III. Faculty Employment Policies and Procedures
III.L. Faculty Appeals Committee
III.L.1.a Faculty Appeals Committee
The Faculty Appeals Committee is a standing committee of the Faculty Senate that is responsible for providing a means for an instructional faculty member to appeal decisions on certain specific matters to a committee of his or her peers. The Faculty Appeals Committee receives an instructional faculty member's appeal, determines whether a hearing will be held, and if so, selects a Hearing Committee. For information concerning the makeup and appointment of the Faculty Appeals Committee, see the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate, Article IV, Section 10. Appeals should be sent to the chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee. The faculty member holding the position of chair is designated on the Faculty Senate committees' home page. The Faculty Appeals Committee is not a general grievance body and it shall consider only those matters specified in the Faculty Handbook as appealable to the Faculty Appeals Committee. A&P faculty members do not have access to the Faculty Appeals Committee except in matters concerning promotion and/or tenure denials, as specified in the Faculty Handbook sections on those matters.
III.L.1.2.b. Hearing Committee
At the time senate committee assignments are made, the Faculty Appeals Committee will select 24 names at random from all tenured full-time teaching and research faculty, excluding academic unit heads, to form the Hearing Committee pool. In the initial selection, the first eight people chosen will serve for one year, the next eight for two years, and the final eight, three years. Thereafter, eight persons will be selected each year to three-year terms. Members who have served in the Hearing Committee pool will be exempt from selection for the three years immediately following their terms. Members of the Hearing Committee who leave the university or can no longer serve, will be replaced by members from a pool selected each year. Those new appointments will serve out the time of the member they are replacing.
III.L.2.a. Submission of an Appeal
A faculty member filing an appeal shall submit a written request to the chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee for a hearing, containing a description of the appealed action, a statement of the grounds for the appeal, and a summary of the arguments and evidence he or she intends to present at a hearing. Evidence in the form of documents that the faculty member intends to rely upon shall be attached to the request for a hearing, submitted to the Faculty Appeals Committee, and may include but are not limited to the faculty member's personnel records, recommendations from the AUPAC, AUH or dean, and any other records appropriate to provide substantiation of the faculty member's arguments. A faculty member may withdraw an appeal from consideration at any time prior to the final appeal decision by the President.
III.L.2.b.(1) The personnel action addressed in the appeal must be a personnel action specified as appealable to the Faculty Appeals Committee by the Faculty Handbook. If not, the faculty member shall be notified that his or her appeal has been denied.
III.L.2.b.(2) The appeal must be filed in a timely manner. If the faculty member did not file by the deadline imposed by policy, the faculty member shall be notified that his or her appeal has been denied.
III.L.2.b.(3) The grounds stated for the appeal must be appropriate for the specific type of personnel action for the Faculty Appeals Committee to consider, under the terms of the Faculty Handbook. If not, the faculty member shall be notified that his or her appeal has been denied.
III.L.2.b.(4) The faculty member must present substantiation with the appeal sufficient to warrant a hearing. If he or she does not, the faculty member shall be notified that his or her appeal has been denied. A hearing is not warranted if, viewing the evidence disclosed by the request for a hearing in the light favoring the faculty member, the relief sought bythe faculty member is not supported by the case he or she presents. If the Faculty Appeals Committee determines that the personnel matter presented is appealable, the appeal is timely and the grounds stated are appropriate for the type of personnel matter, it will then decide by simple majority vote of the membership if a hearing is warranted as outlined in this section. If the Faculty Appeals Committee votes against sending the appeal to a hearing, it will notify the faculty member, provost, speaker, dean and AUH that the appeal has been denied.
III.L.2.b(5) If the Faculty Appeals Committee votes to send the appeal to a hearing, the Faculty Appeals Committee shall select a Hearing Committee consisting of five faculty members from the Hearing Committee pool to hear the appeal. All materials on the appeal received by the Faculty Appeals Committee shall be sent by the Faculty Appeals Committee to the Hearing Committee.
III.L.2.c.(1) Once the Hearing Committee has elected its chair, the chair shall contact the faculty member and the respondent. The chair shall provide the respondent with a copy of the appeal and all documentation submitted by the faculty member to the Hearing Committee.
III.L.2.c.(2) The respondent shall have 30 days to respond to the appeal, providing a statement of the arguments to be presented. Along with the written response to the appeal, the respondent shall submit appropriate materials for consideration by the Hearing Committee demonstrating substantiation of the grounds and arguments in the response. This may include, but is not limited to, the faculty member's personnel records, recommendations from the AUPAC, AUH or dean, and any other records appropriate to provide substantiation of the respondent's arguments.
III.L.2.c.(3) The chair of the Hearing Committee shall set a date for the hearing after consultation with the faculty member and the respondent.
III.L.2.c.(4) Thirty calendar days shall be allowed for preparation prior to the hearing. The Hearing Committee, in consultation with the parties involved and for good cause shown, may adjust this period of time.
III.L.2.c.(5) The chair of the Hearing Committee shall set and enforce the procedural guidelines for the hearing. This may include, but is not limited to, determining the length of time necessary to conduct the hearing, the number and nature of witnesses, and the length of their testimony. The chair, in consultation with the parties involved, shall determine the time frame in which the hearing shall be conducted. The sequence of presentation of arguments and witnesses shall also be determined by the chair. Any person disruptive of the hearing may be ejected by the chair.
III.L.2.c.(6) The hearing is a formal peer review of a faculty member's appeal of an appealable action and not a judicial proceeding. Legal rules of evidence and procedure do not apply. A flaw in the procedures at any level, including the appeal procedures and the procedures relating to the personnel action from which the appeal is taken, shall not result in a recommendation to overturn a prior decision unless that flaw substantially harmed the faculty member. In the absence of new evidence or extraordinary circumstances, the hearing shall be limited in its scope to grounds cited in the faculty member's written request for a hearing and determined by the Faculty Appeals Committee to be appropriate for appeal.
III.L.2.c.(7) The faculty member and the respondent have the right to be present at the hearing, except during the deliberation, and to hear and examine the arguments and documentation presented. The faculty member may waive this right, in which case the hearing shall proceed with the respondent's case presented for review. After the decision to waive participation has been made, the proceedings will begin, and the faculty member has lost all rights to formal participation in the proceedings.
III.L.2.c.(8) Both the faculty member and the respondent have the right to present arguments and documentation and have witnesses testify on their behalf. The chair of the Hearing Committee may limit the number of witnesses who testify and the length of that testimony. Both parties have the right to question witnesses. The Hearing Committee may also question the witnesses. The chair of the Hearing Committee shall determine if the questions asked of the witnesses are pertinent to the case at hand. The Hearing Committee may request additional information and may call or question witnesses considered necessary to make reasonable findings and recommendations.
III.L.2.c.(9) When a witness cannot or will not appear, the Hearing Committee may allow the use of written statements or telephonic testimony.
III.L.2.c.(10) Both the faculty member and the respondent shall be expected to cooperate with the Hearing Committee in securing witnesses and in making available pertinent documentary and other evidence.
III.L.2.c.(11) The faculty member has the right to be accompanied and advised by his or her private legal counsel during the appeal at his or her own expense. If counsel is to be present at the hearing, the Hearing Committee must be given notice at least 10 days before the beginning of the hearing. If notice is not given within this time frame, the faculty member's counsel will not be allowed to attend. Upon receipt of any such notice, the Hearing Committee shall immediately notify the respondent. The role of legal counsel is to ensure that the faculty member has appropriate advice, not to act as an advocate for the faculty member. The chair of the Hearing Committee may otherwise limit, as deemed appropriate, counsel's involvement in the Hearing Committee process. If the faculty member is accompanied by legal counsel, the respondent may be accompanied by legal counsel. The Hearing Committee may in any event request legal counsel to advise the committee. Such a request shall be submitted by the Hearing Committee to the Legal Services Office.
III.L.2.c.(12) The hearing process shall be closed unless the faculty member requests in writing that the hearing be open.
III.L.2.c.(13) The hearing shall be audiotaped and/or transcribed, and copies of the tapes or transcription shall be available upon written request to the faculty member and the respondent.
III.L.2.c.(14) The files, including the original audiotape and/or transcript of the proceedings shall be secured within the Office of the provost and closed to protect the privacy of the parties involved. Access shall be available only to those members of the university who have a legitimate need or to others pursuant to a legal right of access.
III.L.2.c.(15) The Hearing Committee shall deliberate in closed session and shall make written findings and recommendations on the matter to the university's president. These shall be based solely on the hearing record, and the decision shall be made based on the greater weight of the arguments and evidence presented. The decision shall be by simple majority vote of the membership. Within 30 days following the vote, the Hearing Committee shall provide a report of its findings and recommendations. A dissenting member has the option of attaching a minority report. Findings shall set out the Hearing Committee's determination of the facts on appeal and its recommendations that support the action taken or recommend that the action be amended or vacated.
III.L.2.c.(16) The Hearing Committee shall deliver its report to the president, with copies to the faculty member, respondent, Faculty Appeals Committee, speaker, dean and Provost.
III.L.2.c.(17) Within 30 days from his or her receipt of the report of the Hearing Committee, the president shall send a written reply to the Hearing Committee, with copies to the faculty member, respondent, Faculty Appeals Committee and speaker. In this reply, the president shall respond to the report of the Hearing Committee and state his or her decision including reasons for the decision.
III.L.2.c.(18) The decision of the president will be final. The effective date of the personnel action shall be the date of the president's written decision, unless the president specifies otherwise.