When a student denies responsibility for a major* violation of University policy, their case is heard at a University Hearing. The hearing is a meeting of the complaint party and the accused student before the University Hearing Board and a Presiding Officer. The Hearing Board is a panel of students, faculty, and staff. The board considers information from both parties and any witnesses and determines whether the student is responsible for the violation. If the student is in violation, the Hearing Board determines an appropriate sanction. The Presiding Officer ensures that the correct procedures are followed and that both parties receive a fair hearing.
A University Hearing follows this format:
1. Thirty minutes prior to the hearing, the Presiding Officer briefs the Hearing Board on the case.
2. After the briefing, all the participants assemble and the Presiding Officer explains the procedures to be followed.
3. The Presiding Officer reads the charges and asks the accused student to answer each charge with “responsible” or “not responsible.”
4. The Conduct Officer who conducted the initial investigation presents their report summarizing the investigation.
5. The complaint party gives an (optional) opening statement, which is a brief summary of the facts they plan to present to the board.
6. The accused student gives an (optional) opening statement.
7. The complaint party gives their narrative, describing in detail the incident in question. At this point the complaint party can introduce any supporting documents or physical evidence.
8. The board, Presiding Officer, and the accused student question the complaint party.
9. The accused student gives their narrative and presents supporting documents and/or physical evidence.
10. The board, Presiding Officer, and the complaint party question the accused student.
11. The complaint party calls their factual witnesses, if any. Each witness gives a narrative, describing their knowledge of the event in question. If a witness cannot appear at the hearing, they may submit a written statement. However, this statement can be used only to supplement or explain other information; it cannot support a finding by itself. See these instructions for preparing witness statements (PDF).
12. The complaint party questions their witnesses, followed by the board, Presiding Officer, and the accused student.
13. The accused student calls their factual witnesses. The accused student questions their witnesses, followed by the board, Presiding Officer, and the complaint party.
14. The accused student makes a (optional) closing statement, summarizing their position.
15. The complaint party makes a (optional) closing statement.
16. The Presiding Officer explains the standard of proof. For academic integrity cases, the standard is “by clear and convincing evidence.” In all other cases, the standard is “by a preponderance of evidence.”
17. The Presiding Officer explains the procedures to be followed in deliberations. The Hearing Board deliberates privately.
18. When the board has come to a decision, all the participants reconvene and the board announces its decision.
20. If the student is found not responsible, the hearing ends.
21. If the student is found responsible, the sanction is considered. Both parties and the investigating Conduct Officer may recommend a sanction. If the student has a prior disciplinary record, that information is provided to the board. Any character witnesses are introduced at this point.
22. The Hearing Board deliberates privately.
23. When the board has come to a decision regarding the sanction, all the participants reconvene and the board announces its decision.
24. The hearing is concluded.
* Potentially resulting in suspension, expulsion, or loss of University housing