The Early Resolution Option (ERO) is available for uncontested Honor Code and Fundamental Standard cases. ERO allows students to waive their right to a hearing and reduce the amount of time involved.
When the Early Resolution Option May Be Used
Certain circumstances are required for use of the ERO.
Circumstances that may justify the Early Resolution Option:
- Uncontested cases where a student has been charged with violating the Honor Code; and
- For Honor Code cases: the Standard Sanction (one quarter suspension, 40 hours of community service) would be appropriate. Even when it is appropriate, the Standard Sanction may not be assigned.
Circumstances in which the Early Resolution Option would not be offered:
- A responding student contests the allegations/charges against them;
- A responding student, complainant, or victim prefers the case go before a Judicial Panel hearing;
- The allegations/charges against a student do not have a standard sanction and/or sanction of precedent;
- The student has previously had a Judicial Affairs hearing or previously accepted the Early Resolution Option; and
- The Office of Community Standards determines a Judicial Panel hearing is the appropriate resolution.
If these circumstances are met, there are additional requirements:
- Matters eligible for the Early Resolution Option must also have standing to go forward through a Judicial Panel Hearing; that is
- the matter must be timely under the Judicial Charter's statute of limitations
- the matter with all facts of the Complaint taken as true must rise to the level of an Honor Code violation.
- The Responding Student must request to waive her/his right to a Judicial Panel hearing and opt to participate in the Early Resolution Process; if all parties agree to waive their right to a full hearing, then the option will be offered.
- The Office of Community Standards will exercise reasonable discretion to determine whether a matter is appropriate for the Early Resolution Option.
- Even where a matter does meet the above criteria for the Early Resolution Option, the Office of Community Standards may determine that a Judicial Panel hearing is the appropriate resolution.
- The Office of Community Standards' decision about the appropriate venue for the charge to be resolved is final.
Obligations of Participants
Stanford community members are expected to cooperate fully and participate in the Judicial Affairs process, although efforts will be made where possible to accommodate schedules to reduce the burden of participation on parties and witnesses. The Responding Student may choose to waive her/his right to a full Judicial Panel hearing, and instead opt for the Early Resolution Option.
Rights of Responding Students, Reporting Parties, and Witnesses in the Early Resolution Option
All participants in the Early Resolution Option have all the same rights under the Student Judicial Charter as those who elect to use the regular Judicial Process.
How the Process Works
Changes from the regular Judicial Process are highlighted in bold. See the corresponding steps in the regular Judicial Process:
- A formal concern is made within sixty (60) days of the date of discovery of the evidence upon which it is based.
- Standard receipt notification sent to complainant, indicating next step in process. Within this email, the OJA includes language regarding the early resolution option (ERO). The complainant may or may not indicate their agreement to the ERO at this time.
- Within one week of receipt of a formal concern, the Office of Community Standards should notify the responding student in writing of the nature of the concern.
- As a neutral party, the Judicial Advisor's role is to advise both the responding student and the reporting party about judicial procedures. The Judicial Advisor can provide the name of an impartial and confidential volunteer Judicial Counselor who is available to assist the responding student and the reporting party.
- The Judicial Advisor will provide the Responding Student with a written copy of their rights, as well as a copy of the Complaint. Further, the Judicial Advisor will explain to the Responding Student that the Honor Code may have been violated, and what the Standard Sanction/Sanction of Precedent is for violating the Honor Code.
- The Judicial Officer will meet with the Responding Student and review the nature of the concern. He/She will ask if the student did in fact act according to the allegations. The Responding Student has two options:
- Student accepts responsibility for violating the Honor Code
- Student contests allegations: If the student contests the allegations, the Judicial Officer continues with his/her investigation (See below, part 8)
- If the student accepts responsibility for the violation and agrees in writing to waive their right to sit before a Judicial Panel hearing, the Judicial Officer will review the Standard Sanction/Sanction of Precedent for the violation.
- If the student agrees to the Standard Sanction/Sanction of Precedent, or the Judicial Office finds appropriate reason to deviate based on precedent and in accordance with the penalty code (and the student agrees to that sanction) the issue is formally resolved immediately.
- The Judicial Advisor will prepare a letter to the responding student which summarizes the outcome of the Early Resolution Option and the sanctions to be assessed. The decision will be reviewed by the Dean of Student Life (or a Dean’s designee) within one week for general conformance with precedent and the Student Policy Conduct code. If the Dean of Student Life finds that the sanctions are inappropriate, the Dean may ask that the case be heard by a Judicial Panel hearing. (see below, part 11) Further, if within the one week period the Responding Student wishes to request his/her case go before a Judicial Panel, a hearing will be scheduled as soon as practicable.
- If the student accepts responsibility, but does not agree with the proposed sanction, the case will proceed through the Judicial Process and the Judicial Advisor will schedule a Judicial Panel hearing (see below, part 10).
- If the student contests the allegations, and does not accept responsibility, the Judicial Officer will meet with other knowledgeable parties and gather relevant evidence. After conducting a thorough investigation, the Judicial Officer has three options:If charges are filed, the student will be informed of all charges, all incriminating and exculpatory evidence related to the charges, the names of the reporting parties and the names of potential witnesses against them.
- to file formal charges against the responding student
- to refer the case to another appropriate office, or
- to refrain from taking any formal action.
- In cases in which no charges are filed by the Judicial Officer, the reporting party may still request that a Judicial Panel hearing be held in order to hear the evidence against the responding student and exculpatory evidence. The responding student will be informed in writing of this hearing and will be allowed to testify and present evidence before the panel. The panel can instruct the Judicial Officer to file formal charges. If this occurs, a new Judicial Panel will be convened to hear the case resulting from the charges.
- In cases where the Responding Student has elected for the Early Resolution Option, the reporting party may still request that a Judicial Panel hearing be convened to hear the case.
- All cases in which formal charges have been filed must be resolved through the Early Resolution Option or heard by a Judicial Panel. The Judicial Advisor shall appoint members of the Judicial Panel from the Judicial Panel Pool within three weeks of charges being filed. At Judicial Panel hearings, the Judicial Officer will present all evidence relevant to the concern. The Judicial Officer has the responsibility to present evidence which supports the charges as well as any extenuating circumstances or exculpatory evidence uncovered during the investigation. The Judicial Advisor will be present at the hearings to record the proceedings and to answer general questions about judicial procedures.
- Judicial Panel hearings are usually closed to the public unless the responding student files a request for an open hearing at least one week in advance of the hearing.
- At Judicial Panel hearings both the responding student and the reporting party may choose to be accompanied by a friend or adviser. The responding student need not appear before the Panel and may choose to respond to the charges in writing. The responding student may answer the charges, call witnesses on their behalf and cross-examine those giving testimony against them.
- Presentation of evidence and testimony, as well as, questioning of the responding student and of witnesses at Judicial Panel hearings shall be conducted in a manner that is courteous to all participants, that is devoid of intimidation and harassment, and that limits discussion to information relevant to the facts and issues of the case.
- Following the conclusion of the Judicial Panel proceedings, the Panel will meet in a closed session to determine the disposition of the charges. The Panel may request information from the Judicial Advisor regarding rules and procedures. At that time the Panel may
- dismiss the case for insufficient evidence
- find that no violation occurred
- find that a violation did occur.
If the Panel finds that a violation did occur, they may also impose appropriate sanctions. Sanctions shall be determined in accordance with precedent and the Student Conduct Penalty Code. Considerations in determining sanctions shall include the nature and seriousness of the offense, extenuating circumstances and prior violations.
- The Judicial Advisor will prepare a letter to the responding student which summarizes the findings of the Judicial Panel and, if guilty, the sanctions to be assessed. Letters that include sanctions will be reviewed by the Dean of Students (or a Dean’s designee) within one week for general conformance with precedent and the Student Policy Conduct code. If the Dean of Students finds that the sanctions are inappropriate, the Dean may ask the Panel to reconsider the sanctions. If the panel does reconsider its original sanctions, the reconsidered decision of the panel is final.
- If a Judicial Panel recommends expulsion from the university, the case will be automatically reviewed by the provost. The provost has the option of supporting the recommendation of expulsion or imposing lesser sanctions.
- Within one week of the sanctions being affirmed, the student will be informed in writing of the decision of the Judicial Panel. The Judicial Advisor will be available to advise the student about the sanctions.
- Students found guilty may appeal the decisions of the Judicial Panel. They should normally file an appeal with the Judicial Advisor within one month of being notified of the results of the Judicial Panel hearing. The grounds for appeal are cited in Section III-H.1.
- Students who voluntarily accept the Early Resolution Option waive their right to appeal the decision.
Sanctioning Guidelines for the Early Resolution Option
In May 2013, the Board on Judicial Affairs (BJA) adopted the 2012 Internal Review Panel Report’s recommendation to apply the following sanctions to cases resolved through the Early Resolution Option (ERO): probation—a period of observation and review—until conferral the terminal degree, a one-quarter suspension held in abeyance, and 40 hours of community service, and an online training on academic integrity. After three years, based on feedback from the Stanford community and the Office of Community Standards staff, the BJA voted to adopt the following amendment to the Student Conduct Penalty Code on May 25, 2016 which determines that the Office of Community Standards should use the following guidelines in determining sanctions for ERO agreements.
All cases resolved through the ERO shall include probation—a period of observation and review—until conferral the terminal degree and a one-quarter suspension held at abeyance.
For all cases, the Judicial Officer shall determine additional sanctions that appropriately address the violation for which a student is charged, including, but not limited to, at least one of the following:
- An educational component (e.g., academic integrity seminar, sessions through the Hume Writing Center, assigned reading or reflection essays);
- A community service component;
- A restorative justice component;
- Restrictions on or revocation of privileges; or,
- Restitution to a victim or the community.
All involved parties (Responding Student, Reporting Party, and Judicial Officer) must agree to the determined sanctions in order for a case to be resolved through the ERO.
In Spring 2018, the BJA determined that all cases resolved through the ERO for graduating students shall include a one-quarter delay of degree conferral; amended from the previous sanction of a two-quarter delay of degree conferral.
A student who has agreed to both the Early Resolution Option and the assigned sanction has waived her/his right to file an appeal.
The Office of Community Standards (OCS) shall maintain permanent confidential files on cases that are found by the Student Title IX Process, the previous Alternate Review Process (ARP) Reviewers, or a Judicial Panel to constitute a violation. Beginning with Academic Year 2017-2018, the OCS shall maintain confidential files for all cases resolved by the Early Resolution Option (ERO) for only seven years, provided the responsible student commits no subsequent violation.
Rational: This policy is consistent with the retention policies of Stanford’s peer institutions, and has been reviewed by the Office of General Counsel.
(Adopted Spring 2017)