A student who has a complaint about a grade on a single assignment or exam or concerning the faculty member teaching a course should first speak with or email the faculty member. If the complaint is not resolved, then the student should bring the matter to the attention of the department chair or program director. If the complaint remains unresolved, then the matter should be brought to the attention of the academic dean’s office of the school in which the course is offered.
There is a formal process for grieving a final course grade.
1. Within two weeks of the grade being assigned, the student should speak with or email the faculty member.
2. If, after communicating with the faculty member, the student believes that the grade had no basis in fact or was arbitrary, the student may then petition the department chair or program director in writing (or by email).
- List of College of Arts and Science Department Chairs
- List of College of Arts and Science Program Directors
- List of Sawyer Business School Department Chairs and Program Directors
Students should keep copies of correspondence for their own records.
3. If the grievance is not addressed or resolved equitably after meeting with the department chair or program director, the student has 10 business days to file a formal grievance with the academic dean (or dean’s designee) of the school in which the course is offered.
- For courses offered in the College of Arts and Sciences, students should contact Dean Toyoda.
- For courses offered in the Sawyer Business School. students should contact Dean Zeng.
The academic dean (or dean’s designee) will inform the student of a decision within 15 business days of receiving the formal grievance.
4. The student may appeal this decision to the provost (or provost’s designee), whose decision shall be final. It is the responsibility of the provost (or provost’s designee) to come to a resolution of the grade dispute within 15 business days of receiving the formal grievance from the student.
A graduating student must initiate the grade grievance process no later than three days prior to commencement by emailing the faculty member and copying the department chair or program director.
Graduating students should be mindful that the grade grievance process may impact the awarding of Latin honors and may delay the date of degree conferral.
Grievances Related to Academic Accommodations for Students Registered with Disability Services
Students with disabilities who believe they have received inappropriate treatment or inadequate service from the University pertaining to their granted accommodations have the right to file a grievance with Director of Disability Services. The grievance must be submitted in writing to the Office of Disability Services and should include a detailed description of the inappropriate or inadequate service and supporting documentation (when appropriate). Students with disabilities must indicate the resolution they are seeking.
Students with disabilities who are unsatisfied with the response from the Director of Disability Services may submit an appeal within 5 business days to the ADA Coordinator, Dr. Ann Coyne, Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students, Student Affairs Office, 73 Tremont Street 12th floor, Boston, MA 02108, 617-573-8239. Students with disabilities must state the resolution they are seeking. The decision of the appeal by the Dean of Students is final.
Grievances Related to Students Enrolled in an Online Program
Suffolk University is approved to operate in Massachusetts SARA by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) to offer distance education in SARA member states and territories. Consistent with 610 CMR 12.00 [PDF], students must attempt to resolve complaints at the institutional level.
For Massachusetts Residents and Online Students in Non-SARA Member States and Territories
After you have exhausted the academic complaint procedures made available by Suffolk University, described above, if your complaint has not been resolved, you may file a consumer complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO) by using the AGO’s consumer complaint form. The AGO consumer complaint form should be used by students who are located in:
- Non-SARA member states or territories (e.g., California, Guam, etc.)
For Online Students Located in SARA Member States and Territories
After you have exhausted the academic complaint procedures made available by Suffolk University, described above, if your complaint has not been resolved, you may file a complaint with the DHE by using the SARA complaint form. The DHE SARA complaint form should be used by students who are located in SARA member states and territories. This includes all students who are located in SARA member states and territories for the purposes of completing out-of-state learning placements, such as internships, practica, clinical experiences, etc., in SARA member states and territories outside Massachusetts.
Additional information from the DHE’s SARA complaint website:
The SARA complaint process is as follows:
- Students must first attempt to resolve their complaint using internal administrative procedures offered by the SARA institution.
- After all administrative remedies have been exhausted with the MA-SARA institution, the student may submit a SARA Complaint via the URL below.
- The Department shalls end a copy of the complaint to the institution that is the subject of the complaint.
- Within 30 days of the date that the Department sends a copy of the complaint to the institution, the institution must provide a written response to the student and the Department.
More information about DHE’s complaint processes can be found in this [PDF].