Dean of Students

Student Professional Conduct Code - Article 7 - Hearing Process

A. Section 1.

Pre-hearing Procedures:

  1. Complaint or Referral: Any individual may report a student suspected of violating this Code to 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 material.
  4. The respondent has the option to waive the right to a hearing before the Committee on Professional 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 has the right to waive a hearing at any point in the investigatory process prior to the scheduling of a hearing before the Committee on Professional Conduct. 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. All appeals will be taken in accordance with the procedures for judicial hearings stated in this document.
  5. 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(es), the procedures to be followed and the date, time and location of the hearing. The written summary(ies) and the charge(s) are provided to the respondent at least five business days prior to the hearing.
  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.

B. Section 2.

Resolution By Hearing Officer or Judicial Boards:

  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: 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 before an Informal Hearing Panel, the members of which are designated by the Dean. If either the Dean Of Students, the complainant, or the respondent disagrees with the decision of the Informal Hearing Panel and wishes to appeal, they must notify the Dean within three (3) business days of receipt of the decision. In such event, a full hearing shall be held before a panel of the Committee on Professional Conduct. An independent authority with an expertise in the area of the alleged violation may be asked to interpret the details of the case (e.g. faculty member from the School of Architecture may interpret drawings and provide appropriate advice).
  3. Formal Hearing: When a Formal Hearing is to be convened, a hearing board panel of five voting members shall be selected from the Professional Conduct Committee.  If a full panel cannot be convened, a hearing may take place with either four voting panel members or as few as three voting panel members.  The composition of the voting panel depends on the specific number of voting panel members and is as follows:
    1. Five member voting panel: two students, two faculty members, and one university official.
    2. Four member voting panel: one to two students, one to two faculty members, and zero to one university official.
    3. Three member voting panel: one student, one to two faculty members, and zero to one university official.
    4. Regardless of the number of voting panel members, at least one of the student panel members shall be a graduate student if the respondent is a graduate student and at least one of the student panel members shall be an undergraduate student if the respondent is an undergraduate student.
  4. If the Committee on Professional Conduct is unable to meet due to the end of a term or during the summer, cases may be resolved by a subcommittee of this hearing body. The determination to convene a subcommittee to act for the full committee shall be at the discretion of the Dean Of Students. The subcommittee shall be comprised of: two students (one undergraduate and one graduate), one faculty member, one university official and one additional member of the Committee who will serve as the Chair. All procedures for a full Committee on Professional Conduct hearing will be followed.  In addition to the voting panel members, for each Formal Hearing one member of the Committee on Professional Conduct shall be selected to serve as Chair of the Formal Hearing.  The Chair shall either be a faculty member or university official.  No voting member of the hearing panel may abstain.  Decisions are based upon majority vote with the Chair voting only in instances of a tie. An independent authority with an expertise in the area of the alleged violation may be asked to interpret the details of the case (e.g. faculty member from the School of Architecture may interpret drawings and provide appropriate advice).
  5. A pool for the Committee on Professional Conduct shall be comprised of students appointed to serve a one-year term (normally re-appointed for two additional years to facilitate continuity), faculty members and university officials normally appointed to serve three-year terms. Six undergraduate students are appointed by the Student Senate. Four graduate students are appointed by the Graduate Student Association. Six faculty members and four university officials are appointed by the Provost. Members are selected on a rotational basis to serve on a particular hearing panel. Student members must be in good academic standing and have no record of violation of the Professional Conduct or Academic Honor Codes.  In addition to the appointed members, all students, faculty members and university officials may volunteer to serve on the Committee on Professional Conduct for renewable one-year terms provided that they meet all the requirements for appointed members of the Committee.
  6. Training: All new members of the pool for the Committee on Professional Conduct shall participate in training at the beginning of the academic year of appointment.
  7. The Committee on Professional Conduct may recommend to the appointing source impeachment of a member for neglect of duty. Such action requires a two-thirds vote of the Committee. Student member(s) subsequently found to be in violation of the Professional Conduct or Academic Honor Codes shall be automatically removed from the pool for the Committee on Professional Conduct. The appropriate constituency shall be notified and requested to name a replacement.

C. 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.
  2. The complainant, respondent and the judicial body 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, providing the advisor is a member of the university community, and is not an attorney. The advisor shall not participate directly in the proceedings, but may be consulted by the complainant or respondent.
  4. Neither complainants nor respondents may have an attorney present at any point in the pre-hearing or hearing disciplinary processes.
  5. 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.
  6. The Chair calls the complainant(s) and the respondent(s) into the hearing room. The tape recorder is started and the Chair calls the hearing to order. The Chair reads the charge(s) and specification(s) and asks the respondent if s/he has had adequate time to prepare, if there are any questions regarding procedure and how the respondent pleas to each of the charge(s) and specification(s). Final decision(s) of procedural matters during the hearing shall be made by the Chair.
  7. Opening statements are given by the investigator and the respondent. These statements are general in nature and do not describe the details of the case.
  8. The investigator presents the case in detail and may bring witness(es) who testify as appropriate. Following questions of witness(es) by the members of the hearing panel, the respondent may ask questions of the witness(es).
  9. The respondent presents testimony and may bring witness(es) who testify as appropriate. Questions of the witness(es) may be asked by the members of the panel, the complainant and the investigator.
  10. 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.
  11. If new information is provided, additional witnesses may be called to testify.
  12. Closing statements are given by the respondent and the investigator. The members of the hearing panel may ask further questions, if necessary.
  13. The respondent may request up to two character witnesses to speak on his/her behalf. Testimony is limited to the character of the respondent, and the members of the panel may ask questions regarding this testimony.
  14. The information-gathering session is concluded. All non-hearing panel members are excused from the room, and the tape recorder is turned off. The investigator is available, if needed, but not present during the deliberation.
  15. Members of the hearing panel deliberate deciding whether the charge(s) and specification(s) are true or false, based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. Each charge and specification is considered separately. Determination of truth or falseness is based on reasonable certainty that the respondent violated the Code. If one or more of the charge(s) is (are) found to be true, the past conduct record of the respondent is reviewed by the Chair. The panel determines the nature of the sanctions.
  16. The Chair sends a letter to the respondent indicating the date of the hearing, the charge(s) and specification(s) involved 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 tape recording) which belongs to the university. One free copy shall be provided to the respondent if requested.