General Information

Students, faculty, and staff of the University of Saskatchewan are occasionally in disagreement or dispute over any of a wide variety of matters.  Whether these are academic or non-academic in nature, the university and its colleges are required to provide for ways and means of resolving such disagreements or disputes.  To achieve this, University Council, the administration of the university, and other bodies have enacted policies and procedures to ensure fairness, integrity, justice, and accountability in the decision-making processes of those who are required to make decisions as a function of their jobs.  Part of this system allows students and others to raise formal and informal complaints, and also to appeal decisions made.

The sections below provide an overview of the most commonplace processes of disagreement- or dispute-resolution involving students.  The material below should not be considered comprehensive, and students are advised to carefully read all applicable college and university documents, and to ask questions—as necessary—to sufficiently familiarize themselves with the processes of the institution.

The sections below only apply to undergraduate students of the College of Education.  Graduate students of the departments of the College of Education are subject to the processes and policies of their respective departments and the College of Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies.

 

Student Appeals of Evaluation, Grading, and Academic Standing

The College of Education is bound by the University of Saskatchewan Policy on Student Appeals of Evaluation, Grading and Academic Standing.  Procedures established for attending to student grievances or appeals of these matters are maintained by the office of the university secretary.  These were most recently updated in July 2019.

Operationally, University Council has established procedures that divide such grievances and appeals into two types:

    1. those related to substantive academic judgement:
      • student dissatisfaction with the assessment of their work or performance in any aspect of course work, including a midterm or final examination
    2. those related to matters other than substantive academic judgement:
      • student dissatisfaction with issues arising that do no fall within the assessment of their work or performance directly, but which may affect a student's academic record, standing, or status

Matters of the first type are initially addressed informally between student and instructor. "If the student is not satisfied with the academic judgment rendered with respect to the work or performance, they may request reconsideration of the assessment" (Procedures for Student Appeals in Academic Matters, 2019, s. III(A)) at the department level.  "A ruling of a department-level decision on a matter of substantive academic judgment will be final and not subject to further appeal" (Procedures for Student Appeals in Academic Matters, 2019, s. III(B)(f)).

In the College of Education, matters of the second type are addressed formally in one of two ways: (a) by appeal to the College of Education Standing Committee on Student Affairs and Academic Standards when related to program standing (see, for example, Requirement to Discontinue discussed below), or (b) by appeal to the dean (or designate) of the College when related to "assessment of their academic work or performance in course work [that] has been negatively affected by a factor not involving academic judgment of the substance of the work or performance" (Procedures for Student Appeals in Academic Matters, 2019, s. V(A)(2)).  

Formal appeals to the Student Affairs and Academic Standards Committee should be submitted electronically to advising.education@usask.ca.  

Formal appeals to the dean (or designate) are heard by the associate dean (research, graduate support, and international initiatives) and should be submitted electronically to ed.appeals@usask.ca.

 

Appeals of Requirement to Discontinue (RTD) Decisions

Undergraduate students who have received notice of Requirement to Discontinue under the academic policies of the College of Education may appeal such decisions.  Appeals are made in writing and addressed to the chair of the Student Affairs and Academic Standards Committee.  

Documentation and a letter clarifying the grounds for appeal must be sent by electronic mail to advising.education@usask.ca no later than the date specified within the notice.

 

Appeals of Student Affairs and Academic Standards Committee (SAASC) Decisions

Undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Education who are seeking an amendment to their program of study are advised to contact a student advisor in the Undergraduate Programs Office.  All such amendments that require academic approval will be reviewed by the Student Affairs and Academic Standards Committee.  As noted earlier, the committee also hears appeals of Requirements to Discontinue.  Letters outlining the decision of the committee are forwarded directly to students by the committee chair.

Students may appeal decisions of the Student Affairs and Academic Standards Committee in accord with the deadlines outlined in the letter from the committee chair.  Appeals involve a review of the decision by the dean of the College of Education (or designate).

 

SAASC Appeal Process

The process for preparing an appeal begins with:

    • the identification of an error or conflict in the committee's application of College or University policy;
    • a claim that the consequence of a decision of the committee is disproportionate to the request or infraction leading to the original review by the committee; or
    • the introduction of additional facts—not available at the time of, or within the scope of, the original review by the committee—to ensure that fairness in review is present. 

Appeals are commonly made by students based on one or more of the following three grounds:

    • compassionate:
      • a claim based on compassionate grounds will arise when unforeseen circumstances—beyond the student’s control—in a student’s family or personal life can be understood as causally linked to a period of uncharacteristically poor academic performance, where the student has sought remediation.
    • medical:
      • a claim based on medical grounds will arise when a student has suffered a professionally diagnosed ailment or disease for which they have received a documented treatment plan.
    • procedural:
      • a claim based on procedural grounds will arise when a student has been adversely affected by a policy or conflict of policies of the College or University.

In all cases outlined above, students wishing to appeal are required to provide all of the following documents in advance of an appeal being entertained by the dean (or designate):

    1. a copy of the letter received from the Student Affairs and Academic Standards Committee;
    2. a dated and addressed formal letter summarizing the rationale for the appeal, including the category outlined above, and providing any additional explanation in support of this appeal; and
    3. documents offering evidence in support of the additional explanation and the basis for the appeal.

Documents noted above must be submitted in advance of the deadline outlined in the letter received from the committee.  Please submit all documents electronically to the office of the associate dean (research, graduate support, and international initiatives) in the College of Education.  The associate dean is currently designated by the dean of the College of Education to entertain appeals falling within the dean's jurisdiction.

Students are advised that letters of support from family members and friends will not be considered in appeals; such do not offer independent evidence.  

 

SAASC Appeal Results

Students will be notified of the disposition (ruling) and rationale by letter from the associate dean (research, graduate support, and international initiatives).  Appeals granted will offer instruction to relevant offices of the University and College indicating action required to ensure remedies are implemented forthwith.  Appeals denied uphold the results provided in the original decision of the Student Affairs and Academic Standards Committee.  Appeals may be granted, in part, meaning that only a specifically outlined portion of the Student Affairs and Academic Standards Committee decision is overturned—all remaining portions are upheld.

Generally speaking, undergraduate student appeals based on the following will not be granted:

    • Without compelling and substantiated reasons, appeals sought after the date provided for such in the letter from the committee chair;
    • Without compelling and substantiated reasons, appeals supported only by medical evidence of alleged illness or disease that could have been provided to the Student Affairs and Academic Standards Committee in advance of their original review, but was not;
    • Appeals based on student ignorance of published University or College policy;
    • Appeals based on any of the following:
      • careless or last-minute holiday or travel arrangements;
      • misreading of schedules, timelines, or letters indicating a requirement for student action to be taken;
      • consequences of student compliance with University or College policy, schedule, or timelines and the disruption of paid employment;
      • supporting evidence that can be shown to be fraudulent, dishonest, or acquired by fraudulent or dishonest means;
    • Appeals considered to be vexatious or frivolous; and
    • Appeals sought absent evidence.

Appeals considered vexatious or frivolous may lead to disciplinary action through avenues available under the University of Saskatchewan Regulations on Student Non-Academic Misconduct.

 

Academic and Non-Academic Misconduct in the College of Education

The College of Education is bound by the University of Saskatchewan Regulations on Student Academic Misconduct and the University of Saskatchewan Regulations on Student Non-Academic Misconduct. Processes outlined within these documents are followed.

 

Academic and Non-Academic Misconduct Defined

University of Saskatchewan Regulations on Student Academic Misconduct (2017, s. II(B)) provide the following definitions of academic misconduct:

      1. Providing false or misleading information or documentation to gain admission to the university or any university program;
      2. Theft of lecture notes, research work, computer files, or other academic or research materials (including data) prepared by another student or an instructor or staff member;
      3. Using work done in one course in fulfilment of any requirement of another course unless approval is obtained from the instructor by whom the material is being evaluated;
      4. Alteration or falsification of records, computer files, or any document relating to a student’s academic performance;
      5. Violation of the university’s Responsible Conduct of Research Policy;
      6. Fabrication or invention of sources;
      7. Examinations: The following are examples of academic misconduct involving examinations:
        1. Failure to observe any stated rule with regard to the procedure used in an examination (or an activity undertaken for academic credit) where such a failure could result in the student gaining relatively greater credit;
        2. Altering answers on a returned examination;
        3. When prohibited, removing an examination (including creating a digital copy) from the examination room;
        4. Seeking to acquire or acquiring prior knowledge of the contents of any examination question or paper with the intention of gaining an unfair advantage;
        5. Attempting to use, possessing or using notes or other sources of information or devices not permitted by the course instructor in an examination;
        6. Consulting or seeking the assistance of others when writing a “take home” examination unless permitted by the course instructor;
        7. Providing false or misleading information with the intent to avoid or delay writing an examination or fulfilling any other academic requirement;
        8. Failing to observe the terms of any agreement not to disclose the contents of an examination;
        9. Misrepresenting or conspiring with another person to misrepresent the identity of a student writing an examination or engaging in any other form of assessment;
      8. Knowingly doing anything designed to interfere with the opportunities of another person to have his or her contribution fully recognized or to participate in the academic program;
      9. Preventing others from fair and equal access to University facilities or resources, including library resources;
      10. Using or attempting to use personal relationships, bribes, threats or other illegal conduct to gain unearned grades or academic advantages;
      11. Knowingly assisting another person engaged in actions that amount to academic misconduct, including the supply of materials prepared by the student to another student for use by that student as the work or materials of that student;
      12. Plagiarism: the presentation of the work or idea of another in such a way as to give others the impression that it is the work or idea of the presenter. Adequate attribution is required. What is essential is that another person have no doubt which words or research results are the student’s and which are drawn from other sources. Full explicit acknowledgement of the source of the material is required.
      13. Unprofessional conduct that occurs in academic or clinical settings or other work placements, or that is related to the student's area of professional practice. Professional Colleges may develop professionalism policies that define unprofessional conduct in the context of the professional programs. In Professional Colleges where the professionalism is part of the academic assessment of the student, unprofessional conduct may also be addressed through academic evaluation.

 

University of Saskatchewan Regulations on Student Non-Academic Misconduct (2017, s. III) outline the following standards for student conduct, the breach of which are considered non-academic misconduct:

This Standard is breached when a student behaves in a manner that

      • harms or threatens to harm members of the University community, including students, faculty, or other staff of the University;
      • disrupts or threatens to disrupt any of the activities of the University;
      • harms or threatens to harm the property of the University;
      • violates the policies, procedures or rules of the university; or
      • abuses or shows disrespect for the processes of the Standard.

The list below is not exhaustive but provides examples of breaches of the Standard. The Regulations deliberately do not place violations in a hierarchy. The relative seriousness of a violation of the Standard must be assessed in the unique circumstances of each case. The following behaviours are prohibited:

      1. Threats of harm or actual harm by any means (including electronic means) such as
        1. assault
        2. verbal and non-verbal aggression
        3. physical abuse; verbal abuse; intimidation or bullying
        4. harassment or sexual harassment
        5. sexual assault
        6. stalking or cyberstalking
        7. hazing or initiation rites
        8. possession or use of firearms or other weapons (including replica weapons), explosives or incendiary devices without the written consent of Campus Safety

          or any other actions that a student knows or reasonably ought to know could compromise the physical or psychological wellbeing of any member of the University.

      2. Significant disruption of or interference with University activities or living and learning environments, by any means such as 
        1. causing a substantial disorder
        2. bomb threats
        3. creating dangerous situations
        4. making or causing excessive noise
        5. proffering false identification or documentation
        6. misrepresentation to obtain goods or services
        7. misuse or abuse of university services, programs or facilities
        8. tampering with University equipment including safety equipment required for the proper functioning of the University
        9. blocking exit routes.

      3. Theft of or damage to the property of the University or its members by any means such as
        1. stealing, damaging or defacing University or another person’s property (including computer systems and intellectual property)
        2. tampering with University fire extinguishing or prevention equipment.

      4. Violation of University Policies, Procedures or Rules such as
        1. Computer Use Policy
        2. E-mail Policy
        3. University Serving Alcoholic Beverages Policy
        4. University of Saskatchewan Traffic Regulations
        5. Discrimination and Harassment Policy
        6. Canadian Interuniversity Sport Bylaws
        7. Residence Lease Agreement, Residence Handbook and Residence Assistant/Advisor Code of Conduct
        8. Rulings of the Residence Community Review Board
        9. Use of University Property and Services
        10. Commercial or Non-commercial use of the University’s trademarks
        11. Copyright Compliance Policies
        12. Sexual Assault Prevention Policy
        13. Violence Prevention Policy

      5. Abuse of or disrespect for the processes of the Standard such as
        1. bringing unfounded complaints with malicious, frivolous or vexatious intent
        2. failure to comply with the reasonable requests of a University official
        3. failure to comply with sanctions under the Regulations
        4. retaliation against any participant in a process under the Regulations.

 

Academic and Non-Academic Misconduct Hearing Process

If the dean of the College of Education, on review of the complaint, determines that the matter may be informally addressed, the student will receive notice to attend a meeting with the dean and complainant to settle the matter.

If you are the subject of a serious complaint under either the Regulations on Student Academic Misconduct or the Regulations on Student Non-Academic Misconduct, as determined by the dean of the College of Education, or if you have previously been accused of the same or similar breech under the Regulations, you can expect the following process to unfold:

    1. You will receive a Notice of Complaint from the dean of the College of Education by email, letter via postal delivery, or both.  This notice will provide you with:
      • details of the substance of the complaint,
      • the name of the complainant,
      • the name of the chair of the Hearing Board established for the purpose of reviewing the complaint,
      • a copy of the appropriate Regulations, and
      • a request for you to reply by a certain deadline if you object to the student member of the Hearing Board being drawn from among the undergraduate student body of the College of Education.
    2. Independent of the Notice of Complaint you receive from the dean, a similar Notice will be sent by the dean to:
      • the department head (if a matter related to departmental programming) or associate dean academic/undergraduate (if a matter related to college-level programming), as well as
      • the university secretary.
    3. The dean will appoint members of the Hearing Board and inform the chair of the same.
    4. The chair of the Hearing Board will independently contact you and the complainant, offering details related to:
      • the process to be followed during and after the Hearing Board meeting,
      • the names of the appointed members of the Hearing Board (along with the chair, this board will include two members of the faculty of the College of Education and one undergraduate student of the College of Education),
      • the scheduled time and place the matter will be addressed (you must inform the chair as soon as possible if you are unable to attend the date and time scheduled—generally speaking, Hearing Boards must meet within 60 days of the complaint), and
      • deadlines (for the complainant, 5 days before the scheduled Hearing Board meeting; for the respondent [you, the student], 2 days before the scheduled Hearing Board meeting) for submission to the chair each of the following:
        • documentary evidence supporting your defense,
        • the name of an advocate (if you wish one to attend) in support of your defense during the Hearing Board meeting, and
        • a list of witnesses to appear at the Hearing Board meeting in support of your defense.
    5. Within one week of the scheduled meeting of the Hearing Board, the chair will independently contact you and the complainant providing both with a copy of the Hearing Board meeting schedule.
    6. As soon as the material is made available to the chair (typically within 4 or 5 days of the Hearing Board meeting), you and the other members of the Hearing Board will independently receive all of the information provided to the chair by the complainant.
    7. As soon as the material you wish to introduce in support of your defense is made available to the chair, the chair will independently forward this material to the complainant and the members of the Hearing Board.
    8. On the day of the Hearing Board meeting:
      • you and the complainant will be invited to enter at the scheduled time,
      • round table introductions will be made,
      • you and the complainant will be asked to attest to the legitimate constitution of the Hearing Board,
      • the complainant (and/or complainant's advocate) will begin by formally stating the complaint against you and witnesses in support of the complaint speak,
      • you may ask questions of the complainant,
      • members of the Hearing Board may ask questions of the complainant,
      • you (and/or your advocate) will formally state your defense with respect to the complaint against you and witnesses in support of your defense speak,
      • the complainant may ask question of you,
      • members of the Hearing Board may ask questions of you,
      • the complainant (or the complainant's advocate) make closing remarks,
      • you (or your advocate) make closing remarks,
      • you and the complainant will be excused from the meeting, and
      • the members of the Hearing Board will deliberate in camera and prepare a disposition in the matter.
    9. Within 15 days of the Hearing Board deliberations, the chair will independently send to you and the complainant by email, letter via postal delivery, or both, a copy of the written disposition (ruling) and rationale of the Hearing Board on the matter.

 

Appeals of Academic and Non-Academic Misconduct Hearing Boards' Dispositions

Undergraduate students may appeal dispositions of a College of Education Academic or Non-Academic Misconduct Hearing Board through the processes provided in the appropriate Regulations.

 

Questions

Students are advised to ask questions as necessary, and in a timely manner, to better understand the formal and informal processes used to settle matters of the types outlined above.  The office of the associate dean (research, graduate support, and international initiatives) can provide explanation of processes found within the College of Education.  The office of the university secretary can provide explanation of processes employed when matters rise above the jurisdiction of the College of Education.

Appointments may be made to speak to the associate dean (research, graduate support, and international initiatives) by email at ed.appeals@usask.ca

Appointments may be made to speak to the university secretary by email at university.secretary@usask.ca