UMMC Policy and Procedure Manual E-AA-SA-ARG-PO-00001
Subject: Student Procedural Appeal for Academic Decisions
Old Title: Student Appeal
Revised Date: 10/28/2020 Effective Date: 8/27/2013
Prepared By:
Dorothy R. Singleton
Approved By:
Ralph H. Didlake

Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

DOCUMENT TYPE: policy

REVIEW PERIOD: Annual

TITLE: Student Procedural Appeal for Academic Decisions

PURPOSE: To detail institutional consideration of timely student procedural appeals

KEY TERMS: The following terms and their descriptions are provided for the purpose of convenience and to clarify institutional responsibilities.

1. Student Procedural Appeal: An appeal to challenge or change a decision rendered about an academic matter based solely upon a school’s failure to follow explicit procedural guidelines, or, that such procedural guidelines were applied incorrectly in the view of the student. UMMC schools are required to follow this student procedural appeal process and notify students of the same.

2. Clear and convincing evidence: The student’s burden of proof required to make a showing of a procedural error. To meet this burden of proof the student must prove that it is substantially more likely than not that a procedural error exists which was relevant to the school’s ultimate decision. The student is not required to eliminate all reasonable doubt to meet this burden of proof.

3. Time: Time is of the essence. For the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs to consider a procedural appeal, the student must submit the written request within ten (10) working days of receipt of the school’s decision, whether or not he or she has attempted an informal resolution. Any appeals received after the ten day time limit will be deemed late and will not be considered. In calculating the 10 day period, the date on which the student received the decision is not counted.

4. Written appeal: The student must submit a written appeal in the form of a hard copy letter or a PDF attachment to an email to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and include in it: a full description of the academic decision and the justification for the student’s appeal for reconsideration, a statement of the remedy the student is seeking, and any supporting documents the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs would be required to review to have a full understanding of the appeal.

No new evidence will be permitted to be considered by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Any and all evidence, including documentation or testimony must be in the underlying school’s record of the disciplinary hearing. Caution: A refusal by the school to allow otherwise relevant evidence in that hearing may be considered by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in a procedural appeal.

5. Non-procedural errors: This policy is only applicable to appeals involving procedural errors. There exists school specific, institutional and state/federal remedies available for students who may substantively disagree with academic decisions or disciplinary actions. It is the responsibility of the student and school to follow the appropriate procedures in these circumstances.

6. Powers of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs: If the student has met his or her evidentiary burden of proof, then the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs shall call a hearing on the matter on the first available date for all parties. Following the hearing, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs deliberates in closed session, and the following decisions are made solely in his or her discretion. The Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs may:

• uphold the original decision;

• refer the decision back to the individual school or committee making the original academic decision for reconsideration based upon findings of the application of school specific procedural policies; or

• revise or overturn the original decision to avoid a grave injustice.

POLICY: The Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs has delegated full authority regarding student appeals of disciplinary actions and dismissals to the various deans. The dean or designee for the school where an academic decision was made is responsible for administering the appeals process. Therefore, the decision of the dean for the school in which the student is enrolled is final. This policy is intended only to delineate the proper course of action when a student has provided clear and convincing evidence of a procedural error in an appeal.

The following guidelines apply to all procedural appeals:

• the student must submit a written procedural appeal to the Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs within ten (10) working days of transmittal of a school’s decision and must include an explanation or justification for the appeal along with any evidence to support said justification;

• the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs should notify the other relevant parties within five (5) working days of receiving an appeal. Those parties must provide any written response they intend to present to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs within five (5) working days;

• the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs should provide a written decision and rationale within five (5) working days of receiving relevant responses to the appeal. The written decision is conveyed to the student with copies to the other relevant parties;

• the decision made by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs on procedural appeals is final; and

• the student may request an expedited hearing upon a showing of irreparable harm, which is defined as having an incurable effect or causing irrevocable damage should the regular time period for appeal be followed. This is an extraordinary relief and should only be granted for significant reasons.

SCOPE: All UMMC schools.

PROCEDURES: NONE

REFERENCES:

Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. University of Mississippi Medical Center Bulletin. Jackson (MS): University of Mississippi Medical Center (current version). General Information section.