Hearing Practices

I. Jurisdiction

University hearing jurisdiction will be assumed in cases indicating that a student needs direct and immediate intervention by University personnel. The Vice President for Campus Life or his/her designee will have jurisdiction over cases of serious misconduct and alleged felonious conduct. The Dean of Students or his/her designee will have jurisdiction over cases of misconduct accompanied by abuse of alcohol or drugs.

The determination of University hearing jurisdiction is conclusive, unless rendered in an arbitrary manner, and the University officer may refuse jurisdiction of any case. Generally, rights accorded to accused students under the student government constitution will be preserved in the administrative hearing, unless specifically stated otherwise. It is important to note that the administrative hearing, as well as the entire judicial system, is not meant to address grievances between parties who come before it, but only between the accused student and the University.

II. Complaints

A. The Office of the Dean of Students will refer cases that are deemed to fall within the parameters indicated above and outside its normal adjudication responsibilities to the Vice President for Campus Life. If the Vice President chooses to hear the case, he/she may appoint the Associate Dean for Judicial Affairs as investigator.

B. The Associate Dean then investigates the complaint, charges the student, if warranted, and presents the case to the Vice President. An alternative investigator may also be designated at the discretion of the Vice President.

C. If interim suspension authority is exercised, no person who participated in that process will serve as the hearing officer.

III. Response

The student may respond to the charges by making an admission of charges; a denial of charges; or a request to delay the hearing until external court matters have been resolved. It is also possible for the University officer to delay, without request, the hearing or the further processing of a charge on the same grounds.

IV. Schedule

Requirements regarding time and notice for the Honor and Ethics Council will be followed for the University hearing, but the minimum time before the hearing may be reduced at the discretion of the University officer when fairness is not compromised.

V. Hearing

A. The hearing will be held privately and confidentially. The University officer may permit non-participants to attend. The hearing will be structured as follows:

  • 1. The investigator and the accused student (an undergraduate student advisor may serve on his/her behalf) have the opportunity to make an initial statement explaining each person’s description of the case and suggested lines of inquiry for the hearing. The investigator and the student are not adversaries in the hearing. The role of the investigator is to present the findings of his/her investigation and to request the presence of necessary witnesses. The student will be best served by an attitude of explanation and willingness to ascertain the truth rather than an aggressive refutation of others’ assertions. The University officer has the authority to conduct the hearing in a manner which preserves this spirit of inquiry.
  • 2. The University officer may, at his/her discretion, request up to four students, faculty, and administrators to assist in the hearing of the case. The panel may participate in the hearing as requested by the University officer and, at the conclusion, render a recommendation to the University officer.
  • 3. After initial statements, the University officer and the panel, if any, may ask questions of each witness. At the conclusion of questioning of each witness by the University officer and panel, the accused will be asked if he/she is satisfied with the questioning, and if not what should be asked. The University officer will, at his/her discretion, pursue those questions. The accused student can submit the names of witnesses whom he/she would like to have called for the hearing and the University officer will determine the relevancy and necessity of each witness. Character witnesses may not be called to testify, but the student may submit no more than two signed letters of character reference.
  • 4. The accused student may be present during all aspects of the hearing, but the hearing does not necessarily have to be conducted at one session. Rather, it may consist of several individual sessions according to the availability of witnesses and participants.
  • 5. Signed statements can be used as evidence if the University officer rules that they are reliable. However, the complaining party will testify in person.
  • 6. In cases of sexual assault, the alleged victim has the option of selecting up to two members of the Wake Forest community to accompany him/her during the hearing process. These individuals may be a BIA member, PREPARE student advocate or facilitator, a counselor, or friend. The support people are to be identified in advance and designated by the Associate Dean for Judicial Affairs.

B. The University officer must be persuaded that the charges are true in order to find the student to be responsible for the conduct charged.

VI. Decision

A. The University officer will render a decision after the hearing is concluded and he/she has had adequate opportunity to consult with the panel.

B. Sanctions based on charges found to be true will be assessed by the University officer. Presumptive sanctions will be consulted in assessing sanctions.

VII. Appeals

Appeals may be made to the Judicial Council within 14 calendar days of the announced decision and sanction. The Judicial Council will consider appeals on the basis of these University Hearing Practices and its own constitution and policies.