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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

PROCEDURES FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATIONS OF POLICY VIOLATIONS ALLEGED AGAINST FACULTY MEMBERS

 

Janet Staiger, professor, radio-television-film, has submitted the following legislation on behalf of the Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility. The secretary has classified this as general legislation. It will be presented to the Faculty Council for action at its meeting on November 18, 2002.

<signed>

John R. Durbin, Secretary
The Faculty Council


Posted on the Faculty Council web site on November 11, 2002. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.


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PROCEDURES FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATIONS OF POLICY VIOLATIONS ALLEGED AGAINST FACULTY MEMBERS

Significant violations of University policies impact the integrity of the institution and the personal rights of those involved, both the institution or person allegedly harmed by a policy violation and the individual charged with breaching established policies.

The following shall be the minimal standards for all administrative investigations of alleged significant policy violations by faculty members at The University of Texas at Austin. Such investigations include but are not limited to allegations of violations of sexual harassment and misconduct policies, consensual relations policies, and non-discrimination policies. We define “significant policy violations” as ones in which the property rights of a faculty member might be taken away or ones in which other disciplining would occur to which the faculty member objects. Policies about specific types of violations may include more detailed features of these guidelines, but these shall stand as minimal guidelines.

Although this policy parallels in many ways the procedures for dismissal of a tenured faculty member, the procedures for that are covered elsewhere in the Handbook of Operating Procedures and Regent’s Rules, and those procedures supersede the ones outlined here. In cases in which it may be appropriate to suspend with pay a faculty member while an investigation or hearing is in process, procedures for a faculty hearing tribunal prior to the suspension with pay as outlined in Regents Rules Part One, chapter 3, section 6.33, will be followed. 1

COMPLAINANT’S EXPECTATIONS

In all administrative investigations, the institution is the unit alleging the violation of a University policy. However, some policy violations may involve individual faculty, staff, or students who are those potentially harmed by the policy violation. In such cases, these University members should have minimal expectations about the process as well. These individuals shall be “complainants.”

A complainant—an individual who has alleged harm from a violation of University policies—should minimally expect that:

1. University officials will treat all incidents with appropriate professional seriousness.
2. Complainants have the right to an advocate or lawyer accompanying them through the University investigation and any hearings relating to the allegations.
3. Complainants have the right to attend any hearings relating to the allegations.

ACCUSED’S EXPECTATIONS

Statement of Allegations

1. The accused shall receive a statement of the allegations that is clear and particular. The provision(s) of the specific policy alleged to be violated must be included in this statement.
2. At the time of receiving the statement of allegations, the accused shall also receive a copy of the evidence that has been gathered to that point to support the allegations. The accused shall continue to receive promptly copies of any further evidence to be used in supporting the allegations.
3. The accused has a right to a sufficient discovery of relevant documents at no cost for the discovery process and a reasonable cost for copies of documents. If questions develop over the size or scope of the discovery request, the faculty ombudsperson will help negotiate a resolution.
4. The accused has the right to an advocate or lawyer accompanying him/her through the University investigation and any hearings relating to the allegations.
5. . The accused shall have a reasonable time to respond to the charges (a minimum of twenty working days). The response may be in writing or in a meeting with the institution’s appropriate representatives.

1Amended by the Faculty Council on November 18, 2002.


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6. If, after the accused has responded, the institution still believes that a significant policy violation has occurred, the accused has a right to a hearing before loss of property rights or disciplining.

Hearing and Determination of the Allegations

7. The burden of proof resides with the institution and will be satisfied by clear and convincing evidence.
 8. The accused has the right to have the allegations heard by a panel of his/her faculty peers. The panel will be faculty drawn by the Grievance Committee chair from the hearing panel pool established as part of the University grievance process (see HOP 3.18, sect. III). Once the hearing panel is constituted, it will rule on requests such as the length and details of the hearing.
9. The accused shall be afforded a speedy resolution of the complaint (a maximum of thirty days between the accused responding to the charges and a hearing by peers, unless the faculty member requests an extension).
10. Both the accused and the institution have the right to request that the hearings will be private. If either makes this request, the hearing will be closed.
11. The accused, complainants, and University officials shall seek to avoid public statements and other publicity about the investigation until the proceedings have been completed, including any appeals to the president.
12. At the request of either party or the hearing panel, representatives of responsible educational associations such as the AAUP, TACT, FIRE, and TFA will be permitted to attend the proceedings as observers.
13. At the hearing, the accused has the right to provide counter evidence, witnesses, and a statement of his/her own position about the matter.
14. At the hearing, the accused has the right to question complainants and the institution’s and complainants’ witnesses under oath.
15. A verbatim or electronic record of the hearing or hearings will be taken, and a written copy will be given to the accused without cost.
16. The accused shall receive the decision of the hearing panel in writing.
17. The accused has the right to appeal the decision to the president of the University.