Academic Appeals, Complaints, and Concerns
Overall information about the University’s student complaint process can be found here: https://www.sjf.edu/about/student-consumer-information/
Students wishing to make appeals or to bring forward complaints or concerns, including complaints or concerns regarding final grades, should first discuss the issue with the faculty member. If the issue is not satisfactorily resolved at that point, the student should then meet with the department chair or program director. If further discussions are necessary, students should contact the appropriate School dean. To ensure a fair and systematic review, students must follow the steps outlined below.
Process to Reconcile Academic Decisions
If a student wishes to appeal an academic decision of an instructor, he or she must follow the process described below.*
- The student is to initiate a discussion with the instructor responsible for the initial decision in question.
- The instructor is responsible for documenting the outcome of the discussion with the student. Copies of that document are to be provided to the student and to the program director or department chair.
- If the student determines that he or she is not satisfied with the outcome and wishes to further pursue the matter, the student is responsible for notifying the instructor and the program director or department chair of his or her desire within five business days of receipt of the instructor’s communication.
- If the student desires further discussion of the matter, he or she is to initiate a discussion with the department chair or program director. The role of the department chair/ program director is to ascertain to the extent possible the facts surrounding the matter and to clarify applicable graduate academic policies. The department chair/ program director has the option of scheduling a subsequent meeting to include himself or herself, the student, and the instructor. The department chair/ program director is responsible for documenting the discussion outcome(s). Copies of that document are to be provided to the student and to the instructor.
- If the student is not satisfied with the outcome and wishes to further pursue the matter, the student is responsible for notifying the instructor, the program director or department chair, and the School dean of his or her desire within five business days of receipt of the program director’s/ department chair’s communication.
- The School dean will forward all relevant information to the school’s Grade Appeal Committee or other comparable committee within the school. This committee will review all pertinent facts and make a recommendation to the School dean for final review. The School dean shall notify the student, the instructor, and the program director or department chair in writing of the decision to maintain or modify the original academic decision. The School dean’s decision is final.
*If the instructor is the program director of the program in which the student is enrolled, the student will begin this process at Step 4.
NC-SARA Member Student Complaints
St. John Fisher University is a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) and follows the policy for complaints outlined here: https://www.nc-sara.org/student-complaints.
If all grievance procedures have been followed, all avenues of appeal exhausted, and documentation provided that such procedures have been exhausted, and
a) The student resides in New York, then the student has the right to file a complaint with the NYS Office of College and University Evaluation. Details on the New York State Education Department’s complaint procedures can be found here:
b) You reside in a NC-SARA state other than New York, please contact NC-SARA’s New York State Portal Entity:
Please note: NC-SARA consumer protection complaints do NOT include complaints related to grades or student conduct violations, and the New York State Education Department does not intervene in matters concerning an individual’s grades or examination results, as these are the prerogative of the institution’s faculty.
Non-SARA Member Out-Of-State Student Complaints
Students who have complaints that have not been resolved through contact with the University and do not reside in a SARA member state (https://www.nc-sara.org/directory) may seek advisement from the appropriate office in the student’s state of residence.