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Procedures for Considering a Student Appeal

Approved by Senate Dec. 6, 1999

Senate Student Appeals Committee

The Wilfrid Laurier University Act, 1973* confers on the Senate of Wilfrid Laurier University the responsibility for the educational policies of the University, including the power to "hear and determine appeals from the decisions of the faculty councils on applications and examinations by students."

The Senate has delegated to the Senate Student Appeals Committee (SAC) the authority to act for Senate in hearing appeals from students with regard to faculty council and petitions committee decisions relating to applications and examinations.**

A. Initiating an Appeal

1. Students may appeal to the Senate SAC a faculty council or petitions committee decision relating to applications and examinations. Decisions relating to applications and examinations include all decisions which affect a student's academic standing. The Senate SAC, however, will not accept an appeal unless the student has exhausted the appeal procedures at the faculty level. Students should consult the Calendar and the Office of the Registrar for regulations governing petition and appeals procedures.

2. Appeals to the Senate SAC will be permitted only on the grounds of:

(a) new evidence, i.e. evidence relevant to the decision made at the Faculty Council or Petitions Committee level but through no fault of the appellant not presented at that level. Generally speaking, events or performance subsequent to the Faculty Council or Petitions Committee decision will not be considered as new evidence.


(b) evidence of a substantial procedural irregularity in the consideration of the case, i.e. actions taken or not taken by a Faculty, its officers, committees, or members with respect to the disposition of the case which violate or nullify one or all of the following:

(i) formal and written procedures of the University, Faculty or Department concerned;

(ii) unwritten but recognized custom in the Faculty or subordinate body's handling of cases substantially similar to that being appealed;

(iii) principles of fairness, whether such violation occurred in accord with written or customary procedures or not. Appeals based on allegations of procedural irregularities must allege and demonstrate obvious bias or other misbehaviour on the part of the officers or agents of the University and for which redress was not provided by the authority which considered the case prior to the appeal to the Senate SAC.

It should be noted that a substantial procedural irregularity is not any irregularity but is one which would likely affect the results of the deliberations.

3. Appeals to the Senate SAC must be submitted in writing to the office of the Vice- President: Academic within thirty days of the date the student receives the decision being appealed. The Senate SAC reserves the right to waive this deadline in special circumstances which must, however, be set out by the appellant in the written appeal.

4. No appeal to the Senate SAC shall be considered unless it includes a succinct written statement of the following:

(i) the terms of appeal including:

(a) the full name, address, telephone number and student number of the person appealing;

(b) the specific decision which is being appealed; and

(c) the form of redress requested; and

(ii) the grounds for appeal including:

(a) the specific grounds on which the appeal is made (see A.2. above); and

(b) a summary of the evidence, including the names and addresses of any witnesses, which the appellant is prepared to offer in support of these grounds;

Appended to the statement of appeal, if not fully included within it shall be:

(i) the text of the Faculty decision being appealed;

(ii) the text of the relevant procedural regulations (if any) allegedly violated or otherwise deemed applicable to the case; and

(iii) the documentation and written evidence to be used in support of the appeal.

5. Upon written request submitted to the Office of the Registrar, a person desiring to submit an appeal shall be given by the faculty council or petitions committee, without charge, a copy of the file containing all material on which the decision under appeal was based.

6. The Senate SAC has the right of access to and production of all documents which were considered in making the decision being appealed.

7. On the basis of the written statement of appeal, its supporting documents, and any other written evidence submitted, the Senate SAC shall first determine within 21 days of the date the appeal is submitted to the Office of the Vice-President: Academic whether there are prima facie grounds for the appeal, as set out in A.2. If the determination is negative, the Senate SAC shall so inform the parties in writing, with reasons. If the determination is positive, the Senate SAC shall then set a date to hear the appeal on the merits within 21 days of the date the appeal is submitted to the Office of the Vice-President: Academic, according to the procedures set out in B.1.

B. Procedures for Senate SAC Panel to Hear an Appeal

1. (a) Both the appellant and the respondent have the right to an oral hearing before the Senate SAC in accordance with the procedure outlined in this Part. If a party elects to appear with a representative, the Senate SAC shall be notified at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing of the name, address and status of the representative.

(b) Where either party wishes to exercise its right to an oral hearing, the party shall inform the Committee in writing as part of the appeal at the time it is submitted to the Office of the Vice-President: Academic. If the Senate SAC decides there are prima facie grounds for the appeal, and either of the parties has indicated a desire for an oral hearing in accordance with this paragraph, the Senate SAC will inform both parties of its finding, invite both parties to appear, and give at least 14 days notice of the hearing on the merits, but the hearing shall not be set for a date later than 60 days from the date the written appeal is submitted to the Office of the Vice-President: Academic. However, where neither party has requested an oral hearing, the Senate SAC may in its discretion proceed to hear the appeal on the merits immediately after determining that there is a prima facie case.

The Senate SAC, on its own initiative, may request the parties to appear at the hearing.

2. The following guidelines apply to all hearings:

(i) The chair of the Senate SAC hearing the appeal shall have control over the proceedings.

(ii) A record in the form of minutes shall be kept of the proceedings.

(iii) The parties shall have access to all documents submitted in connection with the appeal to the Senate SAC.

(iv) The appellant shall be permitted to submit a written rebuttal to the documentation and the written response material of the respondent.

(v) If the appellant's written rebuttal raises new issues, the respondent may submit a written reply to the appellant's written rebuttal.

(vi) If there is an oral hearing an oral rebuttal may be presented by the appellant and the respondent at that hearing; such rebuttal(s) shall address only those matters not raised in the parties' written submission(s) to the Senate SAC.

(vii) In appeals dealing with an alleged breach of academic honesty where credibility is an issue:

(1) the appellant and the respondent may call witnesses and place evidence before the Senate SAC, the appellant to proceed first, followed by the respondent;

(2) the parties may cross-examine each other and each other's witnesses;

(3) after the parties have finished with each witness, the Senate SAC may ask questions of the witness, after which the parties may re-examine; following which the appellant may make closing oral submissions to the Senate SAC, after which the respondent may make closing oral submissions to the Senate SAC.

The chair of Senate SAC may make rulings and decisions concerning the procedural aspects of a hearing according to the circumstances.

3. Where a Senate SAC member was also a member of the body making the decision being appealed or where any other conflict of interest arises, that person shall so disclose and shall not participate in the consideration of the appeal by the Senate SAC.

If there is an issue as to the existence of a conflict of interest, the appellant or the respondent shall indicate so at the commencement of the hearing. The majority of the other members of the Senate SAC shall determine whether there is a conflict of interest.

4. The Senate SAC's decisions will be taken in camera and the appellant and respondent informed of the decision in writing with reasons within 10 days of the hearing of the appeal. Copies of the decision will also be forwarded to the dean of the faculty involved, and the Chair of Senate.

5. The Senate SAC has the power to:

(i) Refer back to the faculty council or petitions committee with instruction to:

(1) reconsider on the basis of new evidence; or

(2) reconsider using proper procedure.

(ii) Deny the appeal.

(iii) Uphold all or part of the appeal, decide the issues and substitute its own decision.

C. Re-appeals

1. There is no appeal beyond the Senate SAC and its decision shall be final.

2. In cases where a Faculty Council or Petitions Committee reconsiders an appeal on the instruction of the Senate SAC and renders a decision unsatisfactory to the appellant, a new appeal to Senate SAC may be allowed on the grounds mentioned under A.2.
Persons with questions regarding the above procedures should contact the Office of the Vice-President: Academic, Wilfrid Laurier University.

Wilfrid Laurier University Senate Student Appeals Committee: Appeals Time Frame Chart


Policy Reference


1. Decision being appealed


30 days to initiate appeal by filing with Office of the Vice-President: Academic

2. Initiate appeal by submitting written appeal with Office of the Vice-President: Academic


21 days for Senate SAC panel to make decision on leave to appeal

3. Decision by Senate SAC panel on leave to appeal


10 days to set date for oral hearing, if requested (32 days from step 2)

4. Set date for oral hearing


14 days notice, but no more than 60 days from step 2

5. Oral hearing


10 days for Senate SAC panel to make decision

6. Decision with reasons


70 days from step 2; 14 days from receipt to appeal to Chair of Senate SAC on procedural grounds (receipt deemed 5 days after mailing)

7. Chair of Senate SAC considers appeal


5 days for Chair of Senate to make decision

8. Final Decision


98 days maximum from step 2, provided mailing done promptly

* The Wilfrid Laurier University Act, 1973, 19(f)

** Senate By-laws and Regulations (current version), Responsibilities of Senate Student Appeals Committee

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