Faculty Boards of Review Uniform Standards
About This Policy
- Effective Date:
- Date of Last Review/Update:
- Responsible University Office:
- University Faculty Council
- Responsible University Administrator:
- University Faculty Council
- Policy Contact:
- Policy Feedback:
- If you have comments or questions about this policy, let us know with the policy feedback form.
- The faculty governance organization on each campus shall have a written Faculty Board of Review policy consistent with these standards.
- A Board of Review is independent. No university official may interfere with, seek to influence, or advise it to halt its proceedings except as provided in this policy.
- Faculty Boards of Review are available to all academic appointees as follows:
- All appointees may bring complaints that university officials have infringed on their academic freedom.
- Any full-time academic appointee may bring a complaint that university officials have taken adverse action against them on matters within the scope of their defined academic responsibilities, including matters related dismissal, disciplinary sanction, the tenure or promotion process, compensation, assignment of duties, and working conditions.
- Visiting, part-time, temporary and adjunct academic appointees may bring a complaint that university officials have taken adverse action against them during their term of appointment concerning matters within the scope of their academic responsibilities. The decision not to appoint or reappoint an individual is not grievable unless the decision violates the terms of their appointment or a separate university or unit policy.
- A campus policy may expand or limit the scope of review available to visiting, part-time, temporary and adjunct appointees and/or may provide a separate grievance process for them.
- A complaint shall be brought on the home campus of the grievant.
- An individual remains eligible to initiate or continue a Board of Review proceeding after voluntary or involuntary separation from the university, provided it is otherwise within the time frame for doing so and the terms of any separation agreement.
- A Board is not a court of law that renders a judgment. It makes recommendations to university officials concerning the resolution of grievances by academic appointees, but is not an advocate for the grievant or the respondent. It acts impartially in light of existing university policies, traditional academic principles, and fairness.
- A campus policy may provide for the mediation of grievances and designate a committee, campus officer, or other entity as mediator. Such policies must include provisions that 1) establish deadlines so that mediation does not unduly delay the process, 2) prohibit information about the mediation from being disclosed to the Board of Review, 3) prohibit the mediator from also serving on the Board unless the grievant and respondent(s) consent, and 4) require the consent of all parties to begin mediation.
- Each campus shall designate a Board Coordinator. The Coordinator may be a member of the Board or the campus faculty governance organization, a campus administrator, or any other individual or office. The Coordinator has responsibility to receive and distribute complaints and responses, arrange times and locations of hearings, record proceedings, establish group email lists for the Board, maintain files and records, distribute reports and perform other administrative tasks.
- A Faculty Board of Review shall allow reasonable time for the preparation of cases to all parties, set deadlines in order to dispose of cases in a timely fashion, schedule hearings at times convenient to all parties and the Board, and provide written notice of hearings in due time to all concerned.
- Proceedings should be conducted so as to guarantee that all parties have the opportunity to be present in person or virtually, to participate, and to respond to all evidence presented to the Board.
- For complaints concerning the denial of tenure, promotion, or reappointment, a Board is limited to a review of:
- Whether appropriate policies and procedures were followed;
- Whether adequate consideration was given to the qualifications of the academic appointee;
- Whether information was improperly considered or excluded that substantially affected the decision; and
- Whether essential fairness was accommodated throughout the decision-making process.
To the extent that these issues may involve judgments about the academic value of the grievant’s contribution to the discipline, the Board may not consider the merits of the underlying decision.
Reason for Policy
- Article V of the Constitution of the Indiana University Faculty requires the University Faculty Council to adopt uniform standards for Faculty Boards of Review. Other university policies, including UA-03, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct; and ACA-30, Research Misconduct, set university-wide standards for investigation and review of sanctions for misconduct that include an appeal to a campus Board of Review.
- Uniform standards across all campuses ensure that all academic appointees are accorded the same fair and reasonable process and all university officials are held to the same standards.
- In General
- A Faculty Board of Review conducts two kinds of proceedings. It reviews complaints brought by academic appointees concerning adverse actions by university officials, and it hears appeals by academic appointees concerning sanctions imposed under university or campus misconduct policies. A campus policy may assign additional responsibilities to the Board.
- Unless a campus policy provides otherwise, a Faculty Board of Review shall consist of five individuals who shall be tenure-eligible or non-tenure-track academic appointees on long-term appointments, and who shall be elected by the faculty or the campus faculty governance organization. A campus may use one standing Board for all cases or a pool of faculty from which individual Boards are drawn. Each campus policy shall include a procedure for filling vacancies.
- A majority of the Board and its chair shall be tenured.
- An academic appointee with a full-time administrative appointment is not eligible to serve on a Faculty Board of Review. Each campus may establish its own policy on whether academic appointees with part-time administrative appointments are eligible.
- Complaints requesting a Faculty Board of Review shall be submitted in writing to the Board Coordinator and specify the action(s) to be reviewed, the reasons for requesting the review, the university official(s) grieved against, and a proposed remedy.
- All Board proceedings other than deliberations shall be recorded, preserved, and available to members of the Board, all parties and university officials, consistent with university policies on access to academic appointee records.
- A Board’s findings and recommendations are to be communicated without undue publicity and the Board should strive to maintain confidentiality. Reports normally should not be shared with individuals other than the parties and senior university officials.
- A party may have an advisor, who may be an attorney or any other person.
- Members of a Faculty Board of Review shall recuse themselves from considering a complaint at any stage of the process if they are members of the complainant’s academic unit, if they have advised or assisted the complainant or respondent, or if there is any other association with the complainant or respondent which will make (or create the appearance of making) them unable to serve impartially. Each campus should have a process for recusal that assures a fair and impartial Board of Review.
- Proceedings should be conducted with the participation of the full membership of a Board of Review unless the parties consent to adding an alternate member or proceeding with fewer than the full membership. A campus policy may modify this provision.
- Reviewing complaints
- A primary function of a Faculty Board of Review is to review complaints brought by academic appointees concerning adverse actions by university officials.
- Each campus faculty governance organization shall have a policy for reviewing complaints on that campus that is consistent with the uniform standards set in this policy. A campus policy must include the following steps: a written complaint, a written response, adequate time for both parties to prepare their cases, an opportunity for a grievant to be heard, a report and recommendation by the Board, and a decision by the Chancellor or Provost. It may also include an opportunity for mediation or other informal resolution, a preliminary review of the complaint, and/or an initial decision by the campus chief academic affairs officer rather than the Chancellor or Provost, with the right to appeal to the Chancellor or Provost.
- Each campus policy should establish time limits for each stage of the review process that give the participants adequate time but discourage long delays. It may provide that time limits may be modified during the summer, and must include that time limits may be modified in an individual case by the Board or on consent of the parties.
- Prior to bringing a complaint, an academic appointee adversely affected by the action of a university official should normally attempt to resolve the matter informally with the official, the official’s superiors, and/or the campus chief academic affairs officer. A campus policy may establish a mediation committee or other procedure for facilitating informal resolution.
- If the grievance is not resolved informally, an academic appointee may initiate the review process by the Board of Review by submitting a complaint to the Board Coordinator.
- In most cases, complaints should be filed within 60 days after the grievant learns of the adverse administrative action. Complaints submitted after 60 days should include an explanation of the reason for the delay, and a Board may review the complaint in the interests of fairness. No complaint may be submitted more than one year after the grievant learned of the adverse administrative action.
- Upon receiving a complaint, the Board Coordinator shall deliver a copy to the university official(s) grieved against and request a written response.
- When a response is received, the Coordinator shall provide a copy to the grievant, submit the complaint and response to the full Board, and schedule proceedings in accordance with campus policy.
- A campus policy may provide that all grievances will be heard by the Board, or may provide for a preliminary review by the Board, the Board chair, or other faculty body, to determine if the complaint should be dismissed, needs to be revised, or must be referred to a different entity under a university misconduct policy (see UA-03 and ACA-30). A complaint may not be dismissed without giving the grievant an opportunity to address the reason for dismissal and to correct any deficiency in the complaint.
- The grievant may request written statements and documents from university officials bearing on the complaint, and university officials must either supply those documents within the time allowed for case preparation or explain in writing to the Board why they are unable to do so. All requests and responses shall be made through the Board Coordinator.
- A hearing before a Board of Review is an academic process, not a trial.
- Responsibility for presenting their cases rests with the grievant and respondent. They may testify, present documents and written witness statements, call witnesses, and question witnesses. The Board also may call its own witnesses but has no obligation to do so.
- Advisors may attend and consult with the parties but may not participate unless campus policy allows it or the Board decides in an individual case to allow such participation.
- The rules of evidence do not apply and the parties may not object to the other side’s evidence. However, the Board has discretion to curtail questioning or argument that is irrelevant or repetitious, or which harasses or embarrasses a witness.
- Unsolicited or anonymous information may not be considered by the Board unless an underlying policy of the university permits their use in narrowly defined situations.
- Hearings should be closed except for parties, witnesses, advisors, and the Board Coordinator, unless all parties agree that it should be open.
- Each campus policy shall provide a procedure for a party who needs assistance to request accommodations.
- At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board shall prepare a Report with written findings and recommendations and submit it to the Board Coordinator. The Report shall be distributed to the parties and include a summary of the grievance and response, a review of the evidence, and copies of any documents the Board found dispositive.
- Each campus policy shall specify whether the Board’s Report is sent directly to the Chancellor or Provost for a final decision, or is sent to the chief academic affairs officer of the campus for an initial decision that may then be appealed by either party to the Chancellor or Provost for a final decision.
- If the final decision from the Chancellor or Provost does not follow the recommendations of the Board, the Chancellor or Provost shall inform the Board, the executive committee of the campus faculty governance organization, and/or any other faculty bodies designated in a campus policy, of the reasons in writing.
- The grievant has a right to make a final appeal to the president of the university, who may delegate the task of reviewing such appeals.
- Each campus policy should have a process for notifying the administrative superior of a university official who does not cooperate in the process or comply with policy time limits.
- A Faculty Board of Review convened to review sanctions imposed under a university or campus misconduct policy should adhere to the time limits for filing appeals and issuing recommendations specified in the relevant misconduct policies. If any time limit is not specified, the Board should adhere to the time limits for reviews of complaints set out in its campus policy. It may extend any deadline in the interests of fairness.
- Because discrimination or misconduct situations may involve sensitive information, proceedings shall be closed unless all parties agree to hold an open hearing.
- The Board may not conduct new fact-finding. Its jurisdiction is limited to a review of whether the university’s decision to hold an individual responsible for misconduct and impose a sanction was appropriate based on the record before it. The Board in all cases shall be supplied with the reports, decisions, and recommendations previously prepared by university officials, and have access to all relevant materials gathered by university investigators.
- Each party to the Appeal, as defined by the underlying misconduct policy, may present a statement to the Board, orally or in writing, personally or by an advisor. The Board may pose questions to any individual who makes a statement, but the parties may not.
- Because issues of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct or research misconduct may involve sensitive matters, specialized knowledge, or legal requirements, the university shall make available to the Board members appropriate training and information.
- Unless a misconduct policy specifies otherwise, the Board may issue recommendations that (a) affirm the university’s actions, (b) recommend an alternative finding or sanction, or (c) recommend that a new investigation be conducted because of a significant error in the original investigation.
- The Board’s recommendations shall be addressed to the appropriate university appellate official specified in the underlying misconduct policy. If no official is specified, its recommendations shall be sent to the campus Chancellor or Provost.
- The grievant has a right to make a final appeal to the president of the university, who may delegate the task of reviewing such appeals.
- A Board of Review may consult with individuals outside the Board on procedural, background and policy matters that do not directly concern the merits of a complaint, including former Board members, faculty governance officers, university counsel, and the university research integrity officer.
- A Board may consult and seek specialized training and information from the university Title IX officer on issues involving sexual misconduct.
- In all cases, the Board retains the responsibility to make its own independent decisions about the best way to proceed that is fair to all parties.
Each campus shall review its current Faculty Board of Review policy and make any necessary amendments no later than February 15, 2023. It may operate under the existing campus policy until an amended policy has been enacted.
“Academic unit.” The program, department or school in which the appointee holds their primary appointment. In situations where a school or college is subdivided into departments, each campus may define what constitutes an academic unit for recusal purposes.
“Academic appointee” or “appointee.” An individual whose position is classified as an academic appointment in ACA-14, or who has been awarded emeritus status.
President, Vice-President, Chancellor, Provost, and chief academic affairs officer includes that person’s designee.
“Chief academic affairs officer.” The Vice-Provost or Vice-Chancellor responsible for faculty and academic affairs on each campus.
“Board Coordinator” is the person, entity, official or office placed in charge of facilitating the Board of Review process as defined by a campus policy.
- Enacted by University Faculty Council, April 8, 1997.
- Amended by UFC, November 10, 1998.
- Amended by UFC to clarify scope, November 27, 2017.
- Updated by UFC Executive Committee to accommodate changes to UA-03, August 10, 2020.
- Comprehensive revision enacted by UFC, April 26, 2022.