The Hearing Process
| Instructions: Please read through the following material and answer the questions pertaining to Module 3 on the assessment. When finished with this section, you may proceed to the next section by following the link below or return to training at another time.
This portion of the training will cover the pre hearing process as well as the order of events that occur during the hearing. Let's begin!
Participants of the Hearing:
Before we describe the hearing process, you will need to know who is involved in the process:
The Hearing Process
A. After the initial scheduling of the hearing, you, the panel member, will be summoned for participation via letter, email, and/or telephone. You will be notified about the hearing content if it may contain sensitive, graphic information (i.e. sexual assault cases) and the individuals involved in the hearing.
B. At this point you may decide not to participate in the hearing if you are uncomfortable with the content of the hearing or if you have had prior contact with any party involved in the hearing. You will be dismissed from your obligations.
A. You, the panel member, should arrive a minimum of 15 minutes prior to the start of the hearing.
B. All panel members will receive a packet containing a form to record notes during the hearing, a copy of the adjudication form, and a copy of the charge letter from the Administrative Secretary.
C. You will be instructed to wait in the hearing room in the designated place. The chairperson will already be seated in the room. During this time, you will read through the hearing materials and may reference copies of the Code of Conduct and the Judicial Manual, both of which will be provided on the table.
D. Before the hearing begins, the complainant, which would be Sarissa in our given scenario, and her witnesses will have a designated waiting area. The accused, which would be John in our given scenario, and his witnesses may have a separate waiting area near the hearing room. Just prior to the start of the hearing, the Judicial Advisor will summon the accused, the complainant, advisors, and all witnesses into the hearing room.
E. All witnesses will be instructed to line up against the wall. To begin the hearing, the chairperson will state the date and time. Then each participant (including panel members) will state his/her name and his/her role in the proceedings for the record.
F. After the initial introductions, the judiciary chair will give a statement of purpose: "Today's hearing board has been convened to consider alleged violations of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities by John. It is alleged that the hall staff, Dina Doright, found you intoxicated in your room in Hammons Residence Hall with approximately 6 empty alcohol containers in your possession. This is an informal proceeding, not comparable to a hearing. The participants are required to treat each other with respect and courtesy." Following this statement, the judiciary chair will give a statement of honesty: "The University expects that all information presented will be true and correct. Be advised that if anyone willfully provides false information, he or she will be subject to disciplinary action."
G. All witnesses will be dismissed from the room by the hearing advisor and wait in their designated locations. All other hearing participants remain in their designated seating. Witnesses will be summoned to give their testimony during the appropriate time in the hearing (see below).
H. The complainant, Sarissa , will begin the hearing with a brief opening statement. Following the complainant, the accused, John, will make brief opening statements. The statements typically refer to a brief overview of each party's position regarding the allegation.
For example, John may state that the allegations are false and provide a brief description of the evidence supporting this statement.
I. Each party will present his or her full testimony, which typically consists of describing his/her perspective on the incident in question and corresponding facts. This may be supplemented by testimony from witnesses. Testimony is presented in the following order:
a. The complainant, the Hall Director, presents his testimony.
b. The complainant's witnesses presents his or her testimony.
c. The accused, John, presents his testimony.
d. The witnesses of the accused presents his or her testimony.
J. Following each participant's testimony, anyone may ask questions pertaining to the testimony. The appropriateness of questions is designated by the chairperson. If a question is inappropriate, the chairperson will state that it is such and dismiss the participant from answering the question. Questions will be asked in the following order:
a. The participant's own party (e.g. the complainant party or the accused party)
b. The opposing party. Depending upon the case content, the hearing advisor may require all questions to be directed through the chairperson to avoid direct verbal confrontation between opposing parties. The opposing party will describe the nature of their question to the chairperson, who in turn will ask the opposing party the question. This is typically done in cases involving sexual or physical assault.
c. Board members (the chairperson and the hearing advisor)
d. The hearing panel
K. Both parties will be invited to make a brief summary statement beginning with the complainant. The chair can set a time limit on the summary statement. After all parties have finished their statements, they will be dismissed to their respective waiting locations. Then panel members will begin deliberation.
The panel members will discuss relevant testimony and determine if the accused is "responsible" or "not responsible" for violating the Code of Conduct based on a preponderance of the information (e.g. there is more information informing a particular decision). The hearing panel secretary records the decision on the Findings and Sanction form.
a. A decision of "responsible" results when a majority of panel members state that the accused is responsible for the alleged violations.
In cases of residence hall suspension, school suspension, or school dismissal, the information must be clear and convincing that the student violated the code.
b. A decision of "not responsible" results when less than a majority of panel members state that the accused is responsible for the alleged violations.
The panel members will notify the Judicial Advisor when they have reached a decision. Witnesses are dismissed upon notification.
After reviewing all of the facts in the case, the judicial panel has decided that John is responsible for the stated violations.
4. Announcement of Decision
All remaining parties will be summoned back into the hearing room. The hearing panel chair states "We have made a decision. (John) is (responsible) for the (consumption and possession of alcohol on University property).
a. If the decision is "not responsible" the hearing is completed and everyone is dismissed.
b. If the decision is "responsible," the hearing advisor will provide information regarding prior violations of the Code of Conduct and corresponding sanctions. The panel listens to sanction recommendations by the complainant and the accused. The Judicial Advisor may also provide information pertaining to typical sanctions for similar incidences.
The Judicial Advisor stated that this was John's first violation of the Code of Conduct for alcohol possession and consumption on University property. She informs the Hearing Panel members that the typical sanction for this violation would be participation in a 4 hour alcohol education class and a fine of $45.
John recommends his own sanction to be a warning.
Sarissa, the Hall Director, supports the sanctioning recommendation of the hearing advisor but also recommends the accused to write a 5 page paper on the negative consequences of alcohol consumption.
A. All participants, except panel members, are dismissed from the hearing room, but must remain in the Office of Judicial Programs. The panel meets to discuss possible sanctions. Again, the panel members must decide the appropriate sanction(s) by a majority of participants agreeing to a particular sanction. After reaching a decision on appropriate sanction, the panel secretary records the sanction recommendation.
The hearing panel notifies the Judicial Advisor that they have reached a decision regarding the sanction(s). The Hearing Panel Chair reconvenes the parties in the hearing room and announces the sanction decision. All parties are dismissed.
B. Special Consideration. The hearing panel is under no obligation to announce their decision of "responsible" or "not responsible" and decision of sanction(s) to the accused and complainant. Special circumstances such as a long hearing and/or the need for extended deliberation may suggest that all parties be dismissed and that the accused will be informed in writing of the hearing outcome by the Office of Student Conduct.
After careful consideration of all sanctioning possibilities, the Hearing Panel has decided John should participate in a 4 hour alcohol education class, be fined $45, and write a 3 page paper on the consequences of alcohol consumption.
John accepts his sanctions and does not choose to appeal.
This training program was created and posted by the Office of Student Conduct at Missouri State University, 2006.