The Formal Hearing Process

Formal and SCB Hearings

  1. The purpose of a formal conduct hearing is to review statements from a respondent, complainant, or witnesses with direct knowledge of the incident.  A determination will be made as to whether or not the respondent violated the Community Standards.  Recommendations for sanctions will be made if the respondent is found responsible.
  2. Formal conduct hearings will be conducted as soon as possible, but no sooner than 2 business days and no more than more than 10 business days after the respondent has been notified of the Maximum time limits for scheduling a formal conduct hearing may be extended at the discretion of the AVPSA/Dean of Students, or designee. Formal conduct hearings may be recessed at any time provided they are reconvened within 5 business days.
  3. A respondent will be considered notified of the charges once the notice of the charges has been mailed to the student's local or campus address on file with the College or emailed to the student's Stonehill email address.
  1. Notice of the charges for a formal conduct hearing will be in writing and will include the date, time, and place that a student must attend the hearing, the name of the complainant, as well as the names of witnesses called to provide information.
  2. If a respondent, with notice, does not appear for a formal conduct hearing, the hearing may proceed as scheduled and the information in support of the charges may be presented and considered even if the respondent is not present.
  1. A formal conduct hearing may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well- being, or fears of confrontation with the respondent, complainant, or witnesses during the hearing. This can be done by providing alternate means of communication as determined by the AVPSA/Dean of Students, or designee, to be appropriate.
  2. The respondent and complainant have the right to be accompanied by an advisor of choice for the purpose of providing support and guidance.  An advisor of choice may not directly address the hearing officers, student board members, witnesses, or otherwise actively participate in the hearing.  The name of the advisor of choice must be submitted in writing to the AVPSA/Dean of Students, or designee, at least 24 hours prior to the formal conduct hearing.
  3. The respondent and complainant and their advisor of choice, if any, will be permitted to attend the entire portion of a formal conduct hearing at which information is received (excluding deliberations).
  4. Admission and/or removal of any other person to a formal conduct hearing (including witnesses and advisors of choice) will be at the discretion of the AVPSA/Dean of Students, or designee.
  5. Generally, the respondent and complainant may present up to 4 witnesses with direct knowledge of the incident to provide information to and answer questions from the hearing officer or chairperson of the SCB.  Character witnesses are not permitted.   If the respondent and complainant wishes to present more than 4 witnesses, they must submit a written request to the AVPSA/Dean of Students, or designee, indicating the names of the additional witnesses and why their testimony would be beneficial.  The request must be submitted to the AVPSA/Dean of Students, or designee, at least 24 hours prior to the formal conduct hearing.  The College will try to arrange the attendance of possible witnesses who are members of the College community, if reasonably possible.  The name(s) of the witness(es) of the respondent and complainant are to be submitted in writing to the AVPSA/Dean of Students, or designee, at least 24 hours prior to the formal conduct hearing. During the hearing, the respondent and complainant may submit questions to the hearing officer or chairperson of the SCB to be answered by each other or other witnesses.  This method is used to preserve the educational tone of the hearing and to avoid creation of an adversarial environment. Questions of whether potential information will be received will be resolved at the discretion of the hearing officer or chairperson of the SCB.
  1. All procedural questions will be decided by the hearing officer or chairperson of the SCB.
  2. After the formal conduct hearing concludes, the hearing officer or SCB will determine whether the respondent violated each section of the Community Standards that the student is alleged to have violated.
  3. Decisions of the hearing officer or SCB will be made on the information presented during the hearing ng on the basis of whether it is more likely than not (preponderance of the evidence) that the respondent violated the Community Standards.
  4. Upon request, the hearing officer who conducted the formal hearing and chairperson of the SCB will provide a written summary of the formal conduct hearing, including a brief statement of the facts, decision as to whether the respondent is responsible or not responsible for violating the Community Standards, sanction, if any, and the rationale for the decision and sanction, if any.
  5. The AVPSA/Dean of Students, or designee, may consider the sanction recommended by the SCB and may impose sanctions other than those recommended by the hearing officer or SCB. 
  6. The respondent and complainant (if applicable) will be informed of the decision and sanction imposed, if any, of the hearing officer or SCB within 3 business days following a formal or SCB hearing.

 

Rights of All Parties in Formal Conduct Hearings

  1. A respondent and complainant will be entitled to:
    1. Receive written notice of charges.
    2. Obtain the name of the individual complainant (if applicable).
    3. View reports in the Office of Community Standards in the presence of a Student Affairs staff member during normal business hours or request a copy of a police report or a redacted copy of a Student Affairs incident report.
    4. Be notified of the date, time, and place of the formal conduct hearing, as well as the names of the witnesses called to provide information.
    5. Receive notice of the fact that failure to appear for a formal conduct hearing may result in the hearing being conducted in the absence of the respondent or complainant.  
    6. Provide the names of up to 4 witnesses with direct knowledge of the incident who may appear at a formal conduct hearing on their behalf to the AVPSA/Dean of Students, or designee, within 24 hours of the hearing. If the respondent and complainant wishes to present more than 4 witnesses, they must submit a written request to the AVPSA/Dean of Students, or designee, indicating the names of the additional witnesses and why their testimony would be beneficial. The request must be submitted in writing to the AVPSA/Dean of Students, or designee, at least 24 hours prior to the formal conduct hearing. Character witnesses are not permitted.
    7. Be notified of the fact that they may request additional information about the Community Standards and Student Conduct Process.
    8. Challenge the composition of the SCB.
    9. Present their case, including questioning witnesses and respondent/complainant through the Chair of the SCB.
    10. Request additional accommodations, including, but not limited to, the use of if either student wishes to be in a different location.
    11. Decline to answer any questions or make any statements during a formal conduct hearing.  Such silence will not be used against the respondent or complainant. However, the outcome of the formal conduct hearing will be based upon the information or lack thereof presented at the hearing.
    12. Be accompanied by an advisor of choice for the purpose of providing support and guidance.  An advisor of choice may not directly address the hearing officers. student board members, witness. or otherwise actively participate in the hearing. The name of the advisor of choice must be submitted in writing to the AVPSA/Dean of Students, or designee, at least 24 hours prior to the formal conduct hearing.
    13. Be informed in writing of the decision and if any, within 3 business days of a formal conduct hearing. The victim of any violent crime or non-forcible sex offense will receive, in writing, the final results of any institutional student conduct proceedings conducted against a respondent.  If the victim is deceased as a result of such crime or offense, the final results will be sent to the next of kin.
    14. Request an appeal of the decision in accordance with the appeal process outlined within this policy.

Student Conduct Board (SCB)

  1. The SCB:
    1. The SCB will be comprised of a group of members of the College community representing students. faculty, and staff members.
    2. A quorum of 3 SCB members must be present to conduct a SCB hearing.
    3. Any member of the SCB may be removed for non-fulfillment of duties essential to the position.
  2. Student members of the SCB must be full-time students in good academic and disciplinary standing.  If a student member does not maintain good academic or disciplinary standing, they will be removed from the SCB for that academic year.
  3. The term for each member of the SCB will be one academic year and may be reappointed at the discretion of the AVPSA/Dean of Students or designee.
  4. All decisions by the SCB will be arrived at by a simple majority vote.  The chairperson will vote only in case of a tie.