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Student Accountability Process

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Most concerns are handled through the judicial process described in the Student Judicial Charter of 1997, but there are other processes that may apply to your situation. You may discuss these when you talk with your Judicial Advisor. 

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Overview of the Judicial Process for Responding Student

OCS Processes for Handling Concerns

Process Applies To Key Features
Early Resolution Option (ERO) All cases involving uncontested first-offense Fundamental Standard, Honor Code and policy violations where there is precedent from which to determine a reasonable sanction.


  • Optional process
  • Charges are resolved without a Judicial Panel hearing (hence, process is shorter)
  • Responding student waives right to appeal
  • Responding student must accept responsibility for charges and accept sanction
  • Responding student may return to standard judicial process if s/he changes his/her mind
Restorative Justice (RJ) Circle Fundamental Standard and similar cases in which the harmed party, responding student and Office of Community Standards agree to this resolution model.
  • Dialogue among responding student, harmed party, and other community members led by trained co-facilitators
  • Participants in the RJ Circle determine together the appropriate ways to repair the harm that occurred
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Learn more about the Student Accountability Process below.

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What Happens in the Judicial Process

Here you can learn about the typical steps in the judicial process.

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When You Are Notified

Judicial procedures begin when a formal concern is filed with the Office of Community Standards (OCS) alleging that a Stanford student has violated the Honor CodeFundamental Standard or other applicable university student conduct policies.

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Investigation of a Concern

Your first step in the investigation process will be a meeting with the Judicial Officer (JO). At that time, the JO will review with you the letter of concern and the available evidence. This is usually your first opportunity to explain your position regarding the allegations.

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Writing a Statement

Responding students typically write a statement that outlines their position in response to the concern. The Judicial Officer will ask each responding student to submit a position statement (whether the student is contesting or not contesting what is alleged in the concern), but a responding student is not required to submit a position statement. A position statement is required for the Early Resolution Option (ERO).

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Charge Decision

When the investigation is complete, the Judicial Officer will decide whether or not to charge you.

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Hearing Preparation

Following the issuing of a charge letter, the Judicial Advisor will arrange a hearing date, after consultation with you and the reporting party. You may choose to attend and participate actively in the hearing, participate via a telephone/video conference call, or simply rely on your written statement and written documentation. 

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Bias Checks

The Student Judicial Charter of 1997, states, in part, the following about the composition of a Judicial Panel...

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Hearings in Contested Case

This page is a general summary of the Judicial Panel hearing process.  Please be sure to review the Student Judicial Charter of 1997 and the Bylaws to the Charter when preparing for your hearing.  You can also consult a template of the Hearing Script here: Template Hearing Script.  Remember, while the Judicial Charter is always followed during the hearing process, there may be aspects of the hearing that are unique to the circumstances of each matter.  

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Hearings in Uncontested Cases

Please be aware of some things you should consider doing in order to prepare for an uncontested hearing. Remember, every person's hearing is unique to his/her personal circumstances. Please use what information is useful to you and appropriate to your situation, and disregard the rest. You may find the following helpful:

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Sanction Deliberations

After your Judicial Panel has finished asking you questions about the impact of potential sanctions, it will ask the reporting party if he/she has further comments. It will also ask the Judicial Officer if there are mitigating and/or aggravating factors in the case that have not yet been presented. And finally, the Panel will ask you for final comments. This will be your last opportunity to speak to the panelists about anything else relevant to your case that has not been presented before.

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Early Resolution Option

The Early Resolution Option (ERO) is available for uncontested Honor Code and Fundamental Standard cases. ERO allows students to waive their right to a hearing and reduce the amount of time involved.

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Restorative Justice

Restorative justice offers a conflict-resolution method that emphasizes repairing harm done to members of the community rather than concentrating on blame and punishment. The parties involved in the incident collaborate to create a resolution that fulfills their needs, discourages future misconduct, and restores the community’s trust in the responsible party. Trained facilitators guide the process.