VI. F. Appeal Process

VI. F. Appeal Process

1. Either party may request that an Appeal Panel review the Investigators’ decision in writing, by submitting a written Notice of Appeal to the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) calendar days of the date of the Notice of Decision.  In the Notice of Appeal, the appealing party must identify one of the following bases for his/her appeal and explain in detail how such a basis for appeal exists in his/her case:

a. To consider new information, unavailable during the investigation, that could be outcome determinative; a summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included;

b.  To assess whether a material deviation from written procedures materially impacted the fairness of the investigation (a deviation materially impacts an investigation if a different outcome is probable if the alleged procedural defect is corrected);

c. To decide if a sanction(s) is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense (either too lenient or too harsh);

d. To assess whether bias on the part of an Investigator deprived the process of impartiality.

2. Within three (3) calendar days of receipt of the Notice of Appeal, the Title IX Coordinator will review the Notice of Appeal, and if the Title IX Coordinator determines that the Notice of Appeal identifies one or more of the listed bases for appeal, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the parties and the Investigators in writing of the appeal and explain the appeal process as outlined below.  If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the Notice of Appeal failed to identify a basis for appeal under this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the appealing party of that determination, and will notify both parties that the Investigators’ decision has become a final decision.

3. If a timely Notice of Appeal, which identifies a recognized basis for appeal, is received by the Title IX Coordinator, he/she will share the Notice of Appeal with the other party and the Investigators, and both the non-appealing party and the Investigators will be given five (5) calendar days to provide the Title IX Coordinator with a written response to the appeal. During the five (5) day response period, any party that has not previously reviewed the Investigation Materials may request to review the Investigation Materials. The Title IX Coordinator will provide access to the Materials during a meeting with the requesting party, but the party will not be allowed to make or retain copies of the Materials. The Title IX Coordinator will share any responses to the Notice of Appeal with the appealing party. The Title IX Coordinator will also inform all parties of the composition of the Appeal Panel.   

4. The Appeal Panel will comprise three individuals appointed by the Title IX Coordinator from a pool of trained administrators/faculty. If, within three calendar days of receiving notification of the makeup of the Appeal Panel, either the complainant or the respondent alleges that a member of the Appeal Panel appointed by the Title IX Coordinator has a conflict of interest, after hearing from both parties on the topic, the Title IX Coordinator will decide whether to excuse the Appeal Panel member and announce his/her decision in writing to both parties.  If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the Appeal Panel member should be excused, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint a replacement.

5. The Title IX Coordinator will ensure that the Appeal Panel is provided with the following materials: (a) the notice of complaint/investigation document; (b) the Investigation Materials; (c) the Investigators’ Investigation Report/Notice of Decision; (d) the Notice of Appeal; and (e) any response to the Notice of Appeal.   These materials comprise the “Record on Appeal.” The Title IX Coordinator will be available as a resource for the Appeal Panel; the Appeal Panel is encouraged to confer with the Title IX Coordinator as needed in an effort to ensure compliance with the outlined processes.

6. The Appeal Panel will issue a written Appeal Decision within five (5) calendar days after receiving the response from the non-appealing party, and that decision will be provided to the parties, the Investigators, and the Title IX Coordinator. In the event the Appeal Panel determines that further action from the Investigators is warranted under a, b, or d, above, the matter will be returned to the Investigators (substitution of a new Investigator may be warranted under subdivision d) to correct the error, reconsider the matter, and issue a new Investigation Report/Notice of Decision, and that decision shall be final. This reconsideration must be completed within five (5) calendar days of the Appeal Panel’s decision. If the Appeal Panel finds a basis for altering the Investigators’ decision under c, above, the Appeal Panel’s Appeal Decision shall be final. In that event, the Appeal Panel’s decision must be consistent with a Notice of Decision as defined below. 

7.  If the respondent is a Tenure-line faculty member, and a Final Decision from the Investigators or Appeal Panel recommends imposition of disciplinary action which constitutes serious sanctions or termination as defined by the Faculty Bylaws, then the matter will be referred to the VPAA/Dean for processing under the procedures set forth in the Faculty Bylaws.

Please Note: The charges of misconduct remain allegations until a final decision is reached and all appeals exhausted under the applicable College procedures.