PA Program Student Grievance Policies


Mistreatment or Neglect of a Student Grievance Policy (ARC-PA Standard A3.15F,G)

The CWRU PA program expects teachers and students to demonstrate respect and professional concern by holding each other to the highest standards in learning, without abuse, humiliation or harassment of any kind, by not exploiting a relationship for personal gain or advantage, and by demonstrating the highest standards of ethical conduct in all settings.

Mistreatment arises when behavior shows disrespect for the dignity of others and unreasonably interferes with the learning process. Examples of mistreatment include public belittlement or humiliation, threats of physical harm or punishment, inappropriate requests to do personal services (shopping or babysitting), sexual harassment, and discrimination or harassment based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

Neglect might be used to describe situations in which a student is openly ignored, is excluded from important decisions, or made to feel “invisible.” Neglect is different from overt mistreatment but can still interfere with the learning process.  Harassment, mistreatment and neglect policies are discussed at the new student orientation (year one) and clinical year orientation (year two). 

If a student feels that they have been harassed, mistreated or experienced neglect during the conduct of the curriculum, and is uncomfortable addressing this directly with the colleague involved, we urge the student to discuss their concerns as soon as possible through one of the options detailed below.

  • Students in any phase of the curriculum may address their concerns with the Director of Didactic Curriculum or the Director of Clinical Curriculum.
  • Students in any phase of the program are strongly encouraged to bring the matter to the attention of their advisor or the PA program director.
  • Alternatively, students have the option of contacting the School of Medicine Vice Dean for Medical Education or G. Dean Patterson, Jr., Associate Vice President of the University Office for Student Affairs. The University Student Affairs office is not part of the medical school administration. Students can e-mail Mr. Patterson at
     or call the office at 216.368.2020 to make an appointment. The office is located at 110 Adelbert Hall on Adelbert Road.
  • Online Reporting:  The PA program utilizes the online reporting mechanism regarding “Mistreatment or Neglect” established by the School of Medicine, by which students can report experiences of harassment, mistreatment or neglect.  These reports are confidential but not anonymous and are reviewed by the Vice Dean for Medical Education.  
  • The form is available online through this link.

Without specific information, the School may be limited in its ability to respond to the report.

* This policy is modeled after the SOM “Student Mistreatment Policy,” approved July 23, 2015 by the SOM Committee on Medical Education (CME).

Final Grade Appeal Grievance Policy* (ARC-PA Standard A3.15G) 

Faculty members are the most appropriate judges of how students perform academically.

Therefore, the appeal process applies only in cases in which a student believes their final grade was determined in an arbitrary, capricious or prejudicial manner. 

1.  A PA student wishing to appeal a final grade received in a particular course or rotation should first attempt to resolve the matter by meeting with the Director of Didactic Curriculum or Director of Clinical Curriculum and the PA Program Director. The request for a meeting should occur within 10 days of release of the student’s grade to the student.

2.  If the PA student has attempted resolution via the directors of didactic or clinical curriculum and the program director without success and would like to pursue the matter further, the student may file a formal written appeal with the chair of the Academic Standing and Progress (ASP) Committee who will gather the facts and work to resolve the matter.  The appeal must be made within 10 days from the date the meeting with the Director of Didactic Curriculum or Director of Clinical Curriculum and the Program Director occurred and must detail the reason(s) for appeal.  The chair of the Academic Standing and Progress Committee (or designee) shall investigate the matter and may dismiss it, make a ruling on the appeal, or forward it to the Vice Dean for Medical Education with the recommendation that an appeal panel be appointed. 

3.  If the PA student is not satisfied with the resolution after following the above processes, then the student may appeal the decision by submitting the formal written appeal to the Vice Dean for Medical Education of the School of Medicine within 10 business days from the time the decision was conveyed to the student. The Vice Dean may dismiss the appeal, make a final ruling on the appeal, or appoint a faculty appeal panel. If an appeal panel is convened, the panel reports findings and makes a recommendation to the Vice Dean.  The panel will hear the student’s reasons for the appeal. 

Witnesses may be called at the discretion of the chair of the appeal panel. No legal counsel is permitted in the appeal hearing. However, a PA student may request that a faculty member or another student be present in the capacity of an advisor to provide the student advice but may not represent the student or directly question or cross-examine witnesses. A family member may not serve in this role. The appeal panel will make a recommendation to the Vice Dean for Medical Education. The Vice Dean shall make a final decision. 

4.  If, after being notified of the decision, the PA student feels that the PA Program/School of Medicine did not properly follow its established procedures, then an additional written appeal may be forwarded to the Dean of the School of Medicine within 10 business days and may only appeal the procedural issues. This step exhausts the PA student’s appeal options and the Dean’s determination is final.

5.  No recording, taping or electronic devices of any sort will be allowed in any aspect of an appeals process.

6.  The processes outlined above pertains to the assignment of final course grades (didactic and clinical) and appealing the grade listed on the student’s transcript.

* This policy is modeled after the SOM “Grade Appeal Procedures,” approved June 25, 2015 by the SOM Committee on Medical Education (CME).

Reviewed by PA Program 3/1/2020.