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XV. Academic Faculty Misconduct

Integrity in teaching and research requires that the faculty body pay careful attention to and resolve in an equitable manner allegations of misconduct concerning its members.

The procedures set forth below permit flexibility and are designed to provide a framework for enabling equitable resolution of allegations of misconduct in a wide variety of circumstances. When applying these to a specific case, persons acting on behalf of the faculty body and others involved in the proceedings should keep in mind the following concerns, including:

  • the importance that the faculty act to maintain standards consistent with recognized ethical best practices of the professoriate, and with the lawful obligations of the faculty;
  • the responsibility of the faculty to the public, and to the private and public institutions and agencies with which the faculty is affiliated and/or has contractual or other arrangements;
  • the necessity for the faculty to protect the rights and reputations of individuals, including person(s) alleged to have engaged in misconduct and the person(s) who make the allegation(s) of misconduct, and
  • the necessity the faculty resolve allegations with care and objectivity, offering ample opportunity for interested parties to be heard, with a resolution brought about as promptly as circumstances permit.

A. Definition of Misconduct

“Misconduct” means actions inconsistent with the College’s Code of Ethics, College policy, applicable federal and state law or policy, or research or other academic standards. The determination as to whether misconduct has occurred must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

B. Procedures

  1. The Chief Academic Officer shall have principal responsibility for receiving and assessing a proper response to allegations of misconduct concerning faculty An allegation will ordinarily be made by a written statement describing the misconduct in sufficient detail to form the basis of an inquiry. To enable the Chief Academic Officer to meet his/her responsibility, all allegations of misconduct, whether initially received by a department chair or other person, shall be promptly brought to the attention of the Dean (and, where appropriate, the President) unless it appears that the allegation, if proven, would not rise to the level of misconduct.
  2. Upon receipt of an allegation of misconduct, the Chief Academic Officer shall determine, after consultation with other offices as seems appropriate (g., Human Resources), whether the conduct described in the allegation is governed by another College policy, procedure relating to which provides for investigation (if appropriate), and resolution, of such allegations. If another College policy or procedure is applicable, the matter will be referred to the appropriate office or individual. The Dean will inform the reporting party where the matter has been referred.
  3. When primary responsibility for resolving the allegation rests with an office other than his/her own, that office should notify the Dean of the outcome of its procedural process.
  4. If the conduct described in the allegation, if verified, rises to the level of misconduct, and no applicable College policy directs that the allegation be handled under a different procedure, the Chief Academic Officer shall determine whether, taking into account the nature of the allegation, it is appropriate to attempt to resolve the matter through informal processes and If this is the case, the Chief Academic Officer shall direct the appropriate department chair to undertake such efforts. Final resolution through informal means shall require the written approval of the Chief Academic Officer, submitted to the department chair responsible for the informal attempt at resolution.
  5. If the matter is not resolved informally, or if the matter is not conducive to informal resolution, and further proceedings are required, the Chief Academic Officer shall direct the appropriate department chair to prepare a written statement of the allegations, identifying the applicable policy or policies violation of which constitutes complaint of the Chief Academic Officer shall provide a complete copy of the written statement to the faculty member accused of misconduct, who will have 10 calendar days from receipt to respond in writing to the Chief Academic Officer.
  6. If the accused faculty member does not dispute the facts alleged, the matter will be submitted to the Faculty Affairs The Committee shall consider the statement of allegations and the accused faculty member’s response. The committee may also seek input from the person whose report gave rise to the allegation. Then, the committee shall prepare a written report to submit to the Chief Academic Officer. In some instances, the committee may recommend that, despite the lack of a dispute over the allegations, investigation should nonetheless occur (e.g., the committee might believe there is a lack of candor in the faculty member’s response, which of itself warrants further investigation).
  7. If there is a dispute over facts, or for other good cause, the Chief Academic Officer, after consultation with the chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee, may establish one or more panels of inquiry to investigate the allegations, with a view to submitting the result of its inquiry to the In deciding upon the composition of the panel(s), the Chief Academic Officer, to help ensure competence and objectivity, shall take into account such factors as:
    1. The subject matter of the inquiry, including the desirability of the panel’s possessing competence in a specialized area, or specialized investigative skills;
    2. The desirability of including on the panel persons associated with individuals who are not members of the faculty and/or who are not associated with the College, and
    3. The importance of selecting people who have had no prior involvement with the matters comprising the subject matter of the inquiry.
  8. The investigation panel shall communicate with the person whose report gave rise to the allegations; the faculty member who has been accused of misconduct, and such other individuals who, in the judgment of the investigative panel, may have information bearing on the The investigative panel will develop, at the conclusion of its efforts, a written report detailing the system and scope of the investigation, and the panel’s assessment of facts relevant to the allegations. The panel should attempt to reach consensus, but the report should identify points where consensus is not reached. It shall forward its report to the chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee.
  9. The chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee will distribute the report to members of the committee, and give a copy to the faculty member accused of The accused faculty member shall be given ten (10) calendar days to provide a written response to the investigation panel report. Upon receipt of the response, the committee shall consider whether further investigation, deliberation, and proceedings are warranted. Upon completion of additional proceedings, should they be found warranted, the committee shall submit its written report the Chief Academic Officer, along with the accused faculty member’s written response. The Committee will, in its panel report, offer conclusions and comments on its assessment of the gravity of offense; recommendations as to possible sanctions, and recommended steps that should be undertaken to prevent future instances of similar misconduct. The Committee shall endeavor to reach consensus on these matters, but will note in its report where consensus has not been reached.
  10. The office of the Chief Academic Officer will provide a copy of the committee’s report to the accused faculty member, who shall be given ten (10) days in which to provide the Chief Academic Officer with a written the Chief Academic Officer shall, in consultation with the President, decide the final outcome of the matter, and will take such actions as may be appropriate. Sanctions may range, from a letter of censure, to probation and monitoring, to termination of appointment in cases which do not involve tenure, unless there is cause. In determining the appropriate sanction, the Chief Academic Officer shall consider: (1) the nature of the violation(s); (2) the degree to which the faculty member’s conduct transgresses the standard set by the relevant policy; (3) the impact of the violation(s), and any aggravating or mitigating factors. If the decision of the Chief Academic Officer varies significantly from the recommendation of the Faculty Affairs Committee, the Dean of Faculty shall provide in writing the reasons for such his/her determinations(s) to the accused faculty member, and to the Chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee.
  11. The decision of theChief Academic Officer, if consistent with the recommendation of the Faculty Affairs Committee, shall be If the decision of the Dean of Faculty departs significantly from the recommendation of the committee, the accused faculty member has ten (10) calendar days to appeal in writing to the President of the College.
  12. If at this point in the process the President determines that the decision of the Dean of Faculty does not depart significantly from the recommendation of the Faculty Affairs Committee, the President shall affirm the decision, which shall be final.
  13. If the President determines that the decision of the Chief Academic Officer departs significantly from the recommendation of the Faculty Affairs Committee, and that the reasons given for his/her determination by the Chief Academic Officer are sound, the President of the College shall affirm the Chief Academic Officer’s decision, which shall be final.
  14. If the President determines that the decision of the Chief Academic Officer departs significantly from the recommendation of the Faculty Affairs Committee, and the reasons (if any) given by the Chief Academic Officer do not support his/her determination, the President shall remand the decision for reconsideration by the Chief Academic Officer, and provide the Chief Academic Officer with appropriate Any such remanded decision shall, after reconsideration by the Dean, be returned to the President for review. Upon the President’s approval of the Chief Academic Officer’s consideration, the decision shall be final.
  15. The Chief Academic Officer, in carrying out his or her responsibilities under these procedures, shall bear in mind the concerns of the faculty, in particular:
    1. The importance of deliberateness, fairness and objectivity, and of the appearance of these attributes;
    2. The necessity of informing in a timely way other faculty and College officers, including the chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee, the department chair(s) involved, the General Counsel to the College, and possibly others of the existence of allegations, and also the potential necessity of consulting with these and other individuals as investigation of the allegation(s) progresses;
    3. The importance of protecting the reputations of individuals, and to that end the need for maintaining confidentiality to the extent practicable during the course of and at the conclusion of the investigation;
    4. The need to protect the rights of the person alleged to have engaged in misconduct, including the right to be informed at the appropriate time of the specific allegation(s) made about him/her; the evidence in support of the allegation(s), and the need to discuss with that person the investigative procedures to be followed;
    5. The need to protect the rights of individuals who, in good faith, make allegations, and
    6. The need to make certain the President of the College, and potentially others, is/are informed when allegations point to the existence of grave misconduct.
  16. The office of the Chief Academic Officer and the Faculty Affairs Committee shall maintain records of any proceedings in which they are involved in accordance with the applicable State Records Retention schedule.

Faculty Handbook

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