A University of Lynchburg judicial board hearing should be taken seriously because important decisions are made there. However, a University hearing is just that – a hearing. It is not a court of law. University of Lynchburg’s Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations, including disciplinary procedures, are internal administrative processes for review and address of violations of institutional policies. Rules of evidence employed in criminal or civil proceedings are not applicable to University proceedings.
During a judicial board hearing, the hearing panel sits at a conference table with other hearing participants, who provide information to the panel about the incident of possible violation of the Honor and Student Conduct Codes being reviewed. A hearing participant who presents information to the hearing panel speaks for himself/herself.
A student who has been charged with possible policy violations that will be addressed through a judicial board hearing 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 University of Lynchburg Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations, which are also published in The Hornet student handbook.
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 one hearing.
- Disciplinary Process Advisor: A student who has been charged with an alleged violation of the Honor and Student Conduct Codes that will be resolved through a judicial board hearing has the right to be accompanied by a disciplinary process advisor (DPA), who is a current University of Lynchburg student, faculty, or staff member.
If you elect to be assisted by a disciplinary process advisor, your DPA can accompany you to your hearing but cannot speak for or “represent” you. Instead, you are able to speak for yourself, providing information to the hearing panel. Your DPA can sit with you in the hearing room and confer quietly with you through written note or whisper; however, a disciplinary process advisor cannot present information during the hearing or address other hearing participants or the hearing panel.
- Witness(es): A witness is a current University of Lynchburg 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 the Honor and Student Conduct Codes. For example, the person who observed and reported the alleged misconduct (e.g., Resident Assistant, 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.
- 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 be accompanied by a disciplinary process advisor, meet with him/her before the hearing to review charges of possible violation of the Honor and Student Conduct Codes issued to you and applicable hearing procedures.
- For each charge of possible violation 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 the Honor and Student Conduct Codes.
- A statement of “not responsible” indicates to the hearing panel that you believe you did not violate the specified policy.
- A statement of “responsible” indicates to the hearing panel that you believe you violated the specified policy.
- If you accept responsibility for all infractions issued to you, then you have the option, prior to the deadline specified in your hearing notice, to request omission of the hearing portion in which incident information concerning the charges is presented to the hearing panel. When the presentation of incident information is omitted, neither witnesses nor the case investigator participate in the hearing. For detailed information about this option, see “Request to Omit Presentation of Incident Information” in “Hearing Procedures.”
- If the presentation of incident information is not omitted, 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 (current University of Lynchburg students, faculty, or staff members only) who have first-hand knowledge of the alleged infraction be invited to participate in the hearing, contact the Office of the Dean of Students prior to the deadline specified in the hearing notice to discuss your request. The Office of the Dean of Students decides whether to grant your request.
- Decide whether you wish to exercise your option to provide a written statement from one character reference to the hearing panel during the hearing. A character reference must be a current University of Lynchburg student, faculty, or staff member who is not participating in the hearing in another capacity.
- Decide whether you prefer for the hearing to be open or closed to observers from the campus community (current University of Lynchburg students, faculty, and staff members only).
When multiple charged students are involved in a single hearing, the hearing may be open to observers from the campus community only if all charged students express that preference.
- Open Hearing: During an open hearing, current University of Lynchburg students, faculty, or staff members may be present in the hearing room to observe the proceedings up to the time when the hearing panel deliberates in private.
- Closed Hearing: 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 into the hearing room at the appropriate time 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 clothes you might wear for a class presentation.
- Prepare to speak with the hearing panel about the reported incident , if you elect to provide information.
- 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 provide information to the hearing panel, be honest, accurate, and complete in all comments you make throughout the hearing. Making untrue statements during a hearing violates University policy.
- Presentation of information relevant to the incident may include verbal and written reports (which are typically read aloud during the hearing), photographs and video images, and/or other information deemed appropriate by the hearing panel. During this hearing phase, you have the opportunity to present information to the hearing panel. Also, the hearing panel may ask questions of any hearing participant.
- After presentation of information relevant to the incident has been completed, the hearing panel deliberates in private. You can choose to wait while the hearing panel deliberates and to return to the hearing room for the panel’s oral presentation of the hearing outcome. If you attend the presentation of decisions, your disciplinary process advisor may accompany you.
During deliberations, the hearing panel reviews information presented during the hearing. For each charge of possible infraction of the Honor and Student Conduct Codes issued, the panel decides whether the charged student is 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.
When determining appropriate sanctions, the hearing panel also considers any infractions for which you were previously found responsible. (If you have questions about prior infractions, visit the Office of the Dean of Students in 114 Hundley Hall for more information.)
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.
After the hearing panel concludes deliberations, the panel presents the hearing outcome orally. You have the option to wait while the hearing panel deliberates and to return to the hearing room for the panel’s oral presentation of the hearing outcome. If you attend the presentation of decisions, your disciplinary process advisor may accompany you.
Within a few class days after the hearing, you will receive written confirmation of the hearing outcome. If the hearing panel issued sanctions, then the post-hearing 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 University of Lynchburg judicial board hearings: