A Guide to Lynchburg College Judicial Board Hearings
A Lynchburg College judicial board hearing should be taken seriously because important decisions will be made there. However, a College hearing is just that - a hearing. It is not a court of law. During a hearing, participants sit at a conference table and provide information to the hearing panel about the incident being reviewed. Each person speaks for himself/herself.
A student who has been charged with possible policy violations is not required to comment on or to provide information about the alleged incident. Similarly, the charged student is not required to attend or to participate in the judicial board hearing scheduled to resolve the alleged incident. However, a charged student is afforded multiple opportunities to provide information and to participate actively during the hearing, as detailed below.
This site is intended to help a charged student participate actively and fully in the hearing process. Topics addressed include:
- Hearing Participants
- Hearing Preparation Checklist
- During the Hearing
- Presentation of the Hearing Outcome
- After the Hearing
You are encouraged to read the Lynchburg College Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations, which are also published in The Hornet.
Hearing participants may include any or all of the following:
- Charged Student(s): Typically, one hearing is held to resolve an incident, regardless of the number of students charged with possible infractions in the matter. Consequently, students involved in the same incident typically share a hearing.
- Hearing Advisor: A charged student may identify a member of the current Lynchburg College student body, faculty, or staff to serve as a hearing advisor. If you elect to have a hearing advisor, he/she may attend your hearing but cannot speak for or "represent" you. Instead, you are able to speak for yourself, providing information to the hearing panel and suggesting questions for the hearing panel to direct to hearing witnesses. Your hearing advisor may sit with you and consult quietly with you, suggesting appropriate comments or questions.
- Witness(es): A witness is a current Lynchburg College student, faculty member, or staff member who has first-hand knowledge of the reported incident that is significant for determining whether or not the charged student violated College policy. For example, the person who observed and reported the alleged misconduct (e.g., R.A., Campus Safety Officer, other student, or professor) may be asked to participate in the hearing as a witness.
- Investigator: In some cases, additional information about the reported incident was collected prior to the hearing by a representative of the Office of the Dean of Students who submits a written report for consideration during the hearing. The investigator may attend the hearing to present the report to the hearing panel.
- Character Reference: The charged student may elect to provide the hearing panel with information from one character reference (current Lynchburg College student, faculty or staff member only). The character reference may attend the hearing to speak to the hearing panel in person, or the character reference may give the charged student a letter to present to the hearing panel. A character reference does not have first-hand knowledge of the reported incident (as does a witness). However, a character reference knows the charged student, and therefore, can speak to the charged student's behavior, achievements, and contributions to the campus community beyond the reported incident. Information provided by a character reference does not help the hearing panel determine responsibility or lack thereof for misconduct but rather is considered if sanctions are warranted.
- Hearing Panel: Members of the Student Judicial Board (students) or of the Administrative Board (staff and faculty) conduct the hearing. A Student Judicial Board hearing panel consists of five students. An Administrative Board hearing panel has three members. Both types of hearing panels follow hearing procedures described in the Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations. After considering all information presented during a hearing, the panel members decide whether the alleged infractions occurred, and if so, issue appropriate sanctions.
Prior to your judicial board hearing, you are encouraged to take the following preparatory steps:
- Carefully review correspondence you have received about the student disciplinary process and the scheduled hearing.
- Review the Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations, including Rights of a Charged Student and Hearing Procedures.
- If opting to have a hearing advisor, meet with him/her before the hearing to review charges issued to you and hearing procedures.
- For each charge issued to you, decide whether you believe you are responsible or not responsible for the alleged misconduct. In making this decision, be honest with yourself about whether or not you violated College policy.
- A statement of "not responsible" indicates that you believe you did not violate the specific policy.
- A statement of "responsible" indicates that you believe you violated the specified policy.
- If you accept responsibility for all infractions issued to you, then you have the option to waive the presentation of incident information portion of the hearing procedures. A Waiver form detailing this option was enclosed in the letter specifying your hearing date, time, and location. If you elect to waive the presentation of incident information then witnesses do not attend the hearing to provide information about the incident. Instead, you will have the opportunity to speak less formally with the hearing panel about the reported incident, why it happened, and what you have learned from the situation.
If you decide to waive the presentation of incident information portion of the hearing, sign the Waiver form enclosed in your notice of hearing letter and submit the form to the Office of the Dean of Students (113 Hundley Hall).
You are not required to exercise this waiver option. You may choose to accept responsibility for all infractions and still proceed with the full hearing.
- If not waiving the presentation of the incident information portion of the hearing, or if you believe you are not responsible for one or more of the charges issued to you, review the list of invited witnesses. If you wish to request that additional witnesses be invited to participate in the hearing, contact the Office of the Dean of Students to discuss your request. The Office of the Dean of Students decides whether to grant your request.
- Decide if you wish to exercise your option to provide information to the hearing panel from one character reference. If you invite a character reference to participate in your hearing, notify the Office of the Dean of Students prior to the date of your hearing.
- Decide whether you prefer to have an open hearing or a closed hearing.
- During an open hearing, any current Lynchburg College student, faculty, or staff member may be present in the hearing room to observe the proceedings up to the time when the hearing panel deliberates in private.
- During a closed hearing, only hearing participants may enter the hearing room; no observers are permitted. During the presentation of incident information, witnesses are called individually into the hearing room to present their information; afterwards, they leave the room. A closed hearing affords the charged student more privacy than an open hearing.
- Decide what you will wear to the hearing. Because this is an important proceeding, appropriate attire is recommended, such as an outfit you might wear for a class presentation.
- Prepare to speak with the hearing panel about the reported incident and identify questions you will suggest for the hearing panel to direct to witnesses.
- Hearings are typically conducted in a conference room in which hearing participants sit at a table while completing the various phases of a hearing.
- If you elect to speak to the hearing panel, be honest and candid in all comments you make throughout the hearing. Making untrue statements during a hearing violates College policy.
- During the hearing, several reports may be read aloud, including: 1) incident reports submitted by witnesses; 2) investigation reports prepared by the Office of the Dean of Students; and 3) any letter you submitted to the Board. After each report is presented, the hearing panel may ask questions of the person who presented the report. You may also suggest questions for the hearing panel to direct to witnesses.
- After information about the incident has been presented and you have had the opportunity to speak with the hearing panel, the panel will deliberate in private. At this time, all other hearing participants leave the hearing room. You and your hearing advisor have the option to remain nearby so that the panel may invite you to return to the hearing room for presentation of their decisions.
During deliberations, the hearing panel reviews information presented during the hearing. For each charge issued, the panel decides whether you are responsible or not responsible for the alleged infraction. A student is found responsible for violating a specified policy only if the adjudicator(s) determine that a preponderance of the incident information shows that the student engaged in the misconduct.
If the panel finds you responsible for one or more violations, then the panel also determines appropriate sanctions. When determining sanctions, the hearing panel considers a variety of factors, including sanctioning guidelines provided in the Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations. Also, the hearing panel considers any infractions for which you were previously found responsible. If the hearing panel needs additional information to determine appropriate sanctions, the board may invite you to return to the hearing room to respond to additional questions. (If you have questions about prior infractions, visit the Office of the Dean of Students in 113 Hundley Hall for more information.)
After the panel has reached its decisions, the panel will present those decisions orally. The charged student and his/her hearing advisor may elect to attend.
A few days after the hearing, you will receive written confirmation of the hearing outcome. If the hearing panel issued sanctions to you, then the confirmation letter will include detailed instructions for completing the sanctions, such as completion deadlines and whom to contact for more information.
The following are helpful sources of information about Lynchburg College judicial board hearings: