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Judicial Affairs

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Student Rights

 Student Rights and Responsibilities   Accusing Students/Witnesses Against Rights
 Educational Rights  Accusing Student Rights (Violence to Persons)
 Violation Procedure Rights  Accused Student Rights (Sexual Assault)
 Accused Student Rights  Accusing Student Rights (Sexual Assault)









Students’ Rights and Responsibilities

Students’ rights and responsibilities as described here are not definitive; rather, they are indicative of the direction of a growing and changing educational environment.  Students enjoy the same basic rights and are bound by the same responsibilities to respect the rights of others, as are all citizens.

James Madison University considers individuals as students upon receipt of deposit for admission until their official graduation date.

  1. The student as a citizen has the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of political beliefs and freedom from personal force and violence, threats of violence and personal abuse.
  2. The student as a citizen has a right to be considered equally for admission to, employment by and promotion within the campus in accordance with the provisions against discrimination in the general law.
  3. James Madison University is not a sanctuary from the general law; furthermore, the campus is a community of growth and fulfillment for all rather than a setting described in the concept of in loco parentis.

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Educational Rights

All students have additional responsibilities and rights based on the nature of the educational process and requirements of the search for truth and its free presentation. These rights and responsibilities include the following:

  1. Each student has the freedom—dependent on level of competence—to teach, learn, conduct research and publish findings in the spirit of free inquiry.
  2. Each student has the right to pursue normal curricular and co-curricular activities, including freedom of movement.
  3. Each student has the right to expect his or her record contains only information which is reasonably related to the educational purposes or to the health and safety of the individual or others. Furthermore, it is assumed that the student has the right to protection from unauthorized disclosure of confidential material contained in university records.
  4. Each student has the right to reasonable and impartially applied rules, designed to reflect the educational purposes of the institution and to protect the safety of the campus.
  5. Each student has the right to recourse if another member of the campus is negligent or irresponsible in the performance of his/her responsibilities, or if another member of the campus represents the work of others as his/her own.
  6. Each student who holds opinions about basic policy matters of direct concern to him/her has the right to have them heard and considered at appropriate levels of the decision-making process. It should be noted that students who have a continuing association with the institution and who have substantial influence have an especially strong obligation to maintain an environment supportive of the rights of others.
  7. Each student has the responsibility to act in a manner that is conducive to learning by: being prepared, prompt, attentive and courteous in all academic settings (including classrooms, laboratories, libraries, advising centers, departmental and faculty offices, etc.) and by complying with requests made by a faculty or staff member in an academic setting.

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Violation Procedure Rights

All students have the right to fair and equitable procedures, which shall determine the validity of charges that they have violated university regulations. (Refer to Accused Student Rights below for information regarding student rights in the judicial process.)

  1. Each student has a right to expect that the procedures shall be structured to facilitate a reliable determination of the truth or falseness of the charges, provide a fundamental fairness to the parties and be effective as an instrument for the maintenance of order.
  2. Each student has the right to know in advance the range of sanctions for violations of university policies. The definition of adequate cause for separation from the university should be clearly formulated and made public.
  3. James Madison University reserves the right to hold students accountable for off-campus behavior that falls within the jurisdiction of the University. Examples of such off-campus behavior would include, but not be limited to, crimes of violence, and/or sexual assault as determined by the Office of Judicial Affairs. Students that are given citations, found guilty, receive deferred disposition, or “first offender status” for alcohol or drug violation(s) in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County will be charged with Judicial Violation(s) listed in the Student Handbook. Furthermore, students charged or convicted of violations of a state or federal law, including felonies, may be subject to university sanctions for the same conduct in accordance with university policies and procedures. Disciplinary action can also result if a student’s behavior compromises the educational atmosphere or mission of the institution.
  4. James Madison University does not represent accusing faculty, staff or students, but provides a process for fact-finding and fair decision-making.

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Accused Student Rights

An accused student has the following rights:

  1. The right to a fair and impartial hearing.
  2. The right to a presumption of not being responsible for a violation until proven responsible as determined by a preponderance of the evidence presented at the hearing.
  3. The right to be notified of the charges against him or her, the specific rule or policy violated, the time, date and place of the scheduled judicial hearing at least 72 hours prior to the hearing (except when the accused student postpones the hearing), provided the student has informed the university of his or her current contact information. If the student has not furnished the university with current contact information, JMU has only to make a reasonable attempt to notify him or her with the most recent contact information provided.
  4. The right to be present during the entire hearing (except for closed judicial deliberation or consultation) and to know and to respond to all evidence used in the proceeding. The student may, however, elect not to participate.
  5. The right to remain silent.
  6. The right to be notified in writing of the decision of the judicial body or hearing officer within 10 days of the date of the hearing for the final decision in the case.
  7. *The right to a support person or attorney of his or her choice provided that person is willing and able to attend the scheduled hearing and advise the student during the judicial hearing process. The support person must be a student, faculty or staff member selected from the university community. The attorney can be anyone licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  A student may have an attorney or support person present if the Office of Judicial Affairs is notified at least 48 hours before the hearing. An attorney or support person attending a hearing may not actively represent the accused student but may give advice to the student on how to present his or her case.
  8. *The right to question all witnesses who present at the hearing and/or to respond to all materials presented at the hearing.
  9. *The right to have witnesses, provided the witness is able to attend the scheduled hearing, or to provide witness statements in his or her defense.  The judicial body shall have the authority to limit the number of witnesses in order to avoid unreasonable delays where the information would be repetitious or unnecessary.
  10. *The right to appeal to a higher judicial body or university administrative official within three class days of receiving the judicial decision for any of the following causes:
    • Violation of due process and student rights
    • New evidence
    • Harshness of sanction(s)
  11. *The right to have access to a recording of his or her hearing for the purposes of preparing for an appeal. Students may not bring their own recording devices to council hearings. Recordings of the hearing will be destroyed after completion of the appeal process or after the time for appeal has passed.

* Not applicable to an administrative option hearing.

Note:  If you are charged with Violence to Persons, the victim in the case will, by law, be notified of the outcome of your hearing pertaining to the Violence to Persons charge.

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Accusing Students/Witnesses Against Rights

An accusing student of an alleged incident has the following right:

  1. The right to request a support person or attorney of his or her choice provided that person is willing and able to attend the scheduled hearing and advise the student during the judicial hearing process. The support person must be a student, faculty or staff member selected from the university community.  The attorney can be anyone licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  A student may have an attorney or support person present if the Office of Judicial Affairs is notified at least 48 hours before the hearing. An attorney or support person attending a hearing may not actively represent the accused student but may give advice to the student on how to present his or her case.

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Accusing Student Rights (Violence to Persons)

Accusing students of an alleged incident of violence have the following rights:

  1. The right to be informed of the results of the judicial proceeding.
  2. The right to request a support person or attorney of his or her choice provided that person is willing and able to attend the scheduled hearing and advise the student during the judicial hearing process. The support person must be a student, faculty or staff member selected from the university community.  The attorney can be anyone licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  A student may have an attorney or support person present if the Office of Judicial Affairs is notified at least 48 hours before the hearing. An attorney or support person attending a hearing may not actively represent the accused student but may give advice to the student on how to present his or her case.

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Accused Student Rights (Sexual Assault)

An accused student of an alleged sexual assault has the following rights:

  1. The right to a fair and impartial hearing.
  2. The right to a presumption of not being responsible for a violation until proven responsible as determined by a preponderance of the evidence presented at the hearing.
  3. The right to be notified of the charges against him or her, the specific rule or policy violated, the time, date and place of the scheduled judicial hearing at least 72 hours prior to the hearing (except when the accused student postpones the hearing) and provided the student has informed the university of his or her current contact information. If the student has not furnished the university with current contact information, JMU has only to make a reasonable attempt to notify him or her with the most recent contact information provided.
  4. The right to be present during the entire hearing (except for closed judicial deliberation or consultation) and to know and respond to all evidence used in the proceeding. The student may, however, elect not to participate.
  5. The student has the right to remain silent.
  6. The right to be notified in writing of the decision of the judicial body or hearing officer within 10 days of the date of the hearing for the final decision in the case.
  7. The right not to have his or her past sexual history discussed during the hearing, except as it relates to the specific incident in question.
  8. The right to a support person or attorney of his or her choice provided that person is willing and able to attend the scheduled hearing and advise the student during the hearing process. An attorney or support person attending a hearing may not actively represent the accused student but may give advice to the student on how to present his or her case.
  9. The right to relate his or her account of the incident.
  10. *The right to question all witnesses who present at the hearing and/or to respond to all materials presented at the hearing.
  11. *The right to have witnesses present, provided the person is able to attend the scheduled hearing, or to provide witness statements in his or her defense. The judicial body shall have the authority to limit the number of witnesses in order to avoid unreasonable delays where the information would be repetitious or unnecessary.
  12. *The right to have access to a recording of his or her hearing for the purposes of preparing for an appeal. Students may not bring their own recording devices to council hearings. Recordings of the hearing will be destroyed after completion of the appeal process or after the time for appeal has passed.
  13. *The right to one appeal to a higher judicial body or university administrative official within three class days of receiving the judicial decision for any of the following causes:
  • Violation of due process and student rights
  • New evidence
  • Harshness of sanction(s)

These rights also apply to cases of Harassment (sexual and stalking) and violence (domestic and intimate partner).

*Not applicable to an administrative option hearing.

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Accusing Student Rights (Sexual Assault)

An accusing student of an alleged sexual assault has the following rights:

  1. The right to a fair and impartial hearing.
  2. The right to be notified of the time, date and place of the scheduled judicial hearing at least 72 hours prior to the hearing (except when the accusing student postpones the hearing), provided the student has informed the university of his or her current contact information. If the student has not furnished the university with current contact information, JMU has only to make a reasonable attempt to notify him or her with the most recent contact information provided.
  3. The right to be present during the entire hearing (except for closed judicial deliberation or consultation) and to know and to respond to all evidence used in the proceeding. The accusing student may, however, elect not to appear.
  4. The right to remain silent.
  5. The right to be notified in writing of the decision of the judicial body or hearing officer within 10 days of the date of the hearing for the final decision in the case.
  6. The right not to have his or her past sexual history discussed during the hearing, except as it relates to the specific incident in question.
  7. The right to a support person or attorney of his or her choice provided that person is willing and able to attend the scheduled hearing and advise the student during the hearing process. An attorney or support person attending a hearing may not actively represent the accusing student but may give advice to the student on how to present his or her case.
  8. The right to relate his or her account of the incident and to make a “victim impact statement.”
  9. The right to request a change of on-campus residence or class.
  10. *The right to question all witnesses who present at the hearing and/or to respond to all materials presented at the hearing.
  11. *The right to have witnesses present, provided the person is able to attend the scheduled hearing, or to provide witness statements for his or her case. The judicial body shall have the authority to limit the number of witnesses in order to avoid unreasonable delays where the information would be repetitious or unnecessary.
  12. *The right to have access to a recording of the hearing for the purposes of preparing for an appeal. Students may not bring their own recording devices to council hearings. Recordings of the hearing will be destroyed after completion of the appeal process or after the time for appeal has passed.
  13. *The right to appeal to a higher judicial body or university administrative official within three class days of receiving the judicial decision for any of the following causes:
  • Violation of due process and student rights
  • New evidence
  • Leniency of sanction(s)

These rights also apply to cases of Harassment (sexual and stalking) and violence (domestic and intimate partner).

* Not applicable to an administrative option hearing.

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