For students who wish to appeal a conduct case, you may do so by filling out the form from the following link: University Disciplinary Appeal Form.
The appeal process, as outlined in USI’s Student Rights and Responsibilities: A Code of Student Behavior, is described in detail below.
Students found responsible for a violation of the Student Rights and Responsibilities: A Code of Student Behavior may appeal. An appeal from any decision, either administrative hearing or University hearing board, must be made in writing within two business days following the date the hearing record notification is assigned and notice is received by the student.
Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women’s Act the complainant may appeal in cases of sexual violence (Sexual Imposition 2.10).
4.7.1 Format of Appeal
An appeal shall be written and contain the student’s name, the date of the decision or action, and the reason(s) for the appeal. The appeal letter must specify in detail one or more of the following bases for appeal:
- Student’s/student organization’s rights were violated as a result of failure of due process (specify right believed to have been violated),
- Decision is arbitrary (no basis in University policy for decision) or capricious manner (the finding is against the substantial weight of the evidence),
- Significant new evidence is available that could change the outcome, and/or
- The appropriateness of the sanction is inconsistent with University community standards.
4.7.2 Suspension of Original Sanction Pending Appeal Review
A properly-filed notice of appeal suspends the imposition of sanctions until the appeal is decided, unless, in the discretion of the dean of students, the continued presence of the student on the campus poses a serious threat to themselves or to others, property, or to the normal operation of the University.
4.7.3 Individuals Reviewing Appeals
The appeal will be reviewed by the appropriate appellate officer. For administrative hearing appeals, the following system is used:
- For appeals of decisions by University housing hearing officers, the appeals officer will be the Director of Housing and Residence Life, or designee.
- For appeals of decisions of other administrative hearing officers, the Dean of Students or his/her designee will review the appeal.
- For appeals of Dean of Student decisions, the Associate Provost for Student Affairs will review the appeal.
- For appeals of the University hearing board, the Appeals Commission will review the appeal.
The commission is comprised of the following members: SGA chief justice (student), SGA University Court representative (student), one faculty representative, one administrative staff representative, and the Associate Provost for Student Affairs or his/her designee. The Associate Provost for Student Affairs or his/her designee will serve as the chair of the commission and vote only in case of a tie. The chair of the commission will notify the student the outcome of the appeal.
4.7.4 Appeal Review Process
The appellate officer will review the written letter of appeal from the student and determine if one of the basis for appeal is present. If it is, a hearing of the appeal will be granted. The appellate officer shall review:
- The response from the hearing officer/body.
- Materials presented at the original hearing, and if available the recorded transcript of the hearing.
Appeals shall be decided upon the record of the original proceedings and upon the written briefs submitted by the parties. Decisions of the conduct bodies will be given great deference by the appellate decision maker. After reviewing these materials, the appellate officer may decide to do one of the following:
- Affirm the finding and the sanction imposed.
- If specified errors occurred, remand to the original decision makers to reverse the error, change the procedures, consider new evidence that could not have been discovered by a properly diligent accused before or during the original hearing, substitute new adjudicators, or otherwise repair the grounds that gave rise to the appeal.
- Affirm the finding and reduce, but not eliminate or increase the sanction if found to be grossly disproportionate to the offense.
- Cases may only be dismissed if the finding is held to be arbitrary and capricious.
A crucial point in the appeals process is the shifting of the burden of proof. At the initial hearing, the burden of proof lies with the complainant. Once there is a finding of responsibility, the burden shifts to the petitioner. The decision on the appeal will generally be made within ten (10) business days of receipt of the appeal, but may take longer during University recesses or in the event of complex cases.