Legal Services

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Following you can find detailed guides:

 

Right to inspect the exam

Strictly speaking, it is not a question of a right to inspect the examination, but of the right to inspect files. The right to inspect files is part of the right to be heard (Art. 29 Para. 2 BV) and is thus a basic constitutional right. Access to files may only be refused if it is necessary for important public or private confidentiality interests (Art. 16 VRP SG). The additional work for the lecturer or the examining authority is not a sufficient reason to refuse access.

Who can exercise the right to inspect the exam?

Every exam graduate can assert the right to inspect the exam. Normally, the university itself makes appointments for viewing the exams and communicates them via the StudentWeb.

What should I do if I cannot attend the exam myself?

In principle, the graduate must appear in person to inspect the exam. However, you can send someone else to inspect the exam on your behalf. To do this, you must give this person written authorization. It may be that this person has to identify themself on site. If you cannot keep the official appointment for valid reasons (e.g. illness, death, etc.), you have the right to a separate appointment (regardless of whether you could have authorized another person). A postal or electronic dispatch of the examination to the graduate will only be approved in exceptional cases.

How does the examination inspection have to be structured?

In particular, the duration of the examination inspection must be designed in such a way that a thorough examination of the examination is possible. If this was not the case in your examination review, please contact interessenvertretung@shsg.ch.

What can I see during the inspection?

According to Art. 8 Ausführungsbestimmungen Studium (AB Studium), the right of inspection includes in particular:

a) the right to assistance or representation with power of attorney when viewing the examination by a person;

b) the inspection of the examination questions, one's own examination answers, the allocation of points and the grading scale;

c) inspection of the sample solution if the assessment is specified in the sample solution and there is no separate assessment grid;

d) the right to take notes when viewing the examination and to bring and use the examination and course literature;

e) photograph your own examination papers or receive a copy or a scan of them for an administrative fee. This entitlement does not apply to multiple-choice parts of the examination. The teacher responsible for the examination can grant approval.

In any case, the correction scale should be clearly visible. In the case of corrections without a red pen, the responsible lecturer must be able to explain the assessment of the answer within the framework of the legal hearing.

What happens if I still find points in the insight?

The procedure for an application for grade correction is only used if there is undoubtedly an obvious and objective oversight (e.g. if you forgot to correct a task; if the points were added up incorrectly; if the grading scale was read off incorrectly). If there is such an oversight, the lecturers (not the students!) can submit a request for grade correction to the Dean of Studies, with the result that the grades will be corrected. If the lecturer is not ready to recognize these points, you only have the option of submitting an appeal. Since these are two different procedures, an appeal and a request for grade correction can be filed in parallel. The students do not have the right to have the lecturer submit a request for grade correction. If you forego an appeal because the lecturers are signaling a concession and are holding out the prospect of a request for a grade correction, you cannot do anything after the appeal period has expired if the lecturers change their minds.

 

Appeal

Appeals can be filed against any examination performance taken at the University of St.Gallen. The appeal can therefore be filed against oral and written exams, individual and group performances as well as failed and passed exams.

Appeals against grades that have been given can only be checked for unlawfulness by the Appeals Committee (Art. 45 University Act); a check on discretion is ruled out by law. The reason for this rule is the principle that the Appeals Committee does not want to replace the discretion exercised by the expert examination instance with its own. Thus factually, possible reasons for appeal are arbitrariness in grading and serious procedural deficiencies

Arbitrariness

Arbitrariness is an objectively serious violation of the law by an authority. In such a case, it is irrelevant whether an arbitrary act has been perpetrated inadvertently or intentionally. An appeal must be granted in both cases.

Possible cases of arbitrariness

  • Incomplete grading (this leaves the possibility of a request for a regrade);

  • Wrong addition of points (this leaves the possibility of a request for a regrade);

  • Questions concerning issues that are obviously irrelevant to the subject matter under examination;

  • Grading according to a specimen solution where alternative solution variants are obviously possible (except for cases where the expected answer is obviously a specific term);

  • Repeated error penalised several times.

Cases without arbitrariness

  • The following cases are within a faculty member’s scope of discretion and thus do not constitute cases of arbitrariness:

  • Grading of answers to open questions (no multiple-choice questions)

  • Weighting within an exercise

  • Weighting of individual examination parts

  • Establishing a grading scale

  • Failure to include all the subjects that are relevant to the subject under examination

 

Substantial procedural deficiency

A substantial procedural deficiency also constitutes a case of arbitrariness but differs from

the cases mentioned with regard to its legal effects.
 

Examples of substantial procedural deficiencies:

  • Examination part about a topic that is irrelevant to the subject under examination;

  • Examination time substantially too short;

  • Different admission of aids in different examination rooms, provided this resulted in

    substantial distortions for examination results.

A procedural deficiency must have been causal to grading. In this case, an appellant will request the annulment of the examination. An upward revision of a grade is out of the question; instead, the examination must be repeated.
 

Appeal Procedure

If there is a case of arbitrariness or a procedural violation, an appeal can be filed. For this, the student must write an appeal letter and submit it to the appeal committee within the appeal period and make an advance payment of 250.-.

If a student is unable to adhere to the appeal deadline for valid reasons, there is the possibility of applying for an extension of the deadline before the actual deadline expires: this application must be submitted in writing to the secretary’s office of the Appeals Committee (Guisanstr. 1a, 1st floor, Ms Susanne Bär). This can be done by registered letter or by e-mail (susanne.baer@unisg.ch). The application must include reasons in brief, a list of the subjects concerned (several are possible), as well as the desired new deadline. In addition, a copy of the notification of grades must be enclosed (also possible in digital form).

If all conditions for entry are met, the appeal is made and the appeal proceedings are "opened". First of all, the appeals committee will obtain a statement from the lecturer concerned and forward it to you. If you want, you can add your appeal text based on the lecturer's statement. Then the "taking of evidence" is closed, the appeals committee meets and decides on your appeal. If you win the appeal procedure, the exam will be revised or a repetition of the exam will be ordered. You will also receive your advance payment back. If you lose the appeal procedure, the assessment of your examination performance will not change and your advance payment will be retained. You can, however, take the procedure to the next instance (Board of Governors). The procedure is largely repeated there.

 

Chances of success

With regard to examinations with open questions, rather few appeals are granted if the Appeals Committee is expected to newly grade or regrade answers in terms of content since the Appeals Committee does not want to replace the discretion exercised by the faculty member with its own.

With regard to questions in the multiple-choice format, the likelihood of an appeal being successful is very slight. The questions in this format are often worded in such a way that an appeal against them is practically impossible. A successful appeal is possible when it can be demonstrated that a question and/or answers are formulated in an unclear or contradictory way.

With regard to written academic work, the chances of success are relatively small when it comes to a reappraisal of the contents by the Appeals Committee. The reason for this is the principle that the Appeals Committee does not want to replace the discretion exercised by the faculty member with its own. Chances of success do exist if it is a case of a mistake in examination procedures made by a faculty member. Such mistakes include an inadequate degree of supervision by the faculty member. An example of this is provided by a situation whereby a faculty member considers the disposition or the structure of the written academic work good but then later criticizes it in the process of grading and lowers the score accordingly. This constitutes an infringement of the principle of good faith.

With regard to oral examinations and academic term papers, the chances of success are relatively small when it comes to a reappraisal of the contents by the Appeals Committee. Conversely, chances of success do exist if a faculty member has failed to state his reasons or is unable to do so. Faculty members have to document the course of the oral examination and the candidate’s statements. If these minutes cannot be inspected at a later stage or are deficient in respect of content, then this constitutes a mistake in examination procedures. If evidence of mistakes in examination procedures cannot be produced, then the chances of the appeal succeeding are small.

 

Disciplinary proceedings

The University of St.Gallen requires all students to act responsibly and comply with University regulations in the course of their studies. If a student infringes these regulations, such behaviour can be punished in the form of a disciplinary sanction. Below, you will find an overview of the various case groups and the most important facts concerning the proceedings. Since a disciplinary proceeding depends on the seriousness of the offence, the type of proceeding and sanctions can vary from case to case.

Reasons for disciplinary action

Pursuant to Art. 36 of the University Act, disciplinary offences are defined as culpable infringements of University regulations. There are three important case groups that can be punished as disciplinary offences. These are obstructing people from fulfilling their tasks at the University, disrupting events and being dishonest in examinations.

The notion of dishonesty in examinations includes cribbing at examinations, to use, make available or bring along aids and information that are not in conformity with fact sheets, such as inadmissible pocket calculators. Furthermore, dishonesty includes disregarding general and specific instructions for conducting the examination, touching third party intellectual property (plagiarism/ghost-writing) as well as violating the current version of the declaration of independence etc. Depending on the seriousness of the infringement, dishonesty in examinations can be punished by a grade reduction or the award of grade 1.0. If the offence is particularly serious, a disciplinary proceeding before the Disciplinary Committee can be requested.

A further grave infringement of the University’s regulations is constituted by plagiarism. If suspicion of plagiarism is corroborated, for instance by the work being checked with the help of plagiarism software, this will result in a proceeding before the Disciplinary Committee. In this context it must be noted that seminar papers, as well as Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral theses are checked for plagiarism.

The notion of obstructing people from fulfilling their tasks includes continuing to write after the end of the examination time, in particular.

 

Proceedings and legal consequences

Procedure by the Dean of Studies

Pursuant to Art. 77 of the University Statutes, it is the Dean of Studies who makes disciplinary decisions in written examinations. Depending on the seriousness of the offence, the Dean of Studies is entitled to reduce a grade, award grade 1.0 or issue a disciplinary reprimand. Minor infringements of examination regulations which are not contested by the student are punished by the Dean of Studies. As a rule, no costs are set for procedures that are dealt with by the Dean of Studies alone. Such a procedure is mostly dealt with in writing and relatively quickly.

Procedure by the Disciplinary Committee

If guilt is contested or if the offence is particularly serious, the Principal of the University may request a disciplinary proceeding before the Disciplinary Committee on application by the Dean of Studies. In accordance with Art. 37 of the University Act, the severity of the legal consequences of a disciplinary proceeding varies according to the seriousness of the offence:

The following measures are possible:

  • oral reprimand;

  • written reprimand;

  • expulsion from an examination for dishonesty;

  • fines of up to CHF 3,000;

  • threat of expulsion from courses or from the University,

  • expulsion from courses for the current academic year and for the following

    academic year at most;

  • expulsion from the University for no longer than three years.

 

​​In proceedings before the Disciplinary Commission, procedural fees are charged in the event of failure. It should be noted that this procedure takes three to six months.

If proceedings are initiated, the accused will be given the opportunity to comment on the allegations within the framework of the legal hearing. If the accused does not make a statement during this period or if he lets the deadline pass, this will be assessed as a waiver of the right to be heard.

According to Art. 8 of the Disciplinary Act, a disciplinary error can only be prosecuted if the disciplinary authority (i.e. either the Dean of Studies or the Disciplinary Committee) orders the investigation within three months of becoming aware of the disciplinary error.

Chances of success

It is impossible for a general prediction of the chances of success in a disciplinary proceeding to be made. If, however, a student is aware of the fact that he/she has infringed the University’s regulations (with or without intent), he/she should show a cooperative attitude in the proceeding. If students show remorse when they are being heard, for instance, and apologise for their deed, then as a rule this will be taken into consideration when the degree of punishment is determined. It is usually counterproductive to disavow valid accusations or unequivocal facts in the course of a proceeding.

More Questions?

If you have further questions or need any help with your case feel free to contact us at rekursberatung@shsg.ch