Committee on Cause
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 section on University Disciplinary Procedures in Faculty Handbook (page 30 of the April 1, 2015 revision, available online at http://www.northwestern.edu/provost/docs/faculty-handbook-2015.pdf ). As prescribed in the Handbook, the Committee on Cause consists of seven faculty members identified and ratified by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and brought for a formal vote to the Senate each academic year.
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 Ombudsman, see page 23 of the 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."Chair: Ron Allen, firstname.lastname@example.org