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Student grievances - Faculty of Arts processes

The information on this page is intended for students studying at the undergraduate level. Graduate students should consult the Associate Dean - Graduate Studies.

For any complaint received against a course or an individual, the Faculty of Arts follows the procedures outlined in Policy 70 – Student Petitions and Grievances. Information is also available within the Faculty of Arts section of the Undergraduate Calendar.

Petition: A request by a student seeking exception to or relief from normal faculty or University rules and regulations, for personal reasons.

Grievance: A student believes that a decision of a University authority or the action of a faculty member or staff member of the University affecting some aspect of his/her University life has been unfair or unreasonable.

Grounds for a grievance

  • An error in academic judgment on the part of an instructor.
    • Example: you question a grade, or the assessment of your performance on an assignment.
  • An error or injustice on grounds other than the academic judgement of work.
    • Example: you question a grade, or the assessment of your performance by an instructor, alleging that:
      • the method of evaluation was not fair and reasonable in the circumstances;
      • the decision maker was biased against you (but not on a human rights basis);
      • the instructor deviated substantially from the course outline without reasonable notice; or
      • the application of University regulations governing program or degree requirements was unfair or unreasonable.
  • A decision of a University authority or an action of a University faculty or staff member in relation to your University life has been unfair or unreasonable.

Common complaints that are not grounds for a grievance

  • Failure to do well in a course.
  • Absence of objective evidence to support a claim that the instructor was biased against you.
  • Request/need for accommodation (extension of deadline, deferred exam) without support from AccessAbility Services or other legitimizing factor (e.g., recognized religious holiday).

Grievance process in Arts (Arts course or Arts instructor)

  1. Make an attempt to resolve the matter yourself. You must go directly to the individual whose action or decision is being questioned, either in person or in writing.
    • Deadline: Within 1 month of the action or of being notified of the decision or mark.
    • Individual then has 10 business days to respond in writing.
  2. If not satisfied with the outcome of the attempt, a grievance can be initiated.
    • You should seek advice with your advisor or Administrative Co-ordinator in the Arts Undergraduate Office (PAS 2439) before proceeding.
  3. Initiate a grievance. One of the two following forms must be completed and submitted to the proper authority (forms are available on the Policy 70 website):
    • Deadline: Within 10 business days of receiving the request response or within 10 business days of when the response was due.
    • Form 70B – Notice of Challenge (used for most grievances)
      • For Arts courses, to be delivered to the Associate Dean – Undergraduate Studies of Arts.
      • The Office of the Associate Dean will confirm receipt of Form 70B and provide a decision due date via email.
      • All supporting documentation must accompany the Form 70B.
      • Must state clearly
        • the grounds on which the grievance is made
        • the details of the grievance, and
        • the relief requested
    • Form 70C – Notice of Reassessment Challenge
      • Used only if reassessment of a piece of work is involved.
      • Form is to be delivered to the Chair of the department hosting the course.

Other notes

  • It is any individual’s right to know that a complaint against them has been lodged. Grievances cannot normally be investigated or resolved without any knowledge on the part of that individual.
  • Consult the Associate Dean beforehand if you feel your complaint has a Human Rights dimension, as defined by Policy 33 (Ethical Behaviour). Complaints under Policy 33 are subject to a different process.

Contacts

  • Associate Dean of Arts, Undergraduate Studies: Prof. Katherine Acheson, koa@uwaterloo.ca

We are located in the Arts Undergraduate Office, PAS 2439.