Article IV—Judicial Procedures

SECTION 1. Investigation and Pre–hearing

A. Any member of the Rhodes community having knowledge of a possible Social Code violation should report it to the Judicial Officer or to the President of the Community Standards Council in a timely manner.

B. Upon receiving a report of an alleged violation, the President of the CSC shall appoint a member of the Council to thoroughly investigate the suspected violation to determine whether the alleged violation can be disposed of by the parties involved on a basis acceptable to the Judicial Officer, or his/her designee, or will result in a disciplinary conference with the Judicial Officer, or hearing before the SRC or other appropriate student judicial board.

C. An CSC member involved in the investigation as an investigator or as a witness shall not be allowed to vote or deliberate in the hearing. 

D. The Accused 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 Accused does not choose an Advisor, then the President of the Council will appoint an Advisor for the Accused. 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 Accused.

The Advisor shall not be present in Council deliberations.

E. A pre-hearing committee shall be composed of the CSC President, the two Secretaries, and the Investigator.

F. The CSC President shall call a pre-hearing meeting at which the Investigator shall present all information 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, disciplinary conference, or a case dismissal is recommended.

G. 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 Accused (Outlined in Article IV, Section 2).

SECTION 2. Hearing Procedures Relating to the Accused

A. The Accused shall be notified in writing that a complaint is to be taken to a formal hearing at least forty-eight hours prior to the hearing. This time period may be waived by the Accused upon concurrence by the President of the Community Standards Council. In the case of extenuating circumstances, the President may grant an extension.

B. When notice of the hearing is served, the Accused shall receive a charge letter, including the nature of the alleged violation(s), the name(s) of the individual(s) reporting the alleged violation(s) to the Council, and the time and place of its alleged occurrence. The Accused shall also receive a written list of hearing procedures as outlined in this article.

C. The Accused shall be required to meet with the Judicial Officer, or his/her designee, prior to the hearing.

D. The Accused shall be allowed to hear all evidence presented in the hearing, but the Accused shall not be present during Council deliberations. The Accused may offer such proof as is relevant and material to any issue coming before the Community Standards Council for decision in his or her hearing, including, without limitation, the calling of witnesses with relevant knowledge and the questioning of Council witnesses.

E. All participants in the hearing process should keep the matter under consideration confidential. The Accused may make such investigation as he or she requires to state his or her case and may also consult with a chosen faculty member, family members, counselors or his or her attorney.

F. The Council may find the Accused in violation of the Social Code only upon    clear and convincing evidence. “Clear and convincing evidence” is an intermediate standard of proof, greater than “by a preponderance of the evidence,” but less than “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

G. The Accused may be found in violation of the Social Code only for the violation(s) which is the subject of the hearing.

H. If the Accused fails to participate in the hearing process, the Council may continue with the hearing procedure. In such a case, the Council shall assume a plea of “Not In Violation” on the part of the Accused and shall assume that the Accused presents no defense.

I. In cases in which two or more students are accused of a joint violation, the Council may conduct one hearing for the joint violation but shall arrive at an independent decision for each accused student.

J. If found in violation of the Social Regulations Code, the Accused may call for an appeal of the Council’s decision and/or sanctioning by the members of the Appeals Committee. The Accused must request the appeal in writing within four business days of the decision, and the Accused must indicate or list the specific ground(s) upon which he or she is basing his or her request for an appeal (see Article IV, Section 5 for the grounds upon which an appeal may be requested).

SECTION 3. Hearing Procedures

A. The procedures for conducting a Community Standards Council Hearing shall be as follows:

  1. The President of the Community Standards Council shall preside. In the absence of the President, the Vice-President shall preside.
  2. The Council must act with complete impartiality. Any Council member who believes that his or her participation in any aspect of the investigation or hearing process constitutes a conflict of interest must report the potential conflict of interest to the Social Regulations Council President, who shall decide whether that member should recuse himself or herself. 
  3. The hearing shall be taped, 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.
  4. The Accused, and Advisor may be present during the hearing, with the exception of the Council deliberations. Witnesses other than the Accuser and Accused 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 Accused may observe all evidence presented during the hearing. 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.
  5. The hearing shall be conducted under the Oath of Privacy and the Accuser, 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.”
  6. 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, [so help me God].”
  7. The Council may call witnesses relevant to the case. The Accused may request additional witnesses with relevant knowledge and present any other relevant evidence. The President shall decide questions concerning the relevance and/or admissibility of the witnesses/evidence. The Accused shall not be required to make a statement or answer questions unless he or she wishes to do so. 
  8. Legal counsel retained by an Accused 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.
  9. The Accused shall be considered “Not in Violation” throughout the course of the hearing unless and until he or she has been found “In Violation” of the Code by clear and convincing evidence.
  10. If after all available evidence has been heard and a motion to vote on "In Violation" or "Not in Violation" of the Code 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 Accused “In Violation.” Otherwise, the Accused shall be found “Not in Violation,” and the case shall be dismissed.

B. A quorum for a Community Standards Council hearing shall be determined as follows:

  1. 1. Fifty percent plus one, but no less than six of the eligible voting members shall constitute a quorum for a hearing. The Social Regulations Council shall render no decision without the presence of a quorum, except as provided under Paragraph (2)(b).
  2. 2. If, for any reason, quorum cannot be achieved, the Accused may agree to one of the following options:
    1. a. To have quorum reestablished by the President appointing other students to sit on the Council. The President shall consult the Judicial Officer, or his/her designee, before appointment.
    2. b. 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 Judicial Officer, or his/her designee) until quorum of regular Community Standards Council members can be established.

SECTION 4. Sanctions

Sanctioning of a CSC violation shall be determined by a two-thirds majority of Council members present at the hearing who are entitled to vote. Deliberations shall begin with a motion for the sanction of expulsion. If there is no second, or the motion fails to secure a two-thirds majority, deliberations shall continue until an appropriate lesser sanction is approved by a two-thirds majority vote.

A. The following sanctions may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the Social Regulations Code:

  1. 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 sanctions if the student is found to violate any institutional regulation(s) during the probationary period. Students can be placed on disciplinary or housing probation.
  2. Loss of Privileges: Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.
  3. Fines: Previously established and published fines may be imposed.
  4. Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
  5. Discretionary Sanctions: Work assignments, service to the college, education, referral to counseling, or other related discretionary assignments (such assignments must have the approval of the Judicial Officer or his/her designee).
  6. 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.
  7. Residence Hall Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from the residence halls.
  8. 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.
  9. College Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from Rhodes College.

B. More than one of the sanctions listed above may be imposed for any single violation.

C. Disciplinary sanctions shall not be made part of the student’s permanent academic record, but shall become part of the student’s confidential record.

D. Each year, the Secretaries shall post a list of charges and Council decisions with names omitted.

SECTION 5. Appeals

A. A decision reached by the Community Standards Council or a sanction imposed by the Council may be appealed by the Accused or two or more Council members, to the Community Standards Council Appeals Committee within four days of the decision. Such appeals shall be in writing delivered to the Judicial Officer or his/her designee, and shall specify the basis for the appeal.

B. 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 for one or more of the following purposes:

  1. To determine whether the original hearing was conducted fairly in light of the charges and evidence presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures.
  2. To determine whether the decision reached regarding the Accused student was based on clear and convincing evidence; that is, whether the facts were sufficient to establish that a violation occurred.
  3. To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed was/were appropriate for the violation in which the Accused was found to have committed.
  4. To consider new and relevant evidence or facts, sufficient to alter a decision, but only where such evidence and/or facts were not known or available to the appellant at the time of the original hearing.

C. In the event of an appeal, the President of CSC, the Accused, and the Advisor for the Accused shall meet with the CSC Appeals Committee to review the case.

D. 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. The Dean of Students, or his/her designee, shall preside and decide all questions relating to the conduct of the proceedings including, without limitation, the admissibility of evidence. The Appeals Committee shall deliberate in closed session and either sustain the decision of the Council or recommend that the Council reconsider its decision or sanction(s).

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 Social Regulations 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 or the Accused if deemed necessary for the clarification of facts, and either sustain the original decision and /or sanction or render a new decision and/or sanction based on the procedures outlined in Article IV. A reconsideration of the sanction(s) imposed shall not result in a more severe sanction for the Accused student. The second decision of the Community Standards Council shall be final.