Graduate School Level Appeal

On rare occasions, when all established procedures within a college or school have been exhausted, it may be appropriate for the Dean of the Graduate School to consider a final University appeal. In general, the Dean of the Graduate School will consider only those appeals that document violations of applicable due process in prior proceedings or which establish sound cause to believe that prior proceedings have resulted in a decision contrary to law, the Polices of the SUNY Board of Trustees, or policies of the University at Buffalo. In general, the Dean of the Graduate School will not consider appeals that merely challenge the appropriateness of a judgment reached following a full and fair review of a matter by the department and the dean of the college or school.
 
Step 1. If either principal wishes to appeal the decision(s) of the college or school dean, the written statement of appeal, including any additional evidentiary or supporting materials, shall be filed within 10 academic days* of receipt of the Statement of Decision. The appeal shall be filed with the Dean of the Graduate School.
 
Step 2. Upon review of relevant materials, including all materials and statements presented during prior hearings, and any materials and statements subsequently presented, if the Dean of the Graduate School does not find that the statement of appeal provides reasonable grounds to appeal nor raises doubt concerning the adequacy of prior review, the Dean of the Graduate School may issue a formal decision regarding the appeal. In such a case, the Dean of the Graduate School will submit a Statement of Decision to the principals (via certified, return receipt mail), the department chair, and cognizant dean within 20 academic days* of receipt of the appeal.
 
Alternatively, if the Dean of the Graduate School deems it necessary or appropriate to consider further the circumstances of the appeal, he or she shall convene a Graduate School Grievance Committee within 20 academic days* of receipt of the appeal (see Appendix D).
 
Step 3. The Graduate School shall give the Graduate School Grievance Committee and each principal a copy of the Academic Grievance Policy and Procedures, the original written grievance, the written appeals to both the school/college and the Graduate School levels, any supplemental materials and statements, and all documentation and recommendations from the departmental and decanal proceedings. The Graduate School will notify principals at least 72 hours prior to the hearing.
 
Step 4. The Graduate School Grievance Committee shall convene hearing(s) as necessary to allow both principals the opportunity to present their positions and shall allow each principal the right to question the presentation(s), written or verbal, of the principals as well as others who contribute information to the Committee.
 
The hearing(s) shall be conducted in a fair and expeditious manner, but shall not be subject to the rules governing a legal proceeding. Each principal shall have the right to be present (under unusual circumstances, if either party is considered to pose a physical threat to the other or to the chair, the chair of the committee may request that either the student or instructor participate by phone) and to have one advisor present at all hearings. Hearing(s) shall be conducted in confidence (see Appendix B).
 
Step 5. The Graduate School Grievance Committee shall submit its letter of recommendations, including findings and reasons for recommendations, to the Dean of the Graduate School within 10 academic days* after the final meeting of the committee.
 
Step 6. The Dean of the Graduate School shall consider the Committee’s findings and recommendations and render a final University decision/determination. The Dean of the Graduate School's Statement of Decision shall be submitted in writing to the principals (via certified, return receipt mail), the department chair, and the cognizant academic dean within 10 academic days* from receiving the Graduate School Grievance Committee’s written recommendations.
 
The determination/decision of the Dean of the Graduate School constitutes the final step in the University review process and may not be further appealed.
 
Files shall be maintained in the office of the cognizant dean and the Graduate School.