The Student Hearing Panel (SHP) conducts Formal Hearings regarding violations of the Board of Regents: Student Conduct Code for all cases, except Sexual Misconduct/Title IX, determines responsibility, and (when necessary) determines appropriate outcomes. The Respondent may invoke their right to a Formal Hearing if they do not accept the initial decision and/or informal resolution offered. Formal hearings are fundamentally fair to all parties.
The Hearing Process
- Opening: The hearing begins with a script read by the chairperson.
- Presentations: The Conduct Educator presents the case on behalf of the University, then, the Chair welcomes opening statements and presentation of witnesses by the respondent and, if applicable, the complainant. In Scholastic Dishonesty cases, relevant faculty will be invited to participate in the proceedings, which may include the presentation of an opening statement and presentation of witnesses.
- Question & Answer: After these presentations are complete, a question and answer period allows panelists, as well as the respondent and, if applicable, the complainant to ask questions.
- Closing Statements: Finally, the respondent and, if applicable, complainant are given a ten minute period to provide a closing or summary statement. This marks the end of the hearing.
- Deliberation: Afterwards, the panelists participate in a closed deliberation session to determine responsibility and (if necessary) assign appropriate outcomes.
- Notification of Decision: Respondents, and if applicable, complainants, typically receive a decision letter within one business day of the hearing by official UMD email. However, decisions may take up to one week from the date of the hearing.
Notice of Formal Hearing
The Office of Student Conduct (OSCCR) gives notice to the respondent and, if applicable, the complainant in advance of the hearing. The notice is sent using the University’s official means of communication – UMD e-mail. The notice includes the date, time, and location of the hearing as well as the alleged prohibited behavior(s). Timely and equal access to information used during the formal hearing will be provided to the respondent, and if applicable, the complainant.
It is the respondent’s responsibility to attend the hearing. Hearings may be held in the absence of the respondent (an individual or student group leaders), or complainant.
Information for the Hearing
Pertinent records, citations, written statements, photos, audio and/or video recordings, and/ or physical evidence may be accepted as information for consideration by the SHP. The SHP Chair has discretion to determine what information is relevant for consideration by the Student Hearing Panel.
The complainant, respondent, and members of the SHP may ask questions of each respective side during the allotted time within the hearing. Questions are to be relevant to the case at hand. The Chair will rule on the appropriateness of a question or a line of questioning.
Questions directly to the complainant and respondent from one another are not allowed. Questions must be given to the Chair of the panel who will then rule on the admissibility of the question and pose the question to the respective side
Rules of Evidence - Preponderance Standard
The question of whether there is sufficient evidence to substantiate a determination of responsibility will be decided based on a preponderance of the evidence. This means that which is more convincing, credible, and of greater weight or probability.
Deliberations, Decisions, and Outcomes
After all information has been presented and the hearing has been adjourned, the SHP goes into a closed deliberation to determine whether the respondent is responsible or not responsible for the alleged prohibited behavior. The determination between responsible and not responsible is made by a majority vote of the SHP. If the Respondent is found responsible, any previous student conduct findings of responsibility are shared with the panelists. The panel determines appropriate outcomes.
For cases of Scholastic Dishonesty the faculty member grades the student’s work in light of the reported concern. If the Hearing Panel finds that the student is not responsible for engaging in prohibited conduct under the Student Conduct Code, the case will be referred back to the instructor for grade review at the student’s request. If the student is not satisfied with the grade review, they may pursue a grade complaint.
Hearing for Multiple Students
In the event that there is more than one respondent, OSCCR may allow a joint hearing provided all parties agree.
Complainants and respondents are each allowed to have up to two advisors present during the hearing. An advisor may be an attorney, advocate, support person, family member, or any other individual of the party's choosing with the exception of those who are witnesses with information about facts material to the underlying case. The advisor cannot actively participate in the hearing process. Notification that an individual will be bringing an advisor, which includes the advisor's name and their relationship to the advisor, should be made in writing to OSCCR no less than 48 hours in advance of the hearing. Advisors will also be asked to sign the appropriate Roles & Responsibilities of Advisors agreement.
In Scholastic Dishonesty cases, relevant faculty may choose to be accompanied by an advisor of their choosing from within their academic department.
If attorneys are present during the hearing, they may not play an active role in the process and instead will act as an advisor as described above. If the complainant and/or respondent are accompanied by an attorney, an attorney from the University’s Office of the General Counsel will be present in person, via teleconference, or via video conference on behalf of the University. Parties planning to bring an attorney as an advisor, are encouraged to provide as much advance notice as possible to prevent the hearing from having to be rescheduled.
The complainant and/or respondent may have witnesses in attendance to present pertinent information to the case. Witness names must be provided to OSCCR no later than 48 hours in advance of the hearing. Respondents and complainants are responsible for notifying their own witnesses and/or advisors about the hearing. The Conduct Educator may invite additional witnesses as a component of their case presentation. Witnesses who are not able to attend may submit written statements from their UMD email accounts to [email protected]. Witnesses who are not members of the UMD community who are not able to attend may submit notarized statements to [email protected].
All hearings are closed to the public. All hearing participants will be instructed to silence mobile devices for the duration of the hearing.
The SHP may make an audio recording of the hearing with the resulting recording housed in the OSCCR database. The recordings are the property of the University of Minnesota Duluth and no other recordings may be made of the hearings.
Parties may request to participate in the hearing via phone/video conferencing facilitated by OSCCR.
All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the SHP Secretary. The student conduct hearing is unique to higher education and is outside of any criminal and civil court proceedings, thus formal rules of process, procedure, and technical rules of evidence from criminal or civil court proceedings are not applicable.
Preparing for a Hearing
Respondents & Complainants should complete this form in preparation for a formal hearing.
- Respondents and complainants are responsible for notifying their own witnesses and/or advisors about the hearing.
- Witnesses should be prepared to answer questions.
- Hearing participants should know that the hearing could last 1-3 hours (or more).
- Witnesses are more credible when they appear in person, as opposed to unchallenged written statements.
- Advisors may not speak on behalf of the respondent or complainant and may not interfere in the hearing process.
- Advisors must complete the Roles and Responsibilities of Advisors for General Conduct agreement.
- Hearing participants are encouraged to bring notes made prior to the hearing. Focus on the incident at hand, and information directly applicable to the regulations in question. Organize notes chronologically for use as a presentation outline.
Tips on Preparing for a Hearing
- Take notes during each presentation. Put notes in question form.
- Note discrepancies in evidence, and present those at the appropriate times.
- In summarizing, work from notes – repeat the important details of the incident. Show how the behavior does or does not violate the regulation(s). Refute those point(s) made by the respondent or complainant as appropriate. Clarify the reasons for refuting evidence and state relevant opinions. Only include relevant information about the case at hand.
- The complainant may want to establish their motivation for filing the report.
- The complainant and respondent may state their expectations for the result of the hearing.