VI. Conduct Hearing Process

  1. Investigation: The University shall be responsible for effectively investigating alleged violations and promptly determining whether further action is necessary. An investigation typically includes interviews and requests for written statements from the parties (i.e., reporting individual, Respondent(s), witnesses). If the Respondent fails to respond to more than one written request for an interview, the University may proceed with a review of the evidence and information. The University will make every effort to keep all investigations confidential to the extent possible/practical.
  2. Information in support/defense of allegations: Information in support/defense of allegations (including statements, documentary, and/or physical material) to be presented by the University and Respondent(s) during any hearing on the charges must be shared with the opposing party at least five (5) days in advance of the scheduled hearing. The Hearing Board may exclude information in support/defense of allegations that has not been shared or adjourn the hearing to afford all parties the opportunity to review information in support/defense of allegations to be presented during the hearing. The Hearing Board will make the final decision relating to the admissibility of all information in support/defense of allegations.
  3. Hearing attendance and confidentiality: Those in attendance at the Board Hearing may include the Associate Dean of Students or designee, Respondent(s), their representative(s), witness(es) (while giving statements), and the Hearing Board. A University observer may be present. The Hearing Board shall determine whether additional persons may be present. In order to protect confidentiality and comply with applicable privacy laws, hearings shall be closed to members of the campus community and to the public.
  4. Hearing Boards:
    • Hearing Boards are established for the purpose of hearing alleged violations of the Code. The Hearing Board will review the allegations, hear any responses, make recommendations as to whether the Code was violated, and provide recommendations for outcomes where appropriate.
    • A Hearing Board Pool shall be selected from full-time members of the University faculty and staff. Hearing Board members are then selected from the Hearing Board Pool. A Hearing Board is composed of three to five members from the Hearing Board Pool.
    • All Hearing Board members are expected to serve for at least one academic year and may continue to serve at the discretion of the Dean of Students or designee. All members of the Hearing Board, upon receiving notice of appointment, shall be given necessary information and training about their responsibilities and the means by which they may fulfill them. This includes anti-bias training, information on how to review evidence, equity in decision making, professional ethics, and more.
  5. Hearing Procedures:
    • Hearings provide the forum where Respondents are afforded the opportunity to present information for review by a Hearing Board. In the event that a Respondent has received notice of a hearing and elects not to appear, the hearing shall proceed in their absence and a recommended determination of responsibility shall be made and outcomes recommended.
    • The hearing procedures generally include the following basic steps:
      • Opening: The Hearing Board Chair states the charges and identifies the individuals present. Hearing Board members who feel they cannot fairly serve shall be excused. Conflicts of interest must be disclosed. Any party may request and cite cause for the removal of any member of the Board. The Hearing Board Chair will determine whether the cited cause warrants removal.
      • Student response: The Respondent(s) will be asked to state their response (i.e., responsible or not responsible) to each of the alleged violations.
      • University presentation: University presentation should begin with an opening statement describing the alleged violation(s). Information in support of allegations will be provided to the Hearing Board. The Hearing Board members and Respondent may question the University regarding the presentation and evidence supporting the allegation. University witness(es) individually present oral statements. The University, then the Respondent, followed by the Hearing Board members, may question the witness(es).
      • Respondent presentation: A Respondent presentation may begin with an opening statement furthering the Respondent’s position. Information in support/defense of allegations submitted by the Respondent will be provided to the Hearing Board. The University, then the Hearing Board members, may question the Respondent regarding the opening statement and information defending the allegation. Respondent’s witness(es) individually present oral statements. The Respondent, then the University, followed by Hearing Board members, may question the witness(es).
      • Closing statements: After all witnesses have presented statements and all questioning has been completed, closing statements are made first by the University, then by the Respondent(s). Closing statements are intended to summarize the information previously introduced during the investigation process and hearing. No new evidence or statements may be introduced during closing statements. No questioning is allowed during or after closing statements.
      • Deliberation, findings, and recommendations:
        • After closing statements have been presented, the Hearing Board reviews information in support/defense of allegations. Upon a review of the totality of the information discussed during the deliberation process, a recommendation regarding the Respondent’s responsibility as to each of the charges shall be made by a majority vote of the Hearing Board.
          • A recommendation of responsibility shall be made only if the allegations contained in each charge have been established by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not standard).
          • Based upon the extent of responsibility determined, the Hearing Board may also recommend outcome(s).
        • The Hearing Board shall deliver its findings and recommendations in a letter to the Dean of Students, copying the Associate Dean of Students, or their designee, and the Respondent(s). Upon receipt of the recommendations and after review of any previous student conduct record of the Respondent(s), the Dean of Students will make a determination regarding responsibility and outcome(s).
    • Hearing documents: A written notification/disposition summarizing the main points of the proceedings and information in support/defense of allegations presented during the hearing become part of the proceeding’s official record. Recordings made during the hearing also become part of the official record. These materials are confidential. However, these materials are made available, in cases of appeal and upon request, to the designated University official or Board hearing the appeal and to the student(s) requesting the appeal. Unless otherwise required by law, all information obtained during the course of the investigation and hearing shall be protected from public release.
    • Dean of Students’ determination: The Dean of Students’ or designee decision regarding responsibility will be communicated in writing to the Respondent. Written notification will include a summary of the findings supporting the decision and the outcomes to be imposed, if any. If the Respondent charged is found responsible and an outcome is to be imposed, the notification shall inform the Respondent of the right to an appeal and the method for submitting the appeal. The Associate Dean of Students, or their designee, will ensure that any outcomes imposed are carried out on behalf of the University. Information on student conduct outcomes is provided here.