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The Academic Ombud is the officer of the University charged with consideration of student grievances in connection with academic affairs.


Academic Ombud Services shall provide a mechanism for handling issues for which no established procedure exists, or for which established procedures have not yielded a satisfactory solution. They are not intended to supplant the normal processes of problem resolution. In some cases where there is a clear need to achieve a solution more quickly than normal procedures provide, the Academic Ombud may seek to expedite the normal processes of resolution.

Students who wish to appeal a finding of an academic offense, a penalty for an academic offense, a grade in a course or an action in any other academic matter must confer with the Academic Ombud before they can appeal to the University Appeals Board (UAB). The procedure for appealing a finding of or a penalty for an academic offense is outlined in “Appeals;” the procedure for appealing a grade or another academic action is outlined below. In cases of academic offenses, Academic Ombud Services shall notify the appropriate parties if a student fails to exercise their right of appeal within the allotted time. JURISDICTION

The authority of the Academic Ombud is restricted to issues of an academic nature involving students on the one hand and faculty or administrative staff on the other. However, the Academic Ombud may refer issues falling outside their jurisdiction to appropriate offices charged with the responsibility for dealing with them, in areas such as the Office for Student Success or the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity.

When a problem falls partly within the Academic Ombud's jurisdiction and partly within the jurisdiction of some other office, the Academic Ombud shall cooperate with the relevant other office in seeking a solution. However, the Academic Ombud's authority in effecting a solution shall extend only to those aspects of the issue falling within the jurisdiction of that office.

Jurisdictional disputes involving an Academic Ombud and other offices which cannot be resolved through negotiations shall be referred to the Office of the President. DECISION TO ACCEPT A CASE

When an issue to be resolved is brought to Academic Ombud Services, the Academic Ombud shall first determine if the issue falls within their jurisdiction. If it does not, the Academic Ombud shall refer the person presenting the issue to the proper authority. If the issue does fall within their jurisdiction, the Academic Ombud shall determine if efforts have been made to adjudicate the issue through normal channels and procedures. Where such channels and procedures exist and have not been utilized, the Academic Ombud shall recommend their use, unless there is compelling evidence that they will not effectively resolve the issue.

The Academic Ombud shall investigate each issue falling within Academic Ombud Services’ jurisdiction to determine:

  1. whether it contains merit;
  2. whether it is deserving of extended attention; and
  3. the priority of attention which it should be accorded by the Academic Ombud's office.

The Academic Ombud shall notify the student directly that an issue does not contain merit. The student then has the right to appeal within 30 days to the UAB. Upon receipt of the written appeal, the chair of the UAB shall notify the Academic Ombud to forward all reports and evidence concerning the case. The UAB may then by majority vote agree to hear the student's case or to allow the Academic Ombud's decision to be final. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

The Academic Ombud is empowered to hear only those grievances directed to their attention within 180 days subsequent to the conclusion of the academic term in which the problem occurred. However, the Academic Ombud may agree to hear a grievance otherwise barred by the Statute of Limitations in those instances where (a) the Academic Ombud believes that extreme hardship including but not limited to illness, injury and serious financial or personal problems gave rise to the delay or (b) all parties to the dispute agree to proceed. PROCEDURES

When the Academic Ombud determines that an issue merits their attention, the Academic Ombud shall contact the parties involved to determine the background of the issue and areas of disagreement. With this information, the Academic Ombud shall seek to determine alternative means of achieving an equitable resolution and propose to the conflicting parties those solutions which appear to offer the greatest promise of mutual satisfaction. Normally the investigatory and mediation activities shall be conducted informally and need not involve confrontation of the conflicting parties. However, the more formal procedures and direct confrontation of the parties involved may be utilized if circumstances dictate that these will produce a more effective resolution.

If the mediation efforts are unsuccessful, the Academic Ombud shall refer the case to the UAB in writing if the complainant wishes to pursue the issue. At the request of the UAB, the Academic Ombud shall appear before it to offer testimony or shall prepare a written report of the case. LIAISON

The Academic Ombud shall maintain close liaison with the Office for Student Success and the Office for Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity and other such officials who have responsibility and concern for the academic governance of students. However, the Academic Ombud shall not violate the rights of students or other parties involved in cases brought to Academic Ombud Services through the disclosure of any information communicated in confidence. RECORDS AND REPORTS

The Academic Ombud shall retain a record of all cases which are accepted. In cases involving discrimination (including sexual harassment), a summary of the case shall be sent to the Office for Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. The Academic Ombud shall review all files at the end of the term of office and should destroy any file of a resolved case that is five (5) years of age or older. If not destroyed, then all names should be removed. The decision not to destroy a file ought to be based on criteria such as resolution which might serve as a precedent for similar cases in the future. All unresolved cases which are more than one (1) year old and which were never forwarded to the UAB shall be destroyed. The Academic Ombud shall present annually a report of activities to the faculty and student governance bodies and the Office of the Provost and may offer recommendations for changes in rules, practices or procedures to achieve more harmonious and effective governance of student academic affairs.