Faculty Personnel Policies
B6 Disciplinary Measures and Dismissal
Grounds for Discipline
- A faculty member may be subject to discipline, up to and including
dismissal, for adequate cause. Hope College defines adequate cause for dismissal
to be academic irresponsibility, incompetence, or moral turpitude in
faculty members' professional capacities as teachers, researchers, and
artists. Discipline will not be used to restrain faculty
members in their exercise of academic freedom (see B12).
- Disciplinary Sanctions Other than
If the administration receives a complaint about a faculty member’s conduct that could subject that faculty member to discipline, the Provost or his/her representative must investigate that complaint promptly. This investigation may begin informally with conversation (documented if appropriate) between the Provost and the faculty member prior to a full and careful investigation that could lead to a sanction. If the Provost deems further investigation necessary, the faculty member should be notified of the investigation and be given an opportunity to respond to the charges and to suggest further avenues of inquiry. After full and careful investigation and within a reasonable time, normally no more than thirty (30) days, the administration, in consultation with the faculty member, may find the charges unfounded, may give an official reprimand, may impose disciplinary sanctions, or may initiate dismissal proceedings (see B6.d.).
Sanctions that could be imposed include financial restitution, requirement that the faculty member obtain appropriate medical or psychological treatment, suspension from some or all of a faculty member’s duties for a slated period of time (up to one year), or any other action that causes the faculty member to incur a penalty or loss of measureable value. The sanctions must be in writing and will be retained in the employee’s personnel file in the Human Resources Office.
Disciplinary sanctions other than dismissal may also result from processes undertaken pursuant to the Sexual Harassment Policy (see section B15) or the Grievance Policy (see B22.)
- As a sanction, suspension for a stated period of time may be
the end result of an investigation by administration or faculty
- Suspension may also be imposed by the Provost as an interim measure
before the completion of an administrative investigation or dismissal
proceedings. This action may be taken only if immediate harm (whether
physical, psychological, educational, or financial) to the faculty
member or to others is threatened by his/her continuance.
- The Provost's decision to use suspension as an interim measure
should be made in consultation with the faculty member's chairperson,
the relevant divisional dean, the chairperson of the Professional
Interests Committee, and the President with regard to the propriety,
length, and conditions of the suspension. Suspension as an interim
measure requires that the administrative investigation and/or dismissal
proceedings be completed in a timely manner, and unless legal considerations
forbid, any such suspension should be with pay.
- Initiation of dismissal proceedings will be preceded by the following
- Discussions between the faculty member,
the Provost, and the relevant divisional dean, with a view toward
achieving a mutual settlement;
- Informal inquiry, for a maximum
period of thirty (30) days, by representatives of the Professional
Interests Committee either to help mediate the situation or to
determine the advisability of initiating dismissal proceedings,
without their opinion binding the Provost;
- Written notification
of dismissal, together with charges, framed with a reasonable
degree of particularity by the Provost or the Provost's representative. The
letter of notification will indicate the date, not less than
twenty (20) nor more than thirty (30) days away, when a hearing
has been scheduled.
- After receiving the written notification of dismissal, the faculty
member will have the right to have the case considered by a hearing
committee of elected faculty drawn from the Appeals and Grievance
Panel (see A6.f). Panel
members deeming themselves disqualified for bias or interest will remove
themselves from the case, either at the request of a party or on their
own initiative. The chair of the Panel will then draw up a roster
of nine (9) members available to serve on the committee. Each
party, the faculty member and the administration, may remove from the
roster a maximum of two names without stated cause. From the
names that remain, the chair of the Panel will appoint a hearing
committee of five (5), which shall elect its own chairperson.
- There must be more than one academic division and both genders represented
on the committee. If the names remaining on the roster after
peremptory removals do not permit these restrictions to be observed,
the chairperson will negotiate with the faculty member and the administration
for an enlarged roster so that they can be observed.
- The committee will be in full charge of the hearing process. In
consultation with both parties and in accordance with this Handbook,
it has the power to determine how the hearing will proceed, what evidence
will be taken and how it will be received, and how it will go about
reaching a decision. Strict rules of courtroom procedure need not
apply, but the committee should seek to ensure a full and fair hearing
for both parties.
- The committee may reschedule the hearing
at the request of either party or on its own initiative, provided
both parties agree to another date within the 30-day limit stated
- The committee will ensure that both parties have access
to the information necessary to support their cases, including
witnesses and documents. The administration will cooperate
with the committee in making such information available. With
the consent of both parties, the committee may hold joint pre-hearing
meetings with both parties to provide for the exchange of documents
and other information, determine the issues to be covered at the
hearing, decide how the witnesses will be heard, and resolve any
other matters necessary to ensure that the hearing is fair, effective,
- The faculty member may respond to charges
in writing at any time before the hearing, with copies furnished
to the hearing committee and the administration.
- If the faculty
member waives the right to appear at the hearing but denies the
charges or asserts that the charges are not adequate cause for
dismissal, the hearing committee will evaluate all the available
evidence and rest its findings on that evidence.
- The Hearing
- The hearing will be closed and its
proceedings will be confidential. An audio recording will
be made of the proceedings, and a copy or a transcription of the
recording will be furnished to either party upon request.
- The faculty
member and the administration each may choose to have an advocate
present. This will be another member of the faculty
or administration who would assist in the presentation of the case. Both
sides will have opportunity to present witnesses, to introduce documentary
evidence, to question the other side's witnesses, and to make oral
and written arguments based on the evidence to the hearing committee. In
the hearing of charges of incompetence, the testimony will include
that of qualified faculty members from this or other institutions of
higher education. The committee will grant adjournments to
enable either party to investigate evidence of which it claims,
and the committee members concur, that it had no previous notice.
- The hearing committee may conclude a) that adequate cause for
discipline has not been established by the evidence in the record,
b) that adequate cause for discipline has been established but
that sanctions specified by the committee are more appropriate
than dismissal, or c) that dismissal is justified. The committee must base its decision on the evidence
introduced in the hearing record. The administration must persuade
the committee that the evidence presented justifies disciplinary action. The
hearing committee will submit its report to the President with
a copy to the faculty member.
Action by the President
- Upon receipt and review of the recommendations of the hearing committee,
the President has the following courses of action from which to choose:
- If the hearing committee decides
that there is not adequate cause for disciplinary action of any
sort and if the President agrees, the case is concluded
- If the hearing
committee decides that disciplinary action short of dismissal is
appropriate and if the President agrees, the recommended sanctions
are imposed and the case is concluded.
- If the hearing committee
and the President agree that dismissal is justified and if the
faculty member accepts the judgment, the dismissal is effected
and the case is concluded.
- If the President disagrees
with the hearing committee's recommendation, his/her reasons
will be stated in writing to the hearing committee and to the
faculty member, who will have opportunity to respond before the
President takes further action.
- If the hearing committee and
the President agree that dismissal is justified but the faculty
member contests the decision, or if the President continues to
disagree with the hearing committee's recommendation after providing
the committee and faculty member opportunity to respond to the
President's reasons, the President will transmit the hearing
committee's report to a committee of the Board of Trustees appointed ad hoc,
together with his/her recommendation and the record of the case.
Action by the Board of Trustees
If the President refers the case to an ad hoc committee
of the Board of Trustees, the committee will base its review
on the documents transmitted to it, and it will provide opportunity
for argument, written and/or oral, by the principals in the case
or by their representatives. If
the decision of the hearing committee is sustained, the recommendation
will be forwarded to the full Board of Trustees for final decision. If
the decision of the hearing committee is not sustained, the case will
be returned to the hearing committee with specific objections. The
hearing committee will then reconsider the case, taking into account
the stated objections and receiving new evidence if necessary. The ad
hoc committee of the Board will make its final recommendation
to the Board of Trustees only after study of the hearing committee's
then will the Board make the final decision.
Public statements and publicity about the case by either the
faculty member or administrative officers will be avoided as
far as possible until the proceedings have been completed, including
consideration by the Board of Trustees. Any news release
to the public should be made through the President's office.
Continuance of salary
If a faculty member is dismissed for cause, his/her annual contracted
salary is paid over twelve months from the date of the letter
of notification (see B6.d1c)) or until the conclusion of his/her
duties at the College, whichever
is later; except that if the notification of dismissal occurs during
the faculty member's first year of service, the minimum commitment
for continuance is 25% of the annual contracted salary paid over
three months, and if during the second year, 50% of the annual
contracted salary paid over six months. During the period
over which salary is continued, the College shall not be liable
for payment of unemployment compensation. Provision
for continuance of salary need not apply if adequate cause for
dismissal included a finding of moral turpitude.
The official record of the hearing, which is to be kept in the President's
Office until all processes have been completed, will consist of the following:
- All written materials received from the administration, the faculty
member, and any other parties seen to be appropriate by the committee;
copy of the Committee's recommendations;
- A log of the Committee's
actions, including times of meeting, documents received, and a
record of parties with whom the Committee or its members conversed.
At the discretion of the President, following the completion of all
processes, the records will be transferred to the Archives, where they
will remain under seal, with access limited to the President, the Provost,
or their designees.