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Investigation of a Concern

How the Investigation Begins

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. It is important to remember that if your case goes to a hearing (a six-person Judicial Panel of faculty, staff and students) the JO is the person who presents all the evidence, incriminating and exculpatory, so it is in your best interest to speak frankly with the JO about the situation. The JO will ask you questions, which of course you may choose not to answer (as you have the right not to self-incriminate).

If you disagree with the allegations themselves, or agree with the allegations but disagree that they constitute a violation, you will be asked your reasons and what evidence you have to support your contention(s). Please be assured that any disagreement with the allegations, or agreement with the allegations but denial they constitute a violation, will be discussed with the Reporting Party and carefully reviewed by the JO during the JO’s follow-up investigation.

Staying Informed about the Investigation

The JO will keep you informed of the progress of the investigation and share all information or evidence gathered. In many cases students may receive copies of such information; if copies are not released the Responding Student, the Reporting Party and their Personal Advisers, may review them, as many times as they wish, and may take liberal notes. Please note that the JO will act as mediator/facilitator/go-between if you have questions for the Reporting Party about the evidence or other related matters. It is requested that you not contact the Reporting Party directly to avoid potential misunderstandings.

Do not forget that you have the right to speak with the JA or to request a peer Judicial Counselor at any time during meeting(s) with the JO, and/or the right to have a person of your choice accompany you throughout the investigative and adjudicative process.

Written Statement

During the course of the investigation, the JO will encourage you to submit a written explanation of your position and your reasons. This is given to the Reporting Party—and sometimes leads the Reporting Party to withdraw the concern because the explanation is reasonable and persuasive. In other cases the Reporting Party will explain to the JO how the written explanation is not persuasive. You will be informed of the Reporting Party’s response. Please note that you are not required to provide a written statement during the investigative phase, but it is often the best method to explain your position in your own words. Ultimately, if the case is charged and goes to a hearing, this statement, prepared while the situation is fresh in your mind, will serve as a draft of the statement given to the Judicial Panel at a hearing. A written explanation of your defense is in your best interest.