Ram's Eye View
West Chester University
Student Code of Conduct
III. Judicial Procedures
- Charges of violations of the Student Code of Conduct may be lodged against any student or student organization by any employee, student, or student organization of West Chester University. The director of judicial affairs and student assistance should be consulted with regard to the proper form and language of a complaint.
- All charges of violations of the Code of Conduct shall be lodged with the director of judicial affairs and student assistance or designee and shall be heard by a University hearing officer or board under the supervision of the director. The scheduling of conferences and hearings by an officer or board is at the discretion of the director of judicial affairs and community development or designee. The process for selection of judicial board members and the procedure for requesting a judicial board are available in the Office of Judicial Affairs and Student Assistance.
- Students shall receive written notice of charges, including, as nearly as possible, the date of occurrence, and the rules of conduct allegedly violated by the student. This notice will include a reasonable sufficient interval to allow the student to prepare a response to the allegation(s). Offenses occurring at the end of any semester will be adjudicated within a time deemed appropriate and reasonable by the director of judicial affairs and student assistance.
- At a conference, students or student organizations will be given the opportunity to (1) waive their right to a hearing and admit responsibility for the violations, or (2) to request a formal hearing. Any student or student organization who fails to appear at an initial conference will be automatically scheduled for a second judicial conference and may be subject to additional disciplinary action (See Section I., Violation 20). Any students or student organizations who fail to appear at the second scheduled judicial conference consent to the conducting of said conference in their absence.
- Students and student organizations are entitled to a judicial hearing. The purpose of a hearing is to hear the facts and circumstances of the alleged incident and to accept all evidence and statements offered during the hearing in order to determine the student’s or student organization’s level of responsibility. In determining whether a violation has occurred, a “preponderance of evidence” standard is applied. This means the Hearing Officer or Board must determine if the testimony and evidence presented suggests it is “more likely than not” that a violation occurred. There are two types of hearings - an administrative hearing and a judicial board hearing.
- At a hearing that is initially scheduled or that is requested by a student or student organization, the following procedure will be followed:
- Hearings shall proceed to the extent possible according to the following form:
- The hearing officer/board shall open the proceedings by reading the statement of charges.
- Before presenting any testimony, each witness must submit to an oath where he or she swears and affirms the truth of statements to be made.
- The charging party shall then present its case against the referred party. This shall be done by the submission of written, physical, and testimonial evidence. The referred party and the hearing officer/board shall have the right to conduct reasonable questioning of the charging party and the charging party's witnesses.
- At the conclusion of the charging party's presentation, the referred party shall present a response to the charges. This shall be done by the submission of written, physical, and testimonial evidence. The charging party and the hearing officer/board shall have the right to conduct reasonable questioning of the referred party and the referred party's witnesses.
- At the close of the hearing, the hearing officer/board may allow closing statements by the parties, which may include rebuttal comments.
- The hearing officer/board shall be responsible for maintaining order and room decorum, and may make all rules reasonable and necessary for the orderly and efficient disposition of cases. All hearings are closed proceedings.
- Any person who commits an action that interrupts the proceedings or refuses to comply with a reasonable order of the hearing officer/board shall be subject to removal from the hearing.
- The hearing officer/board shall have the power to direct the time of entrance and exit of witnesses for all parties in the hearing.
- All matters upon which the decision will be based must be introduced into evidence at the hearing. Adjudication will be based upon presented evidence sufficient to make a reasonable person believe that a fact sought to be proved is more likely true than not;
- Students shall have the right to be assisted by one adviser, who may be an attorney and may be present at hearings. The adviser may only consult and interact privately with the student.
- All hearings will be recorded. Maintenance of a written or audiotape record of the hearing will be done at the University's expense, but students may be required to pay the cost of copies of requested records. If such records contain sensitive or confidential information, a request for a copy will be denied.
- In addition to testimony and evidence presented at a conference or hearing, a hearing officer/board may consider the following elements before rendering a sanction:
- Academic records and class year;
- Previous discipline record including that which is public record;
- Attitude of the accused during the conference and/or hearing.
- Any students or student organizations who fail to appear at a scheduled judicial hearing consent to the conducting of said judicial hearing in their absence.
- The hearing officer/board shall be responsible for ensuring that each student is afforded due process during all conferences and hearings, whether or not the student is present.
- A written adjudication in which the facts and reasons for the decision are set forth with reasonable specificity shall be issued within 30 University business days after the close of the proceedings.
- Pending action on the charges, the student's status shall not be altered nor shall the student's right to be present on campus or to attend classes be suspended, except for reasons relating to his or her physical or emotional safety and well-being or for reasons relating to the safety of students, employees, personnel, or University property (See Sanction A.6 Interim Disciplinary Suspension).
- The University retains the right to continue a hearing whenever necessary and appropriate.