Title IX- Appeals
An appeal is not intended to be a new investigation. In most cases, an appeal is confined to a review of the written documentation and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal. An appeal is not an opportunity to substitute judgment for that of the investigation team merely because of disagreement with the finding and/or recommended sanction. Appeal decisions are to be deferential to the investigative team for students, faculty, administration, or staff, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if there is a compelling justification to do so.
Disagreement with the finding or sanctions is not, by itself, grounds for an appeal. The ONLY grounds upon which an appeal may be made are:
- Procedural Error
- New Information
- Disproportionate Sanction(s)
Either party may appeal the investigative team’s decision regarding finding and/or recommended sanctions. The written appeal should be submitted to the Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within five (5) business days following the receipt date of the investigation report and finding letter. The non-appealing party will receive notice of the appeal from the Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and will have five (5) business days to submit a written response to the appeal to the Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
Appeal Committee Selection
The Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will assemble at least three (3) individuals from the trained pool of faculty, staff, and academic administrators who serve as Deputy Title IX Coordinators, responsible administrators, investigators, and/or members of the Grievance Panel to form an appeals committee to review the case and appeal statements, and determine if the grounds for the appeal are substantiated. Every effort is made to identify and mitigate potential conflicts or bias in selecting members of the appeal committee. Each party has the opportunity to identify potential conflicts. The review of an appeal typically occurs within ten (10) business days of notification of a contested finding and/or sanction.
In the event that the Respondent and Complainant differ in classification, the composition of the appeal committee will provide balanced representation for each party involved. For example, when the Respondent is a student and the Complainant is a faculty member, the appeal committee will have a balanced number of appeal committee members from faculty or Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.
In addition, for faculty and staff, each appeal committee may include one of the following trained administrators:
- If the Respondent is a faculty member: A Dean or the Assistant Provost and Director of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning.
- If the Respondent is a member of the administration or staff: the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, or the Director of Human Resource Services.
If a discrimination allegation relates to a Promotion and Tenure Committee action, including, but not exclusive to retention and tenure decisions, the appeals committee will consist of two (2) members appointed by the Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and additionally supplemented by representation of three (3) of the ten (10) members of the Grievance Panel as defined in the Faculty Handbook.
If the grounds for appeal are not substantiated, the appeal will be denied and the parties will be notified in writing, under the provisions of notification described above. If the appeal is substantiated, the appeal officers, in conjunction with the Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, will take appropriate action as indicated below.
- Procedural Error: If the appeals committee determines that a procedural error occurred that was substantially prejudicial to the outcome of the investigation, they will return the allegation to the Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion with instructions to reconvene the investigative team in order to cure the error. In rare cases, where the procedural error cannot be cured by the investigative team (as in cases of bias), the appeals committee may order a new investigation with a new investigation team. The results of a reconvened investigation cannot be appealed. The results of a new investigation can be appealed once, on the applicable grounds for appeals.
- New Information: If the appeals officers determine that new information should be considered, it will return the allegation to the original investigative team to reconsider the allegation in light of the new information only. The findings of the investigative team based on consideration of the new information are not appealable.
- Disproportionate Sanction(s): If the appeals officers determine that the sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation(s), the appeals committee may return the allegation to the Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion with instructions to review the sanctions in light of the appeals committee’s recommendations and make the appropriate changes to the sanctions.
All parties will be informed of the status of requests for appeal in a timely manner and will be informed of the outcome in the same manner in which the investigation outcome was shared.
Following the appeal process, the Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will evaluate whether there are additional remedies required for the Complainant or the community to eliminate a hostile environment and prevent its recurrence
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