Judicial System

VII. Judicial System

1. Introduction

Students wishing to discuss matters pertaining to the judicial system may speak to the Director of the Office of Conflict Resolution & Civic Responsibility Other resources include Residence Hall Directors, Quadrangle Coordinators, Judicial Board Advisors, Judicial Administrators and the Student Association Attorney. In keeping with the University's philosophy of encouraging student participation in the governance of the institution, provision is made for student involvement in the judicial system. Campus judicial bodies are advised by professional staff in Student Success and by other staff and faculty as authorized by the Vice President.

The Director of Conflict Resolution bears responsibility for the disposition of all cases. Options available for the disposition of cases include:

  • a. Referral to a judicial board or committee.
  • b. Assignment of the case to a hearing officer.
  • c. Administrative resolution of the case at an informal disciplinary conference or through an administrative review process.
  • d. Referral to mediation services.

 

A copy of each judicial referral will be filed with the Office of Conflict Resolution (or the Office of Residential Life for residence-based cases) prior to the actual hearing. Prior to forwarding the referral to an appropriate judicial body, the Office shall notify the subject(s) of the referral that a referral has been received. A summary of the case and the recommendation by the judicial body for University action will be provided to the Vice President for review and action.

2. Judicial Referrals

Any member of the University community may file charges against any student for misconduct. Charges shall be prepared in writing and directed to the judicial administrator responsible for the administration of the University judicial system. Any charge should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place, preferably within the academic year in which the alleged infraction took place. All charges shall be presented to the accused student in written form five days in advance of any hearing before a judicial body. The accused shall have the opportunity to respond to the evidence against them, the right to be accompanied by an advisor and the right to appeal the disciplinary decision as applicable.

The judicial administrator may conduct an investigation to determine if the charges have merit and/or if the judicial administrator can dispose them of through an administrative review. Such disposition shall be final and there shall be no subsequent proceedings. If the charges cannot be disposed of by administrative review, the judicial administrator may later serve in the same matter as the judicial body or a member thereof.

3. Types of Hearings

  • a. Judicial Body

    The Vice President shall be responsible for establishing the Judicial Board and for establishing its operating procedures. In that process, the Vice President may consult with the Student Association but the ultimate responsibility for establishment of the Board rests with the Office of the Vice President. A pool of students will be identified to hear cases stemming from referrals from the residence halls or on University premises. The pool will consist of resident and non-resident students, and sub-groups will be convened as frequently as necessary to handle the caseload. Selection, training and advisement shall be the responsibility of Student Success.

  • b. Committee on Student Conduct

    The University Senate establishes the Committee on Student Conduct. This Committee is established to serve as the primary hearing body in cases initiated by faculty and administrative offices, including residence-based cases, as circumstances require, and in cases, which involve graduate students. The Committee also considers, reviews, and recommends policies, procedures, and regulations relating to student conduct.

  • c. Hearing Officer

    The Director of the Office of Conflict Resolution & Civic Responsibility may refer, or either party may request that his or her case be considered by a hearing officer in lieu of a hearing before a judicial body.

  • d. Administrative Review

    When the referred student agrees to the facts in a judicial referral and waives his/her rights under Community Rights and Responsibilities, s/he may consent to an administrative review of the referral and to the imposition of a disciplinary sanction(s). This consent shall be in writing to the Director of Conflict Resolution & Civic Responsibility. The appeal rights of both parties remain unchanged. Appeals of administrative review determinations shall be limited to the appropriateness of the sanction.

  • e. Informal Disciplinary Conference

    Students subject to less severe sanctions (e.g. Warning, Probation and Community Service) will be entitled to an informal disciplinary conference with a representative from the Office of Conflict Resolution & Civic Responsibility. The judicial administrator will impose lower level sanctions commensurate with the offense. Complex or contested cases may be referred by the judicial administrator for a formal hearing.

  • f. Mediation

    This procedure is governed by operating procedures established by the Vice President and is generally reserved for first and less serious violators. It is employed when a violation arises out of a dispute between a referred student and another party or parties. The goal is to design a mechanism to resolve the dispute and to prevent it from recurring. The Office of Conflict Resolution & Civic Responsibility will retain a record of the mediation efforts and the agreed-upon resolution. If the referred party fails to live up to the agreed settlement, the referral will be forwarded to a judicial body.

  • g. University Community Accountability Board (U.C.A.B)

    This procedure is governed by operating procedures established by the Vice President and is generally reserved for first-time and less serious violators. UCAB facilitators are selected from a pool of faculty, staff and students. The UCAB was born out of the Restorative Justice model, which presents an alternative to the traditional disciplinary process by engaging the responsible party, as well as the parties harmed by their behavior, in a dialogue that seeks to repair harm. The goal is to design a process which reintegrates the responsible party into the community. The student also plays a key role in deciding what he or she must do to repair the harm they may have caused by their behavior.

4. Conduct of Hearings

Each judicial body shall conduct hearings so as to assure the basic concept of procedural fairness. The following procedures shall be adhered to:

  • a. The judicial administrator shall give appropriate advance notice, in writing, of the charges against the student, to insure that he or she may adequately prepare for such hearing. The notice shall clearly indicate the violated regulations, and shall indicate the date, time and place of the hearing. The student should receive the notification at least five calendar days prior to the hearing.
  • b. The hearing shall not be considered to be a formal legalistic trial. Rather, the judicial body or hearing officer shall examine all relevant facts and circumstances at the hearing and shall come to a decision based upon a preponderance of the evidence. In all cases the burden of proof rests with the referring party.
  • c. It shall be the initial responsibility of the hearing officer or chair of the judicial body to insure the relevancy of testimony. The primary function of any hearing body or officer is to determine whether the accused student has violated the provisions of Community Rights and Responsibilities and if so, recommend an appropriate sanction.
  • d. Hearings are generally regarded as confidential and closed to all but the principals of the case, unless both parties agree to the presence of others.
  • e. Tape recording will be made of the proceedings unless a request not to do so is received and approved by the Office of the Vice President three (3) days prior to the hearing. If approved, a written record of the hearing will be made.
  • f. At the hearing the student being referred and the referring party should have ample opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding the incident and are encouraged to present pertinent evidence and the testimony of witnesses in person. In addition, both parties should be afforded the opportunity to ask questions of any witnesses who appear, to comment on any written statements or other evidence presented, and to respond to questions.
  • g. Both parties have the right to be assisted in their presentation by an advisor of their choice. The advisor may be, but is not limited to, a fellow student, faculty member, or a lawyer. The advisor may speak privately to the advisee during the proceedings. Either party may request a brief recess to consult with the advisor. At no time during the hearing, however, will such advisor be permitted to speak for the advisee.
  • h. No member of the judicial body or the hearing officer should be either a witness for or against the student or a person previously engaged in formulating the charge or in presenting the material relating to the case.
  • i. The referred party will be notified, in writing, by the Vice President, of the final decision and of the right to appeal. Consistent with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations, and in cases involving a non-forcible sex offense or crime of violence, both the referred student and the victim shall be notified of the final decision of the judicial referral.
  • j. The student may waive, in writing, to the Director of Conflict Resolution & Civic Responsibility, the requirements of a hearing. In such cases, the judicial administrator will consider the evidence available and base a decision upon a consideration of such evidence.
  • k. If the referred party does not waive the right to a hearing and fails to appear at the scheduled hearing after appropriate notice, the case will be considered by the judicial body or hearing officer and a decision rendered based on the available evidence.

 

5. Conduct of University Community Accountability Board (U-CAB)

The U-CAB is governed by operating procedures established by the Vice President and cases are referred to the U-CAB at the discretion of the Vice President or his/her designee when they meet the following criteria:

  • a. The student accepts responsibility for violating the student conduct code;
  • b. The student expresses remorse for his/her behavior;
  • c. The student’s presence on campus does not constitute a threat to the community;
  • d. The student expresses an interest in waiving the right to a judicial hearing;
  • e. There is an obvious harmed party, whether an individual or a community;
  • f. The student can identify who was harmed by his or her behavior;
  • g. The student is willing to work with the board to identify ways to repair the harm caused by his or her behavior. This constitutes a binding agreement that is written up and signed prior to the end of the board meeting;
  • h. The student actively participates in the process;
  • i. The student completes all aspects and phases of the agreement;
  • j. The student attends an exit interview;
  • k. The student’s case is closed and the judicial referral is considered closed;
  • l. A student can elect to have the case sent to a judicial hearing at any point during this process;
  • m. A student who fails to complete the agreement and exit interview will be referred to a judicial hearing for resolution of the case.

 

This process is designed to reconnect the student to the community as a productive citizen. Once a student has participated in a U-CAB process, they cannot go through the process a second time for similar behavior.

Note: A student who withdraws from the University shall not be exempt from disciplinary proceedings for behavioral infractions which took place prior to withdrawal. Campus disciplinary procedures shall be followed with the accused student receiving due notice of hearing. Any resulting sanction of suspension or dismissal will appear on the undergraduate or graduate record.