The circumstance, which results in a hearing before the Student-Faculty Discipline Committee, is the referral by the student affairs staff of a situation involving disciplinary action upon the request of the student involved or the student affairs staff.
Points involved in such hearings traditionally have been classified as:
- issues of fact (Did a certain incident occur? Was the student involved in the incident?),
- issues related to the nature or character of the incident (Was it an accidental, careless, or intentional action? Was it spontaneous, or premeditated? Were there justifiable reasons or extenuating circumstances?),
- issues of degree or extent (Was it minor, moderate, or major?), and
- issues of jurisdiction (Does the administration have jurisdiction over the incident and the persons involved?).
The purpose of the hearing is to allow the committee to judge whether a violation of regulations of student conduct has occurred and to recommend the appropriate action to be taken. The hearing procedure is an effort by the University to provide students with institutional due process and to provide an atmosphere in which students can both learn and practice rules and procedures of responsible social conduct. The University further seeks to apply in actual practice those principles and rules of justice and civic responsibility incubated by its faculty in academic process.
When a hearing is requested, the dean of students shall make arrangements for the hearing and shall notify the student of the time, date, and place of the hearing. Unless the student requests otherwise, the hearing will be closed except to participants. The student shall notify the dean of students in advance of the hearing if the student desires the hearing to be public.
At the hearing, the student is entitled to be present with a University advisor of his/her choice (Sec. 2.5.2) to testify on his or her own behalf, to present witnesses, to ask questions of witnesses who appear, and to examine all evidence presented to the committee. Attorneys are not permitted to be present or participate in the student discipline process unless the student is also facing criminal prosecution regarding the incident for which the hearing is being held.
A tape recording shall be made of the hearing and shall be kept by the dean of students for one year. The chairperson of the Student-Faculty Discipline Committee shall preside over the hearing and shall rule on the admissibility of evidence, which may include hearsay, and on all other questions regarding the conduct of the hearing.
The appropriate hearing procedure is for the dean of students or the dean’s designee to present a narration of the facts in the situation and specify any action they have recommended. The student then specifies the precise point at issue (the issue of fact, character, extent, or jurisdiction which occasions this hearing).
After the point at issue is specified, the student affairs staff, assuming the burden of proof, presents its position. It may present whatever relevant evidence, testimony, explanation, or argument it feels appropriate. After presentation of the student affairs’ position, the student may present whatever relevant evidence, testimony, explanation, or argument the student feels appropriate.
Members of the discipline committee may ask questions to clarify issues at whatever point they feel necessary; however, such questions should not interrupt a speaker during the presentation unless the questions are essential. All participants may ask questions after the initial presentations are made.
After all relevant matters have been placed before the committee, it shall deliberate in closed session and render a decision. In the decision, the committee may:
- affirm the original finding and sanction;
- affirm the original finding, but lessen the sanction;
- affirm the original finding and increase the sanction; or
- reverse the original finding.
The chairperson of the committee shall forward to the dean of students a written report of the decision and the reasons thereof. The dean of students will report the decision of the hearing committee in a letter to the student and inform him or her of the right to appeal to the president of the university on or before a specified date. If no written notice of appeal is received within the time specified and the Office of the President does not choose to review the proceedings, the action proposed shall be imposed and the disposition shall be considered final.
An ad hoc hearing board may be established by the president whenever the Student-Faculty Discipline Committee is not constituted, is unable to obtain a quorum, or is otherwise unable to hear a case. An ad hoc hearing board shall be composed of three members, including at least one student.
Appeal of the decision of the Student-Faculty Discipline Committee may be made in writing to the president of the university before the stated deadline. The appeal must state the grounds for believing the decision to be erroneous or unfair. An appeal of a disciplinary decision may be made only on justifiable grounds, including irregularity in proceedings, punishment inconsistent with the nature of the offenses, additional pertinent evidence not available for the original hearing, or a question of fact. The president of the university may deny a request for an appeal if the student fails to show sufficient grounds for an appeal.
The president of the university shall notify all parties in the case of the date, time, and place of appeal. The appeal proceedings will be confined to a reception of additional evidence to be offered and of other objections upon which the appeal is based. Following these presentations, the appeal hearing will close and the president of the university will review the previous proceedings along with the additional evidence or objections. The president will then determine whether the disciplinary rights have been properly observed. In the decision, the president may:
- affirm the decision of the discipline committee, which shall be effective as of the date specified by the committee;
- affirm the decision of the discipline committee and reduce the sanction, which shall be effective as of the date specified by the discipline committee;
- affirm the decision of the discipline committee and increase the sanction, which shall be effective as of the date specified by the discipline committee;
- reverse the decision against the student;
- reverse the decision against the student and order a new hearing by the discipline committee;
The president of the university will notify the student and proceed appropriately.