The sanctions of conduct probation or below will be handled through the process outlined below. Corps or Residence Life Sanctions are handled within those respective departments. Sanctions that result from charges of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking; or that involve separation from the University are appealed through the University Disciplinary Appeal Process.
To initiate an appeal, students must complete the Appeal Request Form and must submit a written statement outlining the basis for appeal. The appeal paperwork must be submitted online and will be routed to the appropriate office for review. Students who do not submit their appeal request by the date/time specified in their decision letter waive their opportunity to appeal.
Students must base an appeal on one or more specific aspects of the original conduct conference:
- New information that was not available at the time of the original conduct conference with supporting information about why this information was not available
- The severity of the sanction(s) assigned in the original student conduct conference was not appropriate for the violation(s) for which the student was responsible
- A procedural error occurred in the course of the original student conduct conference
Preparing for Your Appeal
The University has already issued a decision on whether the student was found responsible for violating a student rule. The responsibility now shifts to the student to provide, in writing, a basis covering the student's reasons for the appeal as specified above (e.g., new information, the severity of the sanction, and/or procedural error). In cases where the reason for an appeal is new information that was not available at the time of the original student conduct conference, information should be submitted as to why this information was not available at that time.
It is important to remember that the written statement must be as comprehensive and accurate as possible in order for the Appeal Administrator to make the most informed decision regarding the appeal after reading the appeal paperwork.
Standard of Proof: Preponderance of the Information
In a case where there is a factual dispute, the appeal administrator/panel can never have absolute proof of what really happened because the appeal administrator/panel is never an eyewitness. The best the appeal administrator/panel can do is be persuaded of what probably happened. The standard of proof is intended to assure all concerned that the intensity of the appeal administrator/panel’s belief is uniform in all cases.
The level of proof required at Texas A&M University in University disciplinary cases is a preponderance of the information. This simply means that the proof need only show that the facts are more likely to be so than not so. A preponderance of the information in the case means such information when considered and compared with that opposed to it, has more convincing force and produces in the appeal administrator/panel’s mind the belief that what is sought is more likely true than not true. [From: Long, N.T., (1985). The standard of proof in student disciplinary cases. Journal of College and University Law, 12(1), 73-74.]
All appeal decisions made by the appeal administrator/panel are final and the student is afforded no other opportunity for further appeal. After review of all the written information provided, the appeal administrator/panel may assign one of the following actions:
- Uphold the original decision
- Modify the original sanction based on the severity of the sanction*
- Remand the case back to the Student Conduct Office for a new conduct conference. If the appeal is based upon the availability of new information and this new information is sufficient to alter a decision and/or if the appeal is based upon a procedural error, the appeal administrator/panel may choose to refer the case back to the Student Conduct Office for a new conduct conference
*The appeal administrator may not increase the sanction that was assigned in the original conduct conference except in cases where a complainant of Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, or Related Retaliation has filed an appeal.
Appeal decisions will be made in writing to the student upon conclusion of the appeal process. Every effort will be made to send follow-up correspondence within ten University business days.
Students who wish to appeal based upon receiving a sanction of Conduct Probation or lower are instructed to contact the Office of the Dean for more information.
Students who wish to appeal based upon receiving a sanction resulting from a charge of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking; or that involve separation from the University, are instructed to contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for more information.