Filing a Concern
Anyone may contact the Office of Community Standards to request a consultation about a possible concern. Talking with someone in the Office of Community Standards does not obligate the person to file a concern; investigations do not begin unless and until an official written concern is filed. We encourage you to also view the Student Judicial Charter of 1997 that, among other things, outlines your rights in the process.
Who Investigates Concerns
When a concern is filed, the matter is assigned a Judicial Advisor and Judicial Officer. The Judicial Officer is responsible for investigating the concern. Be aware that all information provided to the Judicial Officer is considered evidence, will be shared with the responding student, and eventually will be given to a panel if the concern results in a charge.
For faculty, since the Judicial Officer is not an expert in your field or on the expectations of your class, it may be helpful for the Judicial Officer to meet and review the material with you to better understand the specific nature of your concern before meeting with the responding student. The Judicial Officer is more than willing to come to your office if a meeting is appropriate.
Suggestions and Procedures for Sensitive Cases
Because many student-on-student Fundamental Standard situations are extremely sensitive, the Office of Community Standards encourages a student who is considering filing a Fundamental Standard concern to meet with the Judicial Advisor and Judicial Officer to discuss the process.
Sometimes, when a student is reluctant to file a concern independently, a third-party (such as a Residence Director) may file the concern jointly with the student or on the student's behalf.
Be aware that you have a right to have someone accompany you to meetings during the entire process.
When to Submit a Concern
The Charter recommends that your concern be submitted to our office within 60 days of the date of the incident. However, in order to accomplish the educational goals of the process, to provide timely due process, and to avoid unnecessary complications to the investigatory process (because witnesses and/or evidence may no longer be available, memories fade, etc.), you are strongly urged to submit your concern immediately upon discovery.
Beyond the formal concern, should you wish to discuss the process informally, please do not hesitate to call/meet with a Judicial Advisor and/or a Judicial Officer.
The Charter also states that, "all parties are expected to be respectful of the confidential nature of any knowledge or information they may have about a judicial case or the other parties involved." Recognizing that discussion amongst the teaching staff serves an important educational function, we would ask faculty that, when it is appropriate to discuss an Honor Code matter with other staff, you use the utmost discretion to maintain the student's privacy (e.g., discuss the incident, not the name of the student).
Students responding to an Honor Code concern should be treated as any other student. Grade all of their work as you would grade any other student's work. If it is time to issue a final grade, please assign a GNR when entering your grades in Axess. If the student is found responsible for violating the Honor Code in your class, you will determine his/her grade at that time. The Judicial Advisor can offer information about how other instructors have handled grading.
The Investigation Process
Once the Judicial Officer receives a letter of concern, the Judicial Officer will contact the responding student in order to schedule a preliminary meeting. At this meeting, the responding student will hear the concern and will be shown whatever documentation the Judicial Officer has. He/she will also:
- Meet with the Judicial Advisor to be informed of his/her rights and responsibilities,
- Have the option to meet with the Judicial Officer for an interview, and
- Be asked to submit a written statement about the incident.
This may conclude the investigation, since the responding student may acknowledge that they are responsible for the concern in question. The Judicial Officer may then file a formal charge, which moves the case to a Judicial Panel hearing.
In a case where the responding student denies the allegation, his/her statement serves as an alternative explanation of the incident. The Judicial Officer will show the statement to you. If the student denies the allegation and the Judicial Officer believes that a violation occurred, the Judicial Officer must decide whether a Judicial Panel would likely agree with the assessment. (The burden of proof is "beyond a reasonable doubt.")
If she believes that a panel would likely agree, the Judicial Officer will charge the student, moving the case to a hearing. The Judicial Officer will keep you informed as she makes these decisions.
Note that if the Judicial Officer does not charge a student, and you disagree with the decision, you have the right to request that a Judicial Panel hearing be convened in order to hear the evidence.
Although the Judicial Officer will strive to keep you apprised of the status of the investigation, please do not hesitate to contact the JO if you have any questions about the case or about the process in general.
How You, a Reporting Party, Can Prepare for a Hearing
If a case will proceed to a hearing by a Judicial Panel, then the Judicial Advisor will arrange the hearing and will contact you to discuss dates that work with your schedule, as well as with that of the responding student.
A hearing involves a presentation of the facts of the case:
- You summarize your concern and point out any information that may have become pertinent as a result of the investigation and/or the person's response
- Panelists and the responding student may ask you questions
- The responding student presents his/her position
- Panelists may ask the responding student questions
- The panel adjourns for deliberations, at which time you are free to leave (it takes about 20-45 minutes in an uncontested case)
- The Judicial Advisor will notify you, via e-mail, about the outcome.