Graduate Program Coordinators Handbook
Section 9 – Miscellaneous
EXCEPTIONS TO GRADUATE SCHOOL POLICY
The policies of the Graduate School are recommended by the Graduate Council and approved by the Chancellor. When exceptions to policy, procedures, or deadlines are justified, the Graduate Council authorizes the Graduate Dean to take appropriate action.
GRADUATE STUDENT APPEAL PROCEDURE
The appeal procedure for graduate students adheres to the guidelines outlined in the M Book.
To receive a higher degree from the University of Mississippi, a student must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the graduate faculty of the department, school, or college of the student and to the faculty of the University that the student has attained through intelligence, scholarship, industry, and personal qualities the high level of professional and academic competence which the faculty of each department expects of a person holding the degree being sought. The determination of fitness to qualify for the degree rests solely upon the estimate which the faculty makes of the student’s right to the degree. The comprehensive examination, required of every graduate student, is an important means in determining a student’s qualifications for an advanced degree.
It is within the authority of every department offering graduate programs to establish a policy limiting the number of times a student may sit for comprehensive examinations and to establish the time that must elapse before the examinations may be retaken.
If a graduate student believes that the results of his or her comprehensive examinations were based on prejudice, discrimination, arbitrary or capricious action, or other reasons not related to academic and professional evaluation, the following appeal procedure may be pursued. In all cases, the complaining student will have the burden of proof with respect to all allegations in the complaint and in a request for a hearing. If the complaining student fails to pursue any step in the procedure within its allotted time, the disposition of the case made in the last previous step shall be final. All correspondence and records will be retained in the student’s file maintained in the Graduate School. The act of making an appeal will not jeopardize the student’s status in the academic department or in the Graduate School.
STEP 1. Within 5 class days of receiving notification of the results of the comprehensive examination, the student may appeal, in writing, to the chairman of the department* in which the examination was given. The department chairman will attempt to resolve the appeal in consultation with the comprehensive examination coordinator within 10 class days dating from the receipt of the written appeal and shall inform the student, in writing, of the results of the appeal.
STEP 2. If the student is not satisfied with the results of Step 1, appeal may be made, in writing and within 5 class days, to the dean of the Graduate School.** The dean may use any resources available to resolve the student’s appeal within 10 class days. If it is found from clear and convincing evidence that any of the conditions noted above–prejudice, discrimination, arbitrary or capricious action, or other reasons not related to professional or academic evaluation–contributed to the evaluation of the student’s comprehensive examination, the dean shall accept the examination in satisfaction of the requirements for the degree or direct the administration of another examination with a newly constituted examining committee. The dean’s decision will be communicated, in writing, to the student, the chairman of the department, and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
STEP 3. The student, the department chairman, or a majority of the examining committee, in writing to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs within 5 class days, may appeal the decision made in Step 2. In the event of such an appeal, the decision made in Step 2 shall be stayed pending the completion of the procedure in Step 3. The Vice Chancellor may use all resources available to make a final determination of the appeal and will communicate his decision, in writing and within 10 class days, to the student, the department chairman, and the graduate dean.
*If there is no department chairman or if the department chairman was the coordinator or a member of the examining committee, the dean of the school or college in which the examination was offered shall act in the place of the chairman in Step 1 and in all subsequent steps.
**If the dean was the coordinator or a member of the examining committee, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs shall act in the place of the dean in Step 2 and in all subsequent steps.
An applicant for admission to a degree program, including a Qualifying or Non-Degree student, who has been convicted of dishonesty and whose appeal has been unsuccessful, will be subject to denial of admission to the University. Also, the Graduate Dean may enforce any recommended sanctions, including dismissal from the University or change in admissions status, recommended by a faculty member or the Academic Discipline Committee for matriculating students who are charged with academic dishonesty.
GRADUATE ASSISTANT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
The appointment of a graduate assistant may be terminated by the University, upon the recommendation of the department chair, for the following reasons:
- incompetent job performance or neglect of duty;
- misconduct that is job related;
- moral turpitude (to include academic dishonesty, plagiarism, sexual harassment, and theft);
- physical and mental ailment or condition which significantly impairs or limits job performance and cannot reasonably be accommodated. For questions regarding physical or mental conditions for initial employment or continuation of employment, please contact the Affirmative Action Office;
- financial exigency or discontinuance of the work for which appointment has been made;
- failure to maintain a grade point average of 3.0 and/or failure to maintain the minimum enrollment obligation.
If a graduate assistant believes that the termination of his or her appointment was based on prejudice, discrimination, arbitrary or capricious action, or other reasons not related to academic and professional evaluation, an appeal may be made to the Graduate School. The Graduate Dean, as part of his/her review, will consult with the Affirmative Action Office in allegations of prejudice or discrimination. If the Graduate Dean is convinced that there is a valid basis for the appeal, the Graduate Dean shall appoint a committee consisting of three faculty members and two graduate students, no more than one each of whom may be from the student’s department. The complainant will have the right to present his or her case to the grievance committee.
The grievance committee shall examine all evidence pertaining to the appeal and, if it deems necessary, meet with the student and a representative of the student’s department. A majority vote of the committee will determine the outcome of the appeal. The committee’s decision shall be transmitted in writing to the student, the chair of the student’s department, and the dean of the Graduate School within ten days. All correspondence and records will be retained in the student’s file maintained in the Graduate School. The Graduate Dean will file with the Affirmative Action Office any appeals which allege discrimination, protected class status violation, or sexual harassment.
The student or the department may appeal the decision of the Graduate Dean or the grievance committee to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, who may use all resources available to make a determination of the appeal. That decision shall be transmitted in writing to the student, the chair of the student’s department, and the Dean of the Graduate School within ten days. The decision of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs shall be final.