Program Appeals

This process is designed for Western Michigan University students who want to appeal a decision to be dismissed from an academic program for reasons other than charges of violations of academic integrity policies. Appeal panels are assembled and scheduled using procedures determined by the Professional Concerns Committee of the Faculty Senate, and coordinated through the Office of the Ombudsman. Throughout this process, the ombudsman office, (269) 387-0718, is available to students and instructors for assistance on procedures and clarification of the rights of all parties. Specific criteria must be met and the following are the accepted bases for appealing a program dismissal:

  1. The program dismissal decision was made in a manner inconsistent with University policy or the program policy. 
  2. The program dismissal procedures were not followed.
  3. Evaluation or performance standards were arbitrarily or unequally applied.

A program dismissal appeal cannot be made in response to an academic integrity or conduct dismissal from the University. The student’s status, as dismissed from the program, will remain unaltered until a successful appeal is completed.

Note: A program dismissal appeal based on charges of discrimination or sexual harassment should be taken to the Office of Institutional Equity or other office, pursuant to other University policies and procedures.

For program dismissal appeals that meet the criteria listed above, the process consists of two steps: discussion with program chair or director and appeal to the Grade Appeal and Program Dismissal Appeal Committee.

  1. Discussion with program chair or director: A student must submit a letter requesting an appeal to the academic unit chair or director. This letter must be received by the academic unit chair or director within 20 business days of the date of dismissal. The ombudsman or designate may grant an extension should a genuine hardship arise. The letter must explain the basis of the appeal and must state in detail why the student believes he or she should be reinstated in the program. Whether a chair or director can reinstate a student into a program depends on the policies and practices of the respective academic unit. If the chair or director can make such a decision and does so, the process ends here. If the chair or director denies the student’s request, the student may appeal to the Grade Appeal and Program Dismissal Appeal Committee. 
  2. Appeal to committee: The student may appeal to a Grade Appeal and Program Dismissal Appeal Committee. This appeal must be initiated within 20 business days of the appeal denial by the chair or director. The student will initiate an appeal through the Office of the Ombudsman who will schedule a meeting of the committee using procedures approved by the Professional Concerns Committee of the Faculty Senate. The committee will consist of three members drawn from a panel of faculty established for this purpose. In a program dismissal, the student appellant should attend the meeting of the appeal panel and must provide a written statement describing the grounds for appeal. A University representative from the program must attend the meeting and must provide a written statement describing the grounds for and circumstances of the dismissal.

Students making an appeal must complete the appeals form as well as the student information form. The ombudsman will contact the instructor to have him or her complete the instructor information form. The Grade Appeal and Program Dismissal Appeal Committee may reverse or sustain a program dismissal by a majority vote. The decision of the hearing panel is final and not subject to appeal.