Dismissal for Serious Cause

Saint Mary’s College reserves the right to terminate the services of any member of the faculty for serious cause. Dismissal for serious cause may be justified by demonstrating professional incompetence, gross neglect of professional responsibilities, conviction of a felony, continual serious disrespect for the Catholic character of this institution, or notorious and public scandal.


If it is necessary to consider termination of the services of a faculty member for serious cause, formal proceedings are conducted according to the procedural recommendations of the American Association of Professors contained in the “Statement on Procedural Standards in the Faculty Dismissal Proceedings,” (AAUP Policy Documents and Reports). What follows is an interpretation of this statement as it applies to Saint Mary’s College.


Before formal charges are brought against a member of the faculty, the President will appoint the Provost and one (1) tenured faculty member to attempt conciliation in private. If conciliation fails, the President will request the Executive Committee of the Faculty Assembly to inquire informally into the situation, and to advise whether formal proceedings to consider the dismissal should be instituted.


The formal proceedings commence with a written communication from the President informing the faculty member of the charges and that, if requested, a hearing on the charges will be conducted by a Hearing Committee.

The Grievance Committee of the Faculty Assembly will serve as the Hearing Committee. The faculty member must notify the President in writing within thirty (30) working days from the receipt of the President’s communication whether a formal hearing is requested. Absence of such a written a request results in waiving the right for any further consideration on this case.


The Hearing Committee will convene, elect its own chair, and will choose a specified time and place for meeting. The Hearing Committee Chair will establish the rules for conduct of the hearing. The following procedure will be in effect at the hearing:

  • During the proceedings the faculty member is permitted to have an academic advisor of his/her choice;
  • The faculty member has the right to confront and question all witnesses adverse to him/her and to present witnesses on his/her own behalf;
  • A verbatim record of the hearings will be taken. A typewritten copy of it will be made available to the faculty member without cost, at the faculty member’s request;
  • The burden of proof that adequate cause exists rests with the institution and is satisfied only by clear and convincing evidence in the record considered as a whole. 


The President and faculty member should be notified of the decision of the Hearing Committee in writing and should be given a copy of the record of the hearing. The President should transmit to the Board of Trustees the full report of the Hearing Committee. If the Board wishes to review the case, its review should be based on the record of the hearing accompanied by an opportunity for argument, written, or oral or both, by the principals at the hearing or their representatives. 

The decision of the Hearing Committee should either be sustained or the proceeding be returned to the committee with objections specified. In such a case, the committee should reconsider, taking account of the stated objections and receiving new evidence if necessary. It should frame its decision and communicate it in the same manner as before. Only after study of the Hearing Committee’s reconsideration should the Board of Trustees make a final decision overruling the Committee.


Until the final decision on the termination of an appointment has been reached, the faculty member will be suspended only if immediate harm to self or others is threatened by continuance.

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