All proceedings concerned with academic dishonesty are confidential to the extent permitted by law.
The Hearing before the Academic Ethics Committee consists of four parts:
- Presentation of the evidence by the faculty member (or other) bringing the charge of academic ethics violation
- Defense of the student
- Discussion and questions by the Committee
- The discussion of the case by the Committee and rendering of the decision.
The student, faculty member, and others involved in the case shall be present for the first three parts of the hearing. The final part (discussion and rendering of the decision) shall take place in the presence of only the Committee members, and no new evidence may be introduced at this time. Each part is discussed in detail below.
Before the hearing is convened: The Committee Coordinator shall ensure that each party involved in the hearing has received copies of relevant documents at least one week prior to the hearing. The Committee shall meet before the hearing to ensure that all committee members are oriented to the nature of the case, the identity of each individual who will be present, and any other non-prejudicial background information that is deemed appropriate. Any committee member who feels unable to respond fairly and without bias shall recuse her/himself from further participation at that point.
At the beginning of the hearing: The Chair determines that a quorum of the committee is present (defined as four committee members, with at least two faculty members and one non-faculty member). If no quorum is present, the hearing is rescheduled. The Chair then convenes the hearing. Audio- and video-tape recording will begin following the admission of the persons involved in the case, after which the Chair will ask everyone present to introduce themselves to the body at large. (Tape-recording will end after the persons involved in the case are excused and before part IV of the hearing.)
The Chair will follow the introductions with a specific inquiry directed to each party as to whether they have a personal or professional relationship with any member of the committee that might prevent an unbiased response on the part of the committee member. Disputes over the impartiality of any committee member will be settled by a closed vote of the committee members.
The Chair will orient the persons involved in the hearing about the proceedings and include the following points:
- The Committee is not a legal body but rather an academic body that renders a decision to the Dean who will review the case.
- This decision may be appealed to the Dean within ten working days.
- The Dean's decision is final.
- Due to the sensitive nature of the proceedings, all presentations and interactions should occur in the calmest possible manner. It is the Chair's prerogative to control presentations or interactions that become overly heated, emotional, or adversarial.
Presentation of the evidence by the person bringing the charge of academic ethics violation. The person bringing the charge of ethics violation should present to the Committee the reasons and evidence behind the charge. This may include statements made in writing by others involved in the case (e.g. witnesses). Committee members are permitted to ask questions concerning points of clarification only, reserving detailed and involved questioning for part III of the hearing.
Defense of the student. The student accused of ethics violations then has the opportunity to defend her/himself against the charges of ethics violations made by the person bringing the charge. This may also include written statements by others involved in the case, and again, Committee members are permitted to ask questions concerning points of clarification only, reserving detailed and involved questioning for part III of the hearing.
Discussion and questions by the Committee members to the person bringing the charge of ethics violation, the student accused of the ethics violation, and others involved in the case. During this part of the hearing the Chair opens discussion to the Committee members. They may ask more detailed questions of anyone involved in the case. The Chair will make every attempt to ensure that each side has the opportunity to defend or challenge any new information that results from this discussion.
Discussion of the case by the committee and formulation of the decision to be forwarded to the Dean's Office. At this point in the hearing the tape recorder is turned off, and all of the persons involved in the case are excused. The Committee discusses the information presented during the hearing. No new evidence is introduced at this time. If the Committee determines that additional evidence is required, a subsequent hearing is scheduled. The Committee reaches a decision based upon the preponderance of evidence bya majority vote by all members of the Committee in attendance. Those members of the Committee who do not concur with the majority opinion may append a minority opinion to the decision.