Appealing an Academic Integrity Decision

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 Appealing an AI Decision (234KB | PDF)

Queen鈥檚 students, faculty, and staff all have responsibilities, through the Senate Policy on Academic Integrity for supporting and upholding the fundamental values of academic integrity: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility and courage. The Senate Policy on Academic Integrity Procedures outlines certain procedural requirements of Faculties & Schools surrounding any investigation into an academic integrity concern. While there are slight variances between Faculties & Schools all students must have an opportunity to appeal an academic integrity decision, should they meet the grounds.

What can be appealed? Students may appeal the finding, the sanction, or both.

Review Section 4 (Appeals) of the Academic Integrity Procedures 鈥 Requirements of Faculties

The grounds for submitting an appeal are limited to cases in which a student is able to establish:

  1. A breach of procedural fairness, which could include such things as failing to:
    • Permit a student to be heard by an unbiased decision-maker.
    • Follow applicable rules, regulations, or university policy in a way that adversely affected a student鈥檚 right to a fair process.
    • Make a reasonable decision. A 鈥渞easonable鈥 decision is one that is rational in that its findings are based on evidence, thought out and supported by facts and logical inferences from findings of fact. To be reasonable, the decision must contain adequate reasons for the conclusions. A decision should not be overturned if it falls within a range of possible, acceptable outcomes. If the decision is 鈥渞easonable鈥, the decision-maker deciding the appeal is not permitted to substitute their opinion for that of the decision-maker whose decision is under appeal.
  2. The decision-maker whose decision is being appealed acted without, or exceeded their, jurisdiction. (e.g. an instructor imposes a sanction which is only available to the School AI Lead, such as a requirement to withdraw.)

Each Faculty or School regulation or procedure with respect to academic integrity matters sets out their own levels of appeal. In addition to the level(s) of appeal within each Faculty or School, the Senate Student Academic Appeals Policy establishes the University Student Appeal Board (USAB), with jurisdiction to hear appeals of the final academic integrity decision made within each Faculty or School. Generally, the appeal levels are as follows*:

Original Decision Maker   Appeal Body
Instructor Faculty/School AI Lead
ie. Associate Dean
Faculty/School AI Lead
ie. Associate Dean
Faculty/School AI Panel
Faculty/School AI Panel University Student Appeal Board (USAB)

*Students should refer to their Finding of Departure notice and must review the academic integrity policy for their Faculty or School for more detailed information on the next appropriate appeal level.

If you are confident your appeal does indeed meet one of the grounds for appeal, you will need to submit your appeal within 10 business days of the date that the Finding of Departure form was e-mailed by the decision-maker. If a decision on remedy or sanction was referred to the AI Lead the appeal cannot be submitted until a remedy or sanction is assigned. In such cases, the appeal must be submitted within 10 business days of the date that the notice of the remedy or sanction imposed was emailed to the student by the AI Lead.

The submission of the appeal generally includes the following*:

  • A copy of the Finding of Departure form that states the remedy or sanction decision
  • A written appeal letter explaining the reasons for your appeal and the ground(s) for appeal
  • Any additional supporting documents

If the appeal contains new evidence that is permitted, the appeal decision-maker shall have no jurisdiction over the appeal and shall send the matter back to the previous decision-maker for reconsideration, unless:

  • the delay of sending the matter to the prior decision-maker would be unduly prejudicial to the student; or
  • the student鈥檚 new evidence clearly demonstrates bias in the prior proceeding that otherwise cannot be remedied.

Students should refer to the academic integrity policy for their Faculty or School for more detailed information on submitting the appeal.

This letter is not a re-telling of the case, but your opportunity to identify what was faulty in the process followed by the previous decision-maker(s).


Consider your audience and provide an short opening introduction that summarizes your concern. This section should state clearly whether you are appealing the finding, the remedy or sanction, or both. A meeting is part of this process, but you may indicate you do not want to meet, and proceed based on written submissions only.

Grounds for Appeal

This section should provide a clear and concise explanation that summarizes what the reason(s) for appeal are and also clearly identifies the ground(s) for your appeal.

Your appeal letter should begin by saying what you鈥檙e appealing and provide a brief summary as to what the ground(s) are. Note that you will go into more detail when speaking about the underlying facts you have to support the ground(s).

For example, if you decide to appeal because you feel there was a breach of procedural fairness, you would say 鈥淚 am appealing the academic integrity finding and sanction that resulted in my grade of zero on the grounds of a breach of procedural fairness,鈥 and then briefly explain what was the breach of procedural fairness. Ensure you review the flip-side of this document to understand what a breach of procedural fairness could include.

Underlying Facts

This section would detail the facts that support the ground(s) of appeal that have been identified. This can be thought of as the 鈥渉辞飞鈥 of the appeal letter. For example, if a breach of procedural fairness occurred due to a biased decision-maker, you would include the facts that support how the decision-maker was biased in making the decision.