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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 and, in some cases, the 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 three MSU documents: The Academic Freedom Report (AFR), the Graduate Rights and Responsibilities document (GSRR) and the Medical Students Rights and Responsibilities document (MSRR). These documents require each academic unit (departments, schools 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 Ombudsperson.)  

The following hearing procedure templates are also available  in .doc format by email.  [NOTE: If you are wanting them for your handbook, you need to check with your unit's main office to see if they have already completed the update specifically for your unit.] 

When a student remains dissatisfied with the outcome of his or her discussions with the instructor and the unit head, he or she may send a written request for a hearing to the appropriate unit head (e.g., the department chair, the school director,  the college dean, or in cases of an undergraduate student being accused of academic misconduct, the hearing request would be filed with the University Academic Integrity Hearing Board).  (See links below to hearing process flowcharts for each specific type of grievance.)  The letter should include:

  • 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 AFR, GSRR 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.

After receiving the written request for a hearing, the hearing board may seek information from both parties and then decide if the hearing request has merit. If so, the chair of the hearing board will schedule a hearing. If not, the hearing board can dismiss the case--a decision the student may appeal to the appropriate hearing board (see below).

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 previals, no additional action is required. Either party may appeal the hearing board's decision, as follows:

Hearings initiated at the department or school level may be appealed to the college hearing board. Hearings initiated at the college level may be appealed to the University Academic Integrity Review Board for undergraduate students and to the University Graduate Judiciary for graduate and medical students.

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 AFR, GSRR, 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 AFR or GSRR initiated at the department/school level.

 For undergraduate students, click here.

 For graduate students, click here.

 

 2. Academic Grievance Hearing alleging violations of student rights (including grade disputes) established in the AFR or GSRR initiated at the college level.

For undergraduate students, click here.

For graduate students, click here.

 

3. 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.

 

4. 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? Click here.