Students say appeals are important for accountability

By: Nathan Richison

Red River College Polytechnic implemented a new appeal process for all campuses, starting on Jan. 3, 2023, citing a need for a more efficient process. Some students agree that it was time for an upgrade, stating appeals are a vital part of a students’ education.  

“To keep it fair and… to allow us to hold them accountable to the grading rubric that they set out and that they articulate for us,” said Dawn Avanthay, a Business Information Technology student.

The previous appeal process had multiple stages, including a formal in-person committee hearing. It was time consuming and didn’t add anything to the appeal process, said Emily Doer, spokesperson for the college, in an email.

The new process is more streamlined, Doer said.

Now students try to come to an informal resolution with the decision maker by approaching the party involved. If the issue isn’t resolved, the student submits a formal appeal through an online form and will receive a written decision within 15 days, but different rules apply for a disciplinary appeal, according to the college’s website.

Students can appeal academic integrity breaches and non-academic misconduct or breaches, academic assessments or grades, academic accommodations, and recognition of prior learning decisions. The website also includes a list of things that cannot be appealed.

Along with this is a new appeal guide that some students’ association members are trained on in case students need any support, said Christine Jeroski, RRC Polytech’s resource and resolution advisor, in an email.

Heather Holens studies at Manitou a bi Bii daziigae on Feb. 17, 2023. (Nathan Richison)

One of the key points of the new process is the efficiency, said Navpreet Kaur, vice president, academic for the Red River College Students’ Association (RRCSA).

“The new policies, it’s just a 15 day process is what college is saying. So yes, so I think timewise it’s really good,” Kaur said.

Some students said appeal processes are important to help mitigate any potential biases.

“Just so it’s, like, fair for all the students. I think it just keeps the teachers and professors honest as well,” said Heather Holens, a Hospitality and Tourism Management student..

The college reached out to the RRCSA when creating the process, took their suggestions into account, and implemented some of them, including an increase on file submission limits, Kaur said.

The college also consulted Student Support Services, the Senior Academic Committee, and “other applicable stakeholders” when updating the process to give a clear list of what is appealable, when an appeal can be made, and to streamline the process, Jeroski said.