Section 7: Formal Conduct Procedures

Formal Hearing Procedures

H. Notice of Hearing

Once a determination is made that reasonable cause exists for the Director of Student Community Standards (or the designated Administrative Hearing Officer) to refer a complaint for a hearing, notice will be given to the responding student. Notice will be in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person by the Director of Student Community Standards or designated Administrative Hearing Officer); mailed to the local or permanent address of the student as indicated in official University records; or emailed to the student's University-issued email account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, such notice will be presumptively delivered. The letter of notice will:

  1. Include the alleged violation and notification of where to locate the Code of Student Conduct and University procedures for resolution of the complaint; and;
  2. Direct the responding student to contact the Director of Student Community Standards (or the desingated Administrative Hearing Officer) within a specified period of time to respond to the complaint. This time period will generally be no less than two business days from the date of delivery of the summons letter. 

A meeting with the Director of Student Community Standards, the Dean of Students, or their designee may be arranged to explain the nature of the complaint and the conduct process. At this meeting, the responding student may indicate, either verbally or in writing, to the Director of Student Community Standards (or the designated Administrative Hearing Officer), whether they admit to or deny the allegations of the complaint.

I. Interim Action

Under the Code of Student Conduct, the Dean of Students or designee may impose restrictions and/or separate a student from the community pending the scheduling of a campus hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct when a student represents a threat of serious harm to others, is facing allegations of serious criminal activity, to preserve the integrity of an investigation, to preserve University property and/or to prevent disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the University. Interim actions can include separation from the institution or restrictions on participation in the community for no more than ten (10) business days pending the scheduling of a campus hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct. A student who receives an interim suspension may request a meeting with the Dean of Students or designee to demonstrate why an interim suspension is not merited. Regardless of the outcome of this meeting, the University may still proceed with the scheduling of a campus hearing.

During an interim suspension, a student may be denied access to Marian housing and/or the University campus/facilities/events. As determined appropriate by the Dean of Students, this restriction may include classes and/or all other Marian activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible. At the discretion of the Dean of Students and with the approval of, and in collaboration with, the appropriate Dean(s), alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the responding student.

J. Hearing & Preparation

The following sub-sections describe the Marian's conduct hearing processes. Except in a complaint involving failure to comply with the summons of the Dean of Students (or designee), no student may be found to have violated the Code of Student Conduct solely as a result of the student's failure to appear for a hearing. In all such instances, conduct hearings will proceed as scheduled and the information in support of the complaint will be presented to, and considered by, the Dean of Students, Administrative Hearing Officer, or appeals panel presiding over the hearing.

Students who deny a violation for which a formal hearing will be held will be given a minimum of seven (7) days to prepare unless all parties wish to proceed more quickly. Preparation for a formal hearing is summarized in the following guidelines:

1)      Notice of the time, date and location of the hearing will be in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person by the Director of Student Community Standards (or designee); mailed to the local or permanent address of the student as indicated in official University records; or emailed to the student's University -issued email account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, such notice will be presumptively delivered. 

2)      If there is an alleged victim of the conduct in question, the alleged victim may serve as the reporting party or may elect to have the Marian administration serve as the party bringing the complaint forward. Where there is no alleged victim, the University administration will serve as the party bringing the complaint forward.

3)      If a responding student fails to respond to notice from the Dean of Students (or designee), the Dean of Students (or designee) may initiate a complaint against the student for failure to comply with the directives of a Marian official and give notice of this offense. Unless the student responds to this notice within two days by answering the original notice, an administrative conference may be scheduled and held on the student's behalf. As a result, the student may be administratively withdrawn from attending classes or a disciplinary hold may be placed on their University account, deeming them ineligible to register for courses or Marian housing until such time as the student responds to the initial complaint.

4)      At least three (3) days before any scheduled formal hearing, the following will occur:

 

      1. The responding student will deliver to the Dean of Students (or designee) a written response to the complaint;
      2. The responding student will deliver to the Dean of Students (or designee) a written list of all witnesses for the University to call at the hearing;
      3. The responding student will deliver to the Dean of Students (or designee) all physical evidence the student intends to use or needs to have present at the hearing and will indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known, so that the Dean of Students can arrange for its presence;
      4. The party bringing the complaint will deliver to the Dean of Students (or designee) a written list of all witnesses for the University to call at the hearing;
      5. The party bringing the complaint will deliver to the Dean of Students (or designee) all items of physical evidence needed at the hearing and will indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known, so that the Dean of Students can arrange for its presence;
      6. The party bringing the complaint and the responding student will notify the Dean of Students (or designee) of the names of any advisors/advocates who may be accompanying the parties at the hearing.

5)      The Dean of Students (or designee) will ensure that the hearing information and any other available written documentation is shared with the parties at least two (2) days before any scheduled hearing. In addition, the parties will be told the name of the Administrative Hearing Officer in advance. Should any party object to the designated Hearing Officer, that party must raise all objections, in writing, to the Dean of Students immediately. Hearing officers will only be unseated if the Dean of Students concludes that their bias precludes an impartial hearing of the complaint. Additionally, any Hearing Officer who feels they cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves from the proceedings.

 

K. Formal Hearing Procedures

Formal hearings are conducted with a designated Administrative Hearing Officer.  If a student cannot attend the hearing, it is that student's responsibility to notify the Administrative Hearing Officer no less than three (3) days prior to the scheduled hearing to arrange for another date, time and location. Except in cases of grave or unforeseen circumstances, if the responding student fails to give the requisite minimum three (3) day notice, or if the responding student fails to appear, the hearing will proceed as scheduled. If the party bringing the complaint fails to appear, the complaint may be dropped unless the University chooses to pursue the allegation on its own behalf, as determined by the Dean of Students.  In cases of sexual misconduct (Title IX), the Title IX Coordinator may use the investigation model of due process.  This model is described here.  This process, called the Investigator Process formally, may be used to provide safe, due process to both parties.  Specifically, the Title IX Coordinator may choose this process to be used to investigate and determine sexual misconduct code of conduct violations.  

The hearing officer will conduct hearings according to the following guidelines:

1) Hearings will be closed to the public.  They may involve all parties (reporting, responding, and witnesses) or may be held individually.  Admission to the hearing of persons other than the parties involved will be at the discretion of the officer, but may be subject to review by the Dean of Students or Director of Student Community Standards.  All reports and records are subject to review by all parties prior to a decision being made.  

2) In hearings involving more than one responding student, the standard procedure will be to hear the complaints jointly; however, the Dean of Students may permit the hearing pertinent to each responding student to be conducted separately. In joint hearings, separate determinations of responsibility will be made for each responding student.

3) The parties have the right to an advisor/advocate of their own choosing, including attorneys. Typically advisors are members of the campus community, but the parties may select whomever they wish to serve as their advisor. The advisor may not make a presentation or represent the party bringing the complaint or responding student during the hearing. They may confer quietly with their advisee, exchange notes, clarify procedural questions with the chair and suggest questions to their advisee.

4) Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by the hearing officer or the Dean of Students or his/her designee. Formal rules of evidence are not observed. The Dean of Students or designee may limit the number of character witnesses presented or may accept written affidavits of character instead. 

5) All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Dean of Students or designee.

6) After a formal hearing, the officer will deliberate and determine whether it is more likely than not that the responding student has violated the Code of Student Conduct. Once a finding is determined, if the finding is that of a policy violation, the hearing officer will determine an appropriate sanction(s). The Director of Student Community Standards, the Dean of Students, and/or the Title IX Coordinator is responsible for informing the officer of applicable precedent and any previous conduct violations or other relevant pattern information about the responding student. The hearing officer will prepare a written deliberation report and deliver it to the Director of Student Community Standards, Dean of Students, and/or the Title IX Coordinator, detailing the recommended finding,  the information cited in support of the recommendation, and any information excluded from its consideration and why. This report should conclude with any recommended sanctions. This report should not exceed two pages in length and must be submitted to the Director of Student Community Standards or Dean of Students within two (2) days of the end of deliberations. 

7) The Dean of Students or designee will consider the recommendations of the officer, may make appropriate modifications to the hearing officer's report and will then render a decision and inform the responding student and party bringing the complaint (if applicable by law or University policy) of the final determination within three (3) days of the hearing. Notification will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person by the Director of Student Community Standards (or designee); mailed to the local or permanent address of the student as indicated in official University records; or emailed to the student's University-issued email account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, such notice will be presumptively delivered. In cases of sexual misconduct and other crimes of violence, notice of the outcome will be delivered to all parties simultaneously, meaning without substantial delay between the notifications to each. 

8) There will be a single verbatim record, such as an audio recording, for all formal hearings that may result in probation, suspension, or expulsion. Deliberations will not be recorded. The record will be the property of the University and maintained according to the University's record retention policy.