Southwestern Adventist University

Undergraduate Bulletin 2011-2012 PDF

Student Rights & Appeals Policies

Student Academic Appeals Process *

A student who feels that he or she has been treated unfairly or unjustly by a faculty member of the university with regard to an academic process has the right to appeal according to approved procedure. Specific grounds for an appeal include one or more of the following occurrences:

(1) that a computational/recording, or other technical error has been made but has not been acknowledged by the instructor; (2) that the grade has been assigned in an arbitrary, capricious, or vindictive manner, or in a manner intended to inappropriately manipulate or control the student; (3) that the assigned grade does not reflect the grading criteria in the course syllabus; or (4) that published department policies have not been followed.

*Nursing students see the item "Nursing Student's Grievance Policy".

Initial Appeals Procedure

  1. To initiate the appeals procedure, the student must talk with the course instructor for explanation/review of the decision within three (3) University days of the occurrence. (University days are defined as time during the fall, spring or summer semester that the academic program is in session from registration through final exams).
  2. If the problem is not resolved within two (2) University days of talking with the course instructor, the student must obtain an Academic Appeals Review Form from the course instructor's department chair. Within two (2) University days, the student must submit the form with a written summary and talk to the instructor's department chair. The chair has two (2) University days to respond to the student. This completes STEP I on the Academic Appeals Review Form.
  3. If the problem is not resolved, the student has two (2) University days from receipt of the chair's decision to contact the Vice President for Academic Administration, providing the written summary of the complaint and the academic appeals review form. Within two (2) University days the Vice President for Academic Administration will provide a written decision. This completes STEP II on the Academic Appeals Review Form.

Formal Appeals Procedure

If the problem is not resolved with the decision of the Vice President for Academic Administration, the student may file a formal grievance. A formal grievance is a serious matter and should be done with careful consideration.

Within two (2) days of the Vice President for Academic Administration's decision, the student must request in writing to the Vice President for Academic Administration a formal hearing before the Grievance Committee, an ad hoc subcommittee of the Academic Policies Committee. The Grievance Committee will meet within three (3) days of the request to hear the student's case and will issue a decision which will constitute final action by the University. This completes STEP III on the Appeals Review Form.

Withdrawal of Grievance

At any time during the grievance procedure, the student may withdraw the complaint. Additionally, missing a deadline or failure by the student to appear for any scheduled hearing without prior notification or evidence of extenuating circumstances, shall constitute final action by the University.

Matters not Grievable

University policies, regulations or procedures adopted by the University and/or the Board of Trustees are not subject to the grievance process. Students may request discussion and recommend changes to such policies, but this dialogue is advisory and not grievable.

For academic policy and procedure appeals:

  1. Registrar
  2. Vice President for Academic Administration
  3. Academic Policies Committee

Student Records - Student Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They have:

  1. The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 daysof the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the records as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his/her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate education interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health service staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility. FERPA permits the University to disclose any and all education records , including disciplinary records, to another institution at which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U. S. Department of Education concerning the alleged failures by Southwestern Adventist University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202-4605

    The University may, at its discretion, publish or release the following information without prior consent unless the student requests in writing that certain information be withheld: Student name, address, telephone listing, enrollment status, class, major field of study, most recent previous school attended, photographs, date and place of birth, participation in officially recognized activities, e-mail address, dates of enrollment, anticipated date of graduation, degrees, awards and honors. The Registrar is responsible for compliance with the provision of this Act. Questions concerning the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act may be referred to the Records Office.

Student Records - Southwestern Adventist University Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides ways in which the University may share information with parents without the student's consent. For example:

  1. The University will disclose education records to parents, upon request, if the student is a dependent for income tax purposes.
  2. The University will disclose education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.
  3. The University will inform parents if the student who is under age 21 has violated any law or its policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
  4. A University official will generally share with a parent information that is based on that official's personal knowledge or observation of the student.

The University will disclose to an alleged victim of any crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University against the alleged perpetrator of that crime, regardless of whether the institution concluded a violation was committed. The University may disclose to anyone - not just the victim - the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if it determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, and with respect to the allegation made against him or her, the student has committed a violation of the University's rules or policies.


Southwestern Adventist University