The Hearing Process
What is a formal hearing?
Every student has the right to a formal hearing before a single hearing officer or hearing board. A hearing officer is a representative of the Department of Student Conduct and Community Standards or a member of the hearing officer pool assigned by the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards. A hearing board is a panel of five hearing officers composed of three faculty members or contract professionals and two students. A case is generally referred to a hearing when the investigation reveals that there is sufficient information to support an allegation that the respondent violated the Code of Student Conduct, but the respondent denies the alleged misconduct.
What happens at a formal hearing?
In general, the hearing officer(s) will determine if a student is responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct and if the student is found in violation of the Code of Student Conduct the appropriate sanction(s) will be issued.
Here is what the process looks like:
- Basic hearing procedures and the alleged violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct will be reviewed at the beginning of the hearing.
- The respondent will be given the opportunity to admit or deny responsibility for the alleged violation(s).
- The complainant and the respondent are given the opportunity to make an opening statement and general overview of the incident from their perspective, as well as, present evidence that pertain(s) to the alleged violation(s).
- The hearing officer(s) will ask questions that will help determine responsibility and/or sanctions, in addition, the complainant and respondent will also be given the opportunity to ask questions.
- Witnesses will be introduced to provide additional information when applicable.
- The hearing officer(s) will ask questions of any witnesses, and the complainant and respondent will have the same opportunity.
- The complainant and respondent are given the opportunity to make a closing statement and summarize relevant information presented as a conclusion of the formal hearing.
What happens after the hearing concludes?
After the closing statements are made, the hearing officer(s) will go into closed deliberations to review the information provided at the hearing and determine if the respondent is responsible or not responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct.
If the respondent is found responsible, the hearing officer(s) will assign sanction(s).
Both the complainant and respondent will be notified in writing of the hearing outcome.
How can I prepare for a formal hearing?
To prepare for a hearing, a complainant or respondent could take the following steps:
- Write down the recollection of events as completely as possible.
- Gather any information relevant to the alleged violation(s) to be presented during the formal hearing.
- Inform Student Conduct staff of any witnesses who should be invited to participate in the hearing.
- Make an outline of information to present and questions to ask during the hearing.
While there is not a specific dress code, business casual attire is suggested.
Can I appeal a decision made at a hearing?
Both the complainant and respondent have the right to appeal the hearing officer(s)' decision. Immediately following the hearing, the complainant and respondent will meet with a member of the Student Conduct staff to discuss this option and the procedures for submitting the appeal in writing.
Right to an advisor
The complainant and the respondent have the right to have an advisor of their choice present to provide advice and counsel in any meetings or hearings held by the Department of Student Conduct and Community Standards.
The complainant and respondent shall speak and act on their own behalf. The advisor may only give counsel to their party and may not actively participate in the meeting or hearing. Any advisor who repeatedly violates the limitations imposed on advisors, or otherwise engages in disruptive behavior may be removed from the meeting or hearing.
Meetings or hearings conducted by the Department of Student Conduct and Community Standards will not be scheduled around the availability of an advisor. In addition, an advisor may not attend a meeting or hearing being conducted by the Department of Student Conduct and Community Standards unaccompanied by the advisee.
An advisor may be a:
- Family Member
- Faculty or Staff Member
- Attorney, hired at your own expense
Please note the same individual may not serve as an advisor and a witness; nor can the advisor of a charged student organization serve as a witness and an advisor.