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Section:200
Section Title:Executive
Policy Number:457
Policy Name:Controversies and Disputes
Approval Authority:Board of Trustees
College Policy Executive:Chief Planning Officer
Responsible Executive:President
Responsible Unit:The President's Office
Date Adopted:June 7, 1995
Date Revised:December 17, 2018

Policy

Policy Statement

The Ramapo College Board of Trustees, as the final agency head, will adjudicate contested cases according to the procedures on controversies and disputes and in accord with State Law.

Reason for Policy

This policy sets forth procedures for the adjudication of contested cases by the Ramapo College Board of Trustees in accordance with the procedures on controversies and disputes and in accord with State Law.

To Whom Does the Policy Apply

All employees of the College

Related Documents

College Board of Trustees Bylaws

N.J.S.A. 18A:3B-6 – Powers and Duties of Governing Body

N.J.S.A. 18A:6-9 et seq.

N.J.S.A. 18A:6-18

N.J.S.A. 18A:60-1 et seq.

Contacts

General Counsel

 

 

Procedure

Rules of Procedure in Controversies and Disputes

1. JURISDICTION

1.1 Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:3B (f), the Board of Trustees shall have jurisdiction over all controversies and disputes concerning tenure, personnel matters of employees not classified under Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes, and other issues arising under Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes involving higher education.

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2. DEFINITIONS

For purposes of these rules the following terms shall have the following meanings:

2.1 “Administrative Procedure Act” shall mean the “Administrative Procedure Act of the State of New Jersey,” N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq.

2.2 “Advocate” shall mean the Deputy Attorney General assigned by the Attorney General or other legal counsel providing legal representation to the College, its officers and employees, in connection with any controversy or dispute.

2.3 “Attorney General” shall mean the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey.

2.4 “Board” shall mean the Board of Trustees of Ramapo College of New Jersey.

2.5 “Board’s counsellor” shall mean the Deputy Attorney General assigned by the Attorney General or other legal counsel providing legal representation to the Board in its capacity as final agency decision maker.

2.6 “Contested case ” shall have the same meaning as the term “contested case” under the Administrative Procedure Act and the rules of the Office of Administrative Law promulgated pursuant thereto.

2.7 “Final College Decision maker” shall mean the President unless (a) the President has, either by a general delegation or on a case-by-case basis, delegated final decision making authority to a Vice President or other college official, in which event the “Final College Decision maker” shall mean such Vice President or other college official; or (b) the matter in dispute must, by statute, be determined by action of the Board, in which event the “Final College Decision maker” shall mean the Board.

2.8 “Initial Decision” shall mean the initial decision of the Office of Administrative Law rendered in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act and the rules of the Office of Administrative Law promulgated pursuant thereto.

2.9 “Judicial Committee” shall mean the committee designated by the Board in its by-laws as having the authority to make the determinations required by these rules on controversies and disputes or any matter relating thereto.

2.10 “Office of Administrative Law” shall mean the “Office of Administrative Law” created by the Administrative Procedure Act.

2.11 “President” shall mean the President of Ramapo College of New Jersey.

2.12 “Secretary” shall mean the Secretary of the Board of Trustees, provided however that whenever, under these rules, a paper is required to be filed with or served on the Secretary it shall be deemed filed or served when received at the office of the President.

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3. COMMENCEMENT OF A CASE

3.1 Petition of Appeal
To initiate an appeal, controversy or dispute before the Board, an aggrieved party shall file with the Secretary a petition of appeal, and ten (10) copies, within forty-five (45) days after actual or constructive notice of the decision by the Final College Decision maker.

3.2 Format of Petition of Appeal
The petition of appeal shall include the following information set forth in separately numbered paragraphs:

3.2.1 name and address of the aggrieved party(ies),

3.2.2 name and affiliation of each party respondent,

3.2.3 statement of the essential facts giving rise to the dispute over which the Board has jurisdiction (each essential fact shall be set forth in separately numbered subparagraphs),

3.2.4 the citations, if known by the aggrieved party, of the section or sections of the higher education laws under which the controversy has arisen,

3.2.5 a statement that this is an appeal from a final decision of the Final College Decision maker,

3.2.6 when possible, the aggrieved party shall attach a copy of the decision of the Final College
Decision maker.

3.3 Filing
A petition of appeal shall be deemed filed when it has been received by the Secretary, at the office of the President, as indicated either by the date of receipt of certified mail or by the date stamp applied at the office of the President on the date of receipt.

3.4 Service
Within ten (10) days of filing, a petition of appeal shall be served, by personal delivery or by certified mail with return receipt requested, upon (a) the Final College Decision maker; (b) the President, if the President is not the Final College Decision maker, (c) any other party respondent and (d) the Attorney General or other legal counsel representing the Board and the College.

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4. ANSWER

4.1 Filing and Service
Within twenty (20) days of service of a petition of appeal, all party respondents shall file with the Secretary an answer together with proof of service of a copy thereof upon the aggrieved party. Service may be effected by personal delivery or by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the aggrieved party at the address stated in the petition of appeal.

4.2 Format of Answer
4.2.1 The answer shall specifically respond to the petition of appeal paragraph by paragraph. Each paragraph shall either be admitted, denied or contain a statement that the respondent lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to such allegation. Allegations which are not denied shall be deemed to be admitted.

4.2.2 The answer shall also set forth separate defenses claimed by the respondent.

4.3 Extensions of Time
4.3.1 Prior to the time for the filing of the answer, the parties may mutually agree to extend the time for the filing of the answer for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days. Upon such an agreement, the respondent shall notify the Secretary, by means of written correspondence or electronic communication, of such agreement including the length of the extension.

4.3.2 If such an agreement is not possible, the Judicial Committee, upon written application of the respondent for good cause shown, may extend the time to answer for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days provided that a request for such extension has been filed with the Secretary at least three (3) days before the time for answer would have otherwise expired.

4.4 Failure to Answer
Upon failure of a respondent to answer within the answering period, the Judicial Committee may recommend and the Board may determine, upon application by the aggrieved party or on its own initiative, that the allegations contained in the petition of appeal are admitted or uncontested and render an appropriate order disposing of the matter.

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5. AMENDMENTS

5.1 Petition of Appeal
A petition of appeal may be amended only with approval of the Judicial Committee.

5.2 Answer
An answer may be amended only with approval of the Judicial Committee except when filed in response to an amended petition of appeal.

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6. INITIAL REVIEW OF FILING BY THE JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

6.1 Initial Review
Within twenty (20) days of the filing of all pleadings the Judicial Committee shall meet and determine (a) whether the Board has jurisdiction of the matter and (b) whether the pleadings present a contested case. If the Judicial Committee determines that the Board has jurisdiction and that a contested case is presented, the matter shall be referred to the Office of Administrative Law in accordance with Rule 8. If the Judicial Committee determines that the Board lacks jurisdiction or that a contested case has not been presented, the Judicial Committee shall refer the matter to the Board for appropriate action and may, in connection therewith, make a recommendation as to such action.

6.2 Consultation
The Judicial Committee may seek legal assistance from the Board’s counsellor in making determinations under Rule 6.1 and, in such event, the time for a determination by the Judicial Committee shall be extended for a period, not to exceed five (5) days, for the purpose of allowing such advice.

6.3 Notice of Filing
The Secretary shall give notice of any such Judicial Committee findings under Rule 6.1 to the Board, the aggrieved party, the respondents, the President and the Attorney General/other legal counsel representing the Board and the College.

6.4 Opposition
Any party aggrieved by a finding of the Judicial Committee that the Board does not have jurisdiction or that a contested case has not been presented, shall have the right, within ten (10) days of notice of such finding, to file with the Secretary a notice of opposition and brief or supporting documentation for consideration by the Board.

6.5 Board Review
Within sixty (60) days of a notice that the Judicial Committee has recommended that the Board does not have jurisdiction or that a contested case has not been presented, the Board shall determine the action to be taken. If any person has filed a notice of opposition and brief under Rule 6.4, all parties to the matter shall have the right to reasonable notice of the date upon which the matter will be acted on by the Board.

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7. REFERRAL TO OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

7.1 Certification by Secretary
Upon a determination by the Judicial Committee or the Board that a matter is a contested case, the Secretary shall make the transmission to the Office of Administrative Law.

7.2 Proceedings
After such transmission and certification, the matter shall proceed thereafter in accordance with the Rules of the Office of Administrative Law.

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8. APPEAL OF INTERLOCUTORY RULINGS

8.1 Application f or Interlocutory Review
Subsequent to transmittal to the Office of Administrative Law, if any party makes an application for interlocutory review, the application shall be filed with the Secretary, who shall transmit all papers thereon to the Judicial Committee immediately following such request.

8.2 Judicial Committee Review of Application
Within ten (10) days of the request for interlocutory review, the Judicial Committee shall determine whether the matter will be reviewed and if so, issue a decision on whether to accept the request for interlocutory review.

8.3 Failure of the Judicial Committee to Act
If the Judicial Committee does not determine to review a matter within ten (10) days of the request for interlocutory review, the request shall be deemed denied.

8.4 Notice
Within ten (10) days of the request for interlocutory review , the Secretary shall give notice to the parties, the President, the Board and the Clerk of the Office of Administrative Law as to the determination of the Judicial Committee or the Judicial Committee’s failure to act. Informal communication by telephone or in person to the parties or their representatives and to the Clerk of the Office of Administrative Law within the ten (10) day period will satisfy this notice requirement, provided that a written communication or order shall promptly follow.

8.5 Proceedings when Interlocutory Review is Granted
8.5.1 Within three (3) days of receiving notice that interlocutory review has been granted, the party opposing interlocutory review may file with the Secretary written arguments in support of the order or ruling being reviewed. A copy shall be served upon the party requesting review.

8.5.2 Within twenty (20) days of receipt of the request for interlocutory review, the Judicial Committee, if it has elected to review the matter, shall issue a decision, order or other disposition and such shall be deemed to be the action of the Board unless the Board, within ten (10) days of notice, determines that it will reverse the action of the Judicial Committee.

8.5.3 The time period for such decision, order or other disposition may be extended only if approved by the Judicial Committee and the Director of the Office of Administrative Law.

8.6 Effect
Except for those rulings which, by the Rules of the Office of Administrative Law are mandatory subjects of an application for interlocutory review, any ruling made by the Judicial Committee on any application to it for interlocutory review may be reviewed further by the Board after the Initial Decision of the Administrative Law Judge even if the Judicial Committee declined to review it or an application for interlocutory review was made but not considered by the Judicial Committee in a timely manner.

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9. FINAL DECISIONS

9.1 Transmission of Initial Decision
Upon receipt of an Initial Decision from the Office of Administrative Law, the Secretary shall send a copy of the decision to all members of the Board and shall, in addition, send a copy of the record to the Judicial Committee.

9.2 Exceptions and Replies
If exceptions or replies are filed pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:1-18.4, the Secretary shall promptly forward a copy of all such exceptions and replies to the Board.

9.3 Recommendation of the Judicial Committee
Within thirty (30) days of receipt of the Initial Decision, or sooner if mandated by federal or State law, the Judicial Committee shall recommend to the Board whether an order or a final decision should be entered adopting, rejecting or modifying the Initial Decision. If the Judicial Committee determines that issues or arguments were not previously raised or were incompletely considered, the Judicial Committee may recommend that the Board remand the matter to the Office of Administrative Law.

9.4 Motions to Reopen the Hearing
If, after the Initial Decision, a motion is made by any party to reopen the hearing, the matter shall be referred to the Judicial Committee for a recommendation to be made within thirty (30) days of receipt of the Initial Decision.

9.5 Full Board Action
Within forty-five (45) days after the receipt of an Initial Decision, or sooner if mandated by Federal or State law the Board may enter an order or final decision adopting, rejecting or modifying the Initial Decision. Any order or final decision rejecting or modifying the Initial Decision shall specify in clear and sufficient detail the nature of the rejection or modification, the reasons for it, the specific evidence in the record and/or interpretation of law on which it is based and the resulting changes or modifications to the disposition. An order or final decision rejecting or modifying the findings of fact in the Initial Decision shall be based upon substantial evidence in the record.

9.6 Effect of Failure of Board to Act
If the Board does not reject or modify the Initial Decision within forty-five (45) days of receipt thereof and, unless the period is extended pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:1-18.8, the Initial Decision shall become the final decision of the Board.

9.7 Application for a Stay of the Final Decision
Any application by a party for a stay of the final decision shall be filed with the Secretary with copies served on all other parties and, within ten (10) days of the filing thereof, shall be determined by the Judicial Committee. Any party opposing an application for a stay shall file any opposing papers prior to the determination of the Judicial Committee. The determination of the Judicial Committee which the Secretary shall file with the Board shall be deemed to be the action of the Board unless the Board, within ten (10) days of notice, determines that it will reverse the action of the Judicial Committee.

9.8 Extensions of Time
9.8.1 For Exceptions or Replies. Requests to extend the time limit f or exceptions and replies shall be submitted in writing with a proposed form of extension order to the Secretary who shall transmit the same to the Judicial Committee who shall make a determination thereon within ten (10) days of filing. The action of the Judicial Committee on any such request shall be deemed to be that of the Board and the Secretary shall sign and issue an order and cause it to be served upon all parties and the Director of the Office of Administrative Law. If the extended time limit necessitates an extension of the deadline for final decision, the Judicial Committee shall submit an application therefore in accordance with these Rules and N.J.A.C. 1:1-18.8.

9.8.2 For the Final Decision. For good cause, the Judicial Committee or the Board may request an extension of the time for issuing the final decision. Such request shall be made to the Office of Administrative Law no later than the day on which the time period for the final decision is to expire.

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10. SETTLEMENT

10.1 Proposals for Settlement
When the parties wish to settle a matter, the Advocate shall report the full settlement terms to the Judicial Committee and the Judicial Committee may consult with the Advocate with respect to the desirability thereof. In the event the Judicial Committee recommends a settlement, such recommendation shall not be binding upon the Board until the full Board has approved the settlement.

10.2 Action on Settlement
All settlements agreed to by the parties shall be incorporated into an Initial Decision by the  Office of Administrative Law.

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11. MISCELLANEOUS

11.1 Construction
These Rules shall be construed to achieve just results, simplicity in procedure, fairness in administration and the elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay.

11.2 Relaxation
Except for rules relating to the burden of proof, statutory procedural requirements, or requirements of the Office of Administrative Law that may not, by their terms, be relaxed or disregarded, the Judicial Committee or the Board may relax or disregard any provision of these Rules if the Judicial Committee or the Board determines that adherence would result in unfairness or injustice.

11.3 Computation of Time
In computing any period of time fixed by these Rules, the day of the act or event from which the designated period begins to run is not be included. The last day of a period so computed is to be included unless it is a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, in which event the period runs until the end of the next day which is neither a Saturday, Sunday nor legal holiday. In computing a period of time less than seven days, Saturday, Sunday and legal holidays shall be excluded.

11.4 Conflict with Statutes or Rules of the Off ice of Administrative Law
If any provision of these Rules conflicts with any statute or rule of the Office of Administrative Law , such statute or rule shall control and these rules shall be construed as nearly as may be practicable to comply with such statute or rules.

Related Resources

Ramapo College Board of Trustees Bylaws

N.J.S.A. 18A:3B-6 – Powers and Duties of Governing Body

N.J.S.A. 18A:6-9 et seq.

N.J.S.A. 18A:6-18

N.J.S.A. 18A:60-1 et seq.