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Committee on Cause

2016-2017 Year-End Report

The Committee on Cause is one of two bodies involved in review of disciplinary matters involving faculty. (The other is the Faculty Appeals Panel (FAP), which considers both denials of tenure and, as is relevant here, disciplinary matters involving major sanctions that threaten a faculty member's status with the University.) The work of the Committee on Cause is entirely reactive and it is not expected to generate an agenda for its mission. Like FAP, it may be called upon to act at any time during the calendar year.

The role of the Committee on Cause is outlined in the University Disciplinary Procedures section (page 30) of the Faculty Handbook: "The Faculty Committee on Cause provides an initial evaluation of appeals by faculty members in cases where the administration has imposed a minor sanction or is pursuing suspension or termination for Cause. Each fall, the Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee will nominate seven Faculty Senate members to serve on the Committee on Cause.  Two of the nominees must be non-tenure eligible faculty members.  The President of the Faculty Senate will send the names of the seven nominees to the Faculty Senate’s membership. The Faculty Senate will then consider those names and, by majority vote, approve the seven members of the Committee on Cause or propose other candidates to serve on the Committee on Cause."

The Committee on Cause does not begin consideration of a case until a unit of the University has actually imposed a sanction, and, within 20 days of the imposition of such sanction, the faculty member has requested in writing review by the Committee. (Faculty members seeking resolution of issues that might lead to the imposition of sanctions should be advised to seek the assistance of a faculty ombudsperson; see page 23 of the Faculty Handbook).

The Committee's job is to advise the Provost "as to whether, in its opinion, there is probable cause for the imposition of the proposed reprimand or minor sanction" and "on the reasonableness of the [sanction]" in light of the facts presented by the administration and the faculty member and "without making formal findings of fact."


Mark Segraves, Professor, Neurobiology (Weinberg)


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