NOTE: The information contained in this section of the handbook is only applicable for those participating in the Accountability Process. For cases alleging Sexual Misconduct, see the “Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process” section within this Handbook.

Accountability Board

Members of the Accountability Board volunteer to serve on Accountability Board Case Reviews and Appeal Reviews.  

  • The Accountability Board shall have faculty, staff, and student members.  

    • Full time students, part time students, undergraduate students, and graduate students are eligible to serve as Accountability Board Members. Student members are selected by OSARP from the student body, exclusive of student government executive officers. Students are not eligible to serve as a Board Member while on probation assigned as a sanction by OSARP. 

    • Full time employees, part time employees, faculty members, A&P faculty, and classified staff are eligible to serve as Accountability Board Members. No faculty or staff member on the Accountability Board shall hold an administrative position higher than head of a department or academic unit. 

  • OSARP will appoint members of the Accountability Board to serve as Board Chairs and/or University Case Administrators. 

  • OSARP 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. 

  • OSARP is responsible for the training of the Accountability Board. 

  • Faculty and Staff members of the Accountability Board are eligible to be assigned to Sexual Misconduct Case Reviews and Sexual Misconduct Appeal Reviews after sufficient experience as an Accountability Board Member, as determined by OSARP, and the completion of yearly training on adjudicating sexual misconduct cases. 


Accountability Board Case Review Procedures

A Responding Party has the right to reject the decision rendered at the Administrative Case Review and have their case re-heard at an Accountability Board Case Review; the Board Members assigned to conduct the Accountability Board Case Review may render a decision or recommendation less severe, more severe, or the same as the decision rendered at the Administrative Case Review. The Board Members assigned to the Accountability Board Case Review will not be informed of the decision rendered for the case at the Administrative Case Review. A Responding Party may not choose to accept the decision rendered at the Administrative Case Review after a decision or recommendation is rendered at an Accountability Board Case Review.   

An Accountability Board Case Review will be conducted by a panel comprised of five members of the Accountability Board; two voting Board Members will be students and two voting Board Members will be JMU Faculty or Staff. An additional JMU Faculty or Staff Member will serve as the Board Chair and is a non-voting member. If the Accountability Board Case Review is a result of the Responding Party rejecting the recommendation rendered at the Administrative Case Review in the last three weeks of any regular semester or the summer, the Accountability Board Case Review will be conducted by a University Case Administrator. If the Accountability Board Case Review is a result of an Interim Suspension enacted in the last three weeks of any regular semester or the summer, or in other circumstances as determined by the Director of OSARP or designee, the Accountability Board Case Review will be conducted by a University Case Administrator. 

If any member of the Accountability Board feels that their previous contact with the case or the students involved will prevent them from rendering a fair decision, the Board Member must request that they not be assigned to the Accountability Board Case Review. Responding Parties and Reporting Parties will be informed of the Board Members assigned to their case. Upon receiving notification of the assigned Board Members, a Responding Party or Reporting Party may request that a Board Member be replaced if the student can show a bias on the part of the Board Member. To make such a request, a Responding Party or Reporting Party must contact the Director of OSARP or designee immediately, setting forth their reasons in writing. The Director of OSARP 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 OSARP or designee. 

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

Participants who have a right to a Support Person may be accompanied by a Support Person provided the Support Person is willing and able to attend the scheduled Accountability Board Case Review and OSARP is notified at least two days prior to the Accountability Board Case Review. A Support Person attending an Accountability Board Case Review may not communicate for or speak on behalf of the participant they are accompanying, as applicable, but may give advice on how to present their part of the case. A Support Person must be a current student, faculty or staff member selected from the university community or an Attorney. A person who serves as a 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 a Support Person at the Accountability Board Case Review or, if applicable, at a later Accountability Board Appeal Review. 

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

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 nor rescheduled due to conflicts for Responding Party Witnesses. Responding Party Witnesses who are unable to attend the scheduled Accountability Board Case Review may submit a written statement in their absence. OSARP cannot compel Responding Parties, Reporting Parties, or witnesses of any kind to attend an Accountability Board Case Review. If a participant of any type fails to appear at an Accountability Board Case Review after being properly notified of its date and time, the case will generally proceed and 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.  If a Responding Party fails to appear at an Accountability Board Case Review, the Responding Party will be notified of the decision via email. 

The decision to postpone an Accountability Board Case Review for any reason is at the discretion of the Director of OSARP 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 OSARP or designee. Any requests for alterations must be communicated to the Director of OSARP 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 or recommendations for all the Responding Parties’ cases. Decisions or recommendations 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; the Board Members’ closed deliberation will not be recorded. Students are not permitted to make their own recordings of Accountability Board Case Reviews.

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 Accountability Board Case Review procedures refers to the Board Chair confirming or denying an Administrative Witness, Reporting Party, or a Reporting Party Witness’ ability to respond to a question; this confirmation or denial may be verbal or non-verbal. The Board Chair has the authority to prohibit information from being shared that violates the rights of a party, is not allowed by the Accountability Process, or bears no relevancy to the adjudication of the alleged policy violation(s). The Board Chair also has the authority to instruct Board Members to disregard information that violates the rights of a party, is prohibited by the Accountability Process, or bears no relevancy to the adjudication of the alleged policy violation(s).

  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. If applicable, information is presented about the incident allegedly involving the Responding Party by the Reporting Party and each Reporting Party Witness. Each Reporting Party and/or Reporting Party Witness will be called individually. 

    • When called, the Reporting Party and/or each Reporting Party Witness will individually share their perspective and be questioned by the Board members and then by the Responding Party through the Board Chair. A Reporting Party Witness 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 recommendation, or sanction, in the case should be. 

    • A Support Person 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, if applicable. 

    • The Board may request that a Reporting Party Witness return at a later point in the Case Review for further clarification. The Reporting Party will be called in at a later point in the Case Review as outlined in the Accountability Board Case Review procedures. 

    • The Board Chair shall have the authority to limit the number of witnesses and/or content 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.

    • This presentation is the Responding Party’s opportunity to share information they want considered by the Board Members in the adjudication of the case, including any responses to the evidence or information included in the case file. The Board Chair shall have the authority to limit the information and/or content 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. 

  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 recommendation, or sanction, in the case should be. 

    • A Support Person 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, if applicable. 

    • 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 OSARP; 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 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 and/or content 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 Reporting Party will return to the Accountability Board Case Review. 

    • The Board may ask final questions of the Reporting Party. 

    • The Responding Party may ask final questions of the Reporting Party through the Board Chair. 

    • The Reporting Party may present concluding remarks.  

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

  10. The Responding Party may present concluding remarks.

  11. All persons are excused from the Board room while the Board determines whether or not the Responding Party is responsible for violating policy 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. 

    • After deliberation the Board Members will determine whether or not the Responding party is responsible using a preponderance of the evidence standard as determined by a majority vote of the Board Members, exclusive of the Board Chair. In cases of a tie vote regarding responsibility, the student will be found not responsible. 

    • If a student is found responsible, the voting members of the Board will determine the appropriate sanctions to assign. Previous violations and sanctions are to be considered in the assigning of appropriate sanctions for the current case; the Board Members and Board Chair will deliberate until a decision or recommendation is made as to sanctioning. In cases of a tie vote regarding sanctioning, the student will receive the lesser of the sanctioning options (e.g. if two Board Members vote for suspension and two Board Members vote for probation and educational sanctions, the student will receive probation and educational sanctions).

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

After receiving the decision or recommendation made at the Accountability Board Case Review, a representative from OSARP 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 or recommendation 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 JMU Student Handbook, the Dean of Students or designee will not review the decision or recommendation 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 “Submitting an Appeal.” 

A student who knowingly provides falsified or misleading information at an Accountability Board Case Review 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. 

OSARP may pursue an alleged 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 if it receives information that a Responding Party or a student who is a Reporting Party discusses the case before the Accountability Board Case Review with any of the Board Members. 

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. 


Back to top

Back to Top