Policies and Procedures of the University Tribunal
To the students and faculty of Yale University:
The University Tribunal was first established in 1969 by President Kingman Brewster to serve as a University-wide disciplinary body for students, using detailed procedures developed by a nine-member committee chaired by Professor Fleming James. In 1975, the Yale Corporation authorized the Senior Fellow and the President to revise the Tribunal Procedures as necessary from time to time. The current Procedures and Regulations set forth below establish that the Tribunal is the appropriate forum for addressing the most serious allegations of misconduct by a student or a faculty member. The Procedures and Regulations assure that the rights of faculty and students and due process are protected through appropriate procedural safeguards firmly in place. The current Procedures and Regulations of the University Tribunal were first drafted in late 1979 by the Office of the General Counsel working with an Advisory Committee consisting of A. Bartlett Giamatti, President; Georges May, Provost; Henry W. Broude, Advisor to the President; Robert W. Berliner, Dean, School of Medicine; Ralph S. Brown, Jr., Professor of Law; Howard R. Lamar, Dean of Yale College; Ruth B. Marcus, Professor of Philosophy; Keith S. Thomson, Dean of the Graduate School; and James Tobin, Professor of Economics. In addition, drafts were submitted to the Deans of the Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the various professional Schools in April 1980 to solicit the opinions of their respective colleagues. Further revisions were made as a result, and successive drafts were again circulated to both the Advisory Committee and the Deans. The Procedures and Regulations of the University Tribunal set forth below are a result, therefore, of a year-long consultative process. They were approved by the various deans and adopted by the Senior Fellow and me on September 27, 1980. In accordance with Part I, B of the Procedures and Regulations the Deans have nominated faculty and students to serve on the Tribunal. I trust that the University Tribunal need never be convoked, but the essence of fairness and due process requires that the procedures be in place and that their provisions be made known to the community.
(Signed) A. Bartlett Giamatti
Parts I and II below apply to all cases before the University Tribunal.
Part III applies only to those disciplinary cases where a student is the person who is charged with misconduct and who is to appear before the Tribunal Panel (the “respondent”). The Tribunal shall hear those disciplinary cases considered by the President (or the Provost acting for the President) to be more appropriately brought before the Tribunal, rather than the disciplinary body of the School whose students are involved. Such cases may include those deemed by the President to have institutional significance for the integrity and values of the University as a whole (including but not limited to disruption of free expression), cases the disposition of which the President believes would have some substantial impact within the University beyond a particular School of the University, or cases in which the President determines that the Tribunal could best insure a desired uniformity of disciplinary procedures and penalties.
Part IV applies only to disciplinary cases where a faculty member is the respondent. Jurisdiction of the Tribunal in cases involving faculty exists only when the President believes that dismissal of a faculty member for misconduct or the imposition of other serious sanctions might be appropriate if the charges are sustained, and that the interests of the University will be best served by bringing such a disciplinary matter before the Tribunal. Until amended in the manner provided by the Yale Corporation, the Tribunal shall operate under the procedures in this document. This document supersedes all previous University statements concerning the University Tribunal (or, as it has sometimes been referred to, the University-wide Tribunal).
I. General Provisions of the University Tribunal Applicable to all Cases
A. General Provisions
- The University Tribunal will consist of a group of designated faculty and students as provided in Part I, B. The Tribunal for a particular case will be a panel (The “Tribunal Panel”) selected from the membership of the University Tribunal. In the case of a faculty respondent, the Tribunal Panel will be composed of five faculty members, the selection of which is outlined in Part IV, B. In the case of a student respondent, the Panel will consist of both students and faculty as specified in Part III, B.
- All appointments to the University Tribunal shall be made by the President (or by the Provost acting for the President). If, for any reason, a School has not nominated candidates to the University Tribunal as specified in Part I, B by October 15 for that academic year, the President has the authority to appoint members after consultation with the Dean of the School that has not selected its nominees.
- It is desirable that informal procedures (looking to the possibility of a settlement of the dispute) be invoked before a Tribunal Panel exercises jurisdiction. The parties shall at all times have the power to negotiate a settlement of a case by agreement between them without the need of the Tribunal’s approval; however, the terms of settlement on the part of the University or by a University official requires the President’s prior approval. Such settlement may close the case and remove it from the Tribunal’s jurisdiction. A Tribunal Panel shall take whatever steps as may in the circumstances be appropriate and feasible to encourage such settlement.
- The President shall have the power to withdraw the case from the Tribunal without the consent of the Tribunal Panel or any other party, provided that withdrawal shall be a bar to further proceedings against the respondent for the same offense unless the respondent agrees that the case may be reopened.
- Permanent Faculty Members
The Dean of the Law School and the Dean of the School of Medicine will each nominate to the President one tenured member and one non-tenured member of their respective faculties as “Permanent Faculty Members” of the Tribunal.
- Permanent Student Members
The Dean of the Law School and the Dean of the School of Medicine will each nominate to the President one student from their respective Schools for membership on the Tribunal as “Permanent Student Members.” The student members of the standing committees on discipline of Yale College, the Graduate School, and the Schools of Law and Medicine may propose to the Dean of each School the names of students from their School who might serve on the Tribunal. In the absence of a standing committee on discipline or such a committee that has student members, the Dean shall consult with the officers of the most broadly-based student organization or association of that School. In any event, nominations of student members of the Tribunal shall be made to the President by the Dean of each School.
- Occasional Members
The Dean of each other School of the University will, in conformity with the provisions of Part I, B (1) and (2) above, similarly nominate to the President a tenured faculty member, a non-tenured faculty member, and a student member. These members who will be referred to as “Occasional Members,” constitute a pool from which members are chosen as provided herein, for inclusion on a Tribunal Panel to hear cases specifically involving a respondent from that Occasional Member’s School.
- The President will designate a chairman and vice-chairman who are tenured faculty from among the Permanent Faculty Members of the Tribunal.
- The chairman (or in his or her absence, the vice-chairman) will preside over the Tribunal and the Tribunal panel (in those cases in which the chairman is a member of the Panel) and will carry out other duties specified in these regulations, including the appointment of a chairman of any Tribunal Panel of which he or she is not a member. The chairman is also responsible for constituting Tribunal Panels in accordance with Parts III, C and IV, B and C for student and faculty cases, respectively.
D. Disqualification of Tribunal Members
- The respondent shall have the right to challenge individual members of the Tribunal Panel where such challenge is based on cause (e.g., prejudicial public positions previously taken by an individual member; close personal contact with the respondent). Peremptory challenges shall not be entertained. The Tribunal Panel, excluding that person being challenged, shall decide the disputed issues in cases of challenge, and its decision shall not be subject to appeal.
- An individual member of a Tribunal Panel should voluntarily offer to disqualify himself or herself in cases where he or she believes that there are valid grounds for challenge, whether or not the challenge is made, but he or she may nevertheless continue to serve if all the parties request that the member do so.
II. Procedures for Hearings Before a Tribunal Panel; Procedural Protections Accorded To Faculty and Student Respondents
A. Steps Preparatory to Hearing
- The President or the Provost acting for the President shall, with respect to any case for which a University Tribunal Panel is being convened, designate an official of the University (who may or may not be a member of the faculty) to present the case. This official may have the advice of counsel.
- This official shall prepare and present to the respondent a written statement describing the misconduct with which the respondent is charged; the statement shall include the names of witnesses whose identities are known. A copy of these procedures will accompany the statement.
- The statement shall also include the date, time and place for a hearing, as determined by the Chairman of the Tribunal. Unless an earlier date is agreed to by the respondent, the hearing will not be held less than seven days after the presentation of the statement, but will be held as soon thereafter as the Chairman deems practicable.
- The respondent may, at or before the opening of the hearing, file a written answer to the written statement. The respondent’s failure to file such an answer will not constitute an admission of the misconduct that has been charged.
- The Tribunal Panel may, with the consent of the parties concerned, hold joint pre-hearing meetings with the parties in order to (i) clarify the issues, (ii) stipulate facts, (iii) provide for the exchange of documentary or other information, and (iv) achieve such other appropriate pre-hearing objectives as will make the hearing fair, effective and expeditious.
B. The respondent shall have the right to select either a hearing in closed session or else a hearing open to such members of the public as can be conveniently accommodated in the hearing room selected by the Chairman of the Tribunal Panel. The Tribunal Panel may make reasonable rules governing the behavior of persons attending a hearing and shall announce such rules before taking steps to enforce them. If the behavior of persons attending a hearing substantially interferes with its orderly conduct, the Tribunal Panel shall have discretion to exclude persons so misbehaving or, if necessary, to order that the hearing be closed from that point on.
C. In conducting the hearing, the Tribunal Panel shall not be bound by formal rules of evidence as in a court of law; admissibility of evidence shall be determined solely by relevance, and all evidence shall be accorded the consideration that it merits.
D. At the hearing:
- The University’s official and the respondent shall present evidence, by questioning witnesses and otherwise, and shall be entitled to ask questions of witnesses offered by the other parties. The University shall do its best to assist parties in obtaining evidence and witnesses.
- The respondent may choose to be heard or not.
- A transcript or recording shall be made and furnished to the parties.
- A previous disciplinary record of the respondent shall be considered by the Tribunal in determining an appropriate sanction, but a previous disciplinary record will not be reviewed by the Tribunal in determining whether the charges are to be sustained.
- The Tribunal shall find against the respondent only if it concludes that one or more of the charges are sustained by clear and convincing evidence.
- A respondent may have representation as provided in Parts III and IV for students and faculty, respectively.
E. The Tribunal Panel, sua sponte, shall call before it any witnesses it deems necessary for the purpose of fully informing itself as to any aspect of the case, including without limitation technical or specialized questions, academic contexts, unique disciplines, or divisional considerations an understanding of which may be relevant to the issues.
F. The Tribunal Panel shall have discretion (i) to limit the number of witnesses in order to prevent unnecessary repetition or cumulation of testimony and (ii) to grant adjournments as it deems appropriate.
G. Any ruling which the Tribunal Panel is empowered to make may be made upon the vote of a majority of those members present. Except with the consent of the respondent, no member of the Tribunal Panel shall vote upon the issues raised by the charges or upon the appropriateness of a sanction unless he or she has been present at all the hearings upon the matter.
H. At the close of the presentation of evidence and arguments, the Tribunal Panel shall deliberate with only the members of the Tribunal present and thereafter vote upon the issues presented by the statements and the evidence taken at the hearing. The Panel shall make a finding with respect to each of the charges. If a majority finds all the charges not proven, it shall so announce and this will terminate the proceedings.
I. If a majority of the Tribunal Panel finds the charges proven in whole or in part it shall invite appropriate University officials such as the Provost or the Dean(s) of the School(s) or College(s) or the Chairman of a department directly affected by the charge or charges to present recommendations, evidence, testimony, statements, or arguments which are relevant to the question of appropriate sanctions, such as matters which would aggravate or mitigate the seriousness of the offense or show its implications for the welfare of the institution or for academic standards or freedom. A like invitation shall be sent to the respondent and his or her representative.
J. The Tribunal Panel shall then hold a hearing for the purpose of receiving the materials referred to in paragraph I. The proceedings of this hearing shall be included as part of the formal record. A copy of each item of the material provided pursuant to paragraph I shall also be included as part of the record and shall be furnished to each party to the proceedings in time to afford reasonable opportunity to prepare counter-statements.
K. The Tribunal Panel, after considering all relevant material brought before it in the manner prescribed in paragraphs I and J, shall determine what sanctions it wishes to recommend to the President.
L. The Tribunal Panel shall provide the President and the respondent with a report which includes (i) the finding with respect to each of the charges, (ii) a statement of reasons supporting each finding, and (iii) a statement of the Panel’s recommendations for sanctions and the reasons therefor. The transcript or a transcription of the recording of hearings prepared pursuant to Part II, D (3) and provided for in Part II, I shall also be provided to the President as well as the respondent.
III. Particular Provisions for Cases Before the University Tribunal Where Students Are Respondents
- At the request of the Provost or the Dean of a School, or on his own initiative, the President shall consider whether the interests of the University will best be served by bringing a disciplinary matter before the Tribunal, rather than the disciplinary body of a School or Schools whose students are involved. Only the President (or the Provost acting for the President) may convoke a Tribunal Panel.
- The Tribunal exists to hear disciplinary cases involving students deemed by the President to have institutional significance for the integrity and values of the University as a whole (including, but not limited to, disruption of free expression), cases the disposition of which the President believes would have some substantial impact within the University beyond a particular School of the University, or cases in which the President determines that the Tribunal could best insure a desired uniformity of disciplinary procedures and penalties.
- A hearing before a Tribunal Panel shall be in lieu of any other proceeding before the appropriate disciplinary body of the student’s School. Except for the cases referred to the University Tribunal, the responsibility for student discipline continues to rest with the appropriate disciplinary bodies of the various Schools of the University, and a Tribunal Panel shall not hear appeals from the decisions of these disciplinary bodies. It is expected that a Tribunal Panel would be convoked infrequently and only in extraordinary circumstances.
B. Composition of the Tribunal Panel
In a case involving a student or students from Yale College, the Graduate School, the Law School and/or the School of Medicine, the Tribunal Panel shall be composed of all the Permanent Faculty Members and the Permanent Student Members.
If a student from another School of the University is a respondent, then the Occasional Members from that School shall be added to the Panel described above.
When a student is a respondent, eight (8) members of the Tribunal shall constitute a quorum for a Tribunal Panel. If fewer than eight (8) members are available owing to disqualification pursuant to Part I, D above, then the Chairman of the Tribunal shall select and add Occasional Members to bring to eight (8) the number of members serving on the Tribunal Panel.
Any student directed to appear before a University Tribunal Panel shall have the right to representation by counsel or an advisor if he or she desires. A respondent shall not be required to participate at any stage of proceedings (including the preliminary hearing) until he or she has been apprised of this right and been afforded opportunity to obtain counsel or another advisor of his or her choice. If the party does not choose to provide his or her own counsel or advisor, but desires representation, the Chairman of the Tribunal (or the presiding member of a preliminary panel) shall provide a list of faculty and students of the Yale Law School who volunteer to serve as a representative for a respondent before the Tribunal Panel, from which the respondent may choose his representative.
E. Suspensions and Preliminary Hearings of the University Tribunal
- Emergency Suspensions
An official of the University authorized by the President has the power, where it appears necessary for reasons relating to a student’s physical or emotional safety and well-being, or for reasons relating to the safety and wellbeing of members of the university community or university property, to impose emergency suspension either from residence or academic status or both, and to remove or modify such suspension when the special need for it has passed.
- Interim Suspensions
a. If the circumstances of a continuing offense or disturbance make it feasible to do so, the offenders should first be warned that they are subject to disciplinary procedures.
b. If a disruption continues a University official with delegated powers from the President may impose immediate interim suspension on the participants if in his or her judgement it is necessary to do so in order to help to restore order, or for the effective continuation of the educational process.
c. Interim suspension can be an academic suspension (in which case the student has no right to attend classes, to be examined or to receive grades) or suspension of other student privileges including residence privileges, or both. Suspension does not constitute termination of the student’s matriculation in the University.
- Preliminary Hearings of the University Tribunal
a. Following an event resulting in interim suspension and after a decision has been made to convene a University Tribunal Panel, a respondent may request that a preliminary hearing of the Tribunal Panel consisting of one tenured faculty member, one non-tenured faculty member, and one student member from the Permanent Faculty Members and Permanent Student Members of the Tribunal (to be designated by the Chairman) be convened to consider whether the interim suspension may be rescinded pending the conclusion of proceedings by the Tribunal Panel. Such a preliminary hearing panel shall meet promptly, if possible within twenty-four hours after the respondent’s request.
b. Appearance before the preliminary hearing panel shall be deemed to signify a willingness to participate in the hearing procedures of the University Tribunal.
c. The preliminary hearing panel shall, if in its judgement it seems appropriate, recommend to the President that the interim suspension be rescinded pending the conclusion of proceedings by the Tribunal Panel. It may also recommend as is appropriate that a student be permitted to make up academic exercises missed while the student was under interim suspension.
F. Procedures of the Tribunal
The procedures for a hearing by a Tribunal Panel and the due process to be accorded a respondent are stated in Part II above.
G. Imposition of Sanctions
The following are the sanctions which the Tribunal Panel may recommend to the President:
- Admonition (to remain on the record until the student leaves the University, and then to be expunged).
- Admonition accompanied by probation for a stated period, with the understanding that commission of any serious offense while on probation will normally result in expulsion.
- Delay in the award of a degree.
- Required withdrawal for a stated period of time. This shall involve a separation from University residence and all University activities for the period of its duration. (Each school should have its own regulation describing the circumstances under which a petition for readmission will be entertained and identifying who is to act upon such a petition.)
- Fines. Fines may be imposed in addition to any of the sanctions enumerated above.
The President is free to accept or alter the recommendation of the Tribunal Panel as he sees fit or to remand the matter to the Tribunal Panel with special directions for further proceedings. If the case is remanded, the Tribunal Panel will convey to the President in writing its supplemental findings and revised recommendations as to sanction, if any. The President’s decision, which in no case shall impose a sanction more severe than that recommended by the Tribunal Panel, shall be final.
IV. Particular Provisions for Cases Before the University Tribunal Where Faculty Members Are Respondents
It is within the President’s discretion exclusively to decide whether to bring before the Tribunal those cases in which the President believes that the imposition of a serious sanction against a faculty member for misconduct might be appropriate. At the request of the Provost or the Dean of a School, or on his own initiative, the President shall consider whether the interests of the University will best be served by bringing such a disciplinary matter before the Tribunal. If the President decides to convoke the Tribunal, he shall so inform the chairman of the Tribunal and designate a University official to present the charges to the Tribunal Panel. A hearing before a Tribunal Panel shall be in lieu of any other University disciplinary proceeding. It is expected that a Tribunal Panel would be convoked infrequently.
B. Composition of the Tribunal Panel
A Panel of five faculty members from the University Tribunal shall hear each case involving a faculty member that is referred to the Tribunal by the President. In each case the Tribunal Panel shall include at least one and no more than two non-tenured faculty members, as well as at least one faculty member from the respondent’s School. In no case shall a non-tenured faculty member serve on a panel to review the conduct of a tenured faculty member in his or her School. The Chairman of the Tribunal is responsible for constituting the panels to conform to the requirements noted above. The following provisions are to assist the Chairman in impaneling a Tribunal Panel:
- ln a case involving a faculty member from Yale College, the Graduate School, the Law School or the School of Medicine, the Panel shall generally be composed of the tenured, Permanent Faculty Member from the Respondent’s School, two of the other Permanent Faculty Members with tenure, and two non-tenured faculty members of the Tribunal who are not from the respondent’s School.
- In a case involving a faculty member from a School other than Yale College, the Graduate School. the Law School or the School of Medicine, the Panel shall generally be composed of the tenured faculty member who is an Occasional Member from the respondent’s School, two of the Permanent Faculty Members with tenure, and two nontenured faculty members of the Tribunal who are not from the respondent’s School.
lnsofar as it is appropriate and in conformity with the requirements and provisions noted above, the Chairman shall strive to rotate participation on the Tribunal Panels among the membership from the various Schools.
C. Disqualification of Members of the Tribunal Panel
If one or more members of the Panel are disqualified pursuant to Part I, or are otherwise unavailable, the Chairman may select a substitute or substitutes from among the remaining Permanent Faculty Members or Occasional Members of the Tribunal. Insofar as possible the Chairman shall select substitutes according to the requirements and provisions outlined in Part IV, B.
Any faculty member directed to appear before the University Tribunal shall have the right to representation by counsel or an advisor or both if he or she so desires. A respondent shall not be required to participate at any stage of proceedings against him or her until he or she has been apprised of this right and been afforded opportunity to obtain counsel and/or another advisor of his or her choice. If the party does not choose to provide counsel, but desires representation, the Chairman of the Tribunal shall provide a list of faculty of the Yale Law School who volunteer to serve as representative for a respondent before the Tribunal, from which the respondent may choose his or her representative.
E. Suspension Pending Completion of the Case
Pending the ultimate determination of the respondent’s case the respondent may be suspended by the President or assigned to other duties in lieu of suspension, but only if serious harm to the respondent or others is threatened by the respondent’s continuance. The President shall consult with the Provost and the respondent’s Dean concerning the propriety, the length and any other conditions of the suspension. Salary shall continue during the period of the suspension.
F. Procedures of the Tribunal
The procedural rights to be accorded a faculty respondent and the procedures for a hearing by the Tribunal Panel are stated in Part II above.
G. Imposition of Sanctions and the Right of Appeal
- The Tribunal Panel may recommend to the President that the respondent be dismissed or that a severe sanction be imposed such as suspension from service without pay for a stated period. If the Tribunal Panel finds that the proven offense does not warrant imposition of a severe sanction, a minor sanction such as a reprimand may be recommended.
- The President after reviewing the report of the Tribunal Panel may reject or alter the recommendation of the Tribunal Panel as he sees fit; however, in no case shall a sanction more severe than that recommended by the Tribunal Panel be imposed by the President. The President shall notify the respondent and the Panel in writing of the sanction to be imposed within three weeks after his receipt of the Tribunal Panel’s report.
- The respondent may appeal to the President and Fellows of the Yale Corporation (collectively, the “Yale Corporation”) to review the sanction imposed by the President by so notifying the President in writing within three weeks after the receipt of notification from the President of the sanction to be imposed.
If the matter is so appealed, the Yale Corporation shall review the sanction to be imposed in light of the report of the Tribunal Panel. The Corporation will decide whether to hear oral presentations from the respondent (or his or her representative) and an official of the University, or to consider the matter on written submissions. It may delegate the hearing of presentations and framing of a recommendation to a standing committee of the Corporation or a special committee of not less than four members of the Corporation. The Yale Corporation shall then sustain the sanction or reduce it, or shall remand the matter to the Tribunal Panel with specific directions for further proceedings and shall so notify the respondent in writing.
If the matter is remanded to the Tribunal Panel by the Yale Corporation, the Tribunal Panel shall then consider the matter further as directed by the Corporation, receiving new evidence if necessary. Following such consideration, the Tribunal Panel will convey in writing its supplemental findings and revised recommendations as to sanction, if any, to the Yale Corporation and the respondent. The Yale Corporation shall thereupon make a final decision on the matter, which final decision may impose the sanction recommended by the Tribunal Panel or a sanction that is more severe or less severe.