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Office of the Student Ombuds

Area of Assistance

We recognize that the University is a large and diverse community. While our website lists the issues that we see most frequently, our list is not exhaustive and we look forward to assisting you with your unique situation.
  • Grade Appeals

    Grade Appeals Not Related to Academic Misconduct

    If a student believes that the grade they received in a class does not accurately reflect the work they submitted and the level of their participation in a class, the student may pursue a grade appeal. View the policy pertaining to grade appeals.

    One-Stop Services outlines this process for you.

    The Ombuds' role in a grade appeal is to work with the student to understand the regulation and its implementation, and to assist in determining what supporting documentation the student may need to produce in order to pursue a grade appeal. 

    Generally the Ombuds will ask the student to provide a copy of the course syllabus and any graded materials the student has received in order to develop a grade appeal.

    Grade Appeals Related to Academic Misconduct

    Violations of the University’s Academic Integrity policy include cheating, fabrication and falsification, multiple submissions, plagiarism, abuse of academic materials and complicity in academic dishonesty. 

    Students who received grade changes related to Academic Misconduct may appeal this decision and/or associated sanctions according to the remedies provided by the University’s Academic Misconduct Policy. 

    One-Stop Services outlines the grade appeal process for Academic Misconduct.

  • Academic Misconduct

    The Ombuds can work with students charged with violations of the Student Code of Conduct who feel that they have been falsely charged, or have been given sanctions that are not commensurate with the nature of the violation to appeal these decisions.

    Information regarding Conduct Appeals can be found on the Dean of Students website. 

  • Student Petition of Academic Policy

    Students who feel they have serious extenuating circumstances may submit a petition of academic policy in an effort to receive an exemption or have a policy waived. 

    Extenuating circumstances are normally situation-specific and beyond the student’s control and may include but are not limited to: 

    • Call to active duty
    • Death in immediate family
    • Incapacitating illness
    • University-based administrative issues
    • Personal and sensitive issues   

    Completing a petition does not guarantee that a particular policy will be waived.  All petitions must include supporting documentation in order to be considered.  Petitions are considered exceptions and are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  

    A student seeking to petition an academic policy should consult with their academic adviser prior to initiating the process.  The Student Petition of Academic Policy form is located on the One-Stop Services. In the case of a request for Personal and Sensitive Issues, the student may speak to the Ombuds who can document the situation without disseminating specific personal information to other offices and individuals.  

  • Identifying and Referring to Support Services

    Students frequently seek out the assistance of the Ombuds to discuss concerns about major and career choice, academic difficulties, balancing school with work, and other challenges. Though the Ombuds cannot answer all these questions, he can identify and make referrals to the office and staff who can, as well as help the student frame the topics they want to discuss.

  • Absence for Health-Related and Other Reasons

    The University anticipates students will attend classes for which they are registered, but also understands that on occasion unforeseen circumstances, including medical issues, prevent a student from attending a class or classes. 

    It is always the student’s responsibility to discuss absences with their instructors and provide documentation of the reason for absence if requested by the instructor. 

    In situations where the student is not able to notify instructors of an absence due to serious illness or hospitalization, the Ombuds will notify instructors of the absence based upon the request of the student or a member of his/her immediate family. For more information, see the University Attendance Policy.

  • Medical Withdrawals

    If a student incurs a serious medical condition that prevents him/her from completing the withdrawal process, the student may initiate contact with the Ombuds or the Director of Student Health Services or Counseling Center as appropriate to request a medical withdrawal.  If approved, a medical withdrawal removes the student from their classes without grade penalty and may result in a refund of tuition and fees.  

    There are sometimes other consequences to a medical withdrawal including impact on current financial aid allocations and eligibility for future financial aid which the Ombuds can discuss with you. For more information, see the University Medical Withdrawal Policy.

  • Family Health

    Students sometimes experience illness or death of a family member resulting in class absence or the need to withdraw from classes. If a student knows they will be absent and informs the Ombuds, the Ombuds can send their instructors an absence notification. This does not serve as an excused absence. Only an instructor can determine if an absence will be excused.

    Under certain circumstances a student may be able to withdraw from classes and receive a tuition and fee refund based on long-term absences due to severe illness or death of an immediate family member. The Ombuds can help the student navigate this process.

  • Fee Petitions

    Students who have withdrawn from classes due to circumstances beyond their control, or feel that the University has made an error in their billing, may submit a Student Fee Petition requesting a refund or reduction in their charges.  Fee petitions are available in the Online Forms section of MyWings under Student Resources.

    On occasion a denied fee petition may be appealed. The Ombuds’ role in a fee petition appeal is to assist the student in developing a statement with documentation that supports the initial request with additional new or clarified information. To assist in the development of an appeal the student should provide a copy of the initial petition with all supporting documentation to the Ombuds for his review, as well as any supporting documentation that clarifies or corroborates the student’s request.

    Additional information on fee petitions can be reviewed on the Controller's website.

  • Loss of Financial Aid or Scholarships

    If a student loses eligibility for Federal Financial Aid based on the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirement, the student may appeal this decision by completing the SAP appeal.  If an appeal is denied at this level, the student may submit an Enrollment Services Appeal (ESA).  For more information about SAP and ESA appeals go to: 

    Satisfactory Academic Progress

    Enrollment Services Appeal

  • Student Emergency Relief Fund

    The Student Emergency Relief Fund is specifically set aside to help students with "catastrophic needs" - that is, students who have experienced an unanticipated and unavoidable emergency resulting in unexpected, temporary financial hardships.  This is not a substitute for financial aid, which is based purely on a student’s financial need. The Ombuds oversees this fund and can guide a student through the application process.

    For more information, please see: Student Emergency Relief Fund

  • Navigating University Concerns

    Students are encouraged to resolve university concerns by contacting the campus office responsible for the area relevant to the complaint.  If dissatisfied with the response, the student may contact the relevant area supervisor, director, department chair, or dean for resolution.

    The Ombuds' role is to serve as a resource and designated neutral party for those who may have a college-related concern or grievance. The Ombuds does not impose solutions, but does identify options and strategies for resolution by providing contact with appropriate college resources or serving as a mediator, among other roles.