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To establish a procedure for students to resolve their academic-related grievances

Introduction and Authority:

It is a historically established rule of higher education that an instructor has the authority to conduct classes, provide for the discussion of ideas, make assignments or other exercises, require examinations, and render judgments on the performance of students. The exercise of this authority provides the foundation for an academic relationship between individual faculty members and individual students that is unique to colleges and universities. At a basic transactional level this relationship is maintained by the interplay of traditional and customary standards of conduct and courtesies, the observance of which is the responsibility of both faculty and students. Certain basic expectations, relevant to teaching and learning, are summarized in part 3 of this procedure. Inevitably, issues associated with the faculty member’s responsibilities as a teacher and the student’s responsibilities as a learner may occasionally arise. In order to address these issues, the University of Hawaiʻi has instructed its constituent campuses to provide for the consistent and equitable resolution of legitimate student academic grievances.

Accordingly, the Chancellor for Community Colleges, upon the recommendation of the Provost of Windward Community College, and with the concurrence of the Faculty Senate, has established this student academic grievance procedure, effective November 1, 1987.

Academic Rights and Responsibilities of Students:

Windward Community College subscribes to that part of the 1968 “Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students”, adopted by a diverse number of higher education organizations including the American Association of University Professors, which relates to Classroom instruction:

“The professor in the classroom and in conference should encourage free discussion, inquiry and expression. Student performance should be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.

  1. Protection of Freedom of Expression. Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgement about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled.
  2. Protection Against Improper Academic Evaluation. Students should have protection through orderly procedures against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. At the same time they are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.
  3. Protection Against Improper Disclosure. Information about student views, beliefs and political associations which professors acquire in the course of their work as instructors, advisors, and counselors should be considered confidential. Protection against improper disclosure is a serious professional obligation. Judgments of ability and character may be provided under appropriate circumstances, normally with the knowledge or consent of the student.”


Student: Any individual enrolled in a credit course.

Faculty Member: Any individual who is engaged in providing scheduled instruction for credit.

Assistant Dean: The individual designated as the administrative head of any division offering

Dean of Instruction/Designee: The Dean of Instruction of Windward Community College or other officer of the campus who has been designated to act for the Dean in matters involving academic grievances.

Remedy: An action to correct an individual student’s situation which does not involve the imposition of a sanction against a faculty member.

Semester: Any scheduled term of instruction including those of continuing education programs and summer session.

Report of Alleged Academic Impropriety: A verbal expression of inquiry by a student about an action or series of actions taken by a faculty member which the student feels may be improper or otherwise inconsistent with the faculty member’s responsibilities or the student’s customary academic expectations.

Complaint of Alleged Academic Impropriety: A written charge filed by a student with the Dean of Instruction or Dean’s Designee alleging that a faculty member has acted improperly or in a manner otherwise inconsistent with the faculty member’s responsibilities or the student’s customary academic expectations.

Academic Grievance: A written statement of complaint filed with the chairperson of the Academic Grievance Committee requesting a formal review of an academic complaint which the student believes to have been unsatisfactorily resolved by the Dean/Designee.

Patently Frivolous Grievance: A written grievance that is so weak and unsubstantial as to be void of merit on its face or for which there is no identifiable or appropriate remedy. Examples of such grievances may include but are not limited to: those that do not describe an improper or uncustomary situation; those that are best pursued under other more appropriate procedures; or those that have been pursued and concluded through other grievance or appeal procedures.

Procedures for the Resolution of Academic Grievances:

Any student who believes that a faculty member has acted improperly or in a manner otherwise inconsistent with the faculty member’s responsibilities or the student’s customary academic expectations, may initiate action to achieve a remedy. The actions available are outlined herein and must be initiated within fourteen (14) calendar days after the student become aware, or could have reasonable been expected to become aware, of the alleged impropriety.

  1. Report of Alleged Academic Impropriety
  2. Complaint of Alleged Academic Impropriety
  3. Academic Grievance

Academic Grievance Committee

There shall be an academic grievance committee(appointed by the Provost which shall be composed of an equal number of faculty and students. Academic Grievance Committee hearings will usually not be available during the last two weeks of each semester nor during the summer. During these periods, a hearing before a designated campus administrator may be conducted or grievances may be deferred until such time as a committee hearing is available.

  1. Composition of the Academic Grievance Committee
  2. Upon receipt of a written grievance requesting a formal hearing by the Academic Grievance Committee, the chairperson shall notify the student and faculty member involved, the Assistant Dean and the Dean/Designee.

  3. Final Decision and Orders by the Chancellor/Provost

    Within ten ( 10) calendar days from the receipt of the committee’s findings, decision as to cause and recommendations as to remedy, the Provost shall notify, by certified mail with return receipt requested, both the student and the faculty member of his/her final decision regarding any remedy to be undertaken.

  4. Records of the Academic Grievance Committee

    The chairperson of the committee shall maintain a log of the hearing. This log shall include a brief description of the subject matter of the grievance and the outcome of the hearing but shall not contain any personally identifiable information. This log shall be open to outside inspection.

    Other records of the committee which are not open to outside inspection include: tape recordings of the hearing, all written information presented, the actions of the committee and the chairperson’s final report including the committee’s findings, decision as to cause, and recommended remedies.

Effective Date:
This policy is effective as of August 1, 1995

Revised April 19, 2024