5.15 – Degree Revocation and Expulsion from University

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Scope: NMSU System

Source: ARP Chapter 5 | Student Life and Conduct

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2017 Recompilation, formerly Rule 6.50

The Board of Regents recognizes that on rare occasions a degree may be awarded to an individual who, upon review, has not properly completed all requirements for the degree.

PART 1: ALLEGATIONS REPORTED TO DEAN


Allegations regarding academic misconduct which may result in permanent expulsion or degree revocation shall be brought immediately to the attention of the appropriate dean.

 

PART 2: PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION


The dean shall conduct a preliminary investigation with an appropriate professional body within the university.

  1. The dean may consult experts in the professional field in which misconduct is suspected. The purpose of this consultation shall be to provide an evaluation of the alleged misconduct.
  2. In all cases where such serious academic misconduct is suspected, the dean shall convene a misconduct review panel consisting of the department head of the appropriate department, or if appropriate, Graduate Council chair, the chair of the Faculty Senate, and an administrative officer of the unit in which the suspected misconduct occurred. No one who has participated in any previous decisions relating to the facts underlying the allegations in question may participate on the Review Panel (or on the ad hoc committee, described below). In the event of a conflict of interest, alleged bias against the accused or refusal to serve on the panel, the dean shall appoint a replacement from the senior faculty. This panel shall review the evidence and its evaluation, decide whether a formal charge is appropriate, and advise the dean and the executive vice president and provost.
  3. If, after such preliminary investigation, serious academic misconduct which could result in degree revocation is suspected, the dean shall notify the executive vice president and provost.

 

PART 3: FORMAL CHARGES


If so advised, the dean shall:

  1. Issue in writing a formal charge, detailing the basis for the charge, to be delivered to the accused as described below.
  2. Notify the accused in writing of the formal charge(s), including the factual allegations, in detail, upon which such charge(s) are based. This notice will also inform the accused of the right to appear at a hearing before an ad hoc committee and to present evidence at that hearing. The notice shall inform the accused of the proposed date of the hearing and that, if the allegations are substantiated, the revocation of the accused’s degree will be considered as a sanction. In addition, a copy of these procedures shall be included with the notice. This notice shall be delivered to the accused in person or by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested.

 

PART 4: AD HOC HEARING COMMITTEE


The ad hoc committee shall be composed of five senior faculty members appointed by the executive vice president and provost. The executive vice president and provost shall designate one member of the committee as the chair. In the event of a conflict of interest, bias against the accused, or refusal to serve on the committee, the executive vice president and provost shall appoint a replacement.

 

PART 5: AD HOC COMMITTEE HEARING PROCESS


A hearing shall be held before the ad hoc committee, which hearing shall begin between 20 and 30 working days after the accused has been notified of the allegations, unless an earlier hearing is requested by the accused. The accused may request, and shall be granted, additional time, not to exceed 20 working days, to prepare for the hearing before the ad hoc committee. All hearings and appeals described in this procedure will be closed meetings, unless the accused student or former student requests that they be open to the public.

  1. The accused shall be given the opportunity, at least 10 working days before the ad hoc committee hearing, to examine any documentary evidence that may be used in support of the allegations, and to interview any witnesses who will be called in support of the allegations.
  2. The accused may be represented by legal counsel, at the accused’s expense, who shall be allowed to fully participate in all proceedings following notice of the charge(s) to the accused.
  3. The university may designate and appoint an attorney to present the evidence against the accused and to fully participate in all aspects of the proceedings.
  4. The hearing by the ad hoc committee and any subsequent proceedings shall be recorded by certified court reporter.
  5. All testimony before the ad hoc committee shall be sworn and upon the oath or affirmation of the witness.
  6. The burden of proof shall be on the university to prove the charge(s) by clear and convincing evidence.
  7. At the hearing before the ad hoc committee, the accused shall be entitled to present witnesses and cross-examine adverse witnesses, and to present such other written or documentary evidence as may be relevant to the charge(s).
  8. No formal rules of evidence shall be used by the ad hoc committee. The chair shall control the conduct of the hearing and shall rule on the admissibility of any disputed evidence and may exclude any evidence which, by its nature, would appear to be untrustworthy, irrelevant, or redundant.
  9. The ad hoc committee shall present written findings of fact to the dean. These findings shall state whether the charge(s) against the accused were substantiated by clear and convincing evidence and shall also set forth the specific pertinent factual findings established by the evidence. The ad hoc committee shall not make recommendations concerning possible sanctions.
  10. The ad hoc committee’s findings shall be by majority vote and shall be reported to the dean, in writing, within 10 working days of the conclusion of the hearing.
  11. Following the hearing and upon receipt of the formal, written advice of the ad hoc committee, the dean shall decide upon the disposition of the case and, if appropriate, recommend the imposition of sanctions. Within 5 working days of the receipt of the ad hoc committee’s report, the dean will forward the record, and the dean’s decision and recommendations to the executive vice president and provost.
  12. Within 5 working days following receipt of the disposition and recommendation from the dean, the executive vice president and provost will submit a recommendation as to sanctions, if any, together with the reports of the ad hoc committee and the dean, to the Chancellor.
  13. The Chancellor will make a decision regarding the imposition of any sanction or penalty. This decision shall be rendered within 5 working days following receipt of the recommendation from the executive vice president and provost. The decision shall be delivered to the accused in person or by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested.

 

PART 6: APPEAL TO BOARD OF REGENTS


The decision of the Chancellor may be appealed, in writing, to the Board of Regents. In the event the accused wishes to exercise such appeal, the accused shall, within 20 days of the date the decision of the Chancellor is mailed to the accused, provide the executive vice president and provost with written notice of appeal to the board. This notice shall be forwarded to the Chancellor. The Chancellor shall then forward the notice, a copy of the Chancellor’s written decision, and the record of proceedings, including the evidence presented to the ad hoc committee, to the board. An appeal to the Board of Regents shall be considered by the board at its next regularly scheduled meeting:

  1. The Board of Regents shall allow oral arguments by both the general counsel and counsel for the accused, or by the accused, not to exceed 30 minutes in length for each side.
  2. The accused, and general counsel, may present written arguments to the board, by service upon the executive vice president and provost, not later than 10 working days prior to the time that the board will hear oral arguments.
  3. The general counsel for the university shall be allowed to present its argument first, and to reserve any portion of the allotted 30 minutes for rebuttal following the accused’s presentation.
  4. The Board of Regents, by majority vote, in open session, may affirm the action of the Chancellor, modify such action, or dismiss the allegations against the accused.
  5. The decision of the Board of Regents shall be reported, in writing, to the accused (by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested) within 30 days following oral argument, with a copy to the ad hoc committee.
  6. The decision of the board shall be final.