Graduate Appeals Procedures 

Definition

An appeal is a request for exemption from a Departmental, School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies or Senate regulation on compassionate or medical grounds or because of extenuating circumstances OR a request that a grade on a particular piece of work or a final standing in a course or program be changed.

The appeal process is not intended to deal with complaints related to Teaching Assistantships. Such issues should be dealt with by the Graduate Teaching Assistants' Union.

Procedures

In the case of a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics, the successive levels for an appeal are:

  • Consultation
  • Department Chair
  • Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies
  • Senate Review Board Academic.

The first step of the appeal procedures should be initiated as soon as possible, normally within three weeks, but no later than six weeks from the date of the action or decision giving rise to the appeal. It is, therefore, the responsiblity of the student to initiate an appeal at the earliest possible opportunity and the university officer concerned to act upon the request as expediciously as possible.

Legal counsel is not permitted below the level of the Senate Review Board Academic. However, the appellant does have the right to be accompanied by a colleague who is a graduate student from the Department of Mathematics or from another program in the Physical Sciences Division of the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

  1. In the case of an appeal relating to a specific course, a resolution of the problem should be attempted through consultation with the instructor. If the instructor fails to act, or cannot or will not be physically available within a reasonable time period, the consultation may take place with the Graduate Chair or designate.

    In the case of an appeal which is a request for exemption from a Departmental regulation, a resolution of the problem should be attempted through consultation with the Graduate Chair. If the Graduate Chair fails to act, or cannot or will not be physically available within a reasonable time period, the appeal may be directed to a designate or another member of the Graduate Affairs Committee. 

    In either case, notes should be taken during the consultation stating the details for the appeal and should be signed by both parties. It is expected that a decision will be made in writing within two weeks. 

    Appeals on other matters should be initiated in writing in the office having immediate jurisdiction for the particular requirement or regulation in question (e.g. the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies). Students in doubt as to the appropriate level at which appeals should be initiated should consult the Departmental Graduate Chair.

  2. If the student is dissatisfied with the decision at the previous level of an appeal initiated at the Department level, a written statement of appeal (with supporting documents, if necessary) may be made to the Department Chair within three weeks of the date of the previous decision. The written request need not be lengthy but should clearly indicate the details of the appeal and the relief requested. The Chair, within three weeks of the receipt of the formal appeal, will call a meeting of an Ad-Hoc Committee of Appeal (AHCA) which will consist of at least the following: 
    • The Department Chair
    • Two Departmental members, appointed by the Chair and the Graduate Affairs Committee, who are also members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. 
      Note:
      • Efforts should also be made to include at least one graduate student from the Department of Mathematics.
      • The committee should not include a member who might have a conflict of interest, such as the course instructor in the case of an appeal of a course grade. In particular, if the complaint is against the Department Chair, the Graduate Chair or designate will act in the Department Chair's place.
    The AHCA may ask the person(s) concerned to appear at the meeting. 

    The Department Chair, on behalf of the AHCA, will notify in writing the appellant, and the instructor in the case of an appeal of a course grade, of the committee's decisions and recommendations (including reasons for the decision) within one week of the meeting. The proceedings of the appeal will remain confidential. 

  3. Following an appeal to the Department Chair, the student, if not satisfied with the decision of the committee, may then appeal to the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. (See the section on Appeals in the Calendar of the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.)