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    ABA Complaint Policy

    POLICY ON STUDENT COMPLAINTS IMPLICATING COMPLIANCE WITH ABA STANDARDS*

    Detroit Mercy Law has a specific policy by which students may address complaints that bring to the School’s attention a significant problem that directly implicates the School’s program of legal education and its compliance with the ABA Standards as required by Standard 512.

    1. SUBMITTING A COMPLAINT

    A student complaint about Detroit Mercy Law’s program of legal education and compliance with the Standards must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. The complaint should state the facts that form the basis for the complaint and how the matter implicates the School’s program of legal education and its compliance with one or more specific, identified ABA Standards. The person to whom the complaint is submitted shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint within seven business days to the student or students who submitted the complaint.

    2. RESOLVING A COMPLAINT

    The Associate or Assistant Dean who received the complaint or his or her designee shall investigate the matter as soon as possible, but in no event later than 20 business days after receiving the written complaint. The same Associate or Assistant Dean shall attempt to resolve the complaint within this 20 business day period. Any resolution of a complaint under this policy should include a meeting between the Associate or Assistant Dean and the student complainant and a written response to the complainant. This written response shall include information about the steps to be taken to further investigate or address the complaint. The person investigating and resolving the complaint shall prepare this written response to the student complainant within 10 business days after completing his/her investigation.

    3. APPEAL PROCESS

    A student complainant may appeal the resolution of a complaint under this policy to the Dean. The student must submit an appeal in writing within 10 business days of receiving the School’s written response. The Dean’s decision is final. The Dean or his/her designee shall inform the student complainant and the Associate Dean who investigated the complaint of his/her decision within ten business days of receiving the appeal.

    4. MAINTAINING THE RECORD OF A COMPLAINT

    The School shall maintain a complete written record of each complaint and its resolution for seven years in a confidential file in the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

     

    *This policy can be found in section VI.P of the 2022-2023 University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Student Handbook, on page 53

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    Guest Course Permission

    COURSES TAKEN AT OTHER INSTITUTIONS*

    A student may take courses at other ABA-accredited law schools. At least two-thirds of the course hours required for graduation must be taken at the University of Detroit Mercy. Credit hours earned at such other law school will not be accepted for transfer unless a grade of 2.2 or better is attained; only the course name(s) and credit hour(s) shall be recorded. The number of credit hours awarded for any particular course shall not exceed the number of credit hours for a similar course offered at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

    Approval shall not be given to a student to take required courses at another school or to take courses at another school that are offered at the University of Detroit Mercy in the same academic year. Credit hours taken at another institution are included in the calculation of maximum and minimum loads.

    Students wishing to take courses elsewhere must submit a written request to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs requesting permission to take courses at another institution. The request should provide the name of the law school; and the name, credit hours, and course description for each course requested to be taken at that institution.

    A student who takes courses at another institution may transfer in up to six credits without paying tuition for these credits at Detroit Mercy Law. A student who takes courses at another institution must pay tuition for a minimum of 84 credits at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

    *This policy can be found in section B.4 of the 2022-2023 University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Student Handbook, on page 25

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    Grade Appeals

    GRADE CHANGES*

    The professor shall not change a student's grade except for one of the following reasons:

    1. An error in the mathematical computation or transcription of the grade; or
    2. Substantially unequal treatment of the student in the grading of the examination on which the grade is based or in the calculation of the final grade as compared to the grading of other students in the same course.

    To change a grade for one of the above reasons, a professor must supply the Administration with a written justification that includes the reasons for the change, a statement of the original grade, the amended grade, the number of points involved in the change, the distribution of grades, and the cut off point for each grade. Grade changes will not be permitted more than 180 days after release by the School of Law Administration.

    G. APPEALS FROM GRADES

    Students may appeal a final grade in two circumstances, described below.

        1. MATHEMATICAL ERROR

    Any student may appeal a final grade because the student believes an error has been committed in the mathematical computation or transcription of the grade. Any student who feels aggrieved shall first consult with the professor about the grievance. The professor shall explain to the student the standard of measurement by which the grade was determined. This consultation need not take the form of a face-to-face meeting if it is unreasonable to do so under the circumstances.

    If, after consultation with the professor, the student still feels aggrieved, the student may petition the Committee specifically established by the faculty for the purpose of reviewing student grade appeals. The petition shall be submitted in writing to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and must contain a clear, accurate, concise, full, and complete statement of the grounds for appeal and the facts relied on in support of the petition. The petition shall be filed within six weeks after the student’s final grade in the course is posted by the School of Law Administration. This requirement can be waived by the Committee for good cause.

        2. SUBSTANTIALLY UNEQUAL TREATMENT

    A student may appeal a final grade because the student believes he/she suffered substantially unequal treatment in the grading of the examination on which the grade was based as compared to the grading of other students’ examinations in the same course, or any other substantially unequal treatment in the assignment of the course grade. A student who receives a final grade of 2.2 or above will not have the right to appeal pursuant to this section.

        3. PROCESS FOR GRADE APPEALS

           a. CONSULTING WITH THE PROFESSOR

    Any student who feels aggrieved shall first consult with the professor about the grievance. The professor shall explain to the student the standard of measurement by which the grade was determined. This consultation need not take the form of a face-to-face meeting if it is unreasonable to do so under the circumstances.

          b. PETITIONS COMMITTEE REVIEW

    If, after consultation with the professor, the student still feels aggrieved, the student may petition the Committee specifically established by the faculty for the purpose of reviewing student grade appeals. The petition shall be submitted in writing to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and must contain a clear, accurate, concise, full, and complete statement of the grounds for appeal and the facts relied on in support of the petition. The petition shall be filed within six weeks after the student’s final grade in the course is posted by the School of Law Administration. This requirement can be waived by the Committee for good cause. If the professor is not available for the consultation described in this paragraph during this six week time period, the presumption stated in paragraph G(3)(c) infra shall apply, and the student must file his/her appeal within an additional four week period after expiration of the six week period.

    The Committee, or a designated member, shall examine the petition after receiving it. If, upon review, the Committee or its designated member concludes that the allegations on the face of the petition are insufficient to state a grievance pursuant to paragraph G(1) or G(2) supra, the Committee shall dismiss the petition. The student may file an amended petition within ten days after the mailing or other delivery of the written notice of the petition’s dismissal.

    If, upon examination of the petition or amended petition, the Committee, or designated member, concludes that the allegations on the face of the document are sufficient to state a ground for appeal under paragraph G(1) or G(2) supra, the Committee shall forward the petition to the professor involved and request a reply to the petition, which must include a written explanation of the standard of measurement by which the student’s grade was determined. The standard of measurement shall consist of one or more of the following:

    1. A sample or model answer for each of the questions being appealed on the examination.
    2. A key to correct answers on the examination.
    3. A written statement of the criteria used in assessing the quality of student answers.
    4. An outline statement of the points or issues to be discussed in answering the examination and the substance of such discussion.
    5. Sample student answers which received high and low grades on this examination.
    6. Answers of students receiving grades equivalent to the petitioner on this examination.
    7. Any other documentation for grading which in the opinion of the professor will permit independent objective evaluation by a person familiar with the subject matter of the examination.

    If the Committee concludes that the professor’s response is adequate and that no reasonable question of fact exists, the matter shall be dismissed. The student shall receive notice of the dismissal. If the Committee concludes that a reasonable question of fact exists, the Committee shall set a time and place for hearing at which the student and professor involved shall have the right to be present and to present any relevant evidence. The student or professor may be represented by counsel of their own choosing at the hearing.

          c. BURDEN OF PROOF

    At the hearing, the burden is on the student to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she is aggrieved for one or more of the reasons stated in paragraph G(1) or G(2) supra, except as provided in this section.

    Any of the following facts, if established by the student or Committee as indicated through a preponderance of the evidence, will give rise to a presumption that the professor did treat the student in a substantially unequal manner as stated in paragraph G(2) supra:

    1. If the student establishes that through no fault of the student’s, the student was denied the consultation described in paragraph F(2) supra, within the time limitation stated in paragraph G(2) supra;
    2. If the Committee establishes that the professor has violated paragraph G(3)(b) by failing to substantially comply with the required standards for measuring the student’s grade described in that paragraph; or
    3. If the Committee establishes that the standard of measurement provided by the professor is incorrect or, as applied to the student’s grade, clearly indicates that the student should have received more credit than was in fact received.

    The effect of this presumption is that it will shift the entire burden of proof to the professor to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the professor did not violate paragraph F(2).

           d. DELIBERATION AND DECISION

    committee finds that the student has received a grade that is not substantiated by the total record with respect to the particular ground or grounds alleged, the Committee may then direct the Administration to change the grade by lowering or raising it. The Administration shall notify the student and professor affected by the decision.

    Any decision of the Committee shall be accompanied by written statement of reasons.

    *This policy can be found in section IV.F of the 2022-2023 University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Student Handbook, on pages 30-32

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    Leave of Absence

    LEAVE OF ABSENCE*

    Students who wish to step away from their program of study for a defined period of time may request a leave of absence. Students may request a leave of absence for personal, medical, career, or other valid reasons. A request for a leave of absence must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. A leave of absence cannot be granted for a time period of less than one semester, or less than the time remaining in the semester in which the leave was requested; nor will a leave of more than one full year be granted. Students may request additional leave at the conclusion of a leave of absence. Students requesting a leave of absence will be encouraged to seek counsel from the Financial Aid Office in order to understand the effect that the leave may have on their financial aid and student loans. Grant of the request will not waive the 72-month period for completion of studies. In the Dual JD program, a student must seek and receive permission for a leave of absence from both Detroit Mercy Law and the University of Windsor Faculty of Law.

    *This policy can be found in section I.C of the 2022-2023 University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Student Handbook, on page 9

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    Special Examinations

    SPECIAL EXAMINATIONS*
    The School of Law expects students to take their final examinations on the scheduled dates. Students seeking to reschedule an examination must submit a written request to do so to the Director of Student Affairs, stating one of the following reasons:


    a) SCHEDULING PROBLEMS
    The student has two examinations scheduled at the same time or three examinations scheduled in two consecutive days. Students needing relief because of one of the above reasons make arrangements with the Director of Student Affairs prior to the beginning of the examination period.


    b) PERSONAL AND FAMILY EMERGENCIES
    The student experiences illness (a doctor’s certificate is required), death in the immediate family, or similar exigency. Students needing relief for one of these reasons must contact the Director of Student Affairs as soon as possible (and before the beginning of the scheduled examination).


    *This policy can be found in section III.A.1 of the 2022-2023 University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Student Handbook, on page 27

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    Study Abroad

    STUDY ABROAD*

    Courses taken through study abroad programs are courses taken at another institution. As such, all policies for courses taken at another institution apply.

    A student in good standing who has completed the foundation courses may seek to study abroad during either the summer session or as part of a semester-long program. Students who wish to study abroad are encouraged to research ABA-approved programs. Prior to the application to a study abroad program, the student should submit a written request to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs to enroll in the specific courses offered through the program. The request should provide the name of the sponsoring law school; the name, location, and duration of the study abroad program; and the name, credit hours, and course description for each course requested to be taken through the study abroad program.

    Many courses offered through study abroad programs will count towards a student’s global distribution requirement.

    *This policy can be found in section B.4.a of the 2022-2023 University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Student Handbook, on page 25

    The American Bar Association maintains a list of ABA approved study abroad programs, for both Summer and Intercession Programs and Semester Long Programs. Students are encouraged to search these programs for opportunities that match their academic, career, and travel interests.