Appeals Process

This process applies to an appeal of a determination resulting from an investigation of a possible violation of the Sexual Harassment, Stalking, and Sexual Violence Policy. Both the complainant and the respondent may participate in the appeal process in sexual harassment, stalking, and sexual violence accountability procedures.

The complainant and respondent will have only one opportunity to appeal. All appeal meetings are closed and the proceeding may be kept confidential at the discretion of the university. Appeal meetings may be recorded at the discretion of the university with notice to those involved.

The appeal shall consist of one or more of the following exclusive grounds for appeal:

  • New Information – There is new and significant information that has not yet been considered. Information would be considered “new” if it were not available to the complainant or respondent prior to the conclusion of the investigation.
  • Sanctions – Sanctions imposed are either excessive or insufficient to the violation(s) relative to sanctions imposed for similar violations under similar facts and circumstances.
  • Procedural Irregularity – e.g., the complainant and/or the respondent did not receive adequate notice of the opportunity to be heard.

An individual wishing to appeal the sexual harassment, stalking, and sexual violence process must do so in writing to the person designated below:

Incidents Involving Undergraduate Students

  • Submit the written appeal to the Associate Vice President for Student Life/Chief Judicial Officer or designee.
  • Chair of the committee: The Associate Vice President for Student Life/Chief Judicial Officer or designee.
  • Composition of the appeal committee: The chair of the committee will preside as a nonvoting member. If practicable, the committee shall consist of a combination of faculty member(s) and staff member(s). Each of the members are selected by the chair of the committee. There must be a minimum of three members present to constitute quorum.
  • The appeal committee makes recommendation to the Associate Vice President for Student Life/Chief Judicial Officer or designee.

Incidents Involving Graduate/Professional Students

  • Submit the written appeal to the Vice President for Graduate and Professional Enrollment and Student Services or designee.
  • Chair of the committee: The Vice President for Graduate and Professional Enrollment and Student Services or designee.
  • Composition of the appeal committee: The chair of the committee will preside as a nonvoting member. If practicable, the committee shall consist of a combination of faculty member(s) and staff member(s). Each of the members are selected by the chair of the committee. There must be a minimum of three members present to constitute quorum.
  • The appeal committee makes recommendation to the Vice President for Graduate and Professional Enrollment and Student Services or designee.

Incidents Involving Staff and Academic Administrators

  • Submit the written appeal to the Vice President for Human Resources or designee.
  • Chair of the committee: The Vice President for Human Resources or designee.
  • Composition of the appeal committee: The chair of the process will preside as a nonvoting member. If practicable, the committee shall consist of a combination of faculty member(s) and staff member(s). Each of the members are selected by the chair of the committee. There must be a minimum of three members present to constitute quorum.
  • The appeal committee makes recommendation to the Vice President for Human Resources or designee.

Incidents Involving Faculty

  • Submit the written appeal to the Faculty Moderator.
  • Chair of the committee/ Composition of the appeal committee: Membership of appeals to PARB will be determined by standard PARB procedures.
  • The PARB makes a recommendation to the Provost or designee.

Incidents Involving Administrators

  • Submit the written appeal to the Title IX Coordinator or designee.
  • The appeal process for administrators will mirror the process for staff and academic administrators, unless the Title IX Coordinator or designee, in consultation with the Office of General Counsel, determines modified appeal procedures are necessary to avoid conflicts of interests.

Content of the Appeal

The complainant or respondent must submit a written appeal within three business days of the date of the written decision. The written appeal must reflect the guidelines listed below.

The appeal must include:

  1. Names of the parties involved
  2. Clear statement of the nature of the appeal (must consist of one or more of the following exclusive grounds):
    • New information
    • Excessive or insufficient sanctions
    • Procedural irregularity
  3. A narrative of the incident including:
    • Why it occurred
    • How it occurred
    • Where it occurred
    • Who was present
    • The information on which the appeal is based
  4. The desired outcome

The appeal committee will review the petition for appeal, and any new evidence submitted by the appealing party in support of the appeal. At the discretion of the appeal committee, the appeal process may include an opportunity for the committee to ask questions of the appealing party, and others.

The sexual harassment, stalking, and sexual violence Appeal Committee will review all information and testimony presented. If the respondent’s behavior resulting in the disciplinary process involved violent or dangerous behavior, the committee shall be required to consider the safety of the APU community in its deliberations and recommendation, and any sanction imposed on the respondent shall not be stayed pending the appeal.

After review of information, interview of witnesses, and deliberation, the appeal committee will make a recommendation to the committee chair, based on the information submitted per the process noted above. The Associate Vice President for Student Life, Vice President for Graduate and Professional Enrollment and Student Services, Vice President for Human Resources, the Provost, or the President or the Board Chair will either accept, reject, or modify the recommendation. In cases appealed to PARB, that body will make its recommendations to the provost, whose decision is final. In all other cases, the decision of the chair of the committee is final.

After a decision has been reached, both the complainant and the respondent will be notified in writing by the chair of the committee. Decisions made in the appeal process are final and may not be addressed through the “Grievance Process.”

In cases appealed to PARB, where there is conflict between, on the one hand, the appeals proceedings outlined in this procedure and, on the other hand, PARB procedures outlined in the Faculty Handbook, the appeals proceedings outlined in this procedure govern.

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