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Student Advocacy Service

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Mandate

DSAS is back with an expanded mandate! We are an arms-length service of the DSU. Our volunteers receive training in anti-oppressive practices, advocacy skills, confidentiality and Dalhousie's many policies.

Whether you have been accused of an academic offence, or if you are dealing with harassment or discrimination, drop us a line. Our three branches are here to help.

Branch A: Advocacy

Our advocates help students navigate university policy. We help draft and edit any written submissions. We can prepare students for hearings and formal appeals. Our advocates support the student and help articulate matters of importance during oral hearings.

DSAS keeps all information provided by students confidential. This includes the fact that they have consulted with the service. DSAS will not release this information without the student's consent. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about DSAS' practice of confidentiality.

Branch B: Education and Outreach

DSAS recognizes the impact of systemic inequality. As such we now conduct educational workshops. We aim to ensure students and faculty understand their responsibilities under Dalhousie's official policies. Examples of our workshops include: "A Guide to the Student Code of Conduct", and "Navigating Dalhousie's Sexual Harassment Policy". We are open to requests so please do reach out.

Branch C: Policy Review

Our policy review team is here to help you examine university policies. Universities do not exist in a vacuum. Their policies affect our communities and us. Universities must grow and adapt to our changing society. It's up to all of us to make them more open and inclusive.

Academic Appeals

Academic appeals comprise a broad area of the DSAS's jurisdiction. This area includes, among other things: 

  • Grade appeals, 
  • Academic probation/ dismissal issues 
  • Alleged unfairness or irregularities in marking procedures 
  • Alleged unfairness or bias in the application of academic regulations or procedures.

In most cases, the student pursues an informal resolution with the professor or advisor involved before a formal appeal. This approach is in line with all faculty appeal procedures, as well as DSAS policy. 

The specifics for commencing a formal appeal will differ depending on the school/ department involved.  Generally, the process begins with the professor, then involves of the appropriate School/Department, the corresponding Faculty, and finally the Senate. 

In appealing a School or Faculty level decision the university has limited grounds for appeal to the next level. Additionally, there are time limits on when the student must bring forward an appeal. These time limits are usually 15-21 business days depending on the Faculty. DSAS volunteers can help you navigate the relevant timelines and necessary appeal procedures. It is important that the student contact the DSAS office AS SOON AS POSSIBLE if the student feels that there are grounds for an academic appeal. This is so that DSAS may be best able to provide students with time sensitive help.

Cheating and Academic Integrity

At Dalhousie University, the Senate Discipline Committee (SDC) has jurisdiction over discipline matters. The SDC conducts hearings to determine first if an academic offence or breach of the code of conduct has occurred. Second, the SDC decides what an appropriate penalty would be if they deem an offence or breach to have occurred.

The SDC examines matters of alleged academic dishonesty and infringements of the University Code of Conduct. The procedure for each class of allegations differs. A case of plagiarism will look differently than a case about discrimination. For more information, please refer to the terms of reference for the SDC, or the procedure for Code of Conduct allegations. You can also contact DSAS and talk to a peer.

Academic offences or irregularities like plagiarism, improper citation, unauthorized collaboration, cheating during an exam or writing an exam or test for someone else, are serious. The penalties available to the SDC for these types of offences range from written warnings to expulsion. DSAS strives to do its best to confidentially represent students alleged to have committed these types of offences. Still, it’s best to avoid allegations in the first place. To do so make sure you review Dalhousie's policies on academic dishonesty and plagiarism.

Information on Dalhousie's policies is in all Dalhousie calendars. As such the university expects each student to be familiar with the regulations and policies it contains. This means that claims of ignorance of these policies will not provide a complete defence.

For more information please contact DSAS. We can help you through an allegation, explain a policy, or run a workshop.

Contact Info

Dalhousie Student Advocacy Service
dsas@dal.ca

Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday 9am to 4pm

Address

3rd floor of the Student Union Building
6136 University Ave