Memorial University is governed by regulations whose purpose is to ensure fair and equitable treatment for the entire university community. Some of the regulations deal with the normal workings of the university (classification of degrees, registration deadlines, etc.) and pertain to all students across the board. Other regulations, however, especially those concerned with readmission and academic dishonesty, apply to certain students in certain specific situations. Every student has the right to appeal decisions resulting from the application of university regulations.
Appeals are made before specific committees that exist at the university to provide an objective review of students' cases. The appeals process is designed to assist students at critical points in their university career, not to intimidate them.
The purpose of this document is to outline the procedures by which appeals may be made and to ensure that students are given advice that will allow them to make the best possible case when preparing an appeal. Please refer to item 3. APPEALS PROCEDURES below for information concerning where appeals should be directed.
1. Policy on Student Appeals
a) The responsibility for making an appeal before the appropriate committee of the university rests with the student.
b) Reasons for initiating an appeal before the appropriate committee include the following:
i) medical problems
iii) other acceptable cause
c) Students should prepare as strong a case as possible. It is therefore recommended that students seek advice when launching their appeal. Such advice can be obtained from a variety of sources:
i) Students should consult with the Office of the Registrar for the appropriate regulations and appeal procedures.
ii) Students may use an advisor or facilitator in preparing their appeals, such as:
- a faculty advisor
- a counsellor
- designated faculty, who have made themselves familiar with the appeals process and who are willing to undertake the role of student advisor or facilitator
- the Council of the Students' Union (CSU)
d) A student submitting an appeal must present to the appropriate committee a personal letter including reasons for the appeal.
Students must present independent evidence to corroborate statements made in the letter of appeal. Preferably, this evidence will come from a professional, such as a doctor, a counsellor, or a professor, however letters from other knowledgeable parties may be acceptable.
In cases where an appeal is made on medical grounds, medical notes must be sufficiently specific to allow appropriate consideration of the student's case. The note must also clearly state that, in the opinion of the doctor, the problem was serious enough to have interfered with the student's work. Students should refer to policy respecting information required for medical certificates for more complete information. Students claiming bereavement as grounds must provide proof of death and evidence of a close personal relationship between themselves and the deceased.
e) The committees to which appeals are made do require substantial information about the reasons for the appeal in order to make their decisions. However, the committees also recognize the student's rights to confidentiality.
With this in mind, a student may discuss the reasons for his or her appeal with a University/College counsellor, who, with the student's permission and provided sufficient reasons exist, may then write a letter to the appropriate committee confirming that there were sufficient grounds for an appeal without disclosing the special personal and confidential details of the case.
2. Memorial University Policy Respecting Information Required for Medical Certificates
Students who request permission to drop courses, to withdraw from University studies, to have examinations deferred or to obtain other waivers of university, departmental or course regulations based on medical grounds are required by the University to produce a note from a physician in support of their request. Such notes must be sufficiently specific to allow a proper consideration of the student's case. The University requests that all medical notes be on letterhead, be signed by the physician and include details on the following:
i. confirmation of the specific dates on which the student visited the doctor.
ii. the degree to which the illness (or treatment, in the case of medication, for example) is likely to have affected the student's ability to study, attend classes, or sit examinations.
iii. the length of time over which the student's abilities were likely hampered by the medical condition (e.g. recurring and severe back pain over a two-month period would likely have a more adverse effect on studies than a single episode of back pain requiring bed rest for a week).
iv. the fitness of the student to resume studies (it is in the student's best interest not to return to his/her studies prematurely).
CONFIDENTIALITY: The University respects the confidentiality of all material contained in medical notes. Physicians who are concerned with releasing any of the above information on a student's medical condition might wish to follow the practice of the Student Health Service at the University. The Health Service releases medical notes to the student, and the student then forwards the note to the University. In such cases, it is advisable to retain a copy of the note in case verification is required at a later date (there have been cases where legitimate notes have been tampered with to the student's advantage).
3. Appeals Procedures
Any student whose request for waiver of regulations has been denied has the right to appeal. Any such appeal should be made in writing clearly stating the basis for the appeal and should be directed as follows:
i. in the case of prerequisites/corequisites, to the College/ Faculty/School Committee on Undergraduate Studies or equivalent.
ii. in the case of departmental regulations, to the College/ Faculty/School Undergraduate Studies Committee where the academic unit refuses to recommend the waiver, or to the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Studies where the College/Faculty/School denies the request for waiver.
iii. in the case of College/Faculty/School regulations, to the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Studies.
iv. in the case of General University Regulations, to the Executive Committee of Senate.
Students whose appeals are denied will be advised in the letter of denial of the next avenue of
appeal that may be taken. Should a student's appeal be denied by the Senate, he/she will be
advised that within the University no further appeal is possible. For assistance in the appeals
process students are advised to consult with the Office of the Registrar.
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