Article V – Appeals
Section 1: Basis upon which an Appeal May Be Considered
Dissatisfaction with the outcome of a hearing is not grounds for appeal. An appeal may be made only for one or more of the following purposes:
- To determine whether the original hearing was conducted in conformity with the prescribed procedures of this Code. Minor deviations from designated procedures will not form the basis for sustaining an appeal unless it is determined that such deviation resulted in significant prejudice. For any substantial deviations from designated procedures, the appeals officer may, at his or her discretion, remand the matter for reconsideration.
- To present new evidence which could not reasonably be made available at the time of the original hearing. Such cases, at the discretion of the appeals officer, may be remanded back to the appropriate hearing format for reconsideration in light of new evidence.
- To determine whether the sanction imposed was appropriate to the violation with which the respondent student or student organization was charged.
Section 2: Appeal Procedures
A. The respondent student or student organization, or the complainant, may appeal any decision reached as a result of a Conduct Board or administrative hearing to the VPSA or their designee.
B. All appeals must be filed in writing within seven calendar days of receiving the written outcome. The appeal should consist of a plain, concise, and complete written statement outlining the grounds for appeal and all relevant information to substantiate the basis for the appeal.
C. Respondents should submit the appeal via the link found in their hearing results letter within seven calendar days of receiving the written outcome. Complainants should submit appeals directly to the student conduct officer within seven calendar days of receiving the written outcome. The student conduct officer will forward the appeal and the conduct file to the VPSA or their designee (except violations of Academic Misconduct). All appeals concerning violations of Article II, Section C1 (academic misconduct) shall be forwarded to the vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty.
D. The receipt of the appeal will be acknowledged in writing (which can include email). The appeals documents from each party will be considered together in one appeal review process. Both parties will have the opportunity to schedule a meeting with the appeal officer to discuss their written appeal. Such meeting will be limited to no more than forty-five minutes.
E. In any request for an appeal, the burden of proof lies with the party requesting the appeal, as the original determination and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. The VPSA or their designee shall first consider whether the appeal is timely filed and if so, whether the appeal is properly framed based on one or more of the three grounds listed in Section 1 above. If the VPSA or their designee determines that the appeal is not properly framed, the appeal will be denied.
F. If the appeal is based on procedural or substantive error, the VPSA or their designee may return the case to the original hearing board with instructions to reconvene to cure the error, or in rare cases where the error cannot be cured, the VPSA or their designee can ask that a new hearing occur before a newly constituted hearing board. In the case of new and relevant information, the VPSA or their designee can recommend that the case be returned to the original hearing board to assess the weight and effect of the new information and render a determination after considering the new facts. The reconsideration of the hearing board is final.
G. Appeals are not intended to be a full rehearing of the case. In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal. This is not an opportunity for the VPSA or their designee to substitute his/her judgment for that of the original hearing body merely because s/he disagrees with its finding and/or sanctions. Appeals decisions are to be deferential to the original hearing body, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error. The VPSA or their designee can affirm or alter the original findings, depending on the basis of the requested appeal.
H. Sanctions will typically be stayed pending the outcome of any appeal process. If a respondent is suspended on an interim basis prior to the hearing and is suspended or expelled as a result of the hearing, the interim suspension will continue pending the outcome of any appeal.
I. The VPSA or their designee will render a written decision on the appeal to the respondent (and complainant, if applicable) within fifteen business days from the date of submission of all appeal documents by both parties. Appeal decisions are final.
Section 3: Sanction Reduction
- A. In keeping with the educational mission of the College, the Office of the VPSA will accept requests for sanction reduction. These requests are available to all students and student organizations after one calendar year of the date the sanction was assigned.
- B. A three-person panel consisting of the VPSA or their designee and two students from the student conduct board will hear all requests. Requests should be submitted in writing to the student conduct officer along with one letter of recommendation from a member of the College community.
- C. The student or student organization must prove to the panel’s satisfaction that he/she/it has developed increased self-discipline as a result of the sanction period and can contribute to the College community through increased involvement opportunities. The request should demonstrate significant contributions, both of an academic and co-curricular nature, to the panel.
- D. All decisions of the panel are final and not subject to appeal. If a student or student organization is not granted a sanction reduction, the student or student organization may re-apply after one calendar year. If a student or student organization is granted a sanction reduction and is later found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct, the student or student organization could face disciplinary suspension, deactivation, or expulsion.