Appeals & Appeal Review Procedures

Any party may request an appeal of the decision of the hearing officer by filing a written request to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, subject to the grounds for appeal requests and appeal procedures outlined below.  The written request should identify the grounds on which the student believes the appeal is warranted and appropriate supporting information.

All sanctions imposed by the original hearing officer will remain in effect until the appeal has been heard. All parties will be informed in a timely manner of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration, and the results of the appeal decision.

Appeal officers will be assigned as follows:

If the Hearing Officer is the The Appeal Officer will be the
Assistant Director of Residential Life & Student Activities or Graduate Resident Director Executive Director of Student Engagement & Residential Life
Executive Director of Student Engagement & Residential Life Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Vice President for Student Affairs


Grounds for Appeal Requests

Appeals requests are limited to the following grounds:

  • A procedural (or substantive error) occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures that likely affected the outcome, etc.);
  • To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included;
    Note: Failure to provide information during or participate in an investigation or a hearing, even resulting from concern over pending criminal or civil proceedings, does not make evidence “unavailable” at the time of the hearing. The Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) is expected to consult with the hearing officer to inquire as to whether the new evidence would, in the opinion of the hearing officer, have substantially impacted the original finding or sanction.
  • The sanctions imposed are substantially outside the parameters or guidelines set by the Code of Student Conduct for this type of offense or the cumulative conduct record of the responding student.

Appeals must be filed in writing with the Vice President for Student Affairs within five (5) business days of the notice of the outcome to the hearing. Any exceptions are made at the discretion of the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee).

In cases of Title IX allegations, Code of Student Conduct procedures will be inclusive of Title IX accepted procedures (see Title IX). In Title IX appeals only, the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) will share the appeal by one party with the other party (or parties) when appropriate under procedure or law (e.g., if the responding student appeals, the appeal is shared with the reporting party, who may also wish to file a response, request an appeal on the same grounds or different grounds).

If the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, the original finding and sanction will stand, and the decision is final. If the appeal has standing, the appeal proceedings will begin.

Full new original hearings by the appeal officer are not permitted. In review, the original finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately, thus the burden is on the appealing party/parties to show clear error. The appeal officer must limit its review only to the challenges presented.

The appeal officer may affirm or change the findings and/or sanctions of the original hearing officer according to the permissible grounds. Procedural or substantive errors should be corrected, new evidence should be considered, and sanctions should be proportionate to the severity of the violation and the student’s cumulative conduct record.

All decisions of the appeal officer are to be made within five (5) days of submission to the appeal officer and are final, as are any decisions made by the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee).

The presumptive stance of the University of Saint Francis is that all decisions made, and sanctions imposed by the original hearing officer are to be implemented during the appeal process. At the discretion of the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee), and in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator when necessary, implementation of sanctions may be stayed pending review, only in extremely exigent circumstances. This does not include proximity to graduation, end of term, or exams. Instead, it refers to an overwhelming likelihood, as determined by the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee), in consultation, that the appeal would result in a reversal of the finding and/or substantial modification of the sanctions.