Following a challenging fall 2020 semester, UNC Charlotte’s Student Government Association (SGA) has created a way for students to confidentially notify the SGA of their individual struggles through an academic complaint form.
According to a Reddit post by SGA Pro Tempore Dick Beekman, SGA created the form for students to “bring to the attention of Student Government any serious issues you face.” The form was created by the Student Senate's Academic Affairs Committee with the support of Provost Joan Lorden. The primary author of the act was Jeremiah Williams, and it was passed on Oct. 29, 2020.
The form was created in response to disruptions to the fall semester caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A common complaint was that professors did not observe the break on Sept. 28-29 that was intended to allow students to move on campus. Students reported on Reddit that they stressed over moving on campus, keeping up with attendance in virtual classes and completing assignments that were due on those two days. This stress caused high traffic of correspondence with the SGA, with students complaining about professors’ expectations during a time of turbulence.
“While we do not have the unilateral authority to immediately and directly change any situation on our own,” wrote Beekman, “we are dedicated to using this tool to engage in meaningful conversations with faculty and administrators in order to address significant, unfair practices within the classroom. Furthermore, we recognize that the inherent power structure within a classroom may cause some students to feel intimidated to address concerns with their professors directly.”
This form is distinct from the Student Grievance Procedure as outlined by the University Policy: 411. The academic complaint form is addressed by SGA while the Student Grievance Procedure is addressed by the University.
To fill out the form, students will need their name, a UNC Charlotte email, the class name and section, the class Class Registration Number (CRN). Information will not be shared with faculty unless the student gives explicit permission to the SGA.
Editor's note: This article was updated to clarify that students can submit complaints pertaining to any semester, not just fall 2020. The Niner Times regrets this ambiguity.