Article IV—Judicial Procedures

SECTION 1. Investigation and Pre–Hearing

A. Any faculty member, administrator, or student with knowledge of an Honor Code violation shall report it to a member of the Honor Council, preferably the President. The Accuser has the prerogative to approach the Accused student and offer him or her the opportunity to report the alleged violation to the Honor Council. However, if the Accused student 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.

B. 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 Accuser, any material witnesses, any expert witnesses (such as faculty members who may aid in investigation), and the      Accused and shall conduct such other investigations as is warranted by the circumstances.

C. Any Honor Council member involved in the investigation as an Investigator, Witness, or Accuser shall not be allowed to vote or deliberate in the hearing.

D. 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.

E. The Honor Council 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 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.

F. 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 Accused (as 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 Honor 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, the name(s) of the individual(s) reporting the alleged violation 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 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. If the Accused does not choose an Advisor, the President shall appoint an Advisor for the Accused. The Advisor’s role is limited to informing the Accused 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 Accused. The Advisor shall not be present during Council deliberations.

D. The Accused shall be required to meet with the Judicial Officer for the Honor Council prior to the hearing.

E. 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 Honor Council for decision in his or her hearing, including, without limitation, the calling of witnesses with relevant knowledge and the questioning of Honor Council witnesses. All evidence shall be submitted at least 24 hours before the hearing to the investigator. The Honor Council reserves the right to postpone the time of the hearing to properly evaluate any new evidence submitted after prehearing.

F. 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.

G. The Council may find the Accused “In Violation” of the Honor 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.”

H. The Accused may be found “In Violation” of the Honor Code only for the violation which is the subject of the hearing.

I. 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.

J. 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.

K. If found “In Violation” of the Honor Code, the Accused may call for an appeal of the Council’s decision and/or sanctioning by the members of the Faculty Appeals Committee. The Accused must request the appeal in writing within four 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, Paragraph (2), for the grounds upon which an appeal may be requested).

SECTION 3. Hearing Procedures

A.    The procedures for conducting an Honor Council hearing shall be as follows:

  1. The President of the Honor 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 Honor Council President, who shall decide whether that member should recuse himself or herself.
  3. The hearing shall be taped, 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.
  4. The Accuser, Accused, and the Accused’s 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. 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.
  5. The hearing shall be conducted under the Oath of Privacy, and the Accuser, 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.”
  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 informationAll evidence shall be submitted at least 24 hours before the hearing to the investigator. The Honor Council reserves the right to postpone the time of the hearing to properly evaluate any new evidence submitted after prehearing. The President shall decide questions concerning the relevance and/or admissibility of witnesses or 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 Honor 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 Honor Code.  
  10. The Council's finding of "In Violation" or "Not in Violation" shall be based only on the merits and facts of the case at hand. Any finding of "In Violation" shall be based on clear and convincing evidence. 
  11. If after all available evidence has been heard and a motion to vote on “In Violation" or "Not in Violation" 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 Accused “In Violation”. Otherwise, the Accused shall be found “Not in Violation” and the case shall be dismissed.

B.    A quorum for an Honor Council hearing shall be determined as follows:

  1. 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, except as provided under Paragraph (2)(b).
  2. If, for any reason, quorum cannot be achieved, the Accused may agree to one of the following options:
    1. To have quorum reestablished by the President appointing other students to sit on the Council. The President shall consult the Judicial Officer for the Honor Council before appointment.
    2. 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 Judicial Officer for the Honor Council) until quorum of regular Honor Council members can be established.

SECTION 4. Sanctions

A.    Sanctioning 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. 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. 

B.    When determining sanctions 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:

  1. The Honor Council’s responsibility to ensure the effectiveness of the   Honor Code for the Rhodes College community.
  2. The nature and severity of the offense.
  3. The ability of the Accused to reenter campus life under the Honor System.
  4. A determination, by clear and convincing evidence, that the Accused has lied during the investigation or hearing processes.
  5. The level of cooperation of the Accused during the investigation or hearing processes. 
  6. The probationary status, previous discipline, or any past suspensions of the Accused. These shall be considered only when determining sanctions. The probationary status or any past suspensions of the Accused should cast extreme doubt on the ability of the Accused to reenter campus life under the Rhodes College Honor System.

C.    The following sanctions may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the Honor 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 the Honor Code during the probationary period.
  2. Academic recommendations: Including but not limited to failure in the related course or on the related assignment 
  3. Loss of Privileges: Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.
  4. Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
  5. Educational or work assignments: Service to the college, referral to counseling, or other related discretionary assignments. Such assignments shall be approved by the Judicial Officer for the Honor Council.
  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 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.
  9. 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.

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

E.    Failure to adhere to any sanction imposed may result in the individual being brought back before the Honor Council for consideration of further sanctions.
Disciplinary Sanctions 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 shall post a list of charges and Council decisions with names omitted.

SECTION 5. Appeals

A.   A decision reached by the Honor Council or a sanction imposed by the Council may be appealed by the Accused or two or more Honor Council members to the Faculty Appeals Committee. The appeal must be requested in writing within four days of the decision. The appellant(s) must indicate or list the specific grounds upon which he or she is basing his or her request.

B.   Except for the limited purpose of hearing new evidence pursuant to (4) below, an appeal shall be limited to 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 charge and evidence presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures providing the Accuser a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present evidence that the Honor Code was violated, and providing the Accused student a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present a rebuttal of those allegations.
  2. To determine whether the decision reached regarding the Accused student was based on clear and convincing evidence; that is, whether the evidence presented was sufficient to establish that a violation of the Code occurred.
  3. To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate for the violation.
  4. To consider new and relevant evidence and facts, sufficient to alter a decision, but only where such evidence and facts were not known or available to the appellant at the time of the original hearing.

C.   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 Accused, the Student Advisor to the Accused, the Honor Council appellants (in the case that the Accused is not the appellant) and the Judicial Officer for the Honor Council. If the Accused chooses not to testify at the appeal hearing, he or she may send a written statement of his or her testimony.

D.   The Chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee, or his or her designee, shall preside and decide all questions relating to conduct of the proceedings including, without limitation, the admissibility of evidence. 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 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 may not result in a more severe sanction for the Accused student. The second decision of the Honor Council shall be final.