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Chapter 3: Part I

ARTICLE IV: Professional Responsibilities*


Sec. A. Introduction


  1. It is essential that the faculty have high standards of academic conduct to which it will give its allegiance, and fair and effective procedures for dealing with specific actions and conditions harmful to the central purposes of the University. A statement of such standards is set forth below. Violation of these standards deserves disciplinary action when there results a significant impairment of the University's function and may constitute just cause for termination of appointment, as set forth in Part One, Section 1, E., 3. Procedures have been designed to ensure that the disciplining of a faculty member shall occur only after a fair hearing.

Sec. B. General Standards


  1. As scholars, faculty members are guided by a conviction of worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge and recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Faculty members' primary responsibility is to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end, faculty members devote their energies to developing and improving scholarly competence. Faculty members accept the obligation for critical self-discipline and honest judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. Faculty members do not allow other interests to compromise their freedom of inquiry

  2. As teachers, faculty members stimulate and encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. Faculty members hold before them the best scholarly standards of their discipline. They demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper role as intellectual guides, mentors and academic advisors. Faculty members make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to assure that their evaluation of students reflect their true merit. Faculty members respect the confidential nature of the relationship between themselves and students. They avoid any exploitation of students for their private advantage and acknowledge significant assistance from them. They protect their academic freedom. They seek to instill in them a continuing desire to learn throughout their lives. They fulfill these standards in their interactions with students of all categories -- undergraduate, graduate, professional and postdoctoral scholars/fellows -- and through all manner of teaching activities, including but not limited to, teaching of regular courses, supervision of independent and collaborative study, research, scholarship and creative endeavors, individual and group mentorship and academic advising.

  3. As colleagues, faculty members have obligations that derive from membership in the community of scholars. They respect and defend the academic freedom of their associates, both colleagues and students. In the exchange of criticism and ideas, they acknowledge debts and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues and students. They accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of the University.

  4. As members of the University, faculty members seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. They help the University achieve its goals and observe the regulations of the University but maintain their right to criticize and seek revision. As set forth in Section III, they determine the amount and character of the occasional work they do outside the University with due regard to their university responsibilities. When considering the interruption or termination of their service, they recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the University and give due notice of their intentions.

  5. As members of the community, faculty members have the rights and obligations of any citizen. They are free to speak or act publicly, although not as spokespersons for the University unless so authorized. When faculty members are speaking or acting as citizens, they have a responsibility for exercising care to avoid giving the impression that they are speaking or acting for the University. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, faculty members have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.

Sec. C. Specific Standards


  1. Each tenured, tenure track, and non-tenure track member of the University Faculty shall:

    1. conduct all professional activities required of him or her, including teaching, research, or other advanced creative activity and service with competence, intellectual honesty, and in accordance with high ethical standards.

    2. carry out all teaching, research, or other advanced creative activity and service obligations as required under the terms of his or her faculty appointment.

    3. continue to develop and improve his or her professional abilities throughout the course of employment with the University.

    4. contribute to the governance of the constituent faculty with which he or she is affiliated and the University in general, including but not limited to:

      1. developing of academic programs and curricula

      2. fulfilling committee assignments

      3. advising and mentoring of colleagues.

    5. devote professional energies to activities that further the goals and the reputation of the University and share in the responsibilities of the faculty to the University, the local community, and society at large.

    6. disclose fully and promptly any commitments or potential conflicts of interest in accordance with the policies of the University.

    7. comply with all applicable laws while on University premises or in connection with University functions or duties; and

    8. comply with University policies.

  2. Each special member of the University Faculty shall:

    1. conduct all professional activities required of him or her, including teaching, research, or other advanced creative activity and/or service with competence, intellectual honesty, and in accordance with high ethical standards.

    2. carry out all teaching, research, or other advanced creative activity and service obligations as required under the terms of his or her faculty appointment.

    3. disclose fully and promptly any commitments or potential conflicts of interest in accordance with the policies of the University.

    4. comply with all applicable laws while on University premises or in connection with University functions or duties; and

    5. comply with University policies.

Sec. D. Hearing Procedures


  1. Initiation of Procedures

    Preliminary inquiry into allegations of conduct violating professional standards or university standards or regulations on the part of a faculty member which may lead to disciplinary action (includes but is not limited to Section I, E, 3, i) may be initiated by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate (hereinafter, Executive Committee) or by a representative of the president of the University. In either case, the purpose of initial investigation shall be to make clear to the faculty member the allegations brought against him or her, to hear his or her response, to resolve the issues if possible, and to guide the president in his or her decision whether to invoke a formal hearing. If initial investigation is made by the Executive Committee, that body shall transmit its recommendation to the president and the concerned faculty member by letter. It may also be necessary in the case of research misconduct to notify outside funding agencies and journals, according to the University's research misconduct guidelines and federal regulations.


    In the case of sexual harassment, there is a separate procedure. (See Chapter 4, General Policies, XIV. Sexual Harassment.)


    In the case of research misconduct allegations, there will be an obligation to document the investigation according to applicable federal regulations and according to the "Guidelines Involving Allegations of Research Misconduct" (Chapter 3, Part Two, Section II, of the Faculty Handbook). For this purpose, these allegations shall be reported immediately to the Research Integrity Officer. (See "Policy for Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct," Chapter 3, Part Two, Sec. II).


  2. Decision for a Formal Hearing

  3. The decision to hold a formal hearing of charges against a faculty member shall reside with the president. The president shall notify in writing the faculty member and the Executive Committee of a decision to institute a hearing. This notice shall contain a complete statement of the charges as prepared by the representative of the president, who will represent the University in the hearing.


  4. Suspension

  5. In an emergency or when necessary to protect the health or safety or best interests of the University, suspension of the faculty member during a preliminary inquiry or pending the outcome of formal proceedings shall be the prerogative of the president. Suspension shall be with full salary. However, if the suspension is upheld, the faculty member may be required to repay his or her salary from the date of suspension.


  6. Selection of the Hearing Panel and Committee

    1. Creation of Hearing Panel (as also described in Article V, Section C.3). In the spring semester of each academic year, the secretary of the Faculty Senate shall solicit faculty members interested in serving on hearing committees during the following academic year and shall make a list of those faculty members who respond. At the same time, the secretary shall make a list of those faculty members who have served as members of recent hearing committees or as advisors to parties. The secretary shall provide the lists to the Faculty Senate Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee shall nominate twenty-five members of the University Faculty to serve on the Hearing Panel from which members of hearing committees are to be chosen during the following academic year. The Nominating Committee shall designate up to eight of the panelists nominated as eligible to serve as chair of a hearing committee. The panelists so designated shall have had multiple experiences with the hearing process as members of hearing committees or as advisors to parties or shall have other relevant training or experience.

    2. The hearing committee shall consist of five members. Within two weeks of notice of the president's decision for institution of a formal hearing, the chair of the Faculty Senate shall direct the selection of a hearing committee. The notification from the chair of the Faculty Senate to the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty Senate shall specify the period within which the selection process shall be completed and the hearing begun. The selection of members of the hearing committee will proceed in the following manner. From the panel, the president’s representative shall first appoint one member and the faculty member shall then appoint one member. The chair of the Faculty Senate shall then appoint three members of the panel, at least one of whom shall be a person eligible to chair a hearing committee. The chair of the Faculty Senate shall designate the chair of the hearing committee. If either party fails to take advantage of his or her privilege of appointing a committee member, then the remaining members of the hearing committee shall be appointed from the Hearing Panel by the chair of the Faculty Senate. If the chair of the hearing committee is unable to serve or has a conflict of interest, the chair of the Faculty Senate may remove him or her and designate a replacement from the Hearing Panel to serve as chair for the hearing committee. If a member of the hearing committee is unable to serve or is removed because of conflict of interest, the chair of the Faculty Senate shall designate a replacement from the Hearing Panel. Timeliness of the hearing process is important, and the committee should consider evening and weekend meetings.

    3. When a party claims, or it appears to the chair of the hearing committee, that a conflict of interest exists between the party and a member of the hearing committee, the chair of the hearing committee shall consider and decide whether to remove the member from the committee.

      When a party claims, or it appears to the chair of the Faculty Senate, that a conflict of interest exists between the party and the chair of the hearing committee, the chair of the Faculty Senate shall consider and decide whether to remove the chair of the hearing committee.

      Only the following grounds justify removal of the chair or a member of the hearing committee: 1) The chair or member is a witness or is otherwise directly involved in the matter. 2) The chair or member has a history of conflict with either party. 3) The chair or member is unable to approach the issues in a fair and neutral way.

  7. Conduct of the Hearing

    1. The chair of the hearing committee shall preside at the hearing and shall make all procedural decisions, subject to being overruled by a vote of three of the five committee members.

    2. The faculty member and the president’s representative shall be afforded an opportunity to obtain necessary witnesses and documentary or other evidence. The committee may call its own witnesses.

    3. Copies of the president's representative's statement of charges, supporting documents, the faculty member's answer, and all other material shall be made available to both parties and the hearing committee by the Office of Secretary of the Faculty Senate. The secretary shall work with both parties and the hearing committee to schedule a hearing at the earliest possible date. Notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be sent to all parties. Not less than five calendar days before the hearing, the parties shall submit to the chair of the hearing committee their lists of witnesses and any documents they plan to offer as evidence at the hearing. The chair of the hearing committee shall meet with the parties in person or by conference call to discuss the witness lists, the documentary evidence to be introduced, and possible stipulations of fact. The chair of the hearing committee shall work with the parties to assist them in focusing the issues to be decided and to minimize or eliminate the offering of irrelevant or repetitive testimony or documents. If either party demands to present a witness or a document that the chair believes to be irrelevant or repetitive, the chair of the hearing committee may rule the testimony or document inadmissible. The inadmissibility ruling shall be communicated to the other members of the hearing committee, and the committee may overrule the chair by a vote of three of the five committee members. The chair of the hearing committee may also request that additional documentary material be furnished by either party. The additional material so provided by a party shall be made available to the other party and to the committee members unless it is ruled inadmissible by the chair of the hearing committee. The availability of documents is subject to the rule that the confidentiality of any documents accepted by the University in confidence shall be maintained. Thus, for example, letters written by external referees or reviewers submitted in connection with a promotion and/or tenure action shall not be disclosed to a complainant if they were received in confidence.

    4. Unless specifically requested to be absent by the chair of the hearing committee, the secretary of the Faculty Senate shall be present at the hearing to advise the hearing committee on procedure and to make the audio recording. Otherwise, the hearing shall be closed to all except the hearing committee, faculty member, president's representative, witnesses and advisors. The hearing committee shall maintain the confidentiality of closed proceedings. No persons involved in the hearing procedure shall discuss the hearing matter except as provided herein.

    5. The president's representative and the faculty member shall each have the right to an advisor of his or her choice, chosen from the faculty or administration, excluding the Office of General Counsel. Such advisor shall have no right to participate in the proceedings except to advise the individual he or she is advising.

    6. The president’s representative and the faculty member, and their advisors, shall have the right to be present during the hearing, except for the deliberations of the committee and for the examination of witnesses concerning confidential material.

    7. An audio recording of each hearing session shall be made by the hearing committee and preserved in the University Archives. Access to the recording shall be limited to the president, the president's representative, the faculty member, and members of the hearing committee. Requests shall be addressed to the chair of the Faculty Senate. Upon approval, the recording shall be made available for review in the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty Senate. To preserve confidentiality, no other recording or copies of these recording will be permitted.

    8. The chair shall open the hearing by reading the charges against the faculty member, as transmitted by the president's representative.

    9. The faculty member shall then submit a written statement answering the charges. This statement may be read by the faculty member or his or her advisor; otherwise, it shall be read by the chair.

    10. The order of the hearing, unless the chair of the hearing committee rules otherwise, shall be: the president's representative's witnesses; the faculty member's witnesses; any hearing committee witnesses; and closing statements by the president's representative and the faculty member. Witnesses, other than the Parties, may be present at the hearing only while presenting their testimony.

    11. The chair may grant adjournments to enable either party to investigate evidence as to which a valid claim of surprise is made.

    12. The faculty member and the president's representative shall have the right to cross-examine all witnesses. The hearing committee shall have the right to examine all witnesses.

    13. The hearing committee shall not be bound by strict rules of legal evidence and should consider any relevant evidence which is of probative value in determining the issues involved.

    14. The burden of proof that just cause exists for disciplining a faculty member shall rest with the University and shall be met only by a preponderance of evidence in the hearing record. The decision and findings shall also be based solely on the hearing record.

    15. Findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the hearing committee shall be by majority vote. Statements of majority positions shall be accompanied by any statement of dissent or of separate concurrence.

  8. Report of the Hearing Committee

  9. Within ten business days after conclusion of the hearing, the hearing committee shall prepare a written report of its findings and conclusions and shall recommend a sanction, if any, to be applied. Copies of this report shall be transmitted to the faculty member, the president, the president's representative, and the chair of the Faculty Senate.


  10. Decision by the President

  11. The final resolution of the complaint shall be made by the president, normally within a period of two weeks after receipt of the committee's report. If the president agrees with the report, he or she shall so notify the secretary of the Faculty Senate in writing. The secretary of the Faculty Senate shall transmit the written notification to the chair and members of the hearing committee, the chair of the Faculty Senate, and to the parties.


    If the president disagrees with the report and its recommendations, he or she shall so notify the secretary of the Faculty Senate in writing, setting forth the reasons for disagreement and final resolution of the matter. The secretary of the Faculty Senate shall transmit the written notification to the chair and members of the hearing committee, the chair of the Faculty Senate, and to the parties.


    In the alternative, the president may ask the secretary of the Faculty Senate to reconvene the hearing committee to reconsider its final report and recommendations in the light of his or her stated objection thereto. In such case, the hearing committee shall reconvene to reconsider the matter, taking new evidence, if necessary, and report the results of its reconsideration to the secretary of the Faculty Senate. The secretary of the Faculty Senate shall transmit the written notification to the president, the parties, and the chair of the Faculty Senate, copied to the chair and members of the hearing committee the written report of its reconsideration.


    After review of the hearing committee's reconsidered report and recommendations, the president shall transmit to the secretary of the Faculty Senate a final resolution of the matter; and the secretary shall transmit the same to the parties, the chair and members of the hearing committee, and the chair of the Faculty Senate, as well as to the appropriate dean, chair or vice president.


*approved by the Faculty Senate 3/31/03, approved by the University Faculty 4/23/03, approved by the Board of Trustees 5/19/03; amended 4/26/04; approved by the Faculty Senate 3/25/09; approved by the Faculty Senate 4/21/10; approved by the Faculty Senate 10/25/12, approved by the Board of Trustees 12/11/12