Academic Suspension Appeals

Appealing an Academic Suspension

The University does not suspend students as a punishment, but because it believes that they are not currently in a position to succeed academically at St. Lawrence, based on their academic record. Suspension is a message to you that you need time away from the university to strengthen your foundational academic skills; reflect on your values, priorities, and academic behavior; and/or address a medical or social situation that interfered with your ability to focus on your academics. Once you have taken stock of the issues that interfered with your ability to succeed academically and made appropriate changes to your behavior, you are encouraged to apply for readmission.

If you wish to appeal your suspension, you must explain why you will be able to succeed now, given your demonstrated academic difficulties in the previous semester. You will be in the best position to appeal if you

  • followed the stipulations of your probation letter, if you were on academic probation
  • can show that you were working on improving your academic performance
  • can document that extenuating circumstances prevented you from meeting the minimum academic requirements

You will need to submit a letter of appeal. This is the most important component of your appeal. In that letter, you should describe:

  • whatever prevented you from performing up to the minimum academic standards of St. Lawrence;
  • what you have done to address those problems;
  • why you do not need time away from St. Lawrence to re-evaluate your situation and your academic behavior and get appropriate help, despite your serious academic problems; and
  • what you will do differently to improve your academic standing.

It is important that you are specific, and it is important that you take responsibility for your own academic situation. The Academic Standing Committee needs to be convinced that you have a clear understanding of the problems that led to your poor academic performance, that you are willing and able to address these right away, and that you are aware of exactly what steps you will need to take to succeed in that endeavor. Again, suspension is not intended as a punishment, so your letter should not be about why you should not be punished. It should be about why returning to St. Lawrence in the next term would result in a positive academic outcome, even though the previous semeste went very badly.

Email your letter of appeal to the Academic Advising office. The deadline by which it must be received will be included in the notice of suspension.

You may benefit from having letters of support. You may solicit testimony from anyone who has information relevant to your appeal--illuminating the causes of your academic difficulties and/or describing steps you have taken to attempt to resolve problems interfering with your academic performance. The most important letter aside from your own will be one from from your academic advisor. After that, your professors from the most recent semester. And then coaches, SLU administrators or staff (such as associate deans, counselors, Student Accessibility Services, HEOP, etc.). And medical professionals, where appropriate. Make sure you ask each person to attest only to that information they have access to. And realize that what you and all who write for your file need to help illuminate are 1) what led to your poor academic performance and 2) what basis there is to believe that if your appeal is granted you will have significantly better academic performance next semester than last semester.

If you cannot reach someone you hope will write to support your appeal, leave a voicemail or write an email message with specific information: your name, your number, when you called, that you are appealing your academic suspension, and that you would be very grateful if the person could write a letter to the committee. It is a good idea to remind people of why they might want to write in support of your appeal: to what aspect of your appeal argument do you think the person can offer evidence?

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You will be notified of the result of your appeal by email and a call to the telephone number you have on file with the University. The Academic Standing Committee meets to hear all appeals on the day after the submission deadline, and ordinarily you will be contacted the same day.

If you have questions, you may contact Dr. Elun Gabriel, Associate Dean for Academic Advising Programs (315-229-5149, egabriel@stlawu.edu). Or, if you have been working with one of them while on probation, you may contact Colleen Coakley, Coordinator of Academic Development (315-229-5604, ccoakley@stlawu.edu) or Matt McCluskey, Coordinator of Academic Engagement (315-229-5678, mmccluskey@stlawu.edu). Lastly, you can contact the Registrar's Office (315-229-5267, Lorie MacKenzie: lmackenzie@stlawu.edu) if you have specific questions or concerns about the grades entered in APR2.