Grievance / Grade Dispute Policy

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
Grievance Procedures

The dynamic and creative studio culture at the heart of the Sam Fox School strives to be safe and inclusive for all members of our community. Our faculty, staff, and students join together in their commitment to creating learning environments of mutuality and respect. When concerns or disagreements arise about conduct, grading, or other matters, policies exist for pursuing proper resolution.

Grade Dispute Policy

The Sam Fox School aims to provide each student with a fair assessment of their academic work and studio. Students have the right to dispute their overall course grade (not individual
assignments) if they believe that grade does not accurately reflect the quality of their work. A
grade dispute must be submitted to the faculty member who assigned the grade within 30 days of receipt of the grade. The School stresses that every effort to resolve this dispute be made by the faculty and student involved. A student’s eligibility for advancement in sequential coursework requires timely resolution of the grade dispute. If the student is a graduation candidate, the dispute process must comply with the Intent to Graduate submission deadline deadlines set forth by the Office of the University Registrar or the degree conferral will be delayed by one semester or until resolved.

1. The student presents their question about the grade in writing to their faculty member
clearly stating the reasons for questioning the grade.
2. The faculty member and student review grading procedures as stated in syllabus and
determining factors in the student’s grade.
3. If the case is not resolved between student and faculty the student may put forth their
complaint in writing with supporting evidence to the Chair* of the academic program
with a copy to faculty member involved with the dispute. The student should provide all
the course syllabus and materials relevant to the assigned grade within two weeks of
the complaint. If a conflict of interest exists between the student and the chair (e.g. the
Chair is teaching the course), the case will be referred to another Chair in the School or
the Director of the College.
4 The Chair* of the academic program will review the materials. The Chair will resolve the
dispute working with the faculty member and student to arrive at a determination.

*In the case of the MFA programs, the role of Chair is fulfilled by the Director of the Graduate
School of Art.

Integrity and Ethical Conduct
Washington University (Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts) is committed to the highest
ethical and professional standards of conduct as an integral part of its mission, the promotion
of learning. To achieve this goal, the university relies on each community member’s ethical
behavior, honesty, integrity and good judgment. Each community member should demonstrate respect for the rights of others. Each community member is accountable for his/her actions.

Washington University policies state that members of the University community can expect to
be free from discrimination and harassment. Students, faculty, staff, and outside organizations working on campus are required to abide by specific policies prohibiting harassment, which are posted on the Compliance & Policies page of the University’s website.

Should a situation arise where a member of our community believes they have cause to file a
grievance there are two categories of grievance to consider, academic and non-academic.
Academic grievances can either be when a student challenges a course grade, or when a fellow student or faculty member feels a matter of academic integrity is at issue.

Student grievances filed to challenge a grade the student feels has been given incorrectly must follow the procedures outlined in the Grade Dispute Policy above.

Academic Integrity grievances are made when a faculty member or fellow student feels a
student has compromised the environment of honesty and ethics in the School. Academic
Integrity infractions follow the procedures laid out in Sam Fox School and University policies
and are managed in the Sam Fox School by the Academic Integrity Officer. (Link here to the
university’s academic integrity statement).

If a member of our academic community feels the ethical and safe environment of the
classroom has been compromised, for whatever reason, they may seek guidance through the
School’s Faculty Student Mediator.

In addition, University Resources available for support include the following:

  • Title IX Issues/Sexual Harassment:
    – Title IX Coordinator: 314-935-3118
    – RSVP Center: 314-935-8761
    – Sexual Assault and Rape Anonymous Helpline (SARAH): 314-935-8080
  • Mental Health Concerns
    – Student Health Services: 314-935-6666
    – Uncle Joe’s Peer Counseling: 314-935-5099
  • Drug and Alcohol Concerns
    – Student Health Services: 314-935-6666
  • Immediate Physical/Mental Health Concerns
    – Washington University Police Department: 314-935-5555
  • Diversity and Inclusion; Bias Concerns
    – Center for Diversity & Inclusion:, 314-935-7535
  • Graduate Student Ombudsperson: 314-379-8110


Approved May 16, 2018