Understanding the Hearing Appeal Process
- What is the purpose of the judicial board hearing appeal process?
- What exactly do these grounds for appeal mean?
- How do I initiate the appeal process?
- May I submit letters of support for my appeal?
- Who will review my appeal request?
- What appeal outcomes are possible?
- How long does the appeal process take?
- Do I need to complete my sanctions while my appeal request is being resolved?
- I have appealed my suspension. Do I need to move out of my on-campus residence while my appeal is pending?
- I have appealed my suspension. Can I attend class while my appeal is pending?
- If I still have questions about the appeal process, whom should I contact?
A student found responsible for violation(s) of College policy through a hearing conducted by the Student Judicial Board or by the Administrative Board may submit one written request for additional review of the hearing outcome. An appeal request must address one or more of the following grounds:
- new information unavailable at the time of the hearing that likely would significantly alter the hearing panel's understanding of the case;
- sanction(s) disproportionate to the severity of the violation; and/or
- incorrect procedure that substantially impacted the fairness of the judicial board hearing.
The purpose of the appeal process is to guarantee that all students are afforded fair address of alleged misconduct in accordance with student disciplinary procedures described in The Hornet.
If you are found responsible by a judicial board for an infraction of the Honor and Student Conduct Codes, you have three bases on which to appeal the hearing outcome:
- New information unavailable at the time of the hearing that likely would significantly alter the hearing panel's understanding of the case, meaning that new facts became known to you after the hearing that you believe would change the panel's decision of responsibility for one or more of the infractions or that you believe should change the sanctions issued; therefore, you want to have these new facts considered.
- Sanction(s) disproportionate to the severity of the violation, meaning that you believe that the sanctions assigned by the judicial board are not appropriate for the violation that occurred. Remember that when issuing sanctions, the Board must consider the minimum sanctioning guidelines established in The Hornet; if the sanctions issued to you are in line with the minimum guidelines, they will not be considered excessive in the appeal process.
- Incorrect procedure which substantially impacted the fairness of the hearing, meaning that during the disciplinary process, a specific procedure was overlooked by the Dean of Students Office or by the judicial board that you believe resulted in unfair decisions of responsibility and/or sanctions (See Rights of a Charged Student and Hearing Procedures).
For example, if a charged student is denied opportunity to suggest questions for the hearing panel to direct to a hearing witness, important information may not have been brought out, and his/her rights as a charged student were violated. As another example, if the hearing was held more than 20 class days after charges were issued and the charged student did not request this delay, then a right of the charged student was violated.
Remember that the procedural error must substantially impact the fairness of the hearing. On occasion, procedural irregularities occur that do not impact the fairness of the hearing. Examples include the completion of all hearing phases outlined in The Hornet but in a different order or recalling a hearing participant to provide additional information.
If you decide to appeal the outcome of your hearing, the process is initiated when you submit a completed Appeal Request Form and a letter detailing the specific reason(s) for your appeal. All appeal requests must be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students, located in 113 Hundley Hall. You are encouraged to hand-deliver the appeal request yourself to ensure it is received by personnel in the Office of the Dean of Students by the deadline specified in your hearing outcome letter.
When writing an appeal request, you should make sure that it is detailed, specific, and explains exactly why you believe an appeal is warranted. Typically, a charged student is not afforded a meeting to discuss the appeal with the person resolving the request; therefore, you should detail in your appeal request letter all that you want to be considered.
Your appeal request may include one letter from one character reference (current Lynchburg College student, faculty, or staff member only). This one character reference letter is in addition to information from a character reference that you may have already presented during the judicial board hearing.
In general, the vice president and dean for Student Development resolves appeal requests stemming from Student Judicial Board hearings and from Administrative Board hearings. However, if the vice president and dean for Student Development participated significantly in pre-hearing address of the incident or in the hearing itself, then the appeal request is resolved by the president of the College or his designee. Appeals of hearing decisions involving academic integrity policies are typically delegated to the vice president and dean for Academic Affairs.
At the end of your judicial board hearing, you received an Appeal Request Form. At the top of the form, the hearing chairperson indicated both the person to whom you should address your appeal request letter and the deadline for submitting your request. If you do not have the Appeal Request Form, contact the Office of the Dean of Students. An appeal request should be delivered to the Office of the Dean of Students in 113 Hundley Hall regardless of the specific person who will review the request.
You are limited to two class days after your hearing to submit your appeal request. A specific deadline for submitting an appeal request was noted on the Appeal Request Form given to you at the conclusion of the hearing and/or in the hearing outcome letter sent to you.
After you submit an appeal request, the person resolving the appeal may take as much time as he/she needs to reach a decision. In general, appeal requests are resolved within two weeks; however, additional time may be necessary.
An appeal request may be resolved in one of four ways:
- Uphold all decisions made by the hearing panel: in this case, all of the judicial board's original decisions regarding responsibility and sanctions remain in effect.
- Reverse all decisions made by the hearing panel: in this case, all of the judicial board's original decisions regarding responsibility and sanctions are overturned.
- Modify any of the decisions made by the hearing board: examples of possible modifications include changing a decision of "responsible" to "not responsible" or changing sanction requirements. Additionally, while not exercised haphazardly, the appeal outcome may increase the sanctions assigned.
- Send the case back to a judicial board for a new hearing: for example, in a case where significant new information has come to light that was not available at the time of the hearing, the appeal outcome may be for a new judicial board hearing to be conducted. If the charged student is found responsible for an infraction through the second hearing, he/she again has the right to one appeal of the hearing outcome.
Appeal outcome decisions are final decisions in the student disciplinary process; additional appeal of a hearing's outcome is not available through the Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations. You will be notified in writing of the outcome of your appeal request. A letter detailing the outcome will be sent to your campus mailbox or to your Lynchburg College e-mail address.
Unless instructed otherwise by the Office of the Dean of Students, you do not need to complete the sanctions assigned to you while your appeal is pending, although you may choose to do so. If the sanctions issued to you are upheld, new deadlines will be assigned to account for the time that elapsed while your appeal request was resolved.
I have appealed my suspension. Do I need to move out of my on-campus residence while my appeal is pending?
Unless instructed otherwise by the Office of the Dean of Students, you do not have to vacate your on-campus residence by the deadline specified in your hearing outcome letter while you await the outcome of your appeal request. However, you may not visit any residential facility other than the one in which you reside.
If your appeal outcome decision upholds the sanction of suspension, new instructions for vacating your on-campus residence and departing campus will be sent to you in your appeal outcome letter or separately by the Office of the Dean of Students.
Yes. You should continue to attend all of your classes and complete all assignments while waiting for resolution of your appeal request. (Exception: Students placed on interim suspension prior to the hearing remain on interim suspension and cannot attend class while waiting for resolution of an appeal request.)
The following are helpful sources of information about the Lynchburg College appeal process: