Policy and Procedures Manual

Policy 203.5.2 – Appeals
Effective May 16, 1966; Issued July 14, 2004
I. Preamble:

A. The purposes of this procedural policy include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. To assure to the constituencies governed by or served by the board of regents, the existence of
an administrative procedure to exercise any legal right due them from the board.
2. To assure the board of regents of higher education that the plenary authority they maintain over
the Montana university system is exercised with knowledge of the facts relevant to any decision.
3. To minimize litigation between the university system and its constituencies by allowing the board
of regents to become informed as to any disagreement and to allow the board to exercise its
authority to remedy a grievance.

II. Board policy:

A. Any party adversely affected by the final decision of a university president may appeal, within thirty (30)
days of the president's decision, to the commissioner of higher education, unless a board of regents’
policy or an employment agreement explicitly provides that the decision of the president is the final
administrative review.

B. Persons alleging that a university system employee has acted in a fashion incompatible with state
ethics or conflict of interest statutes may bring that matter to the attention of the chief administrative officer
on the involved campus. A campus decision on such a complaint is appealable under this policy once a
final decision has been rendered by the university president.

C. The commissioner may in his or her discretion limit the scope of review to procedural matters.

D. The commissioner may not substitute his or her judgment for the substantive decision made by the
president, unless the president's decision was arbitrary and capricious, clearly erroneous based on the
facts in the record, or violated some legally protected right of the appellant.

E. This policy does not apply to any matters which are subject to the grievance procedure of a collective
bargaining contract.

F. Appeals of decisions made by the commissioner, including decisions made on appeals of final campus
decisions, may be appealed to the board pursuant to procedure (F) below.

III. Procedures:

A. Appeals must be in writing, addressed to the commissioner, and shall contain the decision being
appealed, and shall state the basis for the appeal, and the relief desired. Upon receipt of the appeal, the
commissioner shall notify the party of the scope of review and the procedure to be followed. The appellant
shall provide the president with a copy of all material sent to the commissioner.

B. A party must use the procedures established at the university level before appealing to the
commissioner. In the absence of applicable campus procedures, the party may appeal a determination by
a campus official to the immediate supervisor. Decisions of a campus chancellor are appealable to the university president. The final administrative decision at the university level is that of the president.

C. The commissioner may attempt to achieve an informal disposition of the appeal. An informal
disposition is binding only if the appealing party and the president agree to the proposed resolution.

D. Subject to the provisions of paragraph (E) the appeal will be decided based upon materials submitted
by the appealing party and by the president. The parties to the appeal have no right to introduce materials
or raise issues that have not been part of the university record. A full or partial hearing may be conducted,

1. the right to a hearing is established by a board of regents' policy on the particular subject matter;
2. failure to conduct a hearing would violate the party's constitutional due process rights.

E. The commissioner may request that the parties submit additional materials or he may on his own
initiative take notice of other relevant matters. The commissioner may remand the matter back to the
university or he may affirm, reverse, or modify the university decision or he may present the appeal to the
board for its consideration.

F. Within 30 days of the commissioner's decision a party may appeal the decision to the board. Such
appeals must be in writing, be addressed to the board in care of the commissioner, shall state the decision
being appealed, the basis for the appeal, and the relief desired. The commissioner shall place the matter
on the board's agenda, though the board may choose not to entertain the appeal. If the board accepts the
appeal, it will specify the scope of review and may request a full or partial hearing. The decision of the
board affirming, reversing, modifying or refusing to hear the appeal is the final administrative

G. No matters subject to this policy shall be considered final until the procedures of this policy have been
used to present the matter to the board of regents. When a party fails to exercise the appeal rights
guaranteed by this policy the party accepts the lower level decision as final and waives the right to contest
the matter further.

By-laws, Article VIII (rescinded February 15, 1977); Item 15-001-R0277, February 15, 1977 (rescinded). Item 21-003-R0778,
appeals; Montana University System, November 2, 1979, June 21, 1985, October 25, 1990, September 28,. 1995, and May 16, 1996;
paragraphs renumbered July 14, 2004.