Hearing Process

Hearing Process

The Utica College Conduct Process



What is a Pre-Hearing?

 

A student may request a pre-hearing to review the conduct process with an administrator.  The Hearing Officer will cover how the process ties to the Code of Student Conduct, where documentation comes from, how charge letters are generated, and what kinds of rights students going through the UC Student Conduct Process are afforded.
Advocate

What is a Hearing?

The purpose of a hearing is to document the student's "plea" (Responsible or Not Responsible) and to determine whether they're responsible for the alleged violation(s). If a student accepts responsibility, discussion of the student's actions as well as sanctions may take place.  If the student pleads "Not Responsible", his or her perspective will be discussed and any additional information that the student provides will be used by the hearing officer to make an informed decision.  The student will receive the hearing officer's decision by email.
 
 

Student Conduct Appeal Hearing Process

Purpose of Appeal

While the process of an appeal hearing with an administrator or the Student Conduct Appeals Board (hereafter referred to as "Board") is fairly similar to the process followed in original administrative hearings, there are some key differences. These differences include:
  • The purpose of an appeal hearing is to review the decision(s) made by a hearing officer. Generally, this means that the case will not be re-heard. Instead, the administrator or Board will review information used in the original hearing as well as any other additional information the student provides in support of their appeal. The decision made by the Board or administrator hearing the appeal will be made in light of the reason identified for the basis for appeal.
     
  • The student requesting an appeal identifies the reason for their appeal. The administrator or Board reviews the information regarding how the initial decision was made, and may make one of four decisions:
    • To grant the appeal in its entirety
    • To deny the appeal
    • To modify decisions made by the original hearing officer
    • To send the case back to the original hearing officer
       
  • Witnesses are not a part of the appeal process. During a Board appeal hearing, the student and the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards will provide the board with information about how and why the decision was made. In all other appeals, the student meets individually with the administrator who is hearing the appeal.  A Procedural Advocate may be present at the request of the student.

Reason for Appeal



You may only appeal based on one or more of the following:

  • Decision - The standard used to make a decision about whether or not the student is responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct is “preponderance of the evidence.” This means that, based on the information available at the time, it is more likely than not that a violation has occurred. In appealing a decision regarding responsibility for a violation, the student must indicate how the decision that was made was not a reasonable conclusion based on information available to the hearing officer.
     
  • Sanction - Appealing for this reason alleges that the sanction imposed is inappropriate or unreasonable. In his or her written statement, the student must outline how the sanction was disproportionate given the violation.
     
  • Procedural Error - Because this is not a court of law, Utica College uses the standard of “fair process” in how the Student Conduct process is carried out. This means that the hearing officer is expected to conduct the original hearing in conformity with procedures described in the “Rights and Responsibilities” section of the Utica College Student Handbook.  Appealing on the basis of a procedural error means that one of these standards was not upheld, and that it had a substantial impact on the fairness of the conduct process and the outcome of the hearing.
     
  • New Evidence - An appeal based on “new evidence” means that the student now has additional information that was not available at the time of the hearing, and that that information would have had a substantial impact on the outcome of the hearing. If the student appeals on this basis, he/she must indicate in the written statement what new information is now available, how the information is sufficient to alter the original decision, and why the information was not provided at the time of the original conduct hearing.
 

Venue for Appeal


Venue - 

"Venue" refers to where and with whom a hearing takes place. The venues available for appeal are based upon where the initial hearing took place.  Appeal venues are as follows:
  • Decisions made by the Director of Student Conduct may be appealed to the Student Conduct Appeals Board.
  • Decisions made by Area Coordinators may be appealed to the Director of Student Conduct or his/her designee.

Process of Appeal



Director of Student Conduct Appeal Hearings



The Director of Student Conduct will hear appeals of Residence Life hearing officer decisions.  An appeal hearing date and time is scheduled, and the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards will review the documentation and meet with the student to discuss the basis for his/her appeal.  The student will receive notification of the Director's decision by email.

Student Conduct Appeals Board Hearings

The Student Conduct Appeals Board consists of several student, staff, and faculty members. For an appeal hearing to take place, (a) at least three members of the Board must be present, and (b) a representative from each of the following College constituencies must be present - 1 student, 1 staff member, and 1 faculty member.

The Student Conduct Appeals board will hear appeals of the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards' decisions.  An appeal hearing date and time is scheduled, and the Board will have the opportunity to review the appeal hearing materials before the hearing takes place.  The board will ask the student to leave the room while they deliberate, and will call the student back in to deliver their decision.

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TIPS FOR PARTICIPATING IN YOUR CONDUCT HEARING


1. READ YOUR CHARGE LETTER! There is a great deal of important information contained in your letter, including the time and date for your hearing and the violations with which you are being charged.

2. Show up for the hearing. This is your opportunity to present your perspective, and not appearing may be interpreted as disrespect for the process and additional lack of responsibility. If you have an academic conflict with the date or time, contact the hearing officer indicated in your charge letter as soon as you receive your letter. Otherwise, the hearing officer/board can and will make a decision without you being present.

3. It is important to be prepared and take the process seriously.

4. Be honest. You are expected to provide only information that is true and accurate.

5. Be cooperative. This hearing is about being held accountable for your own behavior, and part of what hearing officer/board will look for is your understanding of your own role and level of responsibility in this situation. Being uncooperative in a hearing may result in a more serious sanction.

6. Dress neatly. This is a formal process that you are participating in, and your attire demonstrates respect for the hearing officer/board and the process.

7. You have the opportunity to have a Procedural Advocate who can assist you and who may accompany you during the hearing. The Procedural Advocate is a member of the College community (except staff in the offices of Counseling & Student Development or Student Living & College Engagement), and his/her role is to help you prepare for your hearing and provide you support through the process. Notify the Director of Student Conduct as soon as possible if you wish to have a Procedural Advocate.  A list of trained Procedural Advocates will be provided to you to choose from.

8. During an Appeals Board Hearing, you will be given the opportunity to make an opening statement. At this time, you may share with the Board your reason(s) why you are appealing the decision in your case.

9. You should read all documents related to the case prior to attending the hearing to have full understanding of what the hearing officer is using to assess whether or not you are responsible for the violations.

10. If you attend an administrative pre-hearing, information will be reviewed with you at that point. Make sure you read all of the documentation provided at that time.

11. Inform the hearing officer prior to the hearing of any witnesses you would like to have on your behalf.  If your case is being heard by an administrator rather than a Board, you will have the opportunity to provide the hearing officer with names of individuals you would like him/her to speak with.

12. You will always have the opportunity to respond to information provided by others that is being used to make a decision. However, cross-examination of witnesses in a Board hearing is not permitted; be sure to follow the process of addressing any questions you have to the Chair of the Board rather than the witness.

13. Administrative hearings will be solely with you and the administrator. If you have any questions or concerns about the information provided by witnesses, however, be sure to raise them with the hearing officer.

14. If you are questioning information provided by witnesses, do so respectfully and make sure your objections are relevant to the information provided. Making remarks about a witness’s character are not acceptable, and will not be tolerated.
 
15. When you are in an Appeals Board Hearing, use the closing statement as an opportunity to make your final remarks regarding the relevant facts that have been given concerning your case. If you are not denying responsibility for the charges, you can use this opportunity to explain to the board what you have learned and suggest what sanction you may feel would be best.

16. Try to make eye contact with the Hearing Officer/Board as you address them or they address you.

17. Do not become defensive or argumentative with the Hearing Officer/Board. Their sole duty is to sort through the material that they have been given to determine a fair outcome, both in terms of responsibility and sanction.

18. Make sure you ask any questions you have in order to better understand any sanctions that result, but do so in a way that is not argumentative or confrontational. If you disagree with a decision, you have the right to appeal.


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Contact Us

Carl W. Lohmann

Carl W. Lohmann

Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards
Strebel Student Center
Office Suite 105B
calohman@utica.edu
315-792-3363
315-792-3181 (fax)

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