PPM 9-11, Informal Procedures and Process

Responsible Office: Academic Affairs


This policy outlines a path for individuals to raise and resolve concerns regarding faculty members, as described herein.


2.1 PPM 3-32, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct (including Title IX)
2.2 PPM Section 9, Academic Freedom, Rights, Responsibilities, and Due Process


3.1 Faculty Ombuds

Any faculty member of the University community may bring a concern to the Faculty Ombuds.  Faculty are not required to use the Ombuds Office for informal resolution of conflict and do so voluntarily. The Faculty Ombuds is an impartial party whose primary role is to help faculty members resolve problems involving or affecting them.
The Faculty Ombuds operates according to the "Charter for Faculty Ombuds Office" approved by the Faculty Senate. A copy of the charter is available at: http://faculty.weber.edu/ombuds/

3.2 Initial Action Following Receipt of Complaint

On occasion, individuals or groups present informal complaints to a responsible administrator(s) of the University. Responsible administrators, upon hearing such complaint(s), shall in their administrative positions determine whether the complaint merits further action or investigation. The University is open to comments from the University community or other interested individuals. Individuals who are not students, staff, or faculty members cannot proceed against a faculty member under this policy; however, such comments should be directed to appropriate University officials who should respond in a timely fashion. The President, Provost, Dean, or responsible administrator may determine whether investigation or further action is warranted on behalf of the University in response to such complaints. In order to obtain additional information concerning the complaint, the responsible administrator may take such actions as the following:

3.2.1 Discussion with the respondent to obtain additional information
3.2.2 Informal fact finding by the responsible administrator
3.2.3 The appointment of a reviewer or task force (panel, investigative team)

3.3 Preliminary Investigation

Most matters are routinely handled between administrators, complainants, and respondents. Occasionally, however, there is a need for investigation of complaints of failure of an individual to meet the standards of professional behavior (see PPM  9-14). The purpose of the preliminary investigation discussed herein is to assist the responsible administrator in making determinations about what further actions may be appropriate.

3.3.1 Such preliminary investigations shall recognize the need for discretion and protection of the respondent's rights to due process and protection from unnecessary extension of the investigation.

3.3.2 When a respondent has allegedly failed to meet the standards contained in PPM 9-14 and the responsible administrator initiates a preliminary investigation to determine the merit of the alleged infraction, the President (or designee) may order non-disclosure of the complaint to the respondent if the President determines that such non-disclosure is necessary to avoid interfering with the investigation. In all cases the preliminary investigation shall be limited to the shortest possible time necessary to obtain the facts required to determine the next appropriate step.

3.3.3 If an individual raises allegations of violation of PPM 3-32, the concern shall be referred to the Office of Equal Opportunity to be handled through the processes described in that policy.

3.3.4 Any records, material, or information gathered in the preliminary investigation of the complaint shall be destroyed at the end of five years or otherwise maintained as provided in PPM 9-15.

3.4 Informal Conciliatory Process

3.4.1 If after reviewing or investigating the complaint, the responsible administrator determines to initiate the informal conciliatory process, the responsible administrator may take steps toward resolution, including holding a meeting, as needed. The attendance of the administrative officer or others in such meetings may be required by the responsible administrator. This process may result in one of the following dispositions: Dismissal. The responsible administrator may dismiss the complaint if it is determined to be frivolous, without merit, based on issues that are beyond the boundaries established by the statement of rights and responsibilities contained in the PPM, if it is determined to be an abuse of the intent of due process, or if is determined that even if the allegations, as alleged, were found to be true, the conduct would not violate applicable standards conduct. Administrative disposition. The responsible administrator may determine that the complaint is valid and formulate an administrative disposition that is acceptable to the responsible administrator, the respondent, and the complainant. When working through this process, the responsible administrator should consider what would be equitable and appropriate for the violation and consider the relevant aspects of the incident(s) leading up to the complaint. If the conditions of the administrative disposition are acceptable to both the respondent and the complainant, no further proceeding shall be necessary. If the parties agree to an administrative disposition that results in a disciplinary action other than verbal censure, a written copy of the administrative disposition shall be signed by the respondent, complainant, and responsible administrator, and becomes binding with no further appeal. The final administrative disposition will be provided to the respondent and the complainant and kept in accordance with PPM 9-15. Finding of responsibility. If the responsible administrator is the Dean or the Provost, they may make the determination that there has been a violation warranting imposition of disciplinary action described in PPM 9-14. Prior to imposing the disciplinary action, the Dean or Provost must provide the faculty member with written notice of their findings, the proposed discipline, and the reasons for it, and shall provide the faculty member with an opportunity to respond, which may be a written response. If the faculty member does not agree with the disciplinary action, the faculty member has ten working days to provide written notice to the chair of the Faculty Board of Review that they would like to appeal the disciplinary action under the procedures of PPM 9-12. Filing of the notice stays the disciplinary action until completion of the review process. If no notice is filed within this time, the disciplinary action becomes final. Formal charge. One of the parties may file a formal charge or an appeal under PPM 9-12, if the complaint is not resolved by dismissal, administrative disposition, or disciplinary action during the informal conciliatory process. In order to do so, the party must prepare the written charge or appeal consisting of a concise statement of the facts, conduct, or circumstances providing the grounds for the charge or appeal, and within ten working days of written notice of the outcome of the informal conciliatory process, deliver copies to the chair of the Faculty Board of Review. Failure to meet this deadline will result in dismissal of the complaint. The Faculty Board of Review may make exceptions to this deadline only upon a showing of good cause.

3.5 Respondent's and Complainant's Rights

3.5.1 If the process results in disciplinary action, the respondent has the right to written notice of the complaint and to receive copies of material or documents relied upon in making a determination. However, the responsible administrator, in consultation with University Legal Counsel, may withhold confidential information (e.g., concerning the identity of witnesses and informants) throughout the duration of the informal procedures.

3.5.2 Both the respondent and the complainant have the right to representation. However, if either the respondent or the complainant invokes the right to have a representative present during any meeting, the informal conciliatory process may be omitted at the discretion of the responsible administrator and the process will shift to the formal hearing level if a formal charge is filed.

3.5.4 In the conduct of a preliminary investigation on the merits of the complaint, the responsible administrator shall exercise reasonable care to uphold the respondent's rights to due process and to have investigations be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner in order to protect and/or minimize the damage to the respondent's or the institution's reputation.

Revision History  
Creation Date: 12-01-1987
Amended: 03-19-2013; 05-22-24