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).
To assist responding students in drafting a position statement, the Office of Community Standards offers suggestions below for what to address or include. It is important to keep in mind that each student's position statement will be unique to the specific concerns and their personal circumstances.
Key Points about Position Statements
- The position statement is usually the responding student's first opportunity to respond to the concern.
- Drafts of a position statement that are shared with the Judicial Advisor or a Judicial Counselor/Personal Adviser are not part of the investigation file.
- Once a position statement is provided to the Judicial Officer, it is part of the investigation file. It will then be shared with the reporting party and, if the case is charged and proceeds to a Judicial Panel, it will be provided to the panelists.
- If a case is charged and proceeds to a Judicial Panel, the panelists will receive the position statement along with the charge letter, concern and other evidence in advance of the hearing.
- If a case is charged and proceeds to a Judicial Panel, a detailed position statement helps the panelists focus their questions during the hearing. All materials submitted by either a Reporting Party or Responding Student during the course of the investigation (the position statement and any supporting documents) should not exceed 30 pages total.
- If a case is charged and proceeds to a Judicial Panel, the Reporting Party and Responding Student will be required to verify that all written and oral materials used in the judicial process are their own original work.
Suggestions for Position Statements
- Address the issue(s) outlined in the reporting party's concern.
- Provide a specific, detailed and factual account of what occurred (e.g., in an Honor Code concern, how you did your work).
- Include circumstances surrounding the event that are relevant to the facts and issues of the case.
- Indicate whether you are contesting or not contesting what is alleged in the concern.
- If you are contesting the allegations, explain what you are contesting. For example, if you disagree with what the reporting party alleges happened, provide your account. If you agree with the facts but disagree that those facts constitute a violation of the Honor Code or Fundamental Standard, explain why you believe your actions were not a violation of policy.
- If you are not contesting the allegations, explain what you have learned from the process or what you might do differently in similar circumstances.
- Offer any mitigating factors that should be considered while the Judicial Officer makes a decision about charging the case formally and/or a Judicial Panel makes its decision on a case that goes to a hearing.
- Explain your thoughts about any aggravating factors present in the case.