Section 5: Policies and Procedures for Code Enforcement
Section 5.1 Preliminary Matters
Each of the six Honor Councils may develop and implement procedural rules supplementing the administration of this Code. Such rules and procedures must be consistent with the other provisions of this Code as well as the Constitutions of their respective student governing bodies, and, therefore must be submitted to the Council of Chairs for approval.
In addition to specific procedures, each school may adopt non-binding commentary to explain portions of the Code. Such commentary should be developed in accordance with procedures determined by each school's student governing body. This commentary must also be submitted to the Council of Chairs for approval as consistent with this Code.
Section 5.2 Reporting A Breach of Honor
The basis of an honor system is each student's acceptance of the responsibility to act honorably and to uphold this code of honorable conduct. Students must also reject dishonorable conduct in others. Accordingly, if an honor system is to be effective, students and all College community members must report suspected violations of the Honor Code by students.
When any member of the College community believes in good faith that an Honor Code violation may have occurred, he or she shall act in accordance with the following procedures: (1) make a good faith and diligent attempt personally to confront the student involved, inform the student of the nature of the alleged violation, and request an explanation; (2) if the explanation is satisfactory, forget the matter; (3) if the explanation is unsatisfactory or if no explanation is received, personally accuse the student of a violation of the Honor Code and offer that student the option of, within twenty-four hours, resigning from the College or reporting himself or herself to the Chief Justice of the Honor Council with jurisdiction over the matter; (4) within twenty-four hours after the personal accusation, whether the accused student has reported to the Honor Council or resigned from the College, notify the Chief Justice and reduce the charge to writing and submit the written charge to the Chief Justice of the Honor Council with jurisdiction over the matter; (5) following an unsuccessful, good faith and diligent effort personally to confront the accused, promptly notify the Chief Justice of the accusation, and within twenty-four hours, deliver a written accusation of the alleged honor violation to the Chief Justice of the Honor Council with jurisdiction over the accused student.
The respective Honor Councils have no jurisdiction over alleged Honor Code violations until a personal accusation or a good faith and diligent attempt to make a personal accusation has been made, and a written charge has been filed with the Chief Justice in accordance with these procedures.
If an accused student chooses to resign from the College, the Office of the Dean of Students shall direct that the student's official records, including his or her transcript shall carry the designation "Resigned under suspicion of violation of the Honor Code." The student may meet with the Vice President for Student Affairs to discuss the issue. If a student chooses to resign from the College the student must certify in writing that he or she will never seek readmission or re-enroll to the program of study in which he or she was enrolled at the time of the alleged offense. If the accused reports to the Chief Justice within twenty-four hours, the Chief Justice shall, upon receipt of the accuser's written accusation, immediately provide to the accused the following information: (1) a copy of the written accusation, (2) a copy of the Honor Code, (3) a list of all students trained as Student Counsel, who may, if selected by the accused, serve as the accused's Student Counsel, and an explanation that the accused is free to select any student as his or her Student Counsel. The Chief Justice shall then commence an investigation in accordance with these procedures. The accused student's decision to report himself or herself to the Chief Justice, rather than resign from the College, does not infer guilt. Rather, by reporting to the Chief Justice, the accused demonstrates his or her willingness to cooperate with the honor system.
If an accused student fails to resign and fails to report to the Chief Justice within twenty-four hours following a personal accusation, the Chief Justice shall proceed with the investigation in accordance with these procedures and shall attempt to contact the accused and provide the accused with the information previously described.
The respective Chief Justices shall immediately report all allegations of suspected Honor Code violations to the Office of the Dean of Students.
Section 5.3 Determining Jurisdiction
Before commencing an investigation, the Council must first determine whether the asserted conduct falls within the jurisdiction of the Honor Code.
Any alleged violations determined to be trivial shall be dismissed. A "trivial" violation of the Honor Code is one with no possible consequence to a matter of legitimate concern of the academic community, or one with no tendency to undermine trust within the community.
Any honor violation alleged to have been committed more than 4 months before the confrontation of the accused shall be dismissed unless (1) good cause for the delay has been shown and (2) it is still feasible to hold a fair trial, considering the impact of the delay on the integrity of the evidence and its availability to the accused. In determining jurisdiction, the council shall consider the effects that a lapse of time may have on the ability of the respective parties to proceed in an unprejudiced manner. This shall be determined at the same time as triviality.
In the event the conduct which gives rise to the Honor Code charge is also alleged to violate the College's code of conduct, only one proceeding shall occur. The Vice President for Student Affairs will determine in which forum, the Student Conduct System or the Honor System, the charges would be most appropriately adjudicated. The decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall be final and may not be appealed.
Section 5.4 Investigations Of Alleged Honor Code Violations
Upon receipt of (1) a timely written accusation of violation of the Honor Code following a proper personal accusation or (2) a diligent, good faith effort to make a personal accusation, the Chief Justice shall appoint an investigating committee of at least two people from among the membership of the Honor Council with jurisdiction over the matter. The investigators shall (1) collect, preserve, and present evidence, and (2) prepare a written report detailing all facts and evidence discovered in the investigation. In the event sufficient numbers of Honor Council members are unavailable to serve as investigators, the Chief Justice may appoint one or more members from the general student body of the academic unit having jurisdiction.
The investigators shall meet with the accused, the accuser, and all material witnesses. They shall seek to gather all relevant evidence and shall prepare a written report detailing all facts and evidence discovered during their investigation. The written report shall not contain their opinions on ultimate issues of guilt or innocence, or of witness credibility or reliability of evidence. Both the accused and the accuser shall have the option of submitting a written statement to be included in the investigators' report.
The investigation and written report shall be completed within seven working days of the Chief Justice's receipt of the written accusation. If the investigators are unable to complete the investigation and report within this seven working day period, they may request a reasonable extension from the Chief Justice. If such an extension is granted, the Chief Justice shall promptly inform all concerned parties of the new deadline for completion of the investigation.
Section 5.5 Sufficient Evidence Hearing
Upon completion of the investigation and written report, the Council shall convene a three-person panel to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a hearing. The sufficient evidence panel does not consider the guilt or innocence of the accused, but does consider the quality of evidence offered in support of the accusation. "Sufficient evidence," (1) supports an accusation, and in doing so, (2) presents a question that warrants a hearing. If the panel determines that there is insufficient evidence, the charge will be dismissed and no further proceedings will occur. If at least two-thirds of the members of the panel determine that sufficient evidence exists, the matter will proceed to a hearing before the Honor Council.
The Chief Justice shall then provide the accused with a brief written statement of the panel's determination and a copy of the Investigators' written report detailing the facts and evidence gathered to that point.
The decision of the Panel on whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a hearing is final and no appeal may be taken.
Section 5.6 Hearings on Honor Code Offenses
As soon as possible following the sufficient evidence determination, the Chief Justice shall meet with the accused and his or her Student Counsel, if the accused has chosen one, and, if not previously provided, shall provide the following: (1) a copy of this Honor Code; (2) a copy of the written accusation; (3) written notice of the date, time and location of the hearing; (4) copies of all documentary evidence and a written summary of the substance of non-documentary evidence gathered by the investigating committee; and (5) an explanation of the standards and procedures that will be followed at the hearing.
Hearings on allegations of Honor Code offenses shall be held as soon as reasonably possible, but in no event less than seventy-two hours before or more than two weeks after the determination of sufficient evidence, unless the Chief Justice extends the time for good cause. Hearings shall not be conducted in conflict with the religious practices of the accused or the other parties involved in the process and shall, to the extent feasible be scheduled to accommodate the schedules of the accused, the accuser and other material witnesses.
Hearings shall be conducted in a fair and equitable manner so as to provide fundamental fairness to the accused and all other interested parties, including the accuser. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply in Honor Code proceedings. Relevant hearsay evidence with adequate indications of reliability may be considered. Relevant documentary and tangible evidence may be considered if adequately authenticated with indications of reliability.
Hearings shall be conducted before a panel of six Honor Council justices, appointed by the Chief Justice of the Honor Council with jurisdiction over the matter. All six members of the panel shall be selected from the membership of the Honor Council having jurisdiction. The Chief Justice shall, where possible, serve as the presiding judge, and shall rule on all procedural and evidentiary issues incident to the hearing. If, due to bias or other conflict, the Chief Justice is unable to serve as presiding judge, the Chief Justice shall appoint a member of the Honor Council, who is not one of the six justices on the hearing panel, to serve as presiding judge. The Chief Justice shall appoint one member of the panel as secretary, who shall keep an accurate record of the proceedings for purposes of deliberations on the verdict and/or sentence, and for student appeals if the tape recording is incomplete. If sufficient numbers of Honor Council members are unavailable in a particular case, the Chief Justice may appoint one or more students from the general student body of that academic unit. The Chief Justice shall make reasonable efforts to summon the attendance of material witnesses for and against the accused. No Honor Council member who has served on the investigating or Sufficient Evidence Panel may be appointed to the hearing panel.
Honor Code hearings shall be closed to the public, unless the accused asserts his or her right to request an open hearing. In the event the accused does not request an open hearing, the only persons present at the hearing shall be the members of the Honor Council involved in the hearing, the accused, the accused's counsel as allowed by the other provisions of this Code, one silent supporter or observer chosen by the accused, and witnesses.
If, after having received adequate notice of the date, time and location of the hearing, the accused student refuses to appear or otherwise makes him or herself unavailable for trial without demonstrating to the Chief Justice good cause for postponement, the accused shall have waived his/her right to appear. Under such circumstances, the Honor Council may hold the hearing in the absence of the accused, and his or her absence shall not constitute grounds for appeal of the hearing panel's verdict and recommended sanction. The Chief Justice shall appoint one member of the Honor Council with jurisdiction, not including any member serving as an investigator or Sufficient Evidence Panel-member, to represent the interests of the accused if it becomes necessary to hold a hearing in the absence of the accused.
Section 5.7 Conduct of the Hearing
1. The presiding judge shall remind all participants that the proceedings are confidential, unless the accused has requested an open hearing.
2. The presiding judge shall ascertain that the proceedings are being recorded.
3. The presiding judge shall read the written charge and instruct the hearing panel members that the accused is presumed to be innocent and must be found "not guilty" unless his or her guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt.
4. The presiding judge shall admonish all witnesses that they are bound to testify fully and truthfully, and shall secure from each witness an affirmation that he or she will so testify.
5. The Investigators shall be permitted to present the evidence.
6. The accused and/or his or her Student Counsel shall be permitted to present their case.
7. Upon completion of presentation of evidence, the presiding judge shall instruct the six hearing panel members as to the relevant code section(s) and shall remind the panel that the accused is to be found "not-guilty" unless five of the six panel members determine that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The presiding judge shall explain to the hearing panel that reasonable doubt is doubt which an ordinary student might entertain, not imagined doubt or doubt which a student might create in order to avoid the unpleasant duty of finding guilt. The hearing panel shall then promptly convene in private to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. The presiding judge shall not be present for, or in any way participate in, the panel's deliberations. No recording or record of the panel's deliberations may be made. The accused shall be found "not guilty" of the charge unless at least five of the six members of the hearing panel find that the accused's guilt of the charge is supported beyond a reasonable doubt. When the panel has made its determination, the presiding judge shall immediately inform the accused of the verdict.
8. If the accused is found "guilty" of the charge, the hearing panel shall reconvene to determine the appropriate recommended sanction. The sanction hearing shall be held as soon as possible following a determination of guilt. Ordinarily, the sanction hearing shall be held within two full working days of the determination of guilt. With the permission of the accused, the hearing may be postponed by the presiding judge in the interest of fairness. In no case, however, shall the sanction hearing be postponed more than seven days after the date of the determination of guilt.
9. A separate sanction hearing is provided to allow the accused to argue without equivocation, if he or she desires, for no sanction or for mitigation. The sanction hearing is not intended to be a forum for the reassessment of the guilt or innocence of the accused. The sanction hearing is to be used solely as a means to determine the appropriate sanction, if any. The presiding judge should limit the introduction of evidence relating to guilt or innocence, unless introduced to show state of mind or some other legitimate purpose related to sanction.
10. After all evidence has been presented, the panel shall convene in private to deliberate over the sanction. No other person shall be present while the panel deliberates, and the deliberation shall not be recorded.
When determining the sanction, the hearing panel may consider the accused's prior record of Honor Code and/or conduct violations, which will be supplied to the panel in a sealed envelope by the Office of the Dean of Students. The envelope containing the accused's prior record may not be opened by the hearing panel unless a determination of guilt has first been made. The sanction to be imposed must be agreed to by at least four of the six panel members.
11. At the conclusion of the deliberations, the presiding judge shall inform the accused of the sanction imposed. The verdict and sanction imposed shall be reduced to writing by the presiding judge and a copy shall be given to the accused. The written verdict shall contain a certification by the presiding judge that at least five members of the panel agreed to a finding of guilt and that at least four members of the panel agreed to the sanction imposed. A copy of the written verdict and sanction, together with the recording of the proceedings and all documentary evidence, shall be transmitted to the Office of the Dean of Students no later than the end of the next full working day. Unless the accused consents to the presence of other persons at the time the verdict is delivered, only the accused, his or her Student Counsel, his or her spouse and parents, and one silent supporter or observer chosen by the accused may be present.