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Students’ Union executive hopes to clarify confusing student appeals process

By Alesia Sullivan, February 12 2015 —

University of Calgary administration may update the student appeals process after the Students’ Union said they were concerned that it is unclear.

SU vice-president academic Hana Kadri questioned the effectiveness of the current appeals procedure, which hasn’t changed since the early 1990s. She said the process is confusing for both students and faculty.

“When we look at the different faculties, each one has a separate appeals process, and that’s a little problematic,” Kadri said. “The university is looking to see if a central system is the way to go, or to improve the system we already have.”

Academic misconduct is limited to cheating, plagiarism and variations of those two offences. But non-academic misconducts vary in severity from remaining in a building after hours to sexual harassment.

Academic misconduct appeals go through a students’ faculty, General Faculties Council and the Board of Governors.

Non-academic misconducts, like sexual harassment, go through one administrative council as opposed to three.

A centralized system would allow students to appeal academic misconducts like they do non-academic misconducts.

Provost and vice-president academic Dru Marshall doesn’t think sweeping changes are necessary.

“I don’t think students are at a disadvantage. I think there could be more clarity,” Marshall said. “[It’s important] that the process is very transparent, and that students understand the process, who will be there and what will occur.”

Marshall knows students aren’t happy with the current system. She said administration is looking into the issue and that they want to create “an environment of continuous change.”

While students can be charged for many different infractions under the non-academic misconduct policy, it does not outline what misconducts carry stronger punishments. Punishment is often unclear, as is the possibility and process for an appeal.

Kadri said that correcting the wrongs within the system might be just as confusing a process as the current system.

“This has been the way the university has functioned since it began. So to switch to a different system would be difficult. The transition would be messy,” Kadri said.

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