August 22, 2016

Decision by the misconduct Appellate Panel (Student Misconduct)

The Appellate Panel may make recommendations to the Vice President for Student Affairs as follows:

(a)  If the Appellate Panel concludes that none of the grounds for appeal have been met, the Appellate Panel may recommend that the Vice President for Student Affairs affirm the conclusions of the Title IX Office and the sanctioning decision of the Misconduct Sanctioning Panel in their entirety.

(b)  If the Appellate Panel concludes that new evidence has become available which is sufficient to alter the findings of fact and/or conclusions of policy violations made by the Title IX Office and which the appellant was not aware of or which could not have been reasonably obtained at the time of the original review, the Appellate Panel may recommend that the Vice President for Student Affairs remand the case to the Title IX Office for further investigation.

(c)  If the Appellate Panel concludes that the findings of fact made by the Title IX Office are not supported by substantial evidence in light of the whole record or that the conclusions of policy violations reached by the Title IX Office are not supported by the findings of fact, it may recommend that the Vice President for Student Affairs reverse specific findings of fact or conclusions of policy violations and remand the case to the Sanctioning Review Panel for reevaluation of the sanctioning decision in light of the modified findings and conclusions. In adjudicating an appeal on the grounds that the findings of fact were not reasonably supported by substantial evidence, Appellate Panel members may not substitute their judgment for that of the Title IX Office merely because they disagree with the findings or conclusion, nor will they make new findings of fact. Moreover, the Appellate Panel may not substitute its opinion on credibility for the judgment of the investigator who saw and heard the witnesses and parties.  The role of the Appellate Panel is not to decide whether it would have reached the same factual conclusions as the Title IX Office, but rather to decide whether a reasonable fact-finder could have come to the same conclusion based on the facts in the record.  If there is a conflict in the evidence and a reasonable fact-finder could have resolved the conflict either way, the Appellate Panel may not reverse the Title IX Offices findings of fact. The Title IX Office’s conclusions of policy violation will not be changed if supported by the findings of fact.

(d)  If the Appellate Panel concludes that the sanction imposed by the Misconduct Sanctioning Panel is grossly disproportionate to the policy violation(s) found by the Title IX Office, the Appellate Panel may recommend that the Vice President for Student Affairs modify (increase or decrease) the assigned sanctions. In adjudicating an appeal on the grounds that the sanction imposed by the Misconduct Sanctioning Panel is grossly disproportionate to the policy violation(s) found by the Title IX Office, the Appellate Panel members will not substitute their judgment for that of the Misconduct Sanctioning Panel merely because they disagree with the sanctioning decision.

(e)  If the Appellate Panel concludes that the Title IX Office or the Misconduct Sanctioning Panel deviated from the process set forth in this policy and that such deviation had a material impact on the outcome of the investigation, the Appellate Panel may recommend that the Vice President for Student Affairs remand the case to the Title IX Office or to the Misconduct Sanctioning Panel with instructions to correct the deviation. If the deviation cannot be reasonably corrected, the Appellate Panel may recommend that the Vice President for Student Affairs take such other corrective action as he or she may deem appropriate. The Title IX Appellate Coordinator is present during the Panel’s deliberations but is not a member of the Appellate Panel and does not have a vote.