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General Appeals on Academic Standing

Students have a right to a fair and impartial hearing of any College decision on matters of academic standing.

A student who wishes to appeal a decision pertaining to academic standing must file a written notice of appeal with the Registrar within ten (10) days of being informed of the decision to be appealed. The Registrar shall provide the student with a copy of the Education Council Policy and Procedure for General Appeals on Academic Standing.

1. Policy

This policy affirms the student's right to a fair and impartial hearing of any Okanagan College decision on matters of academic standing, other than grade and admission appeals, which shall be governed by the College's grade and admission policies and procedures.

2. Jurisdiction

  1. The Education Council shall establish an Academic Appeals Committee, hereafter called the committee.
  2. The committee is the forum of final appeal for students in matters of academic standing as mandated in Section 24 of the College and Institute Act.
  3. The committee has no jurisdiction where the sole question raised in an appeal turns on the exercise of academic judgement of a student's work or performance by a faculty member.

3. Composition of the Committee

  1. The committee shall consist of the following: one faculty member from each of the program areas, one student enrolled in a degree or two-year diploma program (selected by Education Council), one student enrolled in a developmental or vocational program (selected by Education Council), Vice President, Education or designate.
  2. The committee shall be chaired by the Vice President, Education or designate.
  3. If any member of the committee is directly or indirectly involved in a matter that may be considered by the committee to put the member in a conflict of interest, a replacement for that member shall be named by the Chair of the committee. If the Chair is involved, he or she shall be replaced temporarily by a person named by the Chair of the Education Council and a temporary Chair shall be elected by the committee.
  4. All members of the committee shall be voting members (one vote each). In the event of a tie vote, a motion fails.
  5. The appellant may challenge for cause the neutrality of any member of the committee scheduled to hear his or her appeal. The chair, on the advice of the committee, will rule on the validity of the challenge. If the challenge is upheld, the member challenged shall not take any part in the appeal.
  6. Members of the committee shall be reimbursed for travel expenses to attend meetings, in accordance with College policy.

4. Terms of Reference

  1. The committee shall hear and adjudicate appeals by students pertaining to decisions on matters of academic standing.
  2. The committee shall allow an appeal where it decides on the basis of clear and convincing evidence that the decision has been arrived at through improper or unfair procedures and that as a result, a wrong decision on the merits has been reached.
    Without limiting the generality of the phrase "improper or unfair procedures", it shall include the consideration of information which ought not to have been considered or the failure to consider information that should have been considered.
  3. Where the committee allows an appeal, it may:
    • Reverse the decision and grant such academic standing to the appellant as the committee thinks fit in the circumstances; or
    • Quash the decision and send the matter back to the dean to be dealt with in accordance with proper procedures.
  4. In all cases other than those falling within paragraph 4.b the committee shall confirm the decision being appealed.
  5. "Dismiss the Appeal" means to decide that the decision being appealed is confirmed.

5. Grounds of Appeal

  1. A student may appeal a decision on a matter of academic standing on one or more of the following grounds:

    1. There was unfairness in the process leading to the decision.
    2. New evidence has come to light that was not available at the time of the decision which, if presented initially, could have resulted in a different decision.

6. Procedures Prior to the Hearing

  1. A student (hereafter referred to as the appellant) shall make every reasonable effort to resolve an issue related to academic standing through discussions with the relevant instructor, department chairperson and dean, with the dean (hereafter referred to as the respondent) deciding the final position on the issue. A written decision on the issue under discussion shall be provided to the appellant by the respondent, within a time limit agreed to by the parties.
  2. A student who wishes to appeal a decision on academic standing shall lodge a written notice of appeal with the Vice President, Education within ten days of being informed in writing of the dean's final decision.
  3. Within five days of receiving a written notice of appeal the Vice President, Education shall deliver to the appellant a copy of this policy and, in addition, shall inform the appellant that he or she is entitled to appear before the committee. This policy shall be deemed to have been received by the appellant five days after having been mailed.
  4. The appellant and the respondent have the right to be represented by counsel provided reasonable notice is given to the committee. If the appellant chooses to be represented by counsel, this shall be at the expense of the appellant. The committee may have the assistance of counsel.
  5. Within fifteen days of receiving the notice from the Vice President, Education (under 6.c), the appellant shall file a statement of appeal with the Vice President, Education. This should contain:
    • a statement of the decision from which the appeal is being taken.
    • a statement of the relief which the appellant seeks.
    • the reason for the appeal.
    • a brief chronological statement of the circumstances relating to the appeal.
    • copies of any documents which the appellant intends to rely on at the hearing.
    • the names of any witnesses the appellant proposes to call at the hearing. It is the appellant's responsibility to ensure that such witnesses are present at the hearing.
  6. Within five days of its receipt, the Vice President, Education shall send the appellant's statement of appeal to the respondent.
  7. Within fifteen days of the receipt from the Vice President, Education of the appellant's statement of appeal, the respondent shall file a response with the Vice President, Education. This should contain:
    • a confirmation of the nature of the decision from which the student is appealing or, if the decision is not properly stated in the appellant's statement of appeal, a statement as to the nature of the decision;
    • the respondent's response to the grounds of appeal;
    • the respondent's comments on the chronological statements of events;
    • copies of any documents which the respondent intends to rely on at the hearings;
    • the names of any witnesses the respondent proposes to call at the hearing. It is the respondent's responsibility to ensure that such witnesses are present at the hearing.
    • the respondent's position on the relief sought and the reasons.
  8. Within five days of the receipt of the respondent's response, the Vice President, Education shall send that response to the appellant.
  9. Within ten days of the receipt of the respondent's response the Vice President, Education shall set a date for a hearing. The hearing shall take place within ten days of the receipt of the respondent's response unless the appellant and the respondent agree otherwise.
  10. Prior to the hearing the Vice President, Education shall provide copies of material submitted by the appellant and the respondent to the members of the committee.
  11. The Vice President, Education may, of his or her own volition or at the request of the appellant or the respondent, extend the time limits provided for in these regulations. If the Vice President, Education refuses to extend the time limits on the request of the appellant or the respondent, his or her decision may be appealed to the committee as a whole, and the committee may extend the time limits as it sees fit.
  12. The committee may, at its discretion, dismiss an appeal for want of prosecution, for example, if timelines are not met.

7. Procedures at the Hearing

  1. A quorum for any hearing before the committee shall consist of at least five members.
  2. At the hearing, subject to the rulings of the committee, the following procedure should be followed.
    • The appellant may make an opening statement. The appellant may call and examine witnesses.
    • The respondent may cross-examine any of the witnesses called by the appellant, including, where appropriate, the appellant.
    • The respondent may make an opening statement. The respondent may call and examine witnesses.
      The appellant may cross-examine any of the respondent's witnesses.
    • The appellant may make a closing statement.
    • The respondent may make a closing statement.
    • The appellant may respond to any matters arising out of the respondent's statement to which the appellant has not yet spoken.
    • The committee may impose reasonable time limits for the hearing of witnesses and statements.
  3. The committee may request that it be provided with further information other than that supplied initially by the appellant or the respondent. Without limiting this general power if, after a hearing, the committee is of the opinion that it requires further information in order to reach a decision, it may either ask that the additional information be supplied at a further hearing or, without a hearing. It may ask that the information be supplied to it in writing. In the latter case, both the appellant and the respondent must be given the opportunity of commenting on the information so supplied before the committee reaches a final decision.

8. The Decision

  1. The committee shall arrive at a decision on the basis of a majority vote of those voting members of the committee present at the hearing.
  2. In the event of a tie vote an appeal shall be dismissed.
  3. The decision of the committee shall be communicated in writing to the appellant and to the respondent within ten days of the final hearing of the appeal or such longer period as the committee decides is necessary.
  4. The committee shall give reasons for its decision, and in the case of a minority vote, the minority may if it wishes give reasons for its dissent.
  5. The decision of the committee is final.

9. Reporting

  1. The committee shall report to the Education Council annually, summarizing its work in the previous year and make recommendations regarding modifications to the policy and procedures under which it operates.

10. Time Limits

  1. In this policy, a reference to a number of days shall exclude Saturdays or Sundays and any days on which the College is closed.

Final Appeal Tribunal

Students have an entitlement to reviews and hearings, on matters relating to academic standing and grades, which are conducted in a manner which is procedurally fair and impartial.

1. Policy

This policy establishes a Final Appeal Tribunal (the "Tribunal") to review student appeals relating to the process or procedure by which a Grade Appeal or General Appeal on Academic Standing has been determined.

The Tribunal shall hear and adjudicate student appeals which relate to the question of whether a hearing or other process was conducted in a manner which was not procedurally fair and impartial and whether that procedural defect substantially affected the outcome of the hearing or process.

2. Timing of and Content of Appeal to the Tribunal

A student wishing to initiate a review by the Tribunal must file a written notice of appeal with the Vice President, Education or his or her designate (the "Vice President, Education") within ten (10) days of the student's receipt of a decision from the Grade Appeal or General Appeal on Academic Standing committee.

The student's notice of appeal must:

  1. identify the specific grounds upon which the student alleges the hearing or other process was not procedurally fair and impartial, including a chronological statement of the factual circumstances supporting the stated grounds for the appeal;
  2. provide copies of any related documents or documents upon which the student intends to rely before the Tribunal;
  3. provide the names of any persons whose conduct the appealing student alleges was not fair or impartial.

The student may submit other information or materials to the Vice President, Education as the student deems appropriate in the circumstances.

The Vice President, Education, Chair of Education Council and Vice Chair of Education Council shall review the information and materials submitted in the appealing student's notice of appeal to determine whether, without deciding the merits of the appeal, the notice of appeal discloses reasonable grounds for review of the hearing or process followed by the Grade Appeal or General Appeal on Academic Standing committee. No member of this group shall be involved in a matter that may be considered by the group to place that person in a conflict of interest. In the event that there is determined to be a conflict of interest, that person shall be replaced by a designate named by the Vice President, Education.

If, on a full consideration of the information and materials submitted by the appealing student, the Vice President, Education, Chair of Education Council and Vice Chair of Education Council conclude there are not reasonable grounds for a review, the appeal may be declined. In that event, the Vice President, Education shall notify the student of the decision and shall provide a synopsis of the reasons for the decision. This decision is final with no further appeal.

3. Jurisdiction of Final Appeal Tribunal

The Tribunal is the forum of final appeal for students in matters of procedural fairness and impartiality as mandated in section 24(2)(e) of the British Columbia College and Institute Act.

The Tribunal has no jurisdiction over questions raised in an appeal which relate to the merits of a Grade Appeal or General Appeal on Academic Standing. The Tribunal shall consider only appeals which relate to the question of whether a hearing or other process was conducted in a manner which was not procedurally fair and impartial.

The Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction to inquire into, hear, and determine all matters of evidence and argument relating to the fairness and impartiality of the Grade Appeal or General Appeal on Academic Standing committees' process. The decisions of the Tribunal are final and binding on the student and are not open to question, review, or appeal in any other forum.

It is not the intention of this policy to intrude upon or interfere with the Grade Appeal or General Appeal on Academic Standing committees' discretion to conduct hearings and related processes in a manner which is expedient or efficient, within their stated terms of reference, so long as those hearings and processes are fair and impartial.

4. Composition of the Tribunal

The Tribunal shall comprise the following:

  1. the Vice President, Education;
  2. one student enrolled in a degree, diploma program or a certificate program of not less than 6 months, and not from the program area where the appealing student is, or has been, studying (selected by Education Council or a committee of Education Council as delegated); and
  3. three faculty members from programs other than the one in which the appealing student is, or has been, studying (selected by Education Council or a committee of Education Council as delegated). The Chair of Education Council will fill one of the three faculty positions on the Tribunal in the event the Vice President, Education is found to be in conflict of interest.

The Tribunal shall be chaired by the Vice President, Education.

No member of the Tribunal shall be involved in a matter that may be considered by the Tribunal to place the member in a conflict of interest. In the event that a member of the Tribunal is found to be in a conflict of interest, that member shall be replaced by a person named by the Chair of the Tribunal. If the Chair of the Tribunal is in a conflict of interest, a replacement shall be named by the Chair of Education Council and a temporary Chair of the Tribunal shall be elected by the Tribunal.

All members of the Tribunal shall be voting members (with one vote each).

Prior to the Tribunal hearing the student's appeal, the student shall be informed of the members of the Tribunal and shall have the opportunity to challenge, to Chair of Education Council, the neutrality of any member of the Tribunal.

5. Procedures Prior to the Appeal Before the Tribunal

Within twelve (12) days of receiving the student's notice of appeal, or as soon thereafter as is reasonably possible in the circumstances (giving consideration to the time of year, especially during the months of July and August), the Vice President, Education shall deliver to the appealing student a copy of this policy and, in addition, shall inform the student of the date, location and time on which the student is entitled to appear before the Tribunal.

The Tribunal's hearing shall be scheduled for a date within forty-five (45) days of the Vice President, Education's receipt of the student's notice of appeal, or such date thereafter as is reasonably possible in the circumstances (giving consideration to the time of year, especially during the months of July and August).

The appealing student shall, no less than ten (10) days before the scheduled appeal date, notify the Tribunal if the student intends to be accompanied at the Tribunal hearing by an advocate.

Prior to the Tribunal's hearing, the Tribunal members shall each be provided with a copy of the student's notice of appeal and related materials.

The Tribunal may, at its discretion, request the appealing student to provide more information or materials prior to the Tribunal Hearing and may designate dates on which that information or materials must be submitted.

The Tribunal may, at its discretion, allow the appealing student to submit such other supplemental materials which the student believes will be of relevance to the Tribunal's determination of the appeal.

The Tribunal may, at its discretion, allow the appealing student to make amendments to the notice of appeal prior to the Tribunal hearing when those grounds, or the related circumstances, could not reasonably have been known to the student at the time of submission of the notice of appeal.

The Tribunal may solicit submissions, information, and materials from such other persons as may, in the Tribunal's discretion, be deemed to be relevant to the student's appeal. The Tribunal may invite such other persons to appear at the Tribunal hearing as may, in the Tribunal's discretion, be deemed to be relevant to the student's appeal.

The Tribunal may at any time, at its discretion, dismiss a student's appeal if the student has substantially failed to cooperate with the Tribunal in the processing and advancement of the student's appeal including, for example, the student's failure to adhere to time limitations or to respond to the Tribunal's communications in relation to the appeal.

6. Procedures at the Tribunal Hearing

The Tribunal hearing shall take place on a date and time at which all five (5) members of the Tribunal are present.

The Tribunal shall not entertain submissions from the student on new grounds for appeal which were not identified in the student's notice of appeal or any amendment thereto.

At the Tribunal hearing, subject to the ongoing rulings of the Tribunal Chair, the following procedure shall be followed.

  1. The appealing student (or advocate) may make a brief opening statement (recommended timeframe of no more than 10 minutes).
  2. The Tribunal Chair may call upon any other persons in attendance to make a brief opening statement (recommended timeframe of no more than 10 minutes).
  3. The appealing student (or advocate) may present information and materials which support the student's assertion that the manner in which the hearing or other process was conducted was patently unfair or biased and that this procedural defect substantially affected the outcome of the hearing or process (recommended timeframe of no more than 45 minutes).
  4. The Tribunal Chair may call upon any other person in attendance to present information and materials which rebut the appealing student's assertions (recommended timeframe of no more than 45 minutes).
  5. The appealing student (or advocate) may respond to any rebuttals made by any other persons in attendance (recommended timeframe of no more than 15 minutes).
  6. The appealing student (or advocate) may make a brief closing statement (recommended timeframe of no more than 10 minutes).
  7. The Tribunal Chair may call upon any other persons in attendance to make a brief closing statement (recommended timeframe of no more than 10 minutes).
  8. The Tribunal may designate or make use of additional steps or procedures which, in the discretion of the Tribunal, are deemed appropriate in the circumstances to ensure the student has had a full and fair opportunity to be heard and to put forward the basis for the appeal. The Tribunal may, for example:
    1. extend the recommended time frames set out above;
    2. request further information or materials from the student or another person;
    3. request submissions from or attendance by additional persons at a further hearing date; and
    4. make such enquiries or investigations as it considers appropriate in the circumstances.
  9. At any time during the hearing the Tribunal members may ask questions of the student and any persons in attendance.
  10. Upon the conclusion of the Tribunal Hearing, the Tribunal shall deliberate and shall, on that date or on such other date as the Tribunal may designate, determine the outcome of the student's appeal.

7. The Tribunal's Decision

The Tribunal shall arrive at a decision regarding the student's appeal on the basis of a majority vote of the Tribunal's five (5) members.

The Tribunal shall give full consideration to the relevant submissions of the student and of other persons. The Tribunal shall give full consideration to the processes and procedure utilized by the Grade Appeal or General Appeal on Academic Standing committee to determine whether the hearing conducted was patently unfair to the student or biased against the student and whether this procedural defect substantially affected the outcome of the hearing or process.

The Tribunal's decision shall be communicated to the appealing student within ten (10) days of the completion of the Tribunal hearing or as soon thereafter as is reasonably possible in the circumstances (giving consideration to the time of year, especially during the months of July and August). The Tribunal shall provide the student with a synopsis of the reasons for its decision.

When the Tribunal allows a student's appeal it must send the matter back to the Grade Appeal or General Appeal on Academic Standing committee for re-hearing in a manner which is fair and impartial.

When the Tribunal denies a student's appeal its decision is final and binding on the student and is not open to question, review, or appeal in any other forum.

8. Calculation of Time for the Purposes of This Policy

In this policy, a reference to a number of days shall exclude Saturdays, Sundays, statutory holidays, and any other days on which the College's administrative functions are not active.

Okanagan College Calendar: Printed 06/24/2017