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George Mason University
2002-03 University Catalog

Academic Policies and Procedures Affecting Both Undergraduates and Graduates

Student Requests and Appeals

A student who wishes to request an exception to published academic regulations or to appeal decisions involving the application of academic regulations to a program of study may do so by submitting a petition to the head of the unit in which the student's program is housed (the department chair, institute director, school or college dean) or his/her designee. Appeal of Grade is a separate process described in the section Examinations and Grades. The process to appeal an Honor Committee decision is described in the section Honor System and Code.

Appeals of Academic Procedures

The University Academic Appeals Committee is the final locus for appeal of decisions regarding late withdrawal, late add, suspension, and dismissal for academic reasons. At its discretion, the committee may choose to review other individual cases that are relevant to the application of university-wide policies. Note that this committee is not charged to hear grade appeals or appeals of Honor Committee decisions. The committee consists of five faculty members, including at least one member of the Faculty Senate, and the provost (or designee) who serves in an ex officio, nonvoting capacity.

The student's appeal must first be adjudicated by the unit (such as college or school) in which the student's program of study is housed. A student who believes that the decision rendered at this level is unfair may appeal to the provost for referral to the committee. The committee hears cases only where procedural irregularities are clearly demonstrated or demonstrably questionable application of university policies to an individual case is shown.

The burden of proof rests with the student, and the student must provide clear and convincing documentation to support the contention that the decision was unfair. If the provost believes that the student has sufficient cause, the case is heard by the committee. The committee decision is final.

The provost is responsible for maintaining appeals records, determining whether students have just cause, and ensuring that complete documentation is available for all committee members. The committee normally meets at least twice each semester to ensure timely action regarding its cases. The committee communicates its decision to the student, the relevant unit, and the provost.

Ombudsman for Student Academic Affairs

Johnson Center, Room 245
(703) 993-3006

The ombudsman for student academic affairs is appointed by the provost to listen to student academic concerns, provide advice and referrals, and assist students with resolving academic conflicts. The ombudsman does not overturn academic actions but may recommend academic policy changes, where appropriate.