11.16. Hearings Involving a Judicial Panel

Four situations result in a hearing before a judicial panel. The first two of these involve charges which were, at one time, potentially of the Class II variety:

  • An accused person pleaded liable to a Class II charge and was required to propose, along with a counselor, an acceptable sanction within ten academic business days, but failed to do so (see 11.13.).
  • An accused person pleaded liable to a Class II charge and was required to satisfactorily complete the Academic and Intellectual Traditions class within a prescribed time period, but failed to do so (see 11.13.).

Both other situations derive from charges which were always classified as being of the Class I type:

  • In the first possibility, an accused person has pleaded liable to one or more Class I charges during an investigation and the investigatory panel has accepted that plea, but the investigatory panel lacked a sufficient quorum to call an impromptu meeting of a judicial panel in order to concurrently decide the appropriate sanction. Thus, the sanction phase necessitates a separately scheduled meeting of a judicial panel.
  • In the final possible scenario, an accused person has pleaded not liable to one or more Class I charges during an investigation, but the investigatory panel has found that there is sufficient reason to believe that the accused is, in fact, liable. Consequently, the accused’s case has been forwarded for a hearing before a judicial panel.

11.16.1. If the meeting of the judicial panel is to decide a sanction devolving from a liable plea entered (and, if appropriate, accepted) at an earlier investigation (e.: in any of the first three bullet points enumerated above), then members will be allowed to access and study all available documentation (such as minutes and audio recordings) from the earlier investigation. Members of the judicial panel may also opt to interview members of the investigatory panel which accepted the original plea. The accused is not permitted to be present for this type of hearing, nor may any person be present save for members of the judicial panel and others that they may choose to query. In the end, the judicial panel will vote on a sanction according to the protocols given in Sec. 11.16.2.2. and Sec. 11.18.

11.16.2. If a hearing is for any reason other than those discussed in Sec. 11.16.1. (meaning the fourth bullet point above is relevant), then that hearing will occur in accord with all rights, obligations and procedures established in 11.11., unless otherwise explicitly noted.

The meeting is confrontational in the sense that there are witnesses which will be called. It will be the duty of the secretary to summon witnesses whose testimony is expected to be adversarial to the accused and to ensure their presence at the hearing. It will be the responsibility of the accused to secure the presence of any witnesses he/she intends to call, including both material witnesses and up to two character witnesses. If student witnesses duly summoned by the secretary fail to present themselves without a reasonable explanation, they may be charged with an honor code violation. If faculty witnesses fail to present themselves without a reasonable explanation, the honor council may file a complaint with the faculty member’s division chair and/or the provost. If any witness whatsoever fails to present him/herself at the appointed time, the hearing will not be unduly delayed and the witness’s testimony may be forever lost.

If the complainant is a fellow student, the complainant’s name and other identifying information (all of which would have been redacted from the report of suspected honor code violation and other documentation at the investigation) is now fully restored, so that the accused will, in all cases, now know his/her accuser(s).

Accused persons may be accompanied by two advisors drawn from the University community. In no case will an advisor be a person who exerts extraordinary influence and control over students, including the vice president for campus life or the dean of students. Advisors may stay for the totality of the hearing. Advisors may privately counsel the accused in any and all matters, and they may offer moral support, but they may not speak to members of the judicial panel. Accused persons will offer their own statements to the judicial panel and will ask and answer questions and cross-examine witnesses completely on their own.

In cases where English is not the first language of the accused, the accused may also elect to file a request with the secretary at least two academic business days before the hearing to be allowed to bring a translator or interpreter to the hearing. The qualifications of the translator or interpreter should be plainly described in such a request. The translator or interpreter may serve only in the designated role; he/she may not act as an advisor or a witness, and he/she may not be an attorney. When a translator or interpreter is employed, the accused must still ask and answer his/her own questions and make any statements on his/her own; the translator or interpreter will simply act as the conduit between the accused and the other parties present. The translator or interpreter may stay for the totality of the hearing.

The accused does not have the right to be represented by professional legal counsel during the hearing. Outside experts may also not be used as witnesses or advisors.

The presiding officer will be tasked with bringing witnesses into the hearing room. The secretary will inform the presiding officer of the identities of witnesses presumably adversarial to the accused, and the accused will inform the presiding officer of the identities of any material or character witnesses he/she has brought to the proceedings. The order in which witnesses are called is at the discretion of the presiding officer, but every attempt will be made to be respectful of the schedules of those serving as witnesses. Witnesses of all types may only stay in the room while they are offering testimony. Only one witness is permitted in the room at a time. The accused and all members of the judicial panel can freely ask questions of any witness. Formal rules of evidence shall not be in effect. All pertinent matters shall be admitted into evidence, including circumstantial evidence and hearsay, the values of which shall be weighted accordingly. Affidavits are not admissible under any circumstances.

After all witnesses have offered their testimony and been excused, the accused may offer a closing statement. Afterward, the accused and any advisors and/or translator or interpreter will leave the room.

The judicial panel members will confer among themselves and try to reach a consensus on the culpability of the accused. Ultimately, the judicial panel will vote for one of the following possibilities:

11.16.2.1. The judicial panel finds the accused not liable. The charges are dismissed and the matter is forever concluded. No person may be charged for the same instance of an offense a second time once he/she has been found not liable by a judicial panel.

11.16.2.2. The judicial panel finds the accused liable. There are two possible instances:

11.16.2.2.1. The accused has had a previous Class I liability and is therefore eligible for automatic expulsion if found liable of a second Class I charge (see 11.18.). In this case, a first vote to find liable must be at the “clear and convincing evidence” level of burden of proof. That is, members of the panel are obliged to vote to find liable only if it is substantially more likely than not that the accused is liable; “substantially more likely” may be interpreted to mean one is perhaps two-thirds or three-quarters certain. The motion passes if it garners a simple majority of votes. In that case, the accused is found liable and is automatically expelled, either with or without the ability to reapply after one year. On the other hand, if that motion fails then a second motion will be put forth to find the accused liable but at the “preponderance of the evidence” level of burden of proof. That is, it is more likely (but not necessarily substantially more likely) than not that the accused is liable; in numerical terms, one is anything more than half certain. The motion passes if a simple majority of panel members agree with it. If this motion passes, then the accused is found liable but is not automatically expelled. Consult Sec. 11.18. for further explanation and requirements, and a listing of possible sanctions that are operational in this event. Obviously, if both the forgoing motions fail, then the accused is de facto found not liable.

11.16.2.2.2. The accused does not have a previous Class I liable verdict and is therefore not eligible for automatic expulsion if found liable relative to the current charge. In this case, a vote to find liable will pass if a simple majority of judicial panel members support it, when each is obligated to cast his/her vote at the “preponderance of the evidence” level of burden of proof.

A case which was dropped at or before the investigatory panel stage (meaning that the accused pleaded not liable and the investigatory panel concurred, or that the secretary dismissed the case before it went to an investigation) can later be re-opened if new evidence comes to light which serves to substantially increase the likely culpability of the accused. However, a case which resulted in a hearing and a not liable verdict cannot be reopened by the honor council even if new evidence later comes to light which might have changed that verdict.