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Student Affairs - Inspiring Student Success

The Formal Hearing Process


   

       A.    Jurisdiction, Composition, and Authority for Formal Hearing Process:

 1.     Administrative Hearings

Jurisdiction

Violations when the Student Conduct Administrator or designated representative determines that no individual sanction for the charged violation will lead to suspension, expulsion or revocation of admission and/ or degree.

Heard By

Student Conduct Officer.

Sanctions

The Student Conduct Officer may recommend any sanction consistent with the Code, except suspension, expulsion, or revocation of admission and/or degree.

2.     Hearing Boards

Jurisdiction

Violations when the Student Conduct Administrator or designated representative determines that an individual sanction for the charged violation may lead to suspension, expulsion or revocation of admission and/ or degree.

Heard By

One student member, one faculty member, and one staff member selected from the pools for Hearing Boards by the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee, with the Student Conduct Administrator or designated representative serving as non-voting chair.  At the discretion of the Vice President for Student Affairs and if the charged student and the complainant consent, the Hearing Board may have a different makeup. 

Sanctions

The Hearing Board may recommend any sanction consistent with the Code.

3.     At the Vice President for Student Affairs' discretion and if the charged student and complainant consent, a violation that may result in suspension, expulsion, or revocation of admission and/or degree may be heard through an Administrative Hearing. 

 

4.     Hearings in cases involving gender-based personal violence: In cases involving gender-based personal violence, as defined in Section III.E, the Hearing Board or Administrative Hearing Officer will be drawn from a Hearing Board Pool that has received additional training on issues unique to these types of cases.

 

B.    Closed Hearings.

All hearings will be closed.  Attendance will be limited to the accused student or group and his/her/its advisor, the complainant and his/her/its advisor, the Hearing Board Members or Conduct Officer, the Investigator, the Hearing Board Chair, and necessary security personnel if required. A witness will attend the Hearing for his/her testimony only and will be excused after his/her testimony is complete.  If the accused student and complainant consent, a Conduct Officer may observe a hearing for purposes of training.  

 

 C.    Standard of Proof.

To be found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct, the evidence must establish that the violation was committed by the charged student or group by a preponderance of the evidence (not beyond a reasonable doubt or by clear and convincing evidence). In other words, the evidence must establish that it was more likely than not that the student committed the alleged violation.

 

D.    Admissible Evidence:

Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable. Irrelevant evidence will be excluded. In cases concerning gender-based personal violence, as defined in Section III.E, or questioning regarding a complainant's prior sexual conduct with anyone other than the accused student may not be offered by anyone other than the Complainant unless offered by to prove that someone other than the defendant was the source of physical evidence or if introduced to counter something the victim has placed in controversy.

 

E.    Failure to Appear for Hearing.

A student or group who fails to appear for his/her/its hearing after proper written notice will be deemed to have waived his/her/its right to present a defense to the charges. Hearings will proceed in absentia.

 

F.     Administrative Hearing Procedures:


If a case is not resolved at a pre-hearing conference and the Student Conduct Administrator determines that it will not result in a sanction of suspension or expulsion, it will be referred to an Administrative Hearing with a Student Conduct Officer.  The Student Conduct Officer will review the complaint with the accused student or group and, when applicable, the complainant.  The accused student/group and complainant will have opportunity to respond to or supplement the complaint and will have an opportunity to present witnesses and evidence. The Conduct Officer will determine whether the student or group is responsible and, if the student or group is responsible, issue an appropriate sanction.  The results of the Administrative Hearing may be appealed to the Appeals Board pursuant to Section VIII.

If, during the Administrative Hearing, the Student Conduct Officer receives information not previously known to the Student Conduct Administrator that may warrant expulsion, suspension, or revocation of admission and/or degree, the Student Conduct Officer will refer the case back to the Student Conduct Administrator.


       G.    Hearing Board Procedures:

 

1.     Procedural Review. If a case is not resolved at a pre-hearing conference and the Student Conduct Administrator or designee determines that the charged conduct may result in a sanction of expulsion or suspension, either because of the nature of the conduct or the student or group's conduct history, that matter shall be heard through the formal hearing board.  In these cases, the student or group is advised, but not required, to attend a Procedural Review with the Student Conduct Administrator or designated representative. In a Procedural Review, the Student Conduct Administrator or designated representative reviews the charges with the student or group and informs the student or group of the hearing process and his/her/its rights during that process.

 

2.     Impartial Board. In Board hearings, the complainant and charged student may challenge Board members on the ground of personal bias. Board members should also disqualify themselves on these grounds. The Student Conduct Administrator or designated representative has final authority to resolve any questions of personal bias.  If the student consents to the Board members, he, she, or it waives the right to challenge any findings on the basis of any personal bias of which he, she, or it was aware at the time of consent.

 

3.     Order of Hearing. The chair shall exercise control over the hearing to avoid needless consumption of time and/or to prevent the harassment or intimidation of witnesses.

 

·       Any person who disrupts a hearing may be excluded from the proceedings.

 

·       All hearings of a Hearing Board will be recorded by, and only by, the chair.

 

·       All parties and witnesses shall be excluded from the hearing during Board deliberations. Board deliberations will not be recorded.

 

4.     Student Advisor. Advisors may not participate in the proceedings except to advise the complainant or charged student.

 

5.     Investigative Model and the University Investigator: The Investigative Model is a non-adversarial approach to resolving cases that go before a Hearing Board.  Each case that will be presented to a hearing board is assigned a University Investigator, who is a Conduct Officer who has received special training on conducting investigations.  Investigators assigned to cases involving gender-based personal violence, as defined in Section III.E, receive additional training on issues unique to these types of cases.

 

The Investigator serves as a neutral party and does not make a recommendation regarding whether the charged student is responsible for the charges or, if the student is found responsible, what sanctions should be imposed.

 

The Investigator works with all parties involved in the case.  The Investigator determines a witness list, interviews each witness, and collects all available information.  Based on this review, the Investigator presents a report to the Hearing Board, which includes a summary of his or her investigation. 

 

Witnesses will be introduced through the Investigator.  Witnesses will be questioned by the Investigator and Board members.    

 

6.     Witnesses and Testimony. The charged student and the complainant shall be offered the opportunity to identify their own witnesses and to question one another's witnesses through the University Investigator and at the Chair's discretion.

 

a.     All members of the University community with knowledge of facts pertinent to the case are expected to cooperate fully in student conduct proceedings and investigations. When the complainant or charged student identifies individual(s) in writing to the chair at least five working days before the Hearing, absent exceptional circumstances, the Investigator will interview any witnesses identified by the complainant or charged student, subject to the discretion of the Chair. Subject to the chair's control over the Hearing, the Investigator will request that members of the University community with relevant information attend the Hearing, if feasible.  A witness's unreasonable failure to cooperate in student conduct proceedings may result in conduct action.

 

b.     All persons who provide testimony shall be asked to affirm that their testimony is truthful. Furnishing false information to the University may result in the filing of conduct charges against students.

 

c.     With the approval of the Student Conduct Administrator, a complainant, witness, or victim may give testimony in a campus hearing by means other than being in the same room with the charged student(s).

 

d.     Prospective witnesses shall be excluded from the hearing during the testimony of other witnesses.

 

7.     Decision of Board.  Final decision of the Board shall be by the majority vote of all members present and voting. The final decision may be accompanied by a brief written statement.

                                                                                                                 

8.     Sanction Proceeding.  In a Board hearing, a determination that the violation was committed by the charged student shall be followed by a proceeding in which the complainant, the charged student, and appropriate University official(s) may submit information or make statements concerning the appropriate sanction to be imposed. In the Student Conduct Administrator or Chair's discretion, the accused student may submit a limited number of character witnesses, and the complainant may submit a limited number of impact witnesses.  The Hearing Board will consider the conduct history of the charged student in the sanction proceeding. The charged student's conduct history shall not become part of the conduct file and shall not be shared with a student complainant.

 

9.     Review of Sanctions. Unless the Code of Student Conduct provides otherwise, decisions concerning sanctions are recommendations to the Vice President for Student Affairs or designated representative. Recommended sanctions may be approved, altered, deferred or withheld at the discretion of the responsible University official. If no action is taken on the recommendation within five working days or such longer period as the responsible official designates in writing to the affected parties, the recommended sanction shall be final.

 

10.  Timeline.  The investigation and hearing process generally will take no more than 60 days from the date the Student Conduct Administrator learns of the incident.  This timeline may be extended due to reasonable delays, including but not limited to the following reasons: a victim's reluctance to participate in the investigation or request for other scheduling accommodations; the Investigator's inability to fully investigate due to matters beyond his/her control, including the unavailability of witnesses; University closures; in cases other than gender-based personal violence, as defined in Section III.E, the accused student has requested a deferral of the conduct process pending a resolution of criminal proceedings; or the accused student or complainant's academic schedules would be unduly compromised (for example, during final exam period),  Nothing in this Code guarantees a hearing within a specific timeframe.


Division of Student Affairs, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-314-2188 studnaff@tulane.edu