Grievances Involving Academic Rights of Students | ECTC

Grievances Involving Academic Rights of Students

Introduction

Students have the ability to file appeals when they believe a violation of their academic rights has occurred. Students have the academic right to:

  • timely receive information about course content
  • timely receive information about course grading criteria
  • hold and express a contrary opinion
  • fair and impartial academic evaluation
  • confidentiality of academic records
  • informed evaluation of student character and ability

More information about student academic rights may be found in the Student Bill of Rights, particularly #6, 7, 9, 10, 17, 18, 19, and 20 (shown below).

6. Students shall have access, if needed and desired, to student services that provide reasonable accommodations as required under US laws and state laws relevant to the establishment of an equal opportunity to succeed in academic endeavors. 

7. KCTCS colleges respect the right of all students to learn, study, and grow in an environment that is free of any discrimination that reduces students to classes rather than recognize students as individuals. 

9. As a “marketplace of ideas,” the academic setting at KCTCS shall respect divergent viewpoints and the right to express them with respect and civility toward fellow students. 

10. Students have the right to participate in a community devoted to scholarship and are encouraged to inquire, debate, think, and express as individual scholars within that community. This expression includes both agreement with the main and dissent with others. The exercise of this right shall not interfere with the rights of others to the academic experience and shall not target, harass, intimidate, or threaten another participant in the academic process in such a severe or offensive manner that the target of this conduct is effectively denied access to the academic community at KCTCS. This is so whether the conduct occurs during course time, after class, or using electronic or other means rather than face-to-face debate.

17. KCTCS students have the right to know with accuracy and clarity information that assists them in successfully meeting the established academic standards in their classes. 

18. KCTCS students have the right to clear and comprehensible course objectives and requirements. This right shall extend to have access to a consistent grading policy used to evaluate student performance established by their class instructors.

19. A student has the right to receive a grade based only upon a fair and just evaluation of performance in the course as measured by the standards presented in the first or second class session or in the introductory materials for a distance learning course. 

20. KCTCS students have the right to know and understand the graduation requirements for their course of study and their type of degree. This right shall include to the students’ knowledge and understanding of course transfer requirements. 

The entire list of Student Rights can be found on our Know Your Student Rights and Responsibilities webpage.

Lying, misrepresenting, or omitting relevant facts otherwise known at the time may subject students, faculty, or staff to disciplinary action, possibly up to and including dismissal or termination.

Procedure

Step 1: Informal Resolution

If a student encounters a problem in a class and wishes to file a grievance, he/she should first speak with the instructor and try to resolve the issue. If a satisfactory resolution is not achieved, the student should proceed to Step 2 below. 

Step 2: Formal Grievance

When a student believes his/her academic rights have been violated, the student shall submit a formal written appeal specifying the alleged violations to the appropriate division chair as soon as possible following the occurrence of the violation. In order to be considered, a student appeal must be filed no later than five (5) business days after the first day of class of the following semester. Appeals received after that will be declared untimely and will not be considered. Upon receipt of the student appeal, the division chair will attempt to resolve the issue. If no resolution is agreed upon by all parties within 15 business days, the division chair will refer the case to the KCTCS College President or Provost/CAO. 

Step 3: Formal Appeal

The KCTCS College President or Provost/CAO will attempt resolution. If no resolution can be agreed upon within 15 business days, the College President or Provost/CAO must notify the student in writing. The student may choose to move to Step 4 by filing a written request for a hearing on the issue before College Appeals Board. 

Step 4:  CAB Hearing

If the student does not accept the decision of the KCTCS College President or Provost/CAO, the student has ten (10) business days to submit a written request for a hearing before the College Appeals Board (see Section D (PDF, on page 17 )). No new matter may be appealed which was not included in the student’s original appeal to the division chair.

Contact Information of Division Chairs

Division Division Chair Email
Address
Phone Location
Arts & Humanities Jacqueline Hawkins jhawkins0045@kctcs.edu 270-706-8538 JSO 117B
Biological and Health Sciences Anna Hamilton ahamilton0062@kctcs.edu 270-706-8649 RPC 301
Physical Sciences Dr. Shawn Kellie shawn.kellie@kctcs.edu 270-706-8549 SCI 213
Social & Behavioral Sciences Dr. John Waldron jwaldron0004@kctcs.edu 270-706-8545 SCI 207
Technical Tim Cordova timothym.cordova@kctcs.edu 270-706-8681 OTB 107L

Discipline Process for Academic Violations Committed by Students

Incidents of academic dishonesty and misconduct which occur within the context of a specific course are resolved by the academic department in accordance with the College academic honesty policy. In such a case, the instructor or academic department determines if academic dishonesty or misconduct occurred, and what the academic penalty should be. 

Sanctions for a finding of academic dishonesty or misconduct include but are not limited to:

  1. Requiring the student to resubmit the assignment;
  2. A lower grade on the assignment or in the course;
  3. A zero for the assignment or exam;
  4. A failing grade in the course;
  5. Removal from the course;
  6. Referral for disciplinary actions beyond the above sanctions. 

A student who receives an academic penalty as a result of academic dishonesty or misconduct may not withdraw from the course in order to avoid the academic penalty. 

Step 1:  Within ten (10) business days of the occurrence or discovery of the occurrence of an alleged student academic offense, the instructor shall submit to the division chair or chief academic officer a written description of the activity that resulted in the accusation of academic dishonesty and the sanction implemented as a result.

Step 2:  The instructor shall notify the student in writing of the academic offense, explain the sanction, and inform the student of his or her right to appeal the fact of guilt and/or severity of the sanction when a failing grade is assigned. 

Step 3:  The student may protest the fact of guilt and/or severity of the sanction to the instructor. The instructor may then confer with the appropriate division chair or chief academic officer to determine appropriate sanctions for the student. All academic misconduct actions must be reported to the chief academic officer for record keeping purposes. 

Appeals of Student Academic Offenses

If a student has protested a finding of having committed an academic offense to a faculty member and the sanction has been upheld, the student has further appeal rights described below. (Reference the Appeals in Cases of Alleged Academic Violation of Student Academic Rights (PDF, on page 29) flowchart in Appendix.) 

Step 1:  Students who are not satisfied with the outcome of their protest to the faculty member may submit an appeal to the division chair of the department. The division chair shall attempt to resolve all cases referred by student appeal to the satisfaction of the instructor and the student. If the division chair upholds the decision of the instructor, the student may appeal, in writing, within ten (10) business days of notification of the division chair’s decision, to the College President or designee. 

Step 2:  Upon reviewing the basis of the student appeal, the College President or designee shall attempt to resolve the matter. If no resolution is reached within ten (10) business days, the student may submit a written appeal to the College Appeals Board (CAB). (See section D (PDF, on page 17)).

Appeals

College Appeals Board

The College Appeals Board (CAB) serves as a hearing body for appeals of violations of academic rights, of findings of academic misconduct, and for non-academic/behavioral the Code of Student Conduct

1. Composition 

The Appeals Board shall consist of six members appointed by the College President: 

  • 2 full time students
  • 2 full time faculty
  • 2 full time staff
  • In addition, 2 student alternates, 1 faculty alternate, and 1 staff alternate shall be appointed. These alternates must meet the same requirements as the regular members. 

2. Service on the CAB 

  1. Student members and alternates: Each student member must have earned at least 24 semester credit hours at the college, must have had one full academic year of attendance at the college, and must be in good academic standing. The CSAO shall recommend students to the College President for appointment. Appointments shall be for a term of one year.
  2. Faculty and staff members and alternates: Faculty and staff members are elected to staggered three-year terms by the faculty and/or College staff. Faculty members cannot be division chairs or deans.
  3. Appeals Board Chair: The chair is elected annually by the Appeals Board members. 

3. Quorum  

A quorum of five members, at least three of whom must be faculty and staff, is required for the conduct of business of the Appeals Board. 

4. CAB Review Process

  1. Within five (5) business days of receipt of a request for hearing the CAB will meet to determine if the issue on appeal is properly before the hearing panel. If the CAB decides that the request for a hearing is not properly before the body, the Chair of the CAB will notify the student and the appropriate college officials in writing within three (3) business days, including the reasons for the CAB’s decision not to hear the matter. 
  2. If the CAB determines that it is proper to consider the appeal, within five (5) business days the Chair will request statements related to the appeal from the appropriate college officials. Those statement are due for submission to the CAB within five (5) business days. The CAB then has five (5) business days to review the appeal and associated statements and decide by majority vote whether to grant a hearing or to make a decision based on the record provided by each party. 
  3. The CAB’s decision as to the hearing will be communicated in writing within five (5) business days of the decision to the student and the appropriate college officials. If the CAB does not grant a hearing, the student has no further right to appeal within the system except in cases of suspension or expulsion. 
  4. If the CAB decides to hear the case, it will establish procedures (including a schedule) and notify the student and the appropriate college officials. All parties shall have the opportunity to appear at the hearing and to present oral and written evidence in support of their positions. The CAB may call for further evidence as it deems appropriate. The hearing shall be held, and a final decision made by the CAB within 15 business days after the decision to hear the case. The decision of the CAB is final and the student has no further right to appeal within the system except in cases of suspension or expulsion of a student. 
  5. If the CAB hears the case because of some question about the fact of the student’s guilt, it shall have the authority to impose a final decision as to guilt or innocence. If the CAB decides not to hear the case, the student has no further right of appeal within the system except in cases of suspension or expulsion. 
  6. If the CAB hears the case because of an appeal of the severity of the sanction, it shall recommend an appropriate sanction to the appropriate college official(s). If the CAB does not support the sanction, the CAB shall submit its decision and a recommendation of appropriate sanction to the College President or designee who shall consult with the appropriate college official(s) involved to find an appropriate sanction. The final decision is the responsibility of the College President. 

Student Rights during the Appeals Process (Academic Rights/Academic Offenses):

In cases of academic rights and academic offenses, the student shall have the right of class attendance and participation during the consideration of any appeal except that such attendance and participation may be limited when:

  1. outside agencies are used as a part of the student’s educational experience, in which case precedence will be given to the terms of any agreement(s), which have been negotiated between the college and the agency; or
  2. patient/client contact is involved in the student’s educational experience, in which case only patient/client contact may be limited or excluded at the discretion of program faculty.

If the appeal is decided in the student’s favor, the college must provide an opportunity for the student to complete any essential experiences missed due to the appeals process. An appeal of a grade after the class has been completed, a grade change by the CAB will only be for a P grade or a W grade.

KCTCS Code of Student Conduct

View the entire KCTCS Code of Student Conduct.