Student Hearing Procedures (Appendix E)
Below you will find an overview of the hearing procedures that guide student hearings that fall within Appendix E. Please refer to the Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Student Investigation and Adjudication Framework (Appendix E) for more information. The following procedures must be followed during a hearing:
General Procedures Guiding the Hearing
- The hearing will be conducted in a respectful manner that promotes fairness and accurate factfinding. The parties and witnesses will address only the hearing officer, and not each other. Only the Hearing Officer may question witnesses and parties.
- The parties are expected not to spend time on undisputed facts or evidence that would be duplicative.
- The University will audio record the hearing.
Individuals Present at the Hearing
- All witnesses other than the parties will attend the hearing only for their own testimony.
- The parties may have their advisors and support persons present throughout the hearing.
- The Hearing Officer will implement measures they deem appropriate to protect the well-being of parties and witnesses
- The Hearing Officer will allow the parties and/or witnesses to be visually or physically separated during the hearing. This may include, but is not limited to, the use of a physical partition, a separate physical location, videoconference and/or any other appropriate technology.
- To assess credibility, the Hearing Officer must have sufficient access to the Complainant, Respondent, and any witnesses presenting information; if the hearing officer is sighted, then the Hearing Officer must be able to see them.
- The parties have the right to hear (or, if deaf or hard of hearing, to access through auxiliary aids for services) testimony of all individuals who testify at the hearing and to propose questions to be asked of all individuals who testify at the hearing. The parties may propose questions at the hearing by submitting them to the Hearing Officer.
Presenting Information at the Hearing
- The investigation file will be entered as evidence at the hearing. The Hearing Officer generally will rely on any finding in the report that is not disputed.
- The parties will have the opportunity to present the evidence they submitted, subject to any exclusions determined by the Hearing Officer. Generally, the parties may not introduce evidence, including witness testimony, at the hearing that they did not identify during the pre-hearing process. However, the Hearing Officer has discretion to accept or exclude additional evidence presented at the hearing.
Determinations Made by the Hearing Officer
- A hearing is a university administrative procedure and thus courtroom rules of evidence and procedure will not apply. The Hearing Officer will generally consider all evidence they determine to be relevant and reliable. The Hearing Officer may determine and weigh the relevance of any witness testimony or other evidence to the findings.
- In cases where the credibility of a witness is not central to the determination of a particular disputed issue and the witness does not appear at the hearing, the Hearing Officer may determine what weight to give to their statements from the investigation report.
- The Hearing Officer will not draw adverse inferences from a party's decision to not participate in the hearing, or to remain silent during the hearing. However, they may consider a party's selective participation -- such as choosing to answer some but not all questions posed, or choosing to provide a statement only after reviewing the other evidence gathered in the investigation – when assessing credibility
- The Hearing Officer will determine the order of questioning. Unless they determine re-phrasing is necessary, the Hearing Officer will ask the questions as they are submitted by the parties and will not change them. The Hearing Officer may find it necessary to rephrase questions to, for example, prevent them from being harassing or for clarity. The Hearing Officer may also exclude questions that are unduly repetitive, clearly not relevant, harassing, or unduly time-consuming. Whenever practical, the Hearing Officer will briefly state their reasons for excluding or rephrasing questions submitted by the parties.