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Student Accountability Process (2023 Charter)

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Most concerns are handled through the conduct process described in the Stanford Student Conduct Charter of 2023, but there are other processes that may apply to your situation. You may discuss these when you talk with your Conduct Advisor. 

Student Accountability Process Important Links (2023 Charter)

What Happens in the Conduct Process (2023 Charter) 

This page includes important links to more detailed information from each component of the conduct process. Information below is meant to provide a summary of the Conduct Process under the Stanford Student Conduct Charter of 2023 (the Charter). For further details, please click on the specific pages and review the Charter and any Board of Conduct Affairs (BCA) Bylaws. For information about specific cases in which students are involved, please contact the Office of Community Standards (OCS) by email or telephone. 

When Responding Students Are Notified (2023 Charter)

Conduct procedures begin when a formal concern is filed with OCS, alleging that a Stanford student has violated the Honor Code, Fundamental Standard, or other applicable University policies. Within five days of receiving a concern, the Director of OCS reviews the concern and determines whether the allegations in the concern could constitute such a violation. If the allegations could not constitute a violation, OCS notifies the Reporting Party (RP) and does not proceed further with the process. If the allegations could constitute a violation, OCS notifies the Responding Student (RS) of the report and informs them of the level of review that OCS has set. The notification also identifies the Conduct Advisor (CA) for the matter who will guide and support the RS through the process.  

There are three levels of review: (a) Alternative Resolution; (b) Mid-Level Review; and (c) High-Level Review. Each level of review is different, so please review Section III of the Charter. 

Investigation of a Contested Concern (2023 Charter)

If a case goes to an investigation, the first step in the investigation process will be a meeting with the Conduct Investigator (CI). At the meeting, the CI will review with the RS the letter of concern and the available evidence. This will be the RS’s first opportunity to explain their position to the CI. The RS is not required to meet with the CI, but they are encouraged to do so. The CI has a duty to gather all relevant evidence, so anything provided to them is part of the investigation and may be shared with the RP and a Hearing Panel, if one is held.

Writing a Statement (2023 Charter)

A RS can choose to write a statement that outlines their position in response to the concern. If the RS chooses to write  a statement to ask for withdrawal of the concern, the CA will submit the statement to the RP and provide the RS with the RP’s response. If a case goes to an investigation, the statement written by the RS will be submitted to the CI for consideration in a charging decision. 

Possible Outcomes After An Investigation(2023 Charter)

When the investigation is complete, the CI will decide whether or not to file a formal charge. The CI only does so if they conclude that a fair-minded panelist could find the Responding Student responsible for alleged violation(s) by the applicable standard of proof. The applicable standard of proof is dependent on the level of review. The standard of proof in a Mid-Level Review for bringing charges is clear and convincing evidence. The standard of proof in a High-Level Review for bringing charges is beyond a reasonable doubt. The CI may also refer the concern to another appropriate office.

If a formal charge is filed, the student may decide whether to accept responsibility or go to a Hearing Panel. If the Responding Student accepts responsibility, sanctions are assigned and the case is closed. If the Responding Student contests the charge, the Hearing Panel is scheduled and the panel then determines whether the student is responsible and any necessary sanctions.

Hearing Preparation (2023 Charter)

If the RS chooses to contest after the issuing of a charge letter, the concern proceeds to a Hearing Panel. The CA will arrange a hearing date, after consultation with the RS and the RP. Afterwards, the RS will also receive a request to participate in a pre-hearing meeting. During this meeting, the CA will review the hearing script with the RS and answer any questions the RS may have. 

Bias Checks (2023 Charter)

Prior to the final confirmation of the panel hearing, the RS will have the opportunity to review the names and titles of all available panelists. The RS must notify the CA if there are any known biases or conflicts of interest with any of the panelists. Any conflicts of interest or known biases will be verified by the CA and responded to accordingly. 

Hearings (2023 Charter)

This page is a general summary of the Hearing Panel hearing process.  Please review the Student Conduct Charter of 2023 and the Bylaws to the Charter when preparing for a hearing.  For a more detailed understanding of what occurs at a Hearing Panel, the RS will receive a template hearing script.  Remember, while the Charter is always followed during the hearing process, there may be aspects of the hearing that are unique to the circumstances of each matter but are nevertheless in conformance with the Charter and Bylaws.  

Sanction Deliberations & Disciplinary Records (2023 Charter)

Hearing panelists will start sanction deliberations if a student is found responsible for violation(s). After your Hearing Panelists have finished asking the RS questions about the impact of potential sanctions, they will ask the RP if they have further comments. They will also ask the CI if there are mitigating and/or aggravating factors in the case that have not yet been presented. The Hearing Panel will then ask the RS for final comments. This will be the last opportunity for the RS to speak to the panelists about anything else relevant to their case that has not been presented before. All Panel deliberations are confidential. The CA will remain during Panel deliberations to answer questions as necessary.