Chapter 21 Academic Appeals
The Academic Regulations for the Faculty of Arts and Science are designed to ensure that academic standards are upheld and that all students are treated fairly and equitably. The Faculty does, however, understand that there are occasions in which extenuating circumstances – that is, personal circumstances beyond a student’s control – adversely affect a student’s performance at Queen’s University. The appeal process is available to reconsider the suitability of sanctions or penalties imposed upon a student in light of information brought forward by the student concerning such extenuating circumstances. In general, with the exception of appeals related to final examinations, final grades, or non-academic discipline where other criteria will apply, appeals are only granted where there are significantly extenuating circumstances, beyond the student’s control, which would merit the waiving of a particular Faculty regulation or decision. Extenuating circumstances normally involve a significant physical or psychological event that is beyond a student’s control and debilitating to his or her academic performance. These kinds of extraordinary situations should be supported by official documentation from an appropriate professional. Official documentation does not need to outline the specifics of the particular condition or matter affecting the student, but should clearly indicate ways in which the extenuating circumstances directly affected the student’s performance, and should verify that these effects were substantial enough to cause the academic problem. Information on the start, duration and present state of the extenuating condition is critical to helping the instructor, Associate Dean (Studies) or Board of Studies to make an informed decision. Further, a clear statement on whether the condition or circumstances have either improved or are being managed so that they will not have a significant detrimental effect on future academic performance is also essential. The appeals process does not compensate for extenuating circumstances that the student is unable to resolve, or for which the student is unwilling to actively seek accommodation. In addition, the appeals process does not compensate for extenuating circumstances that are actively being accommodated, for example where a student’s permanent disabilities are being accommodated through the University’s Disability Services Office. Multiple appeals citing the same extenuating circumstances will be reviewed very closely. This review may include, with the permission of the student, consultation with the appropriate professionals involved to obtain more detailed information. In order for such an appeal to succeed, there must be convincing evidence that the circumstances that affected the student’s academic performance will be resolved within a reasonable timeline, or will be appropriately managed on an ongoing basis.