Last update to this section: July 2021
XI. Procedure for Appeal of Adverse Decisions on Accreditation
Adverse Decision Defined
An adverse decision on accreditation is defined as withholding initial or renewed accreditation, accreditation withdrawn, or involuntary terminal accreditation.
In the event of an adverse decision by CVTEA, the affected program may petition for review of the decision on the grounds that CVTEA's action was arbitrary and capricious, resulted from errors in the application of CVTEA's standards, policies, or procedures, or was not based on substantial evidence in the record at the time of the decision. The accreditation status of the program involved shall remain unchanged during the appeal.
When a school petitions for review of an adverse decision, the following procedure will apply:
Not later than 10 business days from receipt of the notice of the adverse decision, the program shall submit to the chair of the AVMA Council on Education, by email, a Notice of Intent to Petition for Appeal of Decision. The Notice shall be accompanied by an advance deposit of $5,000 to be applied against the expenses incurred by the appeal panel including travel, meals, lodging and the cost of the appeal panel's legal counsel. Expenses will be reimbursed by CVTEA and charged back to the program. Additional necessary expenses shall be paid by the petitioning program up to a cap of $15,000, and any surplus of the deposit shall be returned to the program. Failure to submit the Notice and/or fee within the required timeframe will be deemed a waiver of the program's right to petition for appeal and the CVTEA's adverse decision will become final.
Documentation Supporting the Petition for Appeal
Not more than 20 business days after receiving the notification of adverse action, the program shall file its Petition for Appeal with documentation supporting the reasons why the program believes that CVTEA's decision is erroneous and should be set aside or revised. Not more than 20 business days after the program files its Petition for Appeal, CVTEA may, at its option, submit a written response to the Petition for Appeal which may include additional documentation supporting the CVTEA's decision.
The Chair of the AVMA Council on Education (Council) shall appoint an appeal panel to consider the school's Petition for Appeal and conduct a hearing. The appeal panel shall be comprised of three (3) members, all of whom currently serve on the AVMA Council on Education and one of whom may be a public member. The Chair of the Council shall designate the chair of the appeal panel. The Council may also appoint one (1) alternate member to serve in the event an appointed member is unable to fulfill the requirements of the position. The appeal panel shall be independent of CVTEA. Appeal panel members shall not be members of CVTEA and shall not have participated in the accreditation review process at any stage leading up to CVTEA's adverse decision. Before assuming their responsibilities, appeal panel members receive training on their scope of authority, the standard of review, decisions available to the panel, and the appeal and hearing procedures to be followed.
Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality
Appeal panel members are subject to CVTEA's conflict of interest and confidentiality policies.
Within 10 business days of the announcement of proposed appeal panel members, the program may ask, in writing, that any proposed member be replaced on the basis of a potential conflict of interest. The panelist will be replaced if the Chair of the Council determines that a conflict does exist or there is good cause to replace the panelist.
Consideration and Decision on Appeal
The appeal panel is to consider the CVTEA's written findings and reasons for the adverse action, the program's Petition for Appeal of Decision and relevant supporting documentation, any written response filed by CVTEA, and testimony offered during the hearing. The program's Petition, documentation and hearing testimony are limited to the accreditation record. The appeal panel has no authority to consider new evidence or evidence outside the record considered by CVTEA at the time of its adverse decision. The appeal panel does not have the authority to determine the reasonableness of CVTEA Standards or procedures. Its role is to determine, in light of the accreditation record, whether CVTEA's action was arbitrary and capricious, resulted from errors in the application of CVTEA's standards, policies or procedures, or was not based on substantial evidence in the record at the time of the decision. The program has the burden of proof.
The CVTEA staff will compile the complete accreditation record consisting of the Self-Study, Report of Evaluation (ROE), the program's response to the ROE, and any other reporting or correspondence that is material to the CVTEA's adverse decision. The record will be sent to the appeal panel and to the parties in advance of the filing deadline for written submissions.
The Council staff will serve as administrators of the appeal process. They will schedule and organize the appeal hearing to be held at a mutually convenient time at AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois, allowing sufficient time for presentations, appeal panel deliberations, and the forwarding of the hearing panel's decision to the program and CVTEA. The program, at its option and expense, has the right to be represented by counsel or others at the hearing. The program must provide the names and affiliations of those who will make presentations to the appeal panel no later than 10 business days prior to the hearing. A court reporter and a hearing transcript will be made available at the program's request and expense. CVTEA may also be represented at the hearing, including by counsel.
The hearing will be scheduled for four (4) hours. The CVTEA representatives and representatives of the program will have the opportunity to make opening and closing statements to the appeal panel not to exceed 20 minutes in length. The program must provide information relevant to the specific grounds supporting the Request for Appeal. The remainder of the time will be for questions from the appeal panel to the representatives of the program and CVTEA. CVTEA does not consider the hearing to be adversarial in nature. Accordingly, neither the program, nor CVTEA will have the right to question the other part directly.
The program and the CVTEA may mutually agree that a hearing is not necessary and that the appeal panel can make its decision based entirely on the parties' written submissions and the accreditation record.
Decisions Available to the Appeal Panel
Affirm: If the appeal panel determines the program has failed to meet its burden of proof in showing that CVTEA's action was not supported by the record or was clearly erroneous, it must affirm the decision of the Commission.
Remand: The appeal panel will remand a decision to CVTEA when it finds that the decision was erroneous either because CVTEA failed to follow established procedures or failed to consider a material fact before it in reaching its decision. A remand is a directive to CVTEA by the appeal panel that it must reconsider its action in light of all relevant facts that were before it at the time of its decision. This includes the specific material facts that are the basis for the remand.
CVTEA Receipt and Consideration of Appeal Panel Decisions
The written decision of the appeal panel will be provided to CVTEA and the program within 30 calendar days of the hearing and considered at CVTEA's next regularly scheduled meeting.
CVTEA will notify the program and other stakeholders of the final decision consistent with Program Notification and Reporting to the Community.
If the program's Request for Appeal is not successful, and the decision to deny or withdraw accreditation is upheld and becomes final, the program may re-apply for accreditation. See also provisions for Involuntary Terminal Accreditation.