Middlebury

Appeal Procedures

a. Appeal of Non-reappointment

i. Grounds for Appeal
A faculty member who has received notice of non-reappointment may appeal that judgment on the basis of either procedural errors or violation of academic freedom that may have influenced the academic department or program, and/or the Reappointments Committee or the Promotions Committee, and/or the president.

ii. Procedures for All Appeals
The faculty member must notify the secretary of the Appeals Council of intent to appeal in writing within 10 days of receipt of notification of non-reappointment.

The secretary informs the vice president for Academic Affairs and the Reappointments Committee or the Promotions Committee of the intent to appeal.

The faculty member must submit his or her appeal and the grounds for the appeal (academic freedom or procedural error) to the secretary of the Appeals Council within 20 days after receipt of notification of non-reappointment.

The Appeals Council will select an Appeal Committee to evaluate the grounds of the appeal. The Appeal Committee does not reconsider or judge the reappointment decision itself, which remains the charge of the Reappointments Committee or the Promotions Committee and the president. The Appeal Committee will be composed of three members of the Appeals Council. In no case will a member of the Appeal Committee be a member of the appellant's department or someone who was involved in the reappointment review in another capacity.

The appellant is informed of the composition of the Appeal Committee by the secretary of the Appeals Council, and may request, for good cause, within a week of notification, that any member selected be disqualified from serving on the committee. Individual panel members may also request, for good cause, such disqualification. The Appeals Council decides on the validity of any such requests.

The Appeal Committee meets with the appellant, the Reappointments Committee or the Promotions Committee, and with any other persons it deems appropriate over the course of its investigation of the appeal. The Reappointments Committee or the Promotions Committee explains to the Appeal Committee the procedures followed in arriving at its recommendation and the reasons for the recommendation. The president explains to the Appeal Committee the procedures followed in reaching his/her decision and the reasons for the decision. The committee has access to all written documents pertaining to the reappointment decision. The contents of those documents, and all other substantive matters pertaining to the committee's investigation, are held strictly confidential. The burden of proof rests with the faculty member. At the conclusion of the investigation, the chair of the Appeal Committee submits the committee's findings, in writing, to the president, members of the Reappointments Committee or the Promotions Committee, the vice president for Academic Affairs, and the appellant. The appellant may request meetings with the Appeal Committee before its investigation begins and at its conclusion.

The Appeals Council will inform the appellant of its findings within 60 days of the date the appeal was submitted to the Council. In the case of an appeal submitted after April 15, the Appeals Council may determine that the appeal will be considered at the beginning of the subsequent fall. In such cases, the Appeals Council will inform the appellant of its findings within 60 days of the beginning of the fall term, no later than November 10.

iii. Appeal on the Grounds of Violation of Academic Freedom
If the Appeal Committee concludes that the appeal on grounds of a violation of academic freedom lacks adequate  foundation, the president will dismiss the appeal.

If the Appeal Committee concludes that there are grounds for appeal on the basis of academic freedom, the president will notify the Board of Trustees and ask that the board conduct a hearing.

The board designates one of its standing committees, or appoints a committee, to hold the hearing. The hearing will be conducted in a manner that will afford the faculty member fair opportunity to present his or her case and to permit the committee to inquire into it. Should the faculty member so request, a portion of the hearing will be conducted with the president not present. The vice president for Academic Affairs will remain present throughout the appeal and maintain a record of the proceedings. The decision of the trustees is final.

If the final decision is to reject the appeal, the non-reappointment of the faculty member will stand, and the president will so inform the appellant. If the decision is to uphold the appeal, reappointment will be offered to the faculty member on terms no less favorable than the terms of his or her current appointment.

iv. Appeal on the Grounds of Procedural Error
If the Appeal Committee concludes that there are grounds for an appeal on the basis of procedural errors, the chair of the Appeal Committee will direct the relevant parties to correct all of the errors cited in its report within a specified timeline, and will direct the parties to notify the chair in writing when the procedural errors have been corrected. The Appeal Committee's findings with regard to matters of procedure are binding on all parties. When notification of all corrections has been submitted to the Appeal Committee, the chair of the Committee will forward this information to the president, the vice president for academic affairs, and the Reappointments Committee or the Promotions Committee. The vice president for academic affairs will then charge the committee that made the original recommendation with reconsidering its recommendation while avoiding procedural violations. If the Appeal Committee determines that a procedural error occurred, but was immaterial to the outcome of the review, the fact that an error occurred is not in itself grounds for upholding the appeal. The Appeal Committee may note the error in its report, but conclude that it does not warrant a reconsideration of the recommendation.

If after reconsideration as the result of an appeal the Reappointments Committee or the Promotions Committee recommends reappointment, the president will reconsider his/her decision.

If the Appeal Committee concludes that the appeal on the grounds of procedure lacks adequate foundation, the Appeal Committee will dismiss the appeal. Upon completion of its deliberations, the Appeal Committee will prepare a confidential report to be used by future appeal committees summarizing the nature of each proposed procedural error and the Committee's decision. All information identifying individuals or departments will be excluded from the report. Copies of the section of the handbook on the rules of appointment and tenure from the year of the appeal will be filed with the report.