Sexual Misconduct Hearing Procedures
Incidents of sexual misconduct are adjudicated in accordance with the grievance and hearing procedures as outlined in this policy, which differs slightly from the standard Student Conduct process for other Code of Conduct violations. Any student found responsible of sexual misconduct may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. Criminal prosecution may also be pursued separately in the District of Columbia.
The following hearing procedures are applicable in such instances during informal or formal resolution where the student:
- does not accept the findings of the Title IX Coordinator, or
- accepts the findings of the investigation but does not accept the sanctions issued by the Title IX Coordinator.
A disciplinary hearing will involve a Sexual Misconduct Board specifically trained to handle sexual misconduct cases. The Sexual Misconduct Board is a fact-finding and decision making body consisting of faculty, staff and/or administration representatives. A non-voting administrator will serve as the hearing official and as a consultant to the Sexual Misconduct Board. The Sexual Misconduct Board has the responsibility for determining whether there is sufficient information, based on the preponderance of the evidence standard (more likely than not), to conclude that the respondent has violated the Sexual Misconduct policy. If that is the case they will also decide on appropriate sanctions. The Sexual Misconduct Board also meets to decide on appropriate sanctions in such instances where the respondent accepts responsibility for the violation but does not accept the sanction decision by the Title IX Coordinator.
Disciplinary Hearing Procedures
The following procedural guidelines are established for the direction of all persons and boards conducting disciplinary hearings on complaints against a student charged with Sexual Misconduct at Gallaudet University.
A. The Title IX Coordinator shall provide the respondent with a written statement that contains the name of the complainant (person(s) or the University), the decision previously made by the respondent during the informal or formal resolution, the procedures for resolving the conflict, and the range of sanctions that may be imposed.
B. The respondent must make an appointment for a pre-hearing meeting with the administrator serving as the hearing official identified in the letter from the Title IX Coordinator, no later than five business days after the letter is received.
C. If the respondent fails to arrange a meeting with the hearing official within five business days after receipt of the letter or fails to show up at the scheduled pre-hearing meeting to confirm the respondent's previous decision during the informal or formal resolution, the hearing official will send a letter notifying the student with the date and location of the hearing at least 72 hours in advance of the date on the letter.
D. Hearings shall be conducted in private and are closed to the public in order to protect the confidential nature of the proceedings.
E. A single hearing may be held for more than one person charged in cases arising out of a single or multiple occurrence(s). The hearing official will make such determinations. However, each respondent retains the right to have his/her case heard individually.
F. The respondent will have reasonable access to information pertaining to the case prior to and during the disciplinary hearing.
G. The respondent may appear in person and present relevant information to the Sexual Misconduct Board, and may call witnesses. The Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator or the investigator will share his/her findings to the Board; however, the complainant reserves the right to present his/her case, if desired. While efforts will be made to accommodate the schedules of all parties involved, scheduling conflicts or failure of witnesses to appear will not constitute grounds for a continuance of the hearing. The respondent and the complainant will have the opportunity to hear all information provided by all participants at the hearing. Cross-examination between the complainant and the respondent is not permitted; either party should direct his/her questions in writing to the hearing official. Should the respondent elect not to appear at the hearing, it shall be held in the absence of the respondent. In such instances, the information in support of the charge(s) will be presented and considered even if the respondent is not present.
H. Respondents and complainants may be accompanied by an advisor or support person at the hearing (the advisor or support person shall be a member of the full-time faculty, staff, or student body of Gallaudet University, but not a lawyer). The respondent (and complainant if he/she so desires) is responsible for presenting his or her own information, and therefore, advisors or support persons are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in the hearing. Advisors (not support persons) may confer with the student only when there is not a question on the table or a response pending from the student. In consideration of the limited role of an advisor or support person, the respondent and/or complainant should select an advisor or support person whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled date and time of the hearing because delays will not normally be allowed due to the scheduling conflicts of an advisor. Violations of any restrictions for advisors or support persons will result in the advisor or support person being removed from the hearing at the discretion of the hearing official.
I. The Board may, by majority vote, limit the number of witnesses because of redundancy or irrelevancy.
J. The respondent and the complainant may remain silent to preserve the right against self-incrimination. In such cases, other available information will be considered.
K. Formal rules of processes, procedures, and/or technical rules of evidence shall not be applicable to these disciplinary proceedings conducted pursuant to this Code. Any information or testimony the Board or the non-voting hearing official believes to be relevant may be considered.
L. The Sexual Misconduct Board may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or genuine fears of confrontation of the complainant, respondent, and/or other witnesses during the hearing by providing separate facilities, by using a visual screen, videophone, closed circuit television, or video conferences, as determined to be appropriate by the sole judgment of the hearing official. While these options are intended to help make the complainant or respondent more comfortable, they are not intended to work to the disadvantage of the other party.
M. The hearing official shall exercise control over the proceedings to avoid needless consumption of time and to achieve orderly completion of the hearing. Any person, including the respondent, who disrupts a hearing, may be excluded by the hearing official.
N. After the hearing, the Sexual Misconduct Board shall determine whether the student is responsible for the violation with which he/she is charged and/or the most appropriate sanction for the violation. All parties, the investigator(s), the witnesses, and advisor(s) shall be excluded during Board deliberations. The Sexual Misconduct Board's determination shall be made on the basis that there is sufficient information, based on the preponderance of the evidence standard, to conclude that the respondent has violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy, or the Board will make a decision on the most appropriate sanction (for those instances where the respondent accepts the findings of the investigation but does not accept the sanctions issued by the Title IX Coordinator). Both parties shall be entitled to a verbal explanation of any decision, and a letter summarizing the decision and any disciplinary sanctions, if applicable, will also be sent to the respondent and complainant.
O. The complainant and the respondent shall be informed of the right to appeal a decision to the Dean of Student Affairs and Academic Support. A decision or judgment concerning whether the respondent violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy may be appealed by either or both of the parties involved on the following grounds:
The Student Conduct Board hearing was not conducted fairly and in conformity with prescribed procedures, which made it unfair. Deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant unfairness results.
There is new or newly discovered information that could not have been produced at the hearing. In order for the Dean of Student Affairs and Academic Support to consider new information sufficient to alter a decision, or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, such information and/or facts must not have been known at the time of the original hearing by the appellant.
The decision was or was not supported by substantial information considering the record as a whole. That is, the facts in the case were or were not sufficient to establish that a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy occurred.
The sanction imposed was excessive or insufficient and not appropriate for the violation.
A decision or judgment concerning hearings where only the sanctions were discussed and deliberated may be appealed by either or both of the parties involved on the following grounds:
- The sanction imposed was excessive or insufficient and not appropriate for the violation.
An appeal must be in writing, must indicate the basis of the appeal with an explanation, and must be made within five business days of the date the parties were notified of the decision. In an appeal case, action assessed by the initial Sexual Misconduct Board may be held in suspense until acted upon in appeal, at the discretion of the Dean of Student Affairs and Academic Support. The hearing official shall convey pertinent information to the Dean of Student Affairs and Academic Support. The Dean of Student Affairs and Academic Support may affirm or reverse the decision, or modify the sanction originally assessed. The Dean of Student Affairs and Academic Support may decide to remand the matter back to the hearing official to reopen the hearing, if appropriate. The decision of the Dean of Student Affairs and Academic Support is final and is not appealable.
No release of information about a case heard by the Sexual Misconduct Board is permitted, except by the hearing official, the Title IX Coordinator, and a higher administrative authority.
Any Sexual Misconduct Board member shall elect to abstain from participation in a hearing when the member has a duality of interest in the case or a personal reason that precludes participation without prejudice. Any party may challenge a Sexual Misconduct Board member on the grounds of personal bias prior to the beginning of the hearing. A board member or members may be disqualified by the hearing official upon majority vote of the voting members, conducted by secret ballot.
Because of time concerns and the expenses it would incur, provision for written transcripts of campus disciplinary hearings is not required.
The hearing official shall determine the rules of procedure, in addition to those stated herein and all procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the hearing official.