A student/group found responsible through a hearing panel (“respondent”) and/or a complainant in a case involving harassment may appeal the hearing panel’s decision by submitting a written appeal statement within five business days of the date the hearing report is sent to the respondent (and complainant, as applicable). Appeals are limited to five pages (12-point font, 1-inch margins). The two grounds for appeal are:
- New information not reasonably available at the time of the hearing that is material to the hearing panel’s decision; and/or
- Procedural error(s) that materially impacted the hearing panel’s decision.
The appeal statement must identify the ground(s) for appeal. Note that an appeal is not a re-hearing of the case.
The composition of the Appellate Board includes members of the university community appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs. The chair of the Appellate Board or the chair’s designee is responsible for selecting three-person panels from membership of the Appellate Board to consider appeals.
If, by majority vote, the appellate panel determines that a ground of appeal is substantiated, the panel will return the case to the Office of Student Conduct. Otherwise, the decision of the hearing panel stands. When a case is returned to the Office of Student Conduct, the Office of Student Conduct may decide to drop the case (e.g., based on insufficient information to believe that a policy violation may have occurred), send the case to the original hearing panel for reconsideration, send the case to a new hearing panel with the same or different charges, and/or (re)implement any aspect of the disciplinary process. A different decision (i.e., the decision of responsibility and/or sanctions) may subsequently result.
The Appellate Board’s role is limited to reviewing the hearing panel record, the appealing party’s (“appellant”) written appeal statement, any response to that statement by the other party (“appellee”) as applicable, and information presented at a meeting of the Appellate Board, if convened.
The appellate panel will typically notify the parties of its decision regarding an appeal in writing within 20 business days from receipt of the appeal statement. If the decision will take longer, the chair will inform the parties.
The following procedures guide the Appellate Board process:
- Appeal Statement. The written hearing report will include instructions for submitting an appeal. The chair may summarily deny an appeal if it is not based on one or both grounds of appeal.
- Composition of Panel. If the appeal is not summarily denied by the chair, the chair will convene a three-person panel and notify the appellant and appellee of the names of the panel members. When possible, the chair will select at least one Appellate Board member from the school community of the respondent (and/or complainant, if applicable). The appellant and/or appellee may challenge the participation of an appellate panelist because of perceived conflict of interest, bias, or prejudice. Such challenges, including rationale, must be submitted in writing to the chair no later than 24 hours after notification of the names of the appellate panel members. The chair will determine whether such a conflict of interest exists and whether a panelist should be replaced.
- Response to Appeal By Appellee (In Cases Involving Harassment). The chair will provide written notice to the appellee that an appeal has been submitted and will give the appellee an opportunity to review the appeal statement. The appellee may submit a written response to the appeal (“response”). The response is due five business days from the date the chair provides written notice of the appeal to the appellee and is limited to five pages (12-point font, 1-inch margins). The chair will provide the appellant an opportunity to review the response, though no additional opportunity to respond in writing will be provided to the appellant.
- Exceptions. The appellant (and appellee as applicable) may submit to the chair requests for exceptions to page limits or deadlines. Exceptions must be requested in advance of any deadline by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with justification for such request(s). If either party fails to meet a deadline or exceeds page limits without receiving an exception, the chair has the discretion to summarily reject an appeal or the appellate panel may disregard the response.
- Meetings. On its own or at the request of the appellant (or appellee, if applicable), the appellate panel may convene a meeting to give the party(ies) an opportunity to amplify the reason(s) for the appeal or the response. (A complainant or respondent in a case arising under the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy may bring an advisor of his/her choice to the meeting with the appellate panel. In such case, the advisor’s role is limited to quietly conferring with the complainant or respondent through written correspondence or whisper, and may not address the appellate panel.) In the event an appeal alleges a procedural error, the appellate panel may request that (a) staff member(s) in the Office of Student Conduct, the Office for Institutional Equity, and/or member(s) of the hearing panel attend the meeting to gather more information about the alleged procedural error.
- Written Decision. The Appellate Board will provide written notification of the final decision to the appellant (and appellee, if applicable, at approximately the same time).