Scope of the Faculty Hearings Committee
The scope of the Faculty Hearings Committee is set by the Trustee Policies and Regulations Governing Academic Tenure in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (the “Tenure Policy”). This committee only hears appeals of the following two types of decisions.
1. Decisions to suspend, demote, or discharge a faculty member for cause.
This includes both tenured faculty members and faculty on limited-term contracts (both tenure-track and non-tenure-track) before the expiration of their contract.
A faculty member may appeal such a decision only by making a case that it was NOT based on one or more of the following permissible grounds:
Examples: violation of professional ethics; mistreatment of students or other employees; research misconduct; financial fraud; criminal or other illegal, inappropriate, or unethical conduct. Misconduct must be related to academic responsibilities OR reflect adversely on honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to be a faculty member.
Example: failure to improve significant, sustained unsatisfactory performance within a reasonable time after having been given an opportunity to do so.
- Neglect of duty
Examples: sustained failure to meet classes or perform other significant faculty professional obligations.
2. Decisions not to reappoint a non-tenured tenure-track faculty member.
This includes decisions not to reappoint to a second probationary term as well as decisions not to reappoint to a permanent tenured position. Decisions not to renew fixed-term faculty members at the expiration of their contract do not come before the Hearings Committee.
A faculty member may appeal such a decision only by making one of the following claims.
- The decision was based on one or more of the following impermissible grounds:
- exercise by the faculty member of First Amendment rights;
- prohibited forms of discrimination (race, color, sex, sexual orientation, etc.); or
- personal malice.
- The decision was affected by material procedural irregularities.
Material procedural irregularities are departures from the prescribed procedures for reappointment that cast doubt on the integrity of the decision not to reappoint. The Committee considers only matters of procedure, not matters of judgment or evaluation.
For further information, see Sections 3 and 4 of the Tenure Policy (PDF): https://facultygov.unc.edu/files/2018/10/UNC-Chapel-Hill-Tenure-Policies-and-Procedures_01.20.2020.pdf