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Procedures for Hearing Forums

Notification 

Students will be sent a notification that includes a list of all possible University standards of student conduct that may have been violated and that refers students to procedural information. The notification will be sent a minimum of 96 hours prior to the meeting date of the Student Conduct Panel.

Standard of Evidence

Decisions are based on the greater weight of the credible evidence presented at the hearing. Often referred to as the "preponderance of the evidence," this standard asks decision-makers to consider whether it is more likely than not that a violation occurred. 

Witnesses 

Any student charged of violating University standards of student conduct or any student presenting a case before any of the three hearing bodies may submit a written request to call witnesses on his/her behalf no later than 48 hours prior to his/her hearing date. The written request must include a brief statement of the information each witness can provide. The Dean of Students, or a designee, has the discretion to decide which witnesses will be called to the hearing. Students will be informed in advance and in writing of all participating witnesses. 

Hearing Guidelines

Trinity University is committed to addressing issues of conduct fairly and in a manner that is reasonable for responding students. At their core, procedures are intended to be straightforward, simple, and clear. Students are expected to participate in this process with civility, candor, and authenticity. Students are entitled to a fair hearing.

  • Students will have an opportunity and are expected to review case materials in advance.
  • Students will be informed in advance of any witnesses called to hearings.
  • Students are entitled to explain their conduct and respond to allegations against them.
  • While the procedure and nature of the hearing is at the discretion of the Student Conduct Panel or assigned administrator, usually students will be asked to discuss the allegations and respond to questions.
  • At any point, hearing bodies may have the discretion to determine when to consider previous allegations and violations.
  • A determination whether or not a student is responsible for violating a policy or policies will be determined and a sanction, if appropriate, will be communicated either immediately following the hearing or within four calendar days. 

Support Persons

At any point in the process, a student appearing before a conduct hearing body in any capacity may bring a person of support, if approved by the hearing body. This support person does not have to be a member of the University community. S/he may be present for purposes of advice and support but may not speak on behalf of the student unless s/he is a previously designated witness.

Privacy Guidelines 

In cases involving multiple respondents, each respondent may request at the time of the meeting/panel notification that his/her individual participation be conducted separately. All meetings/panels are closed to all persons, except for the person(s) charged of violating policy, witnesses, the accusing party(ies), support person(s), the staff member or Student Conduct Panel, their adviser, referring staff, and other University officials as approved by the Dean of Students. Any party in a hearing may petition the Dean of Students, or a designee for an open meeting/panel at the time of their notification. Such a petition should state the reasons an open panel/meeting is requested. All parties involved in the case will be permitted to express opinions about the petition before the Student Conduct Panel decides the status.

Records

Student(s) charged with violating University standards of student conduct will have access to all written records (including but not limited to incident reports, letters, Trinity Police reports, and witness statements). The responding party may read all relevant documentation prior to the hearing. Students may also receive copies of reports, but identifying information of other parties will be removed from the documents.
 
An audio recording will serve as the single verbatim record of all hearings. The recording is the sole property of Trinity University. Any student who has a right of appeal in the case has the right to listen to this recording but will not be provided a copy nor may s/he make a copy or remove the tape from the Dean of Student’s office. No court reporters or additional recording devices are permitted. The recording will be made available during an appeal. Recordings will not be destroyed until it is certain that the decision of the hearing body will not be appealed. 

Academic transcripts serve as the official records for current and former students. Conduct records related to violations of Trinity University general policies are retained in the Dean of Students Office for seven years (note: this policy only applies to student conduct violations). Programs and agencies seeking access to information in these records must present a waiver signed by the current or former student before the Dean of Students office will release information for background checks. The University will disclose records of students who were assigned with and served sanctions of probation, suspension, or expulsion, or if the student was issued a sanction of similar or significant bearing. 

Written Summaries 

Within five class days, a designated member of the Student Conduct Panel will send out a written summary to the responding student(s) and relevant University officials that summarizes the reasoning for the decision and details the sanctions (if applicable). This summary will include a review of facts, witnesses heard, information determined to be credible, information used on which to base the decision, and reasoning for the sanction. 

Last reviewed:  August 2016