Student Appeals and Grievances

Definitions: An appeal is defined as a request to a higher authority to change a decision that was made, typically a decision that the student believes adversely affects their academic career. A grievance is defined as a complaint or concern of a student regarding a faculty or staff member or a policy of the University that the student believes adversely affects their academic career or personal well-being.

Record Keeping: Records pertaining to academic appeals and grievances are kept in the Registrar’s Office, and records pertaining to non-academic appeals and grievances are kept in Student Services.

Timeframes: When extenuating circumstances prevent any of the following procedures from occurring within the specified timeframe, the university, at its sole discretion, may decide to make an exception and extend the timeframe in question.

Seeking Informal Counsel: Students are encouraged to speak with their respective academic advisor before engaging in any appellate or grievance action.

Procedure for Final Course Grade Appeals: When a student wants to appeal for a final course grade, they must submit a Grade Appeal Form to the instructor within 30 days from the date the grade is posted. If no appeal is filed within the 30-days period, the grade will be considered final. Within 14 days of the student’s request, the instructor shall confer with the student and explain the reason for the grade and, if warranted, raise the grade, lower the grade, or leave the grade unchanged. If the student believes they have not received a satisfactory resolution from the instructor or if the instructor does not reply within 5 days, the student may appeal to the Dean of the School or College for resolution by submitting a copy of the original grade appeal form and supporting documents. In the case where the Dean was the course instructor, the appeal shall be submitted to the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs (EVP) and their administrative assistant. The appeal to the Dean/EVP must occur within 7 days from the instructor’s decision or within 21 days from the submission of the matter to the instructor if no decision is issued by the instructor. An academic unit may have additional levels of review between the instructor and the Dean. If such additional levels are in place, guidance will be provided to the student. The Dean/EVP may convene a panel of faculty to review the appeal. The Dean/EVP shall respond in writing with a decision within 30 days of their receipt of the appeal, and the decision is final.

Procedure for Academic Policy Appeals/Petitions: To request an exception to an academic policy listed in the Academic Catalog, a student should complete the Academic Written Petition. A graduate student should submit the Academic Petition to the Academic or Office of Academic Services.

Procedure for All Other Student Appeals and Grievances: In the spirit of resolving conflicts, students should first seek resolution with the original employee(s) involved in the given matter. If the student believes the original employee(s)’ response is not appropriate or they are not comfortable approaching the employee(s), the student shall take the matter to the employee(s)’ supervisor for resolution. The supervisor shall review the matter and respond to the student within 14 days. If the student believes the matter has not been resolved appropriately by the supervisor, the student may submit an Appeal or Grievance Written Request to the Executive Vice President. The request will then be forwarded to the appropriate Director, Department Chair, Dean, or Vice President [hereafter “Reviewer”] for review and action. The student shall attach all supporting documentation (e.g., previous correspondence regarding the matter) to the request. Additional documentation will not be accepted from the student after the initial submission. The student must submit the Appeal or Grievance Request and supporting documentation to the Executive Vice President within 30 days of the decision from the supervisor. No appeal received after 30 days will be considered, and the original decision will be final. After the request is received by the Reviewer, if has merit they will provide a copy of the request to all other University employees who were involved in the original decision and request a response to the appeal. Any such responses should be addressed to the Reviewer and must be made within 14 days after a copy of the request was provided to the employee. Thereafter, the Reviewer may do one or more of the following:

  • Render a new decision but only if the Reviewer determines that the original decision being appealed was arbitrary and capricious.
  • Grant an exception to the policy in question but only if the Reviewer believes the student’s case warrants an exception.
  • Instruct the original department involved to conduct a full review of the policy in question, in consultation with the Reviewer and other associated departments, and facilitate an amendment to the policy if deemed appropriate.
  • In consultation with Human Resources staff, take appropriate action on the employee’s behavior that prompted the grievance.
  • Deny the appeal/grievance if the Reviewer determines, in their sole discretion, that it presents no substantial issue that merits further consideration (i.e., the facts presented do not warrant changing the original decision; the policy in question is based on university standards; the original staff member’s behavior/response was fully and appropriately addressed according to university processes and policies). All decisions of the Reviewer are final, and no further appeals are permitted. The Reviewer will notify the student of their decision in writing within 30 days of receiving the Appeal or Grievance Request. The Reviewer will additionally notify the Executive Vice President of the decision in writing so that a centralized record of all appeal and grievance outcomes may be kept.

Procedure for Submitting Grievance to The Continents States University State Agency:
As a last resort, if the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the institutional grievance process, the grievance may then be submitted to The Continents States University’s designated state agency. The relevant state agency information will be provided on the university’s official website. The state agency, in this case, is the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development. Please direct your grievance to:

Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development
Attn: Coordinating Board for Higher Education
301 W. High Street
P.O. Box 1469
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1469
Phone: (573) 751-2361
Fax: (573) 751-6635
Email: info@dhewd.mo.gov