Requesting an appeal
Either party may request an appeal (“Request for Appeal”) of the dismissal of a formal complaint or any allegations therein, the hearing officer’s final determination and/or the sanctions imposed. The appeal process will be determined based on the type of alleged violation (Tier I or Tier II). The appeal panel will decide the appeal.
A request for an appeal must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within five days of the delivery of the Notice of Hearing Outcome. The Request for Appeal will be forwarded to the chair of the appeal panel to determine if the request meets the grounds for appeal.
Grounds for appeal
Appeals are limited to the following grounds:
- Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made and that could affect the outcome of the matter
- The Title IX Coordinator, investigators, or hearing officers had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the specific complainant or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter
If the Request for Appeal does not meet the grounds outlined in school policy, the request will be denied and the parties (and their advisors) will be notified in writing of the denial and the reasons.
Disagreement with the findings or recommended sanctions, in and of itself, is insufficient grounds for appeal. In addition, a party’s decision not to participate in the hearing proceedings may not later be used as a basis for appeal.
Appeal panel composition and deliberation
The appeal panel will include a representative from each of the three disciplinary bodies.
No individuals involved in the previous process may serve on the appeal panel.
The appeal panel will meet in a closed session. This meeting is not a hearing. The appeal panel will evaluate the appeal on applicable grounds.
Appeal review process
- The non-appealing party (and their advisors), the Title IX Coordinator, and, when appropriate, the investigators and the original hearing officer will be provided a copy of the request with the approved grounds and then be given three days to submit a response to the portion of the appeal that was approved and involves them. All responses will be forwarded by the appeal chair to all parties for review and comment.
- At this time, the non-appealing party may also choose to raise a new ground for appeal. If so, that appeal will be reviewed for standing by the appeal chair and either denied or approved. If approved, it will be forwarded to the appropriate parties.
- Neither party may submit any new requests for appeal after the three-day response period.
- The appeal chair will collect any additional information needed. All documentation regarding the approved grounds and the subsequent responses will be shared with the appeal panel. The appeal chair will render a decision in no more than three days, barring exigent circumstances. All decisions are by majority vote and apply the preponderance of the evidence standard.
- For any approved appeal request, the appeal panel will review the hearing record to determine whether the basis for appeal may have impacted the original decision.
- The appeal panel’s review is limited to upholding the original decision or remand to the appropriate office/stage of the process for reconsideration in light of the grounds for appeal.
- The original hearing officer’s alleged deviation from procedures will not necessarily warrant a reversal of the hearing officer’s decision unless there is evidence this deviation caused significant prejudice to the respondent,
- The appeal panel will generally issue its written decision within three days of the conclusion of the appeal panel meeting. The appeal decision will explain the reasoning for the decision, including a review of any sanctions recommended by the hearing officer. The appeal panel will submit its written decision to the Title IX Coordinator for evaluation and implementation.
- Decisions on appeal are to be deferential to the original decision. Changes to the findings will only be made when there is a clear error. Changes to the sanctions or responsive actions will only occur if there is compelling justification.
- Appeals are not intended to provide for a full re-hearing (de novo) of the allegations. In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing and pertinent documentation regarding the specific grounds for appeal.
- An appeal is not an opportunity for the appeal panel or appeal chair to substitute their judgment for that of the original hearing officer merely because they disagree with the finding and/or sanctions.
- The appeal panel or appeal chair may consult with the Title IX Coordinator on procedural or rationale questions if needed. Documentation of all such consultations will be maintained.
- Appeals granted based on new evidence should typically be remanded to the original Investigators and hearing officer for reconsideration. Other appeals may be remanded at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or, in limited circumstances, decided on appeal.
- Once an appeal is decided, the outcome is final. Additional appeals are not permitted, even if a decision or sanction is changed on remand (except in the case of a new hearing).
- In rare cases where a procedural or substantive error cannot be cured by the original hearing officer (as in cases of bias or unavailability), the appeal decision may order a new hearing with a new hearing officer.
- The results of a remand to the hearing officer cannot be appealed. The results of a new hearing can be appealed, once, on any of the available appeal grounds.
In cases in which the appeal results in reinstatement to the school or resumption of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the respondent to their prior status, recognizing that some lost opportunities may be unavoidable.
Can I appeal a finding from a hearing?
After a hearing has been convened, and within five business days of receiving the hearing outcome, the parties will have an opportunity to submit a written appeal outlining why they believe one or more of the criteria for appeal exists in their case.
For more information, see Appeals.
How does the appeal process work?
Either party, respondent or complainant, may request an appeal.
The appeal process will be determined on the findings of Tier I or Tier II violations. The appeal panel will decide the appeal.
For more information, such as grounds and time limits for an appeal, see Appeals.
What is the status of sanctions during the appeal process?
Any sanctions imposed as a result of the hearing stay during the appeal process. Supportive measures may be reinstated, as warranted.