A student may lodge an administrative complaint about any administrative decision made that impacts the following: Utah residency, tuition, course waivers, a credit adjustment, graduation, participation in specific activities, financial aid, and residence halls.
SUMMARY OF PETITION PROCESS
Level 1: Informal Level
- After being informed of an unfavorable decision, student talks to the decision-maker no later than the last day of the following semester and complies any other Level 1 requirements.
- Decision-maker provides student with rationale for decision.
Level 2: Formal Level
- Student completes Petition Form within 10 working days of a written decision or 20 working days of a non-written decision.
- Administrative Officer reviews petition allowing parties an opportunity to respond to the evidence.
- Administrative Officer makes a decision and sends notice to parties.
Level 3: Due Process Level
- Either party requests Due Process review within 5 working days.
- Due Process Officer reviews based on established criteria.
- Due Process Officer makes final decision.
DETAILED ADMINISTRATIVE PETITION PROCESS AND STANDARDS
Jurisdiction: Residency, tuition, course waivers, a credit adjustment, graduation, participation in specific activities, financial aid, and residence halls.
Goal: The goal of the hearing process is to provide for the prompt and fair resolution of all grievances as they occur so that constructive, educational, and developmental relationships can be maintained at Weber State University. Procedures that foster dialogue and promote resolution between the immediate parties involved in a dispute are encouraged. Informal resolution of any dispute should be attempted. Whenever possible, grievances should be resolved at the lowest level.
Standard of Review: An administrative decision will be reviewed to determine whether it was arbitrary or capricious. In making such a decision, deference is given to the administrator unless the decision is not supported by evidence on which the administrator could reasonably base their decision or whether the decision exceeds the bounds of reasonableness and rationality. A decision is supported by sufficient evidence if a reasonable mind could reach the same conclusion as did the administrator based on the evidence available to the administrator. The decision should also be consistent with other similar decisions.
Level 1: Informal Level: A student attempts to resolve the issue by a direct appeal to the relevant decision-maker.
- A student who believes an administrative action was arbitrary or capricious should, within no later than the last day of the semester following the semester in which the student received notification of the initial administrative action, discuss the administrative action with the decision-maker and attempt to resolve the disagreement.
- Administrative areas should provide students with information regarding further steps a student must take for informal redress of concerns beyond the initial decision-maker, including time limitations in the informal process.
- In cases of residency issues, the decision-maker shall give the student an explanation of the rationale for why the student was classified as a nonresident. The student will be provided with Regents' policies pertaining to the determination of residency.
- A Final Administrative Decision should be titled as such and issued to the student in writing. The Final Administrative Decision should state that it concludes the informal process and direct the student to the formal level, including time limits to take it to the formal level.
If the final decision-maker does not provide a written decision to the student within 30 working days of the receipt of notice of the dispute, the student’s dispute is considered denied and the student may proceed to the Formal Level.
Level 2: Formal Level: A student attempts to resolve the issue by submitting a formal petition that is reviewed and (if necessary) evaluated by an Administrative Officer.
Decision Maker: Administrative petitions shall be reviewed by an “Administrative Officer” who shall be a member of the Student Code Review Committee. The Administrative Officer must be able to engage in independent judgment. Parties may submit timely objections to the Due Process Officer if there is good cause to believe the Administrative Officer will not engage in independent judgment.
Time Limits: All formal level administrative petitions must be submitted within 10 working days of a final written level 1 decision at the informal level or within 20 working days of the disputed action if a written decision is not received by the student.
- If the academic issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the parties at the informal level, the aggrieved party (“Petitioner”) may submit a petition to the Due Process Officer. The Due Process Officer shall promptly send the complaint to the Administrative Officer. In his or her discretion, the Due Process Officer may determine it is prudent to have an administrative petition reviewed by a panel of the Student Code Review Committee.
- The petition must be in writing and state the facts, conduct, or circumstances alleged to constitute an administrative decision that is arbitrary or capricious, and the remedy sought. The student must provide all information or evidence the student desires the Administrative Officer to review. This can include statements from witnesses.
- The Administrative Officer may determine not to review the petition if it is frivolous, is based on issues that are beyond the jurisdictional boundaries established by University policy, or contains no actionable facts (meaning that even if the facts alleged by the student were true, the action would not have been arbitrary or capricious). Such decision must be in writing and is subject to review by the Due Process Officer, as described in Level 3, below. The Administrative Officer may also recommend that the issue be reviewed further for resolution at an informal level.
- If the petition is accepted for review, the person/entity against whom the Petitioner is petitioning (“Respondent”) is given an opportunity to review the petition and respond with any information or evidence desired, including statements from witnesses.
- Both parties are given an opportunity to respond to any evidence produced by either party. This may be in writing, or if desired by either party or the Administrative Officer, an in-person review may be held, so long as an in-person review of the level outlined in these formal guidelines was not already held at the informal level. In the case of a petition to determine an issue of residency, an opportunity for in-person review is required, but may be waived by the Petitioner. Both the Petitioner and the Respondent may be present. Either of the parties may be accompanied by an advisor of their choice, who may attend and give advice to the student, but may not participate in the review, except at the discretion of the Administrative Officer. Where residency is at issue, the parties are entitled to representation by an advisor. An in-person review may be governed by rules and standards of decorum structured by the Administrative Officer, so long as both parties are allowed equal opportunity to be heard.
- If either party fails to attend the in-person review without good cause, the Administrative Officer may proceed without the party.
- In-person reviews are closed to the public.
- The Administrative Officer may determine the relevance of any evidence received and may limit evidence, including scope, nature, or duration, when in the discretion of the Administrative Officer it is deemed inappropriate, repetitious, disruptive, unreliable, or otherwise of little use. The Utah Rules of evidence or procedure and any other formal rules of legal evidence or procedure do not apply.
- The Petitioner has the responsibility of showing that an administrative decision was arbitrary or capricious (see standard of review above).
- Where held, it is not required that a formal, written, verbatim record of the proceedings be kept, but a brief written summary of the significant assertions and findings of the in-person review shall be prepared by the Administrative Officer or a designee.
- After reviewing all evidence deemed relevant, the Administrative Officer will issue a written decision, including findings, grounds for the decision, sanctions or remedies, as appropriate, and any additional recommendations.
- The Administrative Officer is empowered to structure a resolution, which in its discretion satisfies the interests of justice. Such a resolution may not unduly burden a Respondent where the Respondent has not been found to have acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner.
- When the Administrative Officer decides in favor of the Petitioner in cases of residency, the resolution shall be retroactive to the beginning of the academic period for which application for resident status was made, and shall require a refund of the nonresident portion of any tuition charges paid for that and subsequent academic periods.
- The parties shall be given notice of the opportunity to ask for a review of the decision or resolution by the Due Process Officer on grounds outlined below.
Level 3: Due Process Level: The decision of the Administrative Officer may be appealed based on certain grounds.
- Either party may ask for a review of the decision or resolution by the Due Process Officer by submitting notice and reasons in writing, identifying the ground(s) and rationale for the requested review, to the Due Process Officer within five working days of notice of the decision.
- Except as may be required to clarify the issues and/or to explain the significance of new information, an appeal shall be limited to review of the evidence provided to the Administrative Officer and any record kept, for one or more of the following purposes:
- To determine whether the petition review was conducted fairly in light of the charge and information presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures;
- To determine whether the decision reached was based on substantial information; that is, whether the findings in the case were sufficient to establish that the academic decision was arbitrary or capricious;
- To consider new information not submitted to the Administrative Officer because such information and/or facts were not known to the party at the time of the review.
- Any of the above grounds must be shown to have had a prejudicial impact on the decision.
- The Due Process Officer may take the following actions:
- Affirm the decision of the Administrative Officer;
- Direct the Administrative Officer to review the petition again for a particular purpose;
- Remand the case for a new review.
- The decision shall be in writing and delivered to the parties and the Administrative Officer in a timely manner.
- The decision of the Due Process Officer is final.