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Academic standing appeal procedures

Policies and Procedures for Senate Appeals on Academic Standing

Approved by the Senate May 14, 2014, effective 2014 Summer Session.

Each May an annual report on appeals is made to the Senate and is available under Past agendas and materials. Reports from recent years are also available here.

Definitions

"Committee" means the University Senate's Committee on Appeals on Academic Standing.
"Days" when referring to a number of days means working days and will not be construed as including Saturdays and Sundays or any other days on which the University is closed, unless required otherwise by the context.
"Dean of the Faculty" will be deemed to refer, where necessary, to any other appropriate officer of the University.
"Faculty" will be deemed to include, where necessary, any other appropriate administrative unit of the University.
"Senate" or "University Senate" means the Vancouver Senate of the University of British Columbia.

Appeal Procedure

Students who wish to protest decisions relating to their academic studies may do so. The protest should be made initially as near the source of difficulty as possible, presumably an instructor, and progress to the head of the department concerned, and then to the dean of the faculty. There is a standing committee of the University Senate, the Committee on Appeals on Academic Standing, that reviews all appeals made to the Senate, the senior academic authority in the university. Following are the policies and procedures of this Committee.

Composition of the Committee

1.1 The Committee consists of eleven members, six of whom are members of Senate who are faculty members, three of whom are members of Senate who are students, and two of whom are members of Senate who are neither faculty members nor students. The Chancellor, the President, and the Registrar are members of the Committee ex officio; the Chancellor and the President, but not the Registrar, shall be entitled to vote.

Terms of Reference

2.1 The Committee shall hear and dispose of appeals by students from decisions of faculties on matters of academic standing, but the Committee has no jurisdiction where the sole question raised in an appeal turns on the exercise of academic judgment by a faculty.

2.2 Subject to section 2.3 below, the decision of the Committee on an appeal is a final disposition of that appeal. Senate has conferred on the Committee the power of making final decisions pursuant to Section 37(1)(b) of the University Act.

2.3 If an issue on an appeal raises, in the opinion of the Committee, an unsettled question of policy or procedure of general importance to the University, the Committee may refer that question to the Senate for a ruling.

2.4 The Committee shall allow an appeal where it decides that the decision has been arrived at through improper or unfair procedures, and that as a result a wrong decision on the merits has or may have been arrived at. Without limiting the generality of the phrase "improper or unfair procedures," it shall be construed to include the consideration of information that ought not to have been considered, and the failure to consider information that ought properly to have been considered.

2.5 An appeal allowed by the Committee shall be by:

  1. reversal of the decision of the Faculty, and the granting of such academic standing to the appellant as the Committee thinks fit in the circumstances; or
  2. quashing of the decision of the Faculty, and the sending of the matter back to the Faculty to be dealt with in accordance with proper procedures.

2.6 In all cases, other than those falling within paragraph 2.4 the Committee shall dismiss the appeal. A dismissed appeal or a tie vote on the decision upholds the decision being appealed and the case is dismissed.

2.7 In order to ensure that an appeal is fairly conducted, the Committee may in any particular case waive any of the procedural rules provided for in these regulations, or may make such further ancillary rulings on procedure as it sees fit. The rules need not conform to an adversarial model and inquiry model rules may be applied.

2.8 Members of the Committee will not discuss the substance of an appeal with any of the parties other than at a hearing.

2.9 The Committee shall make annual reports to Senate. The report shall state the number of appeals heard, their disposition, and the general nature of the appeals, and shall draw Senate's attention to any other matters of general significance in the university which have arisen out the Committee's work.

Procedures Prior to the Hearing

3.1 A student who wishes to appeal a decision of a faculty shall lodge a written notice of appeal with the registrar within 10 days of being informed in writing of the Faculty's final decision.

3.2 Within 5 days of receiving a notice of appeal, the Registrar shall send to the appellant a copy of these regulations, and in addition shall inform the appellant that he or she is entitled to appear before the Committee in person and may also be represented by counsel.

3.3 Within 15 days of the regulations being sent to the appellant by the Registrar, the appellant shall file with the Registrar a statement of appeal. This should contain each of the following:

  1. A statement of the decision from which the appeal is being taken;
  2. A statement of the relief which the appellant seeks;
  3. A brief chronological statement of the circumstances relating to the appeal;
  4. Copies of any documents which the appellant intends to rely on at the hearing;
  5. The names of any witnesses the appellant proposes to call at the hearing. It is the appellant's responsibility to ensure that such witnesses are present at the hearing.

3.4 Within 5 days of its receipt the Registrar shall send the appellant's statement of appeal to the Dean of the faculty from which the appeal is being taken.

3.5 Within 15 days of the appellant's statement of appeal being sent by the Registrar to the Dean of the Faculty from which the appeal is being brought, the Dean shall file a response with the Registrar. This should contain each of the following:

  1. A confirmation of the nature of the decision from which the student is appealing or, if the decision is not properly stated in the appellant's statement of appeal, a statement as to the nature of the decision;
  2. A statement whether, assuming the appeal were to be allowed, the relief sought by the student ought properly to be granted;
  3. The Faculty's response to the grounds of appeal;
  4. The Faculty's comments on the chronological statements of events;
  5. Copies of any documents which the faculty intends to rely on at the hearings;
  6. The names of any witnesses the Faculty proposes to call at the hearing.

3.6 Within 5 days of its receipt, the Registrar shall send the Faculty's response to the appellant. The appellant shall have 5 days from the date that the Faculty's response is sent by the Registrar to file a rebuttal to any arguments raised in the Faculty's response which he or she has not already addressed in his or her statement of appeal.

3.7 Within 10 days of receipt of the appellant’s rebuttal, or of the date on which the appellant’s rebuttal would have been due had it been forthcoming, the Registrar shall set a date for the hearing. The hearing should usually take place within two months of the receipt of the appellant’s rebuttal or of the date on which the appellant’s rebuttal would have been due had it been forthcoming. Prior notice of a hearing is communicated to all parties, and hearing dates and times are scheduled having consulted the parties in advance.

3.8 Prior to the hearing, the Registrar shall circulate copies of material submitted by the appellant and the Faculty to the members of the Committee, the appellant, and the Faculty.

3.9 The time limits referred to in paragraphs 3.1 - 3.7 are intended as outside limits, and all parties are encouraged to make every effort to proceed more quickly if possible.

3.10 The Registrar may, of his own volition or at the request of the appellant or the Faculty, extend the time limits provided for in these regulations. If the Registrar refuses to extend the time limits following the request, then the refusal may be appealed to the Committee as a whole, and the Committee may, acting pursuant to its authority under the University Act, extend the time limits as it sees fit.

3.11 The Senate Committee may, in its discretion, dismiss an appeal for lack of timely prosecution.

Procedures at the Hearing

4.1 A quorum for any hearing before the Committee shall consist of at least 5 voting members, or any lesser number if that is agreed to by the appellant and the Faculty.

4.2 A member of the Committee shall not take part in an appeal where to do so would involve the member of the Committee in a conflict of interest (e.g., conflict of duty).

4.3 At the hearing, subject to the rulings of the Committee, the following order should be followed:

  1. The appellant may make an opening statement;
  2. The appellant may call and examine such witnesses as the appellant sees fit;
  3. The Faculty may cross-examine any of the witnesses called by the appellant, including, where appropriate, the appellant;
  4. Committee members may question any of the witnesses called by the appellant, including, where appropriate, the appellant;
  5. The Faculty may make such opening statements as it sees fit;
  6. The Faculty may call and examine such witnesses as it sees fit;
  7. The appellant may cross-examine any of the Faculty's witnesses, including, where appropriate, the Faculty;
  8. Committee members may question any of the Faculty's witnesses, including, where appropriate, the Faculty;
  9. The appellant may make a closing statement;
  10. The Faculty may make a closing statement; and
  11. The appellant may respond to any matters arising out of the Faculty's statement to which the appellant has not yet spoken.

4.4 The Committee may request that it be provided with further information other than that supplied initially by the appellant or the Faculty. Without limiting this general power if, after a hearing, the Committee is of the opinion that it requires further information in order to reach a decision it may either ask that that information be supplied at a further hearing, or, without a hearing, it may ask that the information be supplied to it in writing. In the latter case, both the appellant and the Faculty must be given the opportunity of commenting on the information so supplied before the Committee reaches a final decision.

4.5

  1. In the event that any one of the parties, without prior approval of an adjournment, fails to appear within thirty (30) minutes of the scheduled hearing date and time, the Committee may proceed without the party who has failed to appear, based on its written submissions and documentation, and based on the submissions, documentation, witnesses and examination/questioning of the party and/or witnesses who did appear for the scheduled hearing. Once the Committee has started to proceed without the party who has failed to appear, that person shall not be permitted to participate in the hearing if he or she subsequently appears.
  2. Taking into account the particular circumstances of the case, if the appellant fails to appear within thirty (30) minutes of the hearing date and time, the Committee may dismiss the appeal without further consideration of the evidence.
  3. If there are documented reasons for a party’s failure to appear that are substantial and emergent, then that party may make an application to the Chair for the Committee to reconsider its decision at the next available opportunity. The Chair shall exercise his or her discretion in determining whether or not the Committee shall reconsider its decision.

The Decision

5.1 The Committee may arrive at a decision on the basis of a majority vote of those voting members of the Committee present at the hearing.

5.2 In the event of a tie vote an appeal shall be dismissed.

5.3 The decision of the Committee shall be communicated in writing to the appellant and to the Dean of the Faculty within 10 days of the final hearing of the appeal.

5.4 The Committee shall give reasons for its decision; and in the case of a minority vote, the minority may if it wishes give reasons for its dissent.

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