Severe Sanctions
Imposition of Sanctions Other Than Dismissal

Commission on Faculty Affairs and
Commission on Administrative and Professional Faculty Affairs
Resolution 1997-98A

Approved by CFA: December 12, 1997
Approved by CAPFA: November 20, 1997
First Reading, Univ Council: January 19, 1998
Approved by University Council:
Approved by Board of Visitors:
Effective Date: Upon approval

WHEREAS, the current Faculty Handbook does not sufficiently explicate sanctions between reprimand and dismissal for cause that might be appropriately invoked in cases of unacceptable conduct and/or serious breach of university policy, nor the process by which such sanctions might be imposed; and

WHEREAS, charges ofunacceptable conduct or a serious breach of university policy which have been referred to, investigated, and substantiated by the Ethics Committee, Internal Audit, the EO/AA Office, or panels concerned with Scholarly Misconduct may be most appropriately addressed in a manner short of dismissal; and

WHEREAS, the AAUP recommends that the imposition of severe sanctions follow procedures for dismissal for cause;

THEREFORE be it resolved, that the Faculty Handbook be amended as proposed to incorporate new policy on the imposition of sanctions other than dismissal for cause for both instructional and administrative and professional faculty. New and revised text is attached.


Proposed Revisions to Section 2.11 of the Faculty Handbook

to include Severe Sanctions

Material Applicable to Instructional Faculty

[The Commission on Faculty Affairs recommends a revision of section 2.11 of the Faculty Handbook with all existing material related to reduction in force moved to a new, separate section. Section 2.11 would then be renamed as below with new material added. For purposes of understanding and discussion at University Council, CFA requested that the existing text of the Dismissal for Cause policy be printed below. However, there are no changes recommended for the dismissal for cause policy, other than a new lead-in paragraph. All new or substantively revised material appears in bold italics.]

2.11 Imposition of a Severe Sanction or Dismissal For Cause

2.11.1 Adequate Cause

Adequate cause for imposition of a severe sanction or dismissal will be related, directly and substantially, to the fitness of faculty members in their professional capacity as teachers and scholars. Imposition of a severe sanction or dismissal will not be used to restrain faculty members in their exercise of academic freedom or other rights of American citizens.

Adequate cause includes:

  1. violation of professional ethics (see especially section 2.7),

  2. incompetence as determined through post-tenure review,

  3. willful failure to carry out professional obligations or assigned responsibilities,

  4. willful violation of university and/or government policies,

  5. falsification of information relating to professional qualifications,

  6. inability to perform assigned duties satisfactorily because of incarceration, or

  7. personal deficiencies that prevent the satisfactory performance of responsibilities (e.g., dependence on drugs or alcohol).

Reason to consider the imposition of a severe sanction or dismissal for cause is usually determined by a thorough and careful investigation by an appropriately-charged faculty committee (as in the case of allegations of ethical or scholarly misconduct, or through a post-tenure review) or by the relevant administrator (for example, the department head, EO/AA Officer, Internal Auditor, or Campus Police). Generally, these investigations result in a report of findings; some reports also include a recommendation for sanctions. The report is directed to the relevant administrator for action; it will also be shared with the faculty member. Imposition of a severe sanction or initiation of dismissal for cause proceedings, if warranted, shall follow the procedures set forth below.

2.11.2 Imposition of a Severe Sanction

1) Definition and Examples:

A severe sanction generally involves a significant loss or penalty to a faculty member, such as but not limited to a demotion in rank and/or a reduction in salary or suspension without pay for a period not to exceed one year, imposed for unacceptable conduct and/or a serious breach of university policy.

Routine personnel actions such as a recommendation for a below-average or no merit increase, conversion from a calendar-year to an academic-year appointment, reassignment, or removal of an administrative stipend do not constitute "sanctions" within the meaning of this policy. A personnel action such as these may be a valid issue for grievance under procedures defined in the Faculty Handbook.

2) Process for Imposing a Severe Sanction:

The conduct of a faculty member, although not constituting adequate cause for dismissal, may be sufficiently grave to justify imposition of a severe sanction. Imposition of a severe sanction shall follow the same procedures as dismissal for cause beginning with Step 1. If the matter is not resolved at the first step, a standing or ad hoc faculty committee will conduct an informal inquiry (Step 2). The requirement for such an informal inquiry shall be satisfied if the investigation was conducted by an appropriately-charged faculty committee (as would be the case with an alleged violation of the ethics or scholarly misconduct policies) and the matter was subsequently referred to the administration for sanctions or punitive action.

2.11.3 Dismissal for Cause

The following procedures apply to faculty members with tenure or continued-appointment, or in the case of involuntary termination of an instructional faculty member on a fixed-term regular appointment before the end of the term. Procedures for dismissal for cause for administrative and professional faculty without tenure or continued appointment are contained in Chapter 3 of the Faculty Handbook. Dismissal for cause procedures for special research faculty are contained in the Handbook for Special Research Faculty.

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[All of the following material describing the dismissal for cause procedure is existing language. No changes are called for. This is provided simply to improve understanding of the procedures that would be utilized if a severe sanction were recommended and pursued.]

Dismissal for cause shall be preceded by:

  1. discussions between the faculty member and the department head or chair, the dean, and/or the Provost, looking toward a mutual settlement;

  2. informal inquiry by a standing (or, if necessary, ad hoc) faculty committee having concern for personnel matters (this committee shall attempt to effect an adjustment and, failing to do so, shall determine whether in its opinion dismissal proceedings should be undertaken, without its opinion being binding on the President's decision whether to proceed);

  3. the furnishing by the President (in what follows, the President may delegate the Provost to serve instead) of a statement of particular charges, in consultation with the department head or chair and dean. The statement of charges will be included in a letter to the faculty member indicating the intention to dismiss, with notification of the right of a formal hearing. The faculty member will be given a specified reasonable time limit to request a hearing, that time limit to be no less than ten days.

Procedures for Conducting a Formal Hearing If Requested:

If a hearing committee is to be established, the President will ask the Faculty Senate, through its president, to nominate nine faculty members to serve on the hearing committee. These faculty members should be nominated on the basis of their objectivity and competence and of the regard in which they are held in the academic community; they shall be determined to have no bias or untoward interest in the case and to be available at the anticipated time of hearing. The faculty member and the President will each have a maximum of two challenges from among the nominees without stated cause. The President will then name a five-member hearing committee from the remaining names on the nominated slate. The hearing committee will elect its own chair.

Pending a final decision on the dismissal, the faculty member will be suspended only if immediate harm to himself or herself or to others is threatened by continuance. If the President believes such suspension is warranted, consultation will take place with the Reconciliation Committee of the Faculty Senate concerning the propriety, the length, and other conditions of the suspension. Ordinarily, salary will continue during such a period of suspension.

The hearing committee may hold joint pre-hearing meetings with both parties to simplify the issues, effect stipulations of facts, provide for the exchange of documentary or other information, and achieve such other appropriate pre-hearing objectives as will make the hearing fair and expeditious.

Notice of hearing of at least 20 days will be made in writing. The faculty member may waive appearance at the hearing, instead responding to the charges in writing or otherwise denying the charges or asserting that the charges do not support a finding of adequate cause. In such a case, the hearing committee will evaluate all available evidence and rest its recommendation on the evidence in the record.

The committee, in consultation with the President and the faculty member, will exercise its judgment as to whether the hearing should be public or private. During the proceedings, the faculty member will be permitted to have an academic advisor and legal counsel. At the request of either party or on the initiative of the hearing committee, a representative of an appropriate educational association shall be permitted to attend the hearing as an observer.

A verbatim record of the hearing will be taken.

The burden of proof that adequate cause exists rests with the institution.

The hearing committee will grant adjournment to enable either party to investigate evidence about which a valid claim of surprise is made. The faculty member will be afforded an opportunity to obtain necessary witnesses and documentary or other evidence. The administration will cooperate with the hearing committee in securing witnesses and evidence. The faculty member and administration will have the right to confront and cross-examine all witnesses. The committee will determine the admissibility of statements of unavailable witnesses and, if possible, provide for interrogatories.

The hearing committee will not be bound by strict rules of legal evidence, and may admit any evidence that is of probative value in determining the issues involved. Every possible effort will be made to obtain the most reliable evidence available.

The findings of fact and the recommendation will be based solely on the hearing record. The President and the faculty member will be notified of the recommendation in writing and will be given a written copy of the record of the hearing.

If the hearing committee concludes that adequate cause for dismissal has not been established, it will so report to the President. In such a case, the committee may recommend sanctions short of outright dismissal or may recommend no sanctions. If the President rejects the recommendation, the hearing committee and the faculty member will be so informed in writing, with reasons, and each will be given an opportunity for response.

Appeal to the Board of Visitors:

If the President decides to impose dismissal or other severe sanction, whether that is the recommendation of the hearing committee, the faculty member may request that the full record of the case be submitted to the Board of Visitors (or a duly constituted committee of the Board). The Board's review will be based on the record of the committee hearing, and it will provide opportunity for argument, written or oral or both, by the principals at the hearing or their representatives. If the recommendation of the hearing committee is not sustained, the proceeding will be returned to the committee with specific objections. The committee will then reconsider, taking into account the stated objections and receiving new evidence if necessary. The Board will make a final decision only after study of the committee's reconsideration.

Notice of Termination/Dismissal:

In cases where gross misconduct is decided, termination will usually be immediate. The standard for gross misconduct shall be behavior so egregious that it evokes condemnation by the academic community generally and is so utterly blameworthy as to make it inappropriate to offer additional notice or severance pay. Gross misconduct shall be determined by the first faculty committee that considers the case. In cases not involving gross misconduct, (a) a faculty member with tenure or continued appointment will receive up to one year of salary or notice, and (b) a probationary faculty member will receive up to three months salary or notice. These terms of dismissal shall begin at the date of final notification of dismissal.

Proposed Revision Applicable for Administrative and Professional Faculty

Text of the proposed revision of section 3.6 of the Faculty Handbook relevant to Administrative and Professional Faculty is below. Placement of the new text would be handled as follows:


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