Appeal Process

Respondents and Complainants may appeal a Gender-Based Misconduct Hearing Panel decision, an Interim Title IX Policy Hearing Panel decision, and/or the sanction(s) within five (5) business days after receipt of the finding and sanctioning notice (if applicable), respectively, by filing an appeal in writing to the Office.  

Appeals are decided by an Appellate Panel majority vote. The Appellate Panel consists of three Deans of schools: the Dean of the Respondent’s school, the Dean of the Complainant’s school, and a Dean from another school. Should the Complainant and the Respondent attend the same school or should the Dean from a Party’s school have a conflict of interest, two Deans will be added from other schools. Should the Parties both be students of a graduate or professional school, Deans from graduate or professional schools will comprise the panel. Should one Party be an undergraduate student and another Party a graduate or professional student, the Appellate Panel will consist of the Dean of the Respondent’s school, the Dean of the Complainant’s school, and a Dean of School from the academic level of the Respondent. All Deans will receive relevant training at least once a year on how the adjudicatory and appeal process works, the elements essential to a fair and balanced review, and the sensitive issues in reviewing gender-based misconduct cases.  

The four grounds for appeal are: 

  • Procedural irregularity: An appeal based on procedural irregularity must identify with specificity each alleged irregularity within the investigative and/or hearing process and the ways in which the specified irregularity or irregularities substantially affected the decision of the Hearing Panel and/or Sanctioning Officer to the detriment of the appealing Party. Disagreement with the finding or sanction is not, by itself, a ground for appeal; and/or
  • New information: An appeal based on new information must explain why this information was not available or not provided to the Investigative Team in a timely manner, and how this information would have substantially altered the decision by the Hearing Panel. If a Party declined to participate or withdrew from the process, the panel will not consider information that the Party could have provided if they had fully participated in the process. This includes situations where a student declines to participate on the advice of their advisor or due to a concurrent criminal investigation; and/or
  • Conflict of Interest/Bias: An appeal based on conflict of interest or bias must explain how the Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally, or the individual Complainant or Respondent, that affected the outcome of the matter. Complainants and Respondents are afforded multiple opportunities throughout the process to appeal based on potential conflicts of interest or alleged bias. Students must indicate a potential conflict of interest or alleged bias through these opportunities (e.g., during Notice of the Investigators assigned to the case, Notice of the Hearing Panelists, etc.) so that they are immediately addressed before the process moves forward. As such, only newly known or newly apparent conflicts of interest or bias will be considered; and/or 
  • Excessiveness or insufficiency of the sanction: An appeal based on the imposed sanction must explain why the sanction is inappropriate based on the weight of the information provided during the investigation, hearing and/or sanction.

Attached to their appeal, the student may provide a written submission for the Appellate Panel to review. The written statement must be prepared by the student and be no longer than five single-spaced typed pages, using 12-point Times New Roman font and one-inch margins. No attachments or exhibits will be accepted; references to evidence should be made to cited portions of the Hearing Panel’s decision, the Investigative Report, or to materials included with the Investigative Report.  

If either the Complainant or the Respondent submits an appeal, the Office will notify the other Party within three (3) business days after receipt. The Office will provide the non-appealing Party an opportunity to review the appeal and submit a written response. This response must be written by the student and be no more than five single-spaced typed pages, using 12-point Times New Roman font and one-inch margins, and be submitted within five (5) business days after a notice of appeal is issued. If both the Complainant and the Respondent appeal, the appeals will be considered concurrently and each Party will have the opportunity to review and respond to the other Party’s appeal.  

The purpose of an appeal is not to initiate a review of substantive issues of fact, or for a new determination of whether a violation of the Policy has occurred. The Appellate Panel is strictly limited to determining if an appeal should be granted based on the above four grounds for appeal. In making a determination, the Appellate Panel will have access to and the ability to review all applicable documents, including the complete Investigative Report, all exhibits, written statements submitted to the Hearing Panel, impact statements, and a recording of the hearing (if applicable). The Appellate Panel may also request additional information from the Investigative Team and/or Hearing Panel regarding issues of procedural irregularity or new evidence. Additionally, in the event a student submits an appeal containing inaccurate facts or information outside the scope of the Policy, those portions of the information may be redacted and/or the Title IX Coordinator may provide a curative instruction to the Appellate Panel. The Appellate Panel may take the following actions:

  • Affirm the decision and/or sanction;
  • Revise the sanction; or
  • Reverse and send back the matter to the Hearing Panel or Investigative Team or a different Hearing Panel or Investigative Team for further consideration. 

If the matter is returned to a Hearing Panel or Investigative Team, the Appellate Panel will provide instructions regarding the nature and extent of the reconsideration. Following reconsideration by the Hearing Panel or Investigative Team, further proceedings will be conducted as appropriate. 

The Appellate Panel will notify the Complainant and the Respondent of their decision in writing. Appeal decisions will be rendered generally within fifteen (15) business days after the receipt of the last written submission by either of the Parties, depending on the availability of the Appellate Panel at the time of the appeal.  The Office will notify the Parties if there is a delay. There is no further recourse beyond the decision of the Appellate Panel.