Dec 06, 2022  
2021-22 Faculty Handbook 
    
2021-22 Faculty Handbook THIS IS AN ARCHIVED CATALOG. LINKS MAY NO LONGER BE ACTIVE AND CONTENT MAY BE OUT OF DATE!

3.7 Procedures for Dismissal of Faculty Member


These procedures implement Faculty Handbook 1.2, Article VI, section 2, paragraph (x). As specified by the By-Laws of the College, faculty members may be dismissed only for "(1) professional incompetence, (2) neglect of duty, (3) personal conduct which indicates an unfitness for association with and instruction of students, or (4) flagrant or repeated conduct contrary to College regulations or conduct, not legally protected, which is intended to prevent, or directly to incite others to prevent anyone from performing her/his duties and from carrying on her/his lawful business within the Corporation." Although these procedures are designed to expedite resolution of the situation and to avoid legal intervention, they offer no guarantee of legal protection. Faculty are well advised to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. The proceedings for faculty dismissal are confidential. The administration is obliged to respect this confidentiality, to the extent possible. The accused faculty member and faculty participants in the dismissal process are urged to respect this confidentiality. If the charges involve the Dean, then the Chair of the Appointments, Promotions and Tenure Committee (APT) will assume the role of the Dean throughout these Procedures.

If such a matter develops, the following procedural steps will be followed. These procedures are advisory to the President, who transmits the report to the Board of Trustees.

  1. INFORMAL FACULTY CONFERENCE
    1. The Dean of Faculty will contact the faculty member in writing, requesting a conference, informing the faculty member that a matter has been brought to the attention of the Dean which may be grounds for discipline and referring the faculty member to Section 3.7 of the Faculty Handbook. The Dean, with the assistance of the Faculty Ombudsman if requested by the faculty member, will discuss the matter with the faculty member informally in a personal conference. Every effort will be made to resolve the matter at this stage. Several informal conferences may be necessary. If discussions require more than one meeting, either the Dean or the faculty member may, with the consent of the other, invite other knowledgeable parties whose presence and contribution may lead to informal resolution. Written documents supporting each participant's position may be exchanged. By virtue of the informality of the proceedings at this stage, no attorneys shall attend the informal conference(s).
    2. The faculty member may choose not to personally participate in the informal proceedings. In that case, the faculty member can still submit written documents to the Dean and can request within limits that the Dean speak with individuals with relevant information.
    3. Although the negotiating positions of the parties at this stage will remain confidential, any factual information discovered at this stage is not subject to confidentiality.
  2. PRELIMINARY FACULTY INQUIRY
    1. If the matter is not terminated by mutual consent as a result of the informal process set forth above, the Dean will submit a written complaint of the charges against the faculty member and the faculty member may submit a written response thereto. The Dean will initiate a faculty inquiry and a Faculty Review Committee (FRC) will be constituted. This three-member Committee will consist of randomly selected tenured members of the APT. If three tenured members are not available, additional members will be randomly selected from the tenured members of the FEC. If additional members are needed, they will be randomly drawn from the tenured members of the faculty at large. Members may be disqualified for a direct conflict of interest either at the request of a party to the case or on their own initiative. The Dean shall determine if a member of the FRC should be disqualified for cause. Each party will also have a maximum of one challenge without stated cause.
    2. After the three members are selected, the FRC will be notified to commence an informal inquiry into the situation in order to effect an adjustment, if possible. In this process, the FRC will consider information from the faculty member, witnesses, and all other appropriate sources. The FRC will determine whether the Faculty Ombudsman or other parties should be present and, if so, for how long and on what basis. Every effort will be made to resolve the matter at this stage. If no adjustment can be effected at this point, the FRC will determine whether formal proceedings to consider the faculty member's dismissal should be recommended.
    3. The members of the FRC and the parties will receive a copy of any written complaint(s), any response thereto, and any other documents which have been previously submitted by the parties. The complaint(s) against the faculty member may be amended but if so, the faculty member will be allowed adequate time to respond to the amended allegations.
    4. The FRC should establish a time-line for completion of its duties, which should not exceed sixty (60) calendar days after receipt of the matter. This time-frame may be extended due to the complexity of the issues and with the consent of both parties. Time is of the essence during this process, and the timely cooperation of all participants will be expected.
    5. Both parties will be given the opportunity to provide any written materials they would like the FRC to consider as soon as possible. These materials may consist of any background documentation, position papers and arguments, as well as the names and telephone numbers of proposed witnesses they would like to have interviewed. Members of the FRC may also request any written materials they believe are needed for their inquiry.
    6. Copies of all written materials presented to the FRC by or on behalf of either party will be provided to the other party. If either party wishes to have the FRC consider any materials in confidence without providing a copy to the other side, that issue should first be brought to the attention of the FRC for its decision.
    7. Both parties will be given an opportunity to be interviewed separately by the FRC.
    8. Any other witnesses or third parties, reasonably available, will be requested to provide a written statement or to make themselves available for an interview. Depending upon the circumstances, these interviews may be conducted in person or by telephone, and they may be conducted by all or any number of members of the FRC as directed by the FRC. Where a personal or telephone interview is not held, written statements may be accepted in lieu of an interview. Each interview shall be conducted outside the presence of both parties.
    9. Following interviews and receipt of written documents, the FRC may request further written statements and/or separate meetings with the parties and/or witnesses.
    10. Any participant may be represented by a representative, who may be an attorney. If an attorney will be present, the participant must give the other party and the FRC at least forty-eight (48) hours written notice so that the other party and the FRC may arrange for their counsel to be present if they choose.
    11. At the conclusion of the inquiry, the FRC will deliberate and will prepare a written report which will detail the allegations, the evidence in the case, and whether grounds exist for dismissal of the faculty member or some other action and recommend if formal proceedings are warranted. On the basis of its determination, the FRC shall either recommend corrective action or recommend that no further action be taken.
    12. If the matter is not terminated by sufficient and appropriate consent as a result of the informal processes set forth above, and/or if the FRC determines that formal dismissal proceedings are warranted, the FRC will so recommend in a written report to the President. The faculty member shall be provided with a copy of the FRC's report and recommendation to the President. It is understood that this recommendation is not binding upon the President or Board of Trustees. The President may initiate Formal Procedures with or without the recommendation of the FRC.
  3. SEXUAL HARASSMENT CHARGES
    If the matter concerns a charge of sexual harassment or discrimination in which a formal complaint has been filed under the College's Policy on Discrimination and Harassment and the formal procedures of that policy have been used, the FRC process described in Section B will not be required, but the matter will proceed directly to the Formal Dismissal Procedures for faculty members described in Section E. The informal process described in Section A shall still apply.
  4. INTERIM ACTION
    At any step of these proceedings, if immediate harm to the faculty member or other members of the community or the institution is threatened by continuance, the faculty member may be suspended, or assigned to other duties in lieu of suspension, or banned from the campus by the administration. Before suspending, banning or reassigning a faculty member, pending an ultimate determination of the faculty member's status through the institution's hearing procedures, the administration may consult with the FRC concerning the propriety, the length, and the other conditions of the suspension, banning, or reassignment. A suspension which is intended to be final is a dismissal, and will be treated as such. Salary will continue during the period of suspension/banning/reassignment.
  5. FORMAL DISMISSAL PROCEDURES
    1. If the President determines that formal action is warranted, such action will commence with a full and complete written statement of charges, to the faculty member by the President or the President's delegate. The communication to the faculty member will also inform the faculty member that a hearing will be conducted by a Faculty Hearing Committee (FHC) at a specified time and place to determine whether he or she should be removed from the faculty on the grounds stated. In setting the date of the hearing, sufficient time shall be allowed the faculty member to prepare a defense. The faculty member shall be informed, in detail or by reference to regulations published in the Faculty Handbook or College By-Laws, of the procedural rights which will be accorded. The faculty member may reply in writing to the President's letter within two weeks after the receipt of the charges. The written statement of charges may be amended but if so, the faculty member will be allowed adequate time to respond and prepare for the formal proceedings.
    2. If formal proceedings begin, a FHC will be constituted. Faculty members serving on the Faculty Review Committee will be ineligible for selection to the Faculty Hearing Committee. Nine tenured faculty members will be randomly selected from the remaining tenured membership of the APT, the FEC and, if needed, the faculty at large. Members may be disqualified for direct conflict of interest either at the request of a party to the case or on their own initiative. The Dean shall determine if a member of the FHC should be disqualified for cause. Each party will have a maximum of two challenges without stated cause. This number will then be further reduced to a final Committee of five by a random selection process. The FHC shall elect its own Chair and shall have legal counsel of its choice. The Faculty Review Committee and Faculty Hearing Committee will be completely separated, both in terms of testimony and in terms of other information.
    3. The FHC should establish a time-line for completion of its duties, which should not exceed sixty (60) calendar days after receipt of the matter. This time-frame may be extended due to the complexity of the issues and with the consent of both parties. Time is of the essence during this process, and the timely cooperation of all participants will be expected.
    4. The FHC may, with the consent of the parties concerned, hold joint pre-hearing meetings with the parties 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 appropriate prehearing objectives as will make the hearing fair, effective, and expeditious. If an attorney for either party will attend these meetings, written notice must be given to the other party and the FHC at least forty-eight (48) hours before the meeting.
    5. The faculty member may waive a hearing and may respond instead to the charges only in writing at any time before the hearing. If the faculty member waives a hearing, but denies the charges or asserts that the charges do not support a finding of adequate cause, the FHC will evaluate all available evidence and rest its recommendation upon the evidence in the record.
    6. The FHC, in consultation with the President and the faculty member, will exercise its judgment as to whether the hearing should be public or private. During the proceedings the faculty member will be permitted to have present a faculty observer and legal counsel of the faculty member's' choice. At the request of either party or the FHC, a representative of an appropriate educational association will also be permitted to attend the proceedings as an observer. 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. The burden of proof that adequate cause exists rests with the institution and will be satisfied only by clear and convincing evidence in the record considered as a whole.
    7. The FHC will grant adjournments to enable either party to investigate evidence as to which a valid claim of surprise is made. The faculty member will be afforded an opportunity to obtain necessary witnesses and documentary or other evidence. The administration will cooperate with the FHC in securing witnesses and making available documentary and other evidence. The faculty member and the administration will have the right to conform and cross-examine all witnesses. Where the witnesses cannot or will not appear, but the Committee determines that the interests of justice require admission of their statements, the Committee will identify the witnesses, disclose their statements, and, if possible, provide for interrogatories. In the hearing of charges of incompetence, the testimony will include that of qualified faculty members from this or other institutions of higher education. The FHC will not be bound by strict rules of legal evidence, and may admit any evidence which is of probative value in determining the issues involved. Every possible effort will be made to obtain the most reliable evidence available. The findings of fact and the decision will be based solely on the hearing record.
    8. 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 Administrative Officers will be avoided so far as possible until the proceedings have been completed, including consideration by the College's Board of Trustees. The President and the faculty member will be notified of the decision in writing and will be given a copy of the record of the hearing.
    9. If the FHC concludes that adequate cause for dismissal has not been established by the evidence in the record, it will so report to the President, with supporting reasons. If the FHC concludes that adequate cause for dismissal has been established, it will so recommend, with supporting reasons.
    10. If dismissal or other severe sanction is recommended by the FHC, the faculty member may appeal the recommendation directly to the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees' review will be based on the record of the FHC and it will provide an opportunity for argument, oral or written or both, by the principals at the hearing or by their representatives. The decision of the FHC will either be sustained by the Board of Trustees or the proceeding returned to the FHC with specific objections. The FHC will then reconsider, taking into account the stated objections and receiving new evidence if necessary. The Board of Trustees will then make a final decision only after study of the FHC's amended recommendation and will notify the President and the faculty member of their decision in writing.
    11. If the Board rejects the recommendation of the FHC, the Board will state the reasons for doing so, in writing, to the FHC and to the faculty member. The Board will then provide an opportunity for response from both the FHC and the faculty member. The Board of Trustees' review will be based on the record of the FHC, and the responses of the FHC and the faculty member to the Board's recommendation. The Board of Trustees' review will provide an opportunity for argument, oral or written or both, by the principals at the hearing or by their representatives. The decision of the FHC will either be sustained or the proceeding returned to the FHC with specific objections. The FHC will then reconsider, taking into account the stated objections and receiving new evidence if necessary. The Board of Trustees will then make a final decision only after study of the FHC's amended recommendation, and will notify the President and the faculty member of their decision in writing.

Approved by Scripps Faculty February 17, 2000