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Appeal Procedure for Formal Complaint


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Western Kentucky University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, veteran status, or marital status in admission to career and technical education programs and/or activities, or employment practices in accordance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Revised 1992, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. 

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procedures governing the judicial conference of Sexual Misconduct appeals include the following:

The judicial outcome of suspension and expulsion may be applied only by the University Disciplinary Committee, as designated by the Board of Regents under Kentucky Revised Statute 164.370, for offenses which are of such severity or nature that expulsion or suspension of the guilty student is in the best interest of the University.

• All parties should be timely informed of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration, and the results of the appeal decision;

• Every opportunity to return the appeal to the original judicial conference body for reconsideration (remand) should be pursued;

• Appeals are not intended to be full re-judicial conferences of the complaint (de novo). In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original judicial conference, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal;

• This is not an opportunity for appeals officers to substitute their judgment for that of the original judicial conference body merely because they disagree with its finding and/or sanctions. Appeals decisions are to be deferential to the original judicial conference body, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if there is a compelling justification to do so;

• Sanctions imposed are implemented immediately unless the Director of Judicial Affairs stays their implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal. The Vice-President for Student Affairs will render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within seven (7) business days* from judicial conference of the appeal. The committee's decision to deny appeal requests is final.

The University understands the need to have a corrective process in place to address circumstances should the judicial officer err. One or all of the following conditions must be met in order for an appeal to be considered.

Actions imposed by the Office of Judicial Affairs' post-investigation may not be appealed.  Post-judicial outcome, any party may appeal the findings and/or sanctions only under the grounds described, below.

All sanctions imposed by the original judicial conference body will be in effect during the appeal. A request may be made to the Director of Judicial Affairs for special consideration in exigent circumstances, but the presumptive stance of the institution is that the sanctions will stand. Graduations, Study Abroad, internships/externships, etc. do NOT in and of themselves constitute exigent circumstances, and students may not be able to participate in those activities during their appeal. In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the institution or of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the student to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irretrievable in the short term.

The decision of the Office of Judicial Affairs may be appealed to the appropriate reviewer. Respondent students or complainants must submit an appeal within 5 business days of receiving the written decision for a review of the decision or the outcome mposed. Any party who files an appeal must do so in writing to the Office of Judicial Affairs. The Office of Judicial Affairs will share the appeal with the other party (e.g., if the respondent student appeals, the appeal is shared with the complainant, who may also wish to file a response), and then The Office of Judicial Affairs will draft a response memorandum (also shared with all parties). All appeals and responses are then forwarded to the Vice-President for Student Affairs. 

In each case involving the imposition of a judicial outcome in a sexual misconduct case, the respondent and complaint student has the right to appeal the decision of the University Disciplinary Committee.  Such appeals will be directed to the Vice-President for Student Affairs.

An appeal of a judicial outcome may be filed only on justifiable grounds including:

1. To determine whether the original conference was conducted fairly and in accordance with the Office of Judicial Affairs sanction determination and procedures.

2. To determine whether the decision reached regarding the respondent student was based on substantial information to determine the preponderance of evidence and/or the level of responsibility. This is not information you chose not to share or obtain prior to the conference.

3. To determine whether any sanctions imposed (suspension, expulsion or denial of housing/network access) were appropriate and not unduly harsh for the violation(s) set forth in the Student Code of Conduct.

4. If you are the complaining student in a sexual harassment and/or sexual misconduct case. For sexual misconduct and/or sexual harassment cases both the complainant and the charged student can file an appeal regardless of the outcome. Both students have the same grounds to appeal and the same time frame in which to submit an appeal.

If the Vice-President for Student Affairs determines that new evidence should be considered, it will return the complaint to the University Disciplinary Committee to reconsider in light of the new evidence, only. The reconsideration of the judicial conference body may also be appealed.

The Vice-President for Student Affairs also determines that a material procedural [or substantive] error occurred, it may return the complaint to the University Disciplinary Committee with instructions to reconvene to cure the error. In rare cases, where the procedural [or substantive] error cannot be cured by the original judicial conference officers (as in cases of bias), the Vice-President for Student Affairs may order a new judicial conference on the complaint with a new body of judicial conference officers. The results of a reconvened judicial conference may also be appealed.

The results of a new judicial conference can be appealed, once, on the four applicable grounds for appeals. The Vice-President for Student Affairs determines that the sanctions imposed are disproportionate to the severity of the violation, the Vice-President for Student Affairs will forward the complaint to the Judicial Affairs office, which may then increase, decrease or otherwise modify the sanctions.

If the Vice President for Student Affairs upholds the judicial outcome of suspension, expulsion or separation, an appeal may be made to the President of the University. In the event the President considers the outcome to be inconsistent with the ethical principles and standard of conduct of the University community, the President may request that the case be reopened and reheard by the University Disciplinary Committee. If the President upholds the judicial outcome of suspension or expulsion, an appeal may be made to the Board of Regents.  The decision of the Board of Regents is final.

Dissemination of Policy

The policy will be made available to all employees and students. Periodic notices sent to students, employees and supervisors about the university's Policy Against Misconduct/Assault will include information about the complaint procedure and refer individuals to designated offices and officials for additional information. 


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 Last Modified 8/16/16