Formal Hearing Processes
Cases will be resolved through a formal hearing process unless resolved informally (See Student Conduct Informal Resolution, page 8) through either Student Conduct and Community Standards or a faculty disposition (see Faculty Resolution of Academic Violations, page 8) Both the student and Student Conduct and Community Standards will have an opportunity to present witnesses for questioning (see Presentation of Information, page 10). The student may request a copy of his or her disciplinary file at any time in order to prepare for a hearing. Student Conduct and Community Standards must provide copies within three days of such requests. The release of information pursuant to this section may be subject to limitations imposed by state and federal lay. (See Berkeley Campus Policy Governing Disclosure of Information from Student Records in Appendix I). A student may choose a hearing panel or administrative hearing as outlined below:
A student may choose to have his or her case resolved through an administrative hearing. These cases will be heard by a single hearing officer who is a staff member in Student Conduct and Community Standards. When a student chooses not to participate in the resolution of allegations of violation of this Code, and the outcome will not likely result in suspension or dismissal, Student Conduct and Community Standards will normally refer the matter to an administrative hearing for resolution in absentia.
A student may choose to have his or her case resolved through a panel hearing. These cases will be heard by hearing panels comprised of members of the Committee on Student Conduct. When a student chooses not to participate in the resolution of allegations of violations of this Code and the sanctions may likely result in suspension or dismissal, Student Conduct and Community Standards will normally refer the matter to a panel hearing for resolution in absentia.
- Pre-Hearing Process
Exchange of Information
Prior to any hearing the student will provide Student Conduct and Community Standards with copies of all information relevant to the incident to be shared at the hearing and a list of possible witnesses. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that his or her witnesses are present. (If a witness is not able to be present and would like to provide a written statement, the hearing body will decide if and how it will consider such information.) These items must be provided to Student Conduct and Community Standards at least 5 days prior to the hearing. In order to ensure the hearing body has the most complete information available to review and resolve the incident, Student Conduct and Community Standards may also provide witnesses and/or other information on behalf of the University. Early access to these materials allows the hearing body to review the information and prepare questions. The student will also have access to this information in advance of the hearing in order to prepare.
The student may pick up a copy of the above mentioned materials and hearing packet from Student Conduct and Community Standards at least 5 days prior to the hearing. The release of information pursuant to this section may be subject to limitations imposed by state and federal law. (See Berkeley Campus Policy Governing Disclosure of Information from Student Records in Appendix I).
The hearing body will review and decide on procedural questions in advance of or at the beginning of a hearing process, or during the hearing as necessary and appropriate.
- The Hearing: Conduct hearings will be held when the case is not resolved informally. Student Conduct hearings begin within 45 days from the date the notice of charges was mailed to the charged student by Student Conduct and Community Standards. Written notice of the date, time, and location of the hearing will be sent to the student via email at least ten days before the hearing. (See Notice, page 14)
Presentation of Information
Hearings are not conducted according to formal rules of procedure and evidence. Unless otherwise determined by the hearing body, Student Conduct and Community Standards will share information, and present witnesses in support of the charges first and the charged student will have the same opportunity to share information, and present witnesses thereafter. All witnesses brought before the hearing panel will be questioned first by the hearing body.
Once the hearing body has completed its questioning of a witness, Student Conduct and Community Standards and the charged student will each be given the opportunity to ask any remaining questions. The student must choose one of the following methods for all follow-up questioning: either 1) all follow-up questions are asked by the student and the Conduct Officer, or 2) all follow-up questions are submitted by the student and Student Conduct and Community Standards to the panel in writing as they arise during the course of the hearing. No later than the start of the hearing, the student will elect his or her questioning method in writing. The student’s choice of questioning method is also binding upon Student Conduct and Community Standards and applies throughout the hearing. The student and Student Conduct and Community Standards will each be given an opportunity to make both opening and closing statements. (See the FAQs about the Hearing Process in Appendix IV)
Decisions during the Hearing
The hearing body will only decide on questions of procedure and information related to the hearing process, including but not limited to the order of presentation of information, admissibility of information, applicability of regulations to a particular case, and relevance of information presented. If a challenge arises concerning the constitutionality or legality of an application of any such regulations or policies to a particular case, the hearing will continue and the challenge may be submitted by the hearing body in writing to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, who will seek legal advice from the Office of Legal Affairs. Neither the faculty chair, hearing panel, nor the hearing officer is permitted to dismiss a case. Resolution must be made through the hearing process.
Question and Answer
No person is required to provide information against him or herself in any conduct proceeding. Information shared will normally not be admissible unless the opposing party is afforded the opportunity to confront and a reasonable opportunity to ask questions of the witness. (See Presentation of Information, page 10). However, if a witness is unavailable or declines to attend, the hearing body will determine whether written or other recorded statements of such witness will be admitted.
All Information Presented at the Hearing; Hearings in Absentia
The hearing body’s decision will be based only upon information introduced at the hearing in the presence of the charged student unless the student: (a) fails to appear after appropriate notice has been given or (b) otherwise waives his or her right to be present. Neither the charged student nor Student Conduct and Community Standards may communicate information regarding the merits of the case or its disposition to the hearing body without the other party being afforded an opportunity to respond. However, if the student does not appear at the hearing, the hearing body will proceed in the student’s absence and the decision will have the same force and effect as if the student had been present.
Standard of Proof
Student Conduct and Community Standards bears the burden of proving the charges. The standard of proof for all hearings is a preponderance of evidence. A preponderance of evidence is generally defined as “greater than 50%” or alternatively “more likely than not.”
Admissibility of Information
Admissible information is the sort upon which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs, and is not restricted to evidence admissible under the strict rules of evidence of a court of law. The hearing body will not consider information that it determines has been obtained by fundamentally unfair means.
Prior Conduct Record
The hearing body will take into account the student’s prior conduct record, if any, only for purpose of determining an appropriate sanction unless the information is considered to be relevant to the charges.
Information in Cases of Sexual Assault or Rape
The privacy interests of the parties will be considered by the hearing body in making decisions about the introduction of information. In cases involving allegations of sexual assault or rape, information regarding an individual's sexual history and practices will be considered only when it is determined that the information is directly relevant to the claims and essential to fair resolution of the matter.
- Hearing Body’s Recommendation and Dean of Students’ Decision: The hearing body’s decision will be documented in a report that includes a summary of the student’s behavior and a determination of whether the student has been found responsible or not of each alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct. The hearing body will also recommend to the Dean of Students or his/her designee specific sanctions to be imposed if it finds the student in violation of the Code. A copy of the report prepared by the hearing body will be sent by email to the student and delivered to the Dean of Students and Student Conduct and Community Standards within ten days of the hearing.
- Based upon the findings of the hearing body and any recommendation for sanctioning, the Dean of Students or his/her designee will determine the sanction to be imposed. A written statement of the Dean of Student’s or his/her designee’s final decision on sanctioning will be sent by email to the accused student within ten days of receiving the hearing body’s report.
- Recommendation to Revoke Degree Previously Conferred
- If the hearing body determines that a student has committed an act of academic dishonesty or fraud affecting the acquisition of his or her degree, the Dean of Students or his/her designee may forward a recommendation that the degree be revoked to the Committee on Courses of the Academic Senate. A Notice of Intent to Recommend Revocation of Degree will be sent via email to the accused student with the written statement of decision, as described in Hearing Body’s Recommendation and Dean of Students’ Decision (page 12).
- The Dean of Students’ or his/her designee’s recommendation will not be forwarded to the Committee on Courses until expiration of the time to file a written appeal as described in Appeal of the Hearing Body and Dean of Students’ Decisions (page 13), or until determination that the appeal by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or his/her designee has been completed.
- The Committee on Courses makes the final decision as to revocation of the degree. This determination is not appealable to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs as described below in section Appeal of the Hearing Body and Dean of Students’ Decisions (page 13).
- Consolidation of Hearings: Cases in which more than one student is charged with violating the same Code section(s) and which depend on common evidence may, at the discretion of Student Conduct and Community Standards, either be considered jointly in a single consolidated hearing or be assigned to separate, individual hearings. All charged students must waive their rights to confidentiality before the hearing may be consolidated. See Berkeley Campus Policy Governing Disclosure of Information from Student Records (See Appendix I). When an individual student is alleged to have violated Code in separate incidents the cases may be resolved in a single hearing process, when appropriate.
- Record of the Hearing: Student Conduct and Community Standards will make an official recording of the hearing, a copy of which must be made available to the accused student upon request. The student may, at his or her own expense, use the services of a professional stenographer during the hearing. In some instances the recording may have to be transcribed before it can be released (See Berkeley Campus Policy Governing Disclosure of Information from Student Records in Appendix I).
- Hearings Generally Closed to the Public: Hearings are closed unless the accused student and the hearing body mutually agree to open the hearing to the public. The student must submit a written request for a public hearing to the hearing body seven days in advance of the scheduled hearing date. If the request for an open hearing is denied, the hearing body will provide a rationale in writing. In a consolidated hearing, all accused students must waive their rights to confidentiality and to a closed hearing before it may be opened to the public. In all hearings, accused students may have a non-participating observer present. The hearing body may close any hearing to the public when necessary to maintain order or to protect the rights of the participants including the privacy rights of student witnesses. In cases concerning allegations of sexual misconduct or other allegations involving important privacy interests, the hearing body may close a hearing upon determining that the privacy rights of a party or witness may otherwise be jeopardized.