1 Legal basis
a. The guidelines were adopted by the Board of NMBU on 15 March 2017 on the basis of the Act relating to Universities and University Colleges Section 5-1, and Sections 9-1 and 9-2. Revised 24 April 2019.
b. The guidelines are intended to clarify the Appeals Committee's composition, authority and work methods. Any amendments to the guidelines must be adopted by the University Board.
2 The Appeals Committee's composition, appointment and term in office
a. The composition of the Appeals Committee shall meet the requirements of the Act relating to Universities and University Colleges Section 5-1.
b. The chair of the Appeal’s Committee and his or her personal deputy member shall meet the legal requirements for appointment as a court of appeals judge, and have experience of work at a university or university college. The chair and personal deputy member are appointed by the University Board for a term of four years.
c. Two members and up to two personal deputy members for each of these shall be permanent employees in academic positions at NMBU. These are appointed by the University Board for a term of four years.
d. Two active students at NMBU and up to two personal deputy members for each of these are appointed by the Student Parliament for a term of one year.
e. Two PhD candidates and up to two personal deputy members for each of these are appointed for one term by the Society of Doctoral Candidates at NMBU (SoDoC). These will be included on the Appeals Committee as student members in cases that concern PhD candidates.
f. Re-election is permitted. A member or deputy member shall continue to hold office until a new member has been appointed, even if the normal term of office has expired.
g. Members of the Appeals Committee must be proficient in Norwegian.
h. The Public Administration Act's provisions on impartiality shall apply to the members of the Appeals Committee.
i. The Rector appoints a secretary to the Appeals Committee. The secretary must have legal expertise. The secretary of the Appeals Committee must not be employed by a department that is often involved in the Appeals Committee’s cases.
3 The duties of the Appeals Committee
a. The Appeals Committee shall make decisions or issue statements in cases assigned to the Appeals Committee pursuant to the Universities and University Colleges Act, as well as in other types of cases as described in these guidelines.
b. The Appeals Committee can make decisions as the first instance on behalf of NMBU in the following types of cases:
- cases concerning possible cheating or other reprehensible conduct on the part of students,
- cases concerning exclusion on the basis of a suitability assessment by NMBU's Suitability Assessment Committee,
- cases concerning admission where a candidate’s transcript of police records contains remarks,
- other cases concerning applicants pursuant to the Universities and University Colleges Section 3-7.
c. The Appeals Committee can make decisions as an appellate body in all cases where students appeal individual decisions made by the university bodies, and otherwise in the following types of cases:
- appeals from applicants against rejections of applications for admission to studies, when a decision has been made by NMBU,
- complaints from students concerning formal errors in connection with arrangements for and evaluation of students' performance,
- complaints from students concerning inadequate fulfilment of statutory or contractual obligations in relation to teaching and assessment of student performance/examinations,
- complaints from students concerning shortcomings in the physical learning environment in relation to statutory obligations or binding plans stipulated by the University Board, unless the case can be considered by NMBU's working environment committee,
- appeals from PhD candidates concerning enforced termination of their PhD education,
- appeals from PhD candidates concerning rejection of a PhD thesis or not approved PhD degree,
- appeals from Doctor Philos. candidates concerning rejection of a thesis or not approved Doctor Philos. Degree.
d. The Appeals Committee shall also decide as an appellate body in cases concerning appeals from staff and students pursuant to NMBU’s election regulations relating to election to the university’s governing bodies.
e. The Appeals Committee can make decisions concerning case costs pursuant to Section 36 of the Public Administration Act in connection with the Appeals Committee’s cases.
4 General provisions regarding case processing
a. The Appeals Committee's work shall satisfy the provisions of the Act relating to Universities and University Colleges in addition to the general provisions and principles of administrative law, including the general provisions and procedural rules of the Public Administration Act.
b. The Appeals Committee shall stipulate its own work methods within the framework of the provisions of the Universities and University Colleges Act and these guidelines.
c. The Appeals Committee shall normally make the first decision in a case within two months after receiving the case. If, when the case is received, it is not deemed sufficiently elucidated, the deadline may be extended to provide the necessary time to clarify inadequate information.
d. The Appeals Committee shall ensure that the case is well elucidated before it makes a decision. The Appeals Committee can ask the person who brought the case to the Committee to provide additional information for the specific case if deemed necessary to elucidate the case.
e. The secretary of the Appeals Committee shall perform administrative tasks, facilitate the Committee’s meetings, prepare written presentations of cases and keep minutes of the Committee’s meetings. The secretary shall normally be authorised to decide matters relating to case preparations in the Appeals Committee’s cases, but not to decide a case on its merits.
f. The secretary can reject cases that clearly do not fall under the Appeals Committee’s remit. Appeals concerning such decisions shall be presented to the Appeals Committee for consideration before being forwarded to the appellate body, if relevant. The secretary’s decision is submitted to the Appeals Committee.
g. Documents in the Appeals Committee's cases shall be filed in the university's archive system.
h. The Appeals Committee/the Appeals Committee's secretary shall provide guidance to parties and others pursuant to the provisions of the Public Administration Act Section 11.
i. The Appeals Committee's decisions are normally made at committee meetings. The Appeals Committee constitutes a quorum when the chair or the chair's deputy and two other members are present. In cases concerning refused access that must be decided before the Appeals Committee can meet, a decision can be made via electronic communication if the chair of the Appeals Committee finds this to be a responsible way of proceeding.
j. The Appeals Committee must ensure that appeals to be considered by the Committee as an appellate body are considered by the first instance before the Committee makes a decision in the case.
k. Persons who are parties to a case are normally given an opportunity to appear before the Appeals Committee to present their views on the case. The student can engage a lawyer or other assistant at their own expense, or at the university’s expense when specified in the Act relating to Universities and University Colleges.
l. The Appeals Committee shall submit an annual report about its activities to the University Board.
5 Cases based on appeals from students
a. The right of students, or persons applying for admission, to submit cases to the Appeals Committee is contingent upon the appellant having a legal interest in the outcome of the appeal case.
b. Appeals from students, or persons applying for admission, against formal errors, shortcomings in the physical working environment or individual decisions about other matters shall normally be public, but can be exempt from disclosure if the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act are met.
c. The Appeals Committee can annul appealed decisions. The Appeals Committee can also make a new decision in cases that will not be decided by the University Board. In the event of parity of votes, the chair shall have the casting vote.
d. In cases concerning formal errors in teaching or the evaluation of students' performance, the Appeals Committee may decide that a new examination shall be held, that a new assessment shall take place, or decide on other measures to remedy the error. The Appeals Committee cannot change the content of assessment decisions.
e. In cases concerning shortcomings in the physical working environment, the Appeals Committee shall make decisions relating to changes to physical conditions, unless the case has significant budgetary consequences.
f. Decisions made by the Appeals Committee as an appellate body cannot be appealed.
6 Cases concerning cheating or other academic misconduct
a. Cases where there are grounds to suspect that a student is guilty of cheating/attempted cheating or other academic misconduct or reprehensible conduct shall be submitted to the Appeals Committee via the Rector or a person authorised by the Rector. The Rector shall present information that can shed light on the matter, to the extent that the information is known or can reasonably be obtained, and shall present a proposal for sanctions.
b. The Appeals Committee shall ensure that students suspected of cheating or other reprehensible conduct have been notified in writing about the case and been given an opportunity to state their case before the Appeals Committee considers the case on its merits.
c. In cases that the University brings before the Appeals Committee concerning individual circumstances relating to students, including cheating or other reprehensible conduct, all personal data is generally exempt from public disclosure. Students whose case could qualify for exemption from disclosure pursuant to legislation relating to public disclosure may request that the Appeals Committee consider transparency in case processing. The recipients stipulated by the Universities and University Colleges Act and the Public Administration Act shall be informed of the Appeals Committee's decision.
d. In cases that can result in a student being banned or excluded, NMBU shall cover the student's legal expenses in accordance with the rates set out in the Fee Regulations, cf. the Universities and University Colleges Act Section 4-8. Affected students shall be informed of their right to legal assistance as soon as possible while the case is being prepared.
e. Students who are parties to a case before the Appeals Committee that concerns cheating or academic misconduct and who do not speak Norwegian can request that they be permitted to make a statement in English and to receive the Appeals Committee's decision in English.
f. The Appeals Committee can decide to impose sanctions in accordance with the Universities and University Colleges Act Chapters 4 and 5. An exclusion decision needs at least a two thirds majority. In the event of parity of votes in connection with decisions regarding sanctions pursuant to the Universities and University Colleges Act Sections 4-7, 4-8 or 4-9, the decision most favourable to the student shall apply.
g. Individual decisions made pursuant to the Universities and University Colleges Act Section 4-7 to 4-10 made by the Appeals Committee as the first instance can be appealed to a national appeals body, appointed in Regulations No 1192 of 10 October 2005, cf. the provisions of the Universities and University Colleges Act Chapters 4 and 5. Such appeals shall be submitted to the Appeals Committee for a renewed assessment before they are sent to the national appeals body for final decision as necessary.
h. A student can bring a final decision to ban or exclude him/her before the ordinary courts. Legal proceedings must be instigated within three months of the student being notified of the final decision.