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Writing a Sanction Statement

Purpose of a Sanction Statement

If you intend to ask your Judicial Panel to consider sanctions that deviate or depart from a standard sanction(s) should you be found responsible for a violation, you are strongly advised to submit a written sanction statement detailing the reasons why a deviation or departure should be granted. Such written documentation makes it easier for the Panel to consider each facet of your argument, and it ensures that the Panel is hearing your position in your words once it begins its deliberations. In particular, you should outline the impact the standard sanction(s) would have on you.

Contents of a Sanction Statement

It is helpful for Judicial Panels to know:

  • Your academic plans (e.g., course requirements, course scheduling, financial aid, etc.)
  • Your plans after graduation (if within the year following the hearing)
  • Assistantships, internships, scholarships, etc. that are affected
  • Visa/immigration status ramifications
  • Information about other aspects of your situation that you believe would be unduly impacted by the standard sanction

In regard to these factors, you should explain how the standard sanction(s) would affect each; you should also detail your specific request, how the standard sanction(s) would affect your request, and the rationale for your request.

Provide Sufficient Detail in Your Statement

Simply stating that a quarter of suspension would, in effect, delay your academic progress by a year has not proved persuasive to panelists. While writing out your quarter-by-quarter academic plan could prove helpful, this alone would not inform the Panel about what options or alternatives are available (e.g., course substitutions). What has been persuasive to Panels has been documentation from an adviser in your academic department detailing what effect a specific quarter off would have on your academic progress. This might require you to self-disclose to the adviser why you are asking for such detailed documentation so that the adviser can provide the most accurate and relevant information. Obviously, before making a decision to self-disclose, you should weigh the pros and cons of losing some privacy against the value of this information.

Also, the Panel can only base its consideration of your request on the information you provide. In accordance with past practice/precedent, and considering all other mitigating and aggravating factors in your case, it will make a fair and appropriate sanction decision.

Get Advice about Your Statement

A Judicial Counselor can be a valuable resource in helping you present your arguments as strongly and thoroughly as possible.

When to Submit Your Statement

Even though your sanction statement will not be given to your Panel unless and until it finds you responsible for violating the Honor Code or Fundamental Standard, it should be submitted to the Judicial Advisor in advance of the hearing.