Student Conduct Code - Section 7.2.7 Appeals
The outcome of a conduct meeting is subject to one request for appeal. The Request for Appeal Form is available from the Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibilities, which is located on the 5th floor of the University Center. A request for appeal may only be filed once and the decision is final. If a request for appeal is denied, a second appeal cannot be filed. If a request for appeal is granted, the outcome of any subsequent proceeding may not be appealed.
A. Submitting an Appeal Request
- For all cases other than alleged sexual misconduct or crimes of violence, the respondent must submit the request for appeal to the Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibilities (OSCRR) within five (5) business days of the date on the decision notification letter. The written request for appeal must indicate what is being appealed (decision and/or sanctions) and must include answers to the questions on the request form in accordance with the criteria described on the form and below. The Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibilities will forward the request for appeal to the University Appeals Board that reviews and processes all appeals.
For cases of alleged sexual misconduct or crimes of violence, the Respondent and the victim shall both have the right to submit an appeal request to OSCRR within five (5) business days of the date on the decision notification letter. The written request for appeal must indicate what is being appealed (decision and/or sanctions) and must include answers to the questions on the request form in accordance with the criteria described on the form and below. OSCRR will forward the request for appeal to the University Appeals Board that reviews and processes all requests for appeal.
B. Appeal Criteria
A request for appeal will be considered if one or more of the following criteria is met:
- Insufficient evidence to support the decision of the original resolution officer. It is not the role of the University Appeals Board to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the original resolution officer if there is a reasonable basis for that person’s determination. Deference must be given to the judgment of the original resolution officer, who had the opportunity to meet with and assess the credibility and demeanor of all pertinent parties. The Board may not alter the determination of the original resolution officer unless the determination of the original resolution officer is clearly erroneous and cannot be reasonably supported by the evidence. The student must describe how and why the decision is not supported by the evidence and how the decision was not based on a preponderance of the evidence.
- Procedural irregularities sufficient to affect the determination of the resolution officer. Resolution officers are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with OSCRR’s policies and procedures. Deviations from those policies and procedures that render their actions fundamentally unfair constitutes a sufficient basis for an appeal to the University Appeals Board. Procedural irregularities that are considered by the Board to be harmless and that did not, in the judgment of the Board, adversely affect the case, are not a basis for upsetting the determination of the original resolution officer. The student must describe and/or provide documentation of the procedural irregularities.
- Harshness of the penalty imposed by the original resolution officer sufficient to show an abuse of discretion. As in the case of evidence sufficient to support a determination of the original resolution officer, deference should be given by the Board to the penalties imposed by the that person. At the same time, the Board should recognize that the original resolution officer can make errors in judgment sufficient to show an abuse of discretion. Abuse of discretion does not necessarily imply an intentional wrong or bad faith, but simply the failure to exercise reasonable judgment under the circumstances. The student must describe why and how the sanction is too harsh relative to the violation.
- New evidence that was not reasonably available for presentation during the conduct meeting, the introduction of which would reasonably be expected to affect the decision of the resolution officer. All available evidence, including testimony of witnesses, is expected to be presented to the original resolution officer. Only on that basis can the original resolution officer render fair and reasonable decisions. A student or student organization that seeks to introduce new evidence has the burden of demonstrating that the evidence was not reasonably available at the time of the original conduct meeting, and that the introduction of such new evidence can be reasonably expected to affect the determination of the original resolution officer. If the University Appeals Board determines that the student or student organization has satisfied this burden, the Board remands the case to the original resolution officer with instructions to reconsider the case in light of the new evidence. The student must describe the new and relevant information and explain why it was not available at the time of the conduct meeting.
C. Appeal Review
The University Appeals Board (UAB) will review the request for appeal, along with other pertinent information (incident reports, witness statements, case notes, documents, etc.) to determine the validity of the request for appeal in accordance with the criteria described above. In general, a request for appeal, when granted, results in a review of the original process, however, if necessary and at the UAB’s discretion, the student may be called in to discuss the appeal in person.
D. Actions Available to the University Appeals Board
Based upon their review of the case file and the student’s appeal request and supporting documentation, the UAB will have the authority to:
- Affirm the original decision
- Refer the case back to the resolution officer for further investigation and consideration if new relevant information has been presented
- Reduce or increase the sanction(s)
- Overturn the original decision
E. Appeal Decision Notification
The student will be informed of the decision pertaining to the request for appeal within ten (10) business days of submitting the request. In exceptional circumstances, the ten (10) business days notification requirement may be extended to allow adequate consideration of the request for appeal. If this is the case, the student will be notified.
If the request for appeal is denied, the student will be informed within ten (10) business days and will be held to the original decision and sanction(s) imposed (new deadlines may need to be provided depending on the timing of the appeal).