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).
Prior to submitting a formal written appeal to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 Appeal Regulations (Taught Programmes).
How long do I have to appeal?
To initiate the appeals process, a student must complete all sections of the CSAC form and submit it to email@example.com by the deadline provided by your School. If you miss this deadline the CSAC will not be able to hear your appeal.
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. Requests for appeal which are not submitted on the appropriate form will not be processed. The appeal will be acknowledged on receipt.
I am graduating, can I still appeal?
A former student may not lodge an appeal after they have graduated from the University. However, a student may proceed to graduate while appealing, providing the appeal is submitted by the deadline provided by your School.
Should a change to a result be required following an appeal, the transcript will be amended accordingly. Where a degree classification changes after graduation, the student will be issued with an amended parchment on return of the original parchment.
Grounds for Appeal
In order for the CSAC to be able to hear your appeal, you must state the grounds on which you are appealing. While you might feel unhappy about a decision, e.g. your examination marks, this does not mean you have grounds for an appeal. There are two grounds on which you can appeal:
- New evidence has become available which could not have been provided to the Board of Examiners (BoE) meeting (evidence that a student chooses to withhold from the Board of Examiners will not normally constitute new evidence at an appeal).
- There has been a procedural irregularity. You need to be able to explain how this impacted on your academic outcome.
The following are not grounds for appeal:
- Not being aware of the University regulations.
- Not knowing the University procedures (this is not a procedural irregularity).
- Being unhappy with your module mark or thinking you can do better.
- Wanting to re-sit examinations or resubmit coursework in order to improve grades.
- Being awarded a degree classification that does not satisfy your career plans.
Preparing Your Appeal
Once you have established that you have grounds for an appeal, it is strongly recommended that you seek advice and assistance on preparing your appeal. The Students’ Union will be able to assist you with the appeal form and a representative will also be able to accompany you to the Committee hearing. To get in touch with the Students’ Union, you should visit www.qubsu.org/AdviceSU/
Please complete all parts of the appeal form. You will need to address the following points:
- 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.
- Did you encounter exceptional circumstances? If so what are they?
- Did you inform the 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.
Answering these points will help the Committee to understand your case and to reach a fair decision. Please be careful to make sure that the appeal document is not one big block of text, try to break it up into smaller paragraphs.
Submitting your appeal
Once the CSAC Appeal Form and supporting documentation is complete, please ask someone from the Students’ Union www.qubsu.org/AdviceSU/ to read through it before submitting it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline.
It is your responsibility to ensure that the information is accurate, includes all supporting documentation and is submitted on time. Any documentation submitted after the deadline for submission of appeals will not be considered.
The CSAC will normally only consider appeals against Examination Board decisions for the relevant assessment period (eg you cannot submit an appeal after the semester two examination period relating to the decision about a semester one examination).
Although your appeal and supporting documentation will be accepted by email, Academic Affairs will require to see the originals of any documentation you submit in support of your appeal (eg letter from your GP or death certificate).
Academic Affairs is tasked with ensuring that the evidence considered by a CSAC is bona fide and will, where necessary, take steps to verify that documentation submitted is valid and authentic. This may include contacting the stated author of the document in question or your GP surgery to verify that the document was written by them. If the document is a letter from your GP, only the contents of the document submitted by you will be disclosed; no other matters will be discussed.
Documentary evidence must not be tampered with. Where it is suspected that a student has submitted a forged document or has made changes to the document, however minor, the appeal will be adjourned and the matter referred to the student’s Head of School for investigation under the Conduct Regulations. You should be aware that the University takes offences of this kind very seriously. The standard penalty for a disciplinary offence of falsification/fabrication of evidence provided to the University (first offence) is expulsion from the University.
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 (eg 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 (eg, 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).
What is the deadline for submission of appeals?
The deadline for submitting an appeal will be provided to you by your School.
What Happens Next?
Academic Affairs will contact you via your University email address to confirm receipt of your appeal and explain the next stage of the appeals process. It is important that you check your University email account regularly and read any emails sent to you carefully. These emails will contain important information about your appeal.
Your appeal documentation will be forwarded to your School for a written response.
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.
All hearings for CQC students will be conducted via Skype.
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 CSAC 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 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.
For INTO Queen’s students who 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 of the University, 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 at any stage. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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:
- your appeal to CSAC (and any supporting evidence).
- the School response (and any supporting documents).
What happens at the meeting?
The hearing will normally take approximately 20 minutes (via Skype for CQC students).
A representative from your School will be required to attend the hearing to provide further information, if necessary. 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 your School representative will not 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
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 and the School representative for any closing remarks. You will all then leave the meeting.
What decisions are available to the CSAC?
The CSAC can make the following decisions:
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 will I be informed of the decision of the CSAC?
The CSAC’s decision will be communicated to you within eight 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 eight working days after the hearing.
You should note that the Committee’s decision cannot be changed.
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.