Approved by: Academic Senate
History: Issued              -- May 9, 1985
Revised            -- September 19, 2013
Last Reviewed -- July 23, 2019
Related Policies: Procedures for Appeal of Failing Grades within the Schools;
Procedures for Appeal to Academic Senate
Additional References:
Responsible Official: Provost tel. (202) 319-5244


I.  Policy

The Academic Senate reaffirms the judgmental nature of the academic grading process and the corresponding responsibility of instructors to make appropriate judgments on the quality of the academic performances of their students. The Academic Senate further reaffirms the right of instructors, as a legitimate dimension of academic freedom, to make these academic judgments free of external coercion.

The Academic Senate, however, recognizes that a student has a right to appeal a judgment of failure in a final grade on academic endeavors such as coursework, comprehensive examinations, dissertations or final doctoral oral examinations that he or she believes has been influenced or directed by criteria other than academic.

The burden of proof rests with the student to document and demonstrate that the instructor allowed non-academic criteria to influence his or her assigning a grade of failure.

Therefore, the Academic Senate also reaffirms the principle that failing grades may be overruled when non-academic criteria are determined to have influenced a grade of failure.

The associated procedures outline the process by which a student may appeal a failing final grade to a University approved committee.

Approved by the Academic Senate September 19, 2013