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III. Faculty Employment Policies and Procedures

III.A. Faculty Rights and Responsibilities

III.A.1. Introduction

III.A.2. Academic Freedom and Responsibility

III.A.3. Professional Ethics III.A.4. External Statements and Release Information
III.A.5. Conflict of Interests
III.A.6. Faculty Student Relationships
III.A.7. Equal Opportunity III.A.8. Harassment
III.A.9. Academic Integrity
III.A.10. Workload
III.A.11. Outside Employment and Consulting III.A.12. Class Schedules
III.A.13. Student Advising III.A.14. Office Hours
III.A.15. Course Instructional Materials III.A.16. Syllabi
III.A.17. Ordering Textbooks III.A.18. Final Examinations
III.A.19. Participation in Meetings III.A.20. Absences
III.A.21. Disability Accommodations III.A.22. Religious Accommodations
III.A.23. Workplace Hazards III.A.24. Use of University Property
III.A.25. Faculty Misconduct and Sanctions


III.A.1. Introduction

The primary functions of an academic community – learning, teaching, scholarship and professional service – must be characterized by a fundamental commitment to academic freedom and maintained through reasoned discourse, intellectual honesty, mutual respect, and openness to constructive criticism and change. Faculty members, as central to this community, serve as scholars pursuing the search for knowledge and its free expression, as teachers instructing students, and as professionals and citizens contributing special knowledge and skills through professional service and community participation. In the performance of all these functions, faculty members are held accountable to the university in accordance with state and federal laws and with policies and procedures established by the BOV, which is responsible to the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia. For details of the responsibility of the BOV, see Code of Virginia, Title 23, Chapter 1, Section 23-9.2:3 and Title 23, Chapter 12.1, Section 23-164.1 et seq.

III.A.2. Academic Freedom and Responsibility

III.A.2.a. Academic Freedom

The university is an institution of higher learning in a democratic society. It is fundamentally committed to the open-ended pursuit of knowledge and the unfettered activity of inquiry and debate. Just as the university is entitled to academic freedom in the pursuit of its educational mission, so each member of the faculty is entitled to academic freedom in the discharge of his or her professional duties.

Accordingly, each member of the faculty has a right to the freedom of thought and expression, including a right to reasoned dissent, in the conduct of his or her professional activities. This right to academic freedom safeguards one's liberty to pursue, discuss, study, research, discover, question, critique, and teach relevant knowledge, ideas and theory, in accordance with the standards of the academic profession and one's discipline. Academic freedom must be exercised responsibly, in keeping with the standards of one's academic profession and one's discipline and with other university and professional duties.

A faculty member who is acting in the course and scope of his or her employment at the university is protected by the tenets of academic freedom as long as such action is performed in good faith and in a manner consistent with his or her responsibilities. A faculty member who is speaking or writing on matters of public concern is not subject to university censorship or discipline.

Academic freedom:

  • Establishes the right of the faculty member to teach, instruct and examine students on the information, concepts, methodology and content of courses without interference, consistent with the university's right to expect productive teaching, research and service from a faculty member, to evaluate and correct any deficiencies in the quality and quantity of instruction, research and service work, and to require consistency between the catalog description of a course and that course's content and focus.
  • Allows the faculty member to engage in research, inquiry, study, creative enterprise and exposition of the results of scholarly activity unfettered by unreasonable restrictions imposed by the institution. This freedom is consistent with the university's right to expect productive scholarship from a faculty member, to evaluate and correct any deficiencies in the quality and quantity of scholarly work, and to make rules concerning ownership and conduct of university-related research and creative endeavor.
  • Protects the faculty member in service to the academic unit, the college, the university and the faculty member's discipline. This is consistent with the university's right to expect productive service from a faculty member and to evaluate and correct any deficiencies in the quality and quantity of service activity.
III.A.2.b. Academic Responsibility

A faculty member's right to exercise academic freedom carries with it concomitant responsibilities. These responsibilities are owed to students, colleagues, the scholarly community and the institution. Failure to live up to these responsibilities carries with it the possibility of sanctions, up to and including dismissal. The following list is illustrative of the responsibilities of a faculty member, but it is not exhaustive. Some items are closely tied to the exercise of academic freedom and others derive from the employment of the faculty member at the university.

III.A.2.b.(1) A faculty member shall abide by federal law, state law and university policy, including the policies contained in the Manual of Policies and Procedures, the various divisions of the university, the colleges, and the academic units.

III.A.2.b.(2) A faculty member shall not engage in dishonest behavior toward his or her students, colleagues or members of the public, including but not limited to academic dishonesty. See Faculty Handbook, Section III.A.3.d.

III.A.2.b.(3) A faculty member shall accurately represent his or her professional credentials and accomplishments.

III.A.2.b.(4) A faculty member shall act ethically at all times.

III.A.2.b.(5) A faculty member shall be respectful of others, including students, colleagues, other university employees and those outside of the institution, and shall consider and evaluate others' ideas, theories and arguments in a fair-minded way.

III.A.2.b.(6) A faculty member shall perform the duties and obligations of his or her employment with the university in a professional and satisfactory manner.

III.A.2.b.(7) A faculty member shall not engage in misconduct. See Faculty Handbook, Section III.A.25.

III.A.2.b.(8) A faculty member shall pursue excellence and intellectual honesty in all professional matters.

III.A.2.b.(9) A faculty member shall strive to communicate concepts, knowledge, theory, data, and all other information and ideas clearly and accurately.

III.A.2.b.(10) A faculty member engaged in instruction shall not act to deprive his or her students of the exercise of academic freedom and shall teach the responsibilities that go with such freedom.

III.A.2.b.(11) A faculty member engaged in instruction shall refrain from interjecting material that serves no pedagogical purpose into his or her teaching.

III.A.2.b.(12) A faculty member shall conscientiously undertake to meet the obligations involved in service and shall not allow purely personal agendas or grievances to interfere with his or her fulfillment of those responsibilities.

III.A.2.b.(13) A faculty member engaged in instruction shall meet the obligations involved in teaching and keep office hours as scheduled in accordance with the policies of the academic unit. See Faculty Handbook, Section III.A.20.

III.A.2.b.(14) A faculty member shall evaluate student and colleague performance on a fair and scholarly basis in accordance with university policy.

III.A.2.b.(15) A faculty member engaged in instruction shall maintain a record in his or her personal files for a period of at least one academic year of the basis for all student grades each semester (e.g., an electronic or hard copy grade book) Upon separation of his or her employment with the university, a faculty member engaged in instruction shall submit such record to the AUH for the academic year preceding separation. A faculty member is expected to give students useful feedback on the performance of courserelated tasks in a timely manner and on a regular basis during the semester in order to allow students the opportunity to take full advantage of the learning experience.

III.A.2.b.(16) A faculty member engaged in instruction shall report grades to the registrar by the published deadline each semester.

III.A.2.b.(17) A faculty member engaged in instruction shall make reasonable adjustments for class attendance and due dates for students called to military service, jury duty, and for students who are ill or have family emergencies or serve as duly authorized representatives of the university at some event. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to determine whether or not an adjustment is reasonable for the course. Any class activity which cannot be excused must be noted in the class syllabus. See the Undergraduate Catalog. See Faculty Handbook, Section III.A.16.

III.A.2.b.(18) A faculty member shall cooperate with the university's efforts to give reasonable and appropriate accommodation to students relating to religious observances.

III.A.2.b.(19) A faculty member shall cooperate with the university's efforts to give reasonable and appropriate accommodation to students relating to disabilities, and shall abide by Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1331, Disabilities & Reasonable Accommodations.

III.A.2.b.(20) A faculty member shall not abuse, harass, or otherwise take unfair advantage of his or her students, colleagues or other employees of the university, and shall adhere to the university's equal opportunity policy. See Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1302, Equal Opportunity.

III.A.2.b.(21) A faculty member shall abide by the laws, rules, policies and regulations that regulate research and related activities, including rules concerning misconduct in scholarship. See Faculty Handbook, Section III.H.

III.A.2.b.(22) A faculty member shall use his or her experience and good judgment in supporting his or her discipline and furthering the university's mission.

III.A.2.b.(23) A faculty member shall act professionally in voicing any legitimate criticism of the university.

III.A.2.b.(24) A faculty member shall not engage in malicious actions calculated to destroy or immobilize the academic unit, the college or the university.

III.A.2.b.(25) A faculty member shall make it clear when he or she is speaking or writing as a private citizen or expert in an area of expertise and when he or she is speaking or writing as an official representative of the university.

III.A.2.b.(26) A faculty member shall not violate students' privacy as protected by state and federal law. See Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 2112, The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act.

III.A.2.b.(27) A faculty member shall avoid conflicts of interest in his or her personal and professional life that may adversely affect his or her responsibilities to the university. A faculty member shall be scrupulous in disclosure of his or her interests and shall take appropriate steps to avoid even the appearance of any impropriety. See Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1106, Conflict of Interests.

III.A.2.b.(28) A faculty member shall not engage in violent behavior, and shall report concerns about student, faculty or staff behavior which may present a threat to any person or the safety of the university community to the appropriate university committee or office. See Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1115, Violence Prevention.

Other important responsibilities are listed elsewhere in this handbook, in other policies found in the published regulations of the university (such as the Manual of Policies and Procedures, the Financial Procedures Manual, and the policies of various administrative divisions or departments, as well as the policies and procedures of the various colleges and academic units), and in laws and regulations of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States of America.

III.A.3. Professional Ethics

No set of rules or professional code can guarantee or take the place of a faculty member's personal integrity; however, the university expects faculty members to abide by the following guidelines for ethical behavior.

III.A.3.a. Professionalism

Faculty members should embody the concepts of self-discipline and the quest for self-betterment. By striving for knowledge and understanding, and the effective means to share that knowledge and understanding, they add to the intellectual life of the university, the discipline and the community. This responsibility calls for recognition by the faculty member of his or her role as a guardian of intellectual honesty, scholarly excellence and pedagogical soundness.

III.A.3.b. Relationship with Students
Faculty members should respect students' privacy and intellectual pursuits, act as advisers and mentors for their students, and model behavior and ethics appropriate for students to emulate. They should never take unfair advantage of the student/teacher relationship they have with their students.

III.A.3.c. Relationship with Colleagues
Faculty members should treat their colleagues and others with respect and deference, and should fulfill their responsibilities to assess their colleague's performance honestly and without prejudice. They have a duty to shoulder their fair share of the task of serving the academic unit, the college, the university and their discipline.

III.A.3.d. Academic Honesty
Faculty members shall give their best efforts to their scholarly activities, maintaining absolute honesty and deference to truth and fairness. See Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 2205, Policy for Misconduct in Research and Other Scholarly Work.

III.A.3.e. Relationship with the University
Faculty members should abide by the policies and procedures of the university. Faculty members should voice any opposition to such policies and procedures in a constructive manner, rather than attempt to subvert, ignore or indiscriminately attack policies with which they disagree. Their purpose should be to improve the functioning of the institution and to offer positive criticism where they find problems.

III.A.3.f. Code of Ethics
Faculty members shall also be guided by professional codes of ethics specific to their discipline as applicable.

III.A.4. External Statements and Release of Information

The Freedom of Information Act requires the university to give access to public records to citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia and representatives of the media operating within the state. Requests for information under this statute should be referred immediately to the University Spokesperson. Faculty members receiving requests for published data and other official university information from individuals, agencies, groups, or other sources outside of the university should contact the Office of Institutional Research. Official university communications will be prepared with the assistance of the Office of Public Affairs. For details, see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1502, James Madison University Communications and Marketing.

Certain types of information, including student grades and employee personnel information, must not be released by representatives of the university, except as may otherwise be provided by law, without the written consent of the individual involved. For details see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1109, Records Management, and Policy 2112, The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act.

No university information on any matter under litigation in which the university, its officers, faculty members, employees, or members of the BOV are defendants within their official capacity may be released without the approval of the University Counsel. For details see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1103, Responding to External Requests for Information.

III.A.5. Conflict of Interests

A conflict of interests occurs when a university officer or employee, or a member of his or her immediate family has a personal interest, or benefits or suffers from his or her participation in a contract or transaction considered by JMU. A potential conflict of interests occurs when there is a divergence between an individual's private interests and his or her professional obligations to the university such that an independent observer might reasonably question whether the individual's professional actions or decisions are determined by considerations of personal gain, financial or otherwise. A faculty member shall be sensitive to the potential for such conflicts, and shall avoid a conflict of interests. For details, see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1106, Conflict of Interests and the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act, Code of Virginia, Section 2.1 – 3100 et seq.

III.A.6. Faculty-Student Relationships

The university prohibits intimate relationships between faculty members and students in their classes or under their supervision, e.g. teaching or graduate assistants. Such relationships raise the specter of exploitation and/or sexual harassment. A faculty member has a responsibility to avoid any apparent or actual conflict between his or her professional responsibilities and personal interests in dealings or relationships with students.

III.A.7. Equal Opportunity

All faculty members are required to abide by the university's equal opportunity policy, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, gender, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, veteran status or against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities with respect to employment or admissions, or in connection with its programs or activities. See Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1302, Equal Employment.

III.A.8. Harassment

Faculty members are prohibited from harassing any member of the university community. A member of the university community may file a harassment complaint against an instructional, administrative or professional faculty member by contacting the university's Office of Equal Opportunity. For details see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1324, Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedures. A complaint may be filed against other university employees (i.e., staff members) with the Human Resources Department. See Policy 1317, Standards of Conduct and Performance for Classified Employees. A complaint may be filed against a student with the Office of Judicial Affairs.

See Student Standards of Conduct (judicial policies).

III.A.9. Academic Integrity

Faculty members are expected in all of their dealings with the university and students to adhere to the principle of academic integrity.

III.A.9.a. University Honor System
Faculty members shall hold students accountable under the university's Honor System, shall abide by the reporting requirements of the Honor Code and should communicate clearly the application of the Honor Code in their classes. For details see Faculty Handbook, Section VII.A.4 or the University Honor System.

III.A.9.b. Academic Honesty of Faculty Members
Faculty members are expected to conduct themselves with integrity in all aspects of their professional lives. Faculty members should report any suspected plagiarism or other academic dishonesty by a colleague in accordance with the university's policy on Misconduct in Research and Other Scholarly Work. See Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 2205. Academic dishonesty may also include violation of federal, state and university guidelines for the appropriate conduct of research and scholarship, including but not limited to Policy 1104, The Institutional Review Board on the Use of Human Subjects in Research, Policy 2202, Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Policy 2203, Conflict of Interests Disclosure for Sponsored Programs, Policy 2204, Policy for Institutional Biosafety, and Policy 3108, Health and Safety.

III.A.10. Workload

Workload for a full-time faculty member, which encompasses a minimum of 40 hours per week, is determined by the AUH or other supervisor in consultation with the faculty member, and with the approval of the dean. A faculty member's workload may be adjusted to reflect especially heavy teaching assignments and other assignments. With approval of the AUH and dean, an instructional faculty member may teach in noncontract period semesters and "bank" the course(s) taught, such course(s) to be exchanged for a reduced teaching load during a future semester.

III.A.11. Outside Employment and Consulting

If it affects or is deemed likely to affect a faculty member's usefulness as an employee of the university, a full-time faculty member is prohibited from engaging in outside employment, or in any private business or profession during the period for which he or she is employed to work for the university, or outside such employment period, in a manner or to an extent that it affects or is deemed likely to affect his or her usefulness as an employee of the university.

No full-time faculty member may engage in part-time or full-time teaching for another institution during the semesters he or she is employed by the university without prior approval of the appropriate vice president. See Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1304, Outside Employment of Faculty.

Faculty members who desire to participate in outside employment should refer to Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1106, Conflict of Interests. Employees considering outside employment with a firm contracting with the university or with another state agency should be aware of Code of Virginia Section 2.1-639.6 of the Virginia State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act.

Unless special permission and compensation to the university are arranged in advance, university property may not be used for outside employment and consulting. See Faculty Handbook, Section III.A.24.

III.A.12. Class Schedules

Faculty members shall adhere strictly to the scheduled time and place of class meetings as reflected in the official class schedule. No change in the time of class meetings, including final examinations, may be made without the advance approval of the dean. No change in the assigned place of class meetings, including final examinations, may be made without the advance approval of the AUH. No class may be added or dropped from the schedule without the approval of the AUH.

III.A.13. Student Advising

Entering freshmen are assigned to a freshman adviser beginning with summer orientation through mid-February of the following spring semester. Second semester freshmen, new transfer students and all other currently enrolled students are assigned to a faculty adviser in their declared major of study. Undeclared students are advised by the office of Career and Academic Planning.

Academic advising is an important faculty responsibility. Although the university's policy is that the final responsibility for meeting graduation requirements rests entirely with the student, faculty advisers have an obligation to help direct the studies of advisees and answer any questions they may have, including questions about general education and degree requirements. To this end, the adviser is expected to be available to advisees during regular office hours, stay informed on current policies and procedures, have knowledge of major and degree program requirements as well as career options for students with a major in the academic unit, be familiar with available student services, and refer students to the appropriate office when necessary. The same expectations exist for faculty advising students within a minor program of study.

III.A.14. Office Hours

Each faculty member is responsible for being accessible and responsive to students, including maintaining office hours as scheduled in accordance with the policies of the academic unit. See Section III.A.2.b.(13). These hours should be staggered from day to day to accommodate students and other faculty members. A schedule of office hours shall be posted and carefully followed to avoid confusing and discouraging students who may desire conferences. Each full time faculty member shall post regular office hours and should be available during other hours by appointment.

III.A.15. Course Instructional Materials

Faculty members are required to use James Madison University's copyright permission service in order to make copies of copyrighted materials. See Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1507, Academic Coursepack Service.

III.A.16. Syllabi

Faculty members are required to have a syllabus for each course. According to the guidelines issued by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, each syllabus must contain the goals and requirements of the course, the nature of the course content, and the methods of evaluation to be employed. Additionally, the university requires that each syllabus contain other provisions. These are listed on the university's website containing syllabus requirements. A syllabus may contain a link to the university's common policies regarding some of these required provisions (http://www.jmu.edu/syllabus/). Faculty members must place each syllabus on file with the appropriate academic unit by the end of the first week of the semester. The university requires that each syllabus contain an attendance policy. The attendance policy must state any mandatory, unrepeatable components of the course, and the expected procedure for requesting and obtaining approval for scheduled absences. Faculty shall give reasonable and appropriate accommodation to students relating to religious observances and disabilities and shall make reasonable adjustments for students who are called to military service or jury duty, who are ill, have family emergencies, or serve as duly authorized representatives of the university at some event. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to determine whether or not an adjustment is reasonable for the course.

III.A.17. Ordering Textbooks

The university bookstore is the official textbook site for the university. All faculty members are required to furnish textbook adoption orders to the JMU Bookstore textbook manager. For details and deadlines, see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 2110, Ordering Textbooks. Additionally, faculty members are prohibited from receiving any payment or other things of value for requiring students to purchase a specific textbook, except as specified in the policy.

III.A.18. Final Examinations

Instructors are expected to make use of all assigned instructional time, including the assigned final exam period, for each course. Instructors may not reduce the intended period of instruction by allowing students to complete their last exam or evaluated course product prior to final exam week. Instructors may not allow individual students to opt-out of the final exam or evaluated course product, except as provided in III.A.2.b.(17), III.A.2.b.(18) and III.A.2.b.(19). Courses that appropriately end with an end-of-semester evaluation must, during final exam week, conduct exams or require submission of final evaluated course products. Final exams must be conducted at the times designated by the university registrar. Any deviation from this policy requires prior written approval of the AUH. Changes to the regular exam schedule, including common exams, must be added to the official roster of finals by the Registrar's Office. In the case of conflicting exam times, the published exam schedule must take precedence.

III.A.19. Participation in Meetings

A new faculty member is required to participate in new faculty orientation. During the contract period, a faculty member is required to attend faculty meetings and to meet with his or her academic unit head, supervisor and other supervisory officials at their request. Each faculty member is expected to have access to academic regalia and to participate in academic processions at convocations, including commencements.

III.A.20. Absences

It is a faculty member’s responsibility to fulfill his or her assigned responsibilities, including the teaching of courses as they are described in the syllabus. If a faculty member will not be able to conduct a scheduled class or instructional activity for any reason, the faculty member is responsible for seeing that the objectives of the class or activity are satisfied, and for consulting with the AUH as early as possible concerning these arrangements. If a faculty member will be absent from any other scheduled responsibility, the faculty member is responsible for consulting with the AUH as early as possible concerning other arrangements. See Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1338, Faculty Leave.

III.A.21. Disability Accommodations

The university will consider requests for reasonable accommodations to enable faculty members who are qualified individuals with documented disabilities to perform their jobs. See Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1331, Disabilities & Reasonable Accommodations.

III.A.22. Religious Accommodations

The university will consider requests for reasonable accommodations to enable faculty members who need accommodations for religious practices, provided those accommodations will allow them to perform their jobs. A faculty member who cannot perform his or her job even with reasonable accommodations is not entitled to continued employment.

A faculty member is responsible for informing either his or her supervisor or the Office of Equal Opportunity of the need for accommodations for a religious practice. The faculty member is also responsible for providing appropriate documentation for the religious practice as required by law, and for cooperating with the university in attempting to reach an agreement on a reasonable accommodation.

III.A.23. Workplace Hazards

Faculty members must comply with safety instructions and procedures posted in each work, area; report unsafe conditions or acts to their supervisors; follow all instructions and procedures on the operation of equipment, machines, and vehicles; refrain from any unsafe act that might endanger himself, herself or others; dress properly for specific work assignments and use protective equipment correctly, and report immediately to his/her supervisor all accidents and/or injuries. For details see the Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 3108, Health and Safety.

III.A.24. Use of University Property

University property, including equipment and supplies, shall only be used for academic and professional purposes, not for personal or private purposes. For specific guidance on policyrelated issues, please refer to the Manual of Policies and Procedures: Policy 1506, Use of University Property; Policy 1505, Use of University Owned Telephones and Services by University Employees; Policy 1207, Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources; and Policy 1201, Information Technology Resource Management. The appropriate vice president or division head will address any violation of these policies by a faculty member. In cases of violations, faculty members may be sanctioned for misconduct in accordance with Faculty Handbook, Section III.A.25.

III.A.25. Faculty Misconduct and Sanctions

III.A.25.a. Faculty Misconduct
A faculty member who engages in conduct incompatible with the responsibilities of faculty membership as provided in this handbook or elsewhere in the written policies and practices of the university may be subject to sanctions, up to and including dismissal. Faculty misconduct can take many forms, including but not limited to the following:

  • Academic dishonesty
  • Violation of academic or professional ethics
  • Incompetence
  • Disregard or failure to fulfill academic responsibilities
  • Moral turpitude
  • Harassment
  • Felonious criminal act

III.A.25.b. Complaints
Any person who believes in good faith that an instructional faculty member is engaging in or has engaged in misconduct should report the matter to that faculty member's AUH or the appropriate higher-level supervisor. For procedures on misconduct by an A&P faculty member, see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1335, Terms & Conditions of Employment for Administrative and Professional Faculty. However, if an A&P faculty member is tenured, removal of tenure and/or dismissal from the university may be assessed as a sanction for misconduct by following this process.

An informal complaint against a faculty member may be delivered orally, leaving further action to the discretion of the AUH or higher-level supervisor. An official complaint requires a written submission to the faculty member's AUH or higher-level supervisor. The person receiving an official complaint shall ensure that a written acknowledgement is sent to the complainant. However, the complainant has no right to information about the outcome of the complaint. A higher-level supervisor who receives a complaint shall send the official complaint to the AUH for initial processing unless there is a reason to do otherwise. Informal allegations of misconduct shall be reported by the AUH to the dean. Formal allegations of misconduct will be reported by the AUH to the dean, who shall report the allegations to the provost.

III.A.25.c. Mediation
If in the opinion of the AUH the complaint is an appropriate subject of mediation between the person bringing the complaint and the faculty member against whom the complaint is filed, the AUH may recommend mediation of the matter under Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1404, Mediation. If the parties successfully mediate a resolution of the complaint, the final mediated agreement must be shared with the AUH.

The successful mediation of a complaint does not obligate the AUH, the dean or the provost to stop an inquiry, a hearing, or the imposition of a sanction.

III.A.25.d. Withdrawal
A complaint may be withdrawn at any time, but the decision of the complainant to withdraw the complaint will not obligate the AUH, the dean or the provost to stop an inquiry, a hearing, or the imposition of a sanction.

III.A.25.e. Specific Procedures
Where specific procedures for filing complaints about specific types of misconduct exist elsewhere in the Faculty Handbook or in any other university, state or federal law or policy, those procedures shall be followed instead of the general procedures outlined here. If a specific procedure results in a determination that a faculty member has engaged in misconduct, but the procedure does not provide for administrative sanctions to be imposed, this procedure may be used to determine the appropriate administrative sanction for the misconduct.

Allegations of criminal activity committed by a faculty member should be reported directly to the James Madison University police department.

For harassment or discrimination complaints of any kind, see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1324. Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedures.

For research or scholarly misconduct complaints, see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 2205, Misconduct in Research and Other Scholarly Work.

Allegations of fraud involving university property or resources committed by a faculty member should be reported directly to the James Madison University Internal Audit staff. See Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1603, Reporting of Suspected Fraudulent Transactions.

III.A.25.f. Removal
If the provost determines that the reported misconduct or the faculty member poses an immediate impediment or threat to the proper administration and operation of the university, the faculty member may be immediately placed on administrative leave and removed from all duties at the university, while a final decision on the allegation of misconduct is reached. In this event, the faculty member shall be notified of the reason for the removal and given an opportunity to respond before the removal is effective. Such notice and opportunity for a response should normally be delivered in person. However, where such a meeting is not, in the opinion of the provost, reasonable or possible, the failure to meet in person with the employee will not invalidate the decision. A hearing on the misconduct under Faculty Handbook, Section III.A.25. shall be available to the faculty member after the removal. If the faculty member does not notify the dean within five days of removal of his or her decision to exercise the option to have this hearing, the faculty member's dismissal will become final.

III.A.25.g. Effect of Complaint on Tenure or Promotion Review
If a charge of misconduct is brought against a faculty member who is undergoing review for promotion or tenure, the process for promotion or tenure review shall be suspended pending a final decision on the misconduct charge. A determination of misconduct is relevant in a promotion or tenure review.

III.A.25.h. Inquiry
For a formal or informal complaint, if the AUH determines that an allegation of misconduct does not merit a formal inquiry, he or she shall discuss the allegation with the faculty member in question and may take action he or she deems appropriate, limited to a reprimand or removal of specific privileges. An AUH may accept a resignation from a faculty member in this situation.

If this informal method of handling the complaint appears to the AUH to be effective and sufficient to address the issue, the AUH shall file a report with the dean concerning the complaint and the action taken by the AUH. A copy of the report shall be sent to the faculty member and a copy shall be placed in the faculty member's personnel file. If the faculty member disputes the report, he or she may place an accompanying response into the file. If the faculty member disagrees with the action taken by the AUH, he or she may file a written request within five days of receiving the report, asking the dean to reverse the action taken by the AUH. The dean shall send the faculty member a written decision within five days of receiving the request, and may uphold the AUH's actions, reverse the AUH's actions, or determine that a hearing is appropriate. If the faculty member disagrees with the dean's decision on the matter, he or she may file a written request within five days of receiving the dean's decision, and may ask the dean for a hearing.

If the AUH determines that the allegation of misconduct merits a formal inquiry, the AUH shall send a written request for a formal inquiry to the appropriate dean, with copies to the provost and the faculty member. This request shall detail the issues in question, provide a summary of the supervisor's meeting with the faculty member, if any, and state why the AUH believes that a formal inquiry is warranted.

In any event, the dean may independently determine that a hearing is appropriate, regardless of the AUH's recommendation in the report or the faculty member's agreement with the actions taken by the AUH.

If the faculty member's supervisor is a dean or higher-level administrator, the process shall be altered to affect the appropriate administrative review.

III.A.25.i. Hearing
If the dean determines that a hearing is not warranted, he or she shall notify the AUH and the faculty member of that decision in writing, with a copy to the provost. If the faculty member wishes to have a hearing after the dean has determined that a hearing is not warranted, the faculty member may send a written request for a hearing to the provost within five days of receiving the notice that no hearing will be held. If the provost determines that a hearing should be held, the dean will convene a hearing. Otherwise, the decision of the dean to forego a hearing is final.

If a hearing is held, it shall be held within 30 days of the request for a formal inquiry by the AUH, or otherwise within 30 days of the dean's or provost's decision to hold a hearing. The dean shall convene a formal hearing into the matter by the standing committee of the college designated by the college to hear such matters. Procedures for that hearing shall be determined by the college but shall always include the right of the faculty member to know the proof of the alleged misconduct, the right to present arguments and evidence on his or her own behalf, the right to have the advice of counsel (although not necessarily the right to have counsel attend the hearing), and the right to a timely decision on the matter. The AUH or his or her designee shall have the burden of establishing that the faculty member engaged in misconduct. Following the hearing the college committee shall prepare a written summary of findings, including a recommendation by majority vote of those members hearing the matter regarding any proposed sanctions. This report shall be submitted to the provost, with copies to the dean, the faculty member and the AUH. Within five days from receipt of the college committee's report, the dean shall send any recommendations on the matter he or she determines are appropriate to the provost, with copies to the college committee, the AUH and the faculty member.

III.A.25.j. Sanctions
Sanctions for misconduct may include, but are not limited to, a reprimand, oral or written, private or public; a period of suspension without pay; a reduction in salary; a reduction in rank; removal of specific privileges; or dismissal.

III.A.25.k. Decision
Within five days of receipt of the dean's recommendations concerning the committee's report, the provost shall send a written statement of the decision, including a rationale, to the faculty member, with copies to the AUH, the dean and the college committee.

If the decision of the provost indicates that no sanction is to be imposed, the matter is closed. If the decision of the provost indicates that a sanction is to be imposed, detailed grounds for the sanction shall be included. If the indicated sanction is dismissal, the notification shall also include the effective date of the dismissal. In the absence of a timely written appeal by the faculty member, the decision of the provost is final, and the sanction is effective on the date specified by the provost.

III.A.25.l. Appeal
All appeals shall be in writing. A faculty member has 30 days from receipt of a written notice of sanctions from the provost to submit a written appeal to the Faculty Appeals Committee. The written appeal shall set forth the grounds for the appeal and a summary of the arguments and documentary evidence the faculty member intends to present at a hearing. Upon receipt of an appeal, the chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee shall promptly send an acknowledgment of receipt of the appeal to the faculty member, and shall notify the president, provost, the dean and the AUH. If an appeal is filed, the provost shall appoint a respondent to represent the administration in the appeal process.

III.A.25.m. Faculty Appeals Committee
The Faculty Appeals Committee shall determine if a hearing is warranted. See Faculty Handbook, Section III.L.2.b. Grounds for appealing a sanction for misconduct are limited to failure by the university to follow its procedures, lack of a legitimate basis for the sanction to be imposed or imposition of an unreasonable sanction.

  • If the Faculty Appeals Committee determines that a hearing should be granted, the procedures in Faculty Handbook, Section III.L.2.c. shall apply. In the hearing, the petitioner shall have the burden of establishing that the procedures were not followed, that there was no legitimate basis for the sanction to be imposed or that the sanction is not reasonable.
  • If the Faculty Appeals Committee determines that a hearing shall not be granted, the faculty member, the respondent, the speaker, the provost and the president shall be notified that the appeal has been denied. If the appeal is denied by the Faculty Appeals Committee, the decision of the provost becomes final, effective on the date of the notice of denial by the Faculty Appeals Committee.

III.A.25.n. Confidentiality
All persons performing responsibilities under Faculty Handbook, Section III.A.25. shall respect and maintain the strict confidentiality of all relevant documents and deliberations.