Graduate School Appeals Board

A. Purpose:

The purpose of the GSAB is to review appeals brought by graduate students of decisions made by University representatives concerning:
  1. retention in graduate programs,
  2. charges of academic misconduct or dishonesty.
  3. selected other issues related to graduate education as deemed appropriate to forward to the GSAB by the graduate dean, the Provost, or other university officials.

B. Limitations:

The GSAB will not review
  1. appeals of course grades
  2. appeals for which the student has not fully used all other applicable appeal or review processes
  3. appeals filed more than 30 calendar days from the date of a prior review or 30 calendar days from the date of receiving notification of an action or decision.
  4. misconduct in research which falls under the Policy on the Maintenance of High Ethical Standards in Research and Scholarly Activities.
The GSAB will consist of five members of the Graduate Faculty and three graduate students in good standing, all broadly representative of the graduate programs in the university. The GSAB will be chaired by a designee of the graduate dean. Members of the committee will be appointed for 2-3 year terms by the Graduate Council Advisory Committee. Appointments will be staggered so that no more than 3 faculty and two graduate students will rotate off the committee in one year. Members may be re-appointed for a second term or a term may be extended in order to complete an appeal. The Graduate School will provide support personnel for the Board to record hearings.

C. Meetings: The GSAB

  1. will meet as soon as possible when notified by the graduate dean that an appeal is pending.
  2. requires a quorum for a meeting of at least three persons: two Graduate Faculty members and at least one graduate student member. Any member of the GSAB may disqualify him/herself. The student bringing the appeal may disqualify one faculty and one student member of the Board. If the disqualification of Board members results in absence of a quorum, the process will be suspended until the Advisory Committee can appoint additional members.

D. Notification:

The Chair of the GSAB will notify the student bringing the appeal and the university representative of the decision reached by the GSAB in the initial review of the appeal; specifically, whether an appeal will be heard or not. If a hearing is to be held, the Chair will notify the student and university representative of the date, time, and place for the hearing. The Chair of the GSAB is responsible for notification of the Dean of the Graduate School of the findings and recommendations reached by the GSAB after the hearing. The Dean of the Graduate School will notify the student and university representative of his/her action.

E. Authority:

  1. The GSAB may recommend affirming or reversing the decision being appealed and making such recommendations for further actions as seem appropriate.
  2. In the course of any hearing, the GSAB is authorized to request the appearance or additional evidence of any student, faculty or staff member, or other employee of the University, or other individual as a witness.
  3. The GSAB shall have final authority in procedural matters.
  4. The GSAB will forward recommendations to the Dean of the Graduate School along with a record of the hearing proceedings. The Dean will make a final independent decision taking into account the findings and recommendations of the GSAB and the records of the hearing. The Dean will inform the relevant parties and the GSAB of the decision in writing within 14 calendar days of receiving the GSAB recommendation.

F. Procedures

1. Filing an appeal:
Before a request for an appeal is accepted by the GSAB, the normal channels for resolving disputes must have been consulted. First, the student should consult with his/her advisor to resolve the issue at that level. If the issue is not then resolved the student should seek out the program director or department chair for resolution. In some cases, if the advisor and department head have not been able to satisfy the appeal or the action still needs to be pursued, it may be appropriate to pursue the issue with the academic college dean. If the concern has not been resolved at any one of these levels, an appeal to the GSAB may be pursued. All requests for appeals must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School, in writing, on the approved form (see below) along with supporting documents, list of witnesses, and any other pertinent evidence. The written appeal must specify the grounds for the appeal. It is the responsibility of the student making the appeal to demonstrate to the GSAB that grounds for the appeal exist.

The Dean of the Graduate School will notify those individuals whose decisions are being appealed and will request relevant information. Information and evidence will be transmitted to both parties and to all members of the GSAB. Any additional evidence brought to the hearing is subject to acceptance or rejection by the GSAB. All information submitted becomes part of the permanent record of the GSAB hearing record maintained by the Graduate School.

2. Initial review of appeals:
The GSAB will be convened by the Chair to conduct an initial review of the appeal to determine whether the appeal is subject to dismissal or if further action by the GSAB is warranted. Appeals which fail to set forth grounds for an appeal shall be dismissed.

The GSAB will consider appeals when
a) all other levels of appeal have been exhausted
b) the student can show grounds that he/she was previously denied a fair hearing.
c) the decision being appealed is not supported by substantial evidence.
d) the sanction being imposed is beyond the authority of the personnel involved.
e) the sanction or action is unduly severe or disproportionately harsh in comparison to like cases.

When the GSAB determines that a graduate student should be afforded a hearing on an appeal, the Chair of the GSAB shall give written notice to all parties involved in the appeal, allowing no less than one-week preparation time before the hearing.

3. Hearings:
All hearings by the GSAB shall be subject to the following requirements:
a) Any additional materials requested by the GSAB at the time of the initial review to be considered at the hearing shall be made available to all parties prior to the hearing.
b) Parties to the appeal have the right to be present and hear all arguments and oral statements made to the board.
c) Parties to the appeal shall make arguments, present oral statements and written documents, and question witnesses with regard to any issues of fact relevant to the grounds for appeal.
d) Hearings shall not be adversarial in nature and shall be conducted in a manner conducive to ascertaining the facts of the case upon appeal.
e) The GSAB may establish time limitations for presentations before the
f) Board Hearings shall be closed to the public.
g) GSAB members may address questions to any person giving testimony before the Board.
h) In hearings involving more than one student, a single hearing may be scheduled for each.
i) It shall be the responsibility of the Chair, together with the recording secretary, to see that the integrity of the record is maintained.
j) The Chair shall preside and rule on matters of procedure and evidence.
k) The Chair shall have the right to dismiss anyone from the hearing should his or her conduct become disorderly.

Application for Graduate School Appeals Board Hearing