Office of the ombudsperson

Frequently Asked Questions


What can I do if I think my work was graded unfairly?

A. The best thing for a student to do if they believe the mark they received on an exam or assignment is unfair is to find out why they didn't do well. You can read through the guide What Makes an Examination Fair? and contact the Ombudsperson for further consultation.

If you want to appeal the grade, you can refer to the Grade Appeals and Other Requests for Relief and Academic Problems and Appeals guides for additional information. Before writing your appeal, you should review Writing an Effective Appeal or Request Letter as an additional resource.

How do I get an extension, an exam accommodation, or other type of academic accommodation?

A. Students may need accommodation for a variety of reasons, ranging from medical problems to family troubles. Whether you need to be accommodated for one exam or your entire academic career, the Ombudsperson is here to help. Depending on your situation, you can refer to the Guide for Students with Disabilities and/or Grade Appeals and Other Requests for Relief for more information. You should also review The Pros and Cons of Deferring Exams to consider what is best in your situation. Of course, you can contact the Ombudsperson for additional support.

How do I approach my instructor about issues I'm having with their course?

A. Throughout your time at Western, you may have concerns you want to raise with your professor or TA. At the Office of the Ombudsperson, we know this isn't always easy. To get started, consult the guide on Relations with Instructors and Persons in Positions of Authority. For grading problems or academic accommodation, you can refer to Academic Problems and Appeals and Writing an Effective Appeals Letter. Making an appointment with the Ombudsperson is a good way to get started if you want to start a conversation with your professor.

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 your options regarding outside help or representation in your appeal.

What can I do about a negative evaluation in my clinical or other program placement?

A. Professional program placements are important in helping students transition into the workplace. However, when the supervising professional and the student's expectations don't match up, it can reflect negatively on the student. If you're having problems with your placement, you can always come to the Ombudsperson or your faculty advisor for help, or refer to the Guide for Students in Professional Program Placements, Clinics, Practicums for more insight.

I'm required to withdraw from my program, what are my options?

A. If you see that you're being required to withdraw, there are a variety of options available to you. For help, contact the Ombudsperson and consult both Appealing for a Dean's Waiver or Faculty Transfer and Readmission, Probation, & Appeals for further information. Reading through the guides on Writing an Effective Appeal or Request Letter and Tips on Preparing an Effective Chronology is also recommended.

How do I apply for a Dean's Waiver?

A. When a student is required to withdraw from their program or the university, a student may apply for a Dean's Waiver or Faculty Transfer. Dean's Waivers are seldom granted without significant medical or compassionate grounds. Contact the Ombudsperson for help and refer to the Appealing for a Dean's Waiver or Faculty Transfer guide for more information.

How can I go about applying for readmission?

A. If you've been required to withdraw and want to apply for readmission, the Ombudsperson is here to help you. Feel free to stop by the office to get help with the readmission process and also refer to the Readmission After Being Required to Withdraw from the University guide.

I've been accused of cheating or another scholastic offence. What can I do?

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 they are not guilty. (A new version of this guide is being worked on. Please contact the Office of the Ombudsperson if you have questions about the academic integrity process.)