As mentors, educators, colleagues, and supervisors, members of the Faculty understand that their actions impact others in the Georgia Tech community. To foster a campus climate that is positive, inclusive, productive, and ethical, the Faculty endorse the Institute's core values and the need to maintain high standards of professional conduct.
All Georgia Tech personnel are expected to act professionally, ethically, and responsibly and to abide by the rules and policies of Georgia Tech and the University System of Georgia Board of Regents (BOR). The BOR Policy Manual Section 8.2 General Policies for all Personnel includes Section 8.2.18 Personnel Conduct, which discusses the Ethics Policy, the Code of Conduct, Conflicts of Interest, and other topics.
Concerns regarding a failure by Faculty to abide by these standards governing faculty conduct (including violations of USG or Institute policies) will be addressed with the measures presented in this section.
Faculty Discipline and Dismissal of Faculty Members
Policy Manual of the Board of Regents, Section 8.3.9.
The President may at any time remove any faculty member or other employee of Georgia Tech for cause. Causes or grounds for dismissal are set forth below.
A tenured faculty member or a non-tenured faculty member, before the end of his/her contract term, may be dismissed for any of the following reasons provided that the Institution has complied with procedural due process requirements:
- Conviction or admission of guilt of a felony or of a crime involving moral turpitude during the period of employment or prior thereto if the conviction or admission of guilt was willfully concealed;
- Professional incompetency and neglect of duty that are not identified as part of the post-tenure review process, or default of academic integrity in teaching, research, or scholarship;
- Unlawful manufacture, distribution, sale, use or possession of marijuana, a controlled substance, or other illegal or dangerous drugs as defined by Georgia laws; teaching or working under the influence of alcohol which interferes with the faculty member's performance of duty or his/her responsibilities to the Institute or to his/her profession;
- Conviction or admission of guilt in a court proceeding of any criminal drug offense;
- Physical or mental incompetency as determined by law or by a medical board of three or more licensed physicians and reviewed by a committee of the faculty;
- False swearing with respect to official documents filed with the Institute;
- Disruption of any teaching, research, administrative, disciplinary, public service or other authorized activity;
- Willful or intentional violation of the policies of the Board of Regents or the Statutes of Georgia Tech; and
- Such other grounds for dismissal as may be specified in this Handbook of the Institute.
Sanctions short of dismissal may be considered for the causes listed above.
Furthermore, faculty members who do not abide by the standards governing faculty conduct may face corrective actions and sanctions short of dismissal. The purpose of such corrective actions and sanctions short of dismissal is to provide Faculty members with opportunities to address concerns and improve performance. Continued issues should be addressed through escalating corrective actions and sanctions, including dismissal or tenure revocation.
Corrective actions include coaching, counseling, and training. Sanctions short of dismissal include the following progressive actions: verbal warning; written warning; modification of duties with no change in pay; reduction in duties with corresponding reduction in pay; suspension.
In imposing sanctions, the burden of proof lies with the Institute.
Procedures Preliminary to Dismissal
The dismissal of tenured Faculty members or non-tenured Faculty members during their contract term should be preceded by:
- Discussion between the Faculty member and appropriate Administrators looking toward a mutual settlement.
- Informal inquiry by the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee, which may, upon failing to effect an adjustment, advise the President whether dismissal proceedings should be undertaken; its advisory opinion shall not be binding upon the President.
- A letter to the Faculty member forewarning that the member is about to be terminated for cause and informing the member that a statement of charges will be forwarded to the member upon request. The Faculty member may also request a formal hearing on the charges before a Faculty Hearing Committee. Failure to request charges or a hearing within a reasonable time shall constitute a waiver of the right to a hearing.
- A statement of charges, if requested by the Faculty member, framed with reasonable particularity by the President or a designated representative. Along with the charges, the faculty member shall be advised of the names of the witnesses to be used against him or her together with the nature of their expected testimony.
Provision for Dismissal Hearing Committee
A dismissal as defined above shall be preceded by a statement of charges or causes (grounds for dismissal) if so requested, including a statement that the Faculty member concerned shall have the right to be heard by a Faculty Hearing Committee.
The Hearing Committee shall consist of not less than three (3) nor more than five (5) impartial Faculty members appointed by the Faculty Executive Board, from among the members of the entire Faculty (as defined by policies of the Board of Regents) of the Institute.
Members of the Hearing Committee may serve concurrently on other committees of the Faculty. The Hearing Committee will meet as a body when it is called into session by the Chair of the Faculty Executive Board either at the Chair’s discretion or upon request of the President or the Faculty member who is subject to dismissal.
When the Hearing Committee is called into session, it shall elect a Chair from among its membership. Members should remove themselves from the case, either at the request of a party or on their own initiative, if they deem themselves disqualified for bias or interest. Each party shall have a maximum of two (2) challenges without stated cause; provided, however, that all challenges whether with or without cause shall be made in writing and filed with the Chair of the Hearing Committee at least five (5) days in advance of the date set for the hearing. The Chair shall have the authority to decide whether a member of the Committee is disqualified for cause. If the Chair determines that members are so disqualified or if members remove themselves from a case, the replacement shall be made in the same manner as the original Committee was selected. If the Chair is thus removed, the Committee shall elect a new Chair after the Committee replacements have been appointed. A minimum of three (3) members is required for any action to be taken.
In all instances where a hearing is requested, the following hearing procedures shall apply:
- Service of notice of the hearing with specific reasons or charges against the Faculty member together with the names of the members of the Hearing Committee shall be made in writing at least twenty (20) days prior to the hearing. The Faculty member may waive a hearing or may respond to the charges in writing at least five (5) days in advance of the date set for the hearing. If a Faculty member waives a hearing, but denies the charges or asserts that the charges do not support a finding of adequate cause, the Hearing Committee shall evaluate all available evidence and rest its recommendation upon the evidence in the record.
- The Hearing Committee, in consultation with the President and the Faculty member, may exercise its judgment as to whether the hearing should be public or private.
- During the proceedings, the Faculty member and the Administration shall each be permitted to have an academic advisor and/or counsel of their choice. The Hearing Committee shall be permitted to have advisory counsel.
- At the request of either party or the Chair of the Hearing Committee, a representative of a responsible educational association shall be permitted to attend as an observer.
- A tape recording or transcript of the proceeding shall be kept and made available to the Faculty member and the Administration in the event an appeal is filed.
- An oath or affirmation shall be administered to all witnesses by any person authorized by law to administer oaths in the State of Georgia.
- The Hearing Committee may grant adjournments to enable either party to investigate evidence as to which a valid claim of surprise is made. The Faculty member and the administration shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to obtain necessary witnesses and documentary or other evidence.
- The Faculty member and the Administration will have the right to confront and cross-examine all witnesses. Where the witness cannot or will not appear but the Committee determines that the interests of justice require the admission of the witness statement, the Committee will identify the witness, disclose the statement, and, if possible, provide for interrogatory.
- The Hearing Committee will not be bound by strict rules of legal evidence and may admit any evidence which is of probative value in determining the issues involved. Every possible effort will be made to obtain the most reliable evidence available. All questions relating to admissibility of evidence or other legal matters shall be decided by the Chair or presiding officer.
- The findings of fact and the decision of the Hearing Committee will be based solely on the hearing record.
- Except for such simple announcements as may be required covering the time of the hearing and similar matters, public statements and publicity about the case by either the Faculty member or Administrators should be avoided until the proceedings have been completed, including consideration by the Board of Regents in the event an appeal is filed. The President and the Faculty member will be notified in writing of the decision and recommendation, if any, of the Hearing Committee.
- If the Hearing Committee concludes that adequate cause for dismissal has not been established by the evidence in the record, it will so report to the President. If the President does not approve the report, the President should state the reasons in writing to the Committee for response before rendering a final decision. If the Committee concludes that an academic penalty less than dismissal would be more appropriate than dismissal, it may so recommend with supporting reasons. The President may or may not follow the recommendations of the Committee.
- After complying with the foregoing procedures, the President shall send an official letter to the Faculty member notifying the member of either retention or removal for cause. Such letter shall be delivered to addressee only, with receipt to show to whom and when delivered and address where delivered. The letter shall clearly state any charges which the President has found sustained and shall notify the Faculty member that an appeal may be made to the Board of Regents for review. The appeal shall be submitted in writing to the Executive Secretary of the Board of Regents within twenty (20) days following the decision of the President. It shall state the decision complained of and the redress desired. The Board of Regents or a committee of the Board shall investigate the matter thoroughly and render its decision thereon within sixty (60) days from the date of the receipt of the appeal or from the date of any hearing which may be held thereon.
- Upon dismissal by the President, the Faculty member shall be suspended from employment without pay from the date of the final decision of the President. Should the Faculty member be reinstated by action of the Board of Regents, compensation shall be made from the date of suspension.
Temporary or Part-Time Personnel
Temporary or part-time personnel serving without a written contract hold their employment at the pleasure of the President, chief academic officer, or their immediate supervisor, any of whom may discontinue the employment of such employees without cause or advance notice. (Board of Regents Policy Manual, Section 22.214.171.124.)