This document sets out the appeals procedure for The School of Theology and Religious Studies, in accord with the Student Academic Dishonesty Policy.

  1. A student may appeal a determination that the student committed an act of academic dishonesty by filing an appeal to the Dean within fifteen (15) business days of the written notification of the sanction. The Dean is responsible for evaluating appeals and for deciding whether the appeals are “frivolous or without merit.”  If the appeal is “frivolous or without merit,” the Dean may dismiss the case. Otherwise, the case proceeds to review by the Academic Dishonesty Appeals Committee of the School of Theology and Religious Studies (the “Appeals Committee”).
  2. The Dean may delegate the responsibility for maintaining student files and records to an appropriate Associate Dean.
  3. A Standing Board of Appeals consists of at least five faculty members, two graduate students, and two undergraduate students. At least three faculty members must be regular faculty of the School, at least two members must be undergraduates enrolled in a degree program within the School, and at least two members must be graduate students enrolled in a degree program within the School.  When an appeal is presented to the Dean, if he or she chooses to forward the appeal for review by a Committee, an Appeal Review Committee will be selected by the Dean from the Standing Board of Appeals for the case.  A quorum for any purpose of the Appeal Review Committee requires a minimum of two faculty members and one student.   The faculty members of the Standing Board of Appeals will serve three-year staggered terms.  The student members shall be appointed by the Dean and will serve one-year terms.  The terms of all Board members are renewable.  Choice of appointees to the Committee rests solely with the Dean. If necessary to achieve a quorum on the Committee, the Dean may appoint a faculty member from outside the School. Undergraduate students may not serve on an Appeal Review Committee for graduate students.
  4. A faculty member of the Appeals Committee must recuse him/herself from an appeal that entails an act of academic dishonesty alleged to have taken place with respect to a student in his/her class.  The Chair of the Appeals Committee must ask student members of the Committee, before the Committee begins any given appeal process, whether there is any potential conflict of interest on the part of any student member that would make that member’s recusal from the case advisable. The Chair is the sole decision maker with regard to student recusals from the Appeals Committee.  In any appeal proceeding when recusal has occurred, the Dean (upon notification of recusal by the Committee’s Chair) will appoint alternate members of the Committee to serve for the purposes of that particular appeal.
  5. If a quorum is not possible due to recusals or conflicts for a particular hearing, the Dean may appoint substitute members on a one-time basis.
  6. Every student member of the Appeals Committee must sign the form entitled “Agreement by Student Committee Member to Maintain Confidentiality and Privacy of Student, Faculty, Staff and Other Records.”
  7. The student accused of academic dishonesty must specify with particularity the basis for the student’s appeal in writing. Those written materials in support of the appeal will be given to the Committee members at least 72 hours in advance of the hearing. Any materials submitted by the faculty shall be submitted to the Committee in the same time frame.
  8. The instructor and the student will be available for questions if desired by the Committee.
  9. No witnesses or advisors (including legal counsel) will be allowed to address or present to the Committee. The burden of proof shall be on the student challenging the determination of academic dishonesty. That burden must be satisfied by a preponderance of the evidence that the conduct in question does not constitute academic dishonesty. Preponderance of evidence means that a greater weight of evidence supports the conclusion that a fact is true, or to establish that an event occurred. A preponderance of the evidence does not necessarily mean the greater amount of evidence but rather the greater quality of evidence – making it more likely than not that the matter in question is true.
  10. By a simple majority vote, the Appeals Committee will determine whether the student’s appeal of the finding of academic dishonesty is supported by a preponderance of the evidence. If the Appeals Committee decides against the student, the finding and sanctions remain in place. If the Committee decides in favor of the student, the finding of academic dishonesty is overturned. The Committee will not address the sanctions given to the student.
  11. The decision of the Appeals Committee is final.
  12. In all other respects the procedures of the Appeals Committee will be identical to those prescribed for the university-wide appeals Committee as set out in section IV C of the Student Academic Dishonesty Procedures.  

This page was last updated on 5.15.2018.