56. Discrimination Appeals Panel (Revised: 2000)
The decision as to which procedure to utilize for a grievance filed by a student shall be made solely by the university and shall be based on the fact pattern of each particular case. Each grievance shall be directed to a specific procedure and shall be accorded only one opportunity to be adjudicated unless the appeal body remands for further review.
(Note: Rule 45 Discrimination and Discrimination Appeals was revised in 2005 and contains the process for discrimination appeals. Disability Accommodations appeals and Sexual Harassment appeals will be handled in accordance with Rule 56.) (Rule 56 is under review at this time.)
56.1 Scope: Texas A&M University, in accordance with applicable federal and state law prohibits discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
The Discrimination Appeals Panel is appointed by the President and CEO for Texas A&M University at Galveston to hear final appeals in cases in which a student alleges that he or she has been subjected to an act, practice, rule, or procedure or that involves discrimination as described above. The panel also hears final appeals on grievances regarding disability accommodations in academic programs. Discrimination grievance procedures must be completed prior to a hearing before the appeals panel.
The panel shall not have jurisdiction to consider a case that, based on the same set of facts, has been or may be submitted for a decision under the procedures of another university appeals panel.
56.2 Membership: The panel shall consist of a chair, four faculty members, two staff members, three students (two undergraduate and one graduate) and two student alternates (one undergraduate and one graduate). A quorum consists of three faculty members, one staff member, and two students (one undergraduate and one graduate).
56.3.1 The chair shall set the time and place for the hearing at the earliest possible time consistent with the schedules of the parties and the panel. The date of the hearing may be postponed or extended by mutual agreement of the parties with the consent of the chair. The failure of the student to appear without justifiable cause shall terminate the right of appeal.
56.3.2 The chair shall conduct the hearing, rule on procedural matters, and cast a tie-breaking vote if needed, but shall not participate in actual deliberations.
56.3.3 The standard of review to be used in all proceedings shall be fundamental fairness. Strict rules of evidence and procedures are not required so long as the proceedings are conducted in such a manner as to allow both sides to fairly and fully explain the circumstances. Decisions regarding the admissibility of evidence and the weight to be given to same shall be made by the chair.
56.3.4 The burden of proof shall be upon the student to prove his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence, which means that the proof need only show that the facts are more likely to be so than not so.
56.3.5 The student and the respondent shall have the right to consult with counsel of his or her own choosing, to present witnesses and documentary information as may be pertinent and to question witnesses offered by other parties. Active participation by an attorney or other individual will not be allowed unless the university is represented by an attorney who actively participates in the hearing. Active participation includes directly questioning participants and/or speaking on behalf of a participant.
56.3.6 The student and respondent shall be offered the opportunity for reasonable oral presentation and shall be permitted to file typewritten or reproduced material.
56.3.7 The chair shall have all proceedings of the hearing recorded. A copy of the recording may be obtained from the chair by the student or respondent at their own expense.
56.3.8 Immediately after hearing the appeal the panel will go into closed session to deliberate. Upon conclusion of its deliberation, the panel shall inform the student and respondent of its decision. A formal letter outlining the decision of the panel shall be sent to the student, the respondent, the President and CEO for Texas A&M University at Galveston, and all parties indicated on the original complaint.
56.3.9 The decision of the Discrimination Appeals Panel is the final appeal within the university.