RUL 11.36.01 – Procedure for Addressing Academic Written Student Complaints of Undergraduate Students

Authority: Chancellor

History:  First Issued: January 8, 1999 as REG11.40.01.  Last Revised: November 19, 2019.

Related Policies:
NCSU POL04.25.05 – Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy Statement
NCSU POL11.35.01 – Code of Student Conduct
NCSU REG04.25.02 – Resolution Procedures for Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaints
NCSU REG11.00.01 – Family Educational Rights and Privacy (FERPA)
NCSU REG11.35.04 – Written Student Complaints

Contact: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost (919-5151-2195)


1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 This regulation provides a procedure for addressing Written Student Complaints (as defined in REG 11.35.04) of undergraduate students relating to final course grades.

2.  OTHER REMEDIES

2.1  The existence of this procedure does not bar a student from filing a claim in other forums to the extent permitted by state or federal law.

3.  TIME LIMITS

3.1  Any Written Student Complaint must be filed within 60 calendar days from receipt of the final course grade.  Filing occurs when the Written Student Complaint is submitted through the process listed on the Complaint Website. This time limit may be extended by the applicable department head, dean, or vice chancellor for good cause shown, if the complainant makes a request for extension within the 60-day period.

4. INFORMAL RESOLUTION

4.1  Before submitting a Written Student Complaint relating to a final course grade, the student must first pursue informal resolution of the grade complaint by discussing the matter with the instructor who issued the grade to the student.  If informal resolution is not satisfactory, the student may proceed in accordance with section 5.

5. FORMAL RESOLUTION

5.1  These procedures apply to Written Student Complaints relating to final course grades only.  Test grades or partial grades cannot be the basis of a Written Student Complaint.

5.2  Department Head Review. If informal resolution is not satisfactory, a student may file a Written Student Complaint through the process listed on the Complaint Website using the Written Student Complaint Form confirming the complainant’s status as an NC State student, providing a summary of the complaint, the involved NC State employee(s), unit(s) or division(s), what resolution procedures were pursued before filing the Written Student Complaint, and the complainant’s preferred resolution. The complaint will be routed to the department head (or designee) of the course instructor for the course at issue who will review the matter. The department head (or designee) shall inform the instructor of the student’s Written Student Complaint and allow the instructor to file a written response to the complaint within 5 business days of the instructor’s receipt of notice. The department head (or designee) shall review the matter and issue a written decision to the student and instructor within 10 business days of receipt of the instructor’s response.

5.3 Appeals. If the student remains unsatisfied, within 10 business days of issuance of the decision, the student may submit a written appeal.

5.3.1 The written notice of appeal must:

(a)  Identify the person whose decision is being appealed;

(b)  Provide a brief statement of the grounds for appeal, which at minimum should contain a list of alleged errors in the decision or decision-making process;

(c)  Indicate what remedy is requested; and

(d)  Be signed and dated by the person filing the appeal.

5.3.2 Grounds for an appeal are limited to showing that the decision was clearly erroneous and that the alleged errors violated applicable university policies, regulations or rules, or federal or state law.  The appeal should state which university policies, regulations or rules, or federal or state laws were violated by each of the alleged errors.

5.3.3 In no event shall persons who review a grade Written Student Complaint substitute their subjective judgment about academic quality for the judgment of the instructor.  However, Written Student Complaints may be substantiated if it is determined on the basis of the evidence that the grade was based on a factor other than academic merit, or if there has been a clear error in grading based on objective criteria, and the determination is consistent with the Grades and Grade Point Average Regulation REG 02.50.03.

5.3.4 Dean/Vice-Chancellor Review. The first level of appellate review is by the dean or vice chancellor with supervisory authority over the department head. Appeals which are not timely or do not include the information in Section 5.3.1 will be dismissed. The dean or vice chancellor shall inform the instructor and department head of the student’s appeal.  The dean or vice chancellor (or designee) shall review the appeal, any response from the instructor, the department head’s decision, and any other record materials.  Within 30 days, the dean or vice chancellor (or designee) shall prepare a written decision and send it to the student, faculty member, and department head.

5.3.5 Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs Review. If the student remains unsatisfied with the decision of the dean or vice chancellor (or designee), the student may submit a second level of appeal to the Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs (or designee).  Appeals which are not timely or do not include the information in Section 5.3.1 will be dismissed. The Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs (or designee) shall review the appeal, the department head’s and dean’s decisions, and any other record materials.  The Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs (or designee) may ask the parties to submit written statements of their respective positions on appeal.  There is no right to a hearing or oral presentation in appeals.  Within 30 days, the Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs (or designee) will render a decision based on review of the record of the case and any written statements submitted by the parties.  The decision on appeal shall be final, and no further appeal is permitted.

6.  MODIFICATION

6.1 The Chancellor and/or Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost may approve modification of the foregoing procedures in a particular case if the modification (a) is for good cause, and (b) does not violate due process rights, policies of the NC State Board of Trustees, or policies, regulations and rules of the University of North Carolina.