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Student Grievance & Appeals

Formal Grade Appeal Process

A non-passing final grade may be appealed (Formal Grade Appeal) only on the basis that the grade is arbitrary or capricious. Arbitrary or capricious grading means assignment of the grade: 1) on some basis other than performance in the course, 2) based on unreasonable application of standards different from the standards applied to other students in the course, or 3) a substantial and unreasonable departure from the instructor’s initially articulated standards.

Students may appeal a non-passing final grade according to the following procedure:

  1. Discuss with the Course Coordinator the rationale for the grade assignment being appealed.  Justify to the Course Coordinator why you believe the grade should be changed.  If you are dissatisfied with the Course Coordinator’s final decision consult with the Program Director.  Refer to #2.
  2. Submit the appeal in writing to the Program Director.  An Advancement Committee will be called to review the case.  The Advancement Committee will consist of representative members of the Department’s faculty and the Program Director.  The faculty member(s) involved in the appeal will report to the committee if consultation as needed, but will not have a vote in the decision rendered.  The Advancement Committee will forward a recommendation to the Chair for final approval.  Upon approval, the student will be notified of his/her standing.
  3. If the student is dissatisfied with the Advancement Committee decision, the final departmental level in the grade appeal process is to schedule an appointment with the Chair.
  4. If the appeal is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction at the departmental level, a Grade Appeal may be filed with the Dean of the School of Medicine.  The Dean may appoint an Appeals Committee comprised of one DMRT faculty member not involved in the Grade Appeal and two non-DMRT SOM faculty. The Grade Appeal will proceed in accordance with SOM policy. The Appeals Committee will review input from the student, the Course Coordinator and, others as appropriate, and advise the Dean with recommendations for decision and action. The decision of the Dean will be made in writing with a copy to the student, DMRT Program Director, Chair of DMRT and SOM Student Affairs. The decision of the Dean is final.

    The Dean or his designee may dismiss the Grade Appeal if a) the student has submitted the same, or substantially the same, complaint through any other formal appeal or grievance procedure; b) the appeal does not allege actions which would constitute arbitrary and capricious grading as defined here; c)the appeal was not filed timely; or d) the student has not conferred with the Course Coordinator prior to filing the Formal Grade Appeal.

    In the case where a student wishes to make a “formal appeal” of a failing grade and the failing grade leads to automatic dismissal, any appeal to the Dean will encompass both the grade itself, and the dismissal from the program.

Academic Dismissal & Appeals Process

Upon the recommendation of the Program Committee or an Advancement Committee of the Department of Medical and Research Technology, the Chair reserves the right to request the Dean of the School of Medicine to dismiss a student from the program for failure to meet academic and/or professional requirements.

Appeals Process

The Appeals Process will proceed in accordance with SOM policy.

  1. The Advancement Committee is not permitted to make any modifications to these guidelines for individual students.
  2. A student who is dismissed may appeal to the Dean for reinstatement. A written appeal must be submitted within 14 days of official notification of dismissal. The written appeal should include an explanation of any extenuating circumstances which the student believes justify reinstatement.  The Dean may reject the appeal or may accept it and appoint an Appeals Committee to advise the Dean on reinstatement.
  3. The Appeals Committee is comprised of 1 DMRT faculty member and two non-DMRT faculty members of the School of Medicine.
  4. If an Appeal Hearing is granted, the student may meet with a Dean in the Office of Student Affairs to review the appeals process. The entirety of the student’s academic record will be made available to the Appeals Committee by the Office of Student Affairs. The student may also request a copy of the student’s academic record.
  5. If an Appeals Committee is appointed, the student may submit additional, relevant information, including a written statement which should address circumstances not previously considered, and may include letters of support from faculty, students or others. The student’s written response must be received at least two (2) full school days prior to the Hearing. 
  6. The Office of Student Affairs will notify the student in writing of the Committee members and any individuals the School of Medicine intends to call to the hearing no less than two (2) full days in advance of the Hearing.  It is improper conduct and grounds for disciplinary action for a student or other person to contact a member of the Committee or other individuals invited to attend the hearing about the appeal at any time during the process.  Issues or concerns should be directed to a Dean in the Office of Student Affairs.
  7. Any person to be called to the Hearing by the student must be made known to a Dean in the Office of Student Affairs no less than two (2) full school days in advance of the Hearing. 
  8. The Committee Chair may limit or refuse to consider testimony or other information that is irrelevant or repetitive.
  9. The purpose of the Hearing is to permit the student, and persons called by the student or Committee, to answer questions presented by or through the Committee, which will allow the Committee to clarify its understanding of issues relevant to the dismissal.  Persons called will be limited to faculty, staff and students who are able to speak about a significant role the person has had in the events leading to the dismissal/failure or the recommendation for dismissal.  A student will not be permitted to call more than one character witness but may submit written statements from others.
  10. Only individuals identified in writing to the OSA at least two (2) full school days in advance of the Hearing may participate.    
  11. Neither the student nor the School may be represented by counsel at the Hearing. The student may be accompanied by a non-attorney advisor of his or her choice.  In instances where criminal charges may be pending or under investigation, the student may have an attorney present.  The Committee may, at its option, have University Counsel or an Assistant Attorney General present or available to provide guidance.  Advisors and attorneys may act only in an advisory capacity and may not address the Committee or examine or cross-examine participants.  The student will be permitted to be present during the presentation of all testimony and other information. The student will be permitted to speak to the Committee and to request that questions be presented to individuals through the Committee. 
  12. A Dean from the Office of Student Affairs will be present at the Hearing ex officio, to assure adherence to policy and to provide information as required or requested by the Committee.  The Dean from the Office of Student Affairs does not participate in deliberations or vote on the outcome of the hearing. 
  13. The Hearing will be closed to the public. All proceedings and decisions will be considered confidential by all participants and advisors.
  14. The three members of the Committee are the sole voting members.  Discussions about the Appeal, except for final deliberations of the Committee, will occur with the student present. 
  15. The recommendation of the Appeals Committee will be sent to the Dean who will consider the recommendation and communicate his/her decision to the student.  The recommendations of the Appeals Committee are advisory only and not binding on the Dean.
  16. A student who is dismissed from school for reasons specified in section F. 1-4 above and who is re-admitted following an appeal shall be dismissed automatically, and without the possibility of appeal, upon a final failing grade in any course.

Factors Typically Taken into Consideration by Appeals Committees

Does the student have a good understanding of why the dismissal took place? Were there reasonable extenuating circumstances presented by the student? Did the student seek assistance with any problems that he or she was facing? Was appropriate assistance offered (e.g., remedial assistance, counseling, recommendation for leave of absence)? Did the student take advantage of recommendations made? Does the student take responsibility for his or her behavior? How motivated is the student to successfully complete the curriculum and to behave in a professional manner? What plans does the student offer to prevent a similar situation from recurring?

In making its recommendations to the Dean for reinstatement, the Appeals Committee may include certain conditions, such as repeating courses or repeating an entire year, regular monitoring by faculty members or administrators, counseling, that certain coursework be taken under certain conditions (e.g., at UMB rather than off-campus).