In the section below, new sections will be highlighted in BLUE.
Incidents of alleged violations of the Code of Conduct should be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students or a designee.1 Any member of the University community may file a written report concerning alleged violations of the Code of Conduct. A written report should be prepared and directed to the Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct. Any report should be submitted, either in paper or electronically, as soon as possible after the alleged event takes place. Reports should contain as much information as possible about the incident, including date, time, location, description of events and a list of individuals involved. Reports may also be made in person at the Office of the Dean of Students. Any delay in reporting may result in lost evidence or an inability to investigate the report.
The University considers the reporting and adjudication of Code of Conduct violations to be extremely important. While the University considers the expectations outlined in the Code of Conduct as a minimum standard of behavior, the University may extend limited immunity to students reporting incidents and/or assisting the parties from sanctioning for some University policy violations.
After receiving a report, a preliminary review will be conducted by the Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct, or designee, to understand the circumstances of the incident and to determine if the alleged behavior violates any policies detailed in the Code of Conduct. Reports that describe alleged behavior that does not violate any policy(s) may result in no action being taken. Likewise, lack of sufficient information in a report may result in no action being taken.
Before an investigation or hearing proceedings are initiated, the Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct, or designee, may take preliminary action. These actions may include, but are not limited to:
1. Initiate any necessary and appropriate interim actions on behalf of a student.
2. Review the history of the students involved, the context of the incident(s) and the nature of the complaint, any potential patterns, and identify any witnesses.
a. If a member of the university community is reluctant to file a report, it should be determined whether the matter should still be pursued and whether there is sufficient information to warrant further investigation even without the participation of the person who reported the concern.
b. The students involved will be notified if the University intends to pursue the report, as well as the student’s rights in the process, including any options to become involved as the investigation continues.
If the Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct or designee is unable to determine whether the report should be further pursued following the completion of the initial review an investigator, assigned by the Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct, may conduct an investigation.
An investigation may be conducted to determine if the facts alleged would constitute a violation and to determine what specific policy violations should serve as the basis for the complaint.
The assigned investigator(s) will take steps to ensure that a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation is completed by developing a strategic investigation plan, which may include a witness list and evidence list. A notice of investigation will be provided to the student(s) under investigation. The investigation will include an interview of the student(s) accused of committing a violation and any relevant witnesses. The investigator will complete a report that summarizes the investigation. The report may identify what happened, what policies are at issue, other individuals involved, documents or other information that would be relevant to determining at the hearing whether a violation of the policy occurred. Based on the investigative report, the Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct will determine if charges are issued against a student.
When a report has been filed and has not been dismissed following the initial review or investigation, the student will receive written notification (sent via electronic mail to WFU student address) of the allegations from the Office of the Dean of Students. That notification will include the date of the report, the alleged conduct regulation violation(s), the assigned hearing officer, and an electronic link to the Code of Conduct.
Upon either the conclusion of the investigation or upon the conclusion of the initial review, the process moves along a pathway to resolution. The process may be resolved either through a Summary Action meeting or Administrative Hearing. The Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct, or designee, will determine which method for resolution is appropriate and assign a hearing officer to the case. When possible, cases are resolved through a Summary Action meeting. Factors that may considered in determining whether an Administrative Hearing is appropriate include the severity and/or complexity of the incident and the student’s prior conduct record.
For a Summary Action meeting, the student will be required to make an appointment with the assigned hearing officer. The student is responsible for arranging this requested meeting within the parameters stated in the notification. The student will also receive a brief summary of the alleged behavior. If the student fails to arrange the required meeting, a hold may be placed on the student’s record.
For an Administrative Hearing, the student(s) will be notified of the designated hearing date, time, and location.
The Board of Investigators and Advisors (BIA) provides students charged with a violation with a BIA member to guide the student through their assigned process. BIA members do not represent students in either an Administrative Hearing or Summary Action. Instead, they meet with students to explain the process, the charges assigned to the student, possible outcomes, and they answer any additional questions the student may have. For both Summary Action meetings and Administrative Hearings, the BIA member will attend the meeting or the hearing at the discretion of the student and is the only advisor a student may have present in the hearing.
Students scheduled for an Administrative Hearing will be assigned an advisor from the BIA. Students scheduled for a Summary Action meeting may request an advisor from the BIA.
If the Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct, determines that the case may be resolved through a Summary Action, the assigned hearing officer and the student will meet to discuss the details of the incident. The student may review the case record in advance of the Summary Action, or may review the report at the beginning of the meeting. If requested by the student, a BIA member may be assigned and attend the Summary Action meeting. A Summary Action meeting is considered resolved only when the following criteria are met: (1) the assigned hearing officer and the student agree that informal resolution is a reasonable option given the circumstances; (2) the hearing officer and the student agree to the level of responsibility for the violation(s) of the specified policy(s), and; (3) if it is agreed that the student is responsible for the alleged violation, the student must agree with the sanctions resulting from the violation(s). Cases that cannot be resolved using these criteria will be referred for an Administrative Hearing.
If a resolution is reached through a Summary Action, the hearing officer will complete a written copy of the decision, which the students will receive and have opportunity to review. The student will then sign the decision, thereby indicating acceptance of the findings and sanctions. Through this signed acceptance, the student acknowledges that there will be no further review or appeal of the findings and sanctions.
The procedures of an Administrative Hearing are as follows:
1. The student(s) will be given notice regarding the alleged violation(s), the designated hearing date, time, and location, witnesses being called by the University, and any other information (e.g., security video, access records) being presented.
2. The hearing officer will determine if the Administrative Hearing will be conducted in front of a Hearing Panel or if the hearing officer is going to proceed without a panel. Hearing Panelists will be drawn from a pool of trained faculty, staff, and students.
a. Reasons that a hearing officer might determine a panel is or is not necessary:
i. Complexity of the case or incident(s)
ii. Previous interactions with the student(s)
iii. Severity of the incident(s) or possible sanction(s)
3. The student will be assigned an advisor from the Board of Investigators and Advisors. The advisor will contact the student to schedule a time to review the case record, charges, and hearing procedures.
4. If the student(s) identifies witnesses, he or she must provide a list of witnesses to the Office of the Dean of Students in advance of the hearing. Only witnesses who can provide relevant observations of the alleged behavior(s) will be allowed. Character witnesses may not present testimony, because Wake Forest students are already presumed to be of high character. If a witness cannot attend the hearing, remote participation may be permitted or a written or video statement may be presented.
5. All hearings will be audio recorded by the Office of the Dean of Students and the recording will be included in the case record. Recording by students or others is not permitted. Recesses and deliberations are not recorded. Recordings are only provided to the Judicial Council, upon appeal, and law enforcement agencies if subpoenaed.
6. Hearings are private. Only the accused student, hearing panelists, hearing officer, witnesses, and assigned members of the Board of Investigators and Advisors are allowed in the hearing.
7. Two or more students will be scheduled to participate in a joint hearing if they are all alleged to have participated in the conduct at issue. The charge(s) and/or the alleged factual circumstances need not be identical for participation in a joint hearing.
8. Any student scheduled to participate in a joint hearing may request a separate hearing. A request for a separate hearing must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct or a designee prior to the date of the scheduled hearing. The Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct or a designee will make the decision regarding the request and notify the student in writing.
9. A student may be charged with violations in two or more unrelated incidents. Those incidents may be aggregated into a single hearing at the discretion of the Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct or a designee. Any student subject to charges of two or more unrelated reported incidents of alleged misconduct is entitled to a separate hearing for each incident. A request for separate hearings must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct or a designee prior to the date of the scheduled hearing. The Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct or a designee will make the decision regarding the request and notify the student in writing.
10. The student shall be presumed not to have violated a conduct regulation until such a violation is proven. The standard of proof shall be preponderance of the evidence. It is the responsibility of the University to establish if the violation is more likely than not.
11. Formal rules of evidence applied in legal cases do not apply to the Administrative Hearing process during both the investigatory and hearing phases.
12. The students may request a delay in the hearing. Reasons for the delay, as well as a proposed length of the delay, must be included in the request, which must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct or a designee. The Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct or a designee will make the decision regarding the request and notify the student in writing.
13. If the hearing is delayed, either at the request of the student(s) or by need of the University the student(s), witnesses, and assigned BIA advisor will be notified in writing.
14. The order of the hearing will be as follows:
a. The hearing officer will begin the hearing and recording.
b. All students are introduced and an honor code oath administered to those will provide testimony.
c. The information presented during the hearing will be reviewed.
d. The charge(s) will be read, and the charged who will accept or deny responsibility for the charge(s).
e. The student will be given an opportunity to provide a statement or narrative regarding the incident in question and the charge(s).
f. The hearing officer and/or hearing panelists may question the student.
g. As necessary, witness(es) will be called into the hearing. Each witness will be introduced and respond to the honor code oath. When an investigation has been conducted, the investigator will present the findings of the investigation.
h. Witness(es) will provide testimony regarding their knowledge of the incident.
i. The hearing officer, hearing panelists, and/or the charged student(s) may question the witness(es).
j. Information may be presented at any point during the hearing.
k. After the witnesses have been heard and the hearing panel has concluded asking questions, the hearing officer will ask the student and/or BIA member if any additional information needs to be provided, and the student may make a closing statement.
l. The hearing is adjourned.
15. All procedural questions regarding a hearing are subject to the final decision of the hearing officer.
The hearing panel serves in an advisory capacity to the hearing officer regarding findings and sanctions. Following the conclusion of a hearing, the panel will deliberate and recommend a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence. When it is more likely than not that the student has committed the violation, the panel will recommend a finding of “responsible.” When the panel did not find it is more likely than not that the student has committed the violation, the panel will recommend a finding of “not responsible.” If the panel recommends a finding of “not responsible” for the policy violation(s), there will be no sanctions recorded. If the panel recommends a finding of “responsible” for the policy violation(s), the panel will recommend an appropriate sanction(s). The hearing officer and all members of the panel will be present and available as a resource during all deliberations. The hearing officer is responsible for informing the panel of applicable precedent and any previous conduct violations only after a student has been found responsible for a violation. Upon consideration of the hearing panel’s recommendations, the hearing officer will determine the findings and sanctions for the student.
The finding and sanction(s), if applicable, will be delivered to the student(s) in writing by the hearing officer. The student(s) will sign the decision indicating they have received the decision.
The Judicial Council is the appellate body for Honor Code and Code of Conduct cases and is composed of students, faculty, and administrators.
Students requesting an appeal must follow these procedures:
1. Requests for an appeal from an HEC or Administrative hearing outcome must be submitted within 14 calendar days to the Secretary of the Judicial Council and are ordinarily submitted via e-mail.
2. An appeal request should set forth the reasons why the decision of the hearing body should be reversed or modified and must address one or more of the following grounds for an appeal: (1) sufficiency of the evidence to support the decision, (2) appropriateness of the sanction, (3) germane new evidence not available at the time of the original hearing, (4) procedural error that significantly impacts the outcome.
3. Students who have received a sanction of suspension or expulsion will be automatically granted an appeal hearing if the request is made within 14 calendar days of receiving notification of the outcome of an HEC or Administrative hearing.
4. Students who have received a sanction other than suspension or expulsion are not guaranteed an appeal hearing. Upon receipt of a request for an appeal in such cases, the Judicial Council will determine if an appeal request should be granted. If the Judicial Council decides against hearing an appeal in such cases, the appellant will be notified in writing of the reasons for the Council’s decision.
5. In cases where an appeal hearing is held, the Judicial Council will set a date for the appeal hearing and notify the student in writing of the hearing date at least seven (7) days before the hearing.
[NOTE: Details on the format, procedure, and possible outcomes of appeal hearings are set out in the Judicial Constitution, found on pp. 28-29 of the current Student Code of Conduct]
Based on the nature of a student’s alleged behavior, the Dean of Students or designee may impose an interim action prior to the completion of the formal conduct process regarding alleged violations of the Code of Conduct. Interim action may be imposed when:
a) a student represents a threat of serious harm to others;
b) it is necessary to preserve the integrity of an investigation;
c) it is necessary to preserve University property, and/or
d) it is necessary to prevent disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the University.
Interim actions may include, but are not limited to, prohibiting the student from being on University property, attending classes, attending programs and activities, using University facilities, or temporary separation from the University. Interim actions require that the student be notified in writing. Interim actions may be in place for no more than ten (10) business days pending the hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Code of Conduct, unless the student requests a delay in the scheduling of the administrative hearing.
A student who receives interim action may request a meeting with the Dean of Students or designee to demonstrate why the interim actions are not merited. If the student requests a delay in the scheduling of the administrative hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Code of Conduct, an Interim Action Review is required. A hearing officer who did not impose the interim actions will conduct the Interim Action Review. The interim actions may be modified, upheld, or removed, and the student will be notified of this outcome in writing. The outcome of the Interim Action Review is final and the imposed actions remain in effect until the conclusion of the Code of Conduct process.
A record of the matter will be maintained. The following items may be included:
1. Incidents of alleged violations of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy should be reported in accordance with the requirements of that policy. Incidents of alleged violations of other University policies that may result in a proceeding under the Honor Code or Code of Conduct should be reported in accordance with the requirements of those policies or to the Office of the Dean of Students.↩
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1. What objective is this policy/procedure trying to meet? How does it fail?
2. Can you suggest an alternative to the language proposed?
3. How would the alternative language meet the same objective or be more effective?
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