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Faculty Grievance Committee Rules   

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The Faculty Grievance Committee is comprised of seven faculty members and has jurisdiction to hear all complaints involving:

  1. Allegations of impermissible conduct by a faculty member, the Dean, or an Associate Dean, asserted by members of the Law School community, including Trustees, Regents, officers, students, faculty, administrators, staff members, employees, applicants, vendors, and guests, where such impermissible conduct shall consist of:
    1. Arbitrary, capricious or substantially unfair application of any rule or regulation of the law school; or
    2. Conduct in violation of the University’s “Policy Against Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Retaliation” or the University’s “Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation.”
  2. Student allegations of arbitrary, capricious or bad-faith grading procedures.


The procedures for the filing and processing of a complaint within the jurisdiction of the Faculty Grievance Committee are contained in Sections 5.1 to 5.7.5 of the Faculty Grievance Committee Rules, reprinted below.

Section 5: Faculty Grievance Committee Rules

5.1 Scope

  1. This section applies to all matters involving:
    1. Allegations of impermissible conduct by a faculty member, the Dean, or an Associate Dean, asserted by members of the Law School community, including Trustees, Regents, officers, students, faculty, administrators, staff members, employees, applicants, vendors, and guests, where such impermissible conduct shall consist of:
      1. Arbitrary, capricious or substantially unfair application of any rule or regulation of the law school; or
      2. Conduct in violation of the University’s “Policy Against Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment, and Retaliation” or the University’s “Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation.”
    2. Student allegations of arbitrary, capricious or bad-faith grading procedures, such as a breach of anonymity, a professor's failure to read an examination, materially misleading examination terms, an examination wholly unrelated to course content, or other procedure that is egregiously unfair. The Faculty Grievance Committee (“the Committee”) shall have no jurisdiction to review the substantive grade decision of another faculty member, but only to hear allegations challenging a faculty member's grading procedures. An arbitrary grading procedure is not established by the absence of a model answer, the fact that the professor has not provided a written explanation of the grade provided, or by comparison of the grades of one or more students with the grades for other papers. The Committee shall have no jurisdiction to re-evaluate, re-grade, or rescore a student's examination. The Committee shall have jurisdiction to recommend relief under this subdivision only if the Committee finds that a faculty member’s grading procedure was arbitrary, capricious, or in bad faith.
  2. If the complaint implicates a member of the Committee, the Law School Dean (“Dean”), or the Associate Dean for Academics (“the Associate Dean”), the implicated person shall recuse himself or herself throughout the investigation, hearing, and appeal process. If the complaint is brought against the Dean under subsection 5.1(a)(1)(ii) (or if the Dean is otherwise recused), the Committee shall retain an independent investigator external to Seton Hall to fulfill the investigatory functions of subsection 5.5.3 and the Senior Associate Dean shall assume the responsibilities of the Dean for purposes of handling that complaint. If the complaint is brought against the Associate Dean (or if the Associate Dean is otherwise recused), the Dean shall appoint another individual to assume the responsibilities of the Associate Dean for purposes of handling that complaint.
  3. Except as stated above, the Committee has no jurisdiction over grading or over the administration of the rules and regulations of the law school.

5.2 Faculty Grievance Committee

5.2.1 General Operations

  1. The Committee shall have the power to prescribe regulations and guidelines not inconsistent with the rules set forth in this section, including but not limited to reasonable timelines and limitations not already specified in this section in order to achieve prompt resolution of all complaints.
  2. When conducting general business, such as prescribing generally applicable regulations and guidelines for hearings and other committee proceedings, the Committee shall not have the power to act unless the majority of its membership is present. All such decisions shall be made by majority vote of those present.

5.2.2 Case Adjudication

  1. When the Associate Dean first refers to the Committee a matter pertaining to a particular complaint, the Chair shall identify at random two other non-recused members of the Committee to serve with the Chair on the “case panel,” which shall represent the Committee for purposes of acting on all matters arising from that complaint. Once the case panel is identified, the Chair shall immediately notify the Associate Dean and the parties as to the composition of the panel.
  2. In any case involving allegations of grave misconduct that, if proven, could reasonably support the imposition of suspension, dismissal, or other severe sanction, each party may move to replace one (1) member of the case panel without cause, provided that each party submits his or her motion within five (5) days of receiving notification of the panel composition.
  3. The parties shall have the opportunity at any time to move to strike a member of the case panel for good cause. In the event that a party makes such a motion, the panel as a whole shall decide whether good cause exists to replace the panel member.
  4. Each member of the panel shall have the power to recuse himself or herself for good cause.
  5. In the event that a member of the panel is removed or recused, a replacement member of the panel shall be identified at random from those members of the Committee who have not been assigned to the case panel. In the event that the Chair of the Committee is replaced, the panel shall select one of its own members to preside over the case and to assume all powers and responsibilities of the Chair in relation to that case.
  6. In the event that a panel member is replaced and a party has not yet exercised a peremptory challenge to which he or she is entitled, that party may exercise the peremptory challenge against the replacement panel member within five (5) days of being notified of the replacement.
  7. The case panel shall not have the power to act unless all three members of the panel are present.
  8. Unless otherwise indicated, all decisions of the panel shall be made by majority vote.

5.3 Pre-Complaint Procedures

  1. Anyone intending to file a complaint alleging a violation pursuant to subsection 5.1(a)(1) is encouraged first to make an appointment with the Associate Dean to review the matter.
  2. A Law School employee who observes or receives information that a possible violation of subsection 5.1(a)(1)(ii) has occurred shall report that information to the Dean or an associate dean, consistent with the requirements of the Policy Against Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Retaliation.
  3. A student intending to file a complaint alleging a violation pursuant to subsection 5.1(a)(2) shall first make an appointment with the professor to review the graded work. If, after meeting with the professor, the student believes that jurisdiction may exist under subsection 5.1(a)(2), the student shall then make an appointment with the Associate Dean to review the matter.

5.4 Informal Procedures

  1. If the Associate Dean determines that informal resolution of a reported matter would result in a prompt, fair, and adequate resolution for the parties involved, the Associate Dean may propose to the person who has reported the allegation that he or she may elect to pursue an informal process.
  2. An informal process may be used only if consented to by both the person reporting the allegation and the person alleged to have committed the violation, and either party may terminate any informal process at any time, without penalty.
  3. No person reporting that he or she was subject to an act of sexual assault (as defined by the Seton Hall Policy Against Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Retaliation) shall be asked to mediate or reach a resolution of the report directly with a person alleged to have committed the assault.
  4. The Associate Dean must inform anyone alleging a violation under subsection 5.1(a) that he or she may initiate a formal complaint at any time, regardless of what steps are being or have been taken pursuant to an informal process.

5.5 Complaint Process

5.5.1 Complaints

  1. Upon satisfaction of the requirements set forth by subsection 5.3, an individual may file a formal complaint with the Associate Dean.
  2. The complaint shall be:
    1. In writing; and
    2. Signed by the complainant, except that in the case of a complaint alleging impermissible conduct under subsection 5.1(a)(1)(ii), the complaint may be signed and submitted by any person on behalf of the complainant, including by the Dean or an associate dean.
  3. A complaint alleging misconduct under subsection 5.1(a)(1)(ii) may be filed at any time. All other complaints shall be filed within 180 days after the occurrence of the last event giving rise to the complaint. If a complaint subject to the 180-day limit is filed beyond this time period, the complainant must allege facts demonstrating that it was impossible to do so earlier or that unusual circumstances justify the delay, taking into account the reasons for the delay, and whether the delay unduly prejudices the respondent.
  4. Any member of the Law School community, including Trustees, Regents, officers, students, faculty, administrators, staff members, employees, applicants, vendors, and guests, may file a complaint.
  5. Simultaneous with the filing of the complaint, the complainant shall send a signed copy of the complaint to all persons against whom relief is sought, except that in the case of a complaint alleging impermissible conduct under subsection 5.1(a)(1)(ii), an associate dean shall provide the complaint to the person against whom the complaint is made.

5.5.2 Answer

After receipt of the complaint, any person against whom relief is sought shall have 15 days in which to respond to the allegations in the complaint. The case panel may extend the time to answer by an additional 10 days if it finds that the 15-day limit would impose a hardship. The response shall be in writing, filed with the Associate Dean, and served upon the complainant.

5.5.3 Actions upon Receipt of the Complaint; Investigation

  1. The Associate Dean shall review the complaint and the answer. If the Associate Dean determines that a complaint is not within the jurisdiction of the Committee, or that the complaint, viewed in the light most favorable to the complainant, fails to allege conduct prohibited by subsection 5.1(a), the Associate Dean shall report that determination with reasons to the case panel. The case panel may overrule the Associate Dean’s decision by a majority vote. If the Associate Dean’s decision is not overruled by the panel, the Associate Dean shall dismiss the complaint and so inform the complainant in writing. By written notice to the Chair within fifteen days of receiving notice of that dismissal, the complainant may request and shall receive de novo review of the dismissal by the case panel.
  2. If the Associate Dean chooses not to dismiss the complaint, the Associate Dean shall commence an investigation of the allegations set forth in the complaint.
  3. For any complaint alleging impermissible conduct under subsection 5.1(a)(1)(ii), the Associate Dean may at any point in the process retain an independent investigator external to Seton Hall University to conduct the investigation, but not before simultaneously notifying both parties as to the decision to retain an independent investigator and providing both parties an equal opportunity to provide input regarding the selection of the independent investigator.
  4. The investigation shall adhere to the following requirements:
    1. The parties shall be promptly and simultaneously notified of the initiation of any investigation.
    2. Each party shall have the right to be represented by an advisor of his or her choosing throughout the course of the investigation.
    3. The parties shall have the right to suggest witnesses to be interviewed during the course of the investigation and present documentary evidence to be considered during the course of the investigation.
    4. Unless extraordinary circumstances warrant otherwise, the investigation shall include individual interviews of the complainant, respondent, and any witnesses.
    5. The investigator shall prepare an initial report that summarizes the relevant evidence and sets forth proposed factual findings in light of that evidence.
    6. The initial report shall be shared promptly and equally with the complainant and the respondent.
    7. Upon receiving the initial report, each party shall have an opportunity:
      1. To meet with the Associate Dean together with any investigator; and/or
      2. To respond in writing to the report’s conclusions; and/or
      3. To request the gathering of additional evidence.
    8. The Associate Dean, in consultation with any other investigator, shall determine whether to revise the report and/or pursue additional investigation in light of the parties’ submissions.
    9. Following the parties’ responses to the initial report (and additional investigation, if any, and/or the making of subsequent changes, if any, to that report) the Associate Dean shall produce a final investigative report to the case panel. The Associate Dean shall also make the final investigative report available to each party. The parties shall have the opportunity to file with the panel a written response to the final investigative report.
    10. Neither the initial report nor the final report shall contain any conclusions as to whether the respondent has engaged in conduct prohibited by subsection 5.1(a).
    11. In addition to the provisions set forth above, in all matters involving allegations of impermissible conduct under subsection 5.1(a)(1)(ii), the parties shall be accorded equal rights at each stage of the process.
  5. Upon receipt of the final investigative report, the case panel may act as follows:
    1. In the event that the panel concludes that the report is incomplete, the panel may return the report to the Associate Dean with a description of the additional evidence that the panel believes needs to be gathered. At that point, the Associate Dean, in consultation with any other investigator, shall gather the additional evidence required and issue the report pursuant to the procedures set forth in subsection 5.5.3(d)(9).
    2. Except in cases involving impermissible conduct under subsection 5.1(a)(1)(ii), the case panel may render a decision without a formal hearing.
    3. The case panel may hold a formal hearing.

5.5.4 Interim Measures

In a case brought pursuant to subsection 5.1(a)(1)(ii) or other emergent cause, the respondent may be suspended with pay by the Dean or assigned to other duties during the pendency of the case, if the Dean deems that there is potential harm to others or to the Law School if the respondent continues in his/her current duties. The Dean may also determine and implement other appropriate interim measures as the circumstances of the case warrant.

5.6 Hearing Process

  1. In all cases in which the case panel decides to conduct a formal hearing, the panel shall concurrently give all parties at least 10 days’ written notice of the scheduled hearing. The notice shall include a list of witnesses (if any) that the panel plans to have testify at the hearing or documentary evidence the panel plans to consider at the hearing. The parties shall have the opportunity to respond to that notice. In the event the case panel makes any changes to its list of witnesses and/or evidence to be considered at the hearing, it shall promptly notify both parties of any such changes, but any such additions will not re-start the 10-day clock. Either party may request a reasonable extension to prepare for a witness added less than three days prior to a hearing.
  2. The case panel may, if it so chooses, conduct a pre-hearing session with the parties to simplify the issues, effect stipulations of facts, provide for the exchange of documentary or other information, and achieve such other appropriate pre-hearing objectives as will make the hearing fair, effective, and expeditious.
  3. Upon written notice to all parties, with due regard to the rights of the parties, and to the extent permitted by law, the case panel may invite or permit other interested persons to be present or to participate in the hearing.
  4. Extensions of time or rescheduling requests by the parties may be granted by the Chair for good cause.
  5. In any case involving allegations of grave misconduct that, if proven, could reasonably support the imposition of suspension, dismissal, or other severe sanction, the Law School shall provide the Committee with independent counsel external to Seton Hall University.
  6. A complete and verbatim record of the hearing will be kept. At the conclusion of the hearing, the full record, together with all documents or other materials that have been introduced during the hearing, will be made available to either party for copying at the requesting party’s cost.
  7. The complainant and respondent shall have the following rights:
    1. The right to represent themselves or to select a representative from among the law school faculty or student body or to select other legal counsel.
    2. The right to testify on their own behalf.
    3. The right to cross-examine any witness questioned by the case panel, except that in cases involving allegations of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking under the University Policy Against Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Retaliation, the respondent may not directly cross-examine the complainant but rather may instead cross-examine the complainant through a representative or submit specific questions to be asked of the complainant by the case panel.

5.7 Decisions

5.7.1 Initial Decisions

  1. For all complaints, a violation may be found only if sustained and supported by the preponderance of the evidence.
  2. If the case panel finds that a violation has occurred, the panel shall issue a decision explaining the basis of its determination and may award such relief as is authorized by and consistent with the rules and regulations of the Law School, except that the panel may not impose suspension, dismissal, or any other severe sanction for grave misconduct unless it has first held a hearing pursuant to subsection 5.6 or the respondent has agreed to the specified sanction.
  3. In all cases the case panel shall render a written decision and serve copies on all parties in interest and file a copy with the Dean.
  4. The case panel’s decision becomes final 15 days after service and filing, unless:
    1. Reconsideration is sought under subsection 5.7.2; or
    2. An appeal is taken under subsection 5.7.3; or
    3. The panel has recommended the imposition of suspension, dismissal, or another severe sanction.
  5. The deliberations of the case panel in reaching any decision under these rules are confidential.
  6. The case panel shall notify all parties in writing of all decisions. The panel may notify any other persons whom the panel determines should receive notice of its decisions.
  7. If the case panel proposes to base its decision in whole or in part upon any facts not contained in the record before it, the panel shall notify the parties of such facts and permit them an opportunity to comment in writing prior to any decision on the matter.
  8. If the case panel has not acted upon a complaint within 60 days, the Chair shall provide a status report to the parties that indicates the expected date of action by the panel.

5.7.2 Reconsideration of Decisions

  1. The Dean or any party in interest may, within 10 days of receiving a decision from the case panel, request that it be reconsidered by filing with the panel, and serving on all parties in interest, a written statement setting forth the grounds for reconsideration.
  2. The Dean or any other party in interest may respond to the request for reconsideration within 10 days. The case panel shall act promptly upon the request for reconsideration and give written notice of its action to the Dean and all parties in interest.
  3. The Dean has the power to disapprove the reconsidered decision within 5 days, except that the Dean shall have no power to disapprove of such reconsidered decision if the Dean is implicated in a complaint as set forth in subsection 5.1(b).

5.7.3 Appeal to the Faculty

  1. The Dean or any party in interest has the right to appeal a final decision to the faculty in the following cases only:
    1. Where the Dean has sought reconsideration under subsection 5.7.2, or has disapproved the case panel’s decision after reconsideration under subsection 5.7.2; or
    2. Where a member of the case panel has filed a written dissent; or
    3. Where the Dean is implicated in the complaint and the case panel renders a final decision; or
    4. Where the respondent disagrees with a decision finding a faculty member’s grading procedure to be arbitrary, capricious or in bad faith; or
    5. Where the case panel has imposed suspension, dismissal, or another severe sanction.
  2. Any appeal shall be initiated by filing with the Chair a Notice of Appeal setting forth the grounds for the appeal within 20 days of the service of the final decision.
  3. Upon receiving a Notice of Appeal pursuant to subsection 5.7.3(b), the Chair shall cause the matter to be placed on the agenda of the next faculty meeting.
  4. Any faculty members who are implicated in a complaint, who participated in the investigation of the case, or who served on the case panel are not eligible to participate in any faculty decision in that case. Any faculty members who have not received prescribed training are not eligible to participate in any faculty decision in a case involving impermissible conduct under subsection 5.1(a)(1)(ii).
  5. Except as provided by subsection 5.7.3(g), and when a quorum is present, the faculty, by majority vote of those present, may decide the matter with or without further hearing and may affirm, reverse, or modify the decision or remand the matter with instructions for further proceedings.
  6. For purposes of a faculty decision under this section, a quorum of the faculty shall consist of a majority of faculty members eligible to participate in that decision.
  7. In any appeal involving a suspension, dismissal, or another severe sanction, the following requirements shall apply:
    1. The decision of the case panel shall be subject to review by the tenured faculty eligible to participate in a faculty decision under this section.
    2. The complainant and respondent shall be afforded an opportunity to address the participating faculty, but they shall not be present for the ensuing deliberations and vote of the body.
    3. The participating faculty may impose the proposed sanction only by at least 2/3rds vote of those present.

5.7.4 Service

Service of all materials on all parties shall be by electronic or paper mail and shall be effective upon mailing.

5.7.5 Confidentiality

  1. All members of the Committee shall keep in confidence all aspects of each case.
  2. All records of the case panel’s proceedings shall be kept confidential, unless the Dean or the full faculty authorizes otherwise consistent with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  3. Findings of discrimination shall be reported by the Senior Associate Dean to the University’s Office of Compliance.