NOTE: The information contained in this section of the handbook is only applicable for those participating in the Accountability Process. For cases alleging Sexual Misconduct, see the “Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process” section within this Handbook.

If found responsible, students have the right to submit a written appeal of the decision or recommendation rendered at an Accountability Board Case Review within four days of the date the Accountability Board Case Review occurred based on an alleged violation of procedural standards or new evidence. If an appeal is submitted, it must be submitted directly by the Responding Party. Appeals from a Responding Party on grounds of an alleged violation(s) of procedural standards must outline how the university failed to follow the stated process for the adjudication of the alleged policy violation(s) and how that affected the recommendation. Appeals from a Responding Party on grounds of new evidence must introduce evidence that was not available or accessible to the Responding Party at the time of the Accountability Board Case Review or only relevant to refute information shared for the first time at the Accountability Board Case Review. The Associate Dean of Students or designee will evaluate the submitted appeal and determine if an Appeal Review will be granted; appeals that do not meet these criteria will be denied. 

If an appeal is submitted by the Responding Party and the appeal is denied, the decision rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review will be considered final when the sanctions imposed at the Accountability Board Case Review do not include suspension or expulsion. 

If the recommendation rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review includes a sanction of suspension or expulsion and a Responding Party was denied an Appeal Review in the case, the Dean of Students or designee shall conduct a final review of all materials relevant to the case and make a final decision. Further, if an Appeal Review is granted and the Appeal Board’s recommendation includes a sanction of suspension or expulsion, the Dean of Students or designee shall conduct a final review of all materials relevant to the case and make a final decision. In this final review and decision, for any policies and sanctions included in the recommendation the Dean of Students or designee may:

  • Uphold a recommendation of finding the Responding Party responsible for violating policy and uphold the recommended sanctions. 

  • Uphold a recommendation of finding the Responding Party responsible for violating policy and decrease the severity of the sanctions. 

  • Reverse a recommendation of finding the Responding Party responsible for violating policy, instead finding the Responding Party not responsible for violating policy and assigning no sanctions. 

  • Reduce the recommendation of the Board. 

  • Order the case to be reheard at a new Accountability Board Case Review or Appeal Review. If the Dean of Students or designee determines the case should be reheard at a new Accountability Board Case Review or Appeal Review, the new recommendations of responsibility and/or sanctions from the rehearing may be less severe, the same, or more severe than those recommended at the original Accountability Board Case Review.

After the review by the Dean of Students or designee, OSARP will notify the Responding Party of the Dean of Students or designee’s final decision.

If the appeal is submitted by the Responding Party and the appeal is granted, the Appeal Board will be composed of one student and one faculty or staff member of the Accountability Board. In addition to being a voting member, the faculty or staff member will also serve as the Board Chair. If an Accountability Board Case Review was conducted by a single University Case Administrator as outlined in the Accountability Process, the Appeal Review will be conducted by a single University Case Administrator. Further, if an appeal is granted in the final three weeks of the semester, during the summer session, or during a university break, the Appeal Review will proceed and be conducted by a single University Case Administrator. 

If any member of Appeal Board feels that their previous contact with the case or the students involved will them from rendering a fair decision, the Board Member must request that they not be assigned to the Appeal Review. Responding Parties and Reporting Parties, as applicable, will be informed of the Board Members assigned to the Appeal Review. Upon receiving notification of the assigned Board Members, a Responding Party or Reporting Party may request that a Board Member be replaced if they can show a bias on the part of the Board Member. To make such a request, a Responding Party or Reporting Party must contact the Director of OSARP or designee immediately, setting forth their reasons in writing. The Director of OSARP or designee will review all requests. Any decision to remove a Board member and/or to postpone an Accountability Board Appeal Review is at the discretion of the Director of OSARP or designee. 

Anticipated timelines, deadlines, restrictions, or procedures listed within the Accountability Process will not be altered except in necessary or extreme circumstances in order to uphold the intent of the Accountability Process, as determined by the Director of OSARP or designee. Any requests for alterations must be communicated to the Director of OSARP or designee as soon as practicable. 

Appeal Boards will review the written documentation, other items submitted as evidence to the case, the information provided by those in attendance at the Accountability Board Case Review, the written appeal, and the recording of the Accountability Board Case Review. 

If an appeal is submitted by the Responding Party and an Appeal Review is granted by the Associate Dean of Students or designee based on an alleged violation(s) of procedural standards, either in its entirety or with appropriate redactions, the Appeal Review will generally proceed in accordance with the procedure below. A Responding Party does not attend or participate in an Appeal Review granted solely based on an alleged violation of procedural standards. 

  1. The Appeal Board will determine whether or not a violation(s) of procedural standards occurred by considering the arguments made in the granted appeal. The Appeal Board will also have access to the case record and may consider the evidence within the record. 

    • If the Appeal Board determines that no violation of procedural standards occurred, the decision or recommendation rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review will stand. 

  2. If the Appeal Board determines that a violation(s) of procedural standards occurred, the Appeal Board will then determine if the violation of procedural standards can reasonably be said to have materially affected the interests of the Responding Party. 

    • If the Appeal Board determines that the violation(s) of procedural standards cannot reasonably be said to have materially affected the interests of the Responding Party, the decision or recommendation rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review will stand. 

    • If the Appeal Board determines that the violation(s) of procedural standards can reasonably be said to have materially affected the interests of the Responding Party, the Appeal Board will order that a new Accountability Board Case Review be conducted to render a decision or recommendation for the case.

The determinations, decisions, or recommendations rendered at an Appeal Review granted on the grounds of an alleged violation(s) of procedural standards are determined by a unanimous vote of the Appeal Board Members. In cases of a tie vote, the Board will order that a new Accountability Board Case Review be conducted to render a decision or recommendation for the case. 

If an appeal is submitted by the Responding Party and an Appeal Review is granted by the Associate Dean of Students based on new evidence, either in its entirety or with appropriate redactions, the Responding Party may choose to present the new evidence or provide a statement in person to the Board and may choose to have the witness(es) relevant to the new evidence present to the Board. In such circumstances, the Appeal Review will be arranged around the Responding Party's academic schedule and their participation will be audio and/or video recorded; deliberation of the Board will not be recorded. Students are not permitted to make their own recordings of Appeal Reviews.

In Appeal Reviews based on new evidence where the Responding Party chooses to present to the Appeal Board, the Responding Party has a right to a Support Person if OSARP is notified at least two days before the Appeal Review, provided that person is willing and able to attend the scheduled Appeal Review. A Support Person must be a current student, faculty or staff member selected from the university community or an Attorney. A Support Person attending an Appeal Board Case Review may not communicate for or speak on behalf of the Responding Party but may give advice to the student on how to present their case. 

An Appeal Review based on new evidence will generally proceed in accordance with the procedure below: 

  1. The Board members (or University Case Administrator, as applicable) and participants are introduced. 

  2. If the Responding Party is in attendance, information is presented by the Responding Party solely about the new evidence in the case. The Board Members may question the Responding Party about the new evidence. 

  3. If applicable, the Responding Party’s Witnesses will be called individually. 

    • Each witness called will individually share their statement on the new evidence and be questioned by the Responding Party, if the Responding Party is in attendance, followed by questions from the members of the Board. 

    • A Support Person for the Responding Party may not also serve as a witness at the Appeal Review. 

    • At the conclusion of the statement and questions for each witness, the witness will leave. 

  4. If the Responding Party is in attendance, the Board members may ask final questions of the Responding Party. 

  5. The Responding Party and Support Person will leave; the Board will enter closed deliberation.

  6. The Appeal Board will deliberate and make a decision or recommendation using the procedures below:

    • The Appeal Board will consider the totality of the evidence in the case file, presented at the Accountability Board Case Review, in the granted appeal, and information presented during the Appeal Review and determine if the decision or recommendation rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review should stand or if the findings on policy and/or sanctions rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review should be altered.

      • If in considering the totality of the evidence the Appeal Board determines that the findings on policy rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review should be altered, the Appeal Board will vote to determine their findings on whether or not the Responding Party is responsible for violating policy. In cases of a tie vote regarding responsibility, the student will be found not responsible. 

      • If in considering the totality of the evidence the Appeal Board determines that the sanctions assigned or recommended at the Accountability Board Case Review should be altered, the Appeal Board will vote to determine the sanctions to assign or recommend. In cases of a tie vote regarding sanctioning, the student will receive the lesser of the sanctioning options (e.g. if one Board Member votes for suspension and one Board Member votes for probation and educational sanctions, the student will receive probation and educational sanctions).

    • When the sanctions upheld or rendered by the Appeal Board do not include suspension or expulsion, the Appeal Board’s rendered sanctions will be the final decision in the case. If the Appeal Board upholds or recommends a suspension or expulsion, the Dean of Students or designee will conduct a final review of the recommendation and make the final decision in the case.

If an Appeal Board upholds the decision or recommendation of responsibility and chooses to alter the sanctions imposed, the Appeal Board may not impose or recommend sanctions more severe than imposed at the Accountability Board Case Review. 

If an appeal is granted by the Associate Dean of Students based on both grounds of an alleged violation of procedural standards and new evidence, either in its entirety or with appropriate redactions, OSARP will schedule an Appeal Review that will first evaluate the portions of the granted appeal alleging a violation of procedural standards, proceeding as outlined in the JMU Student Handbook. If the Appeal Board orders a new Accountability Board Case Review be conducted based on the violation of procedural standards portion of the granted appeal, a review of the portions of the granted appeal related to new evidence will not be held; the Responding Party will have the opportunity to share that evidence at the new Accountability Board Case Review. If the Board does not order a new Accountability Board Case Review be conducted based on the violation of procedural standards portion of the granted appeal, the Appeal Board will then evaluate the new evidence portion of the granted appeal, proceeding as outlined in the JMU Student Handbook.


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