B6: Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee
(*Approved by Regents December 8, 1998)
(**Approved by Faculty December 7, 1998)
SECTION 6: ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND TENURE COMMITTEE
6.1 COMPOSITION, ELECTION, DUTIES, AND SUPPORT OF COMMITTEE
The faculty Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee (the Committee) shall consist of 13 members, all of whom shall be tenured members of the voting faculty. For the purpose of this Section, members of the voting faculty shall exclude departmental chairs and other academic administrators above the rank of chair. The following shall apply:
- Not more than one member of any department or equivalent unit shall serve as a member of the Committee at the same time.
- The Committee may appoint its own counsel. The University shall bear the cost of the services of such counsel.
- A quorum shall consist of seven (7) members.
- The office of the Secretary of the University shall provide clerical and administrative support for the Committee, including facilitating the communication of the Committee with members of the faculty, the administration and the Board of Regents and others, and serving as a repository of information and records relevant to the Committee.
Nominations of at least 14 persons shall be made by mail addressed to the University Secretary.
Election shall be by mail ballot. Ballots, accompanied by biographical sketches of the nominees shall be distributed by the Secretary to all eligible members of the voting faculty. Eligible faculty members may vote for a maximum of six (6) candidates in even-numbered years and seven (7) in odd-numbered years. The six nominees in even-numbered years and the seven nominees in odd-numbered years who receive the most votes shall become members of the committee for two-year terms commencing at the start of the academic year following election. The remaining nominees shall be called on to serve, in order of the votes they received, as replacements to complete the terms of any members who resign from the Committee after the election.
The term of service shall be two years. Committee members may be elected to a second two-year term. At least one year must pass before a Committee member who has served two consecutive two-year terms is again eligible to serve.
The Committee shall (1) discharge the functions assigned to it as defined herein, and (2) from time to time review this statement of policy and recommend appropriate revisions.
6.1.5 Effective Date and Revision of Policy on Academic Freedom and Tenure
This policy and any subsequent revision thereof shall become effective immediately after approval by the University faculty and approval by the Regents and shall supersede all previous action or statements of policy relative to academic freedom and tenure, and faculty appointment and promotion, except that the mid-probationary standards established in Sec. 4.6.1(c) shall apply only to faculty hired after the effective date of this policy and that the procedures and standards for handling complaints and appeals set forth in Sec. 6 shall apply only to complaints filed with the Committee after the effective date of this policy.
6.2 MATTERS THAT MAY BE APPEALED OR REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE
(a) The Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee is responsible for reviewing significant decisions affecting faculty tenure, promotion, sabbatical leave and employment, and determining if any of the following influenced the decision-making process:
- violation of academic freedom,
- improper consideration in which a decision on substantive issues was not based upon impartial professional academic judgment and resulted in prejudice to the faculty member, or
- procedural violations of Faculty Handbook policies that resulted in prejudice to the faculty member.
(b) Academic freedom is defined in the 1940 Statement of Principles adopted by the American Association of University Professors and is the right of all members of the faculty and graduate students employed in teaching and research positions.
(c) In reviewing allegations, the Committee shall not reverse or modify the decision of an appropriate University officer or faculty body solely because it disagrees with their academic judgment. The Committee may reverse or modify a decision only if the decision violated the faculty member’s academic freedom or was based upon improper considerations. The Committee may judge a matter to involve procedural violations and remand the matter to the appropriate administrative officer with remedies (Sec. 6.6 (e)).
(d) If a faculty member wishes to appeal on grounds not within the jurisdiction of the Committee, he or she may appeal a decision by the Provost/VPHS to the President. Matters that can be appealed or referred to the Committee are described in Sec. 6.2.
6.2.2 Matters Involving Termination of Employment
(a) Denial of Tenure
If the Provost/VPHS denies tenure to a faculty member and that faculty member believes that infringement of academic freedom, improper considerations, or prejudicial violation of the procedures specified in this Policy occurred, the faculty member may appeal the decision to the Committee. If the faculty member bases an appeal on issues outside the jurisdiction of the Committee, he or she may present the appeal to the President.
(b) Dismissal of Tenured Faculty Member
- If, after all reasonable efforts to resolve disputes and correct problems have failed, the University intends to proceed with terminating the services of a tenured faculty member who does not accept the terms of the action, the President of the University shall file a complaint with the Committee as provided herein. The burden of proof in such cases shall be on the President.
- In cases in which grounds for termination of a tenured faculty member are conviction or admission of a serious crime the President may terminate the faculty member’s services. If the faculty member contends that the violation does not constitute adequate cause for revocation of tenure, the faculty member may appeal the President’s termination decision to the Committee on that ground. Tenured clinical faculty whose services are terminated because of loss of medical licensure or hospital privileges may appeal such decision to the Board of Regents rather than through the Committee.
(c) Dismissal or Non-Renewal of a Non-Tenured Faculty Member
If the annual contract of a probationary faculty member is not renewed by the Provost/VPHS, or a faculty member receives a negative mid-probationary review, or a probationary or other non-tenured faculty member is dismissed during the term of his or her contract and if the faculty member believes that violation of academic freedom, improper considerations, or prejudicial violations of the procedures specified in this Policy occurred, the faculty member may appeal the action to the Committee.
(d) Involuntary Retirement
If a faculty member has been involuntarily retired and believes that the action is associated with violation of academic freedom, improper considerations, or prejudicial violation of the procedures specified in this Policy, the faculty member may appeal the decision to the Committee. (See Sec. 5.3.5 on termination for health reasons.)
(e) Dismissal of Student Assistants
If a graduate, teaching, research or project assistant is dismissed and the student assistant believes that violation of academic freedom, improper considerations or prejudicial violation of the procedures specified in this Faculty Handbook are involved in the dismissal, he or she may appeal the dismissal to the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee. In this context, student assistants shall be considered faculty.
6.2.3 Matters Not Involving Termination of Employment
(a) Denial of Promotion
If the Provost/VPHS makes a negative decision on the granting of promotion to a faculty member and the faculty member believes that violation of academic freedom, improper considerations or prejudicial violation of University procedures are involved in that decision, the faculty member may appeal the decision to the Committee.
(b) Denial of Sabbatical Leave
If a faculty member has been denied a sabbatical leave and that faculty member believes that violation of academic freedom, improper considerations or prejudicial violation of the procedures specified in this Policy are involved in that decision, the faculty member may appeal the decision to the Committee.
(c) Report of Violation of Academic Freedom or Faculty Handbook Procedure
Anyone discovering what he or she believes to be a violation of academic freedom anywhere within the University or of the procedures specified in this Policy, may properly bring the matter to the attention of any member of the Committee. A current roster of the Committee is maintained by the University Secretary.
6.2.4 Use of Advisory Committees or Boards
(a) Report of Unethical Behavior by a Faculty Member
If any matters in Sec. 6.2 involve claims of unethical behavior by a faculty member, the case may be referred initially by the AF&T Committee to the Faculty Ethics and Advisory Committee for review and recommendation (Appendix VIII). The AF&T Committee will accept the report from the Faculty Ethics and Advisory Committee and apply the recommendations in a manner appropriate to the case before the AF&T Committee.
(b) Discrimination Claims Involving Faculty
If any matters in Sec. 6.2 involve claims of unlawful discrimination by or against a faculty member, the case may be initially reviewed and investigated by the University Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (OEOP). This process shall follow established University procedures and include consultation by the director of OEO with the chair of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure or a designee. The investigation by the OEO shall not exceed three (3) months unless there are extenuating circumstances. After conclusion of the OEO investigation, the Committee, at its discretion, may consider the evidence obtained by and the determination of the OEO investigation in connection with the issues before it.
(a) The involvement of the Committee shall be initiated by a written complaint. The complaint shall include the basis of the complaint, the underlying facts, any supporting documentation, the names, and telephone numbers of any relevant contact people, and the desired remedy.
(b) In the case of proposed dismissal of a faculty member with tenure, the President files a complaint with the Committee and sends a copy of the complaint to the faculty member.
(c) When a faculty member initiates a complaint (i.e., acts as the complainant), a copy of the complaint shall be forwarded by the Committee to the person(s) whose action is questioned in the complaint. The individual(s) against whom allegations are made shall be the respondent.
6.3.2 Preliminary Review
(a) Upon receipt of a complaint filed by a faculty member, the chair of the Committee shall appoint a subcommittee of two Committee members to investigate the allegations of the complaint, obtain a written response from the respondent, interview individuals with relevant information, and advise the chair and Committee on the matter. Based upon acquired information from the subcommittee, the Committee shall determine whether a hearing should be held. Every effort shall be made to make this determination within 30 days of appointment of the subcommittee. A faculty member shall be entitled to a formal resolution process if the Committee determines that sufficient grounds may exist to support allegations of violations concerning academic freedom, improper considerations, or substantial procedural violations of the Faculty Handbook. The Committee shall inform the complainant and respondent in writing of the issues warranting proceeding with a formal resolution process. The resolution process may involve mediation, arbitration, or a formal hearing process. If the Committee proceeds with a formal hearing, subcommittee members normally shall not serve as members of the Hearing Panel.
(b) If the Committee determines that the complaint contains allegations that have not been considered previously by the Provost/VPHS, the Committee shall refer the case to the Provost/VPHS for discretionary review before proceeding with any formal resolution process. The Provost/VPHS shall complete any such review within 15 working days of the referral. If the Provost/VPHS decides not to review the case, or if on receipt of the decision of the Provost/VPHS the complainant still wishes to pursue the complaint with the Committee, the Committee may proceed with a formal resolution process.
(c) There will be no preliminary review of cases filed by the President. A formal hearing will be held upon receipt of a complaint from the President.
6.3.3 Alternative Resolution Processes
(a) The Committee may require that the complainant and the respondent(s) enter into mediation or a non-binding arbitration process in an attempt to resolve the dispute. The mediation or non-binding arbitration proceedings shall remain confidential unless all parties involved in the complaint agree to waive the confidentiality of the proceedings in whole or part. If this process does not result in the resolution of the complaint, the Committee may again be petitioned to review the case for the appropriateness of a hearing. The timetable for consideration of a hearing, as set forth in the hearing schedules, will then begin.
(b) In consultation with the Committee, the parties may agree to submit resolution of their dispute to final binding arbitration in lieu of a hearing before the Committee. The binding arbitration procedures will be set up pursuant to agreement of the parties.
(c) The University will assume the cost for mediation and/or arbitration.
6.4 TYPES OF HEARINGS AND NORMAL TIME SCHEDULES
All parties shall make every effort to adhere to the following schedule(s) in order to expedite the review and hearing process. In extraordinary circumstances, the Committee may accept complaints that are at variance with the established schedules. In such proceedings, the schedule of events shall approximate the established time increments as described below.
6.4.1 Denial of Tenure or Non-renewal of Probationary Appointment
(a) A probationary faculty member who is denied tenure, who receives a negative mid-probationary review, or whose annual contract is not renewed for reasons other than financial exigency and who has exhausted the appeal process through the chair, dean and Provost/VPHS has the right to file a complaint with the Committee by Sept. 1 of the terminal contract year.
(b) The described time schedule (Table 6.4.1) will also apply to faculty members who are denied promotion and have appealed the decision through the chair, dean, and Provost/VPHS.
Table 6.4.1. Schedule-A for a Hearing Based on a Denial of Tenure or Non-Renewal of Probationary Appointment.
DUE DATE /
Notification letter is sent from the Provost to the faculty member.+
Faculty member sends request for reconsideration of the decision to Provost.
Provost responds to the request for reconsideration.
Faculty member requests a hearing by the Committee.
Investigatory subcommittee is appointed by the Committee
Requested additional documentation is sent to the Committee.
5 days after request
Respondent replies to the complaint.
10 days after request
Investigatory subcommittee reports its findings & makes recommendation to Committee.
Case referred, if necessary, to Provost/VPHS for discretionary review and response
15 days after referral
A Hearing Panel of the Committee, if necessary, is appointed.
The hearing is completed by the Committee Hearing Panel.
The Committee transmits its decision to the Provost.
Decision is implemented or appealed.
* Final date for indicated action to have been completed. Dates falling on weekends are extended to the
next working day; + Also applies to matters involving the denial of promotion.
(c) By Sept. 15, the chair shall appoint an investigatory subcommittee of two Committee members. The subcommittee shall make every effort to complete the preliminary review within 20 working days, which includes the acquisition of requested information and receipt of the respondent’s written reply to the complaint. The subcommittee shall report to the full Committee, and shall recommend whether a hearing should be held.
(d) If the Committee determines that a hearing will occur, a five-member hearing panel shall be appointed by Nov. 1. By no later than Nov. 15, the chair of the panel shall contact all persons involved and set the earliest possible hearing date. All hearings shall be completed by Feb. 1.
(e) The hearing panel shall present its findings to the Committee within 15 working days of receipt of the hearing transcript. The Committee shall review and consider the findings of the hearing, and make a decision that shall be transmitted to the Provost/VPHS on or before Mar. 15.
(f) The faculty member shall have 20 working days from receipt of the decision in which to appeal the decision. Similarly, the Provost/VPHS shall have 20 working days from receipt of the decision in which to appeal the decision or to implement it if it is not appealed. Appeals shall follow the procedures specified in Sec. 6.7 and 6.8.
6.4.2 Other Matters
(a) Allegations of violation of academic freedom, improper considerations, or prejudicial violation of Faculty Handbook policies, outside the context of matters addressed in Sec. 6.4.1 or 6.4.3, shall follow the procedures set forth in this section. The matter should be brought to the Committee within 90 days of the date when the faculty member knew or reasonably should have known about the violation (Table 6.4.2).
Table 6.4.2. Schedule-B for a Hearing Pertaining to Other Matters.
WORKING DAYS AFTER PRIOR ACTION
There is an alleged violation of a faculty member’s academic freedom or of Faculty Handbook policies.*
Faculty member files a complaint with the Committee.
Within 90 days of knowledge of violation
Investigatory subcommittee is appointed by the Committee.
Faculty member sends any additional documentation to the Committee.
5 days after request
Respondent replies to the complaint.
10 days after request
Preliminary investigation is completed.
Case referred, if necessary, to Provost/VPHS for discretionary review and response received from Provost/VPHS.
15 days after referral
Hearing Panel, if necessary, is appointed by the Committee.
5 days after decision
Committee hearing is completed.
Earliest possible date
Transcript of the hearing is received by the Committee.
Hearing Panel presents its findings to the Committee.
Committee transmits its decision to the Provost.
Decision is implemented or appealed.
* Matters involving denial of sabbatical leave, dismissal of student assistants, or matters not included in
Schedule-A or Schedule-C shall follow this time schedule.
(b) The Committee Chair will appoint an investigatory subcommittee of two Committee members within 10 working days of the receipt of the complaint. The subcommittee shall make every effort to complete the preliminary review within 20 working days, which includes the acquisition of requested information and receipt of the respondent’s written reply to the complaint. The subcommittee shall report its findings to the full Committee and make a recommendation as to whether a hearing is appropriate.
(c) If the Committee decides that a hearing is appropriate, the Committee chair shall appoint a five-member hearing panel within five working days of completion of the preliminary investigation. The chair of the hearing panel will contact all persons involved and set the earliest possible hearing date.
(d) The hearing panel shall present its findings to the Committee within 15 working days of receipt of the hearing transcript. The Committee shall transmit its decision to the Provost/VPHS within 20 working days of receipt of the panel’s report.
(e) The faculty member shall have 20 working days from receipt of the decision in which to appeal the decision. Similarly, the Provost/VPHS shall have 20 working days from receipt of the decision in which to appeal the decision or to implement it if it is not appealed. Appeals shall follow the procedures specified in Sec. 6.7 and 6.8.
6.4.3 Dismissal of Tenured Faculty Member
(a) Reasons for termination of employment for faculty members with tenure are described in Sec. 5.3. In each case, the burden of proof resides with the President and University administration (Table 6.4.3).
Table 6.4.3. Schedule-C for Dismissal of a Tenured Faculty Member.
WORKING DAYS AFTER PRIOR ACTION
President files a complaint with the Committee.
Committee requests a response from the faculty member.
Faculty member sends a response to the Committee.
10 days after request
Hearing Panel is appointed by the Committee.
Hearing is scheduled to begin.
Hearing is completed.
Transcript of the hearing is received by the Committee.
Hearing Panel presents its findings to the Committee.
Committee transmits its decision to President & faculty member.
President implements the Committee’s decision or appeals it to Regents.
(b) No termination proceeding based on academic incompetence or neglect of duty shall be instituted against a faculty member with tenure unless the faculty member has been informed in writing of the alleged shortcomings and has been given a reasonable period of time in which to remedy them (Sec. 4.9).
(c) When reasons arise to question the fitness of a tenured faculty member, the matter first shall be discussed between the department chair and the faculty member as described for the post-tenure review process (Sec. 4.9). If the matter is not resolved at that level, the complaint may be directed to the next direct authority. If a resolution is still not effected, the issue shall proceed through normal University channels up to and including the President of the University. At every stage, the appropriate University officer shall discuss the matter in a personal conference with the faculty member involved, and notify the faculty member in writing of any proposed action. The matter may be concluded at any point in this process by mutual consent.
(d) If the matter is not concluded by agreement after the preliminary proceedings described above, and the President still decides to terminate the faculty member’s services, the President shall file a complaint with the Committee and send a copy of the complaint to the faculty member. The procedures established in this Policy for hearings by the Committee shall be followed.
(e) In addition to materials outlined in Sec. 6.3.1, the complaint should contain:
- A statement, with reasonable particularity, giving the grounds for the dismissal.
- A statement that the Committee will conduct a hearing on the charges.
- A statement referring the faculty member to the pertinent sections of the Faculty Handbook governing the procedural and substantive rights of faculty.
(f) The Chair of the Committee will request from the faculty member a written response to the charges. The faculty member shall submit the response to the chair of the Committee and to the President within 10 working days after receiving the request.
(g) If the faculty member does not submit a written response to the charges, the Committee shall consider whether the stated grounds constitute adequate cause, and it may conclude, without further inquiry, that the dismissal would be proper. At its discretion, however, the Committee may investigate the truth of the charges and request that the President provide supporting evidence. Thirty (30) working days following the faculty member’s failure to respond, the Committee shall forward its decision, with the reasons stated, to the President and to the faculty member.
(h) If the faculty member submits a written response to the charges, the hearing procedures set forth shall be followed. References to the complainant shall refer to the President and University administration, and the references to the respondent shall refer to the faculty member. Therefore, the President and administration have the burden of proving their case (Sec. 6.5.1 (c)).
(i) Within 5 working days after receiving the faculty member’s written response, the chair of the Committee shall appoint a hearing panel of five members. The panel shall schedule a hearing to begin not more than 20 working days after receipt of the President’s complaint. The time and place of the hearing shall be set in consultation with the faculty member and the President. The hearing shall be completed within 20 additional working days and a transcript shall be obtained.
(j) Suspension by the administration of a tenured faculty member during the Committee’s proceedings shall be justified only if harm to self, to others, or to University property is threatened by continuance of duty. Should it believe such a suspension to be justified, the administration shall consult with the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee concerning the propriety and conditions of the suspension. Unless prohibited by law, any such suspension shall be with pay.
(k) If the faculty member’s academic competence is questioned, the proof before the Committee shall be insufficient unless it includes testimony of teachers and other scholars, either from the University or from other institutions, and it shows that the faculty member’s academic performance (1) has deteriorated since receipt of tenure and (2) is now typically unsatisfactory.
(l) The panel shall present its findings to the Committee within 15 working days of receipt of the transcript of the hearing. The Committee shall transmit its report to the President and faculty member within 20 working days of receipt of the panel’s report.
(m) At the request of either the faculty member or the President, the Regents shall review the case. A request for review by the Regents must be filed with the Secretary of the University within 20 working days after the date that the Committee’s decision is sent to the faculty member and the President. The Regents’ review will follow the procedures specified in Sec. 6.8 (c).
6.5 CONSIDERATION BY A HEARING PANEL
6.5.1 General Considerations
(a) The purpose of a hearing before the Committee will be to decide a formal, written complaint brought by either a faculty member or the President that was not resolvable by mediation efforts of the Committee. Specific actions for which a hearing by the Committee will be considered are defined (Sec. 6.2).
(b) The Committee shall not be required to follow formal judicial procedures or rules of evidence. Members of the Committee, the complainant, the respondents, and—with the permission of the hearing panel—their advisors or attorneys shall have the right to question all witnesses who testify orally.
(c) In all cases, the burden of proof lies with the complainant.
(d) If appropriate, the hearing panel or the Committee may extend any time limit set forth in Sec. 6.4. For example, the Committee may extend time limits if a dispute is actively being mediated. Notification of a time extension shall be sent in writing to the complainant and respondent along with a new schedule.
6.5.2 Appointment of the Panel
(a) Cases brought before the Committee shall be heard by a panel consisting of no fewer than five (5) members of the Committee (including a panel chair) who are selected by the chair of the Committee, with the approval of the Committee as a whole. If, due to disqualification, there are fewer than five available Committee members, the Committee shall add members drawn from the ranks of former Committee members.
(b) A Committee member shall be disqualified from considering a matter, at any stage, if member:
- is directly involved in the matter being considered;
- has a prior relationship with a party, is a witness, or the situation would interfere with the member’s objectivity;
- is otherwise incapable of serving (e.g., sickness or sabbatical leave); or
- if the matter directly involves a departmental colleague.
(c) A Committee member may ask to be recused for these or other conflicts of interest. Alternatively, if any of the principals in a matter to be heard by the Committee believes that one or more members of the Committee should be disqualified, the decision shall be made by the full Committee in the absence of the member whose disqualification is sought.
6.5.3 Schedule for a Hearing
The hearing panel shall schedule a hearing to take place according to the timetables above. This panel in consultation with the complainant and respondent shall set the time and place of the hearing.
6.5.4 Public or Private Hearing
The hearing shall be private, unless both parties agree that it should be public, subject to any requirements of the New Mexico Open Meetings Act. If the hearing is private, the proceeding of the hearing shall be confidential to the extent allowed by law.
6.5.5 Pre-hearing Meetings
At any time prior to the hearing, the chair of the panel may, with fair notice to the parties, hold meetings or discussions with the parties in order to:
- ascertain and simplify the issues that are involved;
- ascertain which facts are disputed and which are not;
- facilitate the exchange of documentary and other information;
- answer procedural questions; and
- achieve such other objectives as will make the hearing fair, effective, and expeditious.
6.5.6 Fair Notice
(a) At least five working days before the hearing, each party shall provide the panel and the other party with the following information:
- List of intended witnesses, or a statement that no witnesses will be called. The panel may place reasonable limitations on the number of witnesses. No witnesses other than those on the list may testify without the written consent of the panel.
- Any statement of an absent witness (Sec. 6.5.9 (b)).
- Copies of documents the party plans to introduce into evidence, unless it has been determined at a pre-hearing conference that such documents are already before the panel for consideration. No other documents may be introduced into evidence without the written consent of the panel.
- Brief from the parties (not to exceed 10 pp) detailing their position on the written complaint.
6.5.7 Order of Proceedings
(a) The panel may determine the order in which the parties present their arguments and evidence. Otherwise, the order used shall be the following:
- complainant’s presentation of case;
- respondent’s presentation of case;
- rebuttal by complainant, if any;
- rebuttal by respondent, if any;
- closing arguments by complainant; and
- closing arguments by respondent.
(b) With permission of the panel, evidence may be introduced out of order and additional evidence may be introduced.
(a) If any material facts are in dispute, the parties may testify, present testimony of witnesses, and introduce documents and other evidence at the hearing. The panel may exclude unfair and irrelevant evidence and will not be bound by judicial rules of evidence.
(b) The panel may independently secure evidence or witnesses for presentation at the hearing, and may postpone the hearing until such evidence is available. The panel may not consider evidence that is not presented at the hearing or otherwise provided to the parties for their response.
(c) All members of the University community shall cooperate with the parties’ reasonable requests to provide evidence and to appear at the hearing as witnesses. The parties, when needed, shall have the aid of the University Administration and the Committee in securing the attendance of witnesses and in obtaining necessary evidence.
(a) Parties shall have the right, within reasonable limits set by the panel, to question all witnesses.
(b) When a witness is unable to attend a hearing, arrangements shall be made to have the witness participate by conference telephone. If this is not possible, the Committee upon advance request may permit a signed statement by that witness to be introduced at the hearing, but only if it is provided to the other party in sufficient time to permit the other party to contact and question the witness (at least one week before the hearing.) The other party may then submit an additional statement from that witness. All written statements from the witness shall be excluded if the second party is unable to secure the cooperation of the witness.
6.5.10 Rights of Parties to be Present: Advisors
All parties shall have the right to be present at the hearing and to be accompanied by an advisor, an attorney, or both. No advisor or attorney may question witnesses or address the panel without permission of the panel chairperson.
With the permission of the panel, the parties may submit written briefs (not to exceed 10 pp) after the hearing provided that no new factual information is introduced in the brief.
A verbatim record of the proceeding shall be kept and made available to the parties concerned. The cost of such record shall be borne by the University.
6.5.13 Deliberation by Panel after Hearing
(a) After the hearing, the panel may decide to postpone deliberations until a transcript of the hearing is produced. The panel shall deliberate in closed session. The panel shall present specific written findings of fact, conclusions, and recommendations to the Committee, in the form of a reasoned opinion based upon the evidence presented at the hearing
(b) The panel’s recommendation shall be forwarded to the Committee within 15 calendar days after receipt of the transcript. The transcript and all documentary evidence shall also be forwarded to the Committee.
6.6 CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE
(a) The Committee, in closed session, shall consider only the panel’s findings, conclusions and recommendations as well as the transcript and forwarded evidence. The Committee shall not consider new evidence.
(b) Normally, within 15 calendar days of receipt of the panel’s report, the Committee shall issue a written decision to the parties. However, the Committee may refer the matter back to the panel for further examination of specified issues. Any such referral shall be accompanied by written instructions, which shall include deadlines for the further proceedings. No case may be referred back to the panel more than once. The Committee’s decision shall include specific written findings of fact, conclusions, and remedies, in the form of a reasoned opinion based upon the evidence at the hearing.
(c) The Committee shall notify, in writing, the parties concerned and the Provost/VPHS, if Provost/VPHS is not a party, of its decision and shall provide each with copies of the findings, conclusions, and opinions.
(d) If the Committee finds academic freedom violations or improper considerations occurred, it shall identify in its decision the violation(s) found and the necessary corrective measures. In a case where the matter concerns a personnel decision resulting from a formal review process, such as a mid-probationary review or tenure review, the corrective measures may require carrying out the review process leading up to the personnel decision a second time, and making a decision based on the second review. If so, only one such repetition of a review shall be permitted, and if appropriate, the faculty member shall be granted an additional contract for one year. In other cases, the Committee may conclude that the appropriate corrective measure is to reverse the original personnel decision; in such a case, the Committee shall enter a reasoned decision to that effect.
(e) Procedural errors alone shall not be the basis for granting tenure, promotion, or other change in a faculty member's employment status. However, if the Committee finds that procedural errors prejudiced a personnel decision regarding a faculty member, this shall normally lead to a Committee decision to require that the review process leading up to the personnel decision be carried out a second time, and a decision be made based on the second review. Only one such repetition of a review shall be permitted. In such a case, the Committee's decision shall identify the procedural error(s) found and the necessary corrective measures. If these corrective measures require, the faculty member shall be granted an additional contract for one year. If the Committee concludes that despite the procedural errors the review process should not be repeated, it shall enter a reasoned decision to that effect.
6.7 APPEAL OF COMMITTEE DECISION TO THE PRESIDENT
Appeals of a decision of the Committee shall be taken to the President, except as noted below in Sec. 6.8 (a). The appeal shall be filed within 20 working days of receipt of the Committee’s decision. The appeal shall include a summary of the facts, the process, and the grounds for the appeal. The statement shall be filed with the President whose office shall furnish copies to the parties. Within 20 working days of receiving an appeal, the President will provide, in writing, a reasoned decision to the involved parties and the Committee. The decision by the President is final, subject to discretionary review by the Board of Regents. Requests for such review shall be made within 20 working days of receipt of the President’s decision and shall follow the provision set forth in Sec. 6.8 (b)-(d) below.
6.8 REVIEW BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS
(a) In case of a University-initiated dismissal of a tenured faculty member, or in other cases where the Committee has made a finding of violation of academic freedom or improper considerations (in either case, whether or not specific violations of Faculty Handbook procedures were found to have occurred), there shall be no right of appeal to the President, but a request for review by the Board of Regents may be filed. Requests for such review shall be made within 20 working days of receipt of the Committee’s decision and shall follow the provisions set forth below. In the case of a University-initiated dismissal of a faculty member as noted in Sec. 6.4.3 (m), the review of the Board of Regents, if requested, is mandatory; in all other cases, the review of the Board is discretionary. In cases where the Committee does not make a finding of violation of academic freedom or improper considerations, either the complainant or respondent shall have the right of appeal to the President, and as noted in Sec. 6.7, the President’s decision in turn may be appealed for discretionary review by the Board of Regents. The provisions set forth below shall govern such request for review.
(b) Requests for discretionary review shall include a summary of the facts, the process, and the reasons justifying extraordinary review. The statement shall be filed with the President whose office shall furnish copies to the parties and the Board of Regents. If the Board accepts review of the case, notice shall be provided to the principals, President, and the Committee.
(c) In its review, the Board of Regents may call upon the Chair of the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee and/or a designee, to discuss the Committee decision and/or to consult in interpreting relevant FacultyHandbook or American Assn. of University Professors (AAUP) policies. Review shall be on the record, with opportunity for the parties to submit additional written and oral arguments, pursuant to procedures established by the Regents for the case. Consistent with the independent nature of the review, the Regents will be represented by non-University counsel. Within 40 working days of receipt of the request for review, the Regents shall issue a decision. The Regents may affirm the case or remand it to the Committee for further proceedings. Any remand shall be accompanied by instructions to the Committee, which shall include a deadline of no more than 20 working days for the further proceedings. The Committee shall reconsider the case taking account of the stated objections and receiving new evidence if necessary.
(d) After reconsideration, the Committee shall frame its decision and communicate it to the parties involved and to the Board. After study of the Committee’s reconsideration, accompanied by the opportunity for final oral and written arguments by the principals or their representatives, the Board of Regents shall make a decision that may not be appealed further within the University.
*Approved by Regents: January 11, 1964; January 18, 1969; March 15, 1969; November 8, 1969; January 9, 1971; April 16, 1971; December 20, 1974; February 1, 1975; September 27, 1975; June 13, 1977; August 29, 1978; June 1, 1979; August 12, 1983, August 6, 1985; December 8, 1998.
**Approved by Faculty: February 11, 1964; December 10, 1968; March 11, 1969; September 23, 1969; December 8, 1970; April 20, 1971; December 10, 1974; September 9, 1975; May 11, 1977; May 11, 1978; May 9, 1979; October 14, 1980; March 8, 1983; January 18, 1985; December 7, 1998.