Hearings

Students who are alleged to have violated the Code of Student Conduct will be asked to attend a hearing related to their case. The purpose of a hearing is twofold:

  1. To make a determination on whether or not a violation occurred, which is determined by the hearing body based on a preponderance of evidence standard; and
  2. To make a determination on what sanctions are appropriate for the violation.

The Office of Community Standards works to assist students in their development related to integrity and personal responsibility. This is done both through the hearing process as well as the sanctions completed after the hearing. The types of hearings available to students are explained here.

Non-Suspendable Cases

Most cases that come through the Office of Community Standards are considered “non-suspendable,” which means that the outcome of the case will not include suspension or dismissal. A student with a non-suspendable case will receive a Notice of Alleged Violation informing them of the Code of Conduct policies that are alleged to have been violated as well as information about the date, time, and location of their hearing as well as the person who will be their hearing officer.

When a student’s case is considered “non-suspendable,” they will have an Admistrative Hearing. Administrative Hearings are held between one professional staff member and the student(s) involved in the case. There are a variety of professional staff members across campus that are trained hearing officers for these cases including Resident Directors, Community Standards staff members, and others. While you cannot choose your hearing officer, you can be ensured that any Resident Director involved in the incident report writing will not be your hearing officer. If you have concerns with the hearing officer assigned to your case, which you are notified of when you get your hearing date and time, you can always reach out to the Office of Community Standards to discuss your concerns

After your hearing has occurred, you will receive an outcome letter that includes the finding, corresponding sanctions, and appeal instructions. 

Suspendable Cases

A smaller group of cases come through the Office of Community Standards every year that are considered “suspendable.” This means that through the hearing process it is possible for suspension or dismissal to be the outcome of the hearing. The biggest difference between non-suspendable cases and suspendable cases is that students involved in a suspendable case attend a Procedural Review prior to their hearing.

Students are notified of Procedural Reviews as a part of their Notice of Alleged Violation received from the Office of Community Standards. In the Procedural Review, a staff member will review the alleged violations of the Code of Conduct, along with options of how to move forward. Students can accept responsibility for the alleged violations of the Code of Conduct in their Procedural Review, or they can request one of two hearings types:

Administrative Hearings

Administrative Hearings are held between one professional staff member and the student(s) involved in the case. Hearing officers primarily consist of staff members in the Office of Community Standards, along with other trained professionals around campus.

Community Standards Board

Community Standards Boards are held with a board of two faculty or staff members and one student, along with the student(s) involved in the case. The training on decision-making and sanctioning is the same between Administrative Hearing officers and Community Standards Board members, therefore the outcome of one hearing type vs. another is unlikely to differentiate.

Suspendable Cases - Options for Responding

Accused student options for responding to an alleged violation in suspendable cases
Student: Final Adjudication Letter / Detailed List of Sanction(s) Instructions Communication
Accepts responsibility after the Procedural Review Meeting and there is NO appeal to the University Appeals Board Procedural Review Accepting Responsibility Letter To be sent shortly after the signed Procedural Review paperwork is turned into the Office of Community Standards.
Requests a hearing (Administrative, Community Standards Board, or Administrative Hearing Panel) and there is NO appeal to the University Appeals Board Hearing Follow Up Letter To be sent shortly after the hearing, communicating the finding and any sanction(s) decided upon by the hearing officer(s).
Requests a hearing (Administrative, Community Standards Board, or Administrative Hearing Panel) and there IS an appeal to the University Appeals Board but NO appeal to the Vice President of Student Life University Appeals Board Decision Letter To be sent after the University Appeal Board meets and decides on the submitted appeal (and any applicable appeal response(s)).
Requests a hearing (Administrative, Community Standards Board, or Administrative Hearing Panel) and there IS an appeal to the University Appeals Board AND an appeal to the Vice President of Student Life Vice President of Student Life Decision Letter To be sent after the Vice President of Student Life decides on the submitted appeal (and any applicable appeal response(s)).

How to Prepare for a Hearing

Students often ask how to prepare for a hearing. Below is a list of a few things that might help you feel more prepared for a hearing, but there is nothing required of you prior to the hearing other than what has already been discussed here. The suggestions below might make you feel more comfortable prior to your hearing, so if you would like to prepare ahead of time you may consider the following:

  1. You will be given the opportunity to indicate whether you believe you are responsible or not responsible for each individual alleged violation of the Code of Conduct involved in your case. It is a good idea to reflect on your behavior beforehand to determine whether you believe you are responsible or not.
  2. You have the ability to bring any “evidence” that would help provide the hearing officer(s) with additional information related to your case. This might include text messages, pictures, or any other materials that provide context to the incident report.
  3. All students will be given the opportunity to make introductory remarks to share their perspective on the events of the incident in question. Some students choose to prepare a statement to ensure they cover everything they want to discuss. It is not required to prepare this ahead of time, but might help ensure that you cover all of the points that you wish to cover. Keep in mind, the Office of Community Standards asks that opening remarks stay under 10 minutes in length.
  4. Similarly, students will be given the opportunity to make closing remarks prior to the conclusion of the hearing. If you would like to prepare closing remarks, you may do so.
  5. In some cases, witnesses will be called to discuss the case. Witnesses may be called by you as the respondent or by the Office of Community Standards. Witnesses must either attend in person or be available via phone or web conference; witness statements are not permitted. If witnesses are participating in your hearing, you will have the opportunity to ask them questions. You can come with a list of questions to ensure everything you’d like to ask the witnesses is addressed.
  6. The hearing officer(s) in your case may ask you about sanctions that you feel would be appropriate if you are found responsible for the alleged violation(s) of the Code of Conduct. You may wish to reflect on how you might answer such questions if they come up during your hearing.

If you have any further questions about how to best prepare for your hearing, please contact the Office of Community Standards and someone will be happy to assist you.