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), the party submits a report through CVRP to the Chair of the appropriate Honor Council within five working 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 the Respondent of the right to receive the assistance of a student advisor [FN42] and provide the Respondent with a list of current Council members, as well as instructions for the Respondent to indicate whether the Respondent believes any member of the Council would be unable to render a fair decision based on the facts and circumstances presented[FN43]
B. Reporting to the Honor Council or Resigning from the University. Upon receipt of a report of alleged violation, the Director of CVRP will confirm that the Reporting Party has made the Respondent aware of the concern regarding possible violation, has provided the Respondent the opportunity to offer an explanation for the alleged conduct, and/or has made a good faith effort to do so. In the case of a good faith effort, CVRP will not forward a case to the Council until at least two working days have passed without reply by the Respondent.
1. Resignation. The Respondent will have the option of resigning from the university within two working days in lieu of the Honor Council investigating and resolving the matter(s) reported. The Respondent can meet with the Director of CVRP/designee to discuss options before making a decision. Resignation is an agreement that the student will leave the university within two working days and will not seek or receive re-enrollment at any point in the future as a student in any program. In the case of resignation, CVRP 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 form letter provided by CVRP indicating the intention to resign and the understanding of the terms attendant with resigning.
C. Honor Council Chair’s Obligation to Report to CVRP. The Chair will immediately notify CVRP of any reports of alleged violation received by that Council.
D. Determining Authority
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 can only be one proceeding to resolve the matters asserted. The Dean of Student’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.
2. Proper Authority. Before commencing an investigation, the Chair must first determine that the Honor Council has proper authority to address the matter. Proper authority 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 working days. If the Chair finds that the Council does not have proper jurisdiction for any of the above reasons, the Chair 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.
i. Within four working 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. Panel Authorization Committee (PAC)
i. After the IC completes its investigation, or determines that further investigation is not necessary, the Chair will appoint a three-member Panel Authorization Committee (PAC) to determine whether sufficient information exists to offer a Large-Scale Case Resolution to each student reported.
a. The PAC will determine which of the student cases will be eligible for the Large-Scale Case Resolution Process.
b. For those cases determined to be eligible for the Large-Scale Case Resolution Process, the PAC will develop a summary of the facts of the incident and the sanction to be offered to eligible Respondents.
ii. If the PAC finds that there is insufficient information in any particular student’s case, it will close the case with no violations.
d. Resolution Proposal
i. The Presiding Chair will present the PAC’s proposed agreement and sanctions/educational measures to a 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.
iii. 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 Panel in accordance with the standard procedures outlined in Section X.
iv. 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.
F. Informal Resolution
1. Upon receipt of a report alleging violation(s) of the Honor Code, the Director of CVRP will confer with the Chair of the Honor Council to determine whether the reported matter is appropriate for possible resolution via Informal Resolution. If so, CVRP will send the student notice of a scheduled Information Session meeting during which the Director/designee and the Presiding Chair will inform the student of their rights under Section V of the Honor Code and will provide: a copy of the report submitted, the Respondent’s resolution options, the deadline for the Respondent to indicate whether the Respondent desires a possible Informal Resolution or an investigation to commence. The Respondent will have two working days to decide whether to pursue an Informal Resolution. If the Respondent does not respond within two working days, the Presiding Chair will refer the matter to the Investigating Committee for investigation. The Respondent will have the option to waive the two working-day period for decision and, if the Respondent chooses, can proceed with an Informal Resolution during the Information Session meeting.
2. If the Respondent chooses an Informal Resolution, the Director/designee will schedule a meeting to include the Presiding Chair and the Respondent. The Respondent can bring a student advisor to the meeting; this advisor can be any currently enrolled student who is of the same academic status as the Respondent (e.g., an undergraduate student can bring an undergraduate student advisor, and a graduate student can bring a graduate student advisor). If the Respondent and Chair agree to a written summary of facts, and the Respondent waives further investigation and a Panel in writing, the Respondent can resolve the case informally with the Presiding Chair. The Chair will determine whether the matter can be resolved with a finding of responsibility, whether the case should be dismissed with a finding of "not responsible", or whether the matter should be referred for investigation and resolution via the Council’s standard processes. The Chair can conduct further investigation as necessary to make the determination as to whether Informal Resolution is appropriate.
3. If the Chair finds the Summary of Facts supports a finding of responsibility for one or more violations, the Chair will provide the Respondent written notice of this finding and will assign sanctions/educational measures. The notice will provide the Respondent with information regarding the option to appeal the findings and sanctions, but the Respondent cannot challenge previously agreed upon facts in an appeal.
4. If the Presiding Chair determines that a case cannot be resolved through an informal process, the Chair will refer the matter for investigation and resolution via other means available in the Honor Code.
5. The Presiding Chair will inform the full Council in writing of any case resolved via Informal Resolution within three working days. This notice will contain the allegations, the agreed-upon summary of facts, and sanctions (if any), and if the case was dismissed, the rationale for the decision to dismiss.
1. Upon determining that the Council has proper authority, the Chair will determine whether the nature of the reported matter can be resolved through the Informal Resolution Process or if the matter requires a formal investigation.
2. If the Chair determines an investigation is necessary, the Chair 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 can appoint the number of investigators 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 can 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 working 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.
H. Panel Authorization Determination. Within five days of receipt of the final investigation report, the Chair will refer the case to a three-member Panel Authorization Committee (PAC) to review the investigation report and determine if sufficient information exists to refer the matter to a panel. The PAC will not base its decision on whether it ultimately believes the student has violated the Code, but whether there is sufficient information for a panel to conduct a more thorough review of 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 information exists, the Committee will refer the matter to a panel as soon as practical. The Chair will prepare and present to the Reporting Party and Respondent a brief written statement outlining the PAC’s decision and its bases and, if a finding of sufficient information was reached, the primary information expected to be presented at the panel. The PAC’s decision is final and cannot be appealed. [FN44]
I. Panels. As soon as practical, the Chair will meet with the Respondent and the student’s advisor, if the student has chosen one, to provide: a copy of the alleged violations that will be addressed at the panel; a copy of the investigation report and list of potential witnesses expected to appear; written notice of the date, time, and location of the panel; 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 can send the information to the student electronically.
1. Type of Panel Conducted. The Respondent will be provided at least 72 hours to review the investigation report and, if desired, can elect in writing to accept the findings of the report and accept responsibility for the alleged violations.
a. Student Not Challenging the Alleged Violations. If the student accepts responsibility for the violations in writing as specified above, the panel will hear information about the violations but will focus primarily on the issue of sanctioning and educational measures.
b. Student Challenging the Alleged Violations. If the student does not accept responsibility for the violations, or if the student does not respond, the panel will focus first on the issue of whether the student violated the Code and, if so, what sanctions and educational measures 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 Informal Resolution (Sec. IX. F) is not applicable, and if the Council cannot assemble a full, six-person panel, it can assemble a three-member panel instead. The panel will observe all customary 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 scheduled to graduate at the end of the semester in which the alleged violations originate, 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 reported to have occurred after the last day of classes, including during Commencement, and the student is scheduled to graduate, the university will hold the student’s degree pending resolution of the alleged violations.
ii. In all other cases, the Respondent can 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 proceeding due to the loss of relevant information or unavailability of witnesses, the Chair will convene a full six-member panel at the beginning of the next fall or spring semester (the Respondent can appeal the denial of a request to defer under Sec. XII, B, 3). CVRP can place a hold on the student’s records pending resolution.
3. Composition of the Panel
a. Six Member Panels. In normal circumstances, proceedings will be conducted before a panel of six Honor Council members appointed by the Chair/designee.
b. Three Member Panels. When the Chair/designee is unable after reasonable efforts to assemble a full six-person panel, the Chair/designee can schedule a proceeding 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 panel procedures will be observed and all Rights and Duties under Section V will apply.
Rather than proceed with a three-person panel, the Respondent can request that the Chair/designee defer resolution until the Chair can assemble a full six-person panel. Such deferment can extend until the start of the next fall or spring semester. The Chair/designee can deny the request if the Chair determines there is a reasonable probability that deferring the panel would result in loss of relevant information 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 can appeal the Chair's denial of the request to defer in accordance with Sec. XII(B)(3).
The Chair will serve as Presiding Chair of the panel unless the Chair designates another Council member to serve in that capacity. The Chair will appoint one member of the panel to operate the recorder and type notes during the proceeding.[FN45] The Chair cannot appoint any member of the investigation team or the PAC to serve on the panel.[FN46]
4. Rules of Evidence. Panels will be conducted in an equitable manner so as to provide fairness to the principal parties and all other interested parties. As Honor Code processes serve primarily as means to of educating students, formal rules of evidence employed by the Courts of Law do not apply to its proceedings. Information that does not come from a first-hand source can be considered, although a finding of responsibility will not be premised solely on such information. Results from lie detector/polygraph tests are not permissible.
5. Timeline. Panels 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 PAC decision and the alleged violations, whichever time period is longer. The panel will not occur more than two weeks after this notification unless the Chair has granted an extension for good cause. Panels 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 Panel. Panels will be conducted in an environment that provides an appropriate level of confidentiality.
7. Requests for an Open Panel. The Respondent will enjoy the right to have the panel closed to the public unless the Respondent waives this right in writing at least 72 hours prior to the proceeding. The only persons permitted in a closed panel are the Honor Council members involved in the panel, the Respondent, witnesses during their portion of the proceeding, and, if chosen, the Respondent's 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 panel. A request for an open panel does not necessitate a change in its ordinary location. The Presiding Chair can close an open panel for the following reasons: a request is made by one or more students in a case where two or more students face alleged violations arising from the same incident; a Reporting Party can demonstrate that an open proceeding would violate rights; or if the open panel 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 proceeding on the record, and the Respondent can appeal on this basis if the Respondent can establish that this decision may have affected the outcome of the case.
8. Conduct of the Panel. The proceeding normally will consist of distinct phases: the “responsibility phase,” during which the panel will consider information regarding whether a violation has occurred and the “sanctions” phase, during which the panel will consider information related to what sanctions/educational measures to issue.
a. Where the Respondent is challenging the alleged violations, a finding of responsibility will require at least five of the six panel members (two of three in three-member panels) deciding that the information presented establishes the Respondent’s responsibility for the violations 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 proceeding. The Presiding Chair also makes determinations regarding the relevance or admissibility of information and can limit questions that are repetitive or unlikely to produce new information.
c. The number of character witnesses permitted to make statements 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 proceeding will begin with the Presiding Chair reminding all parties that the proceedings are confidential unless the Respondent has requested an open panel and the Chair has granted that request.
e. The Presiding Chair will read the alleged violations and ask the Respondent to indicate whether the Respondent 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 the Respondent's advisor will be permitted to question the Reporting Party and all witnesses.
g. The Respondent will be permitted to present relevant information.
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 information 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 Director of CVRP/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 proceeding during which it will determine the appropriate sanctions/educational measures 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 can 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 phase usually will occur on the same day, although it can 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 calendar days later unless approval is granted by the Director of CVRP.
k. Following the determination of sanction, the Presiding Chair will inform the Director of CVRP of the sanctions in writing, including a statement affirming that the sanctions were supported by at least four of the five panel members. The Director will arrange for a Sanctions Delivery meeting with the Respondent and the Presiding Chair (if available) not more than three working days after the conclusion of the proceeding.
l. The Panel Secretary will prepare a summary report of the proceeding, including the decision of the Honor Council. The Secretary will deliver the case file, the panel's notes, and the panel’s decision and rationale to CVRP, typically by the end of the next working day. The record will consist of the audio recording of the proceeding and the tangible information presented.
[FN42] Graduate and Professional students can opt to request the assistance of trained undergraduate student advisors if desired.
[FN43] 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.
[FN44] If the Vice President determines that consequential new information has arisen regarding a case that has been dismissed by a previous PAC, the Vice President can refer the matter to the appropriate Council for a new investigation and, if warranted, a new
[FN45] Panel notes are not a verbatim transcript. The notes and recording will remain the property of the University.
[FN46]No member who has served on the investigation team or the Panel Authorization Committee will be appointed to the panel. If
insufficient members from the Council are available for the panel, 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
CVRP prior to hearing the case.