Appeal Process

5.1 The student who has a sustained charge (s) may appeal the Judicial Hearing Officer’s decision by filing a written Petition to Appeal with the Dean of Students within five (5) working days following the notification of the disciplinary sanction.  Students who sustain a charge (s) of Sexual Misconduct may file their Petition to Appeal with the Office of Academic Affairs. Failure to request an appeal in a timely manner or failure to appear at the appeal hearing without prior authorization or continuance constitutes a waiver of appeal.   The disciplinary sanction shall be implemented when the student has waived the option to appear or when the appeal process has expired.   In the event the position of Dean of Students is vacant or a conflict arises, the appeal shall be forwarded to the Vice President of Academic Affairs who will exercise the responsibilities of the Dean of Students in the Appeals process (or appoint another to act in the Vice President’s stead).  The Dean of Students shall review the Petition and determine whether a meritorious ground for the Appeal exists.  If a determination is made that petition does not state the appropriate grounds, the Petition shall be denied and the Judicial Hearing Officer’s decision shall be final. All ordered sanctions shall be implemented.   If appropriate grounds are set forth in the Petition, the Dean of Students shall convene an appeals committee of 3 to 7 persons to hear the appeal.   All members of the appeals panel hearing appeals involving a violation of the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy shall be trained annually on adjudicating such matters.

5.2 The student shall submit the Petition for Appeal and an accompanying statement specifying the grounds for the appeal and setting forth in detail the facts upon which the appeal is based. Appeals are not meant to be a rehearing of the case but a review of the disciplinary proceedings.     The burden of proof shifts to the sanctioned student in the appeals process.  The student is responsible for setting forth in the petition any or all grounds for appeal; for submitting with the application for appeal any and all applicable documents to support the validity of the merits for the appeal. The burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence.   The issues to be reviewed on appeal shall be limited to whether:

A.  There was a procedural error which substantially affected the outcome of the hearing;

B.  There was no evidence in the record which supported the finding that the violation of the Student Code of Conduct occurred;

C.  There is new or newly discovered evidence which may substantially affect the outcome of the hearing which was not known at the time of the hearing; or

D.  The imposed sanction was excessively severe for the committed violation.

Petitions which do not constitute grounds for appeals are when a student:

  1. Claims a Charge and/or Notification Letter was not received when sent to the last known address and/or email on University records;
  2. Never received advanced notice of a Formal Judicial Hearing Letter sent to the last known address and/or email on University records;
  3. Never received a Notice of Disciplinary Action Letter sent to the last known address  and/or email on University records;
  4. Was not able to explain his/her position when the record reflects the student was disruptive in the Judicial Hearing and was requested to remain civil or to refrain from being repetitive;
  5. Failed to adhere to the University’s protocols during the judicial hearing;
  6. Failed to file an appeal petition within the requisite time;
  7. Failed to submit a letter that justified the grounds for the appeal petition;
  8. Failed to appear at a scheduled Appeal Session as notified and did not request a continuance;
  9. The appeal was dismissed because the student failed to appear at the scheduled hearing;
  10. Failed to present all evidence at the original hearing, failed to provide additional testimony of witnesses who were present when the alleged incident occurred at the original hearing (all witness providing testimony must have first-hand knowledge of the incident),
  11. Failed to provide supporting documentation to substantiate the sanctioned student’s arguments either at the original hearing or at the Appeals Session before the Appeals Committee;
  12. Admitted responsibility for any/all violations assessed under the Student Conduct Cone, Housing and Residence Hall Rules or any other applicable policy pertaining to regulation of student misconduct;
  13. Claims of discrimination to dispute a hearing outcome when the record does not evidence discrimination occurred;
  14. Claims of violation of rights because the student’s advisor was asked to leave the hearing for being unruly or actively participating in the hearing.
  15. Claims of double-jeopardy when the sanctioned student faced “criminal” charges within state, federal or municipal court systems concurrent with the University proceedings which is designed to ascertain whether the student’s conduct violated the University’s Code of Conduct and/or educational mission;
  16. Deviated from designated University regulations during the Judicial proceedings, or failed to conduct oneself in a civil manner during either the original hearing or the appeal; and
  17. Disagree with the University’s judicial system, expectations of conduct, final disposition or any/all imposed conditions of sanctions.

5.3 The Appeals Committee shall consider the record of the hearing together with any written material in the file.  In instances where the appeal is based on the excessive severity of the sanction for the committed violation, the Appeals Committee may also consider any prior judicial contact that the sanctioned student has had.   Decisions are rendered by majority vote of the Committee hearing the appeal and all evidence shall be judged by the Preponderance of the Evidence standard.

5.4       The Appeals Committee may modify or affirm the disciplinary sanction.

5.5       The Appeals Committee shall notify the involved parties in writing of the results of the appeal within ten working days of receipt of the appeal or as soon as is reasonable possible.

5.6       Each party shall have the right to one (1) appeal.

5.6       After the right to appeal is exhausted, the Appeals Committee’s decision shall be final.