Rules of procedures for hearings
All hearings will be conducted in a fashion which protects the due process rights of students. College disciplinary hearings are not open to the public. Only individuals directly involved with the proceedings as outlined may be present.
- Each hearing body shall consist of the requested hearing composition. However, the accused student has the right to waive this requirement if the hearing composition is not achieved. If the requirement is not waived, the hearing must be rescheduled. In cases involving allegations of sexual and interpersonal violence, both the accused student and complainant must waive this right.
- A determination of responsibility will be made by the requested hearing body. When the requested hearing body consists of more than one person, responsibility will be determined by a majority vote.
- Decisions regarding alleged violations will be considered on the basis of the information/evidence presented. The determination of responsibility will be made on the basis of what is “more probable than not” (aka preponderance of evidence). This standard of proof is more similar to the one used in civil proceedings.
- The Director for Community Standards, Conduct Officer, or a trained designee will serve as Procedural Officer. This officer may not participate in the fact finding portion of the hearing except to ensure that established procedures are followed and to maintain records of the hearing. Following the hearing process, the Procedural Officer may provide pertinent information during sanction assignment review. This information may include: prior violations of the Student Code of Conduct by the accused; academic record and standing; and/or extenuating circumstances or conditions. Before the final decision is rendered, the Procedural Officer may recommend a sanction or special condition to the hearing body otherwise consist with the Student Code of Conduct. However, the final decision is solely determined by the hearing body.
- The Office of Community Standards may allow any member of the College’s staff be present during a hearing without consultation with hearing participants. Additionally, College staff serving as witnesses may have their supervisors present during a hearing while providing a statement.
- There are two types of witnesses that can be presented in a hearing: Incident Witnesses and Character Witnesses
- An incident witness knows direct information about the incident and can provided additional understanding of the events to the Hearing Committee/Officer(s).
- Witnesses are kept in a room separate from the room in which the hearing is scheduled and will be called in at the discretion of the Hearing Committee/Officer. The presence of witnesses may be requested by either the Office of Community Standards, accused student, and/or complainant.
- If the witness appears in person, they will be called into the hearing room for approximately 15-20 minutes or until their statement is complete. They will also be questioned by all parties involved (i.e.: the Hearing Committee/Officer(s), the accused, and/or the complainant).
- If needed a witness can provide their statement via phone, video conference, or through a written statement. For more information, please contact the Office of Community Standards. However, please be aware that witnesses that provide written statements will not be questioned and witnesses that prefer to be presented via phone or video conference will only have three (3) attempts for contact. After three (3) attempts, the hearing will proceed without their statement.
- All witnesses should arrive on time and answer all questions honestly and to the best of their ability.
- A character witness only speaks about the character of the person they are providing a statement for (i.e. accused or complainant). This can include how long you have known the individual, any information regarding their personality, etc. This witness does not speak about the incident.
- Character witnesses may only be presented via written letter(s). The accused student and complainant are limited to three (3) letters each. The accused student and complainant are responsible for submitting these statements to the Office of Community Standards.
- The chairperson of the Committee Hearing or Administrative Hearing Officer, in consultation with the Office of Community Standards, have the authority to:
- Call recesses
- Take appropriate steps to maintain order
- Monitor the presentation of questions to hearing participants, as well as decide on the relevance of questions related to statements or information/evidence presented.
- Ensure that established procedures are followed
- Once all relevant information has been heard, the members of the Committee Hearing or Administrative Hearing Officer(s) deliberate in private to determine the responsibility of the accused student. The decision is made only on the basis of the information provided during the hearing, (i.e., documents presented, testimony heard, and finding of facts).
- Once the assessment of responsibility for each of the alleged violations has been determined by the hearing body, the accused student’s academic and disciplinary record will be reviewed, and an appropriate sanction will be assigned utilizing the range of sanctions assigned to each category of violation. Repeated or aggravated offenses may require more severe sanctions than those listed as “maximum.”
- The discipline finding letter will be sent to the accused student within ten (10) business days of the hearing. Records of all disciplinary actions are educational records maintained in the Office of Community Standards.
The sexual and interpersonal violence web page can provide more information related to hearings involving allegations of sexual and interpersonal violence.