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The Academic Integrity Hearing

If a hearing before the University Review Committee is necessary, either because the charge or penalty is disputed or because this is a second offense, it will be convened by an Academic Dean at a time when all participants can attend. Committee members will be provided with a detailed outline of the hearing process.

The URC consists of a current or former member of SLAAC, who will chair the hearing, two teaching faculty members, and two students. Faculty and student members are chosen by the convenor from a pool of volunteers identified by SLAAC. The convenor observes and records the hearing, but does not participate in committee deliberations.

The membership of this committee is made known to parties involved prior to a hearing. Student, faculty members and administrative alternates are also designated for the committee. Either party can ask the committee’s chair that a committee member not serve on the hearing panel because of bias or conflict of interest. The chair shall decide if there are sufficient grounds to honor this request. If a committee member is unable to attend the hearing, or if a member is excluded because of potential bias or conflict of interest, an alternate will be asked to serve.

Nature of the hearing. There are two types of academic hearings: one to decide a disputed charge or penalty, the other to consider disciplinary matters following a second offense. A hearing of the University Review Committee is intended to be an orderly, fair inquiry into the facts bearing on the case. It is not intended to be a trial concerned with technical formalities. If the accused student fails to appear after proper notice of the hearing, the hearing will go forward and the committee will reach its conclusion on responsibility and the appropriate penalty on the basis of evidence presented at the hearing.

Confidentiality.Hearing proceedings are confidential. Committee members, students, faculty members, recorders, advisors, and witnesses are enjoined from mentioning names of those involved or details that might reveal the identity of the student or faculty member, and from discussing presentations or committee deliberations.

Presentation; burden of proof; rights.When a hearing is convened to hear a disputed charge or penalty, the faculty member referring the case presents the evidence of the offense to the panel. The student may present counter-evidence if he or she wishes. Either party may have a faculty member, staff member, or student advisor and each has the right to call and question witnesses. The burden of proof is on the faculty member, who must establish the responsibility of the student by a preponderance of the evidence. (In matters of academic integrity, the evidence does not have to constitute overwhelming, irrefutable proof of responsibility, but only has to convince the panel that the violation took place.) Faculty members may refer cases based on the testimony of other students; in doing so, however, the faculty member should make sure either that the students who provided the testimony are willing to appear as witnesses at the hearing or that there is corroborating evidence that substantiates the charge. Other procedures for due process shall be followed, and records (including a tape recording of the hearing) shall be kept. Tapes will be erased after the appeal period has elapsed. Written records will be destroyed after five years.

URC penalties.The URC imposes penalties for dishonesty according to the nature of the violation. URC penalties may include a letter of warning, grade penalties, failure in the class, suspension, or dismissal. If the URC finds that there has been no violation, or if the URC does not find a preponderance of evidence that a violation has taken place, the student will be exonerated.

Second Offense. When a hearing is convened to consider disciplinary penalties related to a second offense, the chair reviews the offenses, as put forth in the settlement forms or in previous hearing reports, and asks the student if there are any comments he or she would like to make in regard to these offenses. Since these cases have already been decided, either through settlement or previous hearing, there is no need to reconsider them. In most cases, it is unnecessary to call witnesses, unless the committee or the student feels the reports are unclear in some respect that a witness can clarify. The sole consideration of the committee at a second offense hearing is whether further disciplinary sanctions (usually suspension or dismissal) should be applied.