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THE Council Process

The Judicial Council, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, adjudicates cases in which a student is being accused of a University violation and has chosen to reject an Administrative Hearing Officer's decision.

Judicial Council Process Diagram

To view a larger version of this diagram, please access the Judicial Process Diagram and note steps 3 and 4.

Click here to view a mock council hearing.

Accused Students

The accused student is given the opportunity to meet with a council process advisor to assist them in understanding the process of a judicial council hearing. This individual may be the student's Administrative Hearing Officer, the Judicial Council Coordinator, or the Associate Director overseeing council. After the initial advising session, all communication with the accused student about the hearing will be done via email. The accused student should check their email every 24 hours while preparing for a council hearing in order to respond to any questions presented to him/her.

Student Rights

Students who violate policy have certain rights in their judicial process. Most basic is the right to be notified of the charges against him or her, the specific rule or policy violated, and the time, date and place of the scheduled judicial council hearing at least 72 hours prior to the hearing. To provide such information, we need current contact information. If the student has not furnished the university with a current address, JMU has only to make a responsible attempt to notify him or her at the last address provided.

A JMU student accused of violating University policy has the following rights:
(NOTE [*] indicates rights that are not applicable to an administrative option hearing.)

  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 appear.
  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 a final decsion 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 adviser 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 adviser present if the Office of Judicial Affairs is notified within 48 hours of the hearing. An attorney or adviser 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 challenge 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.
Note: If you are charged with Violence to Persons, the vicitim in the case will, by law, be notified of the outcome of your hearing pertaining to the Violence to Persons charge.

For a more detailed list of a student's rights please refer to the Judicial Process section.

Student Responsibilities

A date/time for the hearing will be scheduled based on the accused students' and the witness' against academic schedules. Once the date/time of the hearing is set, the accused student will be emailed this information. The accused student is expected to be at the Office of Judicial Affairs at this date/time to begin the hearing. A hearing date/time will not be rescheduled unless there is an academic conflict. Therefore, the schedules of the accused students' witnesses and/or adviser/attorney will not be a reason for rescheduling the council hearing. In addition to being present at the scheduled hearing time, the accused student is also responsible for having no contact with the "witnesses against" in the case. Providing false information during the hearing process and/or discussing the case before the judicial council hearing with any of the witnesses against the accused student may lead to an additional judicial charge of "Interference with the Judicial Process."

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