Student Academic Grievance Procedure

Grievable Issues

Students have the right to present a grievance following this procedure on an academic question if they believe that they have been unfairly treated in the grading of a didactic course or clinical course. The problem will be resolved in a timely manner.

Grievance Committee

The chair of the Committee on Admission (COA), in collaboration with the Dean of Students, yearly appoints a Committee on Grievance, consisting of faculty representing levels of educational programs and specializations and students, also representing levels of programs and specializations who are willing to serve on grievance committees as necessary. The chair of COA serves as the non-voting chair of the Grievance Committee and will convene the committee. Members will serve one year and may be reappointed for another consecutive term. When necessary to convene a Grievance Panel, three (3) faculty and one (1) student will be chosen from the Committee on Grievance. No members will serve on a grievance panel in which they have direct involvement; if sufficient numbers without involvement cannot be found to hear any given grievance, the chair of COA may temporarily appoint additional members.

Grievance Process

1. Students who believe they have a grievable academic issue must meet with the involved faculty member within ten (10) working days after the student is informed of the grade in question. The faculty member is expected to respond to the student’s concern in writing within ten (10) working days of the meeting. Written communication will be sent via email to the student.

2. If the student’s concern is not resolved by Step 1, the student will meet with the Dean of Students within ten (10) working days of receipt of the faculty response in Step 1. If the matter is still not resolved and the matter merits a grievance, the Dean of Students will complete the Academic Grievance Form with the student and notify the chair of COA of the need for a grievance panel.

3. The chair of COA will notify the grievance panel within ten (10) working days of receipt of need for the grievance hearing. A date for the grievance hearing will be scheduled not to exceed forty-five (45) days from notification of the grievance. COA chair will also assure that all members of the panel receive a copy of the written academic grievance, response from the faculty and all support documentation two (2) weeks prior to the hearing. If either the grievant or the faculty member involved intends to ask other Columbia University School of Nursing faculty or students to provide information for the panel, it is the responsibility of the grievant or faculty member to make arrangements for these individuals to attend the scheduled hearing. This is not a legal proceeding and therefore no lawyers are to be present.

The hearing will be attended by:

  • Grievance Panel: three (3) faculty and one (1) student members
  • Grievant
  • Faculty member involved
  • COA Chair (as advisor of the Panel)
  • Dean of Students (as advisor to the student)
  • Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs (as advisor to the faculty)

4. The Grievance Meeting proceeds as follows, with each person presenting in sequence and individually to the grievance panel:

  • The grievant presents the issue being grieved, including any relevant documentation.
  • Any faculty or students the grievant wishes to present to the panel will speak.
  • The faculty member presents the issue being grieved, including any relevant documentation.
  • Any faculty or students the faculty member wishes to present to the panel will speak.

5. After considering all the information presented, in a private deliberation, the grievance panel will determine by majority vote, whether or not the student has been treated unfairly. In the case of a 50-50 vote, the chair of COA will cast a vote to break the tie. The chair of COA will inform the Dean of Students and the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs of the panel’s decision, in writing within twenty-four (24) hours of the meeting. Immediately, the Dean of Students will inform the grievant and the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs will inform the faculty member of the panel’s decision.

The student has the right to direct an appeal to the Dean of School of Nursing regarding a decision that results from the Grievance Panel. The three grounds for appeal are:

  1. A procedural error affecting the findings or determinations
  2. New information that was not available at the time of the hearing that may change the determination
  3. Excessiveness of the sanction

The appeal must be made in writing within seven (7) working days of the time he or she is notified of the decision, and it must clearly state the grounds for appeal. Such appeals should be sent to the Dean of the School of Nursing/School of Nursing Building Room 400B.

Normally, in considering such an appeal, the Dean of the School relies solely upon the written record and does not conduct a new factual investigation. Moreover, the Dean focuses upon whether, in the Dean’s view, the decision made is reasonable under all of the circumstances of the case. There is no further appeal within the University.