Formal Hearing Guidelines & Procedures

Formal Hearing Guidelines

Formal hearings shall be conducted according to the following guidelines:

1.    The Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) may exercise discretion as to the type of formal hearing that will be utilized given concerns of circumstance, timeliness or complainant.
2.    In cases involving more than one accused student, hearings concerning each student may be conducted separately at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct. 
3.    No verbatim record, such as a tape or digital recording, shall be made of any hearing by any party or the University. Participants may take notes, which shall be their own property.
4.    No student shall be found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct solely because the he or she fails to appear at the hearing. However, the hearing may proceed without the presence of the accused student or the complainant.
5.    Hearings shall be conducted in private. No one is permitted to attend the hearing unless specified in the Student Handbook. The Director of Student Conduct may permit a staff member in training to observe a formal hearing. Questions of attendance shall be resolved by the URB Chairperson or Administrative Hearing Officer.
6.    The complainant and the accused student have the right to be assisted by an advisor. Neither family members nor attorneys may serve as advisors nor be present during Administrative Hearings or URB Hearings.
7.    Relevant records, exhibits, written statements and telephone testimony may be accepted as information for consideration at the discretion of the URB Chairperson/Administrative Hearing Officer.
8.    All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the URB Chairperson/Administrative Hearing Officer.

For additional information on Formal Hearing guidelines, please consult the Student Handbook.

Pre-Hearing Procedures

  1. At least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the formal hearing, both the complainant and the accused student must provide the following to the Director of Student Conduct:
    • The names of their advisors and witnesses;
    • Summaries of the testimony that each witness will give at the hearing. These summaries should briefly summarize the verbal testimony that will be provided by the witness and may be written by the complainant, the accused student, or the witnesses. Statements made in writing to the University Police Department  during the investigation of an incident are acceptable;
    • Copies of other relevant materials such as photographs, phone records, costs of damaged or stolen property, medical bills, and diagrams.
  2. Copies of materials that are submitted by the complainant and the accused student as well as other relevant materials available for review at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct will be made available for review by the complainant, the accused student, and their respective advisors no more than thirty-six (36) hours prior to the hearing in the Office of Student Conduct (or at a location specified by the Director of Student Conduct). Similarly, University Review Board members and/or the Administrative Hearing Officer will be permitted to review copies of the materials in the Office of Student Conduct (or at a location specified by the Director of Student Conduct) no more than thirty-six (36) hours prior to the hearing. Those involved with the hearing will be notified by the Office of Student Conduct via e-mail when materials are available for review. It is the responsibility of those involved with the hearing to contact the Office of Student Conduct to arrange a time to review the materials prior to the hearing if such review is desired. Copies of materials will be provided to the complainant, the accused student, and the University Review Board members and/or Administrative Hearing Officers immediately prior to the start of hearing and will be collected immediately following the hearing. If a complainant or accused student wants to submit additional documents or materials that were not provided to the Director of Student Conduct at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the hearing, the URB Chairperson or Administrative Hearing Officer will determine whether to accept such documents or materials before the hearing begins. Timeframes noted in this section may be reasonably adjusted by the Director of Student Conduct when weekends, holidays, and/or breaks in the academic calendar warrant such action.
  3. If the Student Conduct Investigator plans to participate in the hearing, he or she must provide to the Director of Student Conduct all relevant materials at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the hearing. Additionally, if the Student Conduct Investigator plans to have witnesses provide testimony at the hearing, summaries of witness testimony must be submitted with the other relevant materials.
  4. The Office of Student Conduct endeavors to protect personal information of those involved in the Student Conduct Process to the extent necessary and possible.  Accordingly, personal information that is not germane to the fair adjudication of a matter may be omitted from the documents available for review, at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct and/or Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee).

Formal Hearing Procedures

1. Opening: The University Review Board (URB) Chairperson or Administrative Hearing Officer reads the charge(s), and the accused student admits or denies responsibility for violating the charge(s).

2. Questions: Throughout the hearing, both parties may submit to the URB Chairperson/Administrative Hearing Officer one or more questions to be asked of a witness(es) or of the other party. Advisor(s) are permitted to suggest questions to their advisee(s). It is within the discretion of the Chairperson or Administrative Hearing Officer whether to ask the question(s).

3. Presentation of Information: The URB Chairperson/Administrative Hearing Officer has final disrection as to the presentation of information related to the matter at issue. The accused student is asked to comment upon the information presented by the complainant and to present any additional information, including witnesses. The complainant may reexamine information against the accused in view of the statements made by the accused or his or her witnesses. The accused may reexamine information provided by the complainant in view of statements made by the complainant or his or her witnesses.   

4. Summary Statements: At the close of the presentation of information, the complainant and the accused student have an opportunity to make summary statements. 

5. Determining Responsibility: Within seventy-two (72) hours, the URB/Administrative Hearing Officer shall determine, by majority vote in the case of the URB, whether it is more likely than not that the accused student is responsible for each of the Student Code of Conduct charges that were at issue.

6. Determining Sanctions: If the URB/Administrative Hearing Officer finds the accused student responsible for one or more violations of the Student Code of Conduct, a summary of the accused student's disciplinary history is shared with the URB/Administrative Hearing Officer. The URB/Administrative Hearing Officer receives such a summary only if a finding of responsibility is rendered. If responsibility is determined, the URB/Administrative Hearing Officer may ask what sanctions the complainant was willing to accept at the Educational Conference level.

7. Communicating a Formal Hearing Outcome: The URB Chairperson or Administrative Hearing Officer shall communicate in writing to the Director of Student Conduct the findings and the rationale for the decision concerning responsibility, including what information influenced the decision. The decision of the URB/Administrative Hearing Officer shall be communicated to both the complainant and the accused student by the Director of Student Conduct in a timely manner. The Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) may use discretion in communicating the outcome to the affected parties.