Procedures for Hearing

The following applies to violations of the Code of Conduct. However, process statements under the University’s Honor Code, Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy, and Sexual Misconduct Policy may differ from statements in this section. Those differences supersede information provided here.

Report

The conduct process begins with a report of a violation of the Code of Conduct. All reports of violations that are deemed credible and contain actionable information are referred to the Dean of Students who assigns the case to the appropriate adjudicatory body (see Resolving the Case below). Reports are typically filed by staff in Residential Life or the Sewanee Police Department.  However, any member of this community can file a report, found here.

Notice

After a violation is reported to the Dean of Students, the student will receive notice via email of the alleged violation called a Notice of Community Responsibilities. Students will typically have three class days to schedule an appointment with the Conduct Officer identified in the notice. In certain circumstances (such as a first offense) and at the Dean's discretion, the Notice of Community Responsibilities may indicate that if the student chooses not to see the Conduct Officer within that time limit, the student is presumed to accept responsibility and the standard sanctions, which will be indicated in the notice, will be imposed. The Dean of Students Office reserves the right to schedule a hearing time, date, and location and may take under consideration such factors as student’s schedule, Conduct Officer(s) schedule, prejudice to the student of delaying the hearing date, the time necessary to collect information, nature of the alleged violation(s), and other factors.  When the SCB will hear the case, the Notice of Community Responsibilities will give a date and time of a scheduled hearing time. In scheduling these hearings, the Dean of Students Office will take a student’s academic obligations into consideration but will expect the hearing to be a priority over of the student’s social obligations.

  1. When an Incident has occurred, a student will be provided notice of the incident via a Notice of Community Responsibilities.

  2. A Notice of Community Responsibilities may only be given to a student by a designee of the Dean of Students. Any member of the Sewanee community may report an incident (see Authority).

  3. A Notice of Community Responsibilities must include the following information to be considered effective notice: the alleged violation(s), approximate date of the Incident, and instructions that information about the Conduct Process can be found in The EQB Guide.

  4. A reasonable attempt to deliver a copy of Notice of Community Responsibilities at the time of the incident will be made. If the situation does not reasonably allow for delivering a Notice of Community Responsibilities at the time of the incident, then the student should be delivered a Notice of Community Responsibilities no later than 15 business days after the Dean of Students knows about the incident barring institutional breaks or other reasonable delays.

  5. A Notice of Community Responsibilities delivered in person or to the student’s Sewanee email address is considered to provide the student with notice of the incident. When delivery is not in person, notice is complete upon sending the Notice of Community Responsibilities, not upon receipt. In accordance with university policy, students are expected to check their email daily.

  6. Failure or refusal to respond to notice of the incident (i.e. not checking campus mail, avoiding attempted contact efforts by University officials, etc.) may result in a hearing being conducted in the student’s absence and sanctions being assigned.

Resolving the Case

There are two adjudicatory bodies that resolve cases (Conduct Officers)–an Administrative Hearing Officer or the Student Conduct  Board, represented by the chair. The Dean of Students or his/her designee will assign cases to either body depending on case load, scheduling issues, or sensitivity of the case. The following procedures are followed regardless of the adjudicatory body.  

  1. Once notice has been provided, a student should contact the Conduct Officer indicated on the Notice of Community Responsibilities within the three class days following the issue date of the Notice of Community Responsibilities in order to schedule a hearing.  

  2. A student’s failure or refusal to contact the appropriate person within the allotted three class days will be treated as the student’s acceptance of responsibility for all alleged violations, will result in a hearing being scheduled and conducted in the student’s absence.

  3. At a hearing, a student must indicate whether he or she accepts or denies responsibility for an alleged violation(s).

  4. During a hearing, a student may view currently available  information related to the incident, may receive instructions regarding the conduct process, and may have any policy language reviewed with him or her. The University reserves the right to redact information when it poses a risk to the safety of an individual or individuals or is required by FERPA.

  5. If a student attempts to cancel a scheduled hearing prior to its commencement, he or she must provide documentation to the Conduct Officer supporting a valid reason. Granting a postponement is at the discretion of the Conduct Officer.

  6. If a student fails to appear at a scheduled hearing, he or she waives the privilege to participate in the hearing. The student will be accountable for the outcome of the hearing.

  7. If the Conduct Officer(s) needs to reschedule the hearing prior to its commencement, the officer will make a reasonable effort to notify the student of the new time, date and location of the hearing. The officer will set a new hearing time, date, and location at his or her sole discretion and may take under consideration such factors as student’s schedule, Conduct Officer(s) schedule, prejudice to the student of delaying the hearing date, the time necessary to collect information, nature of the alleged violation(s), and other factors.

  8. A hearing is a closed meeting involving only those who have information regarding what happened, an optional advisor, and those responsible for the conduct process.  An optional advisor serves as a support person during the hearing but cannot speak directly to the Conduct Officer during a hearing.  S/he may not be a family member or an attorney.  

  9. During a hearing, the student will have the opportunity to challenge or clarify information related to the incident and present his/her own information related to the incident. 

  10. The student may request permission to bring a person or persons who have information related to the incident to the hearing. The name of any person appearing on the student’s behalf must be submitted and approved by the hearing officer at least one class day prior to the hearing. Requests for Witnesses should be emailed to the Director of Conduct at lagoodpa@sewanee.edu and include why the witness is relevant to the case.  Please note, attorneys are not allowed to represent students in University cases and cannot attend hearings.  

  11. The Conduct Officer(s) will determine whether Information is relevant to what happened during an incident and may redirect a person if information is determined to be irrelevant.  

  12. The Conduct Officer(s) may take action against a person or advisor who is interfering with the hearing in his or her sole discretion. Such action includes—but is not limited to—halting the hearing, rescheduling the hearing, or removing the person or advisor from the hearing and proceeding in his or her absence.

  13. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Conduct Officer(s) will deliberate responsibility if a student has denied responsibility for an alleged violation. A preponderance of the evidences standard will be used by the Conduct Officer(s) to make decisions regarding responsibility.

  14. A student’s prior conduct record will be considered only during the sanctions phase of the hearing and will not be considered during the deliberation of responsibility.

  15. If a student is responsible for a violation(s)—either by the student’s own admission or the decision of the Conduct Officer(s)—the Conduct Officer(s) will assign sanctions. In some cases it may be necessary to schedule a second meeting in order to give the Conduct Officer(s) sufficient time to assigns sanctions.

  16. The decision(s) by the Student Discipline Board will be based on a simple majority vote by the board.

Conduct Outcome Letter

Decisions regarding responsibility and sanctions, if any, will be delivered to the student in writing through the student’s University email address or in person. When delivery is not in person, the student is considered to have received the Conduct Outcome Letter upon the letter being sent via email.