Grievances: Academic

Academic Complaints

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.

Grade Grievances

There is a formal process for grieving a final course grade.

Within two weeks of the grade being assigned, the student should speak with or email the faculty member.

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).

Students should keep copies of correspondence for their own records.

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.

The academic dean (or dean’s designee) will inform the student of a decision within 15 business days of receiving the formal grievance. 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 operates under the approval of “NC-SARA”, National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. Consistent with 610 CMR 12.00 [PDF], students must attempt to resolve complaints at the institutional level. If the matter is not resolved at the institutional level students may submit a SARA complaint. Massachusetts residents may submit a complaint via the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s (DHE) consumer complaint form. Non-Massachusetts residents that are located in SARA member states may seek to file a formal complaint with the DHE using the SARA Complaint Procedure Process form. Students located in nonmember states may utilize the DHE’s consumer complaint form in lieu of the SARA complaint form.