Appealing a Disciplinary Outcome

This page provides an overview of students’ appeal rights.  It includes information on the grounds for appeal, when and where appeals must be submitted, and possible outcomes. For greater detail regarding specific rights, please consult the Student Discipline Procedures. Students wishing to appeal should download and print the Appeal Form, which contains instructions and a description of the appeal process.

Who Has the Right to Appeal?

Only students who have been found responsible for a conduct violation may appeal, except as allowed in cases involving relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or stalking, where the complainant also has the right to file an appeal.

Appropriate Grounds (Reasons) for Appeal

An appeal of a disciplinary decision is limited to allegations that the decision violated the student’s due process rights. This means that there has been a material deviation from the procedural or substantive due process standards adopted by the UNC Board of Governors. Students submitting an appeal must include information showing one, or both, of the following:

(a) alleged violation of Procedural Standards, and/or
(b) alleged violation of Substantive Standards.

A violation of Procedural Standards means that the respondent was not provided the required notice or opportunity for a fair hearing due to specified procedural errors or errors in the interpretation of University policies/regulations.  These specified procedural errors or errors of interpretation must have been so substantial as to effectively deny the student a fair hearing.  Reasonable deviations from the procedures set out in the Student Discipline Procedures do not invalidate a decision or proceeding unless the student can show that there would have been a different outcome in the case if the deviation or error had not occured.

A violation of Substantive Standards means there is a lack of information in the record that could support the decision or sanction(s).  This last ground for appeal does not mean the information presented at the hearing can be re-argued on appeal.  Instead, it requires the student to show that no reasonable person could have determined that the student was responsible or could have imposed the sanction that was issued.

Deadline for Submitting the Appeal

All student appeals must be received within ten (10) calendar days from the date that the written decision or sanction is provided, or attempted to be delivered, to the student through any delivery method where receipt can be verified.

If the tenth (10th) calendar day falls on a weekend or University holiday, the deadline for filing the appeal will be extended to the next University business day.

Failure to submit the written notice of appeal within this time limit will render the original decision final and conclusive.  An extension of time may be requested in writing within the ten-day limit, but it is within the discretion of the person deciding the appeal to grant or deny such requests.

Location for Submitting the Appeal

If your case was decided by an advisor in the Office of Student Conduct, then the written appeal must be delivered to the Office of Student Conduct.

If your case was decided by a Director in University Housing (Residence Director, Assistant Director, etc.), then the written appeal must be delivered to University Housing.

Contents of the Appeal

Students who want to appeal their decisions should download and print the Appeal Form provided by the Office of Student Conduct.  This form provides instructions on submitting the appeal.

The notice of appeal must contain the following:

  • A copy of the decision being appealed;
  • A statement of the grounds for appeal, which at a minimum should contain a list of alleged errors in the decision or procedure and statement of why the decision or sanctions are in error;
  • A requested remedy; and
  • The signature of the appellant and date the appeal is being submitted.

Delaying the Sanctions During the Appeal Review

In most cases, sanctions are considered to be effective immediately unless the written outcome letter states otherwise.  However, sanctions may be deferred during the pendency of appellate proceedings, at the discretion of the person(s) reviewing the appeal, upon written request of the respondent.

Students are strongly encouraged to consult with Office of Student Conduct regarding the ramifications of any delay in the enforcement of sanctions before submitting a written request for such deferral.  Where sanctions are deferred during the appellate proceedings, students may fail to receive grades or credit for courses or assignments already completed while awaiting a decision.  In addition, in cases resulting in the sanction of suspension or expulsion, a student may be asked to pay back previously received financial aid for the semester completed.

Possible Outcomes of an Appeal

A successful appeal does not necessarily mean that a case will be dismissed all allegations dropped.  The person(s) reviewing the appeal may decide:

to affirm the findings and sanction(s) imposed by the original Board/decision-maker.
to reverse or modify the decision and/or sanction(s) of the Board/decision-maker.  Such reversal or modification shall take place only upon a showing by the respondent of clear and material error on the part of the Board/decision-maker and which error affected the outcome of the case.
to remand the case to the initial level of decision-maker for a supplemental hearing or for a new hearing.  Cases will only be remanded based on:

specified procedural errors or errors in interpretation of University policies or regulations that were so substantial as to effectively deny the respondent a fair hearing; or
new and significant material information that has become available and was not available previously to a person exercising reasonable diligence, which information could have affected the outcome of the proceeding.

to dismiss the entire case.  Dismissal will occur only if there is insufficient information to support a finding of responsibility.

Additional Information and Resources

For further detail regarding the appeal process, please review Section 7 of the Student Discipline Procedures.  If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Student Conduct.