Procedures for Formal Investigation of Violations of University Policy


This section outlines the common procedures and general guidelines used for the formal investigation of any allegation of violation of university policy by a faculty member.  The formal investigation shall be conducted by the University Faculty Affairs Committee (UFAC). Subsequent appeals, if any, are made to the Faculty Appeals and Grievance Committee (FAGC).  The Provost shall submit the written statement of charges, the report prepared by the relevant faculty committee or investigative team, and the faculty member’s response (if any).

4.4.1 Challenges to Committee membership    The accused faculty member and the Provost will each have a maximum of two challenges to the composition of the UFAC for the purposes of the formal investigation, without stated cause.  To prevent the perception of bias or conflict of interest, any member will step down at the request of a majority of the members of the UFAC who have not been removed by a challenge.  The committee must have at least five members to conduct the formal investigation. Any necessary replacements on the committee should challenges and recusals result in fewer than five members will be made by the University Faculty Organization Committee.

4.4.2 Pre-Hearing Meetings    The UFAC may, with the consent of the parties concerned, hold joint pre-hearing meetings with the parties in order to (1) simplify the issues, (2) effect stipulations of facts, (3) provide for the exchange of documentary or other information, and (4) achieve such other appropriate pre-hearing objectives as will make the hearing fair, effective, and expeditious.

4.4.3 Required Notification    Service of notice of hearing with specific charges in writing will be made at least twenty calendar days prior to the hearing.  The faculty member may waive a hearing and may respond to the charges in writing at any time before the hearing.  If the faculty member waives a hearing, but denies the charges, the UFAC will evaluate all available evidence and rest its recommendation upon the evidence in the record.

4.4.4  Conduct of Hearings    The UFAC, in consultation with the President, the Provost, 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 advisor and/or lawyer of the faculty member’s own choice.  The advisor/lawyer serves strictly as a source for the faculty member, and may not speak during the proceedings except to the faculty member.  At the request of either party or the UFAC, a representative of an appropriate educational association shall be permitted to attend the proceedings as an observer.  A verbatim record of the hearing or hearings will be taken and a transcript will be made available to the faculty member without cost, at the faculty member’s request.  The UFAC may grant adjournments to enable either party to investigate material evidence for which a valid claim of surprise is made and to prevent prejudice.

4.4.5  Rights to Cross Examine During the Hearing    The faculty member and the administration will have the right to confront and cross-examine all witnesses.  Where the witnesses cannot or will not appear, but the UFAC determines that the interests of justice require admission of their statements, the UFAC will identify witnesses, disclose their statements, and if possible provide for written interrogatories.

4.4.6  Evidence and Standards of Proof    The burden of proof rests with the University and shall be satisfied only by clear and convincing evidence as introduced in the record of the hearing when considered as a whole.  The UFAC 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 reasonable effort will be made to obtain the most reliable evidence available.  The faculty member will be afforded an opportunity to obtain necessary witnesses and documentary or other evidence; however, the parties bear the burden of arranging for the presentation of witnesses and documentary or other evidence.  The administration will cooperate to the extent practicable with the UFAC in securing witnesses and making available documentary and other evidence.  In the hearing of charges of incompetence, evidence should include testimony of qualified faculty members from this or other institutions of higher education.

4.4.7  Avoidance of Public Statements About the Proceedings    Except for such simple announcements as may be required, covering the time of the hearing and similar matters, public statements and publicity about the cases by either the faculty member or administrative officers will be avoided so far as possible until the proceedings have been completed, including appeal to the Board of Visitors.

4.4.8 Formal Finding    The UFAC shall render a formal finding based upon the evidence admitted at the hearing or hearings; the formal finding shall be based solely on the record as a whole and shall be in writing.  The formal finding shall reflect the majority opinion of the University Faculty Affairs Committee and shall contain a summary of the committee’s proceedings and deliberations.  It should also describe the policies and procedures under which the investigation was conducted, how and from whom information was obtained relevant to the investigation, the findings, and the basis for the findings.  The Provost and the faculty member shall receive a copy of the formal finding and, should either one request it, a copy of the record of the hearing.