Originator: Dean of Student Services
Approver: Senior Academic Committee
Effective: November 27, 2015
Replaces: June 20, 2014

Download the PDF version of this policy

1. Preamble

Red River College will operate with a“clear process for academic appeals,disciplinary appeals, and handling of student complaints.”1

This policy outlines the process by which a Student may seek a review of a decision that has been made regarding an Academic Evaluation, Discipline, or another matter that affects a Student’s academic career.

All stages of the appeal process will be conducted with fairness by an objective decision-maker. Both the Appellant and the Respondent will have a reasonable opportunity to present their side of the issue, will know the position of the other side, and will be heard fairly. Decisions will be made by individuals with no personal interest in the outcome of the appeal.

The final stages of the appeal process outlined in this policy allow for the formation of committees to hear appeals and render decisions. These committees are comprised of an Appeal Committee Chair and a panel. Panels are composed of College staff, subject matter experts, and students. The purpose of the committee is to search for the facts related to the appeal. While all members of a committee take their responsibilities very seriously, it is of note that an Appeal Committee does not follow the same procedures as a court of law, and the committee members are not legal experts.

Timelines are provided to facilitate a relatively quick resolution to issues. While these timelines may be extended to accommodate extenuating circumstances, the goal is for a normal learning and working environment to be restored as quickly as possible.

2. Policy

Students have the right to appeal decisions that affect their academic career.

This policy outlines the appeal procedures for the following situations:

  • Review of a decision that has been made regarding an Academic Evaluation, Discipline, or another matter that affects a Student’s academic career; and/or
  • Review of the process used to arrive at an appeal decision where a Student believes there has been incorrect administration of appeal procedure.

3. Definitions

3.1

Academic Evaluation – refers to all methods of evaluating a Student’s knowledge and skill acquired during their studies. It also includes material submitted to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), and various forms of research.

3.2

Discipline – refers to any action taken under College policy for Student Discipline.

3.3

Decision – refers to the results of an Academic Evaluation, Discipline, or determination on another matter that affects a Student’s academic career.

3.4

Appellant – refers to the Student who launches an appeal.

3.5

Appeal Committee Chair – refers to a Dean designated to act as the Chair of a College Appeal Committee.

3.6

College Authority – refers to an individual who has been given authority by the College to make a decision that affects a Student’s academic career.

3.7

Program Chair – refers to the Chair or equivalent (or their designate) of a College program.

3.8

Dean of the School – refers to the Dean or equivalent (or their designate) of a College School.

3.9

Process Appeal Committee Chair – refers to the Vice President – Student Services and Planning or a designate.

3.10

Respondent – refers to the College Authority who has made the decision the Student is appealing.

3.11

Representative – The Appellant may have an individual of their choosing to provide assistance during an appeal. The Respondent will be provided with a Representative. Representatives may accompany an Appellant or a Respondent at all stages of the appeal process. The Representative may be authorized by the Appellant or the Respondent to speak on their behalf at a Committee Hearing.

3.12

Student(s) – refers to any individual:

  1. seeking to apply to study at Red River College;
  2. who is a current student; or
  3. who has previously been a student within the last 12 months.

4. Procedures

Informal Resolution

4.1

Within five College working days of receiving a decision with which the Student does not agree, the Student may contact the College Authority to discuss the issue. The College encourages resolution through such discussion. However, the College understands that there may be extenuating circumstances where either the Student or College Authority may choose not to participate in the informal resolution process. Should the Student or the College Authority choose not to participate in the informal resolution process, they must obtain permission from the Program Chair.

Formal Appeal Process

4.2

The Appellant shall initiate the formal appeal process by completing a Student Appeals Form (“the Form”).

4.3

The Appellant must complete and submit the Form to the Program Chair within five College working days. Five days will be counted either from the date that a Decision was issued by a College Authority, or from the date of an unsuccessful attempt at an informal resolution. This timeframe may be extended by mutual agreement between the Appellant and the Program Chair.

4.4

The Appellant may submit any other written material or explanation of the reason for the appeal along with the Form. The Appellant must also indicate the remedy that they are seeking.

4.5

The Program Chair will investigate the appeal and consider the remedy requested by the Appellant. The Program Chair will evaluate the merits of the appeal and will determine the appropriate action to be taken.

4.6

Appellants should be aware that the Program Chair has the authority to raise, lower or maintain an Academic Evaluation, or administer further Discipline.

4.7

The Program Chair will render a decision within fifteen College working days of receiving the Form. This timeframe may be extended by mutual agreement between the Appellant and the Program Chair.

4.8

The Program Chair will inform the Appellant and the Respondent in writing of their decision and reasons.

4.9

Copies of the decision will be kept by the Program Chair, and will be sent to the Dean of the School, the Office of the Registrar and the Dean of Student Services.

4.10

In the event that an Appellant believes there has been an incorrect administration of appeal procedure, or that the decision of the Program Chair is not fair or reasonable, the Appellant may initiate an appeal to the Dean of the School.

Appeal to the Dean of the School

4.11

The Appellant shall initiate the appeal to the Dean of the School by submitting the Form, any written material or explanation of the reason for the appeal, as well as a copy the decision issued by the Program Chair.

4.12

The Appellant must submit this written material to the Dean of the School within five College working days from the receipt of the decision of the Program Chair.

4.13

The Dean of the School (or their designate) will investigate the appeal, and will render a decision within ten College working days of receiving the Form.

4.14

The timeframes stipulated in sections 4.11 – 4.13 may be extended by mutual agreement between the Appellant and the Dean of the School.

4.15

The Dean’s investigation will review the process followed by the Program Chair in arriving at a decision on the appeal. The Dean will determine whether there has been a correct administration of appeal procedure, and whether the Program Chair has arrived at a fair and reasonable decision. If the Dean determines that there has been a correct administration of appeal procedure, and that the Program Chair has arrived at a fair and reasonable decision, then the appeal will be denied and the decision of the Program Chair will be maintained.

4.16

If the Dean determines that there has not been a correct administration of appeal procedure, and/or that the Program Chair did not arrive at a fair and reasonable decision, then a new appeal will be ordered. The new appeal may be conducted by a College Authority other than the original Program Chair.

4.17

At the Dean’s discretion, the Dean has the authority to substitute their decision for that of the Program Chair. Appellants should be aware that the Dean of the School has the authority to raise, lower or maintain an Academic Evaluation, or administer further Discipline.

4.18

The Dean of the School will inform the Appellant and the Respondent in writing of their decision and reasons.

4.19

Copies of the decision will be kept by the Dean of the School and will be sent to the Program Chair, the Office of the Registrar and the Dean of Student Services.

4.20

If the Appellant is not satisfied with the decision of the Dean of the School, the Appellant may initiate a request for an Appeal Committee Hearing.

Appeal Committee Hearing

4.21

The Appellant must submit the request for an Appeal Committee Hearing to the Office of the Registrar within five College working days of receiving the decision of the Dean of the School. This timeframe may be extended by mutual agreement between the Appellant and the Office of the Registrar.

4.22

The Appellant initiates the request for an Appeal Committee Hearing by submitting the Form, a written explanation of the reason for the appeal, the decisions issued by the Program Chair and the Dean of the School, and paying the appeal processing fee to the Office of the Registrar.

4.23

The appeal processing fee is set by the Office of the Registrar and will be returned if the Appellant is successful.

4.24

The Registrar will appoint a Dean of a School with which the Appellant is not associated to act as the Appeal Committee Chair.

4.25

The Appeal Committee Chair will establish the membership of the Appeal Committee Hearing. The Committee must hear the appeal within fifteen College working days of the receipt of the appeal by the Registrar.

4.26

At the discretion of the Appeal Committee Chair, the maximum time to hear the appeal may be extended to accommodate extenuating circumstances. Every reasonable effort will be made to schedule the hearing at a time convenient to the Appellant and the Respondent.

4.27

The Appeal Committee Chair will provide at least ten working days’ notice of the hearing to the Appellant and Respondent in writing. Once the notice has been delivered, it is deemed to have been received.

4.28

The notice from the Appeal Committee Chair will include the time and location of the hearing as well as the procedures and rules of evidence of the hearing (attached to this policy as Appendix A).

4.29

The Appellant and the Respondent must submit the following to the Appeal Committee Chair at least two working days in advance of the hearing: a. any written material to be presented at the Appeal Committee Hearing; b. the names of any witnesses they intend to call; and c. the names of their Representatives and their official capacity.

4.30

The Appeal Committee Chair will facilitate an exchange of these written materials, names of witnesses, and names of Representatives between the Appellant and the Respondent.

4.31

Once the Appeal Committee has been held, the Appeal Committee Chair will issue the findings of the committee members and their decision to the Appellant and the Respondent in writing within fifteen College working days. This timeframe may be extended by mutual agreement between the Appellant and the Appeal Committee Chair.

4.32

Appellants should be aware that the Appeal Committee has the authority to raise, lower or maintain an Academic Evaluation, or administer further Discipline.

4.33

Copies of the decision will be kept by the Appeal Committee Chair, and will be sent to the Dean of the School, the Office of the Registrar and the Dean of Student Services.

4.34

The decision of the Appeal Committee is final.

Process Appeal

4.35

In the event an Appellant believes there has been an incorrect administration of process, misapplication of appeal policy, or misinterpretation of fact during the course of an Appeal Committee Hearing, an Appellant may submit a request that the Appeal Committee Hearing proceeding be examined.

4.36

The Appellant initiates the request for a Process Appeal by submitting a written explanation of the reason for the appeal, as well as a copy of the decision of the Appeal Committee to the office of the Vice President – Student Services and Planning, who is the Process Appeal Committee Chair, within five working days of receiving the decision of the Appeal Committee. This timeframe may be extended by mutual agreement between the Appellant and the Vice President – Student Services.

4.37

At the same time, the Appellant must pay the appeal processing fee to the Office of the Registrar. The appeal processing fee is set by the Office of the Registrar and will be returned if the Appellant is successful.

4.38

The Appellant must provide a written explanation to the Process Appeal Committee Chair that there has been an incorrect administration of process, misapplication of policy, or misinterpretation of fact during the course of the Appeal Committee Hearing.

4.39

The Process Appeal Committee Chair reserves the right to decide whether a Process Appeal will be heard.

4.40

The Process Appeal Committee Chair will issue a written decision with reasons to the Appellant and the Respondent should the decision be made not to hear a Process Appeal.

4.41

If the decision is made not to hear a Process Appeal, the appeal processing fee will be returned to the Appellant.

4.42

If the decision is made to hear a Process Appeal, the Process Appeal Committee Chair will establish the membership of the Process Appeal Committee. The Committee must hear the appeal within fifteen College working days of the receipt of the appeal by the Process Appeal Committee Chair.

4.43

At the discretion of the Process Appeal Committee Chair, the maximum time to hear the appeal may be extended to accommodate extenuating circumstances. Every reasonable effort will be made to schedule the hearing at a time convenient to the Appellant and the Respondent.

4.44

The Process Appeal Committee Chair will provide at least ten working days’ notice of the hearing to the Appellant and Respondent in writing. Once the notice has been delivered, it is deemed to have been received.

4.45

The notice from the Process Appeal Committee Chair will include the time and location of the hearing as well as the procedures and rules of evidence of the hearing (attached to this policy as Appendix A).

4.46

The Appellant and the Respondent must submit the following to the Process Appeal Committee Chair at least two working days in advance of the hearing:

  1. any written material to be presented at the Process Appeal Committee Hearing;
  2. the names of any witnesses they intend to call; and
  3. the names of their Representatives and their official capacity.

4.47

The Process Appeal Committee Chair will facilitate an exchange of these written materials, names of witnesses, and names of Representatives between the Appellant and the Respondent.

4.48

Appellants should be aware that the Process Appeal Committee has the authority only to decide whether or not an Appeal Committee Hearing was conducted correctly.

4.49

Once the Process Appeal Committee has been held, the Process Appeal Committee Chair will provide the findings of the committee members and their decision to the Appellant and the Respondent in writing within fifteen College working days. This timeframe may be extended by mutual agreement between the Appellant and the Process Appeal Committee Chair.

4.50

If the Process Appeal Committee decides the original hearing was conducted correctly, the decision will be upheld.

4.51

If the Process Appeal Committee decides the original hearing was not conducted correctly, a new Appeal Committee Hearing will be ordered.

4.52

Copies of the decision of the Process Appeal Committee will be kept by the Process Appeal Committee Chair, and will be sent to the Dean of the School, the Office of the Registrar and the Dean of Student Services.

Student’s Representative

4.53

The College recognizes that Students benefit from assistance with the preparation and presentation of appeals.

4.54

Students are urged to utilize the student advocacy service of the Students’ Association. A student may be accompanied by an individual of their choosing to provide assistance during an appeal.

Students’ Association Student Advocate

4.55

The student advocate in the Students’ Association office provides the student with information and consultation on the College’s Student Appeals policy. This includes providing guidance in filling out the appeal form, preparing letters and written materials for the appeal process and providing coaching in the presentation of the appeal. The student advocate may act as the Appellant’s Representative and accompany the Appellant to meetings at all stages of the appeal process and speak on behalf of the Appellant at a committee hearing.

Appendix A

Appeal Hearing Procedures

The Appeal Committee and Process Committee Hearing procedures are meant to facilitate a search for the facts related to the issues before the Committee. The Appellant has the primary responsibility of making a presentation and providing evidence in support of their appeal.

All members of a hearing – including the Appellant, the Respondent, witnesses, and panel members – will keep all materials and information used for the appeal in strict confidence. Panel members will surrender all appeal materials to the Chair of the Committee at the end of the appeal.

The following outlines the procedures that will be used during College Appeal Hearings:

1.1 The Committee Chair will review the process that will be followed in hearing the appeal, ask the Appellant, Respondent and their Representatives if they have any questions about the process, and respond to questions accordingly.

1.2 The Committee Chair will ask both parties to confirm acceptance of the panel members.

1.3 The Appellant and/or their Representative will start the proceedings by making a presentation of the appeal to the Committee.

1.4 A question and answer period will follow the Appellant’s presentation. During this period, the Respondent and/or members of the Appeals Committee may ask questions related to the Appellant’s presentation through the Committee Chair.

1.5 The Respondent and/or their Representative will then make their presentation before the Committee.

1.6 A question and answer period will follow the Respondent’s presentation. During this period, the Appellant and/or members of the Appeals Committee may ask questions related to the Respondent’s presentation through the Committee Chair.

1.7 When the Committee is satisfied that it has acquired all the necessary information, the Committee Chair will ask each party to make a closing statement before they are dismissed. The Committee will then conduct its deliberations in seclusion. The discussion of the Committee in arriving at a recommendation will be considered confidential.

1.8 Once the Committee enters its deliberations, it may decide that it requires more information. The Committee may call both parties back or may ask to hear from further witnesses. If any of the witnesses are recalled, if any new witnesses are called, or if any new evidence is presented both the Appellant and the Respondent will be advised and have the right to be present.

1.9 A designated recorder will be in attendance for the purpose of producing an official transcript of the hearing if requested by the Chair. No other recording devices are permitted in the hearing room.

Attendance at the Hearing

1.10 The Appellant must be present at all times during a hearing.

1.11 If the Appellant is unable to attend the hearing, the Committee Chair or their office must be notified twenty-four hours in advance.

1.12 A hearing may be rescheduled if documentation, satisfactory to the Committee Chair, is submitted within an agreed time period.

1.13 If the Appellant fails to attend the hearing without notifying the Committee Chair or their office at least twenty-four hours in advance of the inability to be present, or if the Appellant declines to attend, the appeal may be dismissed and the original decision will stand.

1.14 At the discretion of the Committee Chair, a hearing may also be rescheduled if Representatives, the Respondent, or witnesses are unable to be present. Notice must be given to the Committee Chair at least twenty-four hours in advance of the hearing.

Continued Attendance in Program

1.15 An Appellant may continue to attend classes while awaiting the decision of an Appeal Committee Hearing except in the following circumstances:

  1. There is reasonable apprehension that the safety of persons has or will be threatened or endangered, if the Appellant has been barred from College property, or if the continued presence of the Appellant would be disruptive to the learning environment;
  2. The Appellant has been expelled; or
  3. The Appellant is progressing to a practical learning experience and the Program Chair decides that the Appellant has not met the requirements of the program for such progression.

Committee Membership and Voting Privileges

1.16 The voting members of an Appeals Committee will be: One member from the College instructional staff and one member from College Administration chosen by the Committee Chair, and two members from the College’s student population chosen by the Students’ Association.

1.17 In the case of an appeal of an evaluation of a practical learning experience, the Committee will also include one member who is a practitioner, a representative of a licensing association or a representative of an accrediting body in the Appellant’s field of study.

1.18 The Committee Chair will be a non-voting member of the Committee unless required to vote to break a tie.

1.19 The Committee Chair will select members of the panel who have no personal interest in the outcome of the appeal.

1.20 If a panel member is challenged on grounds such as conflict of interest, bias or malice, the Committee Chair will hear submissions by both the Appellant and the Respondent on the challenge. The Chair will consider both submissions and make a decision whether to disqualify the panel member.

1.21 Should a challenge result in a loss of a panel member, the Committee will adjourn while a new member is selected and the hearing will be rescheduled.

Rules of Order

1.22 To ensure order and to provide both parties to the appeal an equal opportunity to be heard, the parties to the appeal will speak through the Committee Chair instead of speaking directly to each other.

1.23 The hearing must recess if any Committee member, the Appellant or Representatives leave the room temporarily. Either party may request a recess at any point in the hearing.

1.24 If circumstances require a modification to these procedures at the time of a hearing, the Committee Chair will hear submissions by both the Appellant and the Respondent regarding the proposed modification. The Committee Chair will seek to obtain consent of the both the Appellant and the Respondent to any such modification. However, if consent cannot be obtained, the Committee Chair has final discretion to make such modifications.

Footnotes

1 Red River College Board of Governors Policy Manual