Ethical, Legal, and Professional Conduct
Compliance with Institutional Policies and Procedures
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology requires the highest standards of professional and personal conduct from all students. Each student must abide by the policies and procedures of the school and comply with its standards. Failure to comply with the standards of conduct may result in the implementation of an Academic Development Plan (ADP) and/or disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the school.
Use of Computing Resources
The Department of Information Technology (IT) of The Chicago School provides access to its network for students, faculty and staff. The Chicago School computer network consists of a campus wide backbone network, wireless network, and many shared computers in addition to personal desktop computers. It provides communication as well as academic and administrative functions. The IT Department works to ensure that constituent interests are appropriately served and that network rights and responsibilities are observed.
Members of The Chicago School community have certain rights regarding the school’s network and its services.
- Intellectual Freedom: The school is a free and open forum for the expression of ideas; the school’s network is the same. Opinions may not be represented as, nor should they be construed as, the views of The Chicago School.
- Improper Contact: While the school cannot control unwanted or unsolicited contact, network users who receive threatening or other improper communications should bring them to the attention of the director of information technology. Electronic communications are treated in a similar fashion as are voiced or written communications.
- Privacy: Generally, data files and messages traversing the school’s network are private. However, a user’s privacy is superseded, for example, by the school’s requirement to maintain the network’s integrity and the rights of all network users. Should the security of the network be in danger, or for other good reason, user files and messages may be examined under the direction of the information technology management team. In all cases, the school reserves its right, as owner of the network and the computers in question, to examine, log, capture, archive, and otherwise preserve or inspect any messages transmitted over the network and any data files stored on school-owned computers, should circumstances warrant such actions. All members of the community must recognize that electronic communications are by no means secure and that during the course of ordinary management of computing and networking services network administrators may inadvertently view user files or messages.
Network users are expected to comply with the responsibilities delineated below. Students who violate a network responsibility risk suspension of network access. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, students could be referred to the Student Affairs Committee for disciplinary action. Acts that violate federal or state laws will result in referral to the appropriate legal authority as well as subject the user to institutional discipline.
The following illustrates the types of responsibilities that students are expected to uphold with regard to network use:
- Students are responsible for the use of their own personal network ID (“user ID”) and password. Students may not give anyone else access to personal user IDs or computer accounts. Students are prohibited from using a user ID or a Chicago School computer account other than the account assigned to them. Students may not try, in any way, to obtain a password for another user’s user ID or computer account. The user ID remains the property of the institution.
- Students may not misrepresent themselves or their data on the network.
- Students are responsible for the security of their own passwords. This includes changing passwords on a regular basis and making sure no one else knows them.
- Students must not use The Chicago School’s network resources to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized access to remote computers.
- Students must not deliberately perform an act that will impair the operation of computers, terminals, peripherals, or the network.
- Students must not run or install on any of The Chicago School’s computer systems, or give to another, a program that could result in the eventual damage to a file or computer system and/or the reproduction of itself.
- Students must not attempt to circumvent data protection schemes or exploit security loopholes.
- Students must abide by the terms of all software licensing agreements and copyright laws. Students may not make copies of, or make available on the network, copyrighted material, unless permitted by a license.
- Students must not be wasteful of computing resources or unfairly monopolize resources to the exclusion of other users. All necessary steps will be taken to protect the overall network from any person who violates this responsibility.
- Students must not attempt to monitor another user’s data communications, nor may any student read, copy, change, or delete another user’s files or software, without permission of the owner.
- Students whose membership to the campus community has ended (due to withdrawal, or termination of employment or otherwise leaving The Chicago School), may not use facilities, accounts, access codes, network privileges or information for which they are not authorized in their new circumstances.
Computing and networking resources are provided to support the mission of the school. These resources may not be used for commercial purposes. All Chicago School computing and networking facilities are provided for use by faculty, staff, and students solely for relevant academic, research, or administrative use.
One of the directors on the information technology management team should be notified about violations of computer regulations and policies, as well as about potential loopholes in the security of any computer system or network at The Chicago School. Depending on the nature of any violations, the vice president or director may notify the student’s department chair or designee and/or director of student services or equivalent student affairs administrator.
Criminal Background Check
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology requires all degree-seeking, and/or on-ground students participating in school-sanctioned community engaged scholarship (e.g., community service, service-learning, community-based research) and field training experiences (e.g., practica, internships) to complete a Criminal Background Check (CBC) as a condition of acceptance and matriculation. There are four main reasons why the school adopted this policy:
- Protection of Public Safety: Psychology professionals are entrusted with the health, safety, and welfare of those with whom they work, have access to confidential and sensitive information, and operate in settings that require the exercise of ethical judgment and professional behavior. Thus, assuring the absence of serious criminal convictions in our students’ backgrounds is imperative to promote the highest level of safety possible in our communities.
- Compliance with Training & Community Engaged Scholarship Partners: Applied learning experiences are essential elements of The Chicago School’s degree programs. Students who cannot participate in such experiences due to serious criminal convictions may not be able to fulfill the requirements of their degree program. Therefore, it is in both the student’s and school’s interest to identify such restrictions as early as possible.
- Early Identification of Licensure or Certification Ineligibility: Similarly, serious criminal convictions may prevent graduates the ability to attain a professional license or certification in their chosen field of study. Both the student and the school should quickly identify such limitations.
- Campus Safety: All members of The Chicago School community are entitled to work and study in a safe environment. Identification of violent backgrounds through CBCs reduces the possibility of criminal acts on or around campus.
Students will be provided the necessary information to complete the CBC in a timely manner through an outside vendor at their own expense; CBCs must be completed by the Add/Drop date of the semester. Students who fail to meet this requirement may be dismissed from or denied the opportunity to progress in the program, including participation in coursework, practica/internships and/or community engaged scholarship activities until the CBC is complete. An offer of admission or permission to continue enrollment may be reversed if the CBC results are incompatible with eligibility to meet relevant degree, licensure, or certification requirements or if they increase risk to the school and its inhabitants and/or partner agencies and the people with whom they work.
For additional information about the school’s criminal background check, click here.
Suspension or Revocation of a Professional License or Certification
Students who have ever had a professional license or certification suspended or revoked or who have for any reason voluntarily surrendered a professional license or certification must disclose this information at the time of application. A student who surrenders a license or certification or has one suspended or revoked while in attendance at The Chicago School must disclose this information to their department chair within ten (10) business days. In such circumstances, the case will be referred to the Student Affairs Committee for consideration of calling a formal hearing and deliberation. Likewise, students who at any time fail to disclose such information will be referred to the Student Affairs Committee for consideration of disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the school.
Student Code of Conduct
Students are required to conduct themselves in a manner that is suitable for professional study and practice. Violation of this standard includes, but is not limited to, conduct that contravenes the General Principles and Standards set forth in the Ethics Code promulgated by the American Psychological Association. Additionally, academic departments may require compliance with other discipline-specific ethical codes (e.g., the American Counseling Association’s Ethical Code for Counselors, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts, the National Association of School Psychologists’ Principles for Professional Ethics, and the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists, American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Code of Ethics). Students should consult with their academic departments for clarification of all applicable ethical codes to which they are accountable.
Additionally, students are prohibited from engaging in conduct that is detrimental to the school, poses a threat to the welfare of the school’s employees or students, is prohibited by school policies, or is illegal. In extreme circumstances, Chicago School administrators may ban individuals believed to pose a significant risk to others from school events and/or programs; such a ban would restrict the individual’s ability to enter school property for an indefinite amount of time until the matter can be thoroughly investigated and a final disposition can be rendered. Students may be restricted from campus or disciplined for improper or illegal conduct whether it occurs on- or off-campus (including cyberspace), and regardless of whether the conduct is specifically tied to a school activity.
While it is impossible to list all types of misconduct, the following illustrates the types of activities that will subject students to disciplinary action:
- Violations of any policy, procedure, or regulation of The Chicago School.
- Acts of dishonesty, including but not limited to, knowingly or recklessly furnishing false information to the school, forgery, and alteration, or misuse of school documents, records, or identification , and any materials submitted to employers (application, CV/Resume, cover letter, portfolio)
- Disorderly, indecent, or obscene conduct or expression, including in appropriate conduct in online environments such as abusive language toward instructors and classmates.
- Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, other Chicago School activities, or the freedom of expression of others.
- Conduct that threatens or endangers the health, safety, or welfare of any person, including threats of violence toward others and any action that unreasonably interferes with the psychological well-being of another.
- Unauthorized use, possession, or storage of any guns, weapons, or other unreasonably dangerous instruments.
- Unauthorized entry into or use of the school’s facilities or services.
- Theft or conversion of property or services (e.g., computer time) belonging to The Chicago School, members of the school community, or others
- Intentional or reckless destruction, damage, abuse, or misuse of school property or the property of others
- Illegal or unauthorized possession, use, sale, or distribution of narcotics, drugs, or other controlled substances defined as such by local, state, or federal law
- Violation of the school’s published technology and computer use guidelines
- Failure to comply with directions of Chicago School officials acting in the performance of their duties including, but not limited to, a requirement to provide unprivileged testimony at a disciplinary hearing or failure to comply with provisions of academic warning or an academic development plan.
- Violations of federal, state, and municipal laws, or any other conduct not included above, which unreasonably or unlawfully interferes with the operations of The Chicago School, or which renders a person unfit or unsuitable for practice within the psychology profession.
Students may be held independently accountable to both external authorities and to The Chicago School for acts that constitute violation of law and/or school policies, regulations, or procedures. Disciplinary action will not be subject to challenge on the ground that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed, reduced, or are in process.
Statement of Academic Integrity
The Chicago School expects its students to function within an environment of trust relative to other students, faculty, staff, and administration. Moreover, the school expects all students to conduct themselves ethically, with personal honesty, and with professionalism. Academic dishonesty violates one of the most basic ethical principles in an academic community and will result in sanctions imposed under the school’s disciplinary system. All suspected incidents must be immediately referred to the department chair or designee who will then refer the matter to the Student Affairs Committee for investigation, intervention, and/or imposition of sanctions. Possible interventions and sanctions may include, but are not limited to, implementing an Academic Development Plan, placing a student on academic warning/probation or dismissing a student.
Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to:
Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to, copying another person’s work with or without her or his permission, giving or receiving aid on a test, giving or receiving test materials prior to official distribution, collaborating on assignments or exams without instructor permission, submitting another’s work as one’s own (including purchased papers), taking credit for group work to which one did not contribute significantly or meet one’s obligations, and intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information or study aids in any academic exercise. Students may be expected to provide proof of identity prior to exams.
Plagiarism is intentionally or unintentionally representing words, ideas, or data from any source as one’s own original work. The use or reproduction of another’s work without appropriate attribution in the form of complete, accurate, and properly formatted citations constitutes plagiarism. Examples of plagiarism, include but are not limited to, copying the work of another verbatim without using quotation marks, revising the work of another by making only minor word changes without explanation, attribution, and citation, paraphrasing the work of another without the appropriate citation. Students are expected to produce original work in all papers, coursework, dissertation, and other academic projects (including case studies from internship or practicum sites) and to follow appropriate rules governing attribution that apply to the work product.
Carelessness, or failure to properly follow appropriate rules governing source attribution (for example, those contained in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association), can be construed to be plagiarism when multiple mistakes in formatting citations are made in the same paper. Further, a single example of failing to use quotation marks appropriately may be considered plagiarism.
Fabrication is intentionally inventing information, data, or citations in any academic or clinical exercise. Examples of fabrication include, but are not limited to, falsifying research or other findings, citing sources not actually used in writing a research paper, submitting work done in previous classes as if it were new and original work, and changing, altering, or being an accessory to the changing and/or altering of any officially recorded grade.
If a student is unsure if his or her conduct may represent a form of academic dishonesty, he or she should seek out consultation from a course instructor, an academic advisor, and/or the Center for Academic Excellence.
The Chicago School recognizes the importance of personal and professional competencies in addition to traditional academic skills. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology embraces the model training policy statement adopted by the Council of Chairs of Training Councils (CCTC) of the American Psychological Association (APA) and holds that:
Professional practitioners of psychology are expected to demonstrate competence within and across a number of different but interrelated dimensions. Programs that educate and train professional practitioners of psychology also strive to protect the public and profession. Therefore, faculty, training staff, supervisors, administrators, employees, and fellow students at The Chicago School have a duty and responsibility to evaluate the competence of students and trainees across multiple aspects of performance, development, and functioning.
It is important for students and trainees to understand and appreciate that academic competence is defined and evaluated comprehensively. Specifically, in addition to performance in coursework, seminars, scholarship, comprehensive examinations, and related program requirements, other aspects of professional development and functioning (e.g., cognitive, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, technical and ethical) will also be evaluated. Such comprehensive evaluation is necessary in order to appraise the entire range of academic performance, development and functioning of their student-trainees (Adapted from CCTC/APA, 2004).
As apprentices of professional psychology, students are holistically evaluated by all members of the learning community on standards of professional performance, development, and functioning that include, but are not limited to, their interpersonal and professional competence (e.g., consistently establishing positive interpersonal relationships, demonstrating an active commitment to education and training, communicating professionally, demonstrating integrity, affirming individual and cultural differences); their self-awareness and self-reflection (e.g., awareness of own various roles in diverse contexts, recognizing limitations and training/learning needs, awareness of own cultural values); their openness to feedback; and their proactive, engaged resolution of issues that may interfere with their professional development or functioning. Students’ professional performance, functioning, and development may be evaluated both within and outside of the classroom, whether it occurs on- or off-campus (including cyberspace), and regardless of whether it is specifically tied to a school activity.
Concerns about a student’s professional comportment should be directed to the department chair or designee. Students will be alerted to concerns about professional performance, functioning, and development (i.e., professional comportment) and receive advisement, mediation, and support as deemed necessary and appropriate. If there is a question that the student’s problems in the area of professional comportment cannot be resolved in a reasonable time period and/or rises to the level of potential disciplinary action, the matter will be referred to the Student Affairs Committee.
Concerns about Academic Performance and Professional Comportment
When a student receives a grade of C or below, it is the student’s responsibility to schedule a meeting with her or his advisor, and an Academic Development Plan will be implemented. Concurrently, the Office of Student Services will notify the student, department chair or designee, and the advisor of the course grade. If a student does not meet with her or his advisor in a timely manner, the case may be forwarded to the Student Affairs Committee for further investigation and consideration of disciplinary action.
Concerns about a student’s academic integrity (e.g., cheating, plagiarism, fabrication) and/or professional comportment (e.g., interpersonal and professional competence, self-awareness and self-reflection, openness to feedback, problem solving skills) can be raised by any member of the learning community. Such concerns should be directed to the student’s department chair or designee, dean of academic affairs, or the campus student affairs officer. Students concerned about keeping their report anonymous may seek consultation from their advisor or any of the school officials listed above. If the situation warrants anonymity, efforts will be taken to protect the reporting student; however, anonymity cannot be guaranteed.
Depending upon the nature of the concern, students may be required to meet with their department chair or designee and/or advisor who may dismiss the situation, implement an Academic Development Plan, refer the matter to the campus student affairs officer for mediation, or send the case to the Student Affairs Committee for further investigation and consideration of disciplinary action.
A department chair or designee or other administrator who has concerns about a student’s professional comportment may refer the case to the campus student affairs officer for further investigation and mediation. Such referrals may result from, but are not limited to, situations in which the administrator may not be in a position to independently render an impartial decision or would otherwise benefit from third-party consultation. Similarly, students have the right to request a meeting with the campus student affairs officer for mediation assistance.
Academic Development Plans
Academic Development Plans (ADPs) are used to assist a student in the successful completion of his/her program. Students placed on Academic Watch, Academic Probation, or otherwise brought to the attention of the program for academic or professional comportment difficulties may be placed on an Academic Development Plan as deemed necessary by the advisor, the department chair or designee, and/or the Student Affairs Committee in order to address academic and/or professional comportment concerns. Academic Development Plans do not constitute disciplinary action; as such, they do not affect academic standing and cannot be appealed.
In the creation of an Academic Development Plan, information may be solicited from any Chicago School employee, supervisor at practicum or internship site or other community partner agency, supervisor of school-required workplace activity, and/or any other party involved in the student’s education and training. In conversations with outside education and training partners, the school may inform supervisors about the student’s Academic Development Plan to assess the extent to which the concerns in question have affected the student’s performance at the site and to ensure continuity of training and education between the site and the school.
The development of an Academic Development Plan requires involvement of the student, the student’s advisor, and the department chair or designee, though others may be involved as deemed necessary and appropriate. Students are expected to actively participate in the development of their plan. Refusal to participate in creating and/or refusing to sign an Academic Development Plan may result in a referral to the Student Affairs Committee for consideration of disciplinary action and does not absolve the student’s responsibility to meet the requirements of the plan.
Academic Development Plans must clearly identify the concern(s) in question and the steps necessary to resolve them within a specified timeframe. Additionally, the plan must identify who will oversee the plan and when and how feedback will be delivered to all parties involved. Finally, the plan must clarify the consequences if the terms of the Academic Development Plan are not fulfilled. Depending upon the situation, the school may require a student to take immediate steps to address identified concerns before an Academic Development Plan has been finalized. Based on the student’s progress in meeting the requirements set forth, Academic Development Plans may be modified, including adding additional or removing existing requirements. Such changes must be made in writing, either directly or as an appendix to the original Academic Development Plan, and require the signatures of all involved parties. A copy of the Academic Development Plan is kept in the student’s academic record.
The Student Affairs Committee
If a concern about a student may result in disciplinary action, the student deserves an impartial committee review. Any concern about a student’s academic integrity (i.e., cheating, plagiarism, fabrication) as well as concerns about a student’s professional comportment that may result in disciplinary action must be referred to the Student Affairs Committee.
At some campuses, the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) is comprised of two subcommittees: the Academic Integrity Subcommittee and the Professional Comportment Subcommittee. Matters involving academic misconduct are reviewed by the Academic Integrity Subcommittee. The Professional Comportment Subcommittee is responsible for addressing concerns raised about professional comportment, whether it occurs on- or off-campus (including cyberspace), and regardless of whether it is specifically tied to a school activity. If concerns are raised about both a student’s academic integrity and professional comportment, the referring party shall determine which subcommittee will review the case. At other campuses, there is one SAC that hears all student academic integrity and professional comportment concerns. Forthwith, the terms “SAC” and “committee” refer to either a single committee or one or both of its two subcommittees depending on the SAC structure utilized at the campus in question.
The SAC conducts formal proceedings when disciplinary action may be warranted, after all other reasonable forms of Academic Development Plans (ADP) have failed, and/or if the offense is one where an ADP would not be effective or warranted. The committee is committed to ensuring that referred students receive fair treatment while maintaining the integrity of The Chicago School’s mission, policies, and procedures. In the process of arriving at decisions, the committee maintains respect for individual and cultural differences.
Allegations of student academic misconduct or professional comportment problems must be submitted in writing to the department chair or designee and copied to the dean of academic affairs and the campus student affairs officer. As described above, the department chair or designee, may dismiss the case, implement an Academic Development Plan, and/or refer the case to SAC for further investigation and consideration of disciplinary action. Alternatively, either the student or the department chair or designee may request mediation from the campus student affairs officer.
Referrals to SAC must occur in writing, and copies shall be sent to the student, committee chair, department chair or designee, advisor, dean of academic affairs, associate vice president of engagement and student affairs or director of student services, and the student’s academic record. The referral must include the specifics of the allegation(s) and any relevant documents in the possession of the referring party. Additional documents forwarded to the committee chair for consideration in subsequent deliberations must be likewise copied to the student. In turn, the committee chair shall issue a letter to the student, copied to the advisor, department chair or designee, dean of academic affairs, and the campus student affairs officer, with the date of the hearing and a list of the committee members. If additional people are invited to attend the hearing, reasonable attempts should be made to provide those names to the student in advance.
The student has the right to respond in writing to the allegation to the committee chair up to and including the time the committee meets to deliberate the case. A student’s response may include a request for postponement and must include the grounds upon which that request is based. The committee’s decision regarding the issue of postponement is final. Failure or refusal to respond to the allegations, in writing or verbally at the time of the committee hearing, will be deemed an admission of the factual matters contained in the allegation and supporting documentation and leave the committee free to proceed as it considers appropriate.
The SAC hearing will be held within twenty (20) business days of receipt of the referral. Students in Online-Blended programs may be allowed to participate via phone. Students with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to participate in the hearing should submit a written request to the committee chair ten (10) business days prior to the scheduled hearing. No part of hearings conducted in-person or by telephone may be recorded or transcribed by any party. Those in attendance are permitted to take personal notes that are not considered part of the record. Similarly, SAC deliberations may not be recorded or transcribed in any fashion.
If the student accused of misconduct has reason to believe that a given member of the committee is unable to be impartial, he or she may request that the committee chair disqualify that member from the hearing and/or the subsequent deliberation. Only the SAC chair upon the demonstration of sufficient reason will grant requests for disqualification from the hearing and/or deliberation; the chair’s decision in such matters is final. If a member of the committee is a principal in the matter, he or she will be disqualified automatically from the SAC’s deliberation, though she or he may be allowed to participate in the hearing at the chair’s discretion.
Ordinarily, the complainant must identify himself or herself to the student. If a complainant refuses to permit his or her identity to be made known to the student, such a refusal may, but need not, serve as a basis for forfeiting the complaint process. Students concerned about anonymity should seek consultation from their advisor, department chair or designee, dean of academic affairs, or the campus student affairs officer; however, anonymity cannot be guaranteed.
The complainant shall provide the committee with information in the form of testimony, documents, additional witnesses or other forms of support for the allegation(s) against the student or in support of his/her position. The SAC can solicit information and/or request an in-person appearance from any Chicago School employee, supervisors at practicum or internship site or other community partner agency, supervisor of school-required workplace activity, and/or any other party involved in the student’s education and training. In conversations with outside education and training partners, the school may inform supervisors about the student’s appearance before the committee to assess the extent to which the concerns in question have affected the student’s performance at the site and to ensure continuity of training and education between the site and the school. Each party, as well as the committee itself, shall have the right to question all individuals and examine other information presented.
Since this procedure is an institutional, not judicial, process, the presence of legal counsel for any is prohibited at all hearings and deliberations. The student may have one member of the school community present to provide advice and support.
The SAC will take reasonable efforts to deliberate the case in a timely manner. Upon the completion of all fact finding, questioning, and presentations, the committee will deliberate the case. Such deliberations are restricted to members of the committee who have not been disqualified for any reason. If the committee concludes, on the basis of the information presented, that the allegation(s) are substantiated, it will determine the outcome of the case. Outcomes may include dismissal of the case, requirement of an Academic Development Plan, or disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the school. The committee will promptly notify the student of its disposition in writing with copies sent to the advisor, department chair or designee, the dean of academic affairs, the campus student affairs officer, and the student’s record.
Appeal of Disciplinary Decisions
Students may appeal decisions of the Student Affairs Committee regarding disciplinary matters. A student who wishes to appeal a disciplinary action must submit a written request for reevaluation to the dean of academic affairs within ten (10) business days of being notified of the disciplinary decision. This written request must include:
- A specific statement of the decision that the student wishes to appeal;
- The action the student wishes the dean of academic affairs to take;
- All information that the student wishes the dean of academic affairs to take into account in his/her consideration of the appeal; and
- A statement of the student’s views as to how this information justifies the appeal.
The appeals process is not an opportunity for the student to have his or her case reconsidered merely because of dissatisfaction on the part of the student with the decision of committee. Rather, all appeals must be based on one or more of the following:
- New evidence
- Evidence of improper procedure, or
- New arguments that could not be provided at the time of the original hearing by the committee.
If, in the opinion of the dean of academic affairs, the request for an appeal is clearly without merit or does not meet the requirements set forth above, the dean of academic affairs will reject the appeal and the decision of the committee will stand as the final decision of the school.
If, in the judgment of the dean of academic affairs, the appeal is properly constituted, the dean of academic affairs will render his/her decision on the substance of the appeal within ten (10) business days and so notify the student in writing with a copy sent to the committee chair, advisor, department chair or designee, campus student affairs officer, and the student’s record.
This policy is not to be used in substitution for the Grade Appeal Process or the Grievance Process where applicable.
Grade Appeal Process
Grades may be appealed only when the grading criteria stated in the syllabus and/or this handbook have not been followed.
When a student believes this is the case, the following procedure should be used to appeal the grade.
- All grade appeals must be submitted to the course instructor within the first three weeks of the next academic term
- The student should first speak with the instructor and attempt an informal resolution
- If no resolution is achieved, the student may contact the department chair or designee, who will consult with the instructor and the student to attempt an informal resolution.
- If the appeal is not resolved informally, the department chair may appoint a faculty member or committee of faculty of her or his choosing to review the concern and make a recommendation to the department chair to resolve the appeal. The department chair has final decision-making authority
For additional information, see Grade Changes .
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is committed to mutual respect and the effective resolution of student problems and complaints through an efficient and fair procedure. The Chicago School seeks to set an environment that encourages students, faculty, staff, and administration to work together to understand and address concerns about fair treatment using informal resolutions. When that is not possible, the school is committed to a fair and reasonable resolution of issues through a formal grievance process as outlined below.
When Should a Student Grievance Be Pursued?
This procedure may be used whenever a student believes that his/her rights have been violated by a member of the school community, including when a student believes that he/she has been adversely affected by decisions or actions that were made by employees or agents of school, for example:
- Violation of a duly adopted school policy, excluding a disciplinary decision or assignment of a letter grade for which the student is seeking an appeal (see Appeal of Disciplinary Decisions and Grade Appeal Process, respectively);
- Illegal discrimination under any federal, state, local law; or,
- Unethical conduct according to professional standards.
An action or decision is grievable only if it involves a misapplication or misinterpretation of school policy, regulation, or rule, or a violation of state or federal law. This procedure may not be used to challenge policies or procedures of general applicability, including the following:
- The substance of any duly adopted policy or procedure;
- The substance that forms the basis for student performance evaluation or grade for a course or practicum/internship or for independent academic work under the supervision of a school faculty member or in the formation of an Academic Development Plan; or
- A decision regarding a student’s academic status made by a duly designated administrative officer, or by the school committee charged with reviewing student evaluations/grades.
Who May Pursue a Student Grievance?
The Student Grievance Procedure may be used by students currently enrolled at the school, or who are participating in a Chicago School sponsored educational event at the time of the incident being grieved.
The person filing the grievance must be the alleged victim of unfair treatment. A grievance may not be filed on behalf of another person.
A grievance must be received not later than forty-five (45) calendar days after the student first became aware of the facts which gave rise to the grievance.
The formal resolution process must be initiated within sixty (60) days of the decision, action, or events giving rise to the grievance. This time limit may be extended by the president if the student initiating the Student Grievance Procedure requests an extension within the 60-day period for good cause shown (e.g., an active effort at informal resolution, death in the family, etc.).
Prior to invoking the formal resolution procedures described below, the student is strongly encouraged, but is not required, to make active efforts to resolve matters through professional and direct discussions with the person or persons directly involved. These efforts should take place as soon as the student first becomes aware of the act or condition that is the basis of the grievance. If unsure of how to proceed, students should enlist the assistance of another member of the school community (e.g., advisor, department chair or designee, dean of academic affairs, campus student affairs officer) to help identify proper courses of action and/or to mediate problems if necessary. A student has the right to end this informal process at any time and move to the formal stage of the grievance process as desired.
Note that is approach should be considered in all situations excluding sexual harassment or sexual violence. In cases involving allegations of sexual harassment or sexual violence, mediation is not appropriate even on a voluntary basis.
Since this procedure is an institutional process, not judicial, the presence of legal counsel for any party of the grievance is prohibited. This policy is not to be used in substitution for the grade appeal or other appeal processes.
A. Initial Review
Step 1 To invoke the formal resolution process, the student must submit the grievance to the president. The grievance must:
- be in writing;
- state how the decision or action is unfair and harmful to the student and list the school policies or state or federal laws that have been violated, if known;
- name the person(s) against whom the grievance is filed;
- state how the person(s) against whom the grievance is filed are responsible for the action or decision; and
- state the requested remedy.
Step 2 Upon receipt of the written grievance, the president will determine whether the matter is grievable in accordance with the criteria set forth above. If the grievance has no merit, it will be dismissed by the president and a letter will be submitted to the student initiating the grievance stating the same. If the grievance does have merit, the president will appoint an ad hoc committee of two faculty members and one student to investigate the situation by gathering additional information from appropriate members of the campus community. The president will designate one of the faculty members as chairperson of the ad hoc committee. The chairperson will have the right to vote. At any time during the investigation of the grievance, the president and ad hoc committee may make further attempts to resolve the grievance informally.
The ad hoc committee chair will send a copy of the grievance to the parties listed as having committed an alleged violation (“respondent”) within ten (10) business days of being appointed, giving the respondent(s) ten (10) business days to submit to the chair a written response to the allegations any exhibits they wish to introduce as evidence. The chair will concurrently inform the student pursuing the grievance of his/her right to, within ten (10) business days, submit to the chair copies of any exhibits he/she wishes to introduce as evidence. The chair may extend the deadlines for submitting a response and for exchanging proposed exhibits upon a showing of good cause.
If the student who has brought the grievance has good cause to believe that a given member of the ad hoc committee is unable to be impartial, the student may request that the president disqualify that member. Such a disqualification shall be granted only upon the demonstration of sufficient reason. The decision by the president to alter or preserve the composition of the ad hoc committee is final.
Step 3 In performing its functions, the ad hoc committee will have the right to call any witnesses and to require the introduction of any relevant data or information. The ad hoc committee will be the final judge of what testimony or data is relevant. While the presence of an attorney is prohibited, a student may have a member of the school community present during the hearing to provide advice and support. All deliberations of the ad hoc committee are confidential.
Step 4 Once all fact finding, questioning, and presentations are complete, the committee will deliberate to evaluate the merits of the grievance and make findings of fact. Such deliberations are restricted to members of the committee. The committee’s decision must be based solely on material presented in the grievance. A majority vote of the ad hoc committee is required to make an affirmative decision on the grievance.
Upon reaching a conclusion, the ad hoc committee will communicate its findings in writing to the student bringing the grievance, the respondent(s), the president, and to the appropriate institutional individual(s) who shall implement the actions, if any, recommended by the ad hoc committee within thirty (30) calendar days after the hearing.
B. Appeal Process
Within ten (10) business days of receipt of the committee’s decision, a student who is not satisfied with the decision of the committee may seek further review by submitting the written notice of appeal, together with the committee’s written decision, to the president. Written notice of appeal must be signed and dated by the student and provide a brief statement of the grounds for appeal, which should contain a list of alleged errors in the decision or decision-making process and indicate what remedy is requested. Appeals received more than ten (10) business days after the committee’s decision was rendered will not be considered.
The president’s action will be limited to a review of the basis for the committee’s decision. The president will render a decision based on review of the grievance record and the written notice of appeal. There is no right to a hearing or oral presentation in appeals. The president may delegate another administrator to act on his/her behalf.
Within fifteen (15) calendar days of receipt of the request for review, the president will submit his or her decision in writing to the student and to the person alleged to have caused the grievance. The written disposition shall include the reasons for the decision, and it shall direct a remedy for the aggrieved student, if any. The president’s decision on the appeal is final and will not be subject to further review.
The chair of the ad hoc committee will compile an official record of the proceeding that includes a copy of all correspondence with the parties, all evidence submitted to the committee, a summary of the committee’s decision, and anything else considered by the committee in reaching its determination. The chair of the committee will be responsible for ensuring that a written report is prepared that addresses and resolves all material factual issues in dispute, that states a conclusion as to whether the student was subjected to misapplication or misinterpretation of school policy or state or federal law, and if so recommends remedies as appropriate. The report and official record will be kept in the student’s record.
All grievance procedures and records are confidential in nature and will be treated accordingly. A copy of the grievance, any decision of the committee, and any decision of the president must be retained for seven full calendar years following the year in which the grievance is resolved.