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Termination, Dismissal for Cause, and Grievance Procedures
The connection with the College of faculty members appointed for specified terms shall automatically cease at the end of the term specified, unless they are reappointed. A member of the Faculty holding a term appointment or an appointment without term may be relieved of his or her appointment at any time by the Board of Trustees only for adequate cause or under extraordinary circumstances because of financial exigencies, the appointment of a faculty member with tenure can be terminated only for those reasons consistent with the definition of tenure.2. Dismissal, suspension, demotion in rank, or deprivation of pay for cause (Voted by the Faculty May 1995).
a. Adequate Cause. Since the fundamental purpose of academic tenure is to preserve academic freedom, only the most serious violations of a faculty member's responsibilities as teacher, scholar, and colleague, especially the flagrant interference with the efforts of colleagues and students to exercise their rights of free inquiry and expression, can be considered adequate cause for dismissal, suspension, demotion in rank, or deprivation of pay.
A crime against the larger society is punishable according to the laws of the state and should not be cause for these severe sanctions unless such incrimination prevents the fulfillment of teaching obligations or otherwise seriously impairs the possibility of establishing classroom relations that are free of extraordinary constraint.
Any charge that might, for cause, lead to dismissal, suspension, demotion in rank, or deprivation of pay is a matter of utmost gravity, not only for the complainant and the faculty member being charged, but also the the College, and the decision to press charges must be weighed with a careful regard for the academic freedom of all parties directly concerned. The Amherst College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors may intervene in favor of the withdrawal of charges if it deems it likely that such proceedings might lead to an even greater impairment of academic freedom than the actions which led to the pressing of charges.
b. Procedure. Proceedings seeking, for cause, the dismissal, suspension from service for a stated period, demotion in rank, or deprivation of pay of a faculty member who has tenure or whose term appointment has not expired shall be initiated and prosecuted by the Dean of the Faculty (or the President who shall assume the responsibilities of the Dean as hereafter described if the Dean is directly involved or incapacitated for any reason).
3. Grievance Procedures for Members of the Faculty (Voted by the Faculty, October 1986)
(1) Such procedure must be preceded by discussions between the faculty member and the Dean looking toward a mutual settlement, and by an informal inquiry by the Committee on Adjudication which may, failing to effect an informal resolution, recommend whether in its opinion such a proceeding should go forward, without its opinion being binding upon the Dean.
(2) The faculty member charged will be provided with a formal communication prepared by the Dean setting forth the charges with reasonable particularity, and advising him or her of the rights enumerated below.
(3) Within fifteen days after the charges have been communicated to the faculty member charged, a Hearing Board shall be formed consisting of three faculty selected by the Committee of Six from among the Faculty elected to the Committee on Adjudication; the Hearing Board will select its own chair.
(4) A member of the Hearing Board may be disqualified for bias or a conflict of interest in response to a challenge brought by one of the parties (or may deem himself or herself disqualified for either of the same reasons); in addition, the faculty member charged and the Dean will each have one challenge without stated cause. The Chair of the Committee on Adjudication shall decide any such challenge, and the Committee of Six will appoint replacements for each member so excused from among the faculty members of the Committee on Adjudication. Prior acquaintance or knowledge of the facts of the matter does not, necessarily, constitute a conflict in interest absent a showing of an actual conflict of interest.
(5) Service of notice of the commencement of the hearing shall be made at least twenty days prior thereto, or a reasonable period in which to prepare a defense, whichever is greater. The faculty member charged may waive a hearing, with or without making a written response to the charges, in which case the Hearing Board will base its decision upon the record available to it.
(6) The Hearing Board may, with the consent of the parties concerned, hold joint pre-hearing meetings with them in order to (i) simplify the issues, (ii) effect stipulations of facts, (iii) provide for the exchange of documentary or other information, and (iv) achieve such other objectives as will make the hearing more fair, effective and expeditious.
(7) The Hearing Board, after consultation with the Dean of the Faculty and with the faculty member charged, will determine whether the hearing should be private or public.
(8) During the proceedings, the faculty member and the Dean will have the right to be represented by legal counsel of their choosing, and the faculty member will have the right to have an academic advisor of his or her choice; the right of the faculty member to legal counsel and an academic advisor does not obligate the College to bear the expense of either. Legal counsel, but not academic advisors, shall have the right to address the Hearing Board and to examine witnesses.
(9) A verbatim record of the hearing or hearings will be taken and a typewritten copy will be made available to the faculty member, without cost, at the faculty member's request.
(10) The burden of proof that adequate cause exists for the imposition of the penalties imposed rests with the Dean and will be satisfied only by a clear and convincing evidence in the record as a whole.
(11) The Hearing Board will grant reasonable adjournments to enable either party to investigate evidence as to which a valid claim of surprise is made.
(12) The faculty member will be afforded an opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence relevant to his or her defense.
(13) The faculty member and the Dean will have the right to confront and cross-examine all witnesses.
(14) In considering charges of incompetence, the testimony will include that of qualified faculty members from the College or other institutions of higher education.
(15) The Hearing Board will not be bound by strict rules of legal evidence, and, in determining the issues involved, may admit any evidence which is of a probative value not outweighed by unfair prejudice. The Hearing Board will also have final responsibility for establishing the procedures for obtaining witnesses and evidence which will protect the personal rights and dignity of all those who might be asked to provide the same as well as of the parties to the most reliable evidence available.
(16) The findings of fact and its recommendations will be based solely on the hearing record.
Except for such simple announcements as may be required covering the time of the hearing and similar matters, public statements and publicity about the case by either the faculty member or the Dean will be avoided so far as possible until the proceedings have been completed, including consideration by the Trustees.
After all parties have been heard and all of the relevant evidence has been gathered, the Hearing Board will make explicit findings with respect to the charges and its recommendation, if any, for an appropriate sanction, including but not limited to dismissal, suspension from service for a stated period, demotion in rank, or deprivation of pay. Unanimous agreement of all members of the Hearing Board is required for the recommendation of dismissal, suspension from service for a stated period, demotion in rank, or deprivation of pay; the concurrence of a majority of the members is required for all other findings and recommendations. Any member of the Hearing Board who disagrees with the majority must make his or her own explicit findings and recommendations. The Dean and the faculty member will be notified in writing of the Hearing Board's findings and recommendations (and those of any minority member), and each will be given a copy of the transcript of the proceedings on which the Hearing Board's recommendation for a penalty is based.
The President shall transmit to the Board of Trustees the full report of the Hearing Board (and any minority report), stating its recommendations. Normally the Board of Trustees will decide the case on the basis of the Hearing Board's recommendation. If the Board of Trustees chooses to review the case, its review shall be based on the record of the previous hearing, accompanied by opportunity for argument, oral or written or both, by the principals at the hearing or their representatives. The recommendation of the Hearing Board shall either be sustained or returned to the Hearing Board with objections specified. In the latter case the Hearing Board shall reconsider its recommendation, taking account of the stated objections and receiving new evidence if necessary. The Hearing Board shall form its decision and communicate it in the manner as before. Only after study of the Hearing Board's reconsideration may the Trustees make a final decision over-ruling the Hearing Board.
A faculty member facing charges that might lead to dismissal, suspension, demotion in rank, or deprivation of pay should not be suspended by the President of the College during the proceedings involving him or her unless immediate harm to the rights of others is threatened by continued exercise of his or her teaching duties. Furthermore, a faculty member facing charges should have the right to request a leave from teaching duties, which ordinarily will be granted, in order to prepare his or her defense. However it originates, a suspension during the hearing proceedings shall be with pay.
Committed to the ideal of resolving grievances collegially, Amherst College makes no attempt to codify a distinction between grievances that might require a formal hearing and lesser disputes or disappointments that should be resolved informally. In every case, it is expected that an informal resolution will be attempted, typically beginning with a frank and open discussion with the appropriate person or persons, whether that be a faculty colleague or a member of the Administration.
a. Petition of Grievance. At Amherst there are numerous persons who may be expected to play a role in settling controversies or resolving disputes before they become grievances, among them, the President, the Dean of the Faculty, the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity; and the Chairs of the several departments. Moreover, any member may consult the ombudsperson on any matter of concern or complaint.
A member of the faculty who has been unable to achieve by informal means what he or she regards as a fair and reasonable resolution of a complaint may file a petition of grievance with the Chair of the Committee on Adjudication.
The filing of a petition of grievance does not automatically entail that the full case or any particular part will be submitted to a Hearing Board for formal hearing. In every case, the Committee on Adjudication shall, by reference to the petition alone, determine whether any of the allegations, if substantiated, would warrant or require any remedial action or relief and, if so, whether the petitioner has cited credible evidence in support of his or her allegations or complaint. The complainant's petition should be sufficiently specific and extensive to inform the Committee on Adjudication adequately on these points. A petition deemed by the Committee on Adjudication not to warrant a formal hearing shall not be heard. The committee may also decide not to hear a petition that is premature or unduly late. The decision not to hear a case shall be communicated in writing to the President of the College and to the immediate parties to the case. The Committee on Adjudication may request clarification or additional information or evidence before ruling on the sufficiency of a petition, but this decision, whether affirmative or negative shall be final and unreviewable.
b. The Committee on Adjudication and Hearing Boards.
4. Resolution of Student Grievances with Members of the Faculty (Voted by the Faculty, May 1995)
(1) The Committee on Adjudication (Selection, term of office, and function). The Committee on Adjudication consists of eight members of the faculty, serving three year terms, staggered to ensure continuity. Nominations are made by the Committee of Six, but additional nominations may be made from the floor during the faculty meeting at which the members of this Committee are elected by a majority of those present and voting. The Committee on Adjudication annually chooses its own chair.
Upon receipt of a petition of grievance, the entire Committee of Adjudication shall determine whether the petition merits a formal hearing, though Committee members who have a substantial or conflicting interest in the case shall neither vote on this question nor serve on the Hearing Board should one be named. Where it is determined that a petition should be heard, the Committee on Adjudication shall name three of its members to a Hearing Board to hear the case. In special circumstances, particularly where considerations of caseload or conflict of interest are involved, the Committee on Adjudication may make substitute appointments to a Hearing Board from the Faculty at large. Each Hearing Board shall choose its own chair.
(2) General Procedures of the Hearing Boards. Every effort shall be made to conclude hearings in a timely manner. Proceedings shall not be governed by strict rules of evidence. Parties shall be allowed a reasonable period to prepare and state their case and to present evidence and testimony, subject to the authority of the Chair to bar testimony that is dilatory or not germane to the case. Parties named in a complaint shall have a reasonable opportunity to respond to all charges brought against them. Any party to a grievance hearing may be accompanied by a colleague from the Amherst Faculty or administration as an advisor, but participation in such proceedings is restricted to the parties, witnesses, and members of the Hearing Board, subject to exceptions explicitly authorized by the Chair. To protect confidentiality and to promote free and open discussion, hearings shall be closed unless the parties agree in writing to some other arrangement, subject to approval by the Chair. The Board is authorized to request the appearance and testimony of any member of the Amherst community. Though the Board has no power to compel compliance, it is expected that any such request will be honored.
Where the subject of a complaint is some official or institutional (including departmental or committee) finding, decision, recommendation or action, the Hearing Board's review is limited to determining whether that body was authorized to act on the matter in question, whether it acted in accordance with procedures of the College and only after due consideration, and whether the decisions, recommendation or action was consonant with the acknowledged requirements of academic freedom or other substantial rights of the complainant. In no such case shall a Hearing Board enter into an assessment of the substantive merits of the finding, decision, recommendation or action complained of, and a finding of error shall result only in a recommendation to retract or reconsider the offending outcome. Where the Board discovers only harmless error it need not recommend any remedial action. At the conclusion of a case, the Hearing Board shall prepare a written summary of what it judges to be the central issues involved and a statement of its recommendations. This document shall be sent to the President of the College and to all of the principal parties to the case, modified as necessary to protect confidentiality or to reflect the varying ways in which parties may have been involved in the case. The President shall receive a complete statement of the Board's summary and recommendations.
The President shall respond in a timely manner to the Hearing Board's recommendations, informing the Board and all of the principal parties to the case of his or her intended actions, if any.
Where the President is named as a party to a case that has been heard by a Hearing Board, that Board shall transmit its summary and recommendations to the Board of Trustees, whose actions shall be final.
(3) Access to Information. Almost every grievance whether addressed informally or formally, presents a tension between a complainant's right to know and the institution's need to protect the confidentiality of certain information and deliberations. Blanket provisions flatly favoring one side or the other appear to be both unnecessary and ill-advised. Rather, questions of access should be resolved by attending to the conflicting interests in specific cases. As a general rule, however, a complainant has no right to the confidential communications of colleagues whether as individuals or as members of a department or a College committee. On the other hand, if a Hearing Board is to make an informed decision and recommendation in a disputed matter, it must have access to all pertinent information including, for example, a department's minutes or other records in connection with a disputed reappointment or tenure recommendation, and where germane, the confidential minutes of the Committee of Six. Where the Hearing Board, as a result of its greater access to confidential information, discovers grounds for remedial action that may not appear in the complainant's petition, the Board shall make findings and recommendations that appropriately take into account those discoveries.
a. Informal Resolution. Student grievances against members of the faculty can be resolved through informal or formal procedures. Students are encouraged to seek informal means of resolving grievances and are urged to consult with other persons who would be able to provide competent advice or referral concerning the issues involved. Such persons might include one of the Deans of Students, the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, a member of the faculty (sometime, especially, the student's faculty advisor or the chairperson of the student's major department), or a resident counselor.
If a student decides that there are no grounds for submitting formal charges, or if he or she is encouraged to resolve the matter through informal means, with the consultation and assistance of such persons as those listed above. The pursuit of such informal resolution does not prevent the aggrieved student from submitting formal charges at a later date if informal resolution fails.
b. Submitting Formal Charges. If informal procedures fail to resolve the grievance and if, after consultation with the Dean of the Faculty, the student wants to proceed with the grievance, he or she may submit formal charges against a member of the faculty. The complaint should be directed to the Dean of the Faculty and should contain a full written description of the nature and grounds of the grievance.
Throughout the informal procedures for the resolution of grievances, both the student and the faculty member may each be accompanied and represented by an advisor of his or her choosing from among the Amherst College Faculty, Administration, Staff or student body, and the student may be accompanied and represented by such an advisor in the presentation of formal charges to the Dean.
Upon receipt of such charges, the Dean of the Faculty will provide written copies to all of the parties against whom the complaint is directed. Within one week of receiving a formal charge, the Dean of the Faculty will proceed as follows:
If the Dean deems the charges insufficiently serious or insufficiently supported by evidence to warrant a formal hearing, he or she decides the matter himself or herself. This decision can be appealed to the President.
If the Dean determines that the charges, if proven, are sufficiently serious that, for cause, the imposition of either dismissal, suspension from service for a stated period, demotion in rank, or deprivation of pay would be warranted, he or she shall immediately initiate the procedure for the imposition of such sanctions as provided in Section III.I.2.
If the Dean deems the charges insufficiently serious to raise the possibility of such severe sanctions, but sufficiently supported by evidence to warrant a formal hearing, he or she shall explore with the aggrieved student and the accused member of the faculty the possibility of resolving their dispute through an alternative dispute resolution procedure, including arbitration by the Dean, which procedure, however, must include an explicit time schedule, may not result in the dismissal, suspension from service, demotion in rank, or deprivation of pay of the faculty member charged, and may not provide for further review thereafter. The parties shall have one week in which to agree on such a procedure. If they do not, the Dean will notify the Chairs of the Committee on Adjudication and the Committee on Discipline of the necessity of forming a Hearing Board within five days thereafter. Immediately upon the formation of the Hearing Board, the Dean will forward the grievance to it.
In order to protect the integrity of a potential appeal, one formal charges are submitted to the Dean of the Faculty, he or she must not discuss the case with the President.
In the case of a complaint against the Dean of the Faculty, his or her role in all phases of the grievance procedure will be assumed by the President. Similarly, the President's role as the officer to whom appeals are directed will be assumed by the Board of Trustees.
c. The Hearing Board and Hearing. The Hearing Board shall be composed of three faculty members chosen by the Chair of the Committee on Adjudication from among its members, and two students selected by the Committee on Discipline from among its members. The Chair of the Committee on Adjudication will normally not sit on a Hearing Board in order to be available to serve on appeals should they arise.
Each Hearing Board will elect its own Chair. The Chair of the Hearing Board will preside over the hearing, maintaining good order and recognizing who is to speak. He or she will be responsible for keeping a summary record of the proceeding. A verbatim transcript may be taken at the discretion of the Chair, and will be taken if requested by a member of the Hearing Board or by either party to the dispute.
A faculty or student member of the Hearing Board may be disqualified for bias or a conflict of interest in response to a challenge brought by one of the parties (or may deem himself or herself disqualified for either of the same reasons). The Chair of the Committee on Adjudication shall decide any such challenge to a faculty member and shall appoint a replacement from among the members of that Committee or, in exceptional cases where no alternative member is available, the Committee of Six will appoint a substitute from the Faculty at large. The Chair of the Committee on Discipline shall decide any such challenge to a student member and shall appoint a replacement from among the student members of that Committee, or, in exceptional circumstances, where no alternative member of the Committee is available, the College Council will appoint a substitute from the student body at large.
The Hearing Board shall have the right to request information concerning allegations, to question witnesses and to ask for written accounts of alleged violations. It is expected that both the complainant and the accused will be present at the hearing, but if the accused chooses not to attend, the hearing may continue in his or her absence. The Board may consider any testimony or other evidence it believes has a probative value not outweighed by unfair prejudice, except 1) any written or oral statement made by any member of the College community in confidence to an official of the College, with the mutual understanding that it was made in confidence, shall remain confidential if the original maker of the statement so chooses, and the Board shall not consider it, and 2) the Board shall not have access to the confidential personnel file of the faculty member against whom charges have been made. The Board has the right to call witnesses and to oblige any member of the College community to appear. The burden of proof rests with the complainant and will be satisfied only by clear and convincing evidence in the record as a whole.
The Dean of the Faculty will present the formal charges to the Hearing Board, thereby initiating formal proceedings which will normally begin within three weeks of the formation of the Hearing Board.
All hearings of the Board will be confidential except when both parties to the dispute request open hearings and the Chair of the Hearing Board concurs. All members of the College community are reminded that, except in the case of an open hearing, any breach of confidentiality may threaten the fairness of the process. All parties are expected to refrain from any action, intentional or inadvertent, which might threaten the confidentiality of the proceedings. The Chair may close an open hearing at any time if he or she determines that the presence of spectators interferes with the conduct of the hearing or might undermine the integrity of the process.
Prior to the hearing, the Chair will inform both parties of the following rights:
(1) to receive a copy of the formal charges, a copy of the Hearing Board's procedures and notice of the time and location of the hearing. This information must be delivered at least fifteen days prior to the date of the hearing.
(2) to present their case to the Hearing Board at the earliest possible date consonant with the right to advance notice. Although the Chair will insure expeditious progress of the proceedings, either party may petition the Chair for more time to prepare his or her case.
(3) to select a member of the Amherst College Faculty, Administration, Staff or student body as an advisor and to have that advisor present during the hearing. Advisors may assist the parties in preparing the case. Advisors are present at the hearing not to serve as legal council, but to support and advise the parties. Advisors have the right, however, to address the Hearing Board and to address questions to witnesses.
(4) to challenge any member of the Hearing Board with bias or a conflict of interest in the case. (prior acquaintance or knowledge of the facts of the matter does not, necessarily, constitute conflict of interest absent a showing of an actual conflict of interest.) The Chair of the Committee of Adjudication will rule on the challenge of any faculty member of the Hearing Board, and the Chair of the Committee on Discipline will rule on the challenge of any student member.
(5) to have any decision based solely upon evidence introduced at the formal hearing.
(6) to present evidence; to call, hear and question witnesses; and to review and question all written testimony or documents. The Board will not consider anonymous statements made on either side of the case. All parties must be aware of the specific source and content of all testimony.
(7) to appeal the decision of the Hearing Board under procedures described in section vi below. Normally, hearings will be concluded within two weeks.
d. The Finding. The Hearing Board will reach a determination as to guilt or innocence, and, if the former, a recommendation for an appropriate course of action to remedy the harm done to the complainant and to protect other members of the College community, including a recommendation, if necessary, of any disciplinary action to be taken against the faculty member, within on week of the close of the formal hearing. The Hearing Board may not itself, however, recommend the imposition of dismissal, suspension from service, demotion in rank, or deprivation of pay, but may recommend that the Dean of the Faculty initiate the procedure established for that purpose. A determination of guilt requires a majority vote of the Hearing Board. The Hearing Board will prepare a written report summarizing the evidence, its determination of guilt or innocence, and its recommendation for a disposition. Any member of the Hearing Board who disagrees with the majority opinion must file an accompanying written minority report. The report and minority report(s) must be signed.
The report(s) will be directed to the Dean of the Faculty who will forward copies directly to the parties.
The finding may be appealed by either party in accordance with procedures specified below.
e. The Disposition. If the Hearing Board recommends that the Dean of the Faculty initiate the procedure for dismissal, suspension from service, demotion in rank, or deprivation of pay for cause provided in section III.I. of the Faculty Handbook, the Dean of the Faculty shall do so as soon as practicable, and there shall be not other review of this disposition other than the initiation of such proceedings and the review provided therefrom. Such subsequent proceedings shall be conducted de novo without regard to the procedure of the Hearing Board described above.
In all other cases, the Dean shall review the Hearing Board's finding(s), report, and recommendations (if any), and whatever relevant information may be contained in the faculty member's confidential personnel file, normally within one week of receipt of such finding(s), report, and recommendations. The Dean may implement a disposition of the case different from that recommended by the Hearing Board (but not dismissal, suspension, demotion in rank, or deprivation of salary) only after notifying it of his or her intention to do so, providing written reasons for the same, and providing the Hearing Board an opportunity to reply. Both parties will be informed in writing of the Dean's determination.
f. Appeals. Either party to the original grievance can appeal the determination of the Hearing Board or of the Dean to an Appeal Board. Such an appeal may be made only on the grounds that one or more of the findings are not supported by the evidence, that substantial new evidence has been uncovered subsequent to the hearing, or that the Hearing Board or the Dean has committed specified procedural errors.
The notice of appeal must specify in writing the grounds on which the appeal is being made and must be presented within fifteen days of receipt of the Dean's determination.
Notice of appeal will be directed to the Chair of the Committee of Adjudication who will convene and chair the Appeal Board. The remainder of the Board will be composed of one faculty member selected by the Chair of the Committee on Adjudication from among its members, and one student member chosen by the Chair of the Committee on Discipline from among its members. None of the members of the Appeal Board shall have served on the Hearing Board for the case under consideration. Any member (including the Chair) of the Appeal Board may disqualify himself or herself, or be disqualified upon a challenge by any party for any of the reasons for which a member of the Hearing Board may be disqualified. Such a challenge to a member of the Appeal Board shall be decided and he or she will be replaced by the procedures outlined above for Hearing Board members, except that, if the chair of the Appeal Board is challenged, the Committee of Six will rule on the challenge and appoint a substitute if necessary.
All three members of the Appeal Board vote and a majority decides all questions. If a member of the Appeal Board disagrees with the majority choice of one of the actions listed below, he or she must file an accompanying written minority recommendation. All reports must be signed. These reports will be directed to the Dean of the Faculty.
The Appeal Board considers an appeal on the basis of the notice of appeal and the summary record or verbatim transcript of the hearing. After reviewing these materials, it may determine that it needs to hold additional hearings, question and otherwise take testimony from the parties and the Dean, and solicit such additional information as it deems necessary for a thorough review. After such review, the Appeal Board will take one of the following actions:
(1) Inform the Dean that the Appeal Board upholds the decisions of the Hearing Board and the Dean.
(2) Inform the Dean that one or more of the findings are not supported by the evidence and the Dean and/or the Hearing Board is to reconsider the recommended disposition, or the charge is to be dropped.
(3) Inform the Dean that the Hearing Board has made one or more specified procedural errors or that new evidence has been uncovered, which requires that the Hearing Board undertake a new hearing.
(4) Inform the Dean that he or she has made one or more specified procedural errors, which require(s) reconsideration by the Dean.
Whatever its action, the Appeal Board shall prepare a written report which will be sent to the parties.
g. Records. When the final disposition of a case results in a finding that a member of the faculty is guilty of a violation, that finding together with the determination of penalty shall be placed in the member's employment file.
When the final disposition of the case results in a finding that the accused is not guilty of a violation, all references to the case will be removed from the accused's employment file.
A permanent file, with the names of all parties and witnesses removed, will be maintained for each case which reaches the formal stage, regardless of its outcome. This file will be kept in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty and will include all summary records, Board findings and penalties imposed. This file will be available to any future Hearing Board for the purpose of researching precedents and to any committee of the College charged with revising the policies concerning the resolution of student grievances with members of the faculty.
The verbatim transcript, if taken, will remain in the confidential files of the Dean of the Faculty until such time as all appeals and civil or criminal cases which may result from the original complaint are settled. It shall then be destroyed.
h. Miscellaneous. None of the foregoing in any way limits rights, responsibilities and procedures described in other College documents, nor does it in any way alter the power and responsibilities of the Dean of the Faculty and the President to enforce the extant rules and regulations of the College.5. Resolution of Faculty Grievances with Students
a. Bringing a Complaint/Being Complained of. Anyone at Amherst College, or at one of the constituent institutions of the Five Colleges, may bring a complaint against a student for allegedly violating the Code of Conduct. All complaints should be made to the Dean who administers the Code of Conduct. He or she will write out a brief form of complaint which must be initialed by the complainant to signify his or her assent to the validity of the written account. The Dean who administers the Code is then responsible for investigating the complaint and for deciding, within ten days, its appropriate disposition. The Dean who administers the Code will interview both the complainant and the accused student, as well as any other witness whose testimony might be useful in deciding the case. After this investigation is complete, the Dean who administers the Code may reach any of the following conclusions:
(1) There is no basis for the complaint, and accordingly it should be dismissed.
(2) There is no substantial dispute on the facts of the case, but the act or acts the student committed do not constitute an offense under the Code of Conduct.
(3) There is not substantial dispute on the facts of the case; and, it is agreed that the facts of the case warrant a finding that the accused student has committed an infraction of the Code of Conduct; and, the potential penalty if the accused student is found guilty is one term's suspension or less. In this instance, the Dean who administers the Code will decide the penalty, make record of it, and see to its enforcement.
(4) There is substantial dispute between the two parties on the facts of the case, so the case must be brought to the Committee on Discipline for adjudication.
(5) Whether or not there is substantial dispute on the facts of the case, the offense is of sufficient seriousness so that it might warrant a penalty greater than one term's suspension. In this instance, the case must also be brought to the Committee on Discipline for adjudication.
(6) For any complaint, the Dean who administers the Code may decide that there are special circumstances which require that the case will be heard by the Committee on Discipline.
Normally cases that must go before the committee should do so within ten days of the initial complaint.
The Dean administering the Code of Conduct may also bring complaints on his or her own in response to information received from individuals or from the reports of the College Security Office, but never based on anonymous complaints or evidence.
b. The Committee on Discipline. The Dean who administers the Code of Conduct is responsible for gathering all evidence to be presented to the committee. He or she may interview witnesses, ask for written accounts of events that allegedly occurred, and otherwise take appropriate steps to gather reliable and truthful accounts of the situation. Complete details of the composition and functions of the Committee on Discipline are published annually in the Student Handbook. Faculty wishing to bring a complaint against a student should consult the current Student Handbook.