Academic Appeals Procedures

Initial Appeals of Grades and Academic Actions

Bates’ commitment to fairness and consistency supports an appeal process that affords students the opportunity to have certain significant decisions affecting their academic work and status reviewed. Any such review requires carefully balancing the College’s interest in upholding its academic standards, faculty members’ autonomy under principles of academic freedom, and students’ accountability and responsibility as well as their expectations of fair treatment.

Accordingly, if a student has reasonable grounds to believe that a faculty member has assigned a final grade or taken other academic action that significantly departs from established course-specific policies, is inconsistent with established College policies, or is grossly unfair for other reasons, the student may follow the appeal procedures below to obtain equitable review of the matter. It is the student’s responsibility to make a timely, compelling case.

A. Course-specific policies

If a student has reasonable grounds to believe that the faculty member has (a) made a significant error or oversight in recording or calculating final grades; (b) grossly misevaluated specific academic work that impacts a final grade; or (c) failed to respect the terms of the syllabus in assigning final grades or taking other academic action, the student should:

  1. Present the case to the faculty member, providing all supporting documentation, and make a sincere effort to reach a resolution.
  2. Review the case with their academic advisor or their Student Support Advisor to determine the seriousness of the complaint, and to attempt resolution.
  3. If these actions fail to resolve the concern, the student may appeal to an Associate Dean of the Faculty within 30 days of the faculty member’s action or within 30 days of the final grade becoming available to the student. The student should submit a letter of appeal that describes in detail why the grade or action taken should be reconsidered, the steps taken to resolve the matter, and the outcomes the student seeks, together with copies of all relevant documents. If the action or final grade in question occurs at the end of Short Term, the student will have an additional 30 days at the beginning of the fall semester in which to submit an appeal. The Associate Dean will attempt to resolve the matter, consulting with the student and faculty member as needed and obtaining any additional information or documents required. If the Associate Dean is unable to achieve resolution, the Associate Dean will issue as soon as possible a written summary statement, inform the student, and consult with the faculty member. The Associate Dean does not have the authority to implement grade changes.
B. College Policies

If a student has reasonable grounds to believe that a) a faculty member’s assigned final grade or other academic action significantly departs from established college policies or practices; (b) a faculty member’s assigned final grade or other academic action is a result of bias, discrimination, or disfavor on prohibited grounds such as gender, race, sexual orientation, or disability; or (c) a faculty member’s assigned final grade or other academic action was not based solely on the faculty member’s fair professional judgment of the student’s performance in the course, but rather as a result of personal animus, retaliatory motives, or other improper grounds; then the student may bypass consultation with the faculty member and instead appeal directly to the Associate Dean of the Faculty as follows:

  1. Meet with their academic advisor or Student Support Advisor to review the case.
  2. Within 30 days of the decision, action or final grade being available to the student in question, the student should submit a letter of appeal that describes in detail why the grade or action taken should be reconsidered, the policy or policies in question, the steps taken to resolve the matter, and the outcomes the student seeks, together with copies of all relevant documents. If the action in question occurs at the end of Short Term, the student will have an additional 30 days at the beginning of the fall semester in which to submit an appeal. The letter of appeal should first be reviewed with the Student Support Advisor or a staff member from Student Affairs. The faculty member may be consulted if appropriate. If the matter is not resolved, the letter of appeal may be forwarded to the appropriate Associate Dean of the Faculty.
  3. If, after reviewing the appeal, the Associate Dean believes that the matter calls for additional expertise, the Associate Dean may refer the case directly to the Academic Standing Committee (ASC) or to other offices as described in subsections (2) and (3) below. The Associate Dean will provide relevant materials with the referral. In other cases, the Associate Dean will attempt to resolve the matter and may consult with the student or faculty member and obtain additional information or documents as needed. If the Associate Dean is unable to achieve an agreed upon resolution, the Associate Dean will issue as soon as possible a written summary statement, inform the student, and consult with the faculty member about next steps. The Associate Dean does not have the authority to implement grade changes.

Appealing Outcomes from A and B (above)

Students who are dissatisfied with the outcomes of the processes above may appeal to the Dean of the Faculty.

  1. If a student is not satisfied with a decision or resolution determined by the Associate Dean, the student may appeal to the Dean of the Faculty within 10 days of the decision. This route of appeal is not available to the student if the Associate Dean has referred the case to the Academic Standing Committee per I.B.3 above, because the decisions of the Academic Standing Committee are final. The student should submit a letter of appeal that describes in detail why the grade or action taken should be reconsidered, the policy or policies in question, the steps taken to resolve the matter, and the outcomes the student seeks, together with copies of all relevant documents, including the Associate Dean’s decision.
  2. If, after reviewing the appeal, the Dean makes the determination that the matter is not sufficiently substantive to warrant further action, the Dean will inform the student, and the Dean’s decision is final. If the Dean determines that a different body has jurisdiction over the student’s grievance (e.g., violations of Title IX), the Dean will make the appropriate referral and advise the student about next steps.
  3. If the Dean determines that further review is warranted, the Dean will forward the matter to the Academic Standing Committee, with the option of appointing two additional faculty members with relevant expertise; and others whose expertise the Dean deems necessary. For example, if the student’s appeal involves issues of reasonable accommodation for a learning difference, the Dean might request the participation of a representative with relevant expertise from the Office of Accessible Education.
  4. The Academic Standing Committee (ASC) will review files referred by the Associate Dean (see I.B.3) or by the Dean of the Faculty II.3) on appeal, and may obtain additional information or documents as needed to make its determination. The student and faculty member will be given an opportunity to communicate their views to be considered. On completion of its review, the ASC will report its decision to the student and faculty member. If the ASC concludes that a grade or academic action affecting a grade was improper and the ASC can determine the appropriate letter grade, the ASC will direct the registrar to change the grade accordingly. The recommendations of the ASC, consultation with the Dean, and any other aspects of the appeals process are considered confidential. In the case of Section II, the actions and decisions of the Dean of the Faculty and the Academic Standing Committee are final.