Academic Suspension Appeals

How to Appeal a Suspension if You Were on Academic Probation

1. You will be in the best position to appeal if you:

a. followed the stipulations of your probation letter, if you received one (such as visiting the Academic Development Office and attending workshops),
b. can show that you were working on improving, and
c. can document that extenuating circumstances prevented you from meeting the minimum academic requirements.

2. You will need to submit a letter of appeal yourself. This is the most important component of your appeal. In that letter, you should describe: a) whatever has prevented you from performing up to the standards of St. Lawrence; b) what you have done to address those problems; c) why a year away from St. Lawrence right now to re-evaluate your values, priorities, and academic behavior would not be the best strategy to resolve those problems; and d) what you will do in the future to improve your academic standing.

It is important that you are specific, and it is important that you take responsibility for your own academic life. The Academic Standing Committee is not looking for students to suspend. It is looking for students who are aware of their problems, willing to confront and resolve them, and aware of exactly what steps they must take to succeed in that endeavor.

Further, suspension is not intended as a punishment. It is intended as a message to you that time away from school might allow you to reconsider your values, priorities, and academic behavior. Your letter, therefore, should not be about why you shouldn't be punished. It should be about why returning to St. Lawrence in the next term would be a more productive strategy than spending a year elsewhere.

You can FedEx, FAX or email your letter to the Registrar. The deadline by which it must be received will be included in the notice of suspension. FAX number: 315-229-7424.

3. You will need letters of support.  Any testimony from anyone other than the student should be relevant to the appeal, explaining the deficiency and/or describing steps the student has taken to attempt to resolve problems. The most important letter of support is from your advisor. After that, other professors. And then coaches, SLU administrators or staff (such as deans, counselors, Disability and Accessibility Services, HEOP, etc.), and finally, parents. Make sure you ask each person to attest only to that information they have access to. In other words, your parents probably can't say much about your present academic situation, just as your advisor probably can't comment on your home life.

If you cannot reach anyone, it is best to leave voicemails and emails with specific information: your name, your number, when you called, that you are appealing a suspension, and that you would be very grateful if so-and-so could write to the registrar (email is OK) on your behalf. It would be a good idea to remind them of why they might want to write on your behalf; professors--especially FYP advisors--have a very heavy advising load, and might not recall particular meetings. It is unlikely they would recall something you said after class one day, without a reminder. It is also a good idea not to direct your anger at your professors. They did not "give" you a grade; you earned it.

4. You will be notified of your suspension by email, FedEx and, if the location warrants, by phone. The Academic Standing Committee meets for one day to decide all appeals, and ordinarily you will be contacted the same day. If your appeal is denied, you can make a further appeal to the Dean of Academic Affairs, but only if significant new information is to be presented.

Questions? Call Dr. Evelyn Jennings, Associate Dean of Academic Advising, at 315-229-5964, or email: Or, if you have been working with her, you can call Colleen Coakley, Coordinator of Academic Development, at 315-229-5604 or email  Lastly, you can contact the Registrar's Office: 315-229-5267, Lorie MacKenzie: