A-to-Z Index

James Madison University Honor Code

VIII. Hearing, Appeal, and Review Procedures

  1. The Hearing
    1. No hearings or special panels will take place when classes are not in session (i.e., August, spring break, winter break, during final exams).
    2. All hearings will be closed unless the accused requests an open hearing at least 48 hours prior to the time of the hearing. If the number of spectators or disorderly behavior disrupts the hearing in any manner, the Honor Council president may order any or all spectators to leave the hearing room. The president may prohibit the use of cameras or unauthorized audio or video recording equipment.
    3. The members of the hearing board will be selected by the Honor Council vice president. The hearing board will consist of seven members: three students, three faculty members and the vice president. Members of the hearing board may be selected from the Honor Council.
    4. At least three class days prior to the hearing, the accused must inform the Honor Council office of the names of all witnesses to be called at the hearing by the accused and must provide a summary of the points to which each is expected to testify.
    5. The accused will be entitled to all rights guaranteed in Section VI, Rights of Accused Students.
    6. The Honor Council president or the chair of the special panel will preside at the hearing and will rule on the admissibility of all evidence introduced during the hearing and on all other matters raised at the hearing. Formal rules of evidence will not apply.
    7. A hearing will generally be held in the following order:
      1. The president will introduce those present.
      2. The president will make a statement emphasizing the confidentiality of the proceedings.
      3. The president will answer any questions concerning hearing procedures.
      4. The president will read the charges against the accused.
      5. The accused will enter a plea of "not responsible" or "responsible."
      6. The president will direct the investigators to provide all evidence gathered regarding the alleged violation. This may include the impartial questioning of witnesses (including the accused, unless the accused elects not to testify) for clarification and the presentation of evidence requested by the accused. The investigators, the members of the hearing board, the accused and his or her designated representative will have the opportunity to question each witness.
      7. The accused or his or her designated representative may present concluding remarks.
      8. All persons will leave the hearing room except the hearing board members, who will select a chair and commence their deliberations.
      9. The hearing board will first consider whether the accused is responsible or not responsible. The hearing board may recall any witness who testified during the hearing. The accused shall have the right to be present during any additional testimony and, with the permission of the president, may question these witnesses.
      10. The hearing board will reach one of the following decisions as to whether the accused is responsible:
        1. If at least five of the seven hearing board members determine that it has been established by "clear and convincing evidence" that the accused student committed an alleged Honor Code violation, the student shall be found "responsible" on that charge.
        2. If no more than four of the seven hearing board members make that determination, the student shall be found "not responsible."
        3. Additionally, if, after a reasonable period of deliberation (as determined by the president of the Honor Council), a finding of responsibility has not been reached, the hearing board shall be deemed to have found the student "not responsible."
      11. If the hearing board finds a violation, it should then reach a determination to assess any of the penalties enumerated in Section VII, Penalties, by a vote of four of the seven hearing board members. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the student has previously committed an Honor Code violation, the minimum penalties set forth in Section VII.A.5.c. will apply.
      12. The decision will be announced in the presence of the accused or his or her designated representative if either is then present.
      13. The president will inform a convicted student of the appeal procedure and will answer any questions.
      14. If an accused refuses to appear or fails to appear at a hearing after being properly notified, the hearing will proceed without him or her.
      15. The accused may request one postponement of the hearing by contacting the Honor Council president at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled hearing. Adequate cause for postponement must be demonstrated.
      16. If the accused wants to have his or her case heard when witnesses are not available, the right to question witnesses may be waived in writing and the written statements of all witnesses will then be accepted as evidence and testimony by the hearing board or special panel. The accused student may, however, challenge the testimony given in these statements by presenting witnesses (including the accused) who will testify on behalf of the accused.
      17. The accused or the reporter may request by letter to the Honor Council coordinator that the hearing of a case arising during one of the summer sessions be postponed until the fall semester. Adequate cause must be demonstrated for the postponement to be approved.
  2. Special Panel Provisions
    1. The hearing body will be a special panel consisting of one faculty member and two students appointed by the Honor Council coordinator or Honor Council vice president for any student charged with an Honor Code violation
      1. during the last two weeks of fall or spring semester classes, or
      2. between the end of spring semester classes and the first day of classes of the next fall semester
    2. The special panel will select a chair from among its members. The chair will have full voting rights and will, in addition, have the same powers and responsibilities at a special panel hearing as the Honor Council president has at a hearing board hearing.
    3. Each special panel hearing shall be held as soon as reasonably possible after the investigation is completed. The coordinator may grant a request for a postponement of the hearing only if the coordinator finds that special circumstances exist that would make it inequitable to proceed with an immediate hearing.
    4. The special panel will reach one of the following decisions as to whether the accused is responsible:
      1. "responsible," based upon the standard of proof of "clear and convincing evidence," which requires the concurrence of at least two of the three members of the special panel; or
      2. "not responsible," based upon the standard of "clear and convincing evidence," which requires the concurrence of at least two of the three members of the special panel.
    5. If there is a decision of "responsible," any of the penalties enumerated in Section VII, Penalties may be assessed, although the penalty of suspension or expulsion requires the concurrence of all three members of the special panel, whereas assessment of the other penalties requires the concurrence of at least two of the three members of the special panel.
      1. If the student has previously committed an Honor Code violation, the minimum penalties set forth in Section VII.A.5.c. will apply.
  3. Appeals
    1. Any student found responsible by a hearing board or special panel will have the right to appeal within five class days of receiving written notice of the decision by providing a written statement to the Honor Council coordinator describing the basis of the appeal. An appeal may be based upon the availability of new evidence, the violation of due process rights of the convicted student, or the unreasonableness of the hearing body's decision.
    2. If a student does not appeal the decision within five class days of receiving written notice of the decision, the decision will be deemed to be final (unless the penalty includes suspension or expulsion, in which cases final review occurs under Section VIII).
    3. The Provost will designate an academic dean, associate dean, or assistant dean to chair the appeals committee, which will be the appeal body except in the circumstances described below. The committee will consist of three members: the committee chair, and a student and faculty member appointed by the Honor Council vice president or the coordinator.
    4. Appeals presented during the last two weeks of spring semester classes or during the period between the end of spring semester classes and the first day of classes of the next fall semester will be heard by a person designated by the vice president for academic affairs, who in those circumstances will be the appeal body in lieu of the appeals committee.
    5. The appeal body or an investigator will notify the student in writing of the date, time, and place of the appeal hearing.
    6. At the appeal hearing, the appeal body will review the record of the original hearing and may recall witnesses for clarification purposes or receive additional evidence or testimony in order to determine whether the decision of the hearing body should be changed.
    7. The appeal body will then take one of the following actions:
      1. Affirm the "responsible" finding and penalty imposed by the hearing body.
      2. Affirm the "responsible" finding but reduce the penalty (but not below the applicable minimum penalty).
      3. Find the student "not responsible" and dismiss the charges.
      4. Order a new hearing.
    8. If the appeal body is the appeals committee, two votes will be necessary to take any action other than to affirm the responsible finding and penalty imposed by the hearing body. A student may not be given a more severe penalty as the result of an appeal.
    9. The appeal body will notify the Honor Council coordinator of its decision, and the coordinator will promptly notify the student of the decision. If the decision of the appeal body does not include a penalty of suspension or expulsion, there shall be no further appeal or review.
  4. Final Review
    1. In all cases in which the penalty includes suspension or expulsion, there shall be a final review by the Provost (if the penalty is suspension) or by the University President in consultation with the Provost (if the penalty is expulsion). The Honor Council coordinator shall provide the reviewer with the relevant documentation and information. The reviewer need not review the entire record of the hearing or the deliberations of the appeal body before making a decision.
    2. The reviewer will take one of the following actions:
      1. Affirm the "responsible" finding and penalty.
      2. Affirm the "responsible" finding and reduce the penalty (but not below the applicable minimum penalty).
      3. Find the student "not responsible" and dismiss the charges.
      4. Order a new hearing.
    3. The reviewer will notify the coordinator of the final decision, and the coordinator will promptly notify the student.
    4. If the final decision includes suspension or expulsion the Provost or University President will notify the Honor Council coordinator, the vice president for student affairs, the assistant vice president for finance, the director of residence life, the university registrar and the Honor Council president. This notification will include only the final decision and will not be a report of the proceeding itself.