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Article IV—Community Standards Council Hearing Procedures

SECTION 1. Investigation and Pre–hearing

  1. Any member of the Rhodes community having knowledge of a possible Standards of Conduct violation should report it to the OCS Administrator or to the President of the Community Standards Council in a timely manner.
  2. Upon receiving a report of an alleged violation, the President of the CSC shall confer with the OCS Administrator to determine the appropriate disposition of the report, which will be either through an administrative hearing, to be investigated and adjudicated solely by the OCS Administrator, or through investigation and adjudication by the CSC. If a report is to be addressed by the CSC, the President of the CSC shall appoint a member of the Council to thoroughly investigate the suspected violation to determine whether the alleged violation will result in a hearing before the CSC or other appropriate student hearing board.
  3. A CSC member involved in the investigation as an Investigator, the Complainant, or as a Witness shall not be allowed to vote or deliberate in the hearing. 
  4. During the pre-hearing investigation, the Investigator shall interview the Respondent, the Complainant, and any other witnesses deemed pertinent by the Investigator.  The Investigator shall also gather documentary evidence that the Investigator deems pertinent to the issues raised in the report.
  5. Any student identified as an active part of the investigation is required to comply with every part of the process.  Such students may not decline to participate in the process without good cause, as determined by the CSC President in consultation with the OCS Administrator. If a Respondent declines to participate in the process, the outcome will be determined without their input.   
  6. The Respondent shall choose an Advisor from the members of the Community Standards Council, excluding the President, the Vice President when serving as President, the two Secretaries, and the Investigator. Should the Vice President be selected, the President shall assume the Vice President’s duties. If the respondent does not choose an Advisor within 24 hours of notice, then the President of the Council will appoint an Advisor for the respondent. The Advisor’s role is limited to informing the Accused concerning Community Standards Council procedures and answering any questions about those procedures. The Advisor is foremost a member of the Community Standards Council and does not represent the respondent. The Advisor shall not be present in Council deliberations and shall not vote on the disposition of the case.
  7. A pre-hearing committee shall be composed of the CSC President, the two Secretaries, and the Investigator.
  8. Once the investigation is completed, the CSC President shall call a meeting of the pre-hearing committee at which the Investigator shall present all information they have gathered concerning the alleged violation to the pre-hearing committee. After all the facts have been considered and the committee feels fully acquainted with the situation, the committee, excluding the Investigator, shall decide by majority vote whether or not a hearing, further investigation, both, or a case dismissal is warranted. Additionally, the pre-hearing committee may decide if the case shall be transferred to another  hearing body or the Rhodes College administration.
  9. If the pre-hearing committee decides that the evidence is sufficient to warrant a hearing, the President shall set a time for the hearing, and notify the Respondent (Outlined in Article IV, Section 2).

SECTION 2. Hearing Procedures Relating to the Respondent

  1. The Respondent shall be notified in writing that a complaint is to be taken to a formal hearing at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the hearing. This time period may be extended  by the President of the Community Standards Council. The President may also grant an extension of the time between notice of the charges and the hearing for other extenuating circumstances.
  2. When notice of the hearing is served, the Respondent shall receive a case packet identifying the nature of the alleged violation(s), the name(s) of the individual(s) reporting the alleged violation(s) to the Council, the time and place of its alleged occurrence, a summary of any interviews conducted by the Investigator, and any documentary evidence to be considered by the Council at the hearing.  The respondent will also receive a written list of hearing procedures as outlined in this article.
  3. The Respondent shall be required to meet with the OCS Administrator or designee prior to the hearing. 
  4. The Respondent shall be allowed to hear all evidence presented in the hearing, but the Respondent shall not be present during Council deliberations. The Accused may Respondent may offer such proof as is relevant and material, as determined by the CSC President, to any issue coming before the Community Standards Council for decision in their hearing, including, without limitation, the introduction of documentary evidence, the calling of witnesses with relevant knowledge and the questioning of the Complainant and other witnesses. All evidence and a complete list of witnesses shall be submitted by the Respondent to the Investigator no later than 24 hours before the hearing.  The CSC reserves the right to postpone the time of the hearing to properly evaluate any new evidence submitted after the Pre-hearing Committee has met.  The Respondent shall be responsible for securing the appearance of their witnesses at the hearing. Evidence submitted less than 24 hours prior to the hearing will not be considered absent good cause, as determined by the Community Standards Council President.
  5. If the Respondent believes that any member of the CSC has a conflict of interest or bias that would prevent them from being fair and impartial, the Respondent shall inform either their Advisor or the OCS Administrator in writing no later than 48 hours before any scheduled hearing. Any objections of this nature not presented less than 48 hours before the hearing shall be deemed waived.
  6. All participants in the hearing process is required to keep the matter under consideration confidential. The Respondent may  and may  consult with a chosen faculty member, family members, counselors or attorney.
  7. The Council may find the Respondent “Responsible” of the Standards of Conduct only upon a preponderance of the evidence. Under this standard, a violation has occurred if it is more likely than not (greater than a 50% chance) that a violation of the Standards of Conduct occurred.
  8. The Respondent may be found responsible of the Standards of Conduct only for the violation(s) which is the subject of the hearing.
  9. If the Respondent fails to participate in the hearing process, the Council may continue with the hearing procedures. In such a case, the Council shall assume a claim of “Not Responsible” on the part of the Respondent and shall assume that the Respondent presents no defense.
  10. In cases in which two or more students are respondents of a joint violation, the Council may conduct one hearing for the joint violation but shall arrive at an independent decision for each respondent.
  11. If found “Responsible” of the Standards of Conduct, the Respondent may call for an appeal of the Council’s decision and/or outcome by the members of the Appeals Committee. The Respondent must request the appeal in writing to the OCS Administrator within four business days of the receipt of the Council’s written decision, and the Respondent must indicate  the specific ground(s) upon which their appeal is based (see Article IV, Section 5 for the grounds upon which an appeal may be requested).

SECTION 3. Hearing Procedures

  1. The procedures for conducting a Community Standards Council Hearing shall be as follows:
  2. The President of the Community Standards Council shall preside. In the absence of the President, the Vice President shall preside.
  3. The Council must act with complete impartiality. Any Council member who believes that their participation in any aspect of the investigation or hearing process constitutes a conflict of interest must report the potential conflict of interest to the Community Standards Council President, who shall decide whether that member be recused.  
  4. An audio recording of the hearing shall be made, and the Secretary shall keep minutes of the proceedings. Deliberations of the Council shall be absolutely private, and no record of the deliberations shall be made.
  5. The Complainant, the Respondent, and the Respondent’s Advisor may observe all evidence presented during the hearing but shall not be present for deliberations. Witnesses may be present only during their own testimony. The Investigator may be present during both the hearing and deliberations, but the Investigator’s participation in deliberations shall be limited to the clarification of facts; the Investigator assigned to the case may not deliberate or vote.  Upon the request of a Witness, arrangements may be made for the Witness to testify via video for good cause shown, as determined by the President in consultation with the OCS Administrator. Disruptive behavior on the part of anyone present shall result in immediate and permanent removal from the hearing. No other persons may be present during the hearing.
  6. The hearing shall be conducted under the Oath of Privacy and the Complainant, witnesses, and Council members involved in the hearing shall take the following Oath of Privacy: “On my honor, I agree to respect the sensitive nature of these proceedings by keeping them confidential.”
  7. Every person who testifies at the hearing shall take the following Oath of Truth: “On my honor, I do solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
  8. After the Oath of Truth has been administered, the Council may call the Complainant and/or witnesses relevant to the case or may rely solely on the evidence in the case packet. The Respondent may present witnesses with relevant knowledge and any other relevant evidence. The President shall decide questions concerning the relevance and/or admissibility of the witnesses/evidence. The Respondent shall not be required to make an opening and/or closing statement or answer questions unless they wish to do so. 
  9. All statements or questions from the Respondent, the Complainant, and Witnesses shall be addressed to the Presiding Officer.  Participants in the hearing are not permitted to address one another directly.
  10. Questions asked during the hearing by members of the Council, should be relevant, understandable and civil.  The Presiding Officer  shall have the discretion to ask that a question be rephrased or order it withdrawn if it does not meet the standards of this paragraph.
  11. Legal counsel retained by a Respondent student or any other person participating in the hearing shall not attend any hearing of the Community Standards Council. Any advice or assistance requested of legal counsel by a student must be obtained prior to the hearing.
  12. The Council’s findings of “Responsible” or “Not Responsible” shall be based only on the merits and facts of the case at hand.
  13. The Respondent shall be considered “Not Responsible” throughout the course of the hearing      until the CSC has heard and deliberated on the entire case  and the Respondent has been found “Responsible” of the Standards of Conduct by a  preponderance of the evidence.
  14. If after all available evidence has been heard and a motion to vote on " Responsible" or "Not Responsible" has been properly moved and seconded, two-thirds of the members of the Council present at the hearing and entitled to vote may find the Respondent “Responsible.” Otherwise, the Respondent shall be found “Not Responsible,” and the case shall be dismissed.
  15. A quorum for a Community Standards Council hearing shall be determined as follows:
  16. Fifty percent plus one, but no less than six of the eligible voting members shall constitute a quorum for a hearing. The Community Standards Council shall render no decision without the presence of a quorum.
  17. If, for any reason, a quorum cannot be achieved, the Respondent may agree to one of the following options:
  • To proceed with the hearing with less than a quorum; or
  • To postpone the hearing for a reasonable period of time (to be determined at the discretion of the President of the Community Standards Council and the OCS Administrator or designee) until a quorum of regular Community Standards Council members can be established.

SECTION 4. Outcomes

  1. Outcomes of a CSC violation shall be determined by a two-thirds majority of Council members present at the hearing who are entitled to vote. 
  2. When determining outcomes for an individual found in violation of the Standards of Conduct, the following criteria shall be considered along with any other factors determined by the CSC to be relevant:
  3. The CSC’s responsibility to ensure the effectiveness of the Standards of Conduct for the Rhodes College community.
  4. The nature and severity of the offense.
  5. The ability of the Respondent to reenter campus life under the Standards of Conduct.
  6. A determination, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the Respondent has lied during the investigation or hearing processes.
  7. The level of cooperation of the Respondent during the investigation or hearing processes.
  8. The probationary status, previous discipline, or any past suspensions of the Respondent. These shall be considered only when determining outcomes, and the President shall notify the Council of the Respondent’s disciplinary history only after the Council, by proper vote, has found the Respondent “Responsible.” The probationary status or any past suspensions of the Respondent should cast extreme doubt on the ability of the Respondent to reenter campus life under the Standards of Conduct.
  9. The following outcomes may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the Standards of Conduct:
    • Warning: This outcome will be used in cases in which the College determines that the appropriate lesson has been learned and conclude the matter with a formal letter of warning. 
    • Disciplinary Probation: A written notification for violation of specified regulations. Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary outcomes if the student is found to violate any institutional regulation(s) during the probationary period.  Students on disciplinary probation are considered not in good social standing with the College. Good Standing may be required for participation in certain campus activities. In addition, students not in good standing may have their conduct reviewed for leadership or employment positions on campus. 
    • Loss of Privileges: Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time. 
    • Fines: Previously established and published fines may be imposed. 
    • Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement. 
    • Discretionary Outcomes: Work assignments, service to the college, education, referral to counseling, or other related discretionary assignments (such assignments must have the approval of the OCS Administrator or their designee). 
    • No Contact: a preventative measure when alleged violation(s) of the Standards of Conduct are reported.  At the discretion of the Director of Community Standards, or their designee, a NCO can be issued as a means of informal resolution. The NCO will usually state that the individual may have been involved in a situation where a violation of College policy occurred and prohibiting the individual from contacting another student(s). 
    • Residence Hall Suspension: Separation of the student from the residence halls for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified. 
    • Residence Hall Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from the residence halls. 
    • College Suspension: Separation of the student from Rhodes College for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified. 
    • College Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from Rhodes College. 
  10. More than one of the outcomes listed above may be imposed for any single violation.
  11. Disciplinary outcomes shall not be made part of the student’s permanent academic record, but shall become part of the student’s confidential record.
  12. Each year, the Secretaries may, in the discretion of the President, and in consultation with the OCS Administrator, post a list of charges and Council decisions with names omitted.

SECTION 5. Appeals

  1. A decision reached by the Community Standards Council or a outcome imposed by the Council may be appealed by the Respondent or two or more Council members to the Community Standards Council Appeals Committee within four business days of the decision. Such appeals shall be in writing and delivered to the OCS Administrator or designee, and shall specify the basis for the appeal. Once the appellant(s) submit their appeal, the Community Standards Council President will write a response to the appeal to be submitted to the Community Standards Council Appeals Committee.
  2. Except for the limited purpose of hearing new evidence pursuant to (4) below, an appeal shall be limited to a review of the verbatim record of the initial hearing and supporting documents on one or more of the following grounds:
  3. The hearing procedure was not followed. 
  4. The outcomes imposed were inappropriate for the violation of College policy.
  5. New and relevant information, sufficient to alter the decision, that was unknown or unavailable to the appellant at the time of the original hearing.
  6. In the event of an appeal, the President of CSC, the Respondent, and the Advisor for the Respondent shall meet with the CSC Appeals Committee to review the case.  An audio recording of the meeting shall be made.
  7. The CSC Appeals Committee shall consist of the Dean of Students, or the Dean’s designee, one student (usually the President of the Honor Council), and one staff member in Academic Affairs. Committee members may ask questions subject to the approval of the Chair. The Appeals Committee shall deliberate in closed session and either sustain the decision of the Council or return the case to the CSC for reconsideration with remarks and suggestions. 

SECTION 6. Reconsideration of Council’s Decision 

If a case is returned to the Community Standards Council by the Community Standards Council Appeals Committee, the Standards of Conduct Council shall reconsider the case as soon as practical after the notification of its return. A quorum for reconsideration shall consist of at least three-fourths of the voting members present at the original hearing. During a reconsideration, the Community Standards Council shall consider the remarks and suggestions of the Appeals Committee, recall any witnesses, the Complainant, or the Respondent if deemed necessary for the clarification of facts, and either sustain the original decision and /or outcome or render a new decision and/or outcome based on the procedures outlined in Article IV. A reconsideration of the outcome(s) imposed shall not result in a more severe outcome for the Respondent. The second decision of the Community Standards Council shall be final.