Faculty Discipline

Handbook of Operating Procedures 2-2320

Faculty Discipline

University of Texas SealEffective April 19, 2022
Executive Sponsor: Executive Vice President and Provost Policy Owner: Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
I. Policy Statement 

The University of Texas at Austin (“University”) is a university of the first class for many reasons, including the extraordinarily high quality and dedication of its Faculty Members. However, the University, as an employer, may discipline a Faculty Member subsequent to a finding that the Faculty Member engaged in misconduct. This policy establishes the procedures the University will follow in exercising its right to discipline Faculty Members.

 

The University urges Faculty Members to take advantage of University resources at any point during the disciplinary process. The Faculty Ombuds Office is one such helpful University resource. The University also urges administrators, including deans, department chairs, and directors, to contact the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, including the vice provost for advocacy and dispute resolution or other offices designated by the executive vice president and provost, with questions or concerns regarding a Faculty Member’s conduct, work performance, or other related issues, and to do so as soon as the issue arises.

II. Reason for Policy 

This policy describes the process by which the University may take disciplinary action against a Faculty Member subsequent to a finding that the Faculty Member engaged in misconduct. Additionally, it provides information regarding the rights of the Faculty Member.

 

Depending on the nature of the Faculty Member’s alleged misconduct, other policies and procedures may govern, in whole or in part, the review of the alleged misconduct, potential Discipline of a Faculty Member, and how Discipline is reviewed. Such policies include, but are not limited to, Regents’ Rule 31008 (Termination of a Faculty Member), Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) 7-1230 (Misconduct in Science and Other Scholarly Activities), HOP 3-3020 (Nondiscrimination Policy), and HOP 3-3031 (Prohibition of Sexual Assault, Interpersonal Violence, Sexual Exploitation, Stalking, Sexual Harassment, and Sex Discrimination).

III. Scope & Audience 

This policy applies to individuals holding an academic title contained in Regents’ Rule 31001 (Section 2), (except for student titles), and HOP 2-2010.

IV. Definitions (specific to this policy) 
Administrator:

A department chair, dean, or director who determines that disciplining a Faculty Member may be appropriate.

Alternative Work Assignment:

The assignment of a Faculty Member to an alternative combination of University employment functions and/or the placement of restrictions on certain employment functions (e.g., removal from campus, limitation on contact with students, etc.). A Faculty Member placed on Alternative Work Assignment is required to be available during normal work hours. An Alternative Work Assignment may be utilized when a Faculty Member is the subject of a University investigation or review and the University determines it is necessary to limit the Faculty Member’s interaction with campus pending resolution of the investigation or review. An Alternative Work Assignment is an interim measure and does not constitute Discipline.

Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (CCAFR):

The standing committee of the General Faculty that provides advice on, and investigates allegations of violations of, policies and procedures concerning: promotion and tenure; faculty annual review, mid-probationary review, and comprehensive periodic reviews; and the exercise of academic freedom in teaching, scholarship, and expression.

Discipline:

A sanction the University imposes upon a Faculty Member subsequent to a finding that the Faculty Member has: (a) violated a University, UT System, and/or Board of Regents policy or rule; (b) engaged in conduct that adversely affects the Faculty Member’s performance of employment responsibilities; or (c) engaged in conduct outside the scope of employment that adversely affects the mission or reputation of the University (e.g., commission of a crime, etc.). Discipline includes, but is not limited to, a written reprimand, professional development/training activities, ineligibility for promotion or salary increases, suspension with or without pay, rescission of endownment, reduction in pay, demotion, and termination. Discipline must be recorded in writing and must become part of the Faculty Member’s personnel file.

 

The following do not constitute Discipline: Interim measures taken pending resolution of a University investigation or review; administrative actions taken by the University to safeguard the University's own resources; oral reprimands and oral counseling; and the routine assignment of workload responsibilities, such as teaching and committee service, which governed by HOP 2-2170 (Faculty Workload and Reporting Requirements).

Faculty Grievance Committee:

The standing committee of the General Faculty that is authorized to consider and hear or otherwise dispose of individual grievances pursuant to HOP 2-2310 (Faculty Grievance Procedure).

Faculty Member:

Any individual holding an academic title contained in Regents’ Rule 31001 (Section 2), with the exception of student titles, and HOP 2-2010.

Suspension:

A temporary removal from the duties of the position to which a Faculty Member is appointed. A Suspension may also be accompanied by placement of certain restrictions on the Faculty Member, such as removal from campus and/or limitation on contact with students. When Suspension with pay is imposed in anticipation of or during a University investigation or review, it is an interim measure and does not constitute Discipline. A Suspension (with or without pay) imposed upon conclusion of a University investigation or review constitutes Discipline.

V. Website (for policy) 
https://policies.utexas.edu/policies/hop/2-2320
VI. Contacts 
Contact Details Web
Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost Phone:512-471-4363Website:Email:provost.office@utexas.edu
Faculty Ombuds OfficePhone:512-471-5866Website:Email:facombud@austin.utexas.edu
VII. Responsibilities & Procedures 
  1. Interim Measures

The president (or designee) may place a Faculty Member on Alternative Work Assignment after determining that it is in the best interest of the institution before or during an investigation, whether internal or external. Such action is an interim measure pending resolution of an investigation or review and does not constitute Discipline.

 

In cases where termination of a Faculty Member is a possible outcome, the president (or designee) may place a Faculty Member on Suspension with pay, before or during an investigation. Before suspending the Faculty Member, the president (or designee) must determine that:

(a) the alleged misconduct would, if proven, constitute good cause for termination under Regents’ Rule 31008 (Termination of a Faculty Member),

(b) the alleged misconduct is supported by credible evidence, and

(c) a Suspension is in the best interest of the institution. Such action is an interim measure and does not constitute Discipline. Unless the president (or designee) determines immediate Suspension is in the best interest of the institution, the president shall consult with CCAFR prior to suspending the Faculty Member.

 

  1. When an Administrator Determines that Discipline of a Faculty Member May Be Appropriate

Requests for extension of the deadlines outlined below, by either the Administrator or Faculty Member, must be directed to the executive vice president and provost (or designee).

 

Step One: Before imposing any Discipline, the Administrator must contact the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, including the vice provost for advocacy and dispute resolution. Working in conjunction with the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, the Administrator must provide a written notice of intent to the Faculty Member, with a copy to the executive vice president and provost, outlining the proposed Discipline and the basis for such action. The Faculty Member will have ten (10) working days to respond, in writing, to the notice of intent. If the Faculty Member does not provide a written response within ten (10) working days, the Administrator may proceed with the proposed Discipline.

 

Step Two: If the Faculty Member submits a timely written response to the notice of intent, the Administrator must reply within ten (10) working days of receiving such response. The reply must be in writing and must inform the Faculty Member whether the Administrator intends to proceed with the proposed Discipline. The reply must also inform the Faculty Member of the various avenues of remedy (such as consulting with the Faculty Ombuds Office, the Faculty Grievance Committee, and/or CCAFR).

 

Step Three: If the Administrator intends to proceed with the proposed Discipline, the Faculty Member may initiate a grievance as provided under HOP 2-2310 (Faculty Grievance Procedure). If the Faculty Member initiates a grievance within fifteen (15) working days of receiving the Administrator’s reply, imposition of the proposed Discipline will be automatically suspended until the grievance is decided. Instruction on initiating a grievance may be found in HOP 2-2310 (Faculty Grievance Procedure).

 

Step Four: If the Faculty Member fails to initiate a grievance within fifteen (15) days after receiving the Administrator’s reply, the Administrator may impose the proposed Discipline. The Faculty Member retains the right to grieve the Discipline as provided under HOP 2-2310 (Faculty Grievance Procedure) after the imposition of the Discipline. In such cases, however, the disciplinary action may remain in effect while the grievance is considered. 

 

  1. When the President or Executive Vice President and Provost Determines Immediate Discipline of a Faculty Member is in the Best Interest of the Institution

The president or the executive vice president and provost may impose immediate Discipline on a Faculty Member upon determining that immediate Discipline is in the best interest of the institution. Within three (3) working days of taking such action, the president or executive vice president and provost must:

(a) provide the Faculty Member a written explanation for the Discipline imposed, as well as any additional action being contemplated, and

(b) without revealing the Faculty Member’s identity, provide a written explanation for the Discipline imposed, as well as any additional action being contemplated, to the Office of General Faculty. The Faculty Member may grieve the discipline as provided under HOP 2-2310 (Faculty Grievance Procedure).


 

  1. Disputes
    Subject to the limitations provided in HOP 2-2310 (Faculty Grievance Procedure), a Faculty Member disciplined under a University, UT System, and/or Board of Regents policy or rule may file a grievance with the Faculty Grievance Committee. Faculty members with questions or concerns may consult with the Faculty Ombuds Office.
VIII. Forms & Tools 
None
XI. History 

Origination date: April 19, 2022
        Next scheduled review date: April 2025