Disciplinary Appeal Procedures

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After an original decision is rendered the student (and the victim in a sexual assault incident**) shall be given a letter stating the charge(s), sanction(s), and the procedure if the student chooses to appeal.  If the sanctioned student (and the victim  in a sexual assault incident**) wishes to appeal the decision, the appeal must be received in writing to the Dean of Students office no later than 5:00 p.m. within two business days.

The student will be notified within one business day whether or not their appeal has been granted. If the appeal is granted, the Dean of Students will appoint the appeals council or appeals officer, facilitate the hearing; and prepare all supporting information for the appeal.  Failure to comply with the applied sanctions pending the outcome of the disciplinary appeal may result in further sanctions.

The appeals procedure is a process, which takes place in a college setting, and serves as a community of individuals working together for the benefit of the student and the College environment.  Within this framework, the institution embodies the laws of the nation and state, but maintains the authority to govern itself. As such, it produces its own format for adjudicating differences, using the laws of the land as guidelines.  These appeal procedures serve to provide due process in principle and fact.  In practice, the procedures are not viewed or intended to be courts; rather, they are procedures with hearings to air differences and seek solutions within the expectations of the academic community.

In light of these principles, individuals may have witnesses for the Appeals Council or Officer to interview. In addition, if Navarro College utilizes an attorney to present the case, the student shall have similar right to utilize an attorney.  Representation by legal counsel is not required, but may be permitted according to Navarro College Student Grievance Procedures. If counsel is requested, the attorney’s purpose is to serve as an Advisor to the student. Should the student plan to have an attorney present, the institution must be informed no less than 24 hours prior to the appeal hearing.

Only the student, legal counsel (if approved for student advising only) and a representative of the college may be present during the appeal hearing. Any witness testifying will appear before the council only while testifying. The council or officer will render a final recommendation to the Vice President of Student Services that:

1.   The original decision be upheld; or

2.   The original decision be reversed; or

3.   The severity of the decision or sanction may be modified (increased or decreased).

At the conclusion of the hearing, a letter will be given to the student within three business days and should state the decision of the Vice President of Student Services, and the stipulations, such as a timeframe for vacating the campus, and/or instructions for processing the proper withdrawal papers, length of time for any probation, any restrictions (e.g., residence life, education, activities, intramurals), and/or other relevant information.

As referenced in the Student Grievances Procedures, the role of the District President in these procedures is not to decide the case or appeal thereof, but merely to determine whether the administrative chain of command has adhered to Navarro College procedures.

Listed below are additional guidelines for the appeal process.

1.   An opportunity will be provided for the accused to present his/her own case and to present other evidence in support of the case.

2.   The right to hear evidence and to ask questions of witnesses, through Navarro College staff, must be allowed.

3.   Navarro College has the burden of proving its case by preponderance of evidence.  The preponderance of evidence means proof that leads a reasonable person to find the facts at issue are more likely to have occurred than not.

4.   A determination of the facts will be based only on the evidence presented.

5.   A student may not be compelled to testify on his/her own behalf if the student chooses not to testify.  If the student does testify, he/she may be fully, indirectly, cross-examined.

6.   After hearing all the evidence, the council shall determine by a majority vote, or if a hearing officer is used in lieu of a council (as with the sanction of probation), the hearing officer shall determine if the student violated the policy. The council by majority vote shall recommend or assess the appropriate penalty.

7.   A written statement will be available for the student no later than 3 business days following the proceedings. In addition to the statements from the appeals council, the right to make a record of the hearing at an individual’s own expense should be preserved. Navarro College will provide a recording of the proceeding by electronic means, or by notes or minutes taken by an impartial recording secretary. The record will be retained by the institution for a period of three years.  Notification to administrators, staff and instructors may be distributed to indicate that the student has been removed from classes if the student’s suspension is upheld by the appeal process.

The above constitutes the minimum constitutionally mandated due process. In addition to these guaranteed rights, the following will be Navarro College’s practice to ensure fairness in serious disciplinary offenses:

1.   The right to appeal to a higher authority within the institution.

2.   The right to cross-examine witnesses, not directly, but through the appeal council chair.

3.   The right to have counsel at a hearing, not to participate, but to advise.

** In cases involving reported sexual harassment or sexual violence and per guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, when the accused is held responsible for the offense, both parties are notified in writing about the outcome of the complaint and any appeal thereof.  This information may be provided first to the complainant (with redacted address and redacted student identification number of the accused student).  Additionally, the option to appeal the findings or remedy is made available for both parties, and an appeal hearing may involve the presence of both parties with the availability of witnesses and advising-only counsel for either/both party(ies).  The Clery Act may impose additional reporting requirements.

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