Appeal Process

Appeals when Respondent is a Student

The below FAQs are intended to provide information regarding the appeal process for cases involving student respondents.  The Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policy is the official procedure by which the process is implemented, and Rights, Rules, Responsibilities section 1.3.12 #3 should be consulted for information regarding the Rights of Appeal for cases when the respondent is a student.  

Please note that different appellate procedures apply if the Expedited Process is used.  For more information, see Rights, Rules, Responsibilities section 1.3.12 #4.

1. Who can appeal the decision in cases with student respondents?

Both the complainant and respondent are entitled to participate equally in the appeal process.  

2. If I am a complainant or respondent, how long do I have to appeal and how do I initiate an appeal?

When the parties are notified of the case outcome, they will receive specific information regarding the appeal process, including who to contact to initiate an appeal, deadlines, etc.

Appeals must be submitted in writing (via email) within five business days of the notification of the case outcome, and should be submitted to Christine Gage, the associate secretary of the University (cgage@princeton.edu or 609-258‐3151). Parties interested in appealing are encouraged to consult with Ms. Gage as soon as they are aware that they may appeal. Ms. Gage will coordinate the appeal process, and all communications regarding the appeal should be directed to Ms. Gage.

Please note that different appellate procedures apply if the Expedited Process is used. For more information regarding the Expedited Process, see Rights, Rules, Responsibilities section 1.3.12 #4.

 
3. Who hears student appeals?

Appeals are heard by the Student Appeal Committee.  The Committee consists of Dean of the College, Dean of the Graduate School, Vice President of Campus Life, the chair of the Judicial Committee of the Council of the Princeton University Community (a faculty member), and another faculty member appointed by the president.  Each appeal will be heard by three members of the Student Appeal Committee. 

4. What are possible outcomes from an appeal?

The Student Appeal Committee may decide to uphold the original decision of the investigative panel and/or the deans; to alter the imposed penalty; or to return the case to the investigative panel for additional proceedings or other action. For more information, see Rights, Rules, Responsibilities section 1.3.12 #3.

5. What are the grounds for appeals?

The three grounds for appeal are as follows:  (1) there is substantial relevant information that was not presented and reasonably could not have been presented during the investigation, and such information might have materially impacted the panel’s finding on responsibility; (2) there was procedural unfairness during the disciplinary process and such unfairness materially impacted the panel’s finding on responsibility; or (3) the imposed penalty does not fall within the range of penalties imposed for similar misconduct. 

6. Regarding the first ground (new information), what types of information would qualify?

This appeal ground is intended for situations in which information was not reasonably available during the investigation.  This ground is not intended for situations in which a party had access to information but chose not to present it to the panel during the course of the investigation.  Moreover, the new information must be information that, if substantiated, might have materially impacted the panel’s finding on responsibility.  If the Student Appeal Committee determines that this appeal ground applies, they may return the case to the investigative panel for additional proceedings (e.g., they may ask the panel to assess whether the new information impacts the panel’s original finding on responsibility).

7. Regarding the second ground (procedural unfairness), what types of situations would apply?

This appeal ground is intended for situations in which there was procedural unfairness such that the panel’s finding on responsibility was materially impacted.  For example, such grounds could include (but are not limited to) if the parties were not provided with equal access to the case materials or a party was not informed that they could be joined in meetings by an adviser of choice.
 

8. Regarding the third ground (penalty), how can I determine whether the imposed penalty does not fall within the range of penalties imposed for similar misconduct?

For confidentiality reasons, detailed information regarding past cases cannot be shared. Moreover, although each case is unique, the University’s Information regarding Penalties in Sexual Misconduct Cases and the annual Sexual Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct disciplinary reports provide information regarding outcomes for prior cases.

If a party wishes to appeal on this ground, they should notify Ms. Gage that they feel that the imposed penalty was too high or too low, and the Student Appeals Committee will review past precedents, for which they have detailed records.

9. If I am appealing, what types of information or documents should I submit?

If you are appealing, you should submit a written statement to Ms. Gage via email stating the ground(s) for the appeal and explaining why you believe that ground(s) applies.  The Student Appeal Committee will have access to the full case file, so you do not need to re-submit case documents. 
 

10. If a party appeals, will the Student Appeal Committee re-hear the entire case?

No.  The purpose of an appeal is not to initiate a review of substantive issues of fact or a new determination of whether a violation of University rules has occurred.  

The Student Appeal Committee generally will not meet with the parties and will not consider issues outside of the appeal grounds stated by the appealing party.

11. What if I am not appealing but the other party is appealing?

If the other party appeals, Ms. Gage will notify you in writing (via email) that they are doing so and will share with you their ground(s) for appeal.  You will be given the opportunity to provide the Student Appeal Committee with a statement regarding the appeal (e.g., why you believe the imposed penalty was appropriate) if you wish; however, you are not required to do so.  Ms. Gage will also notify you in writing (via email) of the outcome of the appeal.

12. How long will the appeal process take?

Every effort will be made to resolve appeals within 20 calendar days from receipt of all relevant appeal documents from the parties.  

Appeals when Respondent is a Faculty or Staff Member

The below FAQs are intended to provide information regarding the appeal process for cases involving faculty of staff member respondents.  The Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policy is the official procedure by which the process is implemented, and Rights, Rules, Responsibilities section 1.3.13 #3 should be consulted for information regarding the Rights of Appeal for cases when the respondent is a faculty or staff member.  

1. Who can appeal the decision in cases with faculty or staff member respondents?

Both the complainant and respondent are entitled to participate equally in the appeal process. 

2. If I am a complainant or respondent, how long do I have to appeal and how do I initiate an appeal?

When the parties are notified of the case outcome, they will receive specific information regarding the appeal process, including who to contact to initiate an appeal, deadlines, etc.  Appeals must be submitted in writing (via email) within one week of the notification of the case outcome, a follows:

  • For cases where the respondent is a faculty member, appeals should be submitted to the Chair of the Committee on Conference and Faculty Appeal, Professor Schwarzbauer. (jschwarz@princeton.edu).  Parties interested in appealing are encouraged to consult with Professor Schwarzbauer as soon as they are aware that they may appeal. 
  • For cases where the respondent is an academic professional (professional researchers and specialists, professional library staff), appeals should be submitted to Provost Deborah Prentice.  Parties interested in appealing are encouraged to consult with Christine Gage (cgage@princeton.edu), the associate secretary of the University, as soon as they are aware that they may appeal.  Ms. Gage will coordinate the appeal process, and all communications regarding the appeal should be directed to Ms. Gage.
  • For cases where the respondent is a non-unionized staff member, appeals should be submitted to Executive Vice President Treby Williams.  Parties interested in appealing are encouraged to consult with Laura Strickler (lauras@princeton.edu), Chief of Staff, Office of the Executive Vice President, as soon as they are aware that they may appeal.  Ms. Strickler will coordinate the appeal process, and all communications regarding the appeal should be directed to Ms. Strickler.
  • For cases where the respondent is a unionized staff member, appeals should be submitted to Executive Vice President Treby Williams or Senior Labor Relations Manager Bridget Walsh.  Parties interested in appealing are encouraged to consult with Laura Strickler (lauras@princeton.edu), Chief of Staff, Office of the Executive Vice President, as soon as they are aware that they may appeal.  Ms. Strickler will coordinate the appeal process, and all communications regarding the appeal should be directed to Ms. Strickler.

For more information, see Rights, Rules, Responsibilities section 1.3.13 #3.

3. What are possible outcomes from an appeal?

The appellate authority may decide to uphold the original decision of the investigative panel and/or the disciplinary authority; to alter the imposed penalty; or to return the case to the investigative panel for additional proceedings or other action.

For more information, see Rights, Rules, Responsibilities section 1.3.13 #3.

4. What are the grounds for appeals?

For cases where the respondent is an academic professional (professional researchers and specialists, professional library staff), non-unionized staff member, or unionized staff member, the two grounds for appeal are as follows:  (1) there is substantial relevant information that was not presented and reasonably could not have been presented during the investigation, and such information might have materially impacted the panel’s finding on responsibility and (2) there was procedural unfairness during the disciplinary process and such unfairness materially impacted the panel’s finding on responsibility.

For cases where the respondent is a faculty member, the three grounds for appeal are as follows:  (1) there is substantial relevant information that was not presented and reasonably could not have been presented during the investigation, and such information might have materially impacted the panel’s finding on responsibility; (2) there was procedural unfairness during the disciplinary process and such unfairness materially impacted the panel’s finding on responsibility; and (3) “any question of unfair treatment in relation to the appointment, reappointment, or academic duties or privileges.”

For more information, see Rights, Rules, Responsibilities section 1.3.13 #3.

5. Regarding the first ground (new information), what types of information would qualify?

This appeal ground is intended for situations in which information was not reasonably available during the investigation.  This ground is not intended for situations in which a party had access to information but chose not to present it to the panel during the course of the investigation.  Moreover, the new information must be information that, if substantiated, might have materially impacted the panel’s finding on responsibility.  If the appellate authority determines that this appeal ground applies, they may return the case to the investigative panel for additional proceedings (e.g., they may ask the panel to assess whether the new information impacts the panel’s original finding on responsibility).

6. Regarding the second ground (procedural unfairness), what types of situations would apply?

This appeal ground is intended for situations in which there was procedural unfairness such that the panel’s finding on responsibility was materially impacted.  For example, such grounds could include (but are not limited to) if the parties were not provided with equal access to the case materials or a party was not informed that they could be joined in meetings by an adviser of choice.

7. If I am appealing, what types of information or documents should I submit?

If you are appealing, you should submit a written statement via email stating the ground(s) for the appeal and explaining why you believe that ground(s) applies.  The appellate authority will have access to the full case file, so you do not need to re-submit case documents.

8. If a party appeals, will the appellate authority re-hear the entire case?

No.  The purpose of an appeal is not to initiate a review of substantive issues of fact or a new determination of whether a violation of University rules has occurred. 

9. What if I am not appealing but the other party is appealing?

If the other party appeals, you will be notified in writing (via email) that they are doing so and their ground(s) for appeal will be shared with you.  You will be given the opportunity to provide a statement regarding the appeal if you wish; however, you are not required to do so.  You will also be notified in writing (via email) of the outcome of the appeal.

10. How long will the appeal process take?

Every effort will be made to resolve appeals within 20 calendar days from receipt of all relevant appeal documents from the parties. 

For more information, see Rights, Rules, Responsibilities section 1.3.10 #3.