Dean of Students

Code of Student Conduct - Article 7 - Hearing Process

Section 1.

Pre-hearing Procedures:

1. Complaint or Referral: Any individual may report a student suspected of violating this Code to the Office of the Dean of Students. If another office is notified, it shall forward the matter directly to the Dean of Students. If the conduct is allegedly criminal in nature and is appropriately reported to Public Safety, or other applicable law enforcement agency, the Dean’s office shall be notified, and the student conduct investigation may continue. A university official may act as a complainant on behalf of the university and/or third parties. A complaint should be submitted as soon as possible after the offense, preferably within ten business days. However, there is no time limitation regarding the filing and subsequent commencement of proceedings hereunder.

2. Investigation: When an incident is reported to the Dean of Students, an investigation is undertaken to determine whether further action is necessary. Interviews are held with the person reporting the incident (complainant), the person accused of the violation (respondent) and appropriately identified witnesses to the incident, as the investigator deems relevant. Written statements may be requested by the investigator.

3. Determination of Charge(s) and Specification(s): The investigator determines whether a hearing should be conducted and which judicial body shall hear the case. If a hearing is to be held, the investigator prepares a charge sheet consisting of a summary of the investigation, as well as witnesses’ written statements (if any), appropriate Public Safety reports and other relevant supporting materials.

4. Committee on Student Conduct Notice of Charge(s) and Hearing: The respondent is advised of the charge(s), a summary of the evidence gathered, the name(s) of the witness(as), the procedures to be followed and the date, time and location of the hearing. The written summary (is) of oral evidence and the charge(s) and copies of all written evidence and other supporting evidence are provided to the respondent at least five business days prior to the hearing.

5. The respondent has the option to waive the right to a hearing before the Committee on Student Conduct in circumstances where s/he does not dispute the facts of the case giving rise to the charge(s) and admits responsibility for his/her actions provided that the respondent is notified of his/her right to a hearing. The respondent also has the right to ask for a hearing before a hearing officer in lieu of a Committee hearing.  The hearing officer is either the administrator who handles campus judicial affairs or another person appointed by the Dean of Students.  The respondent has the right to waive a hearing at any point in the investigatory process prior to the beginning of the hearing before the Committee on Student Conduct or the Hearing Officer. To waive a hearing, the respondent must sign the Waiver of University Judicial Hearing statement. The respondent must also provide a signed written statement disclosing the facts surrounding the incident and acknowledging responsibility for his/her actions. Based upon this statement, the information gathered during the investigation by the Dean of Students Office which was revealed to the respondent, and the respondent’s past disciplinary record, the Dean of Students will determine the appropriate sanction(s). The sanction(s) may include any combination of those specified in this document. The respondent has the right to appeal the sanction(s). However the decision to waive the right to a hearing and the admission of responsibility, including the contents of the statement of responsibility, are not appealable.

6. The respondent may request that specific judicial board members be removed from the case if sufficient evidence is provided to the Dean of Students, that such members would not be able to be objective due to previous contact with the respondent. This information is forwarded to the Chair of the judicial board, and the decision regarding removal shall be made solely by the Chair of the judicial board.

Section 2.

Processes for Resolution:

1) Investigatory Interview: When the respondent takes full responsibility for the violation(s) and signs the Waiver of University Judicial Hearing statement, the Dean of Students shall determine the sanction(s). Only the sanction(s) may be appealed to the Committee on Student Appeals.

2) (Informal) Hearing by a Hearing Officer: Except for claims involving sexual harassment, in which case the procedures set forth in that policy will be followed, and with the consent of the respondent, an informal hearing upon the alleged violation will be conducted by the Dean of Students or designee (Hearing Officer), who also determines findings of responsibility and assigns sanction(s) as appropriate.

Section 3.

Judicial Procedures:

1. In order to maintain confidentiality, hearings are conducted in private. Admission of any individual to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the judicial body chair or as required by law.

2. The complainant or university representative and the respondent may present witnesses; the Chair shall make all determinations regarding the propriety and relevancy of a witness’ testimony, and may place limitations upon a witness’ testimony accordingly.

3. The complainant and/or the respondent may have an advisor present at the hearing for non-criminal charges, providing the advisor is a member of the university community. The advisor (may be an attorney if criminal charges are pending against the respondent) shall not participate directly in the proceedings, but may be consulted by the complainant or respondent.

4. The Chair distributes the written material to the members of the hearing panel and discusses the procedure to be followed. Time is provided for the members to read the statements.

5. The Chair calls the complainant(s) and the respondent(s) into the hearing room. The recording is started and the Chair calls the hearing to order. The Chair reads the charge(s) and specification(s), if there are any questions regarding procedure and how the respondent pleads to each of the charge(s) and specification(s). Final decision(s) of procedural matters during the hearing shall be made by the Chair.

6. Opening statements are given by the investigator and the respondent. These statements are general in nature and do not usually describe the details of the case.

7. The investigator presents the case in detail and may bring witness (es) who testify as appropriate. The complainant shall state their case and offer any supporting evidence. The respondent may then ask questions of the witness (as), followed by questions of witness (es) by the members of the hearing panel.

8. The respondent presents testimony and may bring witness (es) who testify as appropriate. The complainant may then ask questions of the witness(es) followed by the panel should they have questions.

9. Witness (es) appear individually and do not remain for the testimony of others. Witness (es) must have observed the alleged incident or provide direct, relevant information.

10. If new information is provided, additional witnesses may be called to testify.

11. Closing statements are given by the respondent and the investigator. The members of the hearing panel may ask further questions, if necessary.

12. The respondent may request up to two character witnesses to speak on his/her behalf. Testimony is limited in time (5 minutes maximum) and to the character of the respondent, and the members of the panel may ask questions regarding this testimony.

13. The information-gathering session is concluded. All non-hearing panel members are excused from the room, and the recorder is turned off. The investigator is available, if needed, but not present during the deliberation.

14. Members of the hearing panel deliberate deciding whether the charge(s) and specification(s) are supported, solely by the evidence presented in the hearing. Each charge and specification is considered separately. The determination is based on reasonable certainty that the respondent violated the Code. If the respondent is found responsible for one or more of the charge(s), the past conduct record of the respondent is reviewed by the Chair. The panel determines the nature of the sanctions.

15. If the respondent is present at the conclusion of the deliberations, s/he may be recalled to hear of the decision and any assigned sanctions, followed by the formal notification as specified in number 16 below.

16. The Chair sends a letter to the respondent indicating the date of the hearing, the charge(s) and specification(s) involved a summary of the findings and the conclusions, including any sanction(s). A copy of the letter and appropriate written material used in the hearing shall be placed in the respondent’s personnel file located in the Office of the Dean of Students.

17. A record of the proceeding shall be made (normally a recording) which belongs to the university. One free copy shall be provided to the respondent if requested.