University Appeals Board

What is the UAB?Can I appeal my conduct outcome?What do I write in my appeal letter?
Is there someone who can help?Where do I submit my appeal? | What happens next?
May I orally argue my case? | Who makes final decision? | Can I appeal that too? | How do I join UAB?


What is the University Appeals Board?

UMass Amherst established a University Appeals Board (UAB) made up of students, faculty, and staff who have displayed a commitment to upholding the community standards set forth by the code and by the mission of the university and are trained in the UMass Amherst Code of Student Conduct processes. Appeals Board members play a crucial role in ensuring a fair and thorough conduct process was followed. Each UAB is composed of three (3) university employees and/or students. The UAB review process is conducted outside the Dean of Students Office.
 

Can I appeal my conduct outcome?

Under Section 5.4 of the University Code of Student Conduct, a Respondent may appeal the outcome of a Sanction Review or University Hearing Board within five (5) business days of receiving the outcome letter.

In cases involving violence or sexual misconduct, reporting party(ies) have the same rights of appeal as the respondent(s). The reporting party(ies) may file such an appeal by submitting a written appeal to the UAB within five (5) business days of the reporting party(ies) receipt of an outcome letter. 
 

What do I write in my appeal letter?

An appeal must specifically allege and factually support one or more of the following grounds:

  1. A procedural error or irregularity that materially affected the outcome of the case; and/or
  2. New information that would have substantially impacted the outcome of the case and that was not known or could not reasonably have been discovered and/or presented by the appealing party during the process and/or any subsequent hearing. Non-attendance at a hearing by any party does not constitute new information.

Is there someone at the university who can help me with my appeal?

The Student Legal Services Office and the SGA Conduct Advisor’s Program are available for consultation and assistance with appeals.
 

Where do I submit my appeal letter?

A student may submit their appeal letter online through the University Appeals Board (UAB) form link provided in the conduct outcome letter. If an appealing student has difficulty submitting the written appeal, they may contact the Dean of Students Office for assistance in advance of the expiration of the time of appeal. The appeal letter must be submitted within five (5) business days of the student’s receipt of the decision.
 

I submitted my appeal letter. What happens next?

The UAB first determines if an appeal has sufficient grounds for appeal. The grounds for appeal are:

  1. A procedural error or irregularity that materially affected the outcome of the case; and/or
  2. New information that would have substantially impacted the outcome of the case and that was not known or could not reasonably have been discovered and/or presented by the appealing party during the process and/or any subsequent hearing. Non-attendance at a hearing by any party does not constitute new information.

If a sufficient ground is set forth in the appeal, the UAB will review a copy of the case file and make a recommendation. A recommendation from the UAB may include, but shall not be limited to, affirming the sanction, making changes in the sanction(s), or remanding the case to a new University Hearing Board. The standard applied at all levels of UAB review is preponderance of the evidence.
 

May I orally argue my case before the University Appeals Board?

There is no oral argument on a student’s written appeal. Unless, in the sole discretion of the UAB, further information is necessary to explain the basis of new information, an appeal is limited to a review of the student’s written submission and, if sufficient grounds are set forth in that written submission, a review of the case file. The UAB will make a recommendation to the vice chancellor to affirm, reverse, or modify the University Hearing Board's or conduct officer's decision and to affirm, reverse, or modify the sanctions.
 

Who makes the final decision?

Within ten (10) business days of receiving the letter of appeal, the vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life will review the UAB’s recommendation and issue a final written decision or request the UAB to clarify its recommendation. If a clarification is requested by the vice chancellor, the vice chancellor will issue a final written decision within ten (10) business days from the date on which the vice chancellor receives the requested clarification from the UAB. The appealing party will receive a copy of the vice chancellor’s final written decision via the student's umass.edu email and it will be included in the conduct record of the appealing student.

Appeals are not re-hearings of the case. The original finding(s) and sanction(s) are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately, thus the burden is on the appealing party(ies) to demonstrate and support proper grounds for appeal. Appeals are confined to a review of the conduct case file and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal. The UAB will limit its review to the challenges presented.
 

I disagree with the vice chancellor’s decision. Can I appeal that decision too?

The decision of the vice chancellor is the last step of the conduct process and is considered final.
 

How do I become a member of the University Appeals Board?

University students or employees interested in becoming members of the UAB are invited to submit a letter of interest to uab@umass.edu.