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Student Academic Grievance Policy

On occasion, a student may feel that his or her work has been evaluated unfairly or inadequately by an instructor. In such an instance, the student is encouraged to pursue the matter informally, involving discussion between the student and faculty member regarding the issue. The scripture in D&C 42:88 is applicable and hopefully will serve as a guide: “And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shall take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled.”

When the matter is such that a more formal process is needed, the following policy provides the means by which resolution of such grievances can be obtained.

Body of Policy

  1. The student first brings the grievance to the attention of the instructor involved. The resolution of grievances is best accomplished between student and instructor directly. The student must initiate the grievance within four months from the last day of the examination period of the semester in which the alleged unfair or inadequate evaluation took place. A grievance related to restrictions limiting participation in university academic programs must be initiated within 30 days of the decision in question. Where military service or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission makes it difficult to bring the grievance to the attention of the instructor or school, a later consideration may be permitted.
  2. If the student brings the grievance to the attention of the instructor and it is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, or if the student feels strongly that the instructor will not deal with the grievance fairly, or if the instructor is no longer available on campus, the student can choose to take the matter to the dean of the instructor’s faculty. The grievance must be submitted to the dean in writing. The dean will 1) consider the grievance, 2) review the written grievance with the instructor and the student, and 3) notify the student and instructor of the decision, in writing, within 30 days after the original grievance was filed. The dean will also communicate the decision to the Vice President for Academics.
  3. In the event the student is dissatisfied with the decision by the faculty dean, the student can make an appeal to the Vice President for Academics. The appeal should be made in writing no later than 30 days after the date of the dean’s letter of decision. The written appeal should give the details of the grievance. The instructor will also be asked to submit a written statement.
  4. The Vice President for Academics will give the student the choice to have the grievance resolved directly by the Vice President or by a special three-member committee. If the student chooses the committee method, the Vice President will appoint a full-time member of the faculty as its chair. The other two members of the committee will be appointed by the student and the instructor, respectively. Each of these members must be either a full-time student or a full-time faculty member.
  5. During the grievance hearing, both the student and the instructor will be free to call witnesses. The witnesses may be questioned by the Vice President or committee members. The number of witnesses involved and the conduct of the hearing will be determined by the Vice President or the committee chair.
    In reviewing the grievance, the review panel, the affected student, and the affected faculty member are responsible to identify or provide relevant sources of information. The review is intended to be collegial and not adversarial. Accordingly, legal counsel is not allowed to attend nor advocate in the review process. Presentation of the issues should be concise and relevant. The chair of the review panel shall be responsible to conduct the review and establish applicable procedures if such are not available from the dean. Any formal presentation should be limited to pertinent issues, and panel members should be allowed sufficient time to ask questions. Following presentation and discussion of the grievance, the review panel will deliberate in closed session and submit its recommendation to the Vice President.
  6. The decision of the Vice President or the committee (its majority vote) will be made within 10 days and will be final and not subject to appeal. The student and instructor will be notified of the decision in writing within 30 days of the date of the hearing.
  7. The student should realize that the same process of appeal is available to the instructor. In other words, if the instructor is not satisfied with a faculty dean’s decision, appeal to the Vice President for Academics (including the committee option) is possible.

Other Grievances

The Hawaii Post-secondary Education Authorization Program (HPEAP) is administered by Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) and provides oversight of certain post-secondary educational institutions, including BYU–Hawaii (see Hawaii Revised Statutes § 305J). Under HPEAP, any BYU–Hawaii student or former student having a complaint involving the university may file the complaint with the DCCA provided that: (i) complaints not involving violations of criminal law should be first submitted to BYU–Hawaii for appropriate resolution; and (ii) complaints from former students must generally be filed within two years of termination of enrollment. The DCCA has jurisdiction to investigate complaints based on violations of criminal law and to investigate other grievances, including alleged violations of HPEAP, if the student or former student has already exhausted with the university all administrative remedies available for those grievances. The DCCA will not investigate under HPEAP complaints that infringe on the academic or religious freedom of, or that question the curriculum content of, BYU–Hawaii. Complaints under HPEAP may also be filed with the University’s accrediting agency, the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

For any grievances related to sexual misconduct or Title IX, please see the link at the bottom of the BYU–Hawaii homepage or go to Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Incident Report.

For any other grievances, feel free to directly contact the university administration through the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the BYU–Hawaii homepage or go to Report a Concern Website.

After exhausting all institutional processes, you may seek recourse by contacting the Hawaii Post-Secondary Education Authorization Program (HPEAP). HPEAP may investigate complaints based on possible violations of the Hawaii authorization statutes or rules.

Hawaii Post-Secondary Education Authorization Program (HPEAP)

Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
335 Merchant Street, Rm. 310
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
(808) 586-7327