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Students who disagree with the sanction proposed by the investigating officer have rights to a non-academic misconduct hearing as described in UWS 17.12.
The student has a choice between a hearing before a hearing examiner (an administrator appointed for such purpose by the Chancellor) or before a hearing committee (usually comprised of two students, one faculty, and one academic staff member appointed by the appropriate campus governance groups although the hearing may proceed even if one member is absent. The committee is chaired by a hearing examiner).
If the sanction is University Suspension or Expulsion, the hearing is automatic (unless the student waives his or her right to the hearing in writing). The accused student should contact the Dean of Students Office (130 Bowman Hall) in writing within 10 days to indicate his or her hearing choice. If the student does not exercise his or her right to choose a hearing type within 10 days, a Hearing Examiner will be assigned.
For sanctions less than suspension from the university, hearings are not automatic. The accused student will have 10 days in which to contact the Dean of Students Office in writing if he or she wishes to request a hearing. If not requested within 10 days, the sanction proposed by the Investigating Officer stands as final.
A minimum of five days before the hearing the student and hearing committee or examiner will receive the any copies of the investigating officer’s explanation of the findings and other documentation on which the determination of misconduct and resulting recommended sanction were based. If the investigating officer plans to call witnesses, that list will also be shared. These materials are confidential and must not be shared with others.
If the student wishes to have a written statement or any other documentation included in the packet to the examiner or committee, he or she should contact the Investigating Officer or Dean of Students Office at least 5 days before the scheduled hearing.
At a hearing the student accused has the right to present testimony and witnesses that are directly relevant to the case (character witnesses will not be allowed in most cases). He or she also has the right to question witnesses and evidence presented by the Investigating Officer. However, Hearings are not the same as a courtroom and all parties will be asked to show respect for the others testifying. Students planning to call witnesses should notify the Investigating Officer or Dean of Students Office at least 5 days before the scheduled hearing.
In most cases hearings will last one hour or less in order to accommodate our student, faculty and staff committee members busy schedules. In order to keep the hearing on task, the hearing examiner or committee chair may impose time limits. Students should plan to introduce their most important evidence first.
There is also a lesser burden of proof required in which the Examiner or Committee will determine its finding. In a Court of Law, the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” For UWS Chapter 17 hearings, the burden of proof that must be met is “clear and convincing evidence” if the sanction sought is suspension or expulsion (except in cases where sexual harassment or sexual assault are alleged). For all other Ch. 17 hearings, the burden of proof required is “a preponderance of evidence.”
The hearing examiner or committee have the authority to dismiss the case should the Investigating Officer not convince, based on the burden of proof, that non-academic misconduct as described in Chapter 17 occurred. If they determine that misconduct occurred, they have full authority to either uphold the sanction, lessen the sanction, or in some cases raise the sanction (a committee cannot however impose an expulsion or suspension sanction if it was not first recommended by the Investigating Officer). Click here for a listing of possible sanctions.
Students with questions on how the hearing works and what is allowable should contact either the Investigating Officer or the Dean of Students Office (715-232-1181).