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 Community Values & Restorative Practices 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 University. The Respondent will have the option of reporting himself/herself to the Honor Council Chair or resigning from the university 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 university 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 form letter provided by the Dean of Students Office 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 university.

C. Honor Council Chair’s Obligation to Report to Community Values & Restorative Practices. The Chair will immediately notify Community Values & Restorative Practices 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. Large-Scale Case Resolution Process

1. Upon receipt of a report of a suspected violation involving five or more students, the Chair will have the option of employing the following plan for resolution of the cases in place of the ordinary resolution process.

a. Initial Meeting

i. The Presiding Chair will send written initial notifications to all Respondents that will include all information that would be covered in an initial meeting, including the relevant information and options under this Large-Scale Resolution Process.
ii. If a Respondent, after receiving the letter, wishes to meet to discuss the report, the student can schedule a meeting with the Presiding Chair and a Procedural Advisor.
iii. The investigation phase will begin automatically

b. Investigation

i. Within four business days of receipt, the Investigating Committee Chair (ICC) will complete a preliminary investigation to the extent the ICC deems warranted and will determine whether further investigation is necessary. The ICC also will provide the Respondent with the opportunity to submit any relevant information and/or the Respondent’s explanation/narrative regarding the incident.
ii. If the ICC determines further investigation is necessary, the investigating committee will investigate the matter using its ordinary investigation procedures.

c. Sufficient Evidence Panel

i. After the IC completes its investigation, or determines that further investigation is not necessary, the Chair will appoint a three-member Sufficient Evidence Panel (SEP) to determine whether sufficient information exists to offer a Large-Scale Case Resolution to each student reported.

  1. The SEP will determine which of the student cases will be eligible for the Large-Scale Case Resolution Process.
  2. For those cases determined to be eligible for the Large-Scale Case Resolution Process, the SEP will develop a summary of the facts of the incident and the sanction to be offered to eligible Respondents.

ii. If the SEP finds that there is insufficient information in any particular student’s case, it will close the case with no charges.

d. Resolution Proposal

ii. The Presiding Chair will present the SEP’s proposed agreement and sanctions/educational measures to a Hearing Panel composed of three members of the Council not previously involved in the /matter.
ii. If the panel concludes that the proposed agreement is acceptable, the Presiding Chair will have appropriate authorization to offer each Respondent the proposed agreement in writing. The Respondent will have 48 hours to indicate whether the student accepts the proposed resolution.

  1. By accepting the agreement, the student both agrees to accept responsibility for committing the violation(s) and accept the proposed sanctions/measures. For students accepting the agreement, the sanctions/measures will go into effect immediately upon acceptance. The Respondent will not have a right to appeal, and the agreement will be considered final. If the student rejects the proposed agreement or fails to respond within the 48-hour period, the Chair will refer the case for a hearing in accordance with the standard procedures outlined in Section X.
                   a. Once a student opts not to accept the proposed agreement or fails to respond within the 48-  hour period, the student no longer will be eligible for the Large-Scale Case Resolution Process.

E. Investigations

1. Upon determining that the Council has jurisdiction, the Chair will determine whether the nature of the reported matter may be resolved through an expedited resolution process (see Sec. IX, F) or if the matter requires a formal investigation. 

2. 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.

3. 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.  Expedited Resolution

1.  Expedited Resolution is available only a) for cases in which the primary sanction for the category of violation would be no more than two semesters of disciplinary probation under the presumptive initial level of sanction,[FN38] and b) if the Respondent has no prior Honor or serious Conduct violation.  Rights and Duties under Sec. V apply to expedited resolutions.

2.  Upon determining that a reported violation qualifies for expedited resolution under Sec. IX, F, 1, and that the latter process would be appropriate, the Chair will inform the Respondent in writing of a) the opportunity to discuss this alternative or else to have a complete investigation of the matter (Sec. IX.F) and (if warranted) a hearing, and b) the option to obtain advice on this decision from a trained student advisor before replying.  The Respondent will have 48 hours to reply.

3.  If the Respondent chooses to consider an expedited resolution, the Chair or designee will schedule a first meeting with him/her to discuss the reported violation, as well as student rights and options under the Honor Code. The Respondent will sign a form indicating that he/she a) was notified that the case was eligible for an expedited resolution, b) was informed of the right to consult a trained student advisor, and c) understands that accepting such a resolution would waive the option for a formal investigation and (if warranted) a hearing.  The Respondent may bring a trained student advisor to this first meeting.

4. If the Respondent and Chair agree upon an account of the reported violation, the Chair will develop a written summary of facts and propose sanctions based on the initial presumptive level of sanction for that category of violation (see Sec. X and Appendix I). The Chair will discuss the proposed resolution with the Vice Chair and one other member of the Council, chosen on a rotating basis; two of the three must agree. The Chair or designee will convene a second meeting with the Respondent, who may bring a trained student advisor.  If upon reviewing the summary of facts the Respondent finds it accurate, he/she may sign a document so indicating; it will become the official record, and the accuracy of these facts may not be contested in any appeal.  The Respondent may appeal the sanctions issued in accordance with Section XII.[FN39]

a. If the Respondent and the Chair are unable to agree to a summary of facts, the matter will be referred for investigation in accordance with Section IX.E.
b. If during this process the Chair determines that the reported violation does not constitute an Honor violation, he/she will dismiss the case.
c. The Chair must formally report the results of the expedited resolution to the entire Honor Council within ten business days.

G. 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. [FN40]

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. Procedures for Reports Received During or After the Last Two Weeks of a Semester or During the Summer Session

a. For a reported violation received within the last two weeks of the fall or spring semester or during a summer session, if Expedited Resolution (Sec. IX. F) is not applicable, and if the Council cannot assemble a full, six-person hearing panel, it may instead assemble a three member panel. The panel will observe all customary hearing procedures; a finding of responsibility and sanctions will require the concurrence of at least two out of the three members. All Rights and Duties under Section V. apply.

i. For a Respondent who is scheduled to graduate at the end of the semester in which the charge originates, the three member panel is the only means of resolution available should the Council be unable to assemble a full panel. If the alleged violation is said to have occurred after the last day of classes, including during Commencement, and the student is scheduled to graduate, the university may hold the student’s degree pending resolution of the charges.

ii. In all other cases, the Respondent may choose to proceed with the three member panel or request that the Chair or designee defer resolution. Provided the Chair determines that such a deferral would not preclude a fair hearing due to the loss of evidence or unavailability of witnesses, a full six member panel would be convened at the beginning of the next fall or spring semester (denial of a request to defer may be appealed under Sec. XII, B, 3). The Dean of Students may place a hold on the student’s records pending resolution.

3. Composition of the Panel

a. Six Member Panels. In normal circumstances, hearings will be conducted before a panel of six Honor Council members appointed by the Chair/designee.[FN41]

b. Three Member Panels.  When the Chair/designee is unable after reasonable efforts to assemble a full six-person hearing panel, the Chair/designee may schedule a hearing before a three-person panel of Council members.  In such cases, a finding of responsibility and determination of sanctions will require the concurrence of at least two out of the three panel members.  All other customary hearing procedures will be observed and all Rights and Duties under Section V will apply.

Rather than proceed with a three-person panel, the Respondent may request that the Chair/designee defer resolution until the Chair can assemble a full six-person panel.  Such deferment may extend until the start of the next fall or spring semester.  The Chair/designee may deny the request if he/she determines that there is a reasonable probability that deferring the hearing would result in loss of evidence or unavailability of witnesses.  If the Chair denies the request, the Chair must provide the Respondent with a written explanation of the basis for denial, and the Respondent may appeal the Chair's denial of the request to defer in accordance with Sec. XII(B)(3).

The Chair shall serve as Presiding Chair of the hearing panel unless the Chair designates another Council member to serve in that capacity.  The Chair shall appoint one member of the panel to operate the recorder and type hearing notes during the hearing.  [FN42]  The Chair may not appoint any member of the investigation team or the Sufficient Evidence Panel to serve on the hearing panel.

4. 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.

5. 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.

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

7. 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.

8. 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 (two of three in three-member panels) 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 (two of three in three-member panels) 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 (two of three in three-member panels). 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 Community Values & Restorative Practices, 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] The presumptive initial level of sanction for violations is established by the Honor System Advisory Committee (HSAC) in consultation with each Honor Council (see Sec. X and Appendix I). As of February 2014, for all violations adjudicated by Councils in the six graduate programs, the initial presumptive level of sanction  is separation, and thus expedited resolution is not available in such cases.

[FN39] Any additional grade penalty remains the prerogative if the faculty member, subject to the university’s grade review procedures.

[FN40] 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. 

[FN41]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 appointo 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 Community Values & Restorative Practices prior to hearing the case.

[FN42] Hearing notes are not a verbatim transcript. The notes and the recording will remain the property of the university.