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MEMBERSHIP: The Grade Appeals committee will consist of five faculty members to be elected by the faculty at large. The committee will elect the chair.

FUNCTION: The committee will hear final course grade appeals not resolved at the level of the academic unit.

GROUNDS FOR APPEAL: Unless the faculty member has acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner in the assignment of the final course grade in question, or unless the instructor's grading policy is in violation of the guidelines established by the University or his/her own policies as noted in the syllabus or other written documents, it is the right of the instructor to determine whether or not the final course grade should be changed.

PROCEDURES: The committee will meet as necessary, and is called by the Committee Chair. Appeals for grade changes may not be made after sixty days from the date the grade was given. The following procedures will be followed:

1. The student will first attempt to resolve the issue by consulting with the instructor.

2. If the issue is unresolved after consultation with the instructor, the student will then consult with the department chair/school dean to attempt a resolution.

3. If the matter is not resolved after consultation with the instructor and the chair/dean, then the student may petition the chair/dean, who will forward the matter to the Grade Appeals Committee. The petition must include the following items: a completed petition form signed by the instructor of the course (unless the instructor is no longer a member of the Francis Marion University faculty), the student's adviser, and the chair/dean of the academic unit that offered the course; a letter explaining the basis for the grade appeal; and if applicable, supporting documents and a list of any other evidence to be presented. The student's argument will be limited to statements from the student and the evidence delineated in the petition.

4. Upon receipt of a completed grade appeal petition, the chair of the Grade Appeals Committee will promptly inform the faculty member, the appropriate department chair/school dean, and the Provost. The committee chair will also make available to the faculty member a copy of the petition and the supporting documentation.

5. The Grade Appeals Committee will conduct a hearing within 30 calendar days of receipt of the petition (excluding during the summer or Christmas break). The committee may seek additional information and advice as it deems necessary. It should be noted that the hearing is not an effort on the part of the University to replicate in any way judicial proceedings in the spirit or sense of a formal court of law. The hearing is designed simply to provide a University forum for appropriate and fair-minded discussions and deliberations. In that spirit, neither the University nor the student may be accompanied by legal counsel.

6. Within 10 workdays after the hearing, the chair of the Grade Appeals Committee will notify the student, the faculty member, and the appropriate department chair/school dean of the committee's findings and recommendations. If the Grade Appeals Committee, through its inquiries and deliberations, determines that the grade should be changed, it will request that the instructor make the change, providing the instructor with a written explanation of its reasons. Should the instructor decline, he or she will provide an explanation for refusing.

7. If after considering the instructor's explanation the Grade Appeals Committee concludes that it would be unjust to allow the original grade to stand, the Committee may then recommend to the appropriate department chair/school dean that the grade be changed. The chair/dean in consultation with the instructor will assign the appropriate grade. Only the chair/dean, upon the written recommendation of the Grade Appeals Committee, has the authority to effect a change in grade over the objection of the instructor who assigned the grade.

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