Hearing committees consist of three (3) members. The Judicial Affairs Officer appoints two (2) members from the University faculty or administrative staff and the student selects one (1) member from the University faculty. If the student fails to provide the name of a faculty member, the Judicial Affairs Officer will select the third (3rd) member. The Judicial Affairs Officer also designates the chairperson to conduct the proceedings and report the committee’s decision. Members of hearing committees must be unbiased and must not have had direct involvement in the case prior to the hearing.
Parties to the hearing are notified in writing of the hearing date, time, location and procedures at least seven (7) working days before the hearing.
Hearing procedures include the following:
- A written or electronic record of the proceedings is maintained and confidential. The hearing is closed and members of the committee will take reasonable precautions to ensure that the proceedings remain confidential, unless disclosure is required by law. A scribe or technician may be present to record the minutes.
- The proceeding is not governed by formal rules of evidence or by trial-like procedures. The procedures are those used by reasonable persons conducting a serious proceeding. The chairperson rules on all procedural questions.
- The chairperson reads the charges or complaint to the committee.
- Each side presents its case.
- Members of the committee have the right to question any of the parties or witnesses.
- Parties may be advised by legal counsel, but legal counsel may not be present during the hearing.
- The chairperson may terminate a party’s right to address the committee if the party becomes abusive or persists in presenting irrelevant evidence or information.
- If either party fails to appear, the hearing will continue as if the absent party were present.
- The failure of any party to appear without justifiable cause will terminate that party’s right to appeal.
- After the hearing, the committee deliberates and renders a decision by simple majority based on a preponderance of the evidence (a preponderance of evidence is generally defined as “greater than 50%” or alternatively “more likely than not.”). If the committee decides to impose a penalty, it specifies the disciplinary action to be imposed.
- The Judicial Affairs Officer and the committee chairperson send written notification of the committee’s decision and of the right to appeal it.
Students who believe they have been wrongfully or excessively penalized may appeal the hearing decision. Such an appeal must be requested in writing within thirty (30) days of notification of the action and must be directed to the Provost. In order for the Provost to convene an appeals committee, a student must establish that there is sufficient cause for such an appeal. It is the responsibility of the student to submit a clear, coherent, written statement providing the basis for the appeal, including any supporting documentation. For an appeal to be granted, the student must present:
- A reasonable possibility that the unfavorable decision was clearly wrong, given the hearing committee’s interpretation of the evidence or in the disciplinary action imposed.
- New evidence that was not available for presentation at the original hearing and which, if true, creates a reasonable probability of a different decision. In addition, a satisfactory explanation must be provided for the failure to present such evidence at the hearing.
At the discretion of the Provost any disciplinary action previously imposed may be suspended pending disposition of the appeal.
The Provost will appoint a panel of three (3) individuals from the University’s faculty, administration, or both, and will designate one of them to conduct appeal proceedings. Members of the committee must not have had direct involvement in the case prior to the appellate hearing. A meeting time is arranged within thirty (30) days of receiving of the request for an appeal. All relevant information is then considered by the committee, including the record of the proceedings of the original hearing, written statements of the case and the testimony of any witnesses for each of the opposing parties and any new evidence presented.
The hearing procedures for the appeal will be identical to the procedures for the original hearing (see Hearing Procedures). The appeal committee will make every attempt to render a decision within ten (10) working days from the date of the hearing. The committee may recommend to uphold the previous decision, mitigate sanctions, or dismiss all charges or complaints. The chairperson of the committee will send a written report of the appeal committee’s recommendation, including a description of the appeal and the rationale for its recommendation, to the Provost. Within fourteen (14) days of receiving the recommendation, the Provost will send written notification of his/her decision to the student. This decision is final.
All documentation for all hearings will be kept on file.
Disciplinary expulsions are noted on student transcripts. Probation and suspension are also noted on transcripts but only for the duration of the probation or suspension.
Any retaliatory action of any kind by an employee or student of the University against any other employee or student of the University as a result of that person’s seeking redress under these procedures, cooperating in an investigation, or other participation in these procedures is prohibited and will be regarded as the basis for disciplinary action.
In disciplinary, administrative, grievance, and appeal hearings, parties have the following rights:
- To be present during the hearing
- To be informed of all the evidence received by the committee
- To present witnesses - only those with direct knowledge of the incident shall be allowed to appear as witnesses.
- To challenge or rebut evidence or testimony presented by the opposing party
- To submit evidence on behalf of their own position. Prior to the hearing, the student will provide the Judicial Affairs Officer with copies of all information (relevant to the incident) to be shared at the hearing and a list of possible witnesses. These items must be provided at least 5 days prior to the hearing.
- To make a summary argument and to respond to the argument of the opposing party to bring another person to the hearing as support or as a spokesperson.
Forty-five (45) days from notification of the allegation/dismissal to submit a written hearing request to the Judicial Affairs Officer. (Thirty (30) days to appeal a hearing decision – See Appellate Procedures)