SECTION 1. Investigation and Pre-Hearing
- Any member of the Rhodes community with knowledge of an Honor Code violation shall report it to a member of the Honor Council, preferably the President, or the OCS Administrator. The Complainant has the prerogative to approach the Respondent student and offer them the opportunity to report the alleged violation to the Honor Council. However, if the respondent fails to report the alleged violation, it is the duty of the person having knowledge of the alleged violation to report it to the Council in a timely manner.
- Upon receiving a report of a violation, the President of the Honor Council shall appoint a member of the Council to thoroughly investigate the reported violation. The Investigator shall interview the Complainant, any material witnesses, any expert witnesses (such as faculty members who may aid in investigation), and the Respondent and shall conduct such other investigations as is warranted by the circumstances.
- 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 Honor Council President in consultation with the OCS Administrator. If a Respondent declines to participate in the process, the outcome will be determined without their input and they may be subject to disciplinary outcomes under the Rhodes Standards of Conduct.
- Any Honor Council member involved in the investigation as an Investigator, Witness, or Complainant shall not be allowed to vote or deliberate in the hearing.
- The pre-hearing committee shall be composed of the Honor Council President, the two Secretaries, and the Investigator. If the President served as the Investigator, then the Vice President shall serve on the pre-hearing committee. If a Secretary cannot meet, the Vice President may take the Secretary’s place.
- Once the investigation is complete, the Honor Council 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 a 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 judicial body or the Rhodes College administration.
- If the pre-hearing committee decides that the evidence is sufficient to warrant a hearing, the President shall set a time of hearing and notify the Respondent (as outlined in Article IV, Section 2).
SECTION 2. Hearing Procedures Relating to the Respondent
- The Respondent shall be notified in writing that a complaint is to be taken to a formal hearing at least 48 hours prior to the hearing. This time period may be extended by the President of the Honor Council, who may also grant an extension in the case of other extenuating circumstances.
- When notice of the hearing is served, the Respondent shall receive a case packet identifying the nature of the alleged violation, the name(s) of the individual(s) reporting the alleged violation 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.
- The Respondent shall choose an Advisor from the members of the Honor 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, the President shall appoint an Advisor for the Respondent. The Advisor’s role is limited to informing the Respondent concerning Honor Council procedures and answering any questions about those procedures. The Advisor is foremost a member of the Honor Council and does not represent the Respondent. The Advisor shall not be present during Council deliberations and shall not vote on the disposition of the case.
- The Respondent shall be required to meet with the OCS Administrator for the Honor Council prior to the hearing.
- If the Respondent believes that any member of the Honor Council 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.
- The Respondent shall be allowed to hear all evidence presented in the hearing, but the Respondent shall not be present during Council deliberations. The Respondent may offer such proof as is relevant and material, as determined by the Honor Council President, to any issue coming before the Honor 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 Honor Council witnesses. All evidence and a complete list of witnesses shall be submitted by the Respondent to the Investigator least 24 hours before the hearing. The Honor Council reserves the right to postpone the time of the hearing to properly evaluate any new evidence submitted after the prehearing 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 Honor Council President.
- All participants in the hearing process is required to keep the matter under consideration confidential. The Respondent may consult with a chosen faculty member, family members, counselors or their attorney.
- The Council may find the Respondent “Responsible” of the Honor Code 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 Honor Code occurred.
- The Respondent may be found “Responsible” of the Honor Code only for the violation(s) which is the subject of the hearing.
- 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.
- 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.
- If found “Responsible” of the Honor Code, the Respondent may call for an appeal of the Council’s decision and/or outcome by the members of the Faculty Appeals Committee. The Respondent must request the appeal in writing within four business days of the receipt of the Council’s written decision, and the Respondent must indicate the specific ground(s) upon which they are basing their request for an appeal (see Article IV, Section 5 for the grounds upon which an appeal may be requested).
SECTION 3. Hearing Procedures
- The procedures for conducting an Honor Council hearing shall be as follows:
- The President of the Honor Council shall preside. In the absence of the President, the Vice President shall preside.
- 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 Honor Council President, who shall decide whether that member should recuse himself or herself.
- An audio recording of the hearing shall be made, and the Recording Secretary shall keep minutes of the proceedings. Deliberations of the Council shall be absolutely private, and no record of the deliberations shall be made.
- The Complainant, Respondent, and the Respondents Advisor may observe all evidence presented during the hearing but shall not be present for Council deliberations. Witnesses may be present at the hearing only to give 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 may not deliberate or vote. No other persons may be present during the hearing. Disruptive behavior on the part of anyone present shall result in immediate and permanent removal from the hearing.
- The hearing shall be conducted under the Oath of Privacy, and the Complainant, Council members and witnesses shall take the following Oath of Privacy: “On my honor, I agree to respect the sensitive nature of these proceedings by keeping them confidential.”
- 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.”
- The Council may call witnesses relevant to the case. The Respondent may present additional witnesses with relevant knowledge and present any other relevant information. The President shall decide questions concerning the relevance and/or admissibility of witnesses or evidence. The Respondent shall not be required to make an opening and/or closing statement or answer questions unless he or she wishes to do so.
- Questions asked during the hearing by members of the Council, the Respondent and the Complainant should be relevant, understandable and civil. The President 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.
- Legal counsel retained by a Respondent student or any other person participating in the hearing shall not attend any hearing of the Honor Council. Any advice or assistance requested of legal counsel by a student must be obtained prior to the hearing.
- The Respondent shall be considered "Not Responsible" throughout the course of the hearing unless and until the Respondent has been found "Responsible" of the Honor Code by a preponderance of the evidence.
- The Council's finding of "Responsible" or "Not Responsible" shall be based only on the merits and facts of the case at hand.
- If after all available evidence has been heard and a motion to vote on “Responsible" or "Not Responsible" of the Honor 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 Respondent “Responsible”. Otherwise, the Respondent shall be found “Not Responsible” and the case shall be dismissed.
- A quorum for an Honor Council hearing shall be determined as follows:
- Fifty percent (50%) of the eligible voting members shall constitute a quorum for hearing of alleged violations. There must be a minimum of 4 voting members in every hearing. The Honor Council shall render no decision without the presence of a quorum.
- 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 Honor Council and the OCS Administrator for the Honor Council or designee) until a quorum of regular Honor Council members can be established.
SECTION 4. Outcomes
- Outcomes of an Honor Code violation shall be determined by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council present at the hearing and entitled to vote.
- When determining outcomes for an individual found in violation of the Honor Code, the following criteria shall be considered along with any other factors determined by the Council to be relevant:
- The Honor Council’s responsibility to ensure the effectiveness of the Honor Code for the Rhodes College community.
- The nature and severity of the offense.
- The ability of the Respondent to reenter campus life under the Honor System.
- A determination, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the Respondent has lied during the investigation or hearing processes.
- The level of cooperation of the Respondent during the investigation or hearing processes.
- 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, previous discipline, or any past suspensions of the Respondent should cast extreme doubt on the ability of the Respondent to reenter campus life under the Rhodes College Honor System.
- The following outcomes may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the Honor Code:
- Warning: This outcome will be used in cases in which the Honor Council determines that the appropriate lesson has been learned and concludes 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, including suspension or expulsion, 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.
- Academic recommendations: Including but not limited to failure in the related course or on the related assignment.
- Loss of Privileges: Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.
- Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service to the College and/or monetary or material replacement.
- Discretionary Outcomes: Work assignments, service to the College, education, referral to counseling, follow-up meetings, required behavioral assessment, or other related discretionary assignments (such assignments shall have the approval of the OCS Administrator or their designee).
- 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 one, two or three semesters, after which the student is eligible to return. If the violation is an academic matter, the student shall receive an “F” in the particular class(es) related to the offense and may receive a “W” in all other classes.
- College Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from Rhodes College. If the violation is an academic matter, the student shall receive an “F” in the particular class(es) related to the offense and may receive a “W” in all other classes.
- More than one of the outcomes listed above may be imposed for any single violation.
- Failure to adhere to any outcome imposed may result in the individual being brought back before the Honor Council for consideration of further outcomes.
- Disciplinary Outcomes shall not be made part of the student’s permanent academic record but shall become part of the student’s confidential record.
- 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
- A decision reached by the Honor Council or a outcome imposed by the Council may be appealed by the Respondent or two or more Honor Council members to the Faculty Appeals Committee. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the OCS Administrator within four business days of the decision. The appellant(s) must indicate or list the specific grounds upon which they are basing their request. Once the appellant(s) submit their appeal, the Honor Council President will write a response to the appeal to be submitted to the Faculty Appeals Committee.
- An appeal shall be limited to one or more of the following grounds:
- The hearing procedure was not followed.
- The outcomes imposed were inappropriate for the violation of College policy.
- New and relevant information, sufficient to alter the decision, that was unknown or unavailable to the appellant at the time of the original hearing.
- At an appeal hearing by the Faculty Appeals Committee, only the following people may be present: the Faculty Appeals Committee, the President of the Honor Council, an Honor Council representative chosen by the President, the Respondent, the Student Advisor to the Respondent, the Honor Council appellants (in the case that the Respondent is not the appellant) and the OCS Administrator for the Honor Council. If the Respondent chooses not testify at the appeal hearing, they may send a written statement of their testimony. An audio recording of the appeal hearing shall be made.
- Legal counsel retained by a Respondent student or any other person participating in the appeal hearing shall not attend any hearing of the Faculty Appeals Committee. Any advice or assistance requested of legal counsel by a student must be obtained prior to the hearing.
- The Chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee or designee shall preside and decide all questions relating to conduct of the proceedings including, without limitation, the admissibility of evidence. Committee members may ask questions subject to the approval of the Chair. The Faculty Appeals Committee shall then retire to deliberate in closed session. The Faculty Appeals Committee shall either sustain the decision of the Honor Council or return the case to the Honor Council for reconsideration with remarks and suggestions.
SECTION 6. Reconsideration of Council’s Decision
If a case is returned to the Honor Council by the Faculty Appeals Committee, the Honor 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 Honor Council shall consider the remarks and suggestions of the Faculty 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 may not result in a more severe outcome for the Respondent. The second decision of the Honor Council shall be final.