57. Undergraduate Academic Appeals Panel (Revised: 1995)
The decision as to which procedure to utilize for a grievance filed by a student shall be made solely by the university and shall be based on the fact pattern of each particular case. Each grievance shall be directed to a specific procedure and shall be accorded only one opportunity to be adjudicated unless the appeal body remands for further review.
The Undergraduate Academic Appeals Panel will hear appeals involving suspension or blocks for scholastic deficiency and disputes over an unauthorized absence determination or a final course grade, except for a grade assigned by the instructor of a class partially or entirely on the basis of scholastic dishonesty. Appeals will be heard when the student alleges that an arbitrary, capricious or prejudiced evaluation has occurred. Appeals regarding college requirements will not be heard. Questions and appeals involving scholastic dishonesty should follow procedures established by the Galveston Aggie Honor System.
The Undergraduate Academic Appeals Panel includes four faculty members, three student members and two student alternates. A quorum consists of three faculty members and two students.
57.1 Before a hearing can be scheduled before the panel, the students must have complied with the procedures described below.
57.1.1 Suspension or Blocked Enrollment for Academic Deficiency
The student shall discuss an academic suspension or blocked enrollment with Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Affairs Officer or his or her designee. If no change in status results from the discussion and the rationale for suspension or blocked enrollment still seems arbitrary, capricious or prejudiced to the student, the student may appeal to the Undergraduate Academic Appeals Panel. The panel will have a regularly scheduled meeting to deal with suspensions during the first week of classes in the fall and spring semesters. To assure consideration of their appeal, students are urged to initiate the appeals process immediately upon suspension or being blocked from enrollment. Appeals must be filed no later than the week immediately preceding the start of the semester.
57.1.2 Dispute Over Final Course Grade or Unauthorized Absences
A student wishing to appeal an unauthorized absence or a final grade makes the initial appeal to the instructor or with the head of the department offering the course if the instructor is no longer with the university. If no resolution is possible, the student may appeal to the head of the department that offered the course and then, if necessary, to the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. If at this point the problem has not been resolved to the satisfaction of the student, he or she may file an appeal with the chair of the appropriate appeals panel. If the final course grade being appealed is based partially or entirely on scholastic dishonesty, the appeal should follow procedures established by the Galveston Aggie Honor System; all other grade appeals are made to the Undergraduate Academic Appeals Panel. The Undergraduate Academic Appeals Panel will act at called meetings to hear grade appeals, unauthorized absence appeals and unusual academic suspension appeals.
57.2 A student desiring a hearing before the Undergraduate Academic Appeals Panel must file a written request for an appeal hearing with the chair. Any academic appeal must be filed within one semester (long term) after the decision being appealed was made. In the case of scheduled panel meetings, appeals must be filed at least five working days before the scheduled dates. At the time the request for a hearing is made, the student should arrange for a preliminary interview with the chair and complete a preliminary questionnaire. The act of filing the questionnaire is construed as authorizing all panel members to have full access to all records, including academic, civil and medical records that may have a bearing on deliberations.
57.3 The written request for an appeal hearing should be accompanied by all evidence and supporting documents that will be introduced at the hearing, including short statements summarizing the testimony that may be presented by witnesses. The request for appeal should also be accompanied by a statement outlining the student's justification for the appeal.
57.4 The chair, after receiving all the required documentation and materials, shall set the hearing for the earliest possible date and inform the student of the time and place for the hearing. The failure of the student to appear without justifiable cause shall terminate the right to appeal. For a suspension or blocked enrollment appeal hearing, the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer or his or her designee shall be present if considered appropriate by the chair. For grade and/or absence appeal hearings, the instructor and/or his or her department head shall be present if deemed necessary by the chair.
57.5 The chair shall sit as a hearing officer and shall not take part in the vote or otherwise participate in the deliberations of the panel, except to cast a tie breaking vote. It shall be the duty of the chair to rule on procedural matters and the admissibility of evidence. The chair may deny admission of any evidence that did not accompany the student's request for a hearing.
57.6 The burden of proof shall be upon the student to prove his or her case by a preponderance of evidence.
57.7 The student shall have the right to be represented by counsel of his or her own choosing, to present such witnesses and documentary evidence as may be pertinent and to cross-examine witnesses.
57.8 All parties shall be afforded the opportunity for reasonable oral argument.
57.9 Upon request, sufficiently in advance by either party, the chair shall cause the testimony presented at the hearing to be recorded. A copy of the recording may be obtained from the chair at the expense of the requesting party.
57.10 Immediately after hearing an appeal, the panel will go into closed session to deliberate. The student will be informed of the panel's decision orally at the conclusion of the deliberations. A formal letter to all interested parties, with a copy to the President and CEO for Texas A&M University at Galveston, will confirm the panel's decision.