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office of student conduct and civility Education

Hearing Information and Procedures

University Hearing Procedures

The following procedural guidelines shall be observed for all hearings held by the University Hearing Board. The University Hearing Board will be composed of the hearing officer, who shall preside and make the final decision, and up to four student conduct aides. In the absence of the student conduct aides, the hearing officer may hear and decide the case alone. A case may not be heard if the hearing officer, or designated substitute, is not in attendance. The hearing officer shall be responsible for submitting the hearing panel's report to the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education.

a. The accused shall be given notice of the hearing date and the specific charges against him or her at least three calendar days in advance and shall be accorded reasonable access to the case file, which will be retained in the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. (In some cases, the accused may choose not to wait three days for a hearing to take place.)

b. The hearing will be audio recorded.

c. The accused will be present for the hearing. If more than one student is charged with the same incident, the university may hold a combined hearing. If the accused fails to appear, this will be stated for the record and the hearing will continue.

d. The accused and the complainant may each be accompanied by a friendly observer. A friendly observer is someone who provides support, guidance, and/or advice to the accused or the complainant during the University Hearing process, however this individual cannot speak or directly participate in the hearing proceedings. The friendly observer cannot serve as a witness for either the accused or the complainant. The friendly observer may remain in the room with the accused or complainant for the duration of the hearing. This individual may be a family member, friend, faculty member, staff member, or other advisor/support. This party may not act as legal counsel, but may advise the accused or complainant through written communication methods. Should a friendly observer not adhere to these expectations, or attempt to play an active role in the University Hearing, the Hearing Officer, at his/her discretion, may remove the friendly observer from the University Hearing.

e. The hearing officer shall exercise control over the proceedings to avoid needless consumption of time and to achieve orderly completion of the hearing. Any person, including the accused, who disrupts a hearing may be excluded by the hearing officer.

f. The accused will be found responsible if the hearing officer decides that a preponderance of evidence supports the charges. Preponderance of the evidence is that evidence which, when fairly considered, produces the stronger impression, has the greater weight, and is more convincing as to its truth when weighed against the evidence in opposition thereto.

g. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable in disciplinary proceedings conducted pursuant to this Code. The hearing officer shall admit all matters into evidence that reasonable persons would accept as having probative value, including documentary evidence, written statements, and hearsay. Repetitious or irrelevant evidence may, however, be excluded. Documentary evidence and written statements shall only be admitted into evidence if available to the accused before or during the hearing.

h. The director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education may appoint a special hearing panel member in complex cases. Special panel members may question all parties, participate in hearing panel deliberations, and offer advice to the hearing officer.

i. The hearing officer's report will be presented to the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. The student may view the hearing officer's written report by appointment.

j. The accused will receive the decision in writing from the vice president for Student Affairs or designee.

This information about university hearing procedures is published in the Code of Conduct.

Preparing for Your University Hearing

A University Hearing is a meeting with the “Hearing Board.” The Hearing Board is made up of a university staff or faculty member and 2 - 4 Student Conduct Aides who meet with you to discuss a(n) allegation(s) of misconduct and what happened from your perspective. This is your opportunity to have your side of the story heard and to add information to the investigation of the incident.

1. Read your charge letter carefully and take note of the charges you have been presented with prior to the hearing.

2. Read through the Code of Student Conduct, paying special attention to part C. Scope, Part D. Prohibited Conduct, E. Penalties, F. Standards & Procedures of Due Process, and G. Informal Investigation & University Hearing Procedure. These will provide a greater understanding of the University’s process.

3. Write down any questions you may have regarding information you have read.

4. As the incident will be discussed at this hearing, you may want to think back over the details of the event and make note of information you feel is important.

5. You may be accompanied by a friendly observer (see Section D. above). Discuss his/her role with your observer prior to the hearing.

6. You will be asked if you would like to present a final statement during the hearing, which is in addition to your version of the events during the incident. You may wish to write your thoughts down to refer to them during your statement.

7. The standard of evidence in a University Hearing is different than in a court of law. Here, the standard is preponderance of evidence, and the question becomes, “is it more likely than not that policy was violated?”

8. The entire proceedings of the hearing will be explained to you before the hearing begins, allowing you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

9. You are encouraged and expected to be honest about what happened and to take responsibility for your actions.

10. Remember, the University cares about its students and wants them to make healthy and safe choices. Being a part of the university community carries with it responsibilities. It is important for each member of the community to think about how their actions not only impact themselves but others as well.

If you have additional questions regarding how to prepare for your University Hearing please contact the Office of Student Conduct & Civility Education.


Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education
Administration Building, Room 236
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Phone: 410-704-2057
Fax: 410-704-3441
E-mail: studentconduct@towson.edu



 

 

 

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