Office of the Registrar
School of Graduate Studies (2013/2014)
3.6 Appeal of Decisions
3.6.1 General Information
  1. Every graduate student has the right to appeal decisions resulting from the application of University regulations.

  2. Appeals will be considered in the case of health issues, bereavement and/or other acceptable cause, duly authenticated.

  3. For assistance in the appeals process, a student is advised to consult with the School of Graduate Studies.

  4. In preparing an appeal a student may consult advisors or facilitators. Such advisors or facilitators may include an international advisor, a faculty advisor, a counsellor, a representative from the Memorial University of Newfoundland Graduate Students' Union (GSU) or a faculty member who is familiar with the appeals process and who is willing to undertake the role of student advisor or facilitator.

  5. Appeals are made before specific committees that exist at the University to provide an objective review of cases. The appeals process is designed to assist students at critical points in their graduate program and to provide an accessible and transparent process for students. Refer also to Routes of Appeal of Academic Regulations for information concerning where appeals should be directed.

  6. The principles of natural justice shall be applied to the appeals processes and decisions. These principles include, but are not limited to, such practices as all parties to the appeal receiving timely and adequate notice, all parties to the appeal having the opportunity to submit arguments and supporting documentation and all parties to the appeal being made aware of the evidence considered by the committee. No person will sit in judgment on an appeal if that person has been previously involved in a decision-making process related to the matter under appeal or if that person has any conflict of interest, bias or reasonable apprehension of bias.

  7. While the University makes provision for students to appeal decisions made under University regulations, the academic, financial or other consequences of the appeal process rests with the student.

  8. When an appeal is denied, the student will be advised in writing of the reasons for the decision and if there are further steps that can be taken in the appeals process.

  9. A student whose appeal is denied by the Appeals Committee of the School of Graduate Studies may appeal to the Senate Committee on Academic Appeals. Academic units whose decisions are overturned by the Appeals Committee of the School of Graduate Studies may appeal to the Senate Committee on Academic Appeals. Decisions of the Senate Committee on Academic Appeals are final and within the University there is no further appeal.

  10. Unless the student bringing the appeal requests otherwise, student appeals are heard anonymously by all committees except the Senate Committee on Academic Appeals.

3.6.2 Routes of Appeal of Academic Regulations
  1. Normally, the responsibility for making an appeal before the appropriate committee of the University rests with the student.

  2. A student who is ineligible to officially register for courses but who wishes to attend classes, laboratories or other educational activities while an appeal is in progress can do so only with the written permission of the head of the academic unit concerned. Such permission will not unnecessarily be withheld.

  3. A student whose request for waiver of regulations has been denied may direct the appeal as described below.

    • Appeals against decisions of the Head of an Academic Unit will be made directly to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

    • Appeals against decisions of the Dean may be made to the Appeals Committee, School of Graduate Studies. Letters of appeal should be directed to the Chair of the Appeals Committee, c/o School of Graduate Studies.

    • Appeals against decisions of the Executive Committee of the Academic Council may be made to the Appeals Committee, School of Graduate Studies. Letters of appeal should be directed to the Chair of the Appeals Committee, c/o School of Graduate Studies.

    • Appeals against decisions of the Appeals Committee, School of Graduate Studies, may be made to the Senate Committee on Academic Appeals, c/o Office of the Registrar.

3.6.3 Route for Questioning Grades
  1. Appeals cannot be made on the basis of the grades awarded in individual courses. Dissatisfaction with grades is not sufficient grounds for an appeal.

  2. Notwithstanding the above, and recognizing that the awarding of grades is an academic matter within the purview of experts in a discipline or subject area, a student who wishes to question the award of grades in individual courses is encouraged to consult with the following in the order given:

    • the course instructor

    • the Head of the appropriate academic unit

    • the Dean of the appropriate Faculty/School, Associate Vice-President (Academic) of the Grenfell Campus or Vice-President of the Marine Institute.

3.6.4 Appeals to the School of Graduate Studies
  1. All appeals must be made in writing, clearly stating the basis for the appeal, and must be directed to the Dean or the Chair of the Appeals Committee of the School of Graduate Studies in accordance with Routes of Appeal of Academic Regulations.

  2. In the Letter of Appeal, the student must clearly and fully provide:

    • name,

    • current address and telephone number,

    • Memorial University of Newfoundland e-mail address,

    • student ID number,

    • the decision being appealed,

    • the grounds for the appeal, and

    • the resolution being sought.

  3. When providing grounds for the appeal, including health issues, bereavement and/or other acceptable cause, a student must present independent evidence to corroborate statements made in the Letter of Appeal. Preferably, this evidence will come from a professional, such as a health professional, a counsellor, or a professor. However letters from other knowledgeable parties may be acceptable.

  4. A student shall include with the letter of appeal any submissions the student wishes to make in support of the appeal.

  5. In cases where an appeal is made on health issues, the student must provide an original certificate from a health professional in the form of a note or a letter. Such a certificate must be sufficiently specific to allow appropriate consideration of the student's case. The certificate must also clearly state that, in the opinion of the health professional, the problem was serious enough to have interfered with the student's work. Students should refer to the policy respecting Information Required for Certificates from Health Professionals for more complete information.

  6. A student claiming bereavement as grounds must provide an obituary notice or death certificate, together with evidence of a close personal relationship between the student and the deceased.

  7. Privacy and Confidentiality: 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 each student's right to privacy and their obligations, under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, to safeguard students' personal information.

3.6.5 Appeals to the Senate Committee on Academic Appeals
  1. Appeals shall be initiated by submitting a written Notice of Appeal, c/o The Office of the Registrar, containing the following:

    When the Notice of Appeal is from a student:

    • name

    • current address and telephone number,

    • Memorial University of Newfoundland e-mail address,

    • student ID number,

    • a copy of the decision giving rise to the appeal,

    • supporting documentation,

    • a description of the matter under appeal,

    • the grounds of appeal, and

    • the resolution being sought.

    When the Notice of Appeal is from an academic unit:

    • name of representative of the academic unit,

    • Memorial University of Newfoundland e-mail address,

    • a copy of the decision giving rise to the appeal,

    • supporting documentation,

    • a description of the matter under appeal,

    • the grounds of appeal, and

    • the resolution being sought.

  2. The Notice of Appeal should include, in writing, relevant information in support of the appeal.

  3. Except with the approval of the Executive Committee of Senate, notices of appeal shall be submitted no later than the last day of classes in the semester following the semester in which the decision under appeal was sent to the student.

  4. In accordance with the principles of natural justice, students and academic units are entitled to make an oral presentation.

  5. Appeals shall be heard either through written submissions only or through an oral hearing, as requested. No inferences will be drawn from the choice.

  6. When appeal is heard by an oral presentation, a student may be accompanied by an advisor (see Appeal of Decisions, General Information, 4.). A student may participate in person, by way of teleconference, or by such other means approved in advance by the Committee; however, expenses incurred by the student are the responsibility of the student.

  7. When providing the grounds for the appeal, including health issues, bereavement and/or other acceptable cause, a student must present independent evidence to corroborate statements made in the Notice of Appeal. Preferably, this evidence will come from a professional, such as a health professional, a counsellor, or a professor. However letters from other knowledgeable parties may be acceptable.

  8. A student may include with the Notice of Appeal any submissions the student wishes to make in support of the appeal.

  9. In cases where an appeal is made on health issues, the student must provide an original certificate from a health professional in the form of a note or a letter. Such a certificate must be sufficiently specific to allow appropriate consideration of the student's case. The certificate must also clearly state that, in the opinion of the health professional, the problem was serious enough to have interfered with the student's work. A student should refer to the policy respecting Information Required for Certificates from Health Professionals for more complete information.

  10. A student claiming bereavement as grounds must provide an obituary notice or death certificate, together with evidence of a close personal relationship between the student and the deceased.

  11. Privacy and Confidentiality: 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 each student's right to privacy and their obligations, under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, to safeguard a student's personal information.

  12. Decisions of the Senate Committee on Academic Appeals are final and within the University there is no further appeal.

3.6.6 Information Required for Certificates from Health Professionals
  1. A student who requests 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 health issues is required by the University to provide, in support of the request, a certificate from a health professional in the form of a note or letter. Such certificates must be sufficiently specific to allow a proper consideration of a student's case. The University requires that all such certificates must be on letterhead, must be signed by the health professional, must confirm the specific dates on which the student visited the health professional and should include details on the following:

    • the degree to which the health issue (or treatment, in the case of medication, for example) is likely to have affected the student's ability to study, attend classes, sit examinations, or continue with research;

    • the length of time over which the student's abilities were likely hampered by the 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); and

    • the fitness of the student to resume studies (it is in the student's best interest not to return to studies prematurely).

  2. The University respects the privacy of students and will keep confidential all such certificates. A student should request that the health professional retain a copy of such a certificate in case the certificate needs to be verified or reissued at a later date.