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Section IX: Honor Council Resolution Procedures

A. Referring to the Honor Council. If after initial discussion with the student (VII.C), the Reporting Party remains concerned that a violation may have occurred (and provided an early resolution agreement under Sec. VIII is not possible), he or she submits a report through the Office of Student Conduct to the Chair of the appropriate Honor Council within five days (or longer, provided the latter finds good cause for the delay). Upon receipt of the report, the Chair will notify the Respondent of the alleged misconduct, inform him/her of his/her right to receive the assistance of a student advisor [FN36] and provide him/her with a list of current Council members, as well as instructions for the Respondent to indicate whether he or she believes any member of the Council would be unable to render a fair decision based on the facts and circumstances presented. [FN37]

B. Reporting to the Honor Council or Resigning from the College. The Respondent will have the option of reporting himself/herself to the Honor Council Chair or resigning from the College within two business days. The Respondent may meet with the Dean of Students/designee to discuss options before making a decision.

1. Resignation. Resignation is an agreement that the student will leave the College within 48 hours and will not seek or receive re-enrollment at any point in the future as a student in any program. The Dean of Students will place a permanent notation on the student’s transcript: “Resigned under suspicion of an honor code violation: ineligible to return.” The student must sign a notarized statement indicating the intention to resign and the understanding of the terms attendant with resigning.

2. Failure to Report/Resign. The Honor Council may proceed in investigating the matter if, after two business days have passed, the Respondent has not contacted the Chair or resigned from the College.

C. Honor Council Chair’s Obligation to Report to the Office of Student Conduct. The Chair will immediately notify the Office of Student Conduct of any reports of alleged violation received by that Council.

D. Determining Jurisdiction.

1. Alleged violations of both the Honor Council and the Student Code of Conduct. If the alleged misconduct involves possible violations of the Honor and Student Conduct codes, the Dean of Students will determine which forum, student conduct or honor, is appropriate to resolve the charges. In any case, there may only be one hearing to resolve the matters asserted. The Dean’s decision is final and may not be appealed.

2. Proper Jurisdiction.
Before commencing an investigation, the Chair must first determine that the Honor Council has proper jurisdiction over the matter. Proper jurisdiction results when the alleged conduct reasonably constitutes a possible violation of the Code, the alleged violation was committed while the person was a student as defined in the Student Handbook, and the matter asserted is not inconsequential. The Chair must disclose the decision regarding jurisdiction to the Reporting Party, the Respondent, and the Council within two days. If the Chair finds that the Council does not have proper jurisdiction for any of the above reasons, he/she will submit a 1-3 line summary of the matter, to be maintained by the Dean of Students, and dismiss the case. All other records of the matter will be destroyed within two weeks of the decision.

E. Investigations

1. If the Chair determines that the Council has jurisdiction, he or she will appoint an investigation team to investigate the matter. Based on the complexity of the matter asserted or the number of possible witnesses involved, the Chair may appoint the number of investigators he/she deems necessary to conduct a timely and thorough investigation. The investigation team’s responsibilities include interviewing necessary witnesses and collecting and preserving other necessary and relevant information. The team will prepare an investigation report detailing the significant facts and information gathered in the investigation. The report will not contain opinions regarding whether the student has violated the Code, regarding witness credibility, or regarding the reliability of any information provided, although the report may point out consistencies or inconsistencies between witness statements and/or other available evidence. Both the Reporting Party and the Respondent will be provided the opportunity to submit written statements to be included in the investigation report prior to its completion.

2. In general, the investigation report should be completed within seven days unless the Chair grants an extension in writing for good cause shown. The Chair must notify the Reporting Party and the Respondent of any extension and deadline for completion of the investigation.

F. Sufficient Evidence Determination. Within five days of receipt of the final investigation report, the Chair will refer the case to a three-member Sufficient Evidence Panel (SEP) to review the investigation report and determine if sufficient evidence exists to refer the matter to a hearing. The SEP will not base its decision on whether it ultimately believes the student has violated the Code, but whether there is sufficient evidence for a hearing panel to conduct a more thorough hearing into the matter and that the matter at issue is legitimately embraced within the proscribed conduct outlined in the Code. If at least two of the three panel members find sufficient evidence, the matter will be referred to a hearing as soon as practical. The Chair will prepare and present to the Reporting Party and Respondent a brief written statement outlining the SEP’s decision and its bases and, if a finding of sufficient evidence was reached, the primary information expected to be presented at the hearing. The SEP’s decision is final and may not be appealed. [FN38]

G.Hearings. As soon as practical, the Chair will meet with the Respondent and his/her student advisor, if the student has chosen one, to provide: a copy of the charges that will be addressed at the hearing; a copy of the investigation report and list of potential witnesses expected to appear; written notice of the date, time, and location of the hearing; and a copy of this Honor Code if the student has not received one previously. If the Respondent does not reply to reasonable efforts by the Chair to schedule this meeting, the Chair may send the information to the student electronically.

1. Type of Hearing Conducted. The Respondent will be provided at least 72 hours to review the investigation report and, if desired, she or he may elect in writing to accept the findings of the report and accept responsibility for the charges.

a. Student Not Challenging Charges. If the student accepts the charges in writing as specified above, the panel will hear information about the alleged offense but will focus primarily on the issue of sanctioning.
b. Student Challenging the Charges. If the student does not accept the charges, or if the student does not respond, the hearing will focus first on the issue of whether the student violated the Code and, if so, what sanctions should apply.

2. Composition of the Panel. Hearings will be conducted before a panel of six Honor Council members appointed by the Chair/designee. [FN39] Where possible, the Chair will serve as Presiding Chair of the hearing panel, though another Council member may be designated to serve in that capacity where necessary. One Council member will serve as Hearing Recorder and will operate the recorder and type hearing notes during the hearing. [FN40]

3. Rules of Evidence.
Hearings will be conducted in an equitable manner so as to provide fairness to the principal parties and all other interested parties. Formal rules of evidence employed by the Courts of Law do not apply to Honor Code proceedings. Information that does not come from a first-hand source may be considered, although a finding of responsibility will not be premised solely on such information. Lie detector/polygraph evidence is not permissible.

4. Timeline.
Hearings will be conducted no sooner than a) one week from the time the student was originally informed of the allegation or b) 72 hours after the Respondent is formally notified of the SEP decision and charges, whichever time period is longer. The hearing will not occur more than two weeks after this notification unless the Chair has granted an extension for good cause. Hearings will not be conducted in conflict with religious holidays or practices of the principal parties and should be scheduled, to the extent feasible, to accommodate the schedules of the principal parties.

5. Location of the Hearing.
Hearings will be conducted in an environment that provides an appropriate level of confidentiality.

6. Requests for an Open Hearing.
The Respondent will enjoy the right to have his hearing closed to the public unless he/she waives this right in writing at least 72 hours prior to the hearing. The only persons permitted in a closed hearing are the Honor Council members involved in the hearing, the Respondent, witnesses during their portion of testimony, and, if chosen, his/her student advisor, one silent supporter, and one immediate family member. The student advisor, silent supporter and family member will not serve as witnesses in the hearing. A request for an open hearing does not necessitate a change in the ordinary location of the hearing. The presiding chair may close an open hearing for the following reasons: a request is made by one or more students in a case where two or more are charged in the same incident; a Reporting Party can demonstrate that an open hearing would violate his/her rights; or if the open hearing results in disruption of the process or raises safety or security concerns. The Presiding Chair must announce the closing and the reasons for closing the hearing on the record, and the Respondent may appeal on this basis if she or he can establish that this decision may have affected the outcome of the case.

7. Conduct of the Hearing.
The hearing normally will consist of distinct phases: the “responsibility phase,” during which the panel will consider evidence regarding whether a violation has occurred and the “sanctions” phase, during which the panel will consider evidence related to what sanctions to administer.

a. Where the Respondent is challenging the charge, a finding of responsibility will require at least five of the six panel members deciding that the evidence presented establishes the Respondent’s responsibility for the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
b. The Presiding Chair will exercise control over the proceedings and the conduct of all persons participating in or observing the hearing. The Presiding Chair also makes determinations regarding the relevance or admissibility of evidence. The presiding chair may limit questions that are repetitive or unlikely to produce new information.
c. The number of character witnesses permitted to testify during the sanctions phase generally will be limited to two, although the Respondent may introduce letters from other parties that are relevant to the issue of sanctioning.
d. The hearing will begin with the Presiding Chair reminding all parties that the proceedings are confidential unless the Respondent has requested an open hearing and that request has been granted.
e. The Presiding Chair will read the charge and ask the Respondent to indicate whether he is accepting responsibility for each violation.
f. A member of the investigating team will present the results of the investigation and call witnesses as necessary to provide the panel with information required to make an informed decision. A member of the investigating team, the panel members, the Presiding Chair, and the Respondent and his/her advisor will be permitted to question the Reporting Party and all witnesses.
g. The Respondent will be permitted to present his/her case.
h. A member of the investigating team, the Presiding Chair, and the panel members will be permitted to question the Respondent and any witnesses.
i. Following presentation of all information, the Presiding Chair will remind the panel of the duty to evaluate carefully the evidence presented in order to determine whether a violation has occurred and that a finding of responsibility requires a vote of at least five of the six panel members finding proof beyond a reasonable doubt. All panel deliberations will occur in private, and the panel may consult the Presiding Chair or the Dean of Students/designee with questions about interpretation of the Code, case precedent, or procedural matters.
j. If the panel finds the Respondent responsible for at least one violation, it will conduct the sanctions portion of the hearing during which the panel will determine the appropriate sanctions for the violation(s). The panel will consider the gravity of the violation, the impact or potential impact of the violation on the community, and actions necessary to remedy the violation. The panel also may consider extraordinary circumstances present at the time of the violation that impacted the Respondent’s actions and any aggravating factors such as a prior record of violation or the Respondent’s failure to cooperate fully with the process. The sanction will require the support of at least four of six panel members. The sanctions hearing usually will occur on the same day, although the sanctions hearing and deliberations may be postponed for good cause (e.g., to accommodate participation by previously-scheduled character witnesses) and scheduled as soon as possible (with the same panel composition) thereafter, but not more than seven days later unless approval is granted by the Dean of Students.
k. Following the determination of sanction, the Presiding Chair will inform the Respondent of the sanctions in writing, including a statement affirming that the sanctions were supported by at least four of the five panel members.
l. The Hearing Secretary will prepare a summary report of the hearing, including the decision of the Honor Council. The Secretary will deliver the case file, the hearing notes, and the panel’s decision and rationale to the Office of Student Conduct, typically by the end of the next working day. The record of the hearing will consist of the audio recording of the hearing and the tangible evidence presented at the hearing.

[FN36] Graduate and Professional students may opt to request the assistance of trained undergraduate student advisors if desired.
[FN37] Respondents must document in writing the reasons they believe a member is unable to fairly hear the case, and the Chair will promptly respond in writing the decision and, in the event of a denial, the basis for the decision.
[FN38] If the Provost determines that consequential new information has arisen regarding a case that has been dismissed by a previous SEP, he/she may refer the matter to the appropriate Council for a new investigation and, if warranted, hearing.
[FN39] No member who has served on the investigation team or SEP will be appointed to the hearing panel. If insufficient members from the Council are available for the hearing, the Chair may appoint to the panel other members of the student body of the academic unit in which the Respondent is enrolled. These appointees must receive advance training from the Office of Student Conduct prior to hearing the case.
[FN40] Hearing notes are not a verbatim transcript. The notes and the recording will remain the property of the College.