Office of the ombudsperson

Frequently Asked Questions


You have a lot of guides. What kinds of things can I appeal?

A. Students can appeal a grade, an accusation of a scholastic offence, an academic accommodation decision, or their progression in their program. Before you start an appeal, however, you should try to understand how you ended up in this situation. This tactic is vital as it can help you see the problem from a third party perspective and find proof for the unfairness you are trying to appeal.

An appointment with the Ombudsperson is recommended to make you aware of your options and steps to take in starting an appeal. The FAQs below go into specifics regarding a variety of circumstances, but if you don't see your problem listed, don't be afraid to contact the Ombudsperson. If for some reason we can't help you, we'll do our best to redirect you to someone who can.

I've done my research and believe I received an unfair grade. How do I go about appealing it?

A. Speaking to your professor is always the first step in remedying what you believe is an unfair grade. If you feel like you want to take further action, make an appointment with the Ombudsperson and we’ll help you figure out your options. Be sure to refer to the Grade Appeals and Other Requests for Relief, Academic Problems and Appeals and/or Writing an Effective Appeal or Request Letter guides before starting an appeal.

I believe I've been unfairly accused of a scholastic offence. What are my options?

A. Scholastic offences can seriously hinder a student's academic career, whether you're accused of cheating on an exam or improperly citing a source. The Ombudsperson has created the Cheating, Plagiarism and Other Scholastic Offences guide to help students both a) avoid committing a scholastic offence and b) appeal the ruling of one when you believe you are innocent.

I've applied for academic accommodation but have been denied, can I do anything else?

A. Accommodation requests can be denied for a variety of reasons. If your accommodation request wasn’t granted, it’s imperative that you try to understand the logic behind the decision and see if a compromise can be reached. Short conversations with the Ombudsperson, Services for Students with Disabilities, your academic counsellor or your professor can reveal the reason why the request was denied.

If you find the reasons unsatisfactory, you can appeal the decision with the help of the Ombudsperson. In addition, you can refer to the Guide for Students with Disabilities and the Writing an Effective Appeal or Request Letter guide for more information to get a head start.

Can I appeal being withdrawn from my program?

A. Depending on their academic standing, students can appeal progression decisions in a variety of ways. A visit with the Ombudsperson will let you know your options and will help you proceed with any appeals process.

The Ombudsperson has also created a few guides to get you started: the Appealing for a Dean's Waiver or Faculty Transfer guide for those whose grades were affected by external circumstances (medical problems, family issues, etc); and the Readmission, Probation, Appeals guide for all other cases. The Writing an Effective Appeal or Request Letter and Tips on Preparing an Effective Chronology guides are also useful tools for students starting the appeals process.

Can I appeal an appeal decision?

A. There are multiple levels of appeal that a student can go through. Ideally, you want to deal with the lowest level possible to resolve the issue but that always isn't an option.

Sometimes an appeal needs to be escalated to the final level: The Senate Review Board Academic (SRBA). If you're feeling lost or overwhelmed, you can read the guide about Appealing to the SRBA and contact the Ombudsperson to better understand the options available to you.

I'm intimidated by the appeals process; do I have to go through this alone?

A. The Ombudsperson is here for students who need help with the appeals process, but some may want additional support from friends, family, or legal representatives. The Agents and Colleagues guide outlines a student's options regarding outside help or representation in their appeal.