Grievance/Grade Dispute Process

What is a Grievance? (In accodance with SJSU policy S14-3 [pdf])

A grievance is an allegation of an unauthorized or unjustified act or decision by a member of the faculty or staff or an administrative officer (hereafter referred to as university employee(s), that in any way adversely affects the status, rights or privileges of a student. 

What is a Grade Dispute? (In accordance with SJSU policy S14-3 [pdf])

There is a presumption that grades assigned are correct. It is the responsibility of anyone appealing an assigned grade to demonstrate otherwise (EO 1037).

The SFC shall hear grade dispute petitions when petitions are deemed to be appropriate and include evidence related to the following conditions:

  1. When there is evaluation of students that differs from announced requirements.
  2. When there are belated impositions of requirements.
  3. When grades are based on criteria other than academic performance in the course.
  4. When grading criteria do not provide a clear and consistent method of evaluating students’ work or performance.
  5. When students’ requests for information during the semester regarding their academic progress in the course are not responded to in a reasonable time (e.g., two weeks after the request is made).
  6. When students’ requests for an explanation of how the posted course grades for a term were determined are not responded to in a reasonable time (e.g., the later of two weeks after the request is made or one week before the add deadline for the fall or spring semester following the term in question).
  7. When students are penalized for expressing opinions.
  8. When students are given to understand that they are removed from a course without due process of a hearing. 


How do I initiate a complaint?

Informal discussion between parties directly involved in the dispute is essential in the early stages of the resolution process and shall be encouraged at all stages.

  1. The student shall first contact the instructor or employee involved in the matter and arrange a meeting. The instructor or employee shall then meet with the student in order to seek resolution of the issue or dispute through an informal discussion.
  2. If an acceptable resolution is not reached, the student should contact the department chair or director for assistance. The chair or director shall then meet with the student and attempt to mediate the situation.
  3. If a resolution is not reached after consultation with the department chair or director, the student should contact the associate dean or associate vice president. The associate dean or associate vice president shall consult with the student and the department chair or director in an attempt to resolve the situation informally.

Students may consult with the Student Ombudsperson at any step in this process, including prior to the initial meeting with the instructor.