Student Focus

Advocacy 101

Friday, October 29, 2021

Students have access to advocates through the Students’ Association. Advocates work with students who find themselves in trouble with the college by assisting them to understand their rights and responsibilities under the ACC policies.

What is an Appeal? 

An appeal is the process that allows students the opportunity to contest/challenge an academic or disciplinary decision made by the college. Examples of appeals include disputing a grade received or being suspended from classes. In order to effectively exercise your rights, you must act as soon as possible. Failure to do so may jeopardize your appeal. 

Students have the right to an appeal. All appeals must be in writing. Decisions are made by the appropriate body and are based on the information and supporting documentation provided in writing by the student. 

All students wishing to appeal are strongly advised to consult a Student Advocate to discuss their situation, for information on appeal procedures, and to obtain the appropriate appeal form as required. 

Considerations for Appeal include but are not limited to: 

  • Suspension/expulsion 
  • Failing grade 
  • Miscalculated grade 
  • Unclear evaluation 
  • Grading with untimely feedback 
  • Deduction of grade 

Steps for Appeal 

  • Read Academic and Disciplinary Appeal Policy A01 to understand the appeal parameters and process. 
  • Contact a Student Advocate for advice as soon as there is an issue or concern. An advocate can be helpful in explaining the policy and guiding the student to the best course of action. 
  • Students are encouraged to try and resolve issues informally within 3 working days of receiving the grade or decision as the deadline to submit a pre-appeal with the Dean is 3 working days after the start of your next course 
  • If the decision does not affect your continuation in your program, you have up to 21 calendar days after receiving the initial grade or other decision to meet with the Dean. 
  • The responsibility to meet these deadlines are on the student. 
  • Tell your instructor as soon as conditions arise that are likely to affect your academic performance (1 day if possible). In the case of a disciplinary decision, enquire with the instructor or staff involved. If you speak over the phone or in person follow up with an email to confirm what was discussed.  
  • In the event there is no resolution with the instructor, you are then recommended to contact the program Chair with your complaint. Be sure to give a detailed account of your situation, including communication with the instructor and any evidence you may have.  
  • The next step if a consultation with the Chair was unsuccessful is the Dean. This step should take place within 3 working days after the start of the next course and is considered a pre appeal. Be sure to give a detailed account of your situation, including communications with the instructor, the chair and any evidence you may have.  
  • If that doesn’t work, the last level available to the student is to file a formal appeal with the Appeals Committee. This should be done within 2 working days of receiving the Dean’s decision. Be sure to give a detailed account of your situation, including communications with the instructor, the chair, the dean and any evidence you may have.  

ACCSA Advocacy services 

Part of our role as the Student Advocate is to act as an advisor in all levels of academic appeals, to be familiar with and follow college policies to properly advise students, and to conduct research and investigation into matters pertaining to student concerns. During an appeal process our door is open to provide information and advice to students on the preparation and presentation of an appeal. We encourage you to consult with a Student Advocate at 204.725.8700 ext 6645 or email at for more information. 

 Qualities of a Successful Appeal Request/Description 

  • Demonstrates an understanding of what went wrong 
  • Takes responsibility for academic failures 
  • Outlines a clear plan for future academic success 
  • Conveys points honestly 

Making a strong Appeal 

  • Use the Attachment A form found in the A01 policy to organize your thoughts on the details of your case. 
    • Give an answer to all four questions on the appeal form  
    • state the date decision or grade was received 
    • the decision you are appealing 
    • provide an explanation as to why you feel a review of the decision is warranted 
    • state the specific remedy you are wishing to appeal
  • Give a detailed explanation of your situation. Keep the situation objective so that you can prove why you deserve your desired outcome with specific examples relating to your appeal
  • Give more than one desired outcome. Doing this can prove helpful in finding a resolution.
  • It helps to attach additional information/documentation to your appeal, for example emails. Anything you include must be given all together at the same time in order to be looked at. Documents can be compiled using the following link:  

For more information on advocacy see our Advocacy & Awareness page.

Written by Anneliesea Parkinson, Student Development Coordinator, ACC Students’ Association