriate representation on each appeal committee to ensure equity. 

c) The three appointing bodies are encouraged to appoint alternates, as well as members, to the Appeals Committee and draw upon the pool of active alternates in appointing new members. Active alternates are those who have gained perspective and experience by attending hearings and meetings of the Committee. 

d) Terms of office of Student Appeals Committee members will be as follows: members will serve four-semester terms, staggered so that the term of one of the four delegated members will end each semester and, except in the case of reappointments (in the case of a vacancy), a new member will begin each term.

Appeals Advisors

In order to assist students with the appeals process, a team of advisors will be identified by a committee of academic and student deans. The Appeals Advisors will receive the appropriate training and guidelines for appeal petitions. In consultation with the Dean of Students, Appeals Advisors will be assigned to assist students with the appeals process. The names of available Appeal Advisors will be made available to the student once they request an appeal packet from the Office of the Dean of Students. It will be the work of an Appeals Advisor to assist the student, evaluate their case, guide the student in preparing their supporting materials, and act as a facilitator, but not as an advocate, during any hearings. The student may be accompanied to a hearing by a Student Appeals Advisor or another consultant of their choice. The Appeals Advisor or guest is not permitted to participate in appeals hearings.

Appeals Hearings

  1. Appeals hearings will generally be held with at least five (5) business days’ advance notice to the parties concerned.

  2. Appeals Committee members will be given time to read written appeals materials before hearing the student and other witnesses.

  3. All documents generated in earlier stages of an appeal will be made available to the Committee.

  4. Hearings will be informal, without sworn testimony or active participation of advisor, legal counsel or other consultant, but with full opportunity for the student and others concerned in the case to present relevant arguments and information.

  5. The Appeals Committee may schedule more than one hearing date and time if it is presented with new evidence for which the student appellant, legal counsel, or the concerned faculty members or administrators may need time to prepare an appropriate response. If necessary, Committee deliberations may be continued on another day.

  6. Administrative support will be given to the Student Appeals Committee as needed, for correspondence, copying and controlled distribution of documents and maintenance of records.

Appeals Procedure for Disciplinary Matters

  1. When a student has been informed of a disciplinary decision taken in his/her case, the student may abide by the decision or, within five (5) business days, complete and submit Appeals Form A to the Student Appeals Committee, through the Office of the Dean of Students. Appeals Form A encompasses the student's appeal and the rationale for the appeal, including an attached narrative which describes in detail the circumstances that led to the disciplinary action. In filing Form A, the student also makes a commitment to attend the interview or other hearings that shall be held on the appeal. 

    2. In cases involving a reprimand or probation, the Student Appeals Committee will arrange and hold a hearing not later than ten (10) business days after receiving the student's written appeal. When the College's disciplinary action involves suspension or expulsion, the Student Appeals Committee will arrange and hold a hearing for the student not later than five (5) business days after receiving the student's written appeal, with the following exceptions: 

    a. If the Vice President for Academic and Student Success chooses to allow a suspended student to attend classes pending the outcome of an appeal, the hearing will be held within ten (10) business days after the Student Appeals Committee receives the student's written appeal. 

    b. If the student intends to submit additional supportive documentation so extensive that Student Appeals Committee members could not fairly evaluate it during a hearing, the student may expect a hearing to be scheduled as much as three (3) business days later than the day such documentation is received by the Committee. 

    3. The Student Appeals Committee, in conducting a hearing, will consider all information submitted by the student appellant, the College, and the relevant witnesses, and will inform the student and the Judicial Affairs Officer of its decision promptly and informally, as well as in writing within five (5) business days. 

    4. If the student disputes the decision of the Student Appeals Committee, the student may, within ten (10) business days after a decision has been rendered, petition the President of the College for a review of that decision. The decision of the President shall be final.

Grade Appeal Process

Purpose 

In the interest of due process, the College provides an appeal process for a student who believes that a recorded final course grade does not accurately reflect his/her/their academic performance in a course. This policy is applicable to credit bearing offerings. Grades can be appealed in instances where a student believes that an inaccurate final grade has been issued such as arbitrary grade issuance, inconsistent grading practice, or mechanical error. The office of the Dean of Students shall officiate the process for grade appeals. For issues of academic dishonesty, please refer to the College’s Student Code of Conduct. 

Policy (82-A, Memorandum 4) 

As the initiator of the process, the burden of proof is on the student to demonstrate the grade is inaccurate. It is incumbent upon the student, while attempting to resolve the issue, to strictly adhere to the established appeal procedure. 

Procedure (82-A, Memorandum 4) 

The following procedures must be completed within the published guidelines and timeframes or the appeal will not be reviewed (by the dean of students or the dean of the corresponding division). In order to support an effective resolution, the student should clearly outline how the appeal meets the aforementioned conditions of a grade appeal as well as the intended outcome being sought. Use of the Grade Appeal Form is required. 

Instructions: The following process must be completed within the published guidelines and timeframe. Use of the Grade Appeal Form is required. 

Step 1: Student and Instructor hold a preliminary meeting. 

The student may initiate an appeal of a final course grade or instructor withdrawal no later than one (1) semester (not counting summer sessions) beyond the completion of the course for which a disputed grade was given. The student should complete the Step One section of the Grade Appeal form and send via official College email and must include an attachment(s) with supportive materials to the course faculty. Supportive materials should include course syllabus, copies of written exchanges and any other additional pertinent materials (graded documents, feedback, etc.). The faculty member must provide the student with the appropriate documents (or allow to review) for their case. The student-course faculty meeting must occur within 10 business* days (or an agreed upon timeframe not to exceed 15 business days) of the initial email contact and can occur through a face-to-face, videoconference, or phone exchange. 

Step 2: Student, Faculty and Department Chairperson 

If unable to resolve the matter with the course faculty or if the course faculty does not reply within 10 business* days, and no later than the 13th day the student must forward the initial email submitted to the course faculty including attachments to the Department Chairperson who oversees the course discipline. The student will then schedule a meeting with the Department Chairperson as soon as possible or within an agreed upon time frame not to exceed 15 business days. The chairperson will hear the student’s complaint; investigate the claims and attempt to resolve the matter with the instructor. If unable to resolve the matter at 

the departmental level, the chairperson will forward the student’s materials to include a rationale for the denial of the appeal to the Division Dean. 

Step 3: Division Dean receives complaint 

The Division Dean will schedule a meeting in an attempt to resolve the matter. The Division Dean will hear the complaint, will seek information from the instructor and department chair, and may arrange a conference with the all parties if necessary. The Division Dean will send a concluding letter to the student outlining their decision, with copies to concerned parties. This step must be completed within fifteen (15) business days. If the appeal remains unresolved, the divisional dean will complete Section Three of the Grade Appeal form and email it along with the supportive materials from both the student and course faculty to the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students will then appoint a chairperson of the Student Appeals Committee within 10 business* days of receiving the materials. 

Step 4: The Dean of Students will convene the Student Appeals Committee to hear the grade appeal. 

a. Through the Office of the Dean of Students, grade appeal hearings will be scheduled once a month or as needed. An alternative date will be identified in instances of campus closure. If agreed upon by all parties, a meeting can be held via remote conferencing medium (such as GoToMeeting or Zoom). Adhering to the established schedule is critical to resolving appeals in a timely fashion. 

b. The Committee will be comprised of a full-time faculty member, a student and an administrator taken from the trained pool from each representative body. The chairperson of the committee will be appointed by the committee membership. 

c. Five (5) business* days prior to the meeting, the Dean of Students will electronically distribute to all involved parties the completed Grade Appeal Form including corresponding attachments including any submitted by both the faculty member and student for review prior to the hearing. 

d. At the hearing, the student and course faculty will, at separate times, have an opportunity to further present their positions and address questions posed by Committee members. The student is permitted to bring one guest to the hearing that will serve in the capacity of supporter. The student may confer with the supporter but the guest may not speak. The department chair or their representative may attend the proceedings. All materials presented and discussion at the hearing and among the Committee is to be kept confidential as per FERPA guidelines. At the request of the chairperson, the student or course faculty may be asked to provide additional supporting documentation or evidence during or after the hearing. 

e. The Committee will have 2 business* days from the conclusion of the hearing to discuss and make a written recommendation to the Vice President for Academic and Student Success for final disposition. The recommendation must include an evidenced-based rationale and be signed by voting Committee members. Electronic and hard copy documents produced in association with the appeal process must be turned over to the Chairperson. 

f. The Vice President for Academic and Student Success will review evidence and take the Committee’s recommendation under advisement. Within 5 business* days of receipt of the recommendation, the Vice President for Academic and Student Success will render to the student in writing, with copies to all parties involved in the hearing, the grade appeal decision, which is final. 

Step 5: Final Decision 

If the final decision results in changes to the student’s academic record, the Office of the Student Records and Registration must be notified within 5 business* days. Changes to the student’s record should be made within 5 business* days and official notification must be forwarded by email, certified letter, and/or transcript to the student’s CCP email and mailing address. 

A permanent record of the proceedings including a hard copy of the final written decision of the Vice President for Academic and Student Success is kept in a confidential file in the Office of Academic and Student Success. 

*Business day is defined as a day of College operation with classes in session excluding weekends. Based on extenuating circumstances, the timeline can be modified by the Dean of Students.

Appeals Procedure for Matters in the Classroom

The purpose of the following procedure is to resolve as fairly, and as quickly as possible, any matter in which a student claims that his/her academic rights in the classroom have been violated. (Students whose claims might more appropriately be pursued with the Diversity Compliance Officer/Title IX Coordinator or other agencies will be so advised.) 

1. The student who wishes to lodge a complaint under this procedure should do so in order to ensure that if the complaint is valid, a practical remedy will be available. In any case, such complaints may be lodged no later than one (1) semester beyond the completion of the course in which the student alleges a violation of his/her academic rights has occurred. 

2. As a first step, the student must seek to discuss the case with the instructor and to resolve the dispute. 

3. If the student is not able to resolve the matter with the instructor, the student may consult with an Appeals Advisor. This step is strongly endorsed by the Appeals Committee, but is not required. 

4. If the matter remains unresolved and the student wishes to further the appeal, the student must write a letter to the Department Head requesting an interview within ten (10) business days of the previous decision. The Department Head will reply in writing to confirm the appointment. Within ten (10) business days of receiving the student's letter, the Department Head will hear the student's complaint, investigate the claims, attempt to resolve the matter with the instructor, and send a concluding letter to the student with copies to the instructor and Division Dean. 

5. If the matter remains unresolved and the student wishes to further the appeal, he/she must write to schedule an appointment to discuss his/her grievance with the Division Dean within ten (10) business days of the previous decision. The Division Dean will reply in writing to confirm the appointment. The Division Dean will hear the complaint; will seek information from the instructor, Appeals Advisor and Department Head; may arrange a conference with the student, the Department Head and the instructor; and will attempt to resolve the matter. The Division Dean will send a concluding letter to the student, with copies to concerned parties. Step 5 should be completed within fifteen (15) business days of the student's request to the Division Dean. 

6. If the issue remains unresolved and the student wishes to further the appeal, then, at the student's written request within ten (10) business days of the previous decision, a meeting with the Vice President for Academic and Student Success will be arranged. In attempting to resolve the matter, the Vice President for Academic and Student Success will request the presence of the involved parties and seek information from them about the claim, evidence and proposed solutions generated in previous steps of the process. The Vice President for Academic and Student Success will report his/her resolution of the matter to the student in writing, with copies to concerned parties. Step 6 should be completed within fifteen (15) business days of the student's request to the Vice President for Academic and Student Success. 

7. If the matter remains unresolved and the student wishes to further the appeal, he/she may petition the Student Appeals Committee to hear the case and resolve it. A petition form can be obtained from an Appeals Advisor or from the office of the Vice President for Academic and Student Success. 

8. The Appeals Committee must arrange a hearing no later than ten (10) business days from the date of receiving the petition. A copy of the petition will be given to the instructor, Department Head, Division Dean, and Vice President for Academic and Student Success by the Chairperson of the Appeals Committee. 

9. The Appeals Committee will be supplied with and will receive all written materials from all previous steps and hearings in the Appeals process, prior to the scheduled hearing, and will listen to the student's arguments and to relevant witnesses, seeking to ascertain whether there is clear evidence that the student's academic rights in the classroom was violated. 

The Appeals Committee shall convey its decision to the student in writing within five (5) business days of the date the hearing is held and a conclusion reached. Copies should be sent to concerned parties. The decision of the Appeals Committee shall be final unless the student appeals. The student may, within ten (10) business days after the decision has been rendered, petition the President for a review of that decision.