2013-2014 Student Handbook

Academic Policies

Degree Revocation

  • Academic integrity rests with all members of the university community, and academic decisions are based upon trust between faculty and students. The university's award of academic credit and degrees is its certification of student achievement. If students acquire their academic credentials by deceit, fraud or misrepresentation, they deceive not only the university but also those who may eventually rely upon the knowledge and integrity of the university's graduates. Such misconduct may not be discovered until the student has left the university or received a degree. In such instances, the university reserves the right to revoke degrees, decertify credit and rescind any University of Houston certification that warrants that the student successfully completed course work or requirements for a degree. Decisions to take such actions will be made only after careful consideration of all the available evidence.

    Procedure

    1. Upon receipt of a charge that a degree recipient improperly entered the program or improperly completed or failed to complete the course work or requirements for a degree at the University of Houston, the Dean of the college in which the degree was awarded shall appoint an investigatory panel consisting of at least three faculty members. The panel shall determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the charges against the degree recipient.

    1.1 The degree recipient shall be notified of the investigation.

    1.2 The degree recipient shall be afforded 60 days from notification of the investigation to supply any material appropriate to the charge and such material shall be provided to the panel.

    1.3 The panel may obtain any material deemed relevant to the investigation. All university departments and offices shall cooperate with the panel.

    1.4 The investigation shall be conducted in a confidential manner.

    1.5 The panel shall file a report and recommendation to the Dean.

    2. If the Dean, after reviewing the report of the inves-tigatory panel, finds that there is reasonable cause to believe that the degree recipient improperly entered the program or improperly completed or failed to complete the course work or requirements for a degree, the Dean shall notify the office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and request that a hearing be conducted.

    2.1 Upon receipt of such notification from the Dean, the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs shall convene an ad hoc hearing panel to consider the case. The panel shall be composed of seven tenured faculty members, none of whom shall be from the college from which the degree recipient received a degree. Tenured faculty who hold administrative appointments shall not be members of the panel.

    2.2 The panel shall be charged by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs to hear the case and determine whether the degree recipient improperly entered the program or improperly completed or failed to complete the course work or requirements for a degree.

    2.3 The panel members will select a hearing officer who shall correspond with the degree recipient and direct the proceedings hearing. The panel will also entertain written requests to excuse panel members at this time.

    2.4 The panel will set a hearing date, providing at least 60 days notice of the hearing to the degree recipient. At this time the university will also provide the degree recipient with the names of the panel members. Both the degree recipient and university shall exchange copies of all information to be introduced at the hearing as well as a list of anticipated witnesses to be utilized at the hearing at least 30 days prior to the hearing. The panel will also entertain written requests to excuse panel members at this time.

    2.5 The degree recipient shall have the right to have an advisor present, who may be an attorney, to participate in the hearing. In the event that the degree recipient is represented by an advisor, the university may also be represented by counsel who may also participate in the hearing.

    2.6 The formal rules of evidence shall not apply to the proceedings. Any participant who becomes disruptive or engages in harassment may be asked to leave the hearing.

    2.7 The panel, at its discretion, may conduct a pre-hearing conference with the degree recipient. The degree recipient may be accompanied by an advisor.

    2.8 The Dean of the college in which the degree was awarded shall present the charge at the hearing, including the material considered by the investigatory panel.

    2.9 The degree recipient shall be afforded an opportunity to present any and all relevant evidence, including the cross-examination of any witnesses presented by the Dean. The panel members may question the witnesses. Opening and closing statements by the Dean, the university's attorney and the degree recipient and/or the advisor will be allowed.

    2.10 The panel will provide for the hearing to be recorded by tape recorder or stenographer. A copy of the recording shall be provided to the degree recipient or the advisor at their own cost upon request.

    2.11 After hearing the case, the panel shall render a decision regarding the allegation. If the panel finds by the greater weight of the evidence that the degree recipient engaged in misconduct concerning the degree, certification or course work, the panel shall recommend an appropriate sanction to the senior vice president for academic affairs.

    2.12 Sanctions may include revocation of the degree, decertification of credit and/or rescission of certification.

    3. If the panel finds against the degree recipient, the degree recipient may file an appeal to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost within 15 days of the panel's decision.

    3.1 Appeals must be in writing. The Dean of the college in which the degree was awarded will be afforded an opportunity to respond to the appeal in writing. A copy of the Dean's response will be made available to the degree recipient.

    3.2 The only grounds for appeal are procedural error, findings of fact not supported by the greater weight of the evidence, or discovery of substantial new facts not available at the time of the hearing.

    3.3 The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost shall consider the appeal prior to acting upon the recommendation of the hearing panel. If no appeal is made or if the appeal is denied, the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs shall then act upon the panel's findings and recommendation.

    3.4 In reaching a decision, the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost may review all or any part of the proceedings and shall then make a recommendation to the President for appropriate action.

    4. If the President determines that degree revocation or any other sanction provided herein is warranted, the degree recipient's official transcript will be corrected to reflect the sanction. A corrected transcript will be forwarded to all individuals and entities who were sent an official transcript after the degree was initially posted to the transcript.

    5. If at any time during the proceedings the responsible body or person finds in favor of the degree recipient, the charges will be dropped and no further record shall be made. All documents collected in reference to the charges will be placed in a sealed file in the office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.