“Not every decision will please everyone, and Mind’s Eye Society’s volunteers are still human and susceptible to making mistakes or experiencing lapses of good judgment. Therefore, members who are affected by an officer’s official decision have the right to appeal to the supervising officer of the officer issuing the disciplinary action.”
~Membership Handbook pg. 62
What is an Appeal?
An appeal is a process for requesting a formal change to an official decision. In MES, after a review is conducted at the Regional level, an officer has the ability to appeal that decision to the National Officer and then that decision can be appealed to the Board of Directors.
MES uses an appeal method that is termed “On the Record,” meaning that the ruling of the prior decision maker is challenged by arguing that he or she misapplied the rule, came to an incorrect factual finding, acted in excess of his jurisdiction, abused his powers, was biased, considered evidence which he should not have considered, or failed to consider evidence that he should have considered.
What is examined in an Appeal?
The system of “Threshold of Evidence” is utilized by the officer who has received the appeal to determine if the appeal should be heard.
Threshold of Evidence covers two different topics in the Membership Handbook page 64:
- A clear violation of the rules took place
- The primary officer that rendered the decision subject to appeal clearly abused their discretion or exercised their discretion in an arbitrary and capricious manner.
One of these must be proven to the appellate so that the officer can make their decision.
Who participates in an Appeal?
An appeal can be filed by any party involved in the initial DA.
A member has the ability to have their appeal heard by two offices. The participants depend entirely on which level in the DA process the appeal is occurring.
The standard disciplinary process consists of the following:
In some extreme cases that are affecting multiple regions, the process begins with the National office and goes through the following steps:
In a National Level appeal, the following are included in all emails:
- The plaintiff
- The officer conducting the appeal (National Officer and/or Assistant Arbitrations officer)
- The plaintiff’s supervising officer
In a Board of Directors Level appeal, the following are included in all emails:
- The plaintiff
- Two members from the BoD sub committee that is formed for the appeal
- The plaintiff’s supervising officer
The officer conducting the appeal may contact other members who were involved in the situation to ask questions.
What is included in an Appeal?
According to the membership handbook page 63, the following information should be included in your appeal:
- A sentence describing the decision being appealed
- A paragraph describing the situation that led to the decision being made
- A complete statement describing why the decision is believed to have been inappropriate: this should include the “Threshold of Evidence” information that should be considered as well as any supporting information to explain it.
- Your contact information, full name, and club membership number
A full list of the steps a DA should go through can be found in Coord 301: Introduction to the DA Process. If any of these steps are handled incorrectly, this is grounds for an appeal.
The appeal should contain all information, as the officer who is receiving the appeal may not contact you to ask for clarifications. They are not required to do so. If they choose to do so than an officer can ask for any clarifications that are needed during the process. This can be from the member, the other people involved in the situation or officers that may be involved in the situation.
How long will an appeal take?
Once a member has received the first ruling on the DA, they have up to 30 days to appeal the ruling. That appeal can take up to 30 days to be ruled upon. During this period, any disciplinary action punishments that were determined during the first ruling are put on hold for the appeal. In cases where the appeal still finds the member guilty, the initial punishment or the new punishment that is determined by the Appealing Officer starts once that ruling is given, unless further appeals are filed.
If a member is going to file an appeal but does not do so immediately, they should inform the parties involved that an appeal is coming so the punishment does not start immediately.
Appealing an Appeal
Once the results of an appeal has been received, the member who receives the results can appeal once more to the Board of Directors if they feel it is necessary. The same rules and processes apply that were used for the first appeal.
Most appeals that are rejected are not considered ‘Frivolous Appeals’ however appeals that are filed with no good-faith basis or are submitted with bad intent or are harassing in nature are considered Frivolous Appeals. In these cases Letters of Counseling or Formal Warnings may be granted and disciplinary investigation may be opened depending upon the severity of the situation. Make sure to double check the Threshold of Evidence prior to an appeal being filed to insure you have ample grounds for requesting one.
During all DAs, it is important to use discretion regarding the situation and keep discussions limited. MES follows the rule “innocent until proven guilty” and the entire process can be shaming to a member who may later be found to be not guilty. More information about the DA Discretion process can be found in Coord 358: Providing Disclosure and more information about Rumor Mongering can be found in Coord 261: Rumor Mongering.