Appeals Process

The president of ACEJMC appoints a three-person board each October to hear accreditation appeals. This Appeals Board is composed of two journalism/mass communications educators and one journalism/mass communications practitioner. None can be a member of the Council, the Accrediting Committee, or the site team that visited the institution initiating the appeal. No one who has a conflict of interest shall serve on the Board.

When the Council decides to award provisional accreditation or to deny accreditation altogether, the president of the Council, in a letter, informs the president of the institution and the administrator of the journalism/mass communications unit and gives the reasons for the Council’s action. The appeal procedure open to the institution is explained in this letter.

If the president of the institution desires to appeal the decision, it must be done in writing within thirty (30) days of notification of the accrediting decision by the ACEJMC president. Appeals of accreditation decisions must be based on one or both of the following grounds: 1) evidence that the Council failed to adhere to applicable adopted procedures; 2) evidence that, based upon the record before the Council, the decision was arbitrary and capricious or not supported by substantial evidence. Appeals must be made in writing and must be based on concrete evidence that was in the record before the Council at the time of the original decision.

The ACEJMC president shall, within thirty (30) days after receiving a statement of appeal, send each of the members of the Appeals Board a copy of the statement. The chair of the Appeals Board immediately shall notify the members of the visit team, sending to each member a copy of the statement of appeal. The visit team members shall, within fifteen (15) days, respond to the appeal statement in writing addressed to the chair of the Appeals Board, who shall send copies of the visit team’s responses to each member of the Board.

The Appeals Board will meet in open session at some time preceding the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Council. The chief administrative officers of the institution making the appeal and the site team chair shall be notified of the time, date, and place of the meeting. They may attend the meeting, present oral and written arguments, and receive questions from the Appeals Board. The institution has the right to representation by counsel in any appeal proceedings.

Ordinarily, the Appeals Board will base its recommended decision upon relevant written documents, but at its discretion it may consider the points raised in the oral and written presentations. The chair writes a summary of the Appeals Board’s recommendation to ACEJMC. The Appeals Board’s recommendation and the chair’s written summary should be given to Council members not later than the night before the ACEJMC meeting. The chair of the Appeals Board presents the recommendation to ACEJMC members.

ACEJMC then considers the recommendation by the Appeals Board and exercises its responsibility for making the final accreditation decision. The ACEJMC president will notify the chief administrator of the institution and the administrator of the journalism and mass communications unit in a letter of the decision on the appeal and the reasons for the decision.

All expenses of the appeal, including travel, shall be paid by the institution initiating the appeal. Eighty percent of the estimated costs of the appeal hearing must be sent to the ACEJMC office two weeks before the date of the scheduled Appeals Board meeting.

While an appeal is pending and before a decision on the appeal is made by ACEJMC, there shall be no change in the accredited status for the institution making the appeal.