Appeal Procedures

V.  Procedural Provisions for an Appeal of an Adverse Tenure/Promotion Recommendation by the President

This section states the grounds and procedures for an appeal of an adverse tenure and/or promotion recommendation made by the President.  It does not apply to appeals of a decision not to renew a probationary appointment when the probationary faculty member is not eligible to apply for tenure; to the termination or non-renewal of  non-tenure-track  appointment; or to non-renewal or termination initiated by the Administration on the grounds of discontinuance of a department, or a program of instruction, a medical condition precluding a faculty member’s discharge of his or her duties as a teacher at the College or creating a health hazard to members of the College, a state of financial exigency validly declared pursuant to the provisions of Section VII of the Handbook, adequate cause as defined at Section VII, or professional unfitness, as defined at Section VII of this Handbook.

A.   Grounds for Appeal

If a faculty member alleges that an adverse tenure and/or promotion recommendation by the President was (1) based in whole or in part on considerations violative of (a) academic freedom (Section I.A.) or (b) discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status, marital status or disability; (2) that the deliberation of the ACRT and/or the Chief Academic Officer did not conform to the procedures set forth in the Handbook for such deliberation;  or (3) that the statement of the President in support of his or her recommendation, and/or the record of the deliberation of the ACRT and/or the Chief Academic Officer, fails to disclose that adequate consideration  was given to the application, the FAC shall have exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate the appeal, and the Faculty Appeals Committee shall adjudicate the appeal pursuant to the provisions set forth in this Section V of the Faculty Handbook. For the purposes of this paragraph, adequate consideration means that a decision shall be arrived at conscientiously and that all evidence presented in the faculty member’s rank and tenure file bearing on the relevant performance of the candidate shall be examined and considered.  The decision reached shall be a bona fide exercise of judgment taken with reasoned care.  Adequate deliberation over the import of all relevant information in the record shall be given in light of relevant standards fairly applied.  Irrelevant and improper standards shall be excluded from consideration.

B.   Procedure for Filing/Form of a Notice of intention to Appeal

  1. Where the faculty member disagrees with the recommendation of the President, the faculty member shall list the grounds for his or her appeal.  This will include a brief but not necessarily comprehensive summary of facts which are seen as supporting the grounds of the appeal.  An  appeal shall be initiated by submission of a notice of intention to appeal to the Chairperson of the Faculty Appeals Committee, with copies to the President, the Chief Academic Officer, and the chair of the ACRT by no later than two weeks following receipt of written notification from the President of her/his adverse recommendation.  The notice of appeal shall be in the following form: “To the Chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee: I hereby give timely notice of my intention to appeal the recommendation of the President that my application for (tenure/promotion/tenure and promotion) be denied. I base my appeal on the following ground(s):                                                                   .”
  2. If the notice of appeal does not state one or more of the grounds for appeal set forth in Section V.A. above, it shall be mandatory that the Faculty Appeals Committee conclude, and so notify the appellant within one week of receiving the intention to appeal, with copies of such notification to the President, the Chief Academic Officer, and the chair of the ACRT, as follows: “The Faculty Appeals Committee has received your notice of intention to appeal the recommendation of the President that your application for (tenure/promotion/tenure and promotion) be denied. Your notice fails to state one or more valid grounds (as such grounds are set forth at Section V.A. of this Handbook) for such appeal. The Faculty Appeals Committee is therefore required by the provisions of Section V.A. of this Handbookto, and hereby notifies you that it does, dismiss your appeal.”
  3. If the notice of appeal does state one or more of the grounds for appeal set forth in Section V.A. above, the Faculty Appeals Committee shall notify the appellant within one week of receiving the notification of appeal, with copies of such notification to the President, the Chief Academic Officer, and the chair of the ACRT, as follows: “The Faculty Appeals Committee has received your notice of intention to appeal the recommendation of the President that your application for (tenure/promotion/tenure and promotion)be denied. Your notice states one or more valid grounds (as such grounds are set forth at Section V.A. of the Handbook) for such appeal. The Faculty Appeals Committee, therefore, hereby notifies you, pursuant to Section V.A. of this Handbook, that the Committee will adjudicate your appeal. You are directed to submit one signed original and four copies of your appeal to the Chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee by no later than four weeks after the Faculty Appeals Committee’s acceptance of the appeal. The required content of an appeal of the President’s recommendation that an application for (tenure/promotion/tenure and promotion) be denied is set forth at Section V.C. of the Handbook.”
  4. The Faculty Appeals Committee shall render its findings to the appellant, the chair of the ACRT, the Chief Academic Officer and the President within 30 days after receiving the appeal, but no later than April 1.

C.   Content of the Appeal

  1. The appeal shall be accompanied by the following statement, signed by the appellant faculty member: “I understand that adjudication of my appeal of the President’s recommendation that my application for tenure/promotion/tenure and promotion tenure be denied requires the Faculty Appeals Committee to receive and examine the entire record of the review of my application to date, including the faculty member’s rank and tenure file, written statements submitted by the ACRT and the Chief Academic Officer, and the written statement of the President. I hereby consent to the presentation of all such material to, and the examination of all such material by, all members of the Faculty Appeals Committee.”
  2. The appeal shall be signed and dated by the appellant faculty member. The appeal shall contain the following:
    1. A statement of the grounds upon which the faculty member bases his or her appeal; such statement shall include no grounds not set forth in the faculty member’s notice of intent to appeal.
    2. A summary statement of the facts contained in the faculty member’s rank and tenure file, which the faculty member contends support the appeal.
    3. A summary statement of such facts, if any, as are not contained in the faculty member’s rank and tenure file, as submitted to the ACRT, which the faculty member contends support the appeal.
    4. A list of such documents or other written material, if any, as the faculty member has included in the appeal and which the faculty member contends contain information that supports the appeal.
    5. A summary of the faculty member’s argument in support of the appeal.
    6. The faculty member’s argument in support of the appeal.

D.   Content of President’s Rebuttal

  1. The Faculty Appeals Committee shall send to the President the entire content of the appeal as described in Section V.C.2. above.
  2. The President shall submit her/his rebuttal to the Faculty Appeals Committee by the deadline specified by the Faculty Appeals Committee.

E.   Functions and Procedures of the Faculty Appeals Committee

  1. Confidentiality
    1. The Faculty Appeals Committee shall treat all of its activities as confidential, unless the candidate wishes otherwise.  All of its proceedings, including documents, minutes, memoranda and any papers or statements presented to it, shall be considered as confidential.
    2. Any violation of this confidentiality shall be deemed a breach of trust and professional ethics and shall subject the violator to removal from the Faculty Appeals Committee.
  2. Burden of Proof

    The appellant faculty member shall have the burden of proof in establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence presented properly before the Faculty Appeals Committee, one or more of the allegations set forth in Section V.A. of this Faculty Handbook.

  3. Basis of an Appeal

    The adjudication of the appeal by  the Faculty Appeals Committee shall determine whether, in the judgment of the Faculty Appeals Committee, the faculty member has established, by a preponderance of the evidence properly before the Faculty Appeals Committee, (a) that the adverse recommendation of the President with respect to the appellant’s application for tenure/promotion/tenure and promotion was based in whole or in part upon considerations violative of (i) academic freedom or (ii) discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status, marital status or disability; (b) that the deliberation of the ACRT and/or the Chief Academic Officer did not conform to the procedures set forth in the Handbook for such deliberation;  or (c) that the statement of the President in support of his or her recommendation, and/or the record of the deliberation of the ACRT and/or the Chief Academic Officer, fail(s) to disclose that adequate consideration was given to the application, as defined in paragraph V.A. above.

    1. Academic Freedom

      If an appeal alleges a violation of academic freedom, the Faculty Appeals Committee shall determine whether, in its judgment, the appellant has established by a preponderance of the evidence properly before the Faculty Appeals Committee that either (a) the statement by the President supporting his or her recommendation rests in whole or in part on grounds violative of academic freedom, as such term is defined in Section I.A. of this Handbook; or (b) that the record presented to the President and considered by the President in his or her deliberation contains information or statements the consideration of which in deliberations regarding an application for renewal, for tenure or for promotion at the College constitutes a violation of academic freedom, as such term is defined in Section I.A. of this Handbook.

    2. Discrimination

      If an appeal alleges discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status, marital status or disability, the Faculty Appeals Committee shall determine whether, in its judgment, the appellant has established by a preponderance of the evidence properly before the Faculty Appeals Committee that either (a) the statement by the President supporting his or her recommendation rests in whole or in part on such discriminatory grounds; or  (b) that the record presented to the President and considered by the President in his or her deliberation contains information or statements the consideration of which in deliberations regarding an application for tenure or for promotion at the College constitutes such discrimination.

    3. Procedural

      If the appeal alleges that the deliberation of the ACRT and/or the Chief Academic Officer did not conform to the procedures set forth in Section IV. of this Handbook for such deliberation, the Faculty Appeals Committee shall determine whether, in its judgment, the appellant has established by a preponderance of the evidence properly before the Faculty Appeals Committee that the procedures set forth in Section IV. of this Handbook were materially and substantively violated in ways adverse to appellant’s tenure/promotion/tenure and promotion interest.

    4. Adequate Consideration

      If an appeal alleges that the statement of the President in support of his or her recommendation, and/or the record of the deliberation of the ACRT and/or the Chief Academic Officer, fails to disclose that adequate consideration, as defined in Section V.A. above, was given to the application, the Faculty Appeals Committee shall determine whether, in its judgment, the appellant has established by a preponderance of the evidence properly before the Faculty Appeals Committee that either (a) the statement by the President supporting his or her recommendation; or (b) the record presented to the President and considered by the President in his or her deliberation fails to disclose that adequate consideration was given to the application.

  4. Hearing
    1. At the hearing, the Faculty Appeals Committee shall proceed by considering first the appellant’s statement of appeal and then the ACRT’s/Chief Academic Officer’s/President’s statement.  Any hearing of the evidence shall be in private unless approved by the appellant.  If the appellant and the  ACRT/Chief Academic Officer/President disagree, the Faculty Appeals Committee decides whether or not the hearing shall be private or public.
    2. The appellant and/or a representative of the appellant may attend the hearings.  The appellant shall have the option of assistance of counsel at the appellant’s personal expense.
    3. The Faculty Appeals Committee shall determine the order of the hearing, normally conduct the questioning of witnesses and, if necessary, secure the presentation of evidence.
    4. The ACRT/Chief Academic Officer/President shall have the option of assistance of counsel.  The appellant or her/his adviser and the ACRT/Chief Academic Officer/President and her/his/their adviser shall have the right within reasonable limits to question all witnesses who testify orally.  The complainant and the ACRT/Chief Academic Officer/President shall have the opportunity to be confronted by all adverse witnesses.  All of the evidence shall be available to both parties.  The hearing procedures shall not necessarily adhere to formal rules of court procedure.
    5. A court reporter shall be used.  A copy of this transcription shall be given to the appellant and the ACRT/Chief Academic Officer/President. The chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee shall retain one copy.
  5. Grounds for Judgment

    In no event, regardless of the ground or grounds for appeal asserted by the appellant, shall the Faculty Appeals Committee substitute its judgment on the underlying merits of the appellant’s application for that of the ACRT, the Chief Academic Officer, or the President, but rather shall consider only whether the appellant has established by a preponderance of the evidence properly before the Faculty Appeal Committee that one or more of the basis for appeal as described in Section V.E.3. of this Faculty Handbook has occurred as alleged by the appellant.

  6. Ruling in Favor of Appellant

    If the Faculty Appeals Committee determines that the appellant has established by a preponderance of the evidence properly before the Faculty Appeals Committee that one or more of the violations alleged by the appellant has occurred, the Faculty Appeals Committee shall so state in writing. Such writing shall include a description of the factual material or analytical statement(s) in the record that the Faculty Appeals Committee finds to be violative of procedures established at the College, as set forth in the Handbook; an explanation of why the Faculty Appeals Committee finds such material or statement(s) violative of such procedures; and instructions with respect to the step or steps to be taken by the ACRT, the Chief Academic Officer and/or the President, upon reconsideration of the application, to assure that the recommendation of the President following such reconsideration has been arrived at solely on the basis of information and through such analysis as conform(s) to the procedures and criteria of the College, as set forth in the Handbook.

    A copy of the Faculty Appeals Committee’s statement, signed by all members of the Committee concurring with the statement, shall be transmitted to the appellant, to the chair of the ACRT, to the Chief Academic Officer and to the President.

    If the Faculty Appeals Committee has found that reconsideration by the ACRT or Chief Academic Officer is required, the Faculty Appeals Committee shall transmit the record presented to it to the chair of the ACRT and to the Chief Academic Officer.

    If the Faculty Appeals Committee has found that reconsideration by the President is required, but not by the ACRT or the Chief Academic Officer, the Faculty Appeals Committee shall transmit the record presented to it to the President.

  7. Ruling against the Appellant

    If the Faculty Appeals Committee determines that the appellant has not established by a preponderance of the evidence properly before the Faculty Appeals Committee that one or more of the violations alleged by the appellant have occurred, the Faculty Appeals Committee shall so state in writing. Such writing shall include a description of the Faculty Appeals Committee’s deliberations, set forth with sufficient specificity to permit a subsequent determination of the adequacy of the consideration given by the Faculty Appeals Committee to the appeal.

    A copy of the Faculty Appeals Committee’s statement, signed by all members of the Committee concurring with the statement, shall be transmitted to the appellant, to the chair of the ACRT, to the Chief Academic Officer and to the President.

  8. There shall be no appeal of such a finding by the Faculty Appeals Committee, and following such a finding, no further appeal of the President’s recommendation.

F.   Reconsideration of Adverse Recommendation by the ACRT, the Chief Academic Officer or the President

  1. If the Faculty Appeals Committee instructs that the ACRT, the Chief Academic Officer, and/or the President shall reconsider an application, such reconsideration shall be given to the application at all levels required by the Faculty Appeals Committee. Each body or officer of the College undertaking such reconsideration may consider all or any information germane to the findings of the Faculty Appeals Committee whether or not contained in the candidates Rank and Tenure File. Each body or officer of the College undertaking such reconsideration shall provide the appellant and the Faculty Appeals Committee a written account of its, his or her reconsideration, set forth with sufficient specificity to permit a subsequent determination of the adequacy of the consideration given to the findings of the Faculty Appeals Committee. A reconsidered recommendation by the ACRT or the Chief Academic Officer shall be transmitted to the President, who shall give adequate consideration to such reconsidered recommendation, as well as to the statement of the Faculty Appeals Committee, in forming his own reconsidered recommendation.
  2. Upon reconsideration of her/his recommendation by the President, the President shall forward her/his final recommendation to the Board of Trustees for decision, with copies of the forwarding correspondence provided to the candidate, Chief Academic Officer, and Chair of the ACRT and the Faculty Appeals Committee.
  3. The Board of Trustees shall exercise its own independent discretion in determining whether to accept or reject a recommendation by the President, whether such recommendation is that an application be granted or denied. However, in exercising its own independent discretion, the Board shall base its determination upon the record presented to it, and shall give adequate consideration to that record.
  4. The Board shall in any event render its decision in a timely manner and shall make every effort to notify the President no later than the guideline date of the Spring Board Meeting.  The President shall immediately inform the candidate and the Chief Academic Officer of the decision by the Board of Trustees.  There is no appeal of the decision by the Board of Trustees.