Student Conduct Committee Hearing Procedures - Crookston
Approved by the Campus Committee on Student Behavior: 1980. Amendments reviewed and approved by Student Conduct Committee, Senate Committee on Student Affairs, and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2017
The Student Conduct Committee (SCC) assists in implementing the Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code at the University of Minnesota on the Crookston Campus. The SCC provides a fair hearing to determine if a student’s behavior has violated the Student Conduct Code and to determine what, if any, sanction should be imposed. Complaints of Student Conduct Code violations are referred to the SCC for a hearing by the Office for Student Affairs. The Conduct Code Coordinator receives the complaints and assists the SCC Chair in managing the hearing process.
- PARTIES TO THE COMPLAINT
In SCC cases, the University is the formal complainant and the accused student is the individual alleged by the University to be in violation of the Student Conduct Code. For the purpose of these procedures, the parties are identified as the University presenter and the accused student.
The University appoints a presenter to bring the University’s case before the Committee. If an accused student is represented by an attorney, the University’s Office of General Counsel will assign an attorney to serve as the University presenter. Students may obtain the services of an advocate through the Office for Student for Student Affairs, who can help them prepare and present their case before the SCC.
The accused student must submit the name of any advocate or attorney to the Conduct Code Coordinator before the prehearing conference, and must give immediate notice to the Conduct Code Coordinator if there is any change in an advocate or attorney. Advocates can accompany students at any time during the investigation process, interviews, meetings, pre-hearings, hearings or during the appeal process, if needed.
COMMITTEE AND PANELS
The Campus Assembly appoints faculty and staff to the SCC, whereas student members are appointed by the Crookston Student Association (CSA).
Panels are drawn from the SCC to hear individual cases. A SCC Panel consists of the Panel Chair and a panel of five (5) or more voting members. Each Panel will include at least one faculty and one student, not including periods when the University is not in session. The Panel Chair and the Conduct Code Coordinator have no vote. The SCC Chair normally serves as the Panel Chair, but may delegate that role to another SCC member.
In addition to Panel members, the Department Head of the accused student’s major can request the appointment of a faculty, staff, or student to sit on the Panel in cases of Academic Dishonesty. In cases involving cross-collegiate or cross-department situations, a representative from each college/department can be appointed to the Panel. Collegiate-appointed panel members have a vote and are counted in the quorum of five. Collegiate representation is not applicable when the accused is a student organization or in cases of sexual misconduct. assault, relationship violence or stalking.
Panel members are not advocates for either side. The Panel shall fairly consider the information presented at the hearing and may ask questions of the witnesses. Using a preponderance of evidence as the standard of proof, the Panel shall decide whether the accused student violated the Student Conduct Code and, if so, what sanctions are appropriate. The Panel may not talk privately (outside of the hearing room) about the complaint with the parties or their advocates.
All panelist must attend annual training prior to serving on the Panel. Panelist adjudicating over sexual misconduct cases must have additional training related to common biases and misconceptions relating to sexual misconduct, the effects of trauma on a victim such as counterintuitive behavior and neurobiology of sexual assault and review strategies that don’t inflict additional, secondary trauma on the complainant.
- CASES OF PHYSICAL AGGRESSION/HARASSMENT OR SEXUAL ASSAULT/ HARASSMENT
For hearings involving violations of sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, or relationship violence, the panel membership will be limited to three (3), one of which shall be a collegiate representative. The panel will include at least one only faculty and one staff committee members. These hearings will be held as soon as possible.
- THE COMPLAINT AND SCHEDULING
When a complaint is not resolved informally, the Conduct Code Coordinator forwards it to the SCC Chair for a hearing. The Conduct Code Coordinator will notify the SCC Chair, the University presenter, and the accused student of the statement of the complaint, the Student Conduct Code, and these procedures. Where more than one student is alleged to have violated the Student Conduct Code in a related incident, SCC proceedings generally will be held together. The Chair has the discretion to hold separate hearings upon a student’s request prior to the prehearing conference.
The SCC will strive to complete a hearing within one month of the student’s request for a hearing, not including periods when the University is not in session. The Conduct Code Coordinator will be responsible for scheduling a prehearing conference and the hearing, taking into account the parties’ schedules as appropriate. The Conduct Code Coordinator generally will provide at least 5-day notice before the prehearing conference. In cases of sexual misconduct or Title IV hearings, the Title IX Coordinator may assist and serve a hearing secretary.
- STUDENT STATUS DURING THE PROCESS
An accused student ordinarily is allowed to continue the status of a student-in-good-standing pending the outcome of the SCC hearing. However, in certain cases, the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs or their designee may suspend a student temporarily, pending the SCC’s hearing and decision, as provided in the Student Conduct Code. In such situations, the SCC should hold a hearing as soon as possible.
In complaints of alleged scholastic dishonesty, any grade affected will be redacted from the transcript pending a disposition from the Panel.
- PREHEARING CONFERENCE
The Panel Chair will convene a prehearing conference to plan for the hearing and discuss the topics outlined in Appendix A of these procedures. The University presenter, the accused student, and their advocate, the Conduct Code Coordinator, and the Panel Chair attend the prehearing conference. The Title IX Coordinator will also attend the prehearing conference for sexual misconduct cases. If either party does not attend the prehearing conference, the Panel Chair will determine whether and how that absence will affect the scheduling and presentations at the hearing.
The parties shall be informed of the names of the Panel Chair and potential members of the Panel at the prehearing conference. At that time, either party may ask that the Panel Chair recuse themselves from the hearing due to a direct relationship with the case or being a reporting party or witness. At that same time, either party may challenge the panel member(s) and/or collegiate representative(s) on the ground of conflict of interest or bias. The Panel Chair, after hearing arguments, will decide whether a panel member should be removed from Panel. If a quorum is lost because of a successful challenge, a new person will be appointed from the SCC or by a Department Chair, as appropriate. A party who learns after the prehearing conference of a potential conflict must immediately notify the Conduct Code Coordinator of an objection.
The parties will identify the witnesses they intend to present at the hearing. The Panel Chair or the panel may, in its discretion, exclude from the hearing witnesses who were not previously identified to the other party.
The University is committed to informal resolution of complaints whenever possible. During the prehearing conference and up to 24 hours prior to a hearing, the accused student can accept the original informal resolution from Conduct Code Coordinator.
- THE HEARING
The Panel Chair is responsible for maintaining an orderly, fair, impartial and respectful hearing. The Chair has broad authority to respond to disruptive or harassing behaviors, including adjourning the hearing or excluding the offending person. All electronic devices must be turned off during the entire hearing.
- Record of Hearing
SCC complaints, prehearing conferences, and hearings are closed to the public. Guests may be permitted to attend with agreement from both parties and the Panel Chair. The Conduct Code Coordinator shall keep an official recording of each hearing. No camera, TV, or other equipment other than that used by the Conduct Code Coordinator to keep the official record of the hearing will be permitted in the hearing room.
A copy of the correspondence, the complaint and response, the exhibits presented at the hearing, the recording of the hearing, and the Student Conduct Committee disposition shall be maintained in a file in the Conduct Code Coordinator’s office. In cases of sexual misconduct, these records will be maintained in a file in the Title IX Coordinator’s office.
If the accused student does not appear in person at the hearing, the Panel may elect to either (1) vote to suspend the accused student until a hearing is held; or (2) vote to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the student. A student choosing not to appear may provide the Panel with a written statement signed by the student.
- Standard of Proof
To establish that an accused student violated the Student Conduct Code, the University presenter must persuade a majority of the Panel that it is more likely than not that the student committed the violation. This standard of proof is also known as a preponderance of evidence.
- Case Presentation
The parties are expected to be prepared for a clear, complete yet economical presentation of their cases. The Panel Chair may impose reasonable time limits on any phase of the proceedings.
Each party may offer reliable information relevant to the issue and may object to the information offered by the other party. The Panel Chair and the panel have discretion to determine what information should fairly be included or excluded.
The parties may also introduce relevant written documents, objects, films, or other materials as exhibits. Each party is responsible for bringing copies of written materials in sufficient number for distribution to panel members and the opposing party at the hearing.
Parties should offer witnesses in person whenever possible. Each party is responsible for getting its own witnesses to the hearing. If reasonable efforts to accommodate the schedules are not successful, the unavailability of a witness is not a ground for postponement of the hearing. If an important witness prefers not to testify, the parties may ask the Panel Chair to assist in encouraging the witness to testify. When necessary, witnesses may present information by telephone or written statement. After a party’s witness presents information, the other party may ask questions, and then Panel members may ask questions. Accused students are not permitted to directly cross-examine complaints. These questions can be directed to the Panel Chair and the Chair will redirect the questions.
The Panel Chair will exclude witnesses from those parts of the hearing in which they do not testify. However, in cases involving a violation of sexual misconduct, assault, sexual harassment, stalking, or relationship violence the individual who is the complaining witness for the University in a hearing may be present in the hearing room throughout the proceedings, not including the deliberative session. In these cases, both the accused student and the individual who is the complaining witness for the University may also be accompanied by an advocate support person in a non-participatory role.
- PANEL DELIBERATIONS AND DECISION
At the end of the hearing the Panel will retire to deliberate in closed session. The Chair, Secretary, Student Conduct Coordinator and Panel members, as well as legal counsel (if present) to Panel, may attend.
The task of the Panel is more than determining responsibility; it is one of assessing the qualifications of the accused student (if determined responsible for the conduct) for continuing membership in the University community in light of the individual’s record of conduct and responsiveness to opportunities, advice, and counsel. The Panel decides the issues based on the information presented by the parties at the hearing and determines whether the University presenter persuaded them that the accused student violated specified subdivisions of the Student Conduct Code. The Student Conduct Committee must be prepared to make a judgment based on the information provided even if it is not complete.
Each panel member will vote on whether or not the accused student is responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code for each alleged charge. A majority vote of Panel members is required to find a violation. A tie will be considered a vote of “not responsible.” If an accused student is found responsible for one or more items, the Panel will next vote on sanctions, as listed in the Student Conduct Code.
The Panel’s decision will be communicated in writing to the parties no later than one week following the hearing. No one participating in the deliberations will give any party verbal information about the decision or the deliberations.
A student who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Student Conduct Committee may file an appeal with the appellate officer according to the Administrative Procedure – Procedures for Resolving Student Conduct Code Violations: Crookston Campus.
STUDENT CONDUCT COMMITTEE PRE-HEARING CONFERENCE
University of Minnesota vs. Student
Purposes for the Prehearing Conference are:
- To identify the advocates or attorneys of the parties.
- To review the complaint.
- To describe the procedures to be followed at the regular hearing (Appendix B).
- To review the date, time, and place for the hearing.
- To identify the panel members (5 required for a quorum & 3 required for sexual misconduct cases).
- To identify if a department/college representative will be appointed from the accused student’s major (not applicable when the accused is a student organization or in cases of sexual misconduct, assault, relationship violence or stalking.). This person is a voting member of the panel.
- To identify and exchange the names of potential witnesses that may be scheduled to appear.
- To discuss an informal resolution of the complaint.
- To resolve special considerations, answer other questions, or share information prior to the hearing
UMC STUDENT CONDUCT COMMITTEE ORDER OF PROCEEDINGS
- Call to order by the Chair.
- Reminder to turn off all electronic devices.
- Announcements and opening remarks by the Chair.
- Notice that the hearing is being recorded (tape or digital).
- Identification of the parties attending the hearing.
- Review the standard of proof.
- Understandings, if any reached at the prehearing conference.
- Witnesses are asked to leave the hearing room until recalled by the Chair.
- Opening the hearing by the Chair.
- Presentation of the complaint and alleged specific rules violation.
- Poll the panel for bias.
- Allow both parties to challenge any of the panel members
- Reduce the Panel to 5 members or 3 for cases of physical aggression/harassment or sexual misconduct assault/harassment.
- Announcement of the seating of the voting members (quorum of 5/3 required).
- Accused student responds to the complaint (responsible or not responsible).
- Opening comments (5-10 minutes), University presenter and then accused student.
- University presenter presents information about the alleged violation
- University presenters will call witnesses, as needed
- Accused student may question each witnesses.
- Panel members may question each witness.
- Accused student presents information about the alleged violation.
- Accused student will call witnesses, as needed
- University presenter may question each witness.
- Panel members may question each witness.
- A witness may be recalled by the Chair to testify on specific issues:
- At the request of either party.
- At the request of a Panel member.
- Closing comments (up to10 minutes), University presenter and then accused student.
- Hearing is closed by the Chairperson.
- Panel retires to deliberate (closed meeting, not tape recorded).
- The Panel finds the accused responsible or not responsible for Student Conduct Code violations alleged in the complaint.
- If responsible, the Panel decides on appropriate sanctions.
- The Panel’s decision will be reported in writing to the parties by the Conduct Code Coordinator or Title IX Coordinator.