2023-2024 Policy Library 
    
    Jun 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Policy Library

Chapter 4 Academic Freedom, Professional Ethics, Faculty Discipline, and Non-APT Grievance Procedures


4.1 Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure

4.2 Statement on Professional Ethics

4.3 Dismissal and Suspension without Pay

4.4 Faculty Grievances not Arising from APT Decisions


4.1 Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure

It is understood that academic freedom includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the rights to engage in free inquiry and exchange of ideas, to present controversial material relevant to a course of instruction, to publish or disseminate controversial material or information, and to perform research in controversial areas. Members of the faculty are citizens, members of a learned profession, and stewards of this educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline. As scholars, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances.

In further confirmation of these principles, both the faculty and the Board of Trustees have adopted the University of Chicago’s Statement on Academic Freedom.

Adopted by the Faculty, September 16, 2008. Amended by the Faculty, March 3, 2023.

Tenured faculty members have permanent or continuous tenure. In accordance with AAUP guidelines and College policies, their employment may be terminated only due to cause, program termination, or financial exigency.

Termination for cause of a continuous appointment, or the dismissal for cause of a teacher previous to the expiration of a term appointment, will be addressed through the College’s disciplinary procedures. Termination of a continuous appointment because of financial exigency or program elimination should be demonstrably bona fide.

4.2 Statement on Professional Ethics

The College recognizes the importance of upholding the highest ethical standards. Accordingly, the College endorses the following statement, which is adapted from the Statement on Professional Ethics issued by the American Association of University Professors:

Professors recognize that their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and state the truth as they see it. To this end they devote their energies to developing their scholarly competence. They accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty. Although professors may pursue subsidiary interests, these interests should never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.

As teachers, professors encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards. Professors demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides. They make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to ensure that their evaluations of students reflect each student’s true merit. They respect the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student, avoiding any exploitation, harassment, or discrimination. They acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from students, and they protect students’ academic freedom.

As colleagues, professors have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. They do not discriminate against or harass colleagues; rather, they respect and defend the free inquiry of their associates. In the exchange of ideas, professors show due respect for the opinions of others. They acknowledge academic debt and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. They accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution.

As members of an academic institution, professors seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. Although they observe the stated regulations of the institution, provided the regulations do not contravene academic freedom, they maintain their right to criticize and seek revision. Professors give due regard to their paramount responsibilities within their institution in determining the amount and character of work done outside it. When considering the interruption or termination of their service, professors recognize the effect of their decision upon programs at the institution and give due notice of their intentions.

As members of their community, professors have the rights and obligations of other citizens. They measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession, and to their institution. When they speak or act as private persons, they avoid creating the impression that they are speaking or acting on behalf of their college or university. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, professors have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.

Professors are also expected to apply all of these standards in their conduct toward staff and other employees of CMC.

Endorsed by the Faculty March 11, 2008

4.3 Dismissal and Suspension without Pay

4.3.1 Grounds for Dismissal and Suspension without Pay for Cause

“Adequate cause” for dismissal or suspension without pay will be one or more of the following:

  1. A persistent pattern of teaching incompetence as it is understood in the AAUP document entitled Termination and Discipline (2004) and associated case law.
  2. A very serious instance or very serious pattern of misconduct in the following areas:
    1. Research misconduct, including but not limited to plagiarism and academic fraud (see e.g. Faculty Handbook Section 6.5 , Section 6.6 , and Section 6.9 );
    2. Neglect of professional duties, including but not limited to failure to meet teaching obligations (see e.g. Faculty Handbook Chapter 5 );
    3. Preventing or obstructing teaching or research or any other lawful function of the College, including but not limited to physical disruption of classrooms, offices, or labs;
    4. Personal misconduct that is directly and substantially related to the fitness of a faculty member as a teacher and/or a researcher. Examples may include but are not limited to physical violence, embezzlement or misappropriation of funds, the dealing of illegal drugs, the destruction of property, or violation of established standards of ethical conduct such as abusive or exploitative conduct toward students, colleagues, or staff (see e.g. Faculty Handbook Section 10.3 Section 10.6 , Section 10.7 , Section 10.10 , Section 10.13 , Section 10.14 ).

“Incompetence” or “misconduct” shall not be construed in a way that threatens faculty members in their legal rights and in the legitimate exercise of academic freedom, including the expression of dissenting or unpopular opinions.

Approved by the Faculty May 13, 2008

4.3.2 Procedures for Dismissal and Suspension without Pay for Cause

4.3.2.1 Background and Scope

The procedures provided herein are invoked when the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty formally charges a faculty member with incompetence or misconduct that falls within the College’s definition of “adequate cause” as that term is defined in the College’s Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure and in circumstances in which the alleged incompetence or misconduct is serious enough to warrant a sanction of suspension without pay or dismissal from the College; provided, however, that cases involving alleged research misconduct shall be governed by the College’s Policy on Research Misconduct (See Faculty Handbook Section 6.9) .

The following procedures apply to members of the Faculty employed in the varying ranks defined in Faculty Ranks.

The College’s Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure applies. No faculty member may be dismissed or suspended without pay for statements protected by CMC’s Statement on Academic Freedom.

4.3.2.2 Confidentiality

The College’s process for dismissal or suspension without pay of a faculty member is confidential, with the following possible exceptions: 1. The accused faculty member may request an open hearing; or 2. The accused faculty member may authorize the disclosure of any findings of the Hearing Board or the written statement by the President that overturns the recommendation of the Hearing Board.

4.3.2.3 Initiating the Disciplinary Process and Informal Resolution

Charges will be brought on behalf of the College by the Dean of the Faculty following whatever investigation the Dean deems reasonably appropriate to determine the facts, except that numerical teaching evaluations may never serve as the sole evidence supporting a charge of incompetence.

In the case of a conflict of interest preventing the Dean from acting, an Associate Dean of the Faculty will act in the Dean’s place.

When charges are to be brought against a faculty member, they must be preceded by discussions between the Dean (or Associate Dean herein out) and the faculty member in an attempt to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the matter up to and including the faculty member’s resignation at which point the matter will be considered closed.

At any time during the process, as reasonable and appropriate, the Dean of the Faculty may consult with the Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Executive Committee on the facts of the matter and on an appropriate resolution including possible sanctions.

At any time during the process, the Dean of the Faculty and the faculty member may resolve the matter by mutual agreement (with the approval of the President).

If the faculty member charged wishes to contest the charges or if the parties are unable to resolve the matter by mutual agreement, the Dean of the Faculty will prepare a written statement of the charges and the proposed disciplinary action, which will be presented to the faculty member who will have the opportunity to provide a written response to them.

Matters involving potential suspension without pay or dismissal shall be resolved pursuant to Section 4.3.2.4 below. Matters requiring the emergency suspension with pay of a faculty member shall be handled pursuant to Section 4.3.2.5 below.

4.3.2.4 Procedures in Matters involving Sanctions of Dismissal or Suspension Without Pay

If the Dean of the Faculty believes the specific charges warrant dismissal or suspension of the faculty member for cause, and the informal resolution process has not resulted in a resolution, the Dean shall provide the faculty member with a written statement of the formal charges and the faculty member’s right to a formal hearing before a Faculty Hearing Board.

Formal Hearing

The Faculty Hearing Board (the Hearing Board) will consist of five members of the Appointment, Promotions, and Tenure Committee of the Faculty (APT Committee) chosen by lot with five additional members chosen as alternates by lot. In hearings involving Full Professors, only Full Professors serving on the APT Committee are eligible to serve on the Faculty Hearing Board. If there are fewer than ten Full Professors serving on APT, the alternates may be chosen at large from the faculty (tenured with the rank of Full Professor) by lot from the remaining members of APT Committee. The Faculty member may require the replacement of up to five members of the Hearing Board prior to the hearing to be replaced by the alternates as determined by lot. Next, the Dean of the Faculty may require the replacement of up to two members of the Hearing Board by alternates. At any point after the initial selection, there must be at least two alternates available. If new alternates are needed, they will be selected by lot from among the remaining members of the APT Committee of appropriate rank.

Once it is finally constituted, the Hearing Board shall elect a chair from among its members who shall convene all meetings and direct the proceedings. The Hearing Board shall establish its own rules and procedures not otherwise specified in this document. The Hearing Board may hold pre-hearing meetings including ones with the parties to define and clarify issues, provide for the exchange of information and documentation, and to accomplish other objectives to ensure that the hearing is fair, effective, and expeditious.

In such time as specified by the Hearing Board, the faculty member has the right to provide the Hearing Board with a written statement setting forth the defenses proposed, any factual allegations that are in dispute, and any additional factual matters to which the faculty member wishes to draw attention.

The Dean of the Faculty or a designee shall bring the charges before the Hearing Board. The Dean and the Faculty member may have an advisor or counsel present at the hearing but they may not participate. The Dean, the faculty member, and the Hearing Board may call witnesses and may question witnesses. Written testimony from witnesses will be accepted if they are unable to be present and if the accused faculty member will have an opportunity, either in person or by telephone or videoconference, to question the witnesses. The administration of the College will assist the Hearing Board in securing the presence of witnesses and securing documents and other evidence needed for the hearing. In hearings involving dismissals for incompetence, testimony will include that of qualified faculty members from this or other institutions of higher education. The Hearing Board shall not be bound by strict rules of legal evidence, and may admit such evidence as it deems of value in determining the issues involved. Throughout the proceedings, all those involved should keep in mind that the procedures are those of a college and not a court of law, and therefore should seek to avoid an excessively legalistic approach. An official recording of the hearing shall be made and will be provided to the Dean of the College, the Faculty member, the Hearing Board, the President of the College, and the Board of Trustees as needed.

The hearing shall be closed unless the accused faculty member requests it to be open. The Dean of the Faculty or a designee shall make the case for dismissal for cause or suspension, and the faculty member shall make the case in defense against these charges. The Hearing Board shall set the time limits for the hearing and for the oral arguments. The Hearing Board may determine whether additional hearings are needed prior to making a final recommendation on the matter.

The Hearing Board shall make a recommendation in confidence on the basis of the hearing and all relevant materials as to whether sufficient cause exists for dismissal or suspension without pay. The Hearing Board shall make its recommendation with the understanding that the burden of proof rests with the Dean of the Faculty to establish a case by a standard of clear and convincing evidence. A recommendation for dismissal or suspension without pay requires at least a 4-1 majority of the Hearing Board. In that instance, the Hearing Board shall submit its findings as to sufficient cause and its recommendation as to sanctions in writing to the President, the Dean of the Faculty, and the faculty member. Otherwise, the Hearing Board shall report to the President that there were not at least four members who found sufficient cause to recommend dismissal or suspension without pay.

Presidential Action

The President shall review the recommendation of the Hearing Board and the hearing record. In addition, the Dean of the Faculty and the faculty member shall have the opportunity to submit a written statement to the President outlining any asserted grounds for reversal or reconsideration of the Hearing Board’s recommendation. If the Hearing Board recommends neither dismissal nor suspension without pay and the President concurs, the case is considered closed. If either the Hearing Board or the President recommends dismissal or suspension without pay, both recommendations shall be forwarded concurrently to the Board of Trustees along with all pertinent records of the proceedings. If the President’s recommendation differs from that of the Hearing Board, the President shall state in writing the reasons.

Board Action

The Board of Trustees shall review the recommendations of the Hearing Board and the President along with all pertinent records of the proceedings. Prior to the Board’s decision, the faculty member may submit a written statement to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. If the Board of Trustees’ decision differs from the recommendation of the Hearing Board, the case will be resubmitted to the Hearing Board for reconsideration along with a written statement of the Board of Trustees’ questions and/or objections. The Hearing Board will then reconsider the case in light of the Board of Trustees’ questions and/or objections, hold additional hearings if needed, receive any new evidence, and either render a new recommendation or state the reasons for its reaffirmation of the earlier recommendation. Once the Board of Trustees receives and reviews the reconsidered recommendation of the Hearing Board, it will render a final decision.

4.3.2.5 Emergency Suspension with Pay Pending Final Determination

An emergency suspension with pay of the faculty member may be ordered by the Dean of the Faculty until a final determination of the matter is reached by the College. An emergency suspension with pay will be based on a determination by the Dean of the Faculty and/or the President that serious harm to the faculty member, to others in the community, or to the educational program would ensue from continuation of the faculty member’s duties and or presence on campus. Such a suspension is not intended for disciplinary purposes, but is instead intended to facilitate a proper handling of the investigation and to minimize risks to the College. When practicable, the Dean should consult with the Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Executive Committee on the propriety, length, and other conditions of the emergency suspension.

4.3.2.6 Miscellaneous Provisions

Notwithstanding the provisions of this policy, time provisions are approximate; the President, Dean of the Faculty, Hearing Board, or Executive Committee may allow for additional time as appropriate in particular circumstances.

Approved by the Faculty September 16, 2008 and October 24, 2008

4.4 Faculty Grievances not Arising from APT Decisions

Procedures for student, staff, and faculty grievances against faculty members, and for faculty grievances against academic administrators

A. Purpose

Claremont McKenna College (“College”) adopts policies designed to serve the educational function of the College, to protect academic freedom and academic due process, to protect the health and safety of individuals, to promote responsible social interaction within the college community, and to maintain a hospitable and productive working environment. To help implement these goals, this document describes grounds and procedures for current Student, Staff, and Faculty grievances against current Faculty members and for Faculty grievances against Administrators and/or Administrative Entities within the College.

B. Covered parties

These procedures are open (1) to current Students, Staff, and Faculty (as defined below) to seek redress or remedy for grievances arising from actions by CMC Faculty members and (2) to CMC Faculty members to seek redress or remedy for grievances arising from actions by Administrators and/or Administrative Entities within the College.

C. Covered grievances

Except as indicated below, covered individuals may use these procedures to seek redress and/or remedy for (1) violations of policies or procedures published in the Faculty Handbook (including, but not limited to, violations of academic freedom and academic due process), and (2) violations of other established College policies or procedures. Grievances not covered by these procedures include:

  • Grievances arising from appointment, re-appointment, promotion, and tenure actions and decisions. These grievances come under the APT Appeals Procedures .
  • Grievances arising from grade disputes covered by the procedures contained in the CMC Statement of Academic Policy. Grievances that allege the challenged grade is the result of discrimination or retaliation in violation of federal or state law are not covered by the procedures of the Academic Standards Committee but instead are covered by these procedures.
  • Grievances arising from the CMC Civil Rights Policy .
  • Other grievances explicitly assigned elsewhere.
  • Grievances submitted by former faculty or staff within the one-year window identified in G below, which will be directed to the CMC Human Resources Department for appropriate follow-up.

D. Definitions

Administrative Entity. An administrative unit within Claremont McKenna College, including but not limited to an academic department, college committee, or administrative office. In cases where a grievance is brought against an Administrative Entity, the chair of that department or committee, or the head of the administrative office, serves as the Respondent on behalf of the Administrative Entity.

Administrator. Any member of the administration of Claremont McKenna College.

Appellant. Either the Complainant or Respondent who files an appeal.

Complainant. The eligible person or persons who file a complaint.

Day. Business day of the College.

Dean of the Faculty (DOF). The Dean of the Faculty.

Faculty. Any current member of the Faculty of Claremont McKenna College, or anyone currently teaching a Claremont McKenna College course.

Frivolous complaint. A complaint that is either clearly implausible or, even assuming its truth, presents an insignificant or insubstantial claim.

Grievance Committee. Tenured members of the Faculty who are either current members of the Administration Committee or were elected to the Administration Committee in the last seven academic years. The pool from which the Review Panel and Hearing Panel are drawn.

President. The President of the College.

Respondent. The person, persons, or Administrative Entity against whom a complaint is filed.

Staff. All current exempt and non-exempt CMC staff employees.

Student. Anyone currently enrolled as a full-time or part-time student at Claremont McKenna College or enrolled in a class at Claremont McKenna College.

E. Conflicts of Interest and Designees

Generally, a conflict of interest occurs when someone’s personal interests may compromise-or be reasonably seen as compromising-the person’s impartial exercise of duties under this policy. Personal interests (including adverse personal relationships) may arise from relationships (familial, friendships/social circles), financial connections, or otherwise. No one list can provide for every circumstance that may pose a conflict of interest, but the following common-sense guidelines may help:

CMC is a small, tight-knit community. Individuals involved in this process may know the parties to a grievance action, may know other members of the college community who provide information bearing on the resolution of the grievance, and may have a general prior knowledge of the grievance. Acquaintance with the parties or others involved and general knowledge of the grievance do not in themselves constitute conflicts of interest, for the grievance policy presumes that the individuals implementing the policy will conscientiously discharge their duties, acting in good faith. Similarly, providing procedural information to one or both parties prior to the submission of a grievance does not by itself constitute a cause for recusal, though advice that indicates a prejudgment or that does not maintain impartiality creates a conflict of interest and would constitute cause for recusal. More generally, public or private statements suggesting a pre-judgment of the facts involved in the grievance always constitute a conflict of interest. Familial relationship with one or more of the parties or direct involvement, including but not limited to involvement as an immediate party, a third party (e.g. as a witness), or as a participant in rendering a decision related to the grievance, also constitutes a conflict of interest.

Individuals involved in the process must exercise their good judgment in declaring possible conflicts of interest, particularly where the conflicts may not be immediately apparent. Moreover, individuals should be mindful of the appearance of a conflict of interest and evaluate whether they should recuse themselves due to a serious appearance of a conflict even if the individual believes they can fairly perform their duties under the process.

Individuals who declare that they have a conflict of interest in the case shall recuse themselves from any duties under this process as soon as they realize they have a conflict.

In the event that the DOF declares that the DOF’s Office has a conflict of interest in the case, or for other good reason, the DOF shall convene the tenured members of the Administration Committee, which shall select from outside its membership a tenured Full Professor with no conflict of interest to perform the functions assigned herein to the DOF. The designee shall be mutually acceptable to both the Complainant and the Respondent. If no mutually acceptable designee can be reached after two attempts, the tenured members of the Administration Committee shall name a tenured Full Professor with no conflict of interest to serve as DOF designee. The chair of the Administration Committee will notify in writing the Complainant and the Respondent of the designee. Within 5 days of receipt of the written notification of the designee, the decision of the Administration Committee can be appealed in writing to the President or the President’s designee by the Complainant or the Respondent. The President or President’s designee shall render a decision within 5 days of receiving the written appeal and send written notice of the decision to the parties and the tenured members of the Administration Committee immediately thereafter.

In cases where a conflict of interest on the part of the President becomes apparent at any point, the President shall designate a person who has no connection to CMC from the JAMS mediation service (or, if JAMS is no longer functioning, from a similar third-party mediation service identified by the President).

In instances where there exists good reason other than a conflict of interest, the President may designate another person who has no conflict of interest to perform the functions assigned herein to the President.

F. Confidentiality

Subject to applicable law, documents produced or generated under this policy shall be disclosed only to the Complainant, the Respondent, the DOF, the Dean of Students (when a Student is involved), the Director of Human Resources (when a staff member is involved), the President, the Board of Trustees, and as necessary to implement remedies. In individual cases, the Review Panel, the Hearing Panel, the DOF, or the President may, for good reason, impose additional restraints on release of information related to the proceedings. Everyone involved in the grievance process will maintain the confidentiality of any information obtained during both the informal and formal resolution procedures. However, subject to applicable law, there may be instances when information must be disclosed in order to conduct a thorough and fair investigation. Accordingly, the College cannot guarantee complete confidentiality.

G. Time limits

Complainants have 1 year to initiate the informal or formal grievance process from the time they become aware of the action, inaction or decision in question. However, prompt initiation of the grievance process is strongly urged, because facts often become more difficult to establish as times passes after an action, lack of action or decision has occurred. For good cause, the President or President’s designee or the DOF or DOF’s designee can grant reasonable extensions of time  (except the time frame required for the President’s recommendation to the Board of Trustees provided in section I-5.3 below).

H. Procedures: Informal Resolution

A Complainant must attempt informal resolution of a grievance before filing a formal grievance. The Complainant may first use either the informal oral option or the informal written option, as described below. Receipt of an informal grievance will immediately trigger designation of designees as prescribed in 4.4.E above if the President and/or DOF are parties to the grievance or otherwise declare a conflict of interest. The DOF or DOF designee may seek the assistance of a third-party mediator.

Parties will be given an opportunity to present a written challenge on the grounds of conflict of interest to the participation of the DOF in the grievance process at the time of the submission of an informal grievance. A mediator who has no connection to CMC from the JAMS mediation service (or a comparable organization identified by the President or President’s designee if JAMS is no longer functioning) will rule on the challenge within three days. If the challenge is upheld, the DOF designee will be designated in keeping with the conflict-of-interest procedures above.

1. Informal Oral Option

The Complainant shall orally notify the DOF of the grievance, identifying (a) the action, inaction, or decision complained about, (b) relevant grounds as set forth above in Section C, “Covered Grievances,” and (c) the requested remedy. The DOF or DOF designee shall orally notify the Respondent of the grievance, including the action, inaction, or decision complained about, the grounds, and the requested remedy. The DOF or DOF designee shall attempt to devise a solution satisfactory to both parties (which attempt may include a meeting with the Complainant and the Respondent together), and, if successful, shall record the solution in writing, with copies to each party. If a mutually satisfactory solution is not reached within 10 days of the Complainant’s original notification to the DOF, the Complainant may proceed to the informal written option, or may proceed directly to file a formal grievance within an additional 10 days.

2. Informal Written Option

The Complainant shall give the DOF and the Respondent a written statement detailing the grievance. The statement must identify (a) the action, inaction or decision complained about, (b) the relevant grounds as set forth above in Section C, “Covered Grievances,” and (c) the requested remedy. The Respondent shall respond in writing, within 10 days of receipt of the Complainant’s written statement to both the DOF and the Complainant. The DOF shall attempt to devise a solution satisfactory to both parties, and, if successful, shall record the solution in writing, with copies to each party. If a mutually satisfactory solution is not reached within 10 days of the DOF’s receipt of the Complainant’s initial written statement, the Complainant may proceed to file a formal grievance within an additional 10 days.

I. Procedures: Formal Resolution

1. General

If the Informal Resolution process produces no mutually satisfactory solution and the Complainant wishes to proceed further, the Complainant must file a complaint (as described below) no later than 10 days after the conclusion of the informal resolution process.

2. Complaint

To initiate a formal grievance, the Complainant shall file a written complaint requesting a hearing (the complaint) with the DOF or DOF’s designee. The complaint shall include this information:

  • A detailed description of the activity or action, inaction or decision complained about.
  • The relevant grounds identified by Section C above.
  • The requested remedy.
  • Any available and relevant written documentation, including documentation produced in the informal written option process, if applicable. (However, failure to include written or other documentation with the complaint does not preclude later submission of such material.)

The DOF or DOF’s designee shall, within 5 days of receiving the complaint, provide it to the Respondent and shall concurrently provide the parties with copies of all relevant materials in the DOF’s possession, including all written filings and decisions  and information provided by either party during any informal resolution process.The Respondent can submit a written response to the Complainant’s detailed complaint within 5 days.

It is generally the obligation of the College to produce relevant documentary evidence in its possession that is reasonably requested by either party, as judged by the DOF or DOF designee, to the extent that doing so does not violate federal or state privacy laws, though student names may be redacted.

3. Review Panel

Within 5 days of the time the DOF or DOF’s designee receives the Respondent’s response, the DOF or DOF’s designee, in consultation with the chair of the Administration Committee or the chair’s designee, shall convene a meeting of the Grievance Committee. The Review Panel shall then be formed by selecting (through a random number generator) three of the Grievance Committee’s Full Professors and two of its Associate Professors. The DOF or DOF’s designee shall share with the Review Panel the names of the parties and whatever minimal additional information might be necessary for Review Panel members to determine whether they have a conflict of interest.     

When the grievance arises from a Staff complaint against a Faculty member, the Director of Human Resources shall add one senior or administrative staff member who is free of conflict of interest to the Review Panel as a voting member and, if necessary later, one to the Hearing Panel. The Staff member must be acceptable to both the Complainant and the Respondent. If a Staff member cannot be agreed upon by the Complainant and the Respondent, the President or President’s designee shall then select the Staff member.

Should a vacancy occur on the Review Panel after it is formed, due to recusals or other reasons, a replacement shall be selected through a random number generator from remaining members of the Grievance Committee, maintaining the required number of Full and Associate professors. If the number of Full or Associate Professors cannot meet the required number due to multiple recusals, additional Full Professors may be selected from the Grievance Committee (through a random number generator).

The DOF or DOF’s designee shall promptly notify the parties of the composition of the Review Panel. Parties will be given an opportunity to present a written challenge to any member of the Review Panel within two days of being made aware of their selection. The DOF or DOF designee will rule on the challenge within two days of receiving it.

Within 24 hours of the selection of the Review Panel, the DOF or DOF’s designee shall forward all materials described in Section 2 above to the Review Panel.

Within 7 days of being formed, the Review Panel shall meet. The Panel shall select its Chair, who need not be the chair of the Administration Committee.  The Chair shall have the right to vote.

If, after reviewing all documents submitted, at least two members of the Review Panel agree that the grievance is not frivolous, the Panel shall grant a hearing to the Complainant, consistent with Section 4 below. In evaluating whether a complaint is frivolous, legal standards of proof are not applicable to this determination. Rather, Review Panel members are encouraged to use their common sense and rely on common usages of the words “implausible,” “insignificant,” and “insubstantial.” Within five days after convening, the chair of the Review Panel shall inform in writing the Complainant, the Respondent, and the DOF or DOF’s designee of the basis for the panel’s determination. If the Review Panel found the grievance to be frivolous, the written decision will inform the Complainant of the Appeals process described below. If the President or a member of the President’s executive cabinet is a party in the grievance, the Review Panel may call on independent legal counsel if they deem it necessary.

4. Hearing Panel and Assignment of Penalty and/or Remedy

Within 10 days of a determination by the Review Panel that a grievance is not frivolous, the DOF or DOF’s designee shall form a Hearing Panel by selecting (through a random number generator) three Full Professors and two Associate Professors from among the Grievance Committee as voting members and one of each as an alternate, excluding those who were selected to serve on the Review Panel for the same grievance. The DOF or DOF’s designee shall share with the Hearing Panel the names of the parties and whatever minimal additional information might be necessary for Hearing Panel members to determine whether they have a conflict of interest. Should a vacancy occur on the Hearing Panel due to recusals or other reasons, it shall be filled by random selection (using random number generator) of remaining Full and/or Associate Professors of the Grievance Committee as necessary to retain the proper ratio. If the number of Full or Associate Professors cannot meet the required number due to multiple recusals, additional Full Professors may be selected (through a random number generator).

If there are not a sufficient number of Full or Associate Professors remaining in the Grievance Committee to complete a Hearing Panel, the DOF or DOF’s designee shall select (through a random number generator) tenured Full Professors who do not have a conflict of interest to bring the Hearing Panel membership up to the specified number.

Within 24 hours of the selection of the Hearing Panel, the DOF or DOF’s designee shall forward all documents described in Section 2, above, to the Hearing Panel.

The DOF or DOF’s designee shall promptly notify the parties of the composition of the Hearing Panel. Parties will be given an opportunity to present a written challenge to any member of the Hearing Panel within two days of being made aware of their selection. The DOF or DOF designee will rule on the challenge within two days of receiving it.

The Hearing Panel shall select a chair, who shall have the right to vote, shall develop a tentative schedule for the hearing and any prior deadline for the final exchange of any newly-discovered, relevant documents, and shall establish any necessary internal procedures. It shall complete the hearing process within 20 days of convening, excluding breaks in the College calendar.

The Hearing Panel’s hearings shall be closed, although the alternates will be in attendance until such point as the Hearing Panel deliberates. The Hearing Panel shall keep a taped or other verbatim record of all sessions or portions of sessions in which it receives oral evidence (but not of its deliberations). This record or a copy of it shall be made available to the Complainant and the Respondent. Formal rules of evidence do not apply at the hearing; however, the Hearing Panel will only consider reliable, relevant, non-repetitive information. It is the responsibility of the chair to enforce this limitation.

The Complainant and the Respondent may each choose an individual current or emeritus employee of Claremont McKenna College to accompany them in a supportive capacity (i.e. non-participatory role). In cases where a student is involved, the student may choose to be accompanied by an individual who may or may not be an employee of the College. Because this is not a criminal investigation or hearing, legal counsel will not be permitted at the hearing, except in cases in which any party to the grievance faces potential criminal charges or if required by applicable law. In such cases an attorney will only be permitted in a non-participatory advisory role for each involved Complainant and Respondent. The Complainant and the Respondent shall each be permitted to make statements to the Hearing Panel. The Complainant and the Respondent shall have the right to question each other as well as all witnesses.

Hearings will generally follow the following sequence:

The Complainant will present testimony and information in support of the grievance.

The Respondent may question the Complainant.

Members of the Hearing Panel may question the Complainant.

The Complainant will present any witnesses.

The Respondent may question the Complainant’s witnesses, followed by members of the Hearing Panel.

The Respondent may present testimony and information.

The Complainant may question the Respondent, followed by members of the Hearing Panel.

The Respondent may present any witnesses.

The Complainant may question the Respondent’s witnesses, followed by members of the Hearing Panel.

The chair may permit each party to make a short oral closing statement.

The Hearing Panel may ask for other parties to make statements and/or answer questions at the hearing and for relevant College records. It is the responsibility of the Hearing Panel to reasonably ensure that all relevant evidence is available and considered at the hearing.

If the President or a member of the President’s executive cabinet is a party in the grievance, the Hearing Panel may call on independent legal counsel if they deem it necessary.

Upon completion of the hearing, the Hearing Panel shall complete the consideration of the grievance in closed session without the parties present and shall reach decisions by majority vote. In order to substantiate the grievance, the Hearing Panel will apply a preponderance of the evidence standard (meaning the greater weight of the evidence; i.e., that the evidence in support of the grievance outweighs, preponderates over, or is more than, the evidence on the other side). 

The chair of the Hearing Panel shall deliver to the DOF or the DOF’s designee a written report of the panel’s findings within 10 days of the completion of the hearing process and, if appropriate, its recommendations for a penalty and/or other remedy, if any, or dismissal of the complaint. The Hearing Panel’s report shall indicate both its determination of the validity of the complaint and, if appropriate, its recommendation for penalty and/or remedy. These findings and recommendations shall also be reported to the Complainant, the Respondent, the Director of Human Resources (when a staff member is involved) and the Dean of Students (when a Student is involved).

The DOF or DOF’s designee shall review the record of the Hearing Panel’s proceedings, findings and recommendations, and after consideration of the Hearing Panel’s recommendation regarding the penalty and/or other remedy, if any, the DOF or DOF’s designee shall determine what penalty, if any, will be levied and/or what other remedy, if any, is appropriate. The presumption is that the DOF or DOF’s designee will accept the Hearing Panel’s decision on the substance of the grievance and will give substantial weight to the recommendations.

The DOF or DOF’s designee shall submit a written decision to the parties and Hearing Panel within 10 days of receiving the Hearing Panel’s findings and recommendations. Written comments by either the Complainant, Respondent, or Hearing Panel must be made within 5 days of the DOF or DOF designee’s notification. Anyone submitting comments must cc all other parties.

The DOF or DOF’s designee shall also concurrently notify the President by submitting a copy of the decision to the President or President’s designee in cases deemed to be automatically appealed as provided in Section I-5 below.

The DOF or DOF’s designee may, but is not required to modify the decision within 5 days of receiving the comments and will either notify the Complainant, Respondent, and Hearing Panel that the original decision stands or send them the modified decision. The decision will indicate whether it will be deemed automatically appealed to the President or President’s designee.

5. Appeals
General

Either the Complainant or Respondent may appeal to the President or President’s designee based solely on the appropriate grounds for appeal (as described below). (For grounds for appeal, see below.)

All penalties, other remedies or dismissals which require action by the Board of Trustees, are deemed to have been automatically appealed to the President  or the President’s designee even if neither the Respondent nor the Complainant files a petition for appeal. In these instances, the DOF or DOF’s designee will forward all grievance documentation to the President or President’s designee.

Grounds for Appeal and Additional Options for Presidential Disposition of Appeals.

Improper dismissal before hearing. The Appellant may claim that the Review Panel improperly dismissed the case as frivolous. If the President or President’s designee accepts this claim, the President or President’s designee may grant a hearing within 15 days thereafter. In evaluating these grounds for appeal, the President should give deference to decisions that appear reasonably made and only grant the appeal if the President finds the finding of frivolousness was an abuse of discretion (i.e. manifestly erroneous).

Lack of substantial evidence. The Appellant may claim that the Hearing Panel’s findings were not supported by substantial evidence (meaning, when considering the record as a whole, there is relevant evidence as reasonable minds might accept as supporting the conclusion). If the President or President’s designee accepts this claim and the Hearing Panel’s findings were against the Respondent, the President or President’s designee may act under the President’s or President’s designee’s general authority and modify the part of the decision so not supported or dismiss the case. If the President or President’s designee accepts this claim and the Hearing Panel’s findings were against the Complainant, the President or President’s designee will send the claim back to the Hearing Panel with direction to, within 20 days, reconsider the matter and to submit its reconsidered recommendation to the DOF or DOF’s designee.

New evidence. The Appellant may claim that new evidence is available. The President or President’s designee shall determine whether such new evidence is germane to the case, and whether the evidence could reasonably have led to different findings and/or a different decision. If the President or President’s designee accepts these claims, the President or President’s designee may, as appropriate, refer the case back to the Review Panel for reconsideration or to the Hearing Panel for a new hearing within 15 days and a new decision by the DOF or DOF’s designee. New information may only be introduced upon appeal if it has arisen or come to the appellant’s attention after the relevant panel reviewed the complaint and rendered a finding. Information that was known to the appellant at the time the case was originally reviewed, but which the appellant chose not to share in the original complaint or response, is not new information.

Bias. The Appellant may claim that a member of the Review Panel and/or the Hearing Panel was biased, suffered from conflicts of interest, or showed malice. If the President or President’s designee accepts this claim on the basis of compelling evidence, the President or President’s designee may: refer the case back to a differently constituted Review Panel or Hearing Panel designated by the President or President’s designee for a new hearing in accordance with the time provisions above. If the President or President’s designee orders a new hearing, the President or President’s designee shall, within 10 days, select a new Review Panel of three Full Professors and two Associate Professors or a new Hearing Panel of three Full Professors and two Associate Professors, drawn from the tenured members of the Faculty.

Arbitrary penalty and/or remedy. The Appellant may claim that the penalty or remedy imposed was not appropriate to fit the circumstances of the case. In evaluating these grounds for appeal, the President or President’s designee should give deference to decisions that appear reasonably made and only grant the appeal if the President finds the penalty or remedy as arbitrary or capricious. If the President or President’s designee accepts this claim, the President or President’s designee shall refer the case back to the DOF or DOF’s designee for a new decision on the penalty and/or remedy within 10 days thereafter.

Significant procedural error. The Appellant may claim that a significant procedural error occurred that adversely affected the fundamental fairness of the process. If the President or President’s designee accepts this claim, the President or President’s designee may refer the case back to the Review Panel or Hearing Panel for a new process in accordance with the time provisions above.

Appellate Procedures

To request a review in matters not automatically appealed as described above, the appealing party must submit a written petition to the President or President’s designee within 5 days after the DOF or DOF’s designee issues the decision and copy the non-appealing party. The petition must explain the grounds for appeal. The other party shall have 5 days to respond in writing to the appeal. (For grounds of appeal, see Section I-5.4 below.)

The President or President’s designee shall request and promptly receive from the DOF or DOF’s designee the full record of the grievance proceedings.

Within 15 days of receiving the appeal, or within 15 days of the decision of the DOF or DOF’s designee in a case that is automatically appealed, the President or President’s designee shall in writing notify the Complainant, the Respondent, the DOF or DOF’s designee, the Director of Human Resources (if a staff member was involved), the Dean of Students (if a Student was involved), and the  Hearing Panel of the President or President’s designee’s decision (including whether the appeal is rejected because it does not specify an appropriate ground for appeal).

Presidential Authority

In all appeals, the President or President’s designee may accept or reject the Review Panel’s or Hearing Panel’s original findings and may approve or disapprove the decision by the DOF or DOF’s designee in keeping with the grounds for appeal specified above. In addition, as provided in Section I-5.2 the President or President’s designee may dismiss the case for lack of substantial evidence. In all cases, the President’s appellate role is characterized by reasonable deference to decisions made in the process to that point and is circumscribed by the standards written into the grounds above. In the event that an appeal, or any issue on appeal, is brought to the President or President’s designee more than once, the President or President’s designee shall have the authority to approve, disapprove, dismiss, or modify the decision. If the President or President’s designee’s decision, in whole or in part, requires the approval of the Board of Trustees, the President may only, and shall, recommend approval or disapproval of the DOF or DOF’s designee’s decision. Within 10 days of the President’s or President’s designee’s decision, the complaint must be brought to the Board of Trustees, or the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, for consideration at its next meeting.

Record of Proceedings: Destruction

In keeping with CMC records policy, all written and other material relating to a formal grievance under this Section (other than material in personnel files) will be destroyed by the College after 3 years from the conclusion of the grievance in No Cause findings. In cases where there is a finding of Cause, those materials will be retained permanently. In cases resolved informally, relevant records will be retained for 3 years. In informal grievances and formal grievances resulting in a finding of No Cause, the DOF shall maintain a summary without names attached of the grounds of the grievance and the course of resolution.

Approved by Faculty November 28, 2000
Approved by Board of Trustees December 7, 2000
Approved by OCR December 12, 2001

Amended by the Faculty April 12, 2024 and by the Board of Trustees April 19, 2024