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A student with a graduate assistantship may appeal a decision regarding an assistantship in the following circumstances:

  • Unfair dismissal.
  • Prejudiced or capricious academic program evaluation.
  • Equity issues in assistantship compensation or duties.

If you are a graduate student and believe one of the above situations applies to you, you may begin the appeals process.

Step 1: Work toward a resolution.

First attempt to resolve the matter with the faculty/staff member or appropriate administrative leader of the school, college or unit responsible for your assistantship.

Step 2: File a written appeal within your unit.

If your attempt at resolution is unsuccessful, you may then file a written appeal to the director of graduate studies for consideration by the appropriate graduate committee. This appeal must be filed within 60 days of the evaluation or dismissal. A written determination of the appeal will be presented to you and your supervisor. If the assistantship is not in an academic program, the Associate Dean of the Graduate School will consider the appeal.

Step 3: Present the appeal to the Graduate School.

If no action is taken on the appeal within 30 days* of its filing or if the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may present the original appeal and documentation to the MU Dean of the Graduate School.

If the dean determines that the appeal might have merit, they will request a review by an ad hoc Appeal Committee of the Graduate Faculty Senate consisting of five senators who are not members of the academic program involved in the appeal. The Graduate School will provide information to the student, the department/program and members of the ad hoc GFS Appeal Committee regarding the content, process and regulations/policies pertaining to the appeal. Upon compilation of the appeal file, the Dean of the Graduate School will send a copy of file materials to the members of the Appeal Committee and to the department/program. If the program/department wishes to respond in writing, its statement will be distributed to the Appeal Committee, the student and representatives from the Graduate School.

A hearing will be scheduled within 30 days* of receiving the notice of appeal. Parties to the hearing include: the student (and an advisor from the university community, if desired), the student’s assistantship supervisor (optional), department chair (optional), department director of graduate studies (optional), the Appeal Committee and the Graduate School. At this hearing, the department or program will first invite the student making the appeal to present the case discussed in the written statement. The Appeal Committee may ask questions at this point, and once its questions have been answered, will give the program/department the opportunity to defend its dismissal of the student. The student’s supervisor, department chair, or director of graduate studies may also contribute to the discussion; a department may also designate an alternate department member to participate in place of the aforementioned. Following further questions from the Appeal Committee, the hearing will be adjourned.

The Appeal Committee will arrive at its decision within 48 hours* of the hearing’s conclusion. The Appeal Committee Chair will convey the decision in writing (and within 72 hours* of the conclusion of the committee’s deliberations) to the student, the director of graduate studies and chairperson of the department or program, the assistantship supervisor, the Dean of the Graduate School, the Graduate Faculty Senate president, and any other appropriate party named in the appeal. Given the accelerated deadline to deliver a decision, it is understood that decision letters will be brief and delivered electronically.

*All time frames and deadlines are exclusive of holidays and weekends.