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Preliminary Provisions & Definitions
Complainant: The complainant is a person who alleges that they are the victim of a violation of SIT policy.
Respondent: The respondent is a person who has been accused of an alleged violation of SIT policy.
Hearing Officers: A charge is heard by one or more trained hearing officers. A respondent and any complainant will receive written notice of the name(s) of the hearing officer(s) assigned to the case via email prior to the scheduled hearing.
Impartiality: Hearing officers shall recuse themselves from resolving a case if they believe they cannot be impartial. A respondent or complainant may seek the removal of a hearing officer where either the respondent or complainant believes that any assigned hearing officer cannot be impartial. The student must submit a written statement to the coordinator of graduate student affairs stating the specific reasons the student believes the individual(s) cannot be impartial. This written statement must be submitted to the coordinator of graduate student affairs within 24 hours of receipt of the notice of the hearing officer(s) selected to hear the case. If the coordinator of graduate student affairs or designee determines that the challenged individual may not be impartial, that individual will be removed from the case. If at all feasible, the hearing date will not be changed.
Scheduling Hearings: Hearings will be scheduled as expeditiously as possible, taking into consideration the schedules of assigned hearing officer(s), the respondent, and any complainant. A respondent or complainant seeking to have a matter heard more than 20 academic days after a charge is sent must submit to the coordinator of graduate student affairs or dean of students a written request, including the reasons for the request, no later than 24 hours after receipt of notice that a hearing has been scheduled. SIT retains the discretion whether to grant the request, but the request will not be granted if (1) an extension would make a hearing impractical, (2) SIT’s interest is deemed too great to postpone the hearing,
or (3) the extension would be fundamentally unfair to any other party to the proceeding. SIT may, due to an administrative need, extend the hearing date beyond 20 academic days or hold a hearing during a vacation period. If a respondent withdraws from SIT before a case is heard, SIT retains discretion to proceed with a hearing to resolve the matter and the respondent will be provided all notice and communication at the contact information provided upon withdrawal. If the respondent fails to attend the hearing, except when there are exigent circumstances, the hearing will proceed, and a finding will be reached based upon available evidence. Failure of the respondent to appear will not be considered evidence of responsibility.
Advisors: A respondent and any complainant may bring an advisor to the hearing. The respondent and/ or complainant must notify the coordinator of graduate student affairs in advance of the hearing of their intent to have an advisor and provide the advisor’s name. This person may not act as an advocate or representative or have any voice in the hearing.
Documents to be Presented: A respondent and any complainant may obtain copies from Student Affairs of any police report, incident report, or other documentation that is relied on for a determination of charges and any other document or evidence that the hearing officer(s) may consider in deciding the case. A respondent and any complainant will have the opportunity to present documents in support of their case. Requirements for timing of submitting documents and for providing a copy to any other party to a case will be provided in writing to the respondent and any complainant.
Hearing Officer Discretion: The determination of admission of any testimony or documents is reserved for the hearing officer(s). Upon review of the documents and summary of expected testimony, the hearing officer(s) may exclude any evidence deemed not relevant to a fair consideration of the charges. The hearing officer(s) may exclude any witness or document not submitted in accordance with the provisions of the paragraphs above and the requirements provided to the respondent and complainant for submitting documents and providing notice of witnesses. Such witnesses or documents will only be admitted upon a showing of good cause as to why they were not available for timely submission. The respondent and any complainant are responsible for bringing their witnesses to the hearing at the specified place, date, and time for the hearing. Student Affairs may request the presence of any person as a witness and may request documents to be considered. If Student Affairs requests a witness to be present, the identity of the witness shall be provided to the complainant and respondent with the witness list. Any and all additional documents to be presented during the hearing, including, but not limited to, names of witnesses (including a brief summary of their expected testimony) and the advisor’s name (if bringing one) are due to Student Affairs prior to the hearing.
Notice of Charge: Any student accused of violating SIT policy will receive an official Notice of Charge letter via email detailing the specific policy violation(s) in question. This letter will also specify the date, time, and location of the scheduled hearing.
Closed Hearing: All proceedings are closed and will only involve those persons directly involved in the adjudication of the case. The complainant, respondent, and any non-student victim and their advisors may be present throughout the hearing. Witnesses shall be present only during their own testimony.
Hearing Record: Hearings are not recorded, as the decision letter serves as documentation of the evidence presented and decision reached.
Maintaining Order: The hearing officer(s) are responsible for maintaining order during the hearing and may take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure an orderly hearing, up to and including removal of disruptive individuals.
Presenting Evidence and Questioning Witnesses: The respondent and any complainant will have an opportunity to present relevant information and witnesses in response to and in support of the charge. The respondent and any complainant will have the opportunity to examine or present all relevant information leading to the charge and to respond to all witness testimony. The hearing officer(s) may question witnesses. Neither the respondent nor any complainant may question witnesses directly but may submit questions to the hearing officer(s), who will decide which, if any, of the questions to ask witnesses.
Remote Testimony: A victim of a violent offense, including offenses involving threats of violence or nonphysical abuse, may testify via an intercom or other remote audio or video device, so that they may testify without faceto- face contact with the respondent. The identity of all witnesses who testify must be made known to the respondent. In no event may testimony via intercom or other remote device be used to keep the alleged victim’s identity from the respondent.
Anonymous Evidence and Evidence Received Outside the Hearing: The hearing officer(s) will not accept or hear any evidence coming from an anonymous source or evidence that is presented outside of the hearing, nor will any such evidence be considered in the determination of the outcome of the case.
Relevant Evidence: The hearing officer(s) will decide whether to admit evidence. The rules of evidence used in courts of law are not followed in this student conduct process. Generally, a hearing officer will agree to hear
evidence that is relevant to the subject matter of the hearing and is fair and reliable under the circumstances of the case. Character evidence is generally not considered relevant.
Adjudicatory Standard: The hearing officer(s) will determine whether the respondent is “responsible” or “not responsible” for the alleged violation. The respondent will be presumed “not responsible” until proven otherwise by a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence is reached when the hearing officer(s) concludes that it is more likely than not that the respondent violated this code as alleged in the charge.
Close of Hearing: After the complainant and respondent have had the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses and the hearing officer(s) has introduced any additional witnesses, documents, or evidence to be considered, the hearing will be considered closed. Further evidence will not be considered in the decision.
Written Hearing Decision: The hearing officer(s) will send notice of a decision to the respondent via email. The decision will state what evidence was considered and a rationale for the decision that was reached. If the respondent is found responsible, the hearing decision will state what sanctions will be imposed. In cases involving a complainant and respondent and where the allegations include conduct that could constitute a crime of violence, the complainant will be copied on the notice of decision to the respondent.
Notice of Appeal Right: The respondent and any complainant will be notified upon receiving the hearing decision that they have a right to appeal that decision, as described below, to the dean of students or designee within five business days of the date the hearing decision was sent.