NOTE: FOR CASES INVOLVING SEXUAL ASSAULT, STALKING, GENDER-RELATED HARASSMENT, DATING OR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, OR OTHER PROHIBITED CONDUCT AS DEFINED IN THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT, ABUSE, AND ASSAULT PREVENTION POLICY, SEE PART 10 FOR OVERVIEW OF PROCESS
9.1 Student conduct cases that are not resolved through informal resolution will proceed to a formal hearing process. This process will take place in a timely manner, usually within thirty (30) business days after the complaint is received. Each party will be given written notice of the charges stating: the alleged facts upon which the charges are based, the sections of the Code of Student Conduct alleged to have been violated, the procedures to be used in resolving the charges, and the date, time, and location of the hearing. Notice will be emailed at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing to the parties’ syr.edu email address. Parties will be granted access to the case file that is submitted to the administrative hearing officer or the University Conduct Board for review. Formal hearings may be conducted virtually as deemed appropriate by Community Standards.
9.2 The order of the formal hearing is typically as follows:
a. introductions and reading of the complaint/appeal by the chairperson or hearing officer;
b.reading of the charges against the respondent, and the respondent’s response to these charges;
c. opening statements;
d. presentation of testimony/information/witnesses by the complainant;
e. presentation of testimony/information/witnesses by the respondent;
f. closing statement by the complainant;
g. closing statement by the respondent.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the University Conduct Board or administrative hearing officer begins deliberations regarding responsibility. If a finding of responsibility is made, deliberations continue regarding sanctions. In appropriate circumstances, the order of presentation at the hearing may be changed.
9.3 Formal hearings may involve the University Conduct Board or an administrative hearing officer to consider impartially all relevant testimony and other information, determine the facts, and impose appropriate sanctions. If there is a possibility that a student will be suspended or expelled, the formal hearing process involves the University Conduct Board. If there is no possibility of suspension or expulsion, the formal hearing process will be heard by an administrative hearing officer or board. Each party may present objections to the participation of any Board member or hearing officer for reason of conflict of interest. Any such objection will be ruled on by the Board chairperson, or by vote of the majority of the Board, if the objection is to the chairperson’s participation, or by the Director of Community Standards if the objection is to a particular hearing officer.
a. The University Conduct Board, typically comprised of a three (3) to five (5)-member panel, may be comprised of students, faculty, staff, or external professionals as determined by Community Standards. The University Conduct Board is advised by a trained designee of the Director of Community Standards, and external professionals as necessary.
b. Administrative hearing officers, who may be internal faculty or staff or external professionals, are appointed by the Director of Community Standards.
9.4 An audio recording will be made for all formal hearings. Recordings will not include deliberations. Either party may request that a written transcript of these recordings be made at the expense of the requesting party (except in cases of disability accommodation) or have access to the recordings by arrangement with the Director of Community Standards. Printed transcripts will be redacted as needed by Community Standards prior to being released. Additional recording devices (audio and/or video) of any kind are not permitted for use during University Conduct Board hearings.
9.5 If a party would like to call witnesses regarding the facts of the case, names of potential witnesses must be submitted to Community Standards by the date stated in the formal hearing notice. Witnesses are limited to 10 people for a hearing. If there are more than 10 witnesses for a hearing they will be asked to submit written statements. Witness lists will be made available to the other party. The chairperson or administrative hearing officer will have the discretion to allow or exclude witnesses proposed by either party when the information offered by a witness would be cumulative or irrelevant, or the witness would unnecessarily compromise the confidentiality of the hearing. The University Student Conduct System is not required to compel the appearance of any witness at a University Student Conduct System proceeding. Neither party nor anyone acting on their behalf are authorized to compel or attempt to compel the appearance of any person at a University Student Conduct System proceeding.
9.6 All parties are expected to appear at the hearing. If either party fails to appear at the hearing, the Hearing Board may proceed with the hearing or reschedule the hearing. In cases in which either party is unable to appear, alternative means for participation may be made available.
9.7 Each party must act in a manner that is respectful of the proceedings and the rights of all individuals involved. It is the responsibility of each party to assure advisors, witnesses, and other affiliates act in a respectful manner. The chairperson or administrative hearing officer may discontinue the hearing and forward the case for administrative resolution by the Director of Community Standards, or a designee, when the behavior of any person might be detrimental to the outcome of the hearing. Attendance at hearings is limited to the Hearing Board or officer and their advisors, and the parties immediately involved and their procedural advisors. Witnesses are permitted in the hearing room solely for their own testimony. Only the University Conduct Board members or administrative hearing officers and their advisors are permitted for deliberations.
9.8 At the hearing, each party must offer all information known or available that they desire to be considered in the form of testimony, witnesses, questions or evidence.
9.9 Relevance of information and testimony will be determined by the chairperson or administrative hearing officer. The University Conduct Board members or administrative hearing officer may ask relevant questions at any time.
9.10 Each party will have the opportunity to ask questions indirectly of the other party through the chairperson or administrative hearing officer. The chairperson or administrative hearing officer has the discretion to determine whether to permit questioning of witnesses indirectly through the chairperson or administrative hearing officer. Formal rules of evidence do not apply. Any information or statement may be admitted (including hearsay) at the discretion of the chairperson or administrative hearing officer. The parties may ask questions indirectly through the chairperson or hearing officer subject to reasonableness and relevance, as determined by the chairperson or administrative hearing officer.
9.11 At the conclusion of the closing statements by the complainant and respondent, the University Conduct Board or the administrative hearing officer will deliberate regarding the finding of responsibility for each alleged violation. Hearing Board decisions on responsibility are made by a majority vote of the Board members.
9.12 If a student or organization is found responsible for any violations, the University Conduct Board or administrative hearing officer will consider appropriate sanctions (see Part 11). Sanction decisions are made by a majority vote of the Board members.
9.13 Decisions of the University Conduct Board or administrative hearing officer are reviewed and confirmed by the Director of Community Standards, or a designee. Decisions of the University Conduct Board or administrative hearing officer can be denied by the Director of Community Standards if the Director determines that the Board or hearing officer acted in an arbitrary, capricious, or unfair manner. In cases where the Director denies the Board decision for those reasons, a new University Conduct Board or administrative hearing officer will be convened to re-hear the case on its merits. The new hearing will conform to the procedures outline in Part 9 of the Student Conduct System Handbook.
Following the review and confirmation of the Board or hearing officer decision, each party will receive written notice of the confirmed decision within eight (8) business days after the hearing has concluded. Decisions and sanctions may become effective immediately, even while an appeal is pending, where the facts and circumstances warrant. The timing of any sanctions will be specified in the written notice of the decision.
Appeals from decisions of the University Conduct Board or administrative hearing officers that meet the criteria set forth in Part 12 are heard by the University Appeals Board.