Student Grievance and Appeal Policies and Procedures

Appalachian State University provides several means by which student complaints and grievances may be addressed. In all cases, students are advised to put their concerns in writing and carefully document the events that led to the complaint or grievance. Because it is sometimes confusing as to which of the routes listed below should be followed, students are advised to contact J.J. Brown, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students (262-2060 or brownjj1@appstate.edu) for advice on which procedure to follow. Concerns should be expressed as soon as possible after the event occurs; some of the procedures below have specific deadlines for filing grievances or complaints.

Final grade appeals

See the Final Grade Appeal Procedure (PDF 19K).

Appeals of academic integrity sanctions

See the “Appeals” section of the Academic Integrity Code

Complaints regarding discrimination or harassment

Contact the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance. First visit the Equity office web site, where you will find a comprehensive list of definitions, policies, and procedures.

Appeals of student conduct recommendations and actions

The procedure for appealing actions or recommendations stemming from a conduct board hearing can be found in the Code of Student Conduct.

Grievances related to the determination of eligibility for reasonable accommodations and/or the provision of disability-related services and/or accommodations through the Office of Disability Services (ODS)

See the procedures outlined on the ODS web site.

Allegations of misconduct by other students

Follow the procedures outlined in section 7.01 of the Code of Student Conduct.

Appeals of state residency classification for tuition purposes

See the appeals section of the residency handbook at http://www.registrar.appstate.edu/residency/manual/10.html.

Appeals of decisions made by the Graduate School

See the appeals policy in the Graduate Bulletin

For complaints that do not fall into the categories above, the following procedure should be followed:

  1. Attempt to resolve the matter directly with the person against whom the complaint is directed.
  2. If a resolution is not reached, submit the complaint in writing to the person’s immediate supervisor. For a faculty member, this will usually be the department chair or program director. For a staff member, it will be the administrator to whom the staff member reports. If you are unsure whom to contact, call the office of the Dean of Students for advice. The supervisor will investigate the matter and work with you toward a resolution of your complaint.
  3. If you are not satisfied with the resolution, submit your complaint in writing to the next level supervisor (in the case of a faculty member, this will normally be a dean or associate/assistant dean in the college that the course and faculty member is in).
  4. If the issue is still not resolved, contact one of the following:
    1. For undergraduate student academic issues: Michael Mayfield, Interim Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (262-7660 or mayfldmw@appstate.edu)
    2. For graduate student academic issues: Holly Hirst, Associate Dean, Graduate School at 262-2130 or hirsthp@appstate.edu
    3. For all other issues: J.J. Brown, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students at 262-2060 or brownjj1@appstate.edu.
  5. If you have followed this process and you complaint has still not been resolved, contact Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Stewart Gonzalez for academic issues (262-2070 or gonzalezls@appstate.edu) or Vice Chancellor for Student Development Cindy Wallace (262-2060 or wallaceca@appstate.edu) for all other issues.
  6. The final court of appeal for internal resolution of student complaints is the Chancellor’s Office.

If you need help at any point in this process, contact the office of the Dean of Students. Here are some tips that may help you in the process of resolving your complaint:

  1. Whoever is investigating your complaint will want to hear all sides of the story before making a recommendation and may ask you to meet with the person against whom your complaint is directed.
  2. Although the above procedure shows some separation between academic and other issues, in practice the offices of the Dean of Students and Academic Affairs work closely together in attempting to resolve student complaints.
  3. Your confidentiality will be protected within reason, but officials of the university may require access to your “educational record,” which includes most of the information that the university has about you. However, most people outside the university do not have access to your educational record without your written permission. Except in certain emergency situations, and unless your parents have established that they claim you as a dependent for income tax purposes, we obtain your written permission before discussing your educational record with your parents. For more information on the confidentiality of student records, see FERPA and Student Records Access.
  4. You have the right to retain legal counsel, but if you do, all communication with the university about your complaint will be handled through the University Attorney’s Office.
  5. While you may be tempted to “start at the top” and contact the Chancellor’s office first, it is almost always more effective to follow the procedure outlined above. In most cases the Chancellor will refer the matter back down through the reporting lines so that this process can be followed.
  6. It is very important for you to be completely honest throughout the process of filing a complaint; “knowingly furnishing false information to a conduct board or to a conduct review officer, or to any other University official” is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.