60  Appeals and Appearances before the Board

Approved by Board of Trustees
Effective Date: June 5, 2017
Responsible Division: President
Responsible Office:  Office of the University Counsel
Responsible Officer:  University Counsel

I. Purpose

This policy sets the conditions and procedures for appeals to, and appearances before, the Board of Trustees (Board).

II. Appeals to the Board

A.  Negative recommendations for tenure or promotion may be appealed to the Board. The faculty member must first have completed the appeal process set out in Policy 206 Tenure and Promotion Appeals.

B.  Termination of employment due to a reduction in force resulting from a declaration of financial exigency made pursuant to Policy 40 Financial Exigency may be appealed to the Board. The employee must have exhausted the appeal process provided in Policy 40 Financial Exigency

C,  A student or employee may appeal a matter subsequent to a final adverse decision of the President in which it is alleged that the University violated state or federal law or University policy. Any available University complaint and/or appeal procedure must be exhausted prior to consideration by the Board.   

D.  Decisions resulting from hearings held pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, T.C.A. § 4-5-301, et. seq., are not appealable to the Board.

E.  Matters not appealable to the Board, absent an allegation of violation of state or federal law, shall include, but are not limited to:

1.  Termination of executive, administrative, professional, clerical, and support employees during, or at the end of, the initial probationary period, or pursuant to the terms of the employment contract;

2.  Non-renewal of a tenure-track faculty appointment during the first four (4) years of the probationary period;

3.  Denial of tenure unaccompanied by notice of termination in the fifth (5th) year of the probationary period;

4.  Non-renewal of a temporary faculty appointment;

5.  Salary determinations;

6.  Student academic matters such as grade appeals, failure to meet retention policies;

7.  Performance evaluations of faculty or staff; or,

8.  Residency classification of students for tuition and fee purposes.

F.  If, at any time during the pendency of the appeal, a lawsuit, based on the same subject matter as the appeal, is filed, the Board has the discretion to suspend consideration of the appeal or dismiss the appeal without further action. However, this discretion cannot be exercised in an appeal concerning discrimination or harassment.

Complaints from students or prospective students regarding accreditation or violation of state or federal law may be submitted for appropriate review and action, as required by 34 CFR 600.9(a))1), pursuant to this process found on the Complaint Process website

III. Appeal Process

A.  Petition to Appeal

1.  A student or employee who is dissatisfied with the decision of the President may petition the Board for permission to appeal that decision if the matter is appealable as specified in Section II.

2.  The petition must be submitted in writing to the Secretary of the Board within twenty (20) days following the date of the President's written decision. Once received, the Secretary is responsible for coordinating the appeal process.

3.  The petition for appeal must present:

a.  The decision being appealed, the law and/or policy alleged to have been violated, and the redress desired;

b  A brief statement of the facts relevant to the issues to be reviewed with appropriate reference to where such can be found in the record;

c.  A statement of applicable law/policy;

d.  A brief argument; and,

e.  Citations of any applicable authorities such as policies, statutes, and cases.

4.  The petition is limited to ten (10) pages, typed, 12 point font or larger, double spaced, on 8 ½” x 11" paper.

5.  The appropriate standing committee of the Board shall review the petition for appeal and the decision of the President on the basis of the record submitted to the President, with any new evidence, which for good cause shown was not previously considered, and determine whether the petition to appeal will be granted.

6.  The Board committee, in determining whether to grant an appeal, may consider the following:

a.  Whether policy has been followed;

b.  Whether or not there is material evidence to substantiate the decision appealed from; and/or,

c.  Whether or not there has been a material error in the application of the law which prima facie results in substantial injustice.

The listing in a. - c. above is not exhaustive and, in the discretion of the Board committee, other considerations may be taken into account.

B.  Hearing the Appeal

1.  If the petition to appeal is granted, the committee shall hear the appeal at a subsequent regularly scheduled meeting of the committee and may request the person appealing to appear and present arguments on his/her behalf.

2.  The committee shall recommend action on the appeal to the Board. The decision of the Board shall be final and binding for all purposes.

C.  Record

1.  The record on an appeal shall consist of all relevant documents, statements, and other materials submitted by the person appealing and by the President.

2.  In the event that the person appealing does not submit sufficient information to allow review of the decision being appealed, the Board may require the person appealing to furnish additional information.

D.  Review of the Appeal

1.  A decision may be remanded for further consideration upon a finding that it was not made in accordance with applicable state or federal law or University policy. However, the matter should not be remanded if the error was not material to the decision and, therefore, constituted harmless error;

2.  A decision may be modified or reversed only upon a finding that the decision constituted an abuse of discretion, or was made in violation of applicable state or federal law or University policy. However, the decision will not be modified or reversed if the violation of law or policy was not material to the decision, therefore, constituting harmless error;

3.  A decision should be affirmed in the absence of a finding of abuse of discretion or material violation of applicable state or federal law or University policy.

4.  Notwithstanding any provision herein to the contrary, any decision may be remanded by the Board for a resolution of the matter which is mutually acceptable to the parties or which is, in the best judgment of the Board, a fair and equitable resolution.

IV. Appearances Before the Board on Non-Appealable Issues

A.  Individuals may be allowed to address the Board concerning issues that are not appealable but which are of broad concern to the University community.

B.  Requests to appear before the Board shall be submitted in writing to the Secretary of the Board at least fourteen (14) days prior to the scheduled meeting of the Board. The request must include the requestor’s contact information and the issue to be addressed.

C.  After consultation with the President, the Chair of the Board may authorize appearances before the Board on any matter deemed appropriate for Board consideration. As directed by the Chair of the Board, the Secretary of the Board will either place the requested item on the agenda or notify the requestor in writing of the reason the request was rejected.

Forms: none.

Revisions: none.

Last Reviewed: June 2017.

References:  T.C.A. § 4-5-301, et. seq.; Policies 40 Financial Exigency; 206 Tenure and Promotion Appeals.