Determining an Alleged Policy Violation

Any JMU student, faculty, or staff member believing that a student has violated a university policy may bring an alleged policy violation by giving relevant details of the alleged violation to the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices. Generally, resolution of these allegations will follow the process below. However, cases involving alleged conduct that falls under policy J34-100 Sexual Misconduct will follow the separate and distinct Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process. Responding Parties and Reporting Parties in cases involving alleged sexual misconduct should review policy J34-100 Sexual Misconduct, the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process, and the “Responsibilities and Rights – Sexual Misconduct.”

Throughout the Accountability Process, Responding Parties are afforded certain rights outlined in the “Responsibilities and Rights – Administrative Case Review” and the “Responsibilities and Rights – Accountability Board Process.”

Upon receiving relevant details of the alleged violation, The Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices will determine:

  • Whether there are grounds for notification of an alleged violation and the initiation of the Accountability Process.

  • Whether the incident should be referred for restorative practices or to other university officials, administrative committees, or conduct processes. 

Typically, this determination occurs upon the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices receiving a police report, community report, incident report, incident narrative, witness statement, or record of court outcome, but alleged violations may be placed in other circumstances at the discretion of the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee.

If the information produced provides sufficient cause to believe that a violation may have taken place:

  • The Responding Party will be notified of the alleged violation(s). In accordance with JMU Policy 1209, proper notification of an alleged policy violation(s) shall consist of an email to the student’s official JMU e-mail address. The notice will be considered received the day after the notice is sent via email.

  • The email notification will state the relevant policy or policies for the alleged violation(s), but will not list the specifics of the alleged incident. For the purposes of adjudicating alleged violation(s) of policy in the Accountability Process the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices will determine if any of the clauses listed within the policy were violated based on the information presented using a preponderance of the evidence standard.

  • When students are informed of their alleged violations, they may also be instructed to have "no direct or indirect contact" with the specific members of the university community involved in the case. This includes, but is not limited to, verbal or non-verbal contact in person, through electronic means, or through a third party. A violation of this instruction may result in an additional alleged policy violation(s) of J21-100 Non-compliance and/or J18-100 Interference with or Retaliation for Exercising or Participating in the Title IX process and/or Accountability, Honor Council, or other University Conduct Process.

  • The student will be asked to schedule an Administrative Case Review in the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices.

The university may proceed with alleged violations and the Accountability Process regardless of enrollment status of the Responding Party, or have alleged violations and/or sanctions remain pending until a Responding Party’s request to re-enroll is received. In most circumstances, the university will not proceed with the Accountability Process during a period in which a Responding Party is not actively enrolled in classes. The decision to proceed or not proceed with the Accountability Process when the Responding Party is not enrolled in classes is at the discretion of the Director of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee and will be based on the severity of the case and the availability and/or preference of relevant persons to the case, including but not limited to the Responding Party, the Reporting Party, Administrative Witnesses, and Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices staff members. If the Responding Party is enrolled in classes and relevant persons to the case are available, the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices will generally proceed with the Accountability Process. 

Since policy violations occurring through the end of a student’s graduation day may result in alleged policy violation(s) being placed, in cases involving graduating students, the student’s diploma and/or official transcripts may be withheld pending the conclusion of the Accountability Process and/or the completion of any outstanding sanctions. In addition, for these cases, if the sanction is immediate suspension or expulsion, it will be deemed effective for the most recent semester the student attended, which may mean a loss of academic credits for that semester.

For any student who receives an immediate suspension or expulsion, regardless of academic year, the immediate suspension or expulsion will be deemed effective for the most recent semester the student attended, which may mean a loss of academic credits for that semester. Further, an immediate suspension will begin on the date of the initial Case Review even if the final decision in the case goes through appeal and review by the Dean of Students or designee.

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Administrative Case Review

A Responding Party notified of a policy violation will first have the violation reviewed in an Administrative Case Review by a staff member in the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices in accordance with the following procedures:

  • Upon notification of the alleged policy violation(s), the Responding Party will be given five business days to schedule an Administrative Case Review in the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices. If the Responding Party does not schedule an Administrative Case Review, an appointment time will be set for them based on their academic schedule and they will be informed of the appointment set via email. In some circumstances including but not limited to threats to campus and/or student safety or the timeliness of a case, at the discretion of the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee, the Responding Party may not be provided the opportunity to schedule the Case Review. Instead, an appointment will be set based on their academic schedule and the Responding Party will be informed of the appointment via email. In circumstances where the appointment is set by the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices, the appointment will provide the appropriate notice of at least three days.

    • Anticipated timelines, deadlines, restrictions, or procedures listed within the Accountability Process will not be altered except in necessary or extreme circumstances in order to uphold the intent of the Accountability Process, as determined by the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee. Any requests for alterations must be communicated to the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee as soon as practicable.

  • After reviewing the information with the Responding Party, the Case Administrator will use a preponderance of evidence standard to determine if the Responding Party is responsible for the alleged policy violation(s).

    • If the student fails to appear at an Administrative Case Review scheduled either by the student or set based on the student’s academic schedule, the Case Administrator will make a decision in the case in their absence based solely on the information provided in the incident documentation.

  • If the Responding Party is found responsible, the Case Administrator will inform the Responding Party orally of the decision and the sanction(s) that will be assigned. If the student is found not responsible or if the decision is held in abeyance, the Case Administrator will inform the Responding Party orally of their decision. Students who have their case decided in their absence will be notified of the Case Administrator’s decision via email.

  • If found responsible or if the decision is held in abeyance, the Responding Party may accept the decision and sign a statement indicating acceptance and making a commitment to completing the required sanctions. Failure to complete the assigned sanctions could result in an additional alleged policy violation of J10-100 Failure to Comply with a Disciplinary Decision. The Responding Party may also choose to reject the decision and request a re-hearing of the case before members of the Accountability Board in the applicable setting or by a second University Case Administrator when the defined circumstances for a case to be heard by a University Case Administrator are met.

    • If the student does not indicate whether they accept or reject the decision made by the Case Administrator at the Administrative Case Review, a follow up meeting will be scheduled for this decision. If the student does not attend this scheduled follow up meeting, the decision of the Case Administrator will become final and the student will not have the opportunity to reject the decision and request a Case Review before members of the Accountability Board in the applicable setting or by a second University Case Administrator when the defined circumstances for a case to be heard by a University Case Administrator are met. 

    • Students who have their case decided in their absence will be notified of the decision in their case via email and provided four days by which to accept or reject the decision, in accordance with their right to have the case re-heard at an Accountability Board Case Review. The decision of the case will stand if the student does not respond to the decision notification email by the deadline provided to accept or reject the decision.

    • Students who reject the decision made by their Case Administrator will be scheduled for an advising session to go over the procedures used in an Accountability Board Case Review.  If a Responding Party does not attend this scheduled advising session, the decision of the Case Administrator will become final and the student will not have the opportunity to have the case re-heard before members of the Accountability Board in the applicable setting or by a second University Case Administrator when the defined circumstances for a case to be heard by a University Case Administrator are met.

Administrative Case Reviews are closed meetings between the student and the Case Administrator; all information and decisions shall remain confidential. Students are not permitted to make their own recordings of an Administrative Case Review. Attorneys and/or Support Persons are not permitted at an Administrative Case Review. The Responding Party (and Reporting Party, as applicable) shall receive notice of all rights they are guaranteed through the Accountability Process. By refusing to participate in the adjudication process, the student may be deemed to have waived any rights connected with direct involvement, such as having the decision communicated orally by the Case Administrator. In Administrative Case Reviews, the technical rules of evidence applicable in civil and criminal cases do not apply.

If a student rejects the decision rendered at an Administrative Case Review during the last three weeks of any semester or during the summer sessions the Accountability Board Process may be altered as follows:

  • If all witnesses will be available, students attending JMU the following semester may choose to have the Accountability Board Process conducted immediately by an individual University Case Administrator or when the next semester begins.

  • If all witnesses will not be available the following semester, the Accountability Board Process may be conducted immediately by an individual University Case Administrator.

  • Students who will not be attending, or physically present at, JMU the following semester (e.g. graduating students, students transferring, students at off site student teaching, students studying abroad, etc.) will have the Accountability Board Process conducted immediately by an individual University Case Administrator.

A student who provides falsified or misleading information at an Administrative Case Review may be receive an additional alleged policy violation of J18-100 Interference with or Retaliation for Exercising or Participating in the Title IX process and/or Accountability, Honor Council, or other University Conduct Process.

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Accountability Board

Members of the Accountability Board volunteer to serve on Minor Boards, Major Boards, Appeal Boards, or in some circumstances as University Case Administrators. Minor Boards, Major Boards, and University Case Administrators act as the original decision making body for cases in which a student has minor, major, or flexible alleged policy violations as classified by the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices.

  • The Accountability Board shall have faculty, staff, and student members. Student members are selected by the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices from the student body, exclusive of student government executive officers. No faculty or staff member on the Accountability Board shall hold an administrative position higher than head of a department or academic unit.

  • The Accountability Board shall have some members that serve as Board Chairs and/or University Case Administrators.

  • The Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices may appoint additional members to the Accountability Board as needed.

  • Appointment to the Accountability Board shall be on an annual basis. Reappointment shall be made with consideration to the need for continuity.

  • The Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices is responsible for the training of the Accountability Board.

Minor Board

The role of a Minor Board is to act as the original decision making body for cases in which a student has an alleged violation(s) of a university policy classified as “minor” under the university’s procedures. The Board shall also act as the original decision making body for “flexible” violations when so designated by the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices.

    • For Case Reviews by a Minor Board, the Board will be composed of three student members of the Accountability Board. Minor Board Case Reviews will be chaired by a nonvoting faculty or staff member of the Accountability Board.

Major Board

The role of a Major Board is to act as the original decision making body for cases in which a student has an alleged violation(s) of a university policy classified as “major” under the university’s procedures, when the student has more than one alleged policy violation(s), and/or the student has been found responsible for a previous policy violation. The Board shall also act as the original decision making body for “flexible” violations when so designated by the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices.

    • For Case Reviews by a Major Board, the Board will be composed of three student members and three faculty and/or staff members of the Accountability Board. Major Board Case Reviews will be chaired by a nonvoting faculty or staff member of the Accountability Board.

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Accountability Board Case Review Procedures

The rights of a Responding Party participating in an Accountability Board Process are delineated in the “Responsibilities and Rights – Accountability Board Process.”

Responding Parties participating in an Accountability Board Process have a right to a Support Person or Attorney provided that person is willing and able to attend the scheduled Accountability Board Case Review and the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices is notified at least two days prior to the Accountability Board Case Review. An Attorney or Support Person attending an Accountability Board Case Review may not communicate for or speak on behalf of the Responding Party but may give advice on how to present their case. A Support Person must be a current student, faculty or staff member selected from the university community or a licensed Attorney. A person who serves as an Attorney or Support Person at an Accountability Board Case Review may not also serve as a witness at the Accountability Board Case Review or, if applicable, at a later Accountability Board Appeal Review. Similarly, a person who serves as a witness at an Accountability Board Case Review may not also serve as an Attorney or Support Person at the Accountability Board Case Review or, if applicable, at a later Accountability Board Appeal Review.

The role of a Support Person or Attorney during the Case Review is to support the Responding Party or Reporting Party. Support Persons or Attorneys may not present the case for the Responding Party or Reporting Party; the Responding Party or Reporting Party must present their own case. Support Persons or Attorneys may assist the Responding Party or Reporting Party ahead of time in preparing for the case, take breaks during the Case Review with the Responding Party or Reporting Party if needed, and write notes to the Responding Party or Reporting Party during the Case Review.

If any member of the Accountability Board serving on a Minor Board or Major Board feels that their previous contact with the case or the students involved will prevent a fair decision from being rendered, the member must request that they not serve for that Accountability Board Case Review. Upon receiving notification of the Board members that will be reviewing their case, a Responding Party may immediately request that a member serving on the Board be excused if the student can show a bias on the part of the member. In order to make such a request, a Responding Party must contact the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee immediately, setting forth their reasons in writing. The Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee will review all requests.  Any decision to remove a Board member and/or to postpone an Accountability Board Case Review is at the discretion of the Director of Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee.

Accountability Board Case Review times are set based on the academic schedule of the Responding Party, of the Reporting Party if applicable, Reporting Party Witness(es) if applicable, and the availability of the Administrative Witnesses. Accountability Board Case Review dates/times will not be scheduled around Responding Party witnesses nor rescheduled due to conflicts for a witness for the student. Witnesses for the student who are unable to attend the scheduled Accountability Board Case Review may submit a written statement in their absence. If a Responding Party fails to appear at an Accountability Board Case Review after being properly notified of its date and time, the case will be heard on the basis of the written documentation, other items submitted as evidence to the case, and the information provided by those in attendance at the Accountability Board Case Review. In such situations, the Responding Party will be notified of the decision via email. If a witness fails to appear at an Accountability Board Case Review, the Accountability Board Case Review will generally proceed without the witness.

The decision to postpone an Accountability Board Case Review for any reason is at the discretion of the Director of Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee. Anticipated timelines, deadlines, restrictions, or procedures listed within the Accountability Process will not be altered except in necessary or extreme circumstances in order to uphold the intent of the Accountability Process, as determined by the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee. Any requests for alterations must be communicated to the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee as soon as practicable. Any participant determined by the Board Chair to be unruly or disruptive will be removed.

In circumstances where multiple Responding Parties in the same case reject the decision of the Case Administrator, the Responding Parties will be given the option to have their cases heard together during the same Accountability Board Case Review or to have their cases heard separately at an Accountability Board Case Review. If Responding Parties choose to have their cases heard separately, the same members of the Accountability Board and/or Board Chair will be used to make the decisions for all the Responding Parties’ cases. Decisions of responsibility and sanctioning, if applicable, will be made individually for each Responding Party by the members of the Accountability Board.

Accountability Board Case Reviews will be audio and/or video recorded.

An Accountability Board Case Review will generally be conducted in accordance with the procedures below. However, Board Members may ask additional questions at any time, including outside of the periods allotted for their questioning. Additionally, the phrase “through the Board Chair” used throughout the following procedures refers to the Accountability Board Chair confirming or denying a student’s ability to respond to a question; this confirmation or denial may be verbal or non-verbal.

  1. The Board members (or University Case Administrator, as applicable) and participants are introduced.

  2. The statement of the alleged policy violation(s) is presented by the Board Chair.

  3. Participants state any questions they have concerning rights or procedures.

  4. Information is presented about the incident allegedly involving the Responding Party; each Administrative Witness is called individually.

    • Each Administrative Witness will individually share their perspective and be questioned by the Board Members; each administrative witness will be questioned by the Responding Party through the Board Chair.

    • The Board members may request witnesses to return for further clarification.

  5. Information is presented about the incident allegedly involving the Responding Party; the Reporting Party and each Reporting Party Witness, if applicable, is called individually.

    • Each Reporting Party will individually share their perspective and be questioned by the Board members and then by the Responding Party through the Board Chair.

    • Each Reporting Party Witness will individually share their perspective and be questioned by the Board Members and by the Responding Party through the Board Chair. Reporting Party Witnesses can provide information relevant to the case, including but not limited to what they know about the alleged incident or their knowledge of the Reporting Party. A Reporting Party Witness may not provide their perspective on the character of the Responding Party, Responding Party witness(es) or Administrative witness(es), nor what they feel the appropriate decision or sanction in the case should be.

    • A Support Person or Attorney for the Reporting Party or Reporting Party Witness may not also serve as a witness at the Accountability Board Case Review or subsequent Appeal Review.

    • The Board may request that the Reporting Party or a witness for the Reporting Party return at a later point in the Case Review for further clarification.

    • The Board Chair shall have the authority to limit the number of witnesses in order to avoid unreasonable delays, where the information would be repetitious or unnecessary, or where the information does not contribute positively to the fair review of the case.

  6. Information is presented by the Responding Party. The Board members may question the Responding Party.

  7. The Responding Party will call their witnesses individually.

    • Each witness called by the Responding Party will individually share their perspective and be questioned by the Responding Party, followed by questions from the members of the Board. Witnesses called by the Responding Party can provide information relevant to the case, including but not limited to what they know about the alleged incident or their knowledge of the Responding Party. A Responding Party Witness may not provide their perspective on the character of the Reporting Party, Reporting Party witness(es) or Administrative witness(es), nor what they feel the appropriate decision or sanction in the case should be.

    • A Support Person or Attorney for the Responding Party or Responding Party Witness may not also serve as a witness at the Accountability Board Case Review or subsequent Appeal Review.

    • After a Responding Party Witness has presented to the Board and answered all questions, the witness may be asked to leave by the Board. At such request, witnesses must leave the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices; they are permitted to wait outside of the office until the conclusion of the Case Review. If the Board does not specifically ask a witness to remain for further questions, the witness must leave the office.

    • The Board may request that a witness for the Responding Party return at a later point in the Case Review for further clarification.

    • After presenting to the Board, a witness is not permitted to have any communication regarding the case with witnesses who have not presented to the Board or with the Responding Party and their Support Person or Attorney until after the Case Review has concluded. This includes verbal communication, written communication, and/or electronic communication.

    • The Board Chair shall have the authority to limit the number of witnesses in order to avoid unreasonable delays, where the information would be repetitious or unnecessary, or where the information does not contribute positively to the fair review of the case.

  8. The Board may ask final questions of the Responding Party.

  9. The Responding Party may present concluding remarks.

  10. All persons are excused from the Board room while the Board determines responsibility and, if applicable, sanctions.

    • The Board will consider only the written documentation, other items submitted as evidence to the case, and the information provided by those in attendance at the Accountability Board Case Review.

    • The Board will deliberate in closed session until a decision is made as to responsibility. The decision, with regards to responsibility, is based on the preponderance of the evidence and is decided by a simple majority vote. In case of a tie vote, the Board will find the student not responsible after deliberation. The Board Chair serves as a non-voting member of the Accountability Board.

    • If a student is found responsible, the voting members of the Board will then be informed of the Responding Party’s previous violations and sanctions, if applicable. Previous violations and sanctions are to be considered in the assigning of appropriate sanctions for the current case; the Board and Board Chair will deliberate in executive session until a decision is made as to sanctioning. In cases of a tie vote with regards to sanctioning, the Board will impose or recommend the less severe sanctions.

  11. The decisions regarding responsibility and, if applicable, sanctioning is then given to the Responding Party and their Support Person or Attorney.

After receiving the decision made at the Accountability Board Case Review, a representative from the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices will provide the student with information on the process for submitting an appeal. The student will also be provided the opportunity to waive their right to appeal and accept the decision made at the Accountability Board Case Review.

In circumstances where the Responding Party waives their right to appeal the decision or recommendation made at the Accountability Board Case Review, or if the Responding Party does not submit an appeal of the decision or recommendation made at the Accountability Board Case Review within the timeline set by the procedures listed in the Student Handbook, the Dean of Students or designee will not review the decision made at the Accountability Board Case Review; the decision made at the Accountability Board Case Review will be considered final in these circumstances. Procedures for appeals in the Accountability Process are outlined within the section titled  “Appealing a Decision.”

A student who knowingly provides falsified or misleading information at an Accountability Board Case Review may an alleged policy violation of J18-100 Interference with or Retaliation for Exercising or Participating in the Title IX process and/or Accountability, Honor Council, or other University Conduct Process.

A Responding Party or a student who is a Reporting Party who discusses the case before the Accountability Board Case Review with any of the Administrative Witnesses, the Board Members, the other party, or the other party’s witnesses may receive an alleged policy violation of J18-100 Interference with or Retaliation for Exercising or Participating in the Title IX process and/or Accountability, Honor Council, or other University Conduct Process.

Accountability Board Case Reviews are closed meetings; the University will maintain confidentiality of all information and decisions. The Responding Party shall receive notice of all rights they are guaranteed through the Accountability Process. In Accountability Board Case Reviews, the technical rules of evidence applicable in civil and criminal cases do not apply.

 

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Appealing a Decision

If found responsible, students have the right to submit a written appeal of the decision or recommendation made by a Minor Board, Major Board, or University Case Administrator within four days of the date the Accountability Board Case Review occurred based on an alleged violation of procedural standards or new evidence. If an appeal is submitted, it must be submitted directly by the Responding Party. Appeals from a Responding Party on grounds of an alleged violation(s) of procedural standards must outline how the university failed to follow the stated process for the adjudication of the alleged policy violation(s) and how that affected the recommendation. Appeals from a Responding Party on grounds of new evidence must introduce evidence that was not available or accessible to the Responding Party at the time of the Accountability Board Case Review or only relevant to refute information shared for the first time at the Accountability Board Case Review. The Associate Dean of Students or designee will evaluate the submitted appeal and determine if an Appeal Review will be granted; appeals that do not meet these criteria will be denied.

If an appeal is submitted by the Responding Party and the appeal is denied, the decision rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review will be considered final when the sanctions imposed at the Accountability Board Case Review do not include suspension or expulsion.

If the recommendation rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review includes a sanction of suspension or expulsion and a Responding Party was denied an Appeal Review in the case, the Dean of Students or designee shall conduct a final review of all materials relevant to the case and make a final decision. Further, if an Appeal Review is granted and the Appeal Board’s recommendation includes a sanction of suspension or expulsion, the Dean of Students or designee shall conduct a final review of all materials relevant to the case and make a final decision. In this final review and decision, for any policies and sanctions included in the recommendation the Dean of Students or designee may: 

  • Uphold a recommendation of finding the Responding Party responsible for violating policy and uphold the recommended sanctions.

  • Uphold a recommendation of finding the Responding Party responsible for violating policy and decrease the severity of the sanctions.

  • Reverse a recommendation of finding the Responding Party responsible for violating policy, instead finding the Responding Party not responsible for violating policy and assigning no sanctions.

  • Reduce the recommendation of the Board.

  • Order the case to be reheard at a new Accountability Board Case Review or Appeal Review. If the Dean of Students or designee determines the case should be reheard at a new Accountability Board Case Review or Appeal Review, the new recommendations of responsibility and/or sanctions from the rehearing may be less severe, the same, or more severe than those recommended at the original Accountability Board Case Review.

After the review by the Dean of Students or designee, the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices will notify the Responding Party of the Dean of Students or designee’s final decision.

If the appeal is submitted by the Responding Party and the appeal is granted, the make-up of the Appeal Board will be determined using the following guidelines:

  • For Appeal Reviews of decisions made by a Minor Board, the Appeal Review will be conducted by a single member of the Accountability Board, a faculty/staff Board Chair.

  • For Appeal Reviews of decisions made by a Major Board, the Appeal Board will be composed of one student and one faculty and/or staff member of the Accountability Board. In addition to being a voting member, the faculty/staff member will also serve as the Board Chair.

  • If an Accountability Board Case Review was conducted by a single University Case Administrator, the Appeal Review will be conducted by another University Case Administrator.

If any member of Appeal Board feels that their previous contact with the case or the students involved will prevent a fair decision or recommendation from being rendered, the member must request that they not serve for that Appeal Review. Upon receiving notification of the Appeal Board members that will be reviewing their case, a Responding Party may immediately request that a member serving on the Appeal Board be excused if the student can show a bias on the part of the member. In order to make such a request, a Responding Party must contact the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee immediately, setting forth their reasons in writing. The Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee will review all requests.  Any decision to remove a Board member and/or to postpone an Accountability Board Appeal Review is at the discretion of the Director of Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee.

Anticipated timelines, deadlines, restrictions, or procedures listed within the Accountability Process will not be altered except in necessary or extreme circumstances in order to uphold the intent of the Accountability Process, as determined by the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee. Any requests for alterations must be communicated to the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee as soon as practicable.

Appeal Boards will review the written documentation, other items submitted as evidence to the case, the information provided by those in attendance at the Accountability Board Case Review, the written appeal, and the recording of the Accountability Board Case Review.

If an appeal is submitted by the Responding Party and an Appeal Review is granted by the Associate Dean of Students or designee based on an alleged violation of procedural standards, the Appeal Review will generally proceed in accordance with the procedure below:

  1. The Appeal Board will determine whether or not a violation of procedural standards occurred by considering the arguments made in the granted appeal.The Appeal Board will also have access to the case record and may consider the evidence within the record.

    • If the Appeal Board determines that no violation of procedural standards occurred, the decision or recommendation rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review will stand.

  2. If the Appeal Board determines that a violation of procedural standards occurred, the Board will then determine if the procedural standards violation is significant enough to warrant a change of the decision or recommendation made at the Accountability Board Case Review. Only violations that can reasonably be said to have materially affected the interests of the party are to be grounds for the change of the recommendation made at the Accountability Board Case Review.

    • If the Appeal Board determines that the procedural standards violation was not significant enough to warrant a change of the decision or recommendation made at the Accountability Board Case Review, the decision or recommendation will stand.

  3. If the Appeal Board determines that the violation of procedural standards was significant enough to warrant a change to the decision or recommendation made at the Accountability Board Case Review, the Board will first vote to uphold or alter the finding of whether or not the Responding Party is responsible for violating policy rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review.

  4. After determining if the Appeal Board will uphold or alter the finding of whether or not the Responding Party is responsible for violating policy, it will then vote to uphold or alter the sanctions rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review, if applicable.  The Board will render their recommended sanctions to submit to the Dean of Students or designee for approval if these final sanctions include suspension or expulsion.  In cases not involving suspension or expulsion, the Board’s rendered sanctions will be the final decision in the case.

The determinations, decisions, or recommendations rendered at an Appeal Review based on procedural standards are determined by a majority vote of the Appeal Board Members. In cases of a tie vote with regards to responsibility, the Board will find the student not responsible after deliberation. In cases of a tie vote with regards to sanctioning, the Board will impose or recommend the less severe sanction.

If an appeal is submitted by the Responding Party and an Appeal Review is granted, in its entirety or with appropriate redactions, by the Associate Dean of Students or designee based on new evidence, the Responding Party may choose to present the new evidence or statement in person to the Board. In such circumstances, the Appeal Review will be arranged around Responding Party's academic schedule and their participation will be audio and/or video recorded; deliberation of the Board will not be recorded.

In Appeal Reviews based on new evidence where the Responding Party chooses to present to the Appeal Board, the Responding Party has a right to a Support Person or Attorney if the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices is notified at least two days before the Appeal Review, provided that person is willing and able to attend the scheduled Appeal Review. A Support Person must be a current student, faculty or staff member selected from the university community or a licensed Attorney. An Attorney or Support Person attending an Appeal Board Case Review may not communicate for or speak on behalf of the Responding Party but may give advice to the student on how to present their case.

An Appeal Review based on new evidence will generally proceed in accordance with the procedure below:

  1. The Board members (or University Case Administrator, as applicable) and participants are introduced.

  2. If the Responding Party is in attendance, information is presented by the Responding Party solely about the new evidence in the case. The Board members may question the Responding Party about the new evidence.

  3. If applicable, the Responding Party’s witnesses will be called individually.

    • Each witness called will individually share their statement on the new evidence and be questioned by the Responding Party, if the Responding Party is in attendance, followed by questions from the members of the Board.

    • A Support Person or Attorney for the Responding Party may not also serve as a witness at the Appeal Review.

    • At the conclusion of the statement and questions for each witness, the witness will leave.

  4. If the Responding Party is in attendance, the Board members may ask final questions of the Responding Party.

  5. The Responding Party and Attorney/Support Person will leave; the Board will enter closed deliberation.

  6. The Appeal Board will deliberate and make a decision using the procedures below:

    • The Appeal Board will vote to determine if the new evidence and any response presented as a part of the appeal is significant enough to alter the decision or recommendation made at the Accountability Board Case Review, considering the totality of the evidence in the case.

    • The Appeal Board will then vote to uphold or alter the decision or recommendation of whether or not the Responding Party is responsible for violating policy rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review.

    • After determining if the Board will uphold or alter the finding of whether or not the Responding Party is responsible for violating policy, it will then vote to uphold or alter the sanctions rendered at the Accountability Board Case Review, if applicable.  The Board will render their recommended sanctions to submit to the Dean of Students or designee for approval if these final sanctions include suspension or expulsion.  In cases not involving suspension or expulsion, the Board’s rendered sanctions will be the final decision in the case.

    • Determinations, decisions, and recommendations of the Appeal Board will be determined by a majority vote.

If an Appeal Board upholds the decision of responsibility and chooses to alter the sanctions imposed, the Appeal Board may not impose or recommend sanctions more severe than imposed at the Accountability Board Case Review.

 

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Interim Suspension

If the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or a designee determines that a student presents a risk to the orderly operation of the university or to the safety and welfare of members of the university community, the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee may initiate the Interim Suspension Process and place the Responding Party under an Interim Suspension Status. For incidents that result in an Interim Suspension Status, an Administrative Case Review will not occur. Instead, Interim Suspensions will proceed as follows:

  1. The Responding Party will be notified of the alleged policy violation(s) against them and that they are being placed under an Interim Suspension Status by a professional staff member from the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices through a method that may include, but is not limited to, in person notification, notification via the Responding Party’s JMU email address, or notification via telephone. While under an Interim Suspension Status the Responding Party is barred from the university campus; the Responding Party may not attend classes, enter or live in residence halls, or enter property owned or leased by James Madison University without permission from the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee. If the Responding Party comes to the campus without permission, they will be subject to arrest for trespassing and additional alleged policy violation(s) in the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices.

  2. Within two business days of the Responding Party receiving notice that they are being placed under an Interim Suspension Status, the Responding Party may request an Interim Suspension Appeal Review.  An Interim Suspension Appeal Review does not determine whether or not a student is responsible for violating university policy nor any sanctions for the case. An Interim Suspension Appeal Review only determines if the Interim Suspension Status of the Responding Party will be upheld, overturned, or altered until the decision in the case is finalized. If the Interim Suspension Status is upheld at the Interim Suspension Appeal Review, the Interim Suspension Status will remain in place until the conclusion of the Accountability Process or Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process, including all appeals.

    • Interim Suspension Appeal Reviews will be conducted by a University Case Administrator.

    • Responding Parties may be accompanied at their Interim Suspension Appeal Review by an Attorney or Support Person, provided the Attorney or Support Person is able to attend. An Attorney or Support Person attending an Interim Suspension Appeal Review may not communicate for or speak on behalf of the Responding Party but may give advice to the Responding Party on how to present their case; an Attorney or Support Person cannot also serve as a witness in the Accountability Process. The Support Person must be a current student, faculty or staff member selected from the university community or a licensed Attorney.

    • Students are not permitted to make recordings of Interim Suspension Appeal Reviews.

  3. An Accountability Board Case Review will be held to determine if the Responding Party is responsible for the alleged policy violation(s) and, if applicable, sanctions. See Accountability Board Case Review for information on this process; the Responding Party has the right to submit a written appeal of the decision or recommendations made at the Accountability Board Case Review as outlined in the Accountability Process.

    • In circumstances where an Interim Suspension is enacted and the Responding Party does not request an Interim Suspension Appeal Review, the Accountability Board Case Review will take place within ten business days from the date the Responding Party was originally notified of the Interim Suspension Status.

    • In circumstances where an Interim Suspension is enacted and the Responding Party requests an Interim Suspension Appeal Review, the Accountability Board Case Review will take place within ten business days from the date of the Interim Suspension Appeal Review.

  4. If an Interim Suspension is enacted due to allegations of violating JMU Policy J34-100 Sexual Misconduct, a Sexual Misconduct Case Review will be held to determine if the Responding Party is responsible for the alleged violation(s) and, if applicable, sanctions. See the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process for information on this process; the Responding Party and Reporting Party have the right to appeal the recommendations made at the Sexual Misconduct Case Review as outlined in the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process.

    • In circumstances where an Interim Suspension is enacted and the Responding Party does not request an Interim Suspension Appeal Review, the Sexual Misconduct Case Review will take place within ten business days from the date the Responding Party was originally notified of the Interim Suspension Status.

    • In circumstances where an Interim Suspension is enacted and the Responding Party requests an Interim Suspension Appeal Review, the Sexual Misconduct Case Review will take place within ten business days from the date of the Interim Suspension Appeal Review. 

Circumstances that surround Interim Suspension often involve concurrent criminal charges, and sometimes involve concurrent civil litigation. The Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices may implement an Interim Suspension prior to the conclusion of the criminal or civil process; decisions made as a part of the Interim Suspension, Accountability Process, or Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process will not be revisited at the conclusion of the criminal or civil process.

In cases where a student has extenuating circumstances, including but not limited to incarceration, that prevent attendance at an Interim Suspension Appeal Review, Accountability Board Case Review, Sexual Misconduct Case Review, or Appeal Review the decision to continue with or delay the Accountability Process or Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process is at the discretion of the Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or designee.

If an Interim Suspension occurs during the last three weeks of the semester or during summer sessions for alleged policy violation(s) other than Sexual Misconduct, the Accountability Board Case Review will be heard by a University Case Administrator. In these circumstances, if the student chooses to appeal the University Case Administrator’s decision, the Appeal will be heard by an Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, or designee.

If an Interim Suspension occurs due to an allegation of violating JMU Policy J34-100 Sexual Misconduct, the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process will be followed, regardless of when the Interim Suspension is imposed. However, in these cases the timelines stated in Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process may be altered to accommodate the Interim Suspension Process; Responding Parties and Reporting Parties will be informed of all relevant deadlines and timelines in their case. 

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