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How to File a Request for an Academic Grievance Hearing

Students may request a hearing to resolve a dispute with an instructor, but only after trying to settle the matter in conversations with the instructor, the department chair or school director or program director and, in some cases, the associate dean of the college. The student also may consult with the University Ombudsperson at any stage of the dispute.

The general procedures for conducting a hearing are outlined in four MSU documents: Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR), the Graduate Rights and Responsibilities (GSRR), Law Student Rights and Responsibilities (LSRR), and the Medical Students Rights and Responsibilities (MSRR). These documents require each academic unit (departments, schools, programs and colleges) to establish written hearing procedures consistent with the documents. (A copy of the procedures must be on file with the Office of the University Ombudsperson.)  

The following hearing procedure TEMPLATES are for use by Departments/Schools/Programs and Colleges when developing graduate procedures: 

When an undergraduate student remains dissatisfied with the outcome of his or her discussions with the instructor and unit head, he or she may send a written request to the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies for a hearing with the appropriate board. For undergraduates who want to contest and allegation of academic dishonesty, that would be the University Academic Integrity Hearing Board. All other undergraduate academic grievances go to the University Academic Grievance Hearing Board. When a graduate student remains dissatisfied with the outcome of his or her discussions with the instructor and unit head, he or she may send a written request for a hearing to the appropriate unit head (i.e., department chairperson, school director, program director, or associate dean). There are links below to hearing process flowcharts for each specific type of grievance.

The hearing request letter must include the following information:

  • The student's name and PID
  • The student's local address, phone number and e-mail address
  • A detailed explanation of the alleged violation of student rights to justify a hearing, with reference to the specific article in the SRR, GSRR, LSRR or MSRR or Code of Teaching Responsibility
  • The name of the individual the student believes violated his or her rights
  • The date of the alleged violation
  • The name of the MSU instructor, student or staff member, if any, who will assist the student throughout the hearing process
  • The names of witnesses, if any, who will speak on the student's behalf at the hearing, if the hearing board grants the request for a hearing
  • The redress you seek to rectify the situation.

Deadline: The student should sign and date the letter and submit it before the middle of the semester following the initial dispute.

If the student prevails at the hearing, the hearing board may direct the unit head to provide the appropriate redress for the student. The unit head, with advice from the hearing board, may then implement an appropriate remedy. If the instructor prevails, no additional action is required. Either party may appeal the hearing board's decision, as follows:

Undergraduate hearings can be appealed to the University Academic Appeals Board. Graduate hearings initiated at the department or school level may be appealed to the college hearing board. Graduate hearings initiated at the college level may be appealed to the University Graduate Judiciary.

Both parties and the chair of the hearing board may consult with the University Ombudsperson at any time during the grievance process.

Please note that the SRR, GSRR,LSRR and MSRR prohibit students from filing grievance hearing requests based on allegations of faculty incompetence. This matter may be judged only by the faculty.

Based on the specific type of grievance, the hearing process for an undergraduate or graduate student will follow one of these patterns:

 

1. Academic Grievance Hearing alleging violations of student rights (including grade disputes) established in the SRR or GSRR initiated at the department/school/program level.

 For undergraduate students, click here.

 For graduate students starting at the department/school/program level, click here.

 For graduate students starting at the college level, click here.


2. Academic Grievance Hearing to contest an allegation of academic dishonesty.

For undergraduate students, click here.

For graduate students starting at the Department/School level, click here.

For graduate students starting at the College level, click here.

 

3. Academic Disciplinary Hearing to impose sanctions in addition to, or other than, a failing grade in a course for an act of academic misconduct.

For undergraduate students, click here.

For graduate students, click here.

 

Need assistance? Contact the University Ombudsperson.