A hearing will be scheduled by the Office of Community Standards and heard by a hearing officer that was not involved in the investigation process. The hearing is a time for the organization to make its case as to why it is not responsible for the charge(s) alleged.
Organizations are permitted to have one representative (the president), one advisor, and one support person attend the hearing, if desired. Support persons can be other executive members, national headquarter staff, additional advisors, or anyone deemed to serve in a supporting role to the organization.
The hearing occurs in one sitting, but has two phases:
- The first phase is the responsibility phase where the organization can present its case, call witnesses, and answer questions about the facts of the allegations. If the organization is found responsible for one or more of the charges.
- Then there is a second phase to discuss appropriate sanctioning considering the goals of the organization and the disciplinary history of the organization.
Although some reports received by the Office of Community Standards contain enough evidence to proceed without an investigation, most organizations involved in the Community Standards process go through an investigation.
Investigations occur when additional information is needed after an organization has been reported for potentially violating the Code of Student Conduct. Reports that lead to an investigation can come from a variety of places, including Oxford Police Department, Miami University Police Department, Residence Life, current or past organization members, faculty or staff, community members, or bystanders.
Once a report is received by the Office of Community Standards, the office determines who should be interviewed in the investigation. Sometimes, this group includes entire new member classes or organizations, and other times it only includes a few members. This is determined by the nature of the report submitted.
Community Standards will then send the necessary parties an invitation to come in to speak with an investigator. The purpose of this interview is to gather more information about the reported incident.
While students do not always know why they are being interviewed prior to their meeting, it is important to come prepared to share the truth in response to whatever questions you are asked.
After an investigation concludes, the Office of Community Standards produces an Investigation Report that is shared with organization presidents, advisor(s), Student Activities, and any other governing body. Examples of other governing bodies include athletics, national headquarters, or related academic units.
This report will include information gathered through the investigation process, and will make a determination as to whether or not reasonable cause exists to believe the Code of Student Conduct may have been violated.
If the investigator determines that reasonable cause exists, the hearing process will begin. If the investigator determines that reasonable cause does not exist, the process ends and no charges are brought forth.
Before a case is brought to a hearing, an organization will participate in a Procedural Review meeting with a staff member in the Office of Community Standards. A Procedural Review Notice is sent to the chapter president and other necessary parties, such as a chapter advisor, national headquarters, or the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. The notice will include the charges alleged, along with a meeting date and time.
At the Procedural Review meeting, the Office of Community Standards staff member reviews the following with the organization’s president:
- The alleged charges.
- The option to accept responsibility and proceed to an administrative hearing to discuss sanctions only.
- The option to request an Administrative Hearing if the organization disputes the charges.
The organization president is given time to discuss the options with necessary parties and notify the Office of Community Standards of its decision. If the organization fails to notify the Office of Community Standards of the option selected, a hearing will be scheduled by default.
Role of President
If you are the president of your organization, it is important to understand the role you play during the Community Standards process. To put it simply, you are the face of your organization during this process. You make decisions on its behaIf, represent it during a hearing, and function as the primary liaison between the Office of Community Standards and your membership.
If an investigation occurs, you will typically receive a Notice of Investigation outlining the behavior reported. Then, just like other members, you will likely be interviewed as a part of the investigation process.
However, your role as president does not necessarily mean you will be privy to information regarding specific allegations before other members of your organization are asked to participate in the investigation. This is not because the Office of Community Standards wants to keep you in the dark, but rather because we want to ensure information being shared is protected due to its often sensitive nature. It is always the intention of the Office of Community Standards to be open and candid with organization presidents and share as much information with you as possible.
The Office of Community Standards recognizes the difficulty that comes along with being an organization president. Throughout the process, the office can serve as a resource and support to you.
The intention of Community Standards is to build an open and honest relationship with you throughout the process so everyone can work together to ensure the safety and security of the students in your organization.