Colleges and universities have processes in place for students to file a grievance or appeal if they want to challenge a grade or other negative decision. Such decisions, like a suspension, dismissal (expulsion), or unfair grade, can be overturned based on the student’s claim that it was given unfairly. Additional outcomes, such as a ruling that requires a student to repeat a course or being removed from their chosen degree program also have appeals processes that an academic attorney can assist with.
Academic Appeals through public colleges and universities must go through traditional due process and require a student to allege and prove a denial of substantive due process or procedural due process. These claims must show that the student did not receive a proper fair hearing in order to challenge the original poor grade, suspension, dismissal or other decision.
A substantive due process claim argues that decision being appealed was “arbitrary and capricious.” The courts have additionally ruled that the judge is required to find the decision so lacking in facts and/or reason as to “shock the conscience of the court.”
If you believe you have a claim that includes the possibility of a probation appeal, academic suspension appeals, or academic dismissal appeals then you need a lawyer who is familiar with the academic appeal process.
Students who attend private universities and colleges don’t have the same protections as those who attend state-run schools. Thus, they don’t necessarily have due process rights. The right to challenge a grade or other decision is limited to the policies and procedures that the institution has set in place.
Normally, this is set forth in the student handbook and supporting an appeal requires claiming that the original decision is contrary to the school’s policies. Fortunately, many student handbooks have guaranteed the “due process style” rights to students and judges have held the school to those promises.