IV. Judicial Procedures
- A. Students’ Rights
- Written notice of charges, including time and place of the alleged violation at least seventy-two (72) hours’ prior to an SJB hearing.
- Advice from the Office of the Dean of Students in preparing for a hearing.
- Resolution of charges in accordance with judicial system policies as outlined.
- Review of the reports that serve as the basis for the charge(s).
- Participation in the hearing, if the case is not resolved via judicial conference.
- Assistance from a process advisor (if requested).
- Written notice of the hearing decision.
- File an appeal.*
- Written notice regarding outcome of appeal.
- Confidentiality regarding the outcome of the hearing (except for the complainant’s right to be informed of the hearing decision) and any subsequent appeal.
* In cases involving sexual misconduct/Title IX charges, both students have the option to file an appeal. In all other cases, only the respondent has the option to file an appeal.
- B. Reports of Violations
Although most alleged violations are documented by the Office of Public Safety, any individual who is aware of a violation of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct may submit a report to the Office of the Dean of Students. Reports should be submitted as soon as possible, but preferably within five (5) days of the incident. Reports must be in writing and contain a complete description of the incident with the names of all parties involved as participants or witnesses. In cases of sexual harassment or misconduct, the requirement that the report be in writing is relaxed; an individual may make an oral report of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct and Assault Policy. The University may file a complaint when violations of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct harm salaried employees, university guests or neighbors, or if witnesses are unwilling to pursue the matter.
The Code of Non-Academic Conduct applies to groups as well as to individuals. Whenever a complaint is filed with the SJB, the officers of the SJB and an administrative advisor will review the complaint to determine the degree to which a group may be responsible for the actions leading to the complaint. If it is determined that a group may be responsible for a violation of the Code, the SJB will take appropriate action with respect to the group as well as the individuals involved.
- C. Notification of Charges
The respondent will receive written notification of alleged violations of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct. The student must respond to the notice of charges within the time frame outlined in the notification. Please note that the University’s primary means of communicating with students is through their Wesleyan e-mail accounts. Students are responsible for reading and responding to e-mail from university officials.
- D. Adjudication Procedures
There are several adjudication procedures used to resolve cases. The SJB co-chairs and the administrative advisor(s) will meet to review cases submitted for adjudication. This group will determine the appropriate adjudication procedure for resolving of the case. If the group is unable to come to consensus on an adjudication procedure for a particular case, the dean of students may make the final determination.
1. JUDICIAL CONFERENCE
Minor judicial matters and cases where mediation is feasible will be referred to the Residential Life professional staff who will contact the respondent(s) and attempt to resolve the case via a judicial conference. During the judicial conference, the respondent(s) and the Residential Life staff member will discuss the incident, alleged violations and possible sanctions. If an agreement regarding the student’s level of responsibility and sanctions (if appropriate) can be reached during the conference, the student will sign a summary/response form indicating their agreement with the proposed resolution and the case will be considered closed. If no agreement can be reached, the case will be referred to the Student Judicial Board for formal adjudication.
If a student is facing more serious charges, the student may request a judicial conference with the dean of students or designee. The conference will be conducted as outlined above, but the full range of sanctions is available to the dean. The dean will consult with the co-chairs of the SJB before imposing sanctions.
2. SIMPLIFIED SJB HEARINGS
In cases involving minor violations, the SJB shall convene a simplified hearing. At such a hearing, the board shall meet with three voting members present—although permitted, advisors do not normally attend simplified hearings. A limited range of sanctions including disciplinary warning, disciplinary probation, community service assignments, fines, restitution, and educational assignments is available in this procedure. If, during the course of a simplified hearing, the SJB determines that the nature of the violation and/or probable sanctions are more serious than anticipated, the simplified hearing may be adjourned in favor of a full hearing.
3. FULL SJB HEARINGS
In cases involving violations that are deemed to be serious, the SJB shall convene a full hearing. At such a hearing, the board shall meet with five voting members present, at least one faculty advisor, and at least one administrative advisor. The full range of sanctions is available in this procedure. In cases where the administration identifies it- self as the aggrieved party, the administrative advisor should withdraw and will be replaced by the second faculty advisor. This procedure should not be followed when the administration brings a case on behalf of an aggrieved third party.
If a student’s continued presence on campus endangers university property, the physical safety or well-being of other members of the university community, affects his/her physical or emotional safety or well-being, or disrupts the educational process of the community, the dean of students may request an expedited hearing. An expedited hearing will be convened immediately (typically within 48 hours) and may involve an interim board (as outlined below) if the SJB is unable to convene on such short notice. Examples of cases that warrant such a hearing include, but are not limited to, cases involving arson, assault, threats, and reckless endangerment. The dean of students has the authority to place a student on an immediate suspension pending the outcome of the hearing.
4. JOINT STUDENT-ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL
When the SJB co-chairs and advisors determine that a case involves egregious violations and/or serious violations where external legal charges may also result from the alleged conduct, a joint student-administrative panel may be convened to hear the case. At such a hearing, the board shall be comprised of two student members of the SJB and two administrators, all with full voice and vote. At least one of the SJB’s administrative advisors should serve on the board. The full range of sanctions is available in this procedure. If the board is unable to come to consensus on the case during deliberations, the dean of students may make the final determination. For this reason, the dean of students may attend the hearing in an ex officio capacity, but should not attend deliberations. The dean may consult with the University’s legal advisor if appropriate.
5. ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL
Cases involving violations of the Sexual Misconduct and Assault Policy or other Title IX violations will be adjudicated by an administrative panel comprised of four employees of the University. The panel will be comprised of two male and two female staff or faculty drawn from the advisors to the board or hearing officers who have been trained on cases of sexual assault. The procedures for the hearing outlined in the Code and the Sexual Misconduct and Assault Policy will be followed with the exceptions listed below:
1. A respondent will not be permitted to read statements submitted to the dean’s office until his/her own statement has been submitted. The student will be provided with information related to the alleged violation to have sufficient notice and understanding of the charge(s) to be able to respond.
2. A student bringing a complaint of sexual misconduct or assault may participate in a hearing without physically appearing before the board through the use of speakerphone or via similar means. Alternatively, the complainant may be present in the same room, but shielded by a screen from the respondent.
3. The respondent and the complainant will not be permitted to directly question one another in the hearing; however, each is permitted to submit questions they would like the panel to consider asking during the hearing Questions must be submitted to the Dean of Students' Office by the end of the business day prior to the hearing. Each student will be provided an opportunity to make an opening statement, present witnesses, answer questions from the Administrative Panel, and make a closing statement.
4. Both students will be informed of the outcome of the hearing and those sanctions which are relevant to the complainant, as determined by the dean of student’s office.
5. Both parties will be provided an opportunity to appeal the decision of the Administrative Panel to the Vice President of Student Affairs based on the following grounds:
a. Violation of fair process
b. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the hearing
c. Procedural error (if the error adversely affected the outcome of the hearing)
6. INTERIM ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING
An interim administrative board shall be comprised of the dean of students (or designee), an advisor to the SJB, and at least one student member of the SJB. The SJB member(s) of the interim administrative board may participate in hearings via speakerphone or other similar technology. The dean of students will consult with a designated representative from the SJB in order to determine the manner in which cases should be resolved when the SJB cannot convene.
7. JOINT GRADUATE JUDICIAL BOARD-STUDENT JUDICIAL BOARD PANEL
When the SJB co-chairs determine that a case involves both an undergraduate(s) student(s) and a graduate student(s), a joint GJB-SJB panel may be convened to hear the case. At such a hearing, the board shall be comprised of two student members and one advisor member from each of the GJB and SJB panels.
- E. Hearing Procedures
The following hearing procedures will be used in all hearings except as noted in Section IV (D).5 above for cases of sexual misconduct and assault:
1. The chair will conduct the hearing according to the following procedures.
a) The chair will inform the respondent(s) of the alleged violation(s).
b) The respondent(s) will acknowledge whether they are responsible or not responsible for the violation(s).
c) The complainant(s) and witnesses (if any) will have the opportunity to make opening statements and offer their account of the incident.
d) The respondent(s) and their witnesses (if any) will have the opportunity to make opening statements and offer their account of the incident.
e) The complainant(s) and the respondent(s) may pose questions to the board who will then redirect them to the appropriate party.
f) Board members may question the complainant(s),the respondent(s), and/or any witnesses.
g) The complainant(s) and the respondent(s) may make closing statements.
In cases where the complainant(s) or respondent(s) fail to appear, the chair may modify these procedures.
2. All parties involved in the hearing may review available written evidence in the case file before the hearing.
3. A student bringing a complaint of sexual misconduct or assault may participate in a hearing without physically appearing before the board through the use of speakerphone or via similar means.
4. All judicial hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the standards of fair process. Specifically, the respondent should be informed of the nature of the charges against him/her, be given a fair opportunity to refute them, and the opportunity to appeal the board’s decision. Any board member who feels he/she cannot be impartial in a given case shall recuse himself/herself and shall be replaced by another voting member.
5. The board may require the cooperation of any member of the university community in furnishing testimony or evidence directly related to the adjudication of a case. However, no member of the university staff with whom a respondent has entered into a statutorily-recognized confidential relationship may provide information arising from that relationship without the permission of the respondent. Furthermore, the board shall excuse a witness if it concludes that by giving testimony the witness may be endangered.
6. Only the individuals with direct knowledge of the incident will be allowed as witnesses. Character witnesses are not permitted.
7. The chair (or designee) will generate a written summary of all hearings. Full hearings will also be recorded. Written summaries will be maintained with the case file. Audio recordings of the hearing are to be used by the board during deliberations and/or by the President if there is an appeal of the board's findings. Recordings will usually be destroyed after the appeal process is complete.
8. Student judicial records are confidential and are available only to persons who have permission from the student. Limited judicial information may be shared with other university administrators and faculty members who, at the discretion of the dean of students, have a legitimate need-to-know.
9. All hearings are closed to the general public.
10. If a respondent fails to appear for a scheduled hearing, the board will hear the case based on the available information. The University may proceed with charges of misconduct even when a respondent leaves the University for any reason (e.g., voluntary withdrawal, required resignation, separation, or dismissal).
11. A respondent may bring an advisor to a hearing. The advisor must be a student, a member of the faculty, or an administrator at the University. During the hearing the advisor may only advise during recesses granted by the board and may clarify procedural questions before, during, or after the hearing.
12. The board will make decisions about responsibility and sanction(s), if appropriate, during closed session, and their decisions regarding responsibility shall be based on the evidential standard of “preponderance of the evidence.” The board is responsible for determining if it is more likely than not that the alleged violation occurred. The complainant need not provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt in a hearing. Decisions rendered during hearings shall be by majority vote of the voting members present. The board will forward its finding and recommended sanction(s) to the dean of students who will review and implement them in the name of the University. The considered judgment of the board shall be taken by the dean of students as a binding recommendation, to be modified only in extraordinary circumstances. The respondent(s) will be notified in writing via email of the hearing outcome and any sanctions imposed as well as guidelines for filing an appeal. In cases involving sexual misconduct and sexual violence, both the respondent and the complainant will be notified in writing via email of the hearing outcome as well as any sanctions.
13. The University requires that judicial boards and administrative staff maintain confidentiality regarding judicial matters. Complainant(s) will be informed of the board's decision. Information about assigned sanctions will be shared with complainant(s) as deemed appropriate by the dean of student’s office. The dean of students may share information about judicial charges, findings, and sanctions with university personnel who, at the discretion of the dean, have a legitimate need to know.
- F. Hearing Findings
1. NOT RESPONSIBLE
A decision that the respondent is not responsible for a violation of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct, or that there is insufficient evidence to establish that a student is responsible for the alleged violation(s).
A decision that the respondent is responsible for a violation of policy as charged.
- G. Hearing Sanctions
1. The University should have a range of sanctions of graduated severity to deal with infractions of varying serious- ness. Insofar as possible, sanctions should “fit” the offense in a common-sense manner. In Fall of 2012, the university implemented a point-system to bring greater clarity to what students may expect if they are found to have violated regulations.
The following grid contains the point ranges the judicial board will consider for particular violations (#). If a case arises where a student or group is charged with multiple violations, the board will have the discretion to consider the greatest range indicated by all of the alleged violations (for example, if there are two violations with ranges of 2-6 and 1-3 respectively, the board will consider the range of points as 1-9). The total range of points goes from 1 to 10. If a student accumulates 10 or more points, the board will likely recommend a separation from the university for a specified period of time.
Disturbance of the Peace
Harassment and Abuse
Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Assault
Underage Possession or Use of Alcohol
Distribution of Alcohol to Minors
Possession of False Identification
Misuse of Documents
Locks and Keys
Sale or Dispensing without a Permit
Fire Protection Systems
Operating Under the Influence
Starting a Fire
Failure to Comply
Storing Flammable Material
Social Event Registration
Explosives, Ammunition, Incendiary Devices
Smoking in Residence Hall
Quiet Street Noise Violation
# The point ranges outlined above will be followed except in mitigating and aggravating circumstances where the impact of student behavior indicates a judicial response outside of the published range.
* Restitution for property damage may be included in the sanction up to 2 times the cost of repair or replacement.
* Distribution/sale of drugs on or off campus will result in 4-10 points.
IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER SANCTIONS:
1–4 total accumulated points will result in a student receiving a “disciplinary warning”.
5–10 total accumulated points at any time will result in a student being on “disciplinary probation”
10 or more accumulated points will result in a separation of the student from the University through either suspension or dismissal.
A student who has been found responsible for violating the Code of Non-Academic Conduct and assigned points as a result will lose one point after 6 months (180 days) without being found responsible for additional violations. A student with accumulated points will lose one point from their accumulated total six (6) months from the date of the last hearing if there are no additional violations. (A student with 6 points who is placed on probation will return to disciplinary warning status after one year without any additional infractions.)
2. The board will consider a range of sanctions including but not limited to community service, fines, restitution, edu cational assignments, and referrals to deans and directors of student affairs’ departments. Based on the number of points assigned, the board will normally recommend the imposition of one of the following sanctions:
A. DISCIPLINARY WARNING—An official written reprimand that includes a warning that further violations of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct will result in more serious sanctions.
B. DISCIPLINARY PROBATION—A temporary status for a period to be established by the board, during which the student’s standing within the University is in question. Additional violations during the probationary period may result in suspension or dismissal. The dean of students will typically notify parent(s) or guardian(s) of students placed on disciplinary probation by letter.
C. DEFERRED SUSPENSION—A status imposed by the board, indicating the student’s standing within the University is in jeopardy. Additional violations during the probationary period will result in suspension or dismissal.
D. SUSPENSION—A student’s removal from the institution for a period to be determined by the judiciary, but in no event less than the remaining portion of the semester during which the case is adjudicated. Students must comply with the terms of their suspension in order to be eligible to return to the University.
E. DISMISSAL—A student’s permanent removal from the institution.
3. In cases of damage to university property, the board, as a part of its recommendation to the dean of students, should normally require full restitution and/or any reasonable expenses for repair. The board may recommend restitution for damages suffered by a third party, but cannot collect damages on behalf of a third party.
4. The board may recommend restriction of individual access to specific university facilities, limitation of individual participation in specific university activities, or curtailment of privileges that are enjoyed by a student, so long as these restrictions are directly relevant to the violation.
5.Repeat Violations—In the case of repeated violations or violation in deliberate disregard of a specific warning, a student will be subject to more serious sanctions than would otherwise be the case. A prior disciplinary record is never relevant in determining the facts of an incident, but once the facts have been established, it is relevant in determining appropriate sanctions.
6.Sanctions Related to Group Behavior—In addition to recommending other sanctions such as community service, fines, educational assignments, restitution, etc., the board may recommend the imposition of the following sanctions:
a) A written disciplinary warning with a copy maintained in the judicial file. The warning may specify corrective measures that can help the group avoid similar complaints in the future.
b) Disciplinary probation for a period to be established by the board, implying that the group’s standing within the University is in jeopardy and that further negligent or willful violations will normally result in suspension of university recognition. Disciplinary probation may include restrictions on the group’s functions during the probationary period. The group should also be informed of corrective measures that must be undertaken during the probationary period and maintained after its conclusion.
c) Suspension of university recognition—a group desiring to reestablish a relationship with the University must reapply for recognition by the University through the dean of students.
- H. Appeals
Appeals of judicial findings may be directed to the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) who will convene an Appeals Board. The Board shall consist of the VPSA as chairperson, one faculty member and one student member. The faculty member shall be a member of the Faculty Committee on Rights and Responsibilities. The VPSA will select a student member from the membership of the various adjudicating boards or the WSA Academic Affairs Committee chairperson (Honor Board appeals) or the WSA Student Affairs Committee chairperson (SJB appeals) on a case by case basis. Appeals Board members will not have been involved in the adjudication of the case being appealed. Consistent with Wesleyan’s adjudication processes, the student member of the appeals board will be replaced by a second faculty member in cases of sexual misconduct and assault.
The purpose of the Appeals Board is to ensure that hearings were conducted according to the established judicial procedures. The Appeals Board will not substitute its own judgment for that of the original hearing body. Respondents who have been found to be in violation may appeal the decision to the Appeals Board on the basis of the following grounds (in cases of sexual misconduct and assault, both the respondent and the complainant have the right to appeal as outlined in IV-D-5):
- Violation of fair process;
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the hearing;
- Procedural error (if the error adversely affected the outcome of the hearing).
Students who wish to appeal must do so in writing. The appeal letter must clearly state the grounds and rationale for the appeal. Appeal letters should be addressed to the Vice President for Student Affairs and must be submitted within five business days of the hearing decision.
Sanctions resulting from the case will not typically be implemented until after the appeal is resolved. If an expedited full hearing results in a student’s immediate suspension or dismissal, the student must leave campus and remain off campus during the appeal process.
The Vice President for Student Affairs will notify the student of the outcome of the appeal. If the appeal is granted, the Appeals Board has the authority to recommend a new hearing before a new board/panel. If the appeal is denied, the sanctions will be imposed and the University will consider the case closed.
- I. Additional Procedures
1. INTERNAL INJUNCTIONS
One special power, which may be exercised by the SJB, shall be to determine the point at which free expression by one individual or group crosses the line of tolerability and becomes an invasion of the rights of other individuals. This critical judgment must always be exercised in determining when verbal or physical expression can reasonably be considered harassment or disruption. Immediately upon receipt of a complaint that harassment or disruption is in process or imminent, thereby threatening to deprive an individual of his/her rights, the SJB shall convene to consider the matter. In such a case, the board shall be authorized to deliver an injunction against the conduct in question. This warning shall contain an explicit description of the disruptive behavior and reasonable time limit for compliance with the terms of the injunction. The injunction shall remain in effect until superseded by decision of the President. If the injunction is violated, the vice president for student affairs (or designee), shall have the authority to impose immediate, temporary sanctions including, but not limited to, immediate suspension from the University.
The president has the authority to make changes to the Code of Non-Academic Conduct or related procedures. Changes should be proposed to the vice president for student affairs. The dean will consult with the members of the SJB and with the Student Life Committee about the proposed changes before forwarding recommendations to the president. If extensive changes appear warranted, the Student Life Committee should consider establishment of a mechanism for broadly eliciting opinion and advice from the community.
3. JUDICIAL RECORDS
Student judicial records are confidential and are maintained separately from official academic records. Judicial records are maintained for six years after the academic year in which the violation was adjudicated. To inspect their record, a student should make an appointment with the clerk of the SJB. Students will have access to all official records and correspondence in the file. Except as required by law, information from the file cannot be released without the student’s permission.