China Queen’s College (CQC) and INTO Queen’s CSAC – A Student Guide
If you are dissatisfied with a decision of the Board of Examiners in your School, you may appeal on grounds to the Central Student Appeals Committee (CSAC).
Below are answers to your Frequently Asked Questions. However, the full Academic Appeal Regulations (Taught Programmes) can be found here.
Who can help with my CSAC appeal?
Prior to submitting your appeal, you are advised to speak to:
- Your Advisor of Studies; and/or
- Your Personal Tutor; and/or
- The Students’ Union Advice Centre.
Wellbeing support is also available from the Student Wellbeing Service.
- When can I appeal?
You can only appeal once your confirmed results have been published.
- Is there a deadline to submit a CSAC appeal?
The CSAC deadline will be provided to you by your School.
Your fully completed CSAC Appeal Form, along with all supporting evidence, must be sent to Academic Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org) within ten working days of the publication of results.
- What if I miss the CSAC appeal deadline?
If you miss the deadline, the Central Student Appeals Committee will not normally hear your appeal.
Further information about the late appeals process can be found in section 1.17 of the Academic Appeal Regulations (Taught Programmes).
- I am graduating, can I still appeal?
Yes, submitting an appeal will not prohibit you from graduating; however, you must submit your appeal within ten working days of the formal publication of your final results. You cannot appeal after you have graduated.
If a change to your results is required following your appeal, your transcript will be amended.
If your degree classification changes after graduation, you will be issued with an amended parchment on return of your original parchment.
You are not able to submit an appeal after you have graduated from Queen’s University Belfast.
What you should do before submitting an appeal?
Prior to submitting your appeal, it is advised that you:
- Read the Regulations and this Guide.
- Identify your grounds for appeal.
- Contact your Personal Tutor / Advisor of Studies to discuss your academic standing/progress.
- Attend your Student Support Meeting (if relevant)
- Speak to the Students’ Union Advice Centre.
- Obtain relevant evidence in support of your appeal.
- What are grounds for appeal?
The grounds on which you can appeal are:
- New evidence has become available which could not have been provided to the Board of Examiners (BoE) meeting (evidence that you chose to withhold from the Board of Examiners will not normally constitute new evidence at an appeal).
- There has been a procedural irregularity which has had a demonstrable impact on your academic outcome.
- What isn’t grounds for appeal?
The following are not grounds for appeal:
- Not being aware of the University regulations.
- Not knowing the University procedures (e.g. Exceptional Circumstances procedure).
- Being unhappy with your module mark or thinking that you can do better.
- Wanting to re-sit examinations or re-submit coursework in order to improve grades for modules that have been passed.
- Being awarded a degree classification that does not satisfy your career plans.
- Where can I find the CSAC appeal form?
The CSAC appeal form can be downloaded from CSAC Appeal Form.
- Advice for completing the CSAC form
It is strongly recommended that you seek advice on preparing your appeal from the Students’ Union Advice Centre (LINK).
Do make sure that you complete ALL parts of the appeal form.
You should address the following points on your appeal form:
- State clearly what decision you are appealing against. If possible, you should attach a copy of the letter you have received from your School notifying you of the decision of the Board of Examiners (the decision you are appealing).
- What are your grounds for appeal? Make sure that you tick the appropriate box.
- Give a summary of any issues that you believe may have impacted on your progression or academic outcome and clearly detail how you believe you meet the ground(s) of appeal.
- Did you encounter exceptional circumstances? If so what are they?
- Did you inform your School of these circumstances? Do you have any emails/correspondence to support this? Did you submit an Exceptional Circumstances application? If not, why did you not do so? You should attach copies of any relevant documents.
- What would you like the CSAC to do? You should check the University Regulations and/or your Student Handbook to make sure that the CSAC has the power to grant what you are asking.
- If you are requesting another attempt to pass an assignment/exam, what will be different next time?
- Is there any additional information you would like the CSAC to know about?
- Ensure that you have provided all supporting evidence which you consider supports your appeal. If you fail to submit the relevant evidence in support of your appeal before the appeal deadline, it may be rejected at the review stage because of lack of evidence (see Review Stage below).
It is very important that you complete the CSAC Appeal Form properly and submit all the necessary documentation to Academic Affairs before the stated deadline.
You should submit all relevant evidence that supports your appeal case.
Useful types of evidence might include (but are not limited to):
- Medical reports (including letters from your GP)
- Police reports
- Exam invigilator reports
- Emails, letters and other correspondence
- Witness statements
- Meeting notes
If appealing under the ground of new evidence, it is important to provide documentation which evidences both the exceptional circumstance and the impact your exceptional circumstances had on your ability to study or perform academically.
All evidence must be in English. If your evidence is in another language, it is your responsibility to obtain an English translation of this evidence. The translation must be certified as an accurate translation.
Evidence should be relevant to the missed/failed exam or assessment(s) and must clearly cover the date(s) of the missed/failed exam(s) or assessment(s).
Any medical evidence should:
- Relate specifically to the dates and duration of your illness.
- Contain a clear medical diagnosis or opinion and indicate how this impacted on your academic performance at the time of the assessment(s) in question.
Academic Affairs may require to see the originals of any documentation that you submit with your appeal.
Evidence must not be tampered with or forged. The University takes this very seriously and the standard penalty for a first offence of falsification/fabrication of evidence provided to the University is expulsion from the University.
The Students’ Union Advice Centre can provide additional advice on the types of evidence that should be submitted with your appeal.
- What happens once I have submitted my appeal?
Once you have submitted your appeal, you will receive a notification email (to your University email address) confirming receipt of your appeal and explaining the next stage of the appeals process. Please note that the Appeals and Complaints team will endeavour to send this to you as quickly as possible.
It is important that you check your University email account regularly, read any emails sent to you carefully and respond as requested.
Once submitted, your appeal will be considered by a Sifting Panel and a Review Panel. You are not required to attend these meetings.
- What does the Sifting Panel and Review Panel do?
The Sifting Panel will consider your appeal (and supporting evidence) and will decide either to accept or reject your appeal. If accepted, your appeal will be sent to your School for a response.
The Sifting Panel will reject your appeal if it clearly does not present a prima facie case, e.g.:
- Your appeal form is incomplete and/or does not contain any supporting evidence.
- Your appeal clearly does not demonstrate grounds for appeal.
- Your desired outcome is not within the powers of the CSAC to grant, e.g. the outcome requested is to change marks or to re-sit or re-take modules that have already been passed.
If the Sifting Panel reject your appeal, the Review Panel will review this decision. The Review Panel will only consider the original appeal documentation and no additional information will be accepted at this stage.
The Review Panel will decide either to confirm or overturn the Sifting Panel decision. If accepted, your appeal will be sent to your School for a response.
- My CSAC appeal was rejected by the Review Panel, what happens next?
If your appeal has been rejected by the Review Panel, there is no further internal right of appeal and the original decision of the Board of Examiners will remain in place.
However, you may submit a complaint about maladministration to the Office of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman within 6 months of notification of the decision of the Review Panel.
- My CSAC appeal was accepted by the Review Panel, what happens next?
If your appeal has been accepted at the Sifting and Review stage, your appeal will be sent to your School for a written response.
Your appeal documentation and the School response will be presented to the CSAC for consideration and you will receive an invitation to present your appeal to the CSAC. This will be sent to your University email address.
Can I withdraw my appeal?
Yes, you can withdraw your appeal at any stage of the process.
If you wish to withdraw your appeal, please email email@example.com stating your reasons for withdrawing your appeal.
- Do I have to confirm my attendance?
Yes, you must confirm whether or not you will attend your CSAC meeting.
Please note, all CSAC meetings for CQC students will be conducted via Microsoft Teams, Skype or teleconference.
If you fail to confirm whether or not you wish to attend your CSAC meeting by the stated deadline, your appeal will be withdrawn and the decision of Board of Examiners will stand.
- Do I have to attend the CSAC meeting?
Whilst it is not compulsory for you to attend this meeting, it is recommended that you your CSAC meeting in order to present your appeal to the CSAC panel.
If you do not wish to attend the CSAC meeting and would like your appeal heard on the paperwork alone, you must inform the Appeals and Complaints Team by the deadline stated in your CSAC invitation.
If you confirm your attendance and then fail to attend your CSAC meeting without a good reason for your absence, the CSAC may consider your case in your absence on the basis of the paperwork alone. The CSAC will determine what it considers to be a good reason but work commitments or holiday arrangements will not normally be considered a sufficient reason to postpone a meeting.
Given the current uncertainty caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, you may be asked to attend your CSAC meeting virtually using the Microsoft Teams software (free to download for all QUB staff and students), Skype or teleconference, rather than in person. The University will continue to adhere to guidance issued by the Public Health Agency and details of safety precautions in place for your CSAC meeting will be detailed within your invitation letter.
If you are offered an ‘in person’ CSAC meeting but wish to attend virtually instead, it may be possible to arrange your attendance by Microsoft Teams, Skype or teleconference.
- Can I bring someone with me to the CSAC meeting?
You may be accompanied by a:
- Registered student of the University; or
- Member of staff of the University or University Chaplaincy; or
- Staff member or Officer from the Students’ Union.
If you consider that you have a disability or condition, you should advise Academic Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org) when submitting your appeal or as soon as possible so that the appropriate reasonable adjustments can be put in place to help you engage as fully as possible with the appeals process. This may entail a consultation with Disability Services.
If you attend your CSAC meeting accompanied, please note that you will still be expected to answer questions and make your own representations. The individual accompanying you is there to support you, not to represent you.
If your meeting is held virtually, you are still permitted to be accompanied to your CSAC meeting and you will be permitted time and privacy to discuss matters with this person during the meeting if required.
- Who are the CSAC panel members?
The CSAC is comprised of 4 members of academic staff who have been nominated to hear student appeals. Each member will have experience of advising students on progress, assessment and award issues.
The CSAC panel 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 meeting. However, they are not a panel member and are not involved in determining the outcome of your CSAC appeal.
Will anyone else attend the CSAC meeting?
In addition to the CSAC Panel, a representative from your School will attend to respond to your appeal and answer questions about the School's procedures and practices, the programme of study or your academic performance to date. Where appropriate, a representative from another University department (e.g. Student Wellbeing/Disability Services) may also attend to answer questions about other concerns raised in your appeal.
Members of Academic Affairs will be in attendance to take notes of the meeting and to ensure that the meeting is conducted in line with the Academic Appeal Regulations; however, they do not form part of the Committee.
- When is the CSAC meeting?
The Appeals and Complaints team will confirm the date and time of your CSAC meeting (via email) as soon as possible.
- What information will the CSAC consider?
The CSAC will be provided with the following documentation:
- Your CSAC appeal and any supporting evidence
- The School Response and any supporting documents.
- The response from other relevant departments (e.g. Student Wellbeing/Disability Services) if issues concerning other departments raised in appeal.
You will be sent a copy of all documentation to be considered by the CSAC 5 working days prior to the CSAC meeting.
- What happens at the CSAC meeting?
The CSAC meeting will follow the following format:
- Introductions will be made and the meeting format will be explained.
- You will be invited to briefly outline the decision you are appealing against and the grounds on which you are appealing. It may help to prepare a short statement which highlights important points and/or to comment on the School response.
- If in attendance, the representative from your School (or from any other University department involved) will be invited to briefly outline the School response to your appeal.
- The Committee will then ask questions to clarify some of the issues you have raised in your appeal.
- You and the School rep will be asked for any closing remarks.
CSAC meetings normally take approximately 20 minutes.
- Can I record the CSAC meeting?
Students and staff are not permitted to make electronic or digital audio or visual recordings of any meetings without the express consent of all participants.
Official minutes of the meeting will be taken by a member of Academic Affairs and will be available on request.
What are the possible outcomes of my CSAC appeal?
The CSAC will agree on one of the following outcomes:
- Dismiss the appeal, with reasons, and confirm the original decision against which the appeal is made.
- Refer the matter back to the Chair of the Board of Examiners, with or without recommendation.
- Uphold the appeal in part or in full, and may:
- Permit the student to re-sit or retake a failed module(s)
- Apply, on the student’s behalf, for a concession to the Regulations
- 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 and when will I be informed of the CSAC decision?
Normally, the CSAC decision will be sent to you within 8 working days of the decision being reached.
The CSAC decision will be sent to your University email address.
The Committee may invite you to meet with a member of staff from the Appeals and Complaints Team to receive your 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, the Appeals and Complaints Team have no power to change the CSAC decision.
Please note that the Appeals and Complaints Team are unable to respond to individual, ad-hoc requests for CSAC decisions and you will be sent your decision once it has been finalised.
- What if I am unhappy with the outcome of my CSAC appeal?
There is no further internal appeal against the decision of the CSAC.
However, you may submit a complaint about maladministration to the Office of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman within 6 months of notifiication oof the decision of the CSAC.
- Confidentiality and Data Protection
All appeals will be treated with the appropriate level of confidentiality, with information being released only to those who need to see it (e.g. for the School’s response).
In accordance with the Academic Appeal Regulations (Taught Programmes), all information submitted by you and by the School will be shared with the members of the Committee. You and the School will be sent copies of the information sent to the members of the Committee. You should not include in your appeal any information which you do not wish to be shared. You should also ensure that your appeal documentation does not contain any information relating to third parties (e.g. that names or any information by which a third party could be identified have been redacted, unless the third party consents to the information being shared) and the information complies with the University guidance on data protection.
You may withdraw consent to sharing any information at any time (unless it has already been shared) by contacting Academic Affairs (email@example.com).