Abuse of authority is the arbitrary or capricious exercise of authority for purposes inconsistent with the University’s educational and research mission. Expression occurring in an academic, educational or research context is considered a special case and is broadly protected by academic freedom. Such expression will not constitute abuse of authority unless (in addition to satisfying the above definition) it is targeted at a specific person or persons and serves no bona fide academic purpose.
Discipline related to abuse of authority and other misconduct is handled initially at the unit level. In the case of faculty or academic appointees, the relevant chair or director may investigate the matter and respond appropriately. If the matter is of a more serious nature, it normally will be investigated by the appropriate dean. Should the matter persist or be of a still more serious nature, the provost may be consulted. The chair, director, dean, or provost may opt to refer the matter to a faculty committee for investigation and consultation. Issues of unlawful harassment, academic fraud, or conflict of interest will be investigated by the respective standing panel or committee in accordance with those specific policies.