Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Health & Well-Being

A bicyclist and a pedestrian along Escondido Mall, near the Quad, at sunset. Photos taken during spring break on campus. Credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

Bias Checks (2023 Charter)

Main content start

What Bias Checks Are.  

8 color Neighborhood gradient.


  • Approved by the Board on Conduct Affairs: May 13, 2004

The Student Conduct Charter of 2023

The Student Conduct Charter of 2023, states, in part, the following about the composition of a Hearing Panel:

  • "Panelists may not have an actual or reasonably perceived bias or conflict of interest, and OCS has the authority to remove such a Panelist. If a Panelist discovers that they have a bias or conflict of interest, they must withdraw and be replaced. OCS will provide the Parties with the names of the Panel members for identification of bias or conflicts of interest. The Conduct Advisor determines whether the bias or conflict of interest is reasonably based, and if so replaces the Panelist.”

Provisions About Bias & Conflict of Interest 

The provisions about bias and conflict of interest described in the Charter must not be construed so widely as to eliminate broad categories of panelists. In accordance with the University's Nondiscrimination Policy panelists may not be excused solely on the basis of sex, race, age, color, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin. It is also not reasonable to claim, for example that all graduate students, or all students from a particular major would be unacceptable without giving reasonable cause for each individual in question. Such claims will be rejected by the Conduct Advisor (CA), who is responsible under the Charter for determining whether bias or conflicts of interest exist.

Requests for inclusion of a panelist with a specific area of expertise will be considered and accommodated whenever possible given the constraints of the Hearing Panel Pool.

8 color Neighborhood gradient.

Procedures for Bias Checks

Initial Bias Check by Reporting Party and Student

Once a hearing date has been set, the CA will give the Responding Student (RS) the names of potential panelists. This usually happens during the student's hearing preparation meeting, which should take place at least ten days prior to the hearing. The Reporting Party (RP) is also entitled to see the list of potential panelists and to request that one or more of them be excused from that case, stating the reasons why.

Bias Check by Panelists

A week or so before the hearing, the panelists receive a confidential communication listing by name the RP(s), RS(s), and any witnesses. Each panelist must affirmatively respond to the Office of Community Standards (OCS), stating there is no recognizable bias or conflict of interest, or give a brief explanation why there may be a perceived or actual bias or conflict of interest. A panelist may opt to excuse themself from that panel, or be excused by the CA. The CA may also consult with the RP and/or RS with respect to a panelist's response, and ask for their comment on the issue.

Bias Check at the Hearing

At the start of the hearing, after introducing the RP and the RS to the panelists, the CA will again request confirmation that no disqualifying concerns have been expressed following a visual identification of the parties and the panelists.

8 color Neighborhood gradient.

When Concerns Have Been Raised

The BCA has advised OCS that the following practices and procedures with respect to bias checking are appropriate:

The OCS will hear any concern raised about potential bias or conflict of interest given for a specific panelist. Whoever raises the concern, whether the RP or the RS, must offer, in confidence, a sufficient explanation to OCS about the concern. It is the CA’s responsibility to assess the potential bias or conflict of interest and determine if the panelist should be excused. The information provided to the CA will not be shared with the Panel or with the CI.

8 color Neighborhood gradient.

For Additional Questions about Bias Checks, Please call 650.725.2485 or email  with any questions or requests for additional information.

Roble Dorm in springtime. Credit:  Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service