CSAC - A Student Guide

If your appeal was dismissed by the FSAC and, having considered the reasons given for dismissing your appeal, you remain dissatisfied with the FSAC decision, you may appeal on grounds to the Central Student Appeals Committee (CSAC).  You cannot appeal directly to the CSAC, against the decision of the Board of Examiners.

The procedure for appeals by students attending China Queen’s College differs and those students should contact Academic Affairs on appeals@qub.ac.uk.

The CSAC is comprised of four members of academic staff who volunteer to hear student appeals. You will be invited to attend the CSAC meeting to present your appeal and a representative from the School will also be required to attend to provide additional information, if requested by the Committee. 

The CSAC’s decision will be communicated to you within five working days of a decision being reached.

Seeking Advice

Prior to submitting a formal written appeal to Academic Affairs, students are advised to discuss the matter with an Adviser of Studies or Personal Tutor in the School, and to contact the Students’ Union for advice and information on the Academic Appeals Procedure.

How do I appeal to CSAC?

To initiate the appeals process, a student must submit the form and any supporting evidence to Academic Affairs within five working days of the outcome of the appeal to FSAC. 

The grounds of appeal to CSAC are:

  1. New evidence has become available which could not have been provided to the FSAC (evidence withheld from the FSAC will not normally constitute new evidence)
  2. There has been a procedural irregularity in the FSAC procedure which has had a demonstrable impact on the outcome.

You should be careful to explain how you meet the ground(s) of appeal and should ensure that you attach all supporting evidence when submitting your appeal form.  Appeals which are not submitted on the appropriate form, are not fully completed or do not attach the relevant new evidence will not be accepted and will not be processed.  The appeal will be acknowledged on receipt.

Confirming Attendance

You will receive an email from Academic Affairs informing you of the date and time of your appeal. You must confirm your attendance at the hearing.

If you fail to confirm your attendance or fail to respond to this email by the stated date, your appeal will be withdrawn and the decision of the FSAC will stand.      

  

Do I have to attend?

It is important to ensure that you are available to attend in order to present your appeal to the CSAC.

If you do not attend a hearing, having declared an intention to do so, and do not provide a good reason for your non-attendance in advance of the meeting, the CSAC has the right to consider your case and to reach a decision in your absence of on the basis of the paperwork alone and without further notice. 

The CSAC will decide what it considers to be a good reason but work commitments or holiday arrangements will not normally be considered a sufficient reason to postpone the hearing.

If you are unable to attend, it may be possible to arrange your attendance by skype or teleconference.

Can I bring someone with me?

You have the right to be accompanied by a registered student of the University, a member of staff, or University Chaplaincy or a staff member or officer from the Students’ Union.  If you wish to be accompanied, you should let the Students’ Union know the date and time of your hearing as soon as possible so that they can attend with you.

Can I withdraw my appeal?

Yes, you can withdraw your appeal and any stage. Please email appeals@qub.ac.uk stating your reasons for withdrawing your appeal. 

The Central Student Appeals Committee (CSAC)

The CSAC is comprised of four members of academic staff who volunteer to hear student appeals. Each member will have experience of advising students on progress, assessment and award issues.  All the information disclosed will remain strictly confidential. The Committee will not contain a member of staff from your School. At least one member of staff from Academic Affairs will also be in attendance to take a record of the hearing.

The CSAC will be provided with the following documentation:

  • evidence provided to the FSAC (your appeal to FSAC and the School response)
  • the Record of the FSAC meeting setting out the FSAC decision
  • your appeal to CSAC (and any supporting evidence)
  • a response from the Chair of the FSAC (or nominee) where procedural irregularity is cited as the ground of appeal (if available). 

If the Chair of the FSAC (or nominee) provides a written response, you will be sent a copy by email in advance of the meeting.

What happens at the meeting?

The hearing will normally take approximately 20 minutes.  

If you have cited the ground of procedural irregularity, the Chair of the FSAC (or nominee) may provide a written response.  The Chair may also attend the FSAC.  A representative from your School will be required to attend the hearing to provide further information, if necessary.  If in attendance, the Chair of FSAC (or nominee), the School’s representative and you will be present when the other is speaking and you will all leave the meeting at the same time. If you do not attend the meeting, neither the Chair of the FSAC (or nominee) nor School representative will be permitted to attend.

You will be asked to outline briefly the decision you are appealing against and the grounds on which you are bringing your appeal.  You should not recite the information set out in your appeal form as the Committee members will have read the documentation.  However, you may wish to highlight certain points or to comment on the School response or the FSAC’s decision.

If in attendance, the Chair of the FSAC (or nominee) will then be asked to explain the FSAC’s decision.  Your School representative will then be asked to provide further information, if necessary.   Members of the Committee may ask you some questions in order to clarify some of the issues you have raised in your appeal. It is important to disclose all relevant information to the Committee.

Once the Committee has finished asking questions, the Chair of the CSAC will ask you, the Chair of the FSAC (or nominee), if in attendance, and the School representative for any closing remarks. You will all then leave the room.

What decisions are available to the CSAC?

The CSAC can make the following decisions:

  1. Dismiss the appeal, with reasons, and confirm the original decision against which the appeal is made.
  2. Refer the matter back to the Chair of the Board of Examiners, with or without recommendation.
  3. Uphold the appeal in part or in full, and may:
    1. Permit the student to re-sit or retake a failed module(s).
    2. Apply, on the student’s behalf, for a concession to the Regulations.
    3. Take any other decision deemed by the CSAC to be fair and appropriate in the circumstances.

The CSAC cannot make academic judgements, i.e., change marks or degree classifications.

How will I be informed of the decision of the CSAC?

The CSAC’s decision will be communicated to you within five working days of a decision being reached in writing to your University email address unless it has been agreed that further information is required.  Due to the volume of appeals, you are advised not to expect the outcome of your appeal until five working days after the hearing.

The Committee may invite you to receive the decision letter in person to provide you with the opportunity to discuss the implications of the CSAC decision and any other concerns or issues you may have.  However, you should note that the Committee’s decision cannot be changed.  You will normally be notified about this via email.   

What if I am unhappy with the decision of the CSAC?

There is no further internal appeal against the decision of the CSAC.  However, if you remain aggrieved by the process or outcome, you may submit a complaint to the Office of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman.  If you wish to submit a complaint to the Ombudsman, you must do so within six months of the date of the written notification of the decision.