Allegations of Incompetence, Neglect of Duty, or Misconduct

4.6  ALLEGATIONS OF INCOMPETENCE, NEGLECT OF DUTY, OR MISCONDUCT >

Incompetence, neglect of duty, or misconduct must be of such a nature as to render the individual unfit to continue as a member of the faculty.  Adequate cause for sanctions including dismissal must be related directly and substantially to the fitness of faculty members in their professional capacity as academicians.  Dismissal shall not be used to restrain faculty members in their lawful exercise of any individual legal rights.

4.6.1  Inquiry    When a program director, department chair, or college dean receives an allegation or finds evidence that a faculty member under his or her supervision may be guilty of incompetence, neglect of duty, or misconduct, that administrative officer shall discuss the allegation and/or offending conduct with the faculty member.

4.6.1.1  Should a complainant wish a conversation with the administrative officer about an alleged violation by a faculty member to remain confidential, and should the complainant believe that the administrator’s discussion with the faculty member would reveal the complainant’s identity, the administrative officer shall end the inquiry with no further action taken against the faculty member (subject to the conditions of §4.3).   No formal notes, reports, files, or any other official documentation shall be kept about this conversation.

4.6.1.2  Should safety considerations require the administrative officer to pursue an inquiry and/or investigation, the complainant’s identity will be kept confidential to the extent possible, but the faculty member shall be apprised of the allegation and have access to any written documents produced by University officials or committees.

4.6.1.3  Should the administrative officer determine that there is reason to proceed, he or she shall define the alleged or perceived violation and explain relevant policy and procedures in writing, and s/he shall provide the faculty member an opportunity to respond.  The administrative officer shall seek a solution that is mutually satisfactory to all parties involved (e.g., an agreement to stop the offending conduct).  A chair or program director may negotiate a settlement involving a minor sanction; however, only academic officers at the level of college dean or higher may impose more serious sanctions, and only with the approval of the Provost.

4.6.2  Informal Investigation and Mediation    Should no settlement be reached during the inquiry, the appropriate administrative officer shall deliver written notice of the allegation of incompetence, neglect of duty, or misconduct to the accused faculty member and to the Provost; the faculty member will have ten calendar days to respond.  Following that notification, the Provost shall attempt to reach a solution with the faculty member that is mutually satisfactory.  If a settlement is still not reached at that point, the Provost will turn the matter over to by the University Faculty Affairs Committee (UFAC) for formal investigation following the procedures outlined below.

4.6.3  Formal Investigation and Resolution    The formal investigation shall be conducted by the University Faculty Affairs Committee (UFAC) in accordance with the procedures outlined in §4.3 and §4.4.  The Provost shall submit to the UFAC the written statement of charges, framed with reasonable particularity, along with any response from the faculty member.

4.6.3.1  UFAC Findings    If the UFAC concludes that sufficient evidence has been established to prove the allegation, it may include in its formal finding a recommendation for appropriate action by the University (which might include major sanction or dismissal). Upon receipt of the Committee’s formal finding, the faculty member shall have ten calendar days to submit a response to the Committee’s findings to the Provost.  If the UFAC concludes that sufficient evidence has not been established to prove the allegation, it will so report in writing to the Provost.

4.6.3.2  Response by Provost to UFAC Finding    Should the Provost agree with the Committee’s formal finding and recommendation about disciplinary action, he or she shall so inform the faculty member, the Committee, and the President, in writing, formalizing the action to be taken, and particularly of any sanction (including dismissal).  Should the Provost disagree with the Committee’s Formal Findings and/or recommendation about disciplinary action, the Provost will determine the appropriate action to be taken by the University only after consulting with the UFAC.  The Provost shall then inform the faculty member, the Committee, and the President, in writing, of the action to be taken, and particularly of any sanction (including dismissal).  The Provost shall include the findings and/or recommendation of the UFAC in his or her report.  If the Provost rejects the Committee’s formal findings, he or she will state the reasons for doing so, and describe any proposed action, in writing and within ten calendar days, to the Committee and to the faculty member; the Committee and the faculty member shall have ten calendar days in which to respond before the Provost submits his or her final decision, along with any response from the faculty member and/or the University Faculty Affairs Committee, to the President.

4.6.4  Action in Cases of Misconduct   If misconduct is established, the Provost may take steps necessary to clarify the public record (e.g., public announcements, etc.). As appropriate, the Provost may also notify other concerned parties not previously aware of the case, including law enforcement authorities.

4.6.5  Appeal of Formal Investigation Major Sanctions    The faculty member may appeal a major sanction on procedural grounds to the Faculty Appeals and Grievance Committee or on any grounds first to the President and then to the Board of Visitors (per §4.5).