Appendix 1: COF Hearing Procedures for Faculty Sanctions
(written by Committee on Faculty; reported to faculty and included in the by-laws for informational purposes)
If personnel problems are brought for its review, the Committee on Faculty will follow these procedures. In order to make a recommendation to the President concerning a faculty member, COF shall conduct a hearing to ascertain the facts relevant to the case, consider the circumstances both mitigating and aggravating, hear from all witnesses who have direct testimony to offer, test the evidence, and make a finding of fact. Further, based on the evidence obtained, COF is to deliberate and recommend either call for dismissal, or an alternative sanction, or a continuation of the appointment without further prejudice. The hearings will follow the rules of confidentiality that govern all COF personnel deliberations.
Prior to its evidentiary sessions COF is to receive a statement of the charges from the chief administrator working on the case as well as any other related documents. The chief administrator can be the Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) or another appropriate Vice-President. COF is to receive a complete report of the investigations undertaken by the chief administrator and/or other officials of the University, such as the Campus Police, Chair of the Department, etc. COF is to receive lists of witnesses and relevant evidence from both the chief administrator and faculty member. The faculty member may provide a written response to the materials provided by the chief administrator. COF will notify the chief administrator and the faculty member involved of the witnesses and evidence at least two days prior to the commencement of each evidentiary session. The witnesses are restricted only to those who may offer material evidence. Character witnesses are excluded from testifying.
The faculty member and chief administrator will be given at least four in-session days notice before COF convenes its hearing. COF will consider legitimate reasons for delay, but only serious reasons, such as health difficulties should result in a delay.
The hearing is to be conducted by the Chair of COF. For its evidentiary sessions an official tape recording is to be made by the COF Coordinator. This tape will be retained until the case is resolved. It shall be made available to the Appeals Board if it is convened. Once the case is resolved the tape will be destroyed. The following persons may attend the evidentiary sessions: the faculty members of COF; the faculty member who has been charged; an advisor to him or her, who may be anyone from the University community; the chief administrator; the Vice President of Academic Affairs (if not the chief administrator in the case); and the COF Coordinator. Witnesses are to wait in separate areas until they are called in for their testimony. Each witness may be accompanied by advisor selected from the University community. Once a witness has given her/his testimony he/she will be excused from the proceedings.
Both the chief administrator and the faculty member may call witnesses, COF may question both parties on any points relevant to the case. COF will determine the order of witnesses called. Witnesses may be questioned by the individual calling them and by COF members. The VPAA, if s/he is not the chief administrator, will be given the opportunity to ask questions of the witnesses. In situations in which a witness is not comfortable providing evidence in front of the faculty member, the evidence will be given without the faculty member present. However, the advisor will be present to hear the witness and the faculty member will hear the tape or a transmission of that portion of the proceedings. Such safeguards are particularly important in cases in which a student is a key witness and/or sensitive issues (e.g. sexual harassment, racism) are involved. Witness concerns should be communicated to the Chair of COF.
If COF believes it is necessary to call additional witnesses, recall witnesses, or seek additional evidence as a result of its investigations, it may do so. COF may adjourn the evidentiary session at any time but shall reconvene at its earliest convenience.
Following COF's usual procedures, the deliberations will take place in two phases. The initial deliberative session of the hearing will include the members of COF and the VPAA. After discussion of the evidence a straw vote will indicate COF's initial position. The VPAA will express her/his agreement or disagreement with COF's recommendations and explain his or her rationale. This is to ensure that both COF and the chief academic officer are aware of the issues considered by both sides and that communication of all issues and concerns has been clear and complete. Final deliberations will involve only the COF faculty members. COF will deliberate on the evidence and decide (a) on a finding of fact that either supports or denies the culpability of the faculty member and (b) on a recommendation to the President. The recommendation may either call for dismissal, or an alternative sanction, or a continuation of the appointment without further prejudice. The recommendation shall include the finding of fact in the written report. Copies of the complete recommendation will be sent to the faculty member and the VPAA. The VPAA will inform COF of her/his final recommendation to the President.
The President may seek further clarification from COF on its recommendation. The Chair of COF will be responsible for communicating with the President. As with other personnel decisions, if the President decides against COF's recommendation, he or she shall communicate to COF explaining her or his rationale.
If the decision by the President is for dismissal or other major sanctions, the faculty member will have four in-session days to call for a review of the COF recommendation. The review process will follow the procedures stated in Article VIII.D. of the Personnel Policies but will include, when appropriate, further consideration of the case in light of the communications from the VPAA and the President.