002.015 - Faculty Conduct and the Administration of Discipline
FORMS & RESOURCES
A. POLICY REFERENCES
B. OVERVIEW AND AFFECTED APPOINTEES
- At UCSC, the following serves to implement the University Policy on Faculty Conduct and the Administration of Discipline as approved by the Assembly of the Academic Senate and by The Regents. While the Faculty Code of Conduct ("the Code") applies to all faculty members, both Senate and non-Senate, these procedures apply exclusively to members of the Academic Senate (as listed in the Standing Order of The Regents (SOR) 105.1), including those titles defined as equivalent under SOR 103.3.
- Senate faculty members holding administrative appointments may be subject to disciplinary action under the Code for professional misconduct in their administrative role that falls within the types of unacceptable conduct set forth in the Faculty Code of Conduct. In addition, administrative actions may also be taken (e.g., removal from the administrative position), which need not adhere to the disciplinary procedures outlined herein.
- The following procedures apply only in those instances in which a member of the Academic Senate is charged with unacceptable conduct in alleged violation of the Faculty Code of Conduct. No faculty member's right to a hearing before the Committee on Privilege and Tenure under Academic Senate Bylaws 335, 336, and 337, or SOR 103.9 and SOR 103.10, shall be abridged in any way by these procedures.
- Throughout these procedures, the party filing the formal complaint is referred to as the "complainant," and the Senate faculty member accused of violating the Faculty Code of Conduct is referred to as the "respondent."
The responsibility and final authority to discipline faculty members lies with the Chancellor, and hence with the administration. There is to be no re-delegation of the Chancellor's authority to impose disciplinary sanctions within the terms of the University Policy on Faculty Conduct and the Administration of Discipline; and no such sanction shall be imposed except as a consequence of the processes set forth below. However, in any case of discipline of a Senate faculty member, the Chancellor will normally delegate to the Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor ("Campus Provost") the authority to initiate disciplinary action.
D. DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS
- The following disciplinary sanctions are authorized in the University Policy on Faculty Conduct and the Administration of Discipline, and are listed in order of increasing severity: written censure, reduction in salary, demotion, suspension, denial or curtailment of emeritus status, and dismissal from the employ of the University. See APM - 016, Section II for a description of each of these sanctions.
- In any disciplinary proceeding, the Chancellor may not impose a type of discipline more severe than that which was set forth in the written notice of proposed disciplinary action to the respondent. However, more than one disciplinary sanction may be imposed for a single act of misconduct (e.g., a letter of censure and a suspension).
- No disciplinary action may commence if more than three years have passed between the time when the Chancellor knew or should have known about the alleged violation of the Code and the delivery of the notice of proposed disciplinary action.
E. SUBMITTING A FORMAL COMPLAINT
- Allegations of violations of the Faculty Code of Conduct against a Senate faculty member, originating from any source, shall normally be addressed to the Campus Provost, and shall normally be accepted only on the basis of a written, signed complaint form from the complainant (see Appendix A for the Formal Complaint Form). It shall be the complainant's responsibility to draft the complaint in accordance with the requirements described herein, and enumerated in Appendix A (see page 2) of these procedures.
- In short, the complainant must submit one Formal Complaint Form for each individual charged and explicitly identify the section(s) of the Faculty Code of Conduct alleged to have been violated. Faculty may be subjected to disciplinary action for any type of conduct which, although not specifically enumerated in the Code, meets the standard for unacceptable faculty behavior described by the Ethical Principles set forth in the Code. In the event there are multiple allegations against an individual, each allegation must be enumerated on the Formal Complaint Form. It is important that the complainant submit supporting documentation sufficient to substantiate the alleged misconduct. All accompanying documentation must be labeled as to which allegation it is intended to support. The complainant must also include a written explanation of any attempts made to resolve the matter prior to the filing of the formal complaint.
- The Campus Provost (or designee) shall review the complaint to insure that it conforms to these requirements, and to a reasonable standard of conciseness and order. The Campus Provost (or designee) may also consult with the appropriate department chair and/or dean as necessary. The Campus Provost (or designee) may reject any complaint that does not meet the specific requirements set out in Appendix A, page 2 of these procedures. In this event, the complaint will be returned to the complainant who shall have the opportunity to correct the stated deficiencies, and then resubmit the complaint for consideration.
- Once it has been determined that the complaint as submitted meets the requirements, the Campus Provost will notify the respondent in writing that a formal complaint has been filed against him or her, and will include a copy of the complaint with all supporting documentation. The Campus Provost will also forward all conforming complaints of alleged violations of the Faculty Code of Conduct to the Committee on Charges.
- In some instances, the allegations of improper conduct will involve matters more properly reviewed as grievances by the Committee on Privilege and Tenure. Generally, a grievance action is initiated by a faculty member who believes that he or she has suffered injury as the result of a violation of his or her faculty rights or privileges, and specifically requests that the administration take appropriate action to eliminate or mitigate the injury. Complainants may contact the Academic Senate Office (or the Senate Committee on Privilege and Tenure website) for more information and referral to Privilege and Tenure Advisors, who can advise the complainant as to which process is most appropriate given the specific complaint.
F. APPOINTMENT TO THE COMMITTEE ON CHARGES
- The Committee on Charges is an administrative committee that is composed of at least three Academic Senate members, one of whom must have formerly served on the Academic Senate Committee on Privilege and Tenure. Nominations of Senate faculty members shall be provided to the Campus Provost by the Academic Senate Committee on Committees as requested. The Campus Provost shall select the membership from the list provided by the Committee on Committees.
- Appointments to the Committee on Charges normally shall be staggered for one to three year periods, to assure continuity from year to year, with the expectation that a term of service will be for more than one year. While the Committee on Charges will normally convene during the academic year as needed, it may be necessary for the Campus Provost to call upon the Committee to serve during the summer period depending upon the nature of the complaint(s).
- Staff will be assigned to assist the Committee on Charges.
G. ROLE OF THE COMMITTEE ON CHARGES
- On behalf of the Campus Provost, the Committee on Charges conducts probable cause investigations of formal complaints brought against Academic Senate members charged with unacceptable conduct in violation of the Faculty Code of Conduct in order to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant the initiation of a disciplinary action by the administration.
- The Committee on Charges will advise the Campus Provost, in accordance with the "Procedures for Implementing University Policy on Faculty Conduct and the Administration of Discipline":
a. Whether any of the allegations in the formal complaint, if true, would constitute a violation of the Faculty Code of Conduct;
b. If so, whether there is probable cause to warrant the initiation of disciplinary action by the administration (i.e., the probable cause standard means that the facts as alleged in the complaint, if true, justify the imposition of discipline and that the University can produce credible evidence to support the claim (see APM - 015, Part III.A.4); and
c. If there has been a finding of probable cause, what specific disciplinary sanction(s) the Committee recommends (see Section C of these procedures and APM - 016 for the list of authorized sanctions).
- As the types of unacceptable behavior listed in the Faculty Code of Conduct include violations of University policies governing the professional conduct of faculty (e.g., policies applying to sexual harassment, whistleblower protections, and research integrity), the Campus Provost, upon the recommendation of the Committee on Charges, may determine that the fact-finding portion of the probable cause investigation should be assigned to the appropriate office/officer (e.g., Title IX Compliance Coordinator for complaints involving allegations of sexual harassment) to best utilize existing subject-area expertise and to avoid duplication of fact-finding procedures. In all such instances, the investigator's written report shall be forwarded to the Committee on Charges for their use in advising the Campus Provost.
H. PROCEDURES OF THE COMMITTEE ON CHARGES
- The Committee on Charges shall consider all complaints forwarded by the Campus Provost however, a charge will not be investigated if it is determined that the action, if it occurred as alleged, would not constitute a violation of the Faculty Code of Conduct. Should the Committee on Charges believe that a complaint does not warrant investigation, it shall report this conclusion in writing to the Campus Provost.
- The issue of conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict, must be considered. Conflict of interest (e.g., same department or program affiliation as complainant or respondent, or prior significant involvement in any aspect of the complaint under investigation) could lead to the recusal of a member of the Committee on Charges from a specific complaint. In case of a member's recusal, the Campus Provost shall appoint an interim Committee member from the list of nominations provided by the Academic Senate Committee on Committees. NOTE: See also Senate Bylaw 13.4.3
- The Committee on Charges may discuss procedural and interpretive questions with the Campus Provost (or designee), and with University Counsel at any stage of the investigation. In addition, the Committee on Charges has the Campus Provost's authority to seek further information (normally in writing) from individuals who may have relevant information. In the course of its investigation, the Committee on Charges has access to and may examine files and documents within the purview of the administration, including relevant personnel files and confidential documents therein. All confidential documents shall remain confidential within the Committee.
- The Committee on Charges should advise individuals that the University will do all in its power to assure that information will be kept confidential to the extent allowable by law and University policy.
- Following its investigation of the formal complaint, the Committee shall write a final report to the Campus Provost. The report shall include the Committee's assessment of the evidence, a recommendation to dismiss the complaint or to initiate disciplinary action, and a recommendation of the type of disciplinary sanction proposed, if any. These recommendations shall be based upon the probable cause standard (as described in Section G.2 above). It is expected that the Committee on Charges will conclude its work within 90 calendar days from notification of the respondent unless an extension is granted by the Campus Provost.
I. DECISION TO INITIATE DISCIPLINARY ACTION OR TO DISMISS THE COMPLAINT; AND NOTIFYING THE COMPLAINANT
- Upon receipt of the Committee's report, the Campus Provost, acting on behalf of the Chancellor, will decide whether to dismiss the complaint or to initiate a disciplinary action against the respondent. At this stage, in addition to the Committee's recommendation on the appropriate disciplinary sanction, the Campus Provost may consider previous disciplinary actions against the respondent to determine the appropriate level of sanction to propose. The Campus Provost shall notify the Committee on Charges, in writing, of the action she or he intends to take in response to the Committee's recommendation(s).
- The complainant shall be informed whether or not probable cause was found to believe that the respondent's conduct was inconsistent with the Faculty Code of Conduct; and if so, that appropriate disciplinary procedures will be followed. Precautions will be taken to safeguard the confidentiality of investigative and disciplinary proceedings, and information about the ongoing disciplinary proceeding, including information about the outcome, may be shared with complainant(s) to the extent allowable by State law and University policy.
J. INFORMING THE RESPONDENT OF THE INTENT TO DISCIPLINE
- If the Campus Provost decides to initiate disciplinary action, a letter of intent to discipline, along with a copy of the report of the Committee on Charges, shall normally be presented to the respondent by the Campus Provost in the presence of the Chair of the Committee on Privilege and Tenure2. The Chair of Privilege and Tenure shall also be provided with a copy of the letter of intent and the report of the Committee on Charges at the meeting.
- In the event the Campus Provost and the Chair of Privilege and Tenure determine that this method of delivery is not feasible (e.g., the respondent is unavailable or refuses to attend the requested meeting), the letter and report may be sent using a proof of service form, with copies of the letter and report provided to the Chair of Privilege and Tenure at the same time.
- These shall be the only two means by which the proposed discipline shall initially be communicated to the respondent, with no other formal or informal notification from the administration to the respondent prior to delivery of this letter. At this stage, the name of the respondent, the nature of the charges, and the proposed discipline shall be confidential information, limited to the Chair of Privilege and Tenure, and not made known to any other members of that Committee.
- The letter of intent to discipline shall include a statement of the charges and the proposed disciplinary sanction. It shall also inform the respondent that he or she has 21 calendar days to respond to the letter in writing, either by informing the Campus Provost that he or she accepts the proposed sanction, or by informing the Chair of Privilege and Tenure that he or she waives the Senatorial right to a hearing. Absent any such written response, a formal hearing shall be conducted before the Committee on Privilege and Tenure as specified by Academic Senate Bylaw 336.
- If the respondent chooses to accept the proposed discipline, the Chancellor shall report to the entire Committee on Privilege and Tenure for informational purposes, and without using the respondent's name, a statement of the charges, and the accepted sanction or other resolution.
K. INFORMAL RESOLUTION
- As an alternative to formal disciplinary procedures, the respondent and the administration may explore informal resolutions at any point in the disciplinary process. Upon written agreement by both the Campus Provost and the respondent, proposed disciplinary sanction(s) may be waived on the condition that the respondent performs some specified action(s) designed to address the violation and/or to prevent future harm or continued violation. Such actions may include, but are not limited to, monetary restitution, repayment of misappropriated resources, compliance with a commitment not to repeat the misconduct, or other act to remedy the harm caused by the respondent.
- Respondents who are interested in pursuing an informal resolution may negotiate directly with the administration or may request the involvement of the Chair of Privilege and Tenure. Respondents should contact the Campus Provost or the Chair of Privilege and Tenure to discuss this option further or to propose an informal resolution.
- If an informal resolution is reached with the administration at any point in the disciplinary process (with or without the involvement of the Chair of Privilege and Tenure), the Chancellor shall report to the entire Committee on Privilege and Tenure for informational purposes, and without using the respondent's name, a statement of the charges, and the negotiated resolution.
L. RESPONDENT'S RIGHT TO A HEARING BEFORE DISCIPLINARY ACTION IS IMPOSED
- At the time the letter is personally delivered to the respondent, or within three working days if the letter is mailed, the Chair of Privilege and Tenure shall make known to the respondent the Senatorial right to a hearing pursuant to Academic Senate Bylaw 336 before disciplinary sanctions can be imposed by the Chancellor. The Chair shall also provide general information about the nature of Privilege and Tenure hearings. In addition, the Chair shall provide information about the options available to the respondent, including accepting the proposed discipline, negotiating an informal resolution directly with the administration, or negotiating an informal resolution with the involvement of the Chair.
- Unless the respondent waives the right to a hearing by notifying the Chair of Privilege and Tenure in writing within 21 calendar days of receipt of the Campus Provost's letter of intent to discipline, a formal hearing shall be conducted before the Committee on Privilege and Tenure according to the procedures and timelines specified by Academic Senate Bylaw 336. A Senate member who is entitled to a hearing should not be permitted to delay the imposition of discipline by refusing to cooperate or being unavailable for a scheduled hearing. A hearing shall not be postponed because the respondent is on leave or fails to appear.
- The Committee on Privilege and Tenure (or properly constituted hearing panel sub-committee) will hear the case and will report its findings and recommendations to the Chancellor. The University must prove its case against the respondent using as a standard of proof the basis of clear and convincing evidence. The clear and convincing evidence standard is a heavier burden than the probable cause standard used by the Committee on Charges during its investigation. See APM - 015 and Academic Senate Bylaw 336 for more information on the conduct of disciplinary hearings before the Committee on Privilege and Tenure.
- If the respondent waives the right to a hearing, then his or her name shall not be made known to the members of the Committee on Privilege and Tenure. Absent such a waiver, the respondent's name shall necessarily be made known to the Committee members.
M. POST-HEARING PROCEDURES
- The Chancellor shall have final authority to determine which type(s) of disciplinary sanction to impose, if any, following review of the Committee on Privilege and Tenure's hearing report and recommendations. Normally, the Chancellor shall make her/his final decision within 28 days of receipt of the hearing report.
- In cases where the Chancellor's tentative decision regarding the imposition of discipline on a Senate member disagrees with the recommendation of the hearing panel, the Chancellor shall inform the Chair in writing that he or she may disagree, and ask if the Chair and/or the whole hearing panel would like to meet with the Chancellor prior to a final decision.
N. ALTERNATE DELEGATION OF CHANCELLORIAL AUTHORITY
In the event the Campus Provost recuses himself or herself from a disciplinary case at any stage, the Chancellor may delegate her or his authority at that stage for that case to a person or persons whom the Chancellor judges to be appropriate. Without abridging the privacy rights of all persons involved in a disciplinary process, and in order to avoid a conflict of interest or role, or the appearance of a conflict of interest or role in the designation of a delegate, the Chancellor will discuss the choice of the appropriate person with the Chair of the Academic Senate.
O. COMPLAINT FILE
Upon final resolution of the formal complaint, the complaint file will be maintained in the Administrative Records Office. The complaint file shall include the following: the original formal complaint and all accompanying documentation; the letter from the Campus Provost forwarding the complaint to the Committee on Charges for its probable cause investigation; any additional materials submitted to the Committee on Charges during its investigation; the Committee on Charges' final report; the Campus Provost's written notice of intent to initiate disciplinary action, if any; a copy of the Committee on Privilege and Tenure's hearing report, if any; and, a copy of the Chancellor's letter communicating his or her final decision.
P. INVOLUNTARY LEAVE
- The Campus Provost may initiate involuntary leave with pay prior to the initiation of a disciplinary action if it is found that there is a strong risk that the respondent's continued assignment to regular duties or presence on campus will cause immediate and serious harm to the campus community or impede the investigation of his or her wrongdoing, or in situations where the respondent's conduct represents a serious crime or felony that is the subject of investigation by a law enforcement agency.
- Such action does not represent the imposition of a disciplinary sanction; however, the respondent's return to University premises without written permission from the Campus Provost may create independent grounds for disciplinary action.
- The Campus Provost must confirm such investigatory leave in writing, including the reasons for and the expected duration of the leave, to the respondent within 10 working days after the imposition of involuntary leave, and initiate disciplinary procedures against the respondent (i.e., deliver the notice of intent to discipline).
- In rare and egregious cases, the Chancellor may be authorized by special action of The Regents to suspend the pay of a faculty member on involuntary leave pending a disciplinary action.
- The faculty member may grieve the decision to place him or her on involuntary leave to the Committee on Privilege and Tenure. The Committee on Privilege and Tenure shall handle such grievances on an expedited basis, and may recommend reinstatement of pay and back pay in cases where pay status was suspended.
- If the complainant or respondent believes that his or her rights have been violated at any stage during the disciplinary process, or that there is evidence of malfeasance or inappropriate behavior by Committee members or the administration, he or she may file a grievance.
- For Academic Senate members, either complainants or respondents, the grievance is filed with the Committee on Privilege and Tenure.
- If the complainant is not an Academic Senate member (e.g., staff member or graduate student), the grievance is filed with the Academic Personnel Office per CAPM 008.140.