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5.11 Appeals

5.11.1  A Responding Student found in violation of a section of the Code by either a Student Conduct Administrator, PCB, or formal Conduct Panel may appeal the informal Conduct Discussion or PCB or formal Conduct Panel hearing decision. Either a Complainant or Responding Student may appeal a determination of responsibility made by a Title IX Conduct Panel. An appeal, except appeals of alcohol violations, must be made in writing and state the decision and/or outcome they are appealing; the grounds for the appeal, as outlined in section 5.11.2; and the appealing party’s reasoning for seeking the appeal on the grounds outlined. The written appeal must be received by the Dean of Students within three (3) days of the date of the letter notifying the student of the outcome of their Conduct Discussion or hearing. All effort will be made for appeals to be decided within thirty (30) days of receipt of the appeal with the exception of the winter break, summer term, and University closure(s). Written notice of an appeal determination will be provided to: 1) the Responding Student for informal Conduct Discussions or PCB or formal Conduct Panel hearing appeals and 2) to both the Complainant and Responding Student and the Office of Institutional Equity simultaneously for Title IX Conduct Panel hearing appeals, within seven (7) days following the determination, as appropriate, by the appellate officer, PCB, or formal Conduct Panel, as follows:

a. Appeals of initial determinations made by a Student Conduct Administrator or a University Conduct Officer will be heard by the PCB or formal Conduct Panel, as appropriate. The PCB may only hear appeals of alleged alcohol and University Facility Standards violations, as outlined in section 1.21. No PCB shall review appeals for restitution, as described in 5.8.9; appeals for restitution outcomes will be reviewed by the assigned Student Conduct Administrator or their designee. Under exigent circumstances, the assigned Student Conduct Administrator or their designee shall retain discretion to complete the appeal without utilizing the PCB.

b.Appeals of initial determinations made by the PCB will be heard by a University Conduct Officer or their designee. Appeals of initial determinations made by a formal Conduct Panel or a Title IX Conduct Panel will be heard by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or their designee.

Maximum time limits for the appeal process may be extended at the discretion of the appellate officer, PCB, or formal Conduct Panel, or their designee.

5.11.2  Except as required to explain the existence of new information, an appeal shall be limited to review of the written documentation accessible to the original decision-maker; the informal Conduct Discussion summary, the PCB report, or the formal or Title IX Conduct Panel deliberation report; and the verbatim audiotape and/or digital recording, as applicable, for one or more of the following purposes:

a.  Procedural error or irregularity – to determine whether the original process was conducted in conformity with prescribed measures and all relevant evidence was objectively evaluated giving the Complainant (in Title IX conduct cases) and Responding Student a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present a response to those allegations. Deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant prejudice or error resulted;
b.  Conflict of interest or bias – to determine whether the original process was conducted impartially and without conflict of interest or bias against complainants and/or respondents or against individual Complainants and/or Responding Students in the present case, in light of the allegations and information presented;
c.  Unsupported finding – to determine whether the decision reached regarding the Responding Student was based on substantial information and was not arbitrary or capricious; in other words, whether a reasonable decision-maker could have reached the same decision based on the information considered;
d.  Disproportionate outcome – to determine whether the outcome imposed was appropriate for the violation(s) of the Code which the Responding Student was found to have committed; and/or
e.  New information – to consider new information, sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the original proceeding, because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original proceeding.

The appellate officer, formal Conduct Panel, or their designee, will complete an initial review to determine if the appeal request is timely and meets the limited appeal grounds listed above. For appeals made to the PCB, the assigned Student Conduct Administrator or their designee will determine if the appeal request is timely and meets the limited appeal ground listed above.

5.11.3  If the appeal fulfills one of the limited appeal grounds listed in 5.11.2, the appellate officer, PCB, or formal Conduct Panel will proceed with a complete, substantive review of all relevant information. For Title IX Conduct Panel hearing appeals, the assigned Student Conduct Administrator will notify the non-appealing party in writing that an appeal has been filed within three (3) days of receiving the written Title IX appeal; both parties to a Title IX appeal will then have five (5) days to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging the hearing determination and/or outcome, to the assigned Student Conduct Administrator, who will share any such statements with the appellate officer and the other party.

5.11.4  If the appeal is upheld due to:

a.  A procedural error or irregularity on the part of the original decision-maker or that new information presented on appeal should be considered, the appellate officer, PCB, formal Conduct Panel, or their designee, will direct the case to the original decision-maker with instructions for reconsideration. If the appellate officer, PCB, or formal Conduct Panel determines that the original decision-maker may have a conflict of interest or bias, a new Student Conduct Administrator, PCB, formal Conduct Panel, or Title IX Conduct Panel, as appropriate, will be assembled to reconsider the matter according to the instructions of the appellate officer, PCB, formal Conduct Panel, or their designee. Full rehearings will only be used in rare circumstances at the discretion of the appellate officer, PCB, formal Conduct Panel, or their designee.
b.  For an original finding unsupported by the relevant information or a disproportionate outcome issued for a violation of the Code which the Responding Student was found to have committed, the appellate officer, PCB, or formal Conduct Panel may 1) reverse the unsupported finding, 2) modify the outcome or impose a different outcome, or 3) suspend the outcome after receiving parameters regarding institutional consistency and any other applicable guidelines from a University Conduct Officer, Student Conduct Administrator, or their designee.

If the appeal is not upheld, the matter shall be considered final and the decision of the appellate officer, PCB, or formal Conduct Panel will be binding upon all involved.

5.11.5  After making an appeal determination, the appellate officer, PCB, formal Conduct Panel, or their designee may meet with the Complainant (in Title IX conduct cases) and/or the Responding Student to discuss the decision.

5.11.6  The appellate officer, PCB, or formal Conduct Panel will not substitute their judgment for that of the original decision-maker. Appeal decisions shall be deferential to the original decision-maker, only upholding the appeal when there is a compelling justification to do so due to clear error or irregularity, a conflict of interest or bias, an unsupported finding, a disproportionate outcome, or relevant new information.

5.11.7  All initial conduct process determinations made and outcomes imposed by a University Conduct Officer, Student Conduct Administrator, PCB, formal Conduct Panel, or Title IX Conduct Panel will not be implemented during the appeals process. At the discretion of a University Conduct Officer and/or the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, outcomes may be implemented pending review only in exigent circumstances.