I need to write a letter of appeal…
what do I do?
When the University, or your faculty, makes a decision on
your behalf you have the right to appeal. If you believe the
decision was unfair you have the right to appeal by
submitting a “letter of appeal”.
If you want to pursue this option, here are the steps to take:
1. Note the appeal deadline. (15 calendar days from the date of the
2. Obtain a copy of your faculty’s appeal regulations from the Dean’s
office or the web.
3. Draft your appeal letter.
4. Visit the Student Rights Advisor at the Students’ Union office,
Room 251, MacEwan Student Centre (220-3909).
Preparing an Appeal Letter
As a rule appeal letters are addressed to the next person in the hierarchy of
authority. For example, if the decision you wish to appeal is being made by
the Associate Dean then the appeal letter is addressed to the Dean (or the
Dean’s delegate). If the Dean is the decision maker then the letter is
addressed to the Chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee. It is important to
check with your faculty. Information on levels of appeal is available here.
Information on specific decisions can be found by going back to the main
The four parts to the introductory paragraph of a letter of appeal are:
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1. Who are you?
Include your full-name, ID#, program; year, and course in question if
2. What are you appealing?
If you have received a letter from your faculty, it is best to quote the
date of the letter and the decision as stated in the letter. For example
“I am appealing the decision of Associate Dean Smith which requires
me to withdraw from the university as stated in her letter dated June 1,
3. Why are you appealing the decision?
You must include a statement which indicates the reasons (the
grounds) for your appeal and your evidence. The university makes it
very clear that unhappiness with the decision is not an acceptable
reason to appeal.
4. What remedy are you seeking?
State what would you like the decision maker to do and include any
How you construct the body of the letter is up to you. The following is just
one suggested format. The important thing is to provide the decision maker
with all the facts.
The body of your appeal will focus on two sections: 1) facts and 2)
1. In the section on facts describe:
• simply the events or the situation in a non-emotional way
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• avoid flowery language, accusations or inferences
• be concise and exact
• list the facts chronologically if this makes the most sense
• use dates and times as it lends credibility. For example, it is better
to say “the third week of October I went to the clinic and was
diagnosed with pneumonia (physicians note attached as evidence).
As a consequence I missed three weeks of school and two mid-
terms”, then vaguer statement “last semester I was ill”.
• indicate the consequences of the decision to you
2. The arguments section is where you tie it all together:
• re-state your grounds. For example, if the facts show the faculty
used unfair procedures point this out in the arguments section in
• utilizing the facts and evidence make your arguments for your
• be specific. Again, if in the fact section you stated your parents
divorced, you now need to argue that this affected your school
work, so it is better to say “Due to my parents divorce I was under
a great deal of emotional stress which resulted in missed classes
and an inability to focus” than, “ I was upset because my parent’s
• do not expect the decision maker to read between the lines in order
to draw conclusions. Spell it out plainly.
The closing paragraph should re-state your remedy or very specifically tell
the decision-maker what you would like them to do: “I would ask that the
Dean allow me to continue in the Faculty of Communication Culture in the
fall of 2006 on probation”, for example.
Make sure you sign the letter and that somewhere in the letter you include
all your contact information (phone number, email and address). Below
your signature include a list of any attachments and the name of any person
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you are sending a copy of the letter to (indicated by “cc”). Retain any
original documents you are using for evidence and submit copies. If you
have more than three attachments it is a good idea to number them and refer
to them by number and name in the body of the letter to avoid confusion.
Finally, take a copy of the entire package for your own files!
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