The Conduct System: a Brief Overview
The Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA) strives to balance the goal of upholding our standards of academic integrity and responsible conduct with the need to protect the welfare and reputation of our UC Davis community. When possible, OSSJA uses informal procedures to resolve disciplinary matters, emphasizing education, personal growth and the development of ethical behavior. When formal fact-finding procedures are necessary, the system is designed to provide a timely, fair, and impartial hearing and resolution of the matter. A student may have an advisor with them at any stage in the informal or formal process.
Notice of Report
Upon receipt of a report, OSSJA notifies the student by email of the suspected misconduct, and directs the student to meet with an OSSJA officer. For reports of incidents occurring in Student Housing, students receive notice of an OSSJA referral from their area Conduct Coordinator.
The First Meeting
At the first meeting, the Judicial Officer explains the process and describes the evidence supporting the report. The student has an opportunity to respond and discuss possible ways of resolving the case. Residence Hall cases may involve the student's housing contract as well as student disciplinary action.
Students are not required to respond to the report at the informal meeting but if so, are expected to tell the truth. Providing false information in the discipline process may be pursued as a separate violation or considered as a factor in determining disciplinary sanctions.
Informal resolution means resolving cases without a formal hearing. Resolution generally includes a written agreement between the student and OSSJA about whether a violation occurred and the appropriate sanctions, if any. OSSJA resolves most cases through this process. OSSJA cannot impose disciplinary sanctions in the informal process without a student's consent, unless the student fails to participate in the disciplinary process. If a case cannot be resolved informally by agreement, it may be referred to a student-faculty panel of the Campus Judicial Board (CJB) or a hearing officer for a formal fact-finding hearing.
Failure to Participate
If a student does not participate in the informal process, OSSJA may proceed with unilateral action or proceed with a formal hearing. Unilateral action may include administrative holds on registration, transcripts, graduation, and/or diploma, or may include disciplinary sanctions. Although a student may appeal unilateral action, the student must show reasonable grounds for failing to cooperate. This means that it is in the student's best interest to schedule an appointment promptly and participate in the process.
The Formal Hearing Process
A formal fact-finding hearing is an administrative proceeding, not a trial or court hearing. The goal is a non-adversarial meeting to determine what happened and whether a student has violated University policy.
Those who serve as hearing officers or hearing panel members (hearing body) have no prior involvement in the case so that they are able to render a fair decision. In keeping with the University's educational goals, the accused student and the reporting party each speak on their own behalf, except in unusual circumstances. They may each be accompanied by an advisor, but attorneys may not represent parties in the formal hearing process.
OSSJA sends written notice by e-mail to the student before the hearing identifying the specific charges and the date, time, and location of the hearing. The notice also summarizes the hearing procedures, including the right to an advisor, and the parties' responsibility to submit evidence and witness lists before the hearing.
Hearings are generally closed except to those involved: the hearing body, the accused student, the reporting party, witnesses (who are present only at the time they testify), advisors, a recording monitor, and a Judicial Officer. OSSJA must give prior approval for others who wish to attend.
Both the reporting party and the reported student have the opportunity to present evidence and question each other and witnesses. The hearing body may also question everyone who testifies. All parties who testify may be questioned and must tell the truth. The reported student may remain silent with no inference of wrongdoing. OSSJA audio records the hearing.
After the hearing ends, the panel deliberates in closed session. The University has the burden of proof. The hearing body writes a brief report containing findings of fact and a decision on the charges. The findings and decision must be based only upon evidence received at the hearing. The Director of OSSJA sends written notice of the decision to the student.
A student who is found in violation has ten business days to file a written appeal of the decision, on one or more of the following grounds:
- there is no substantial basis in fact to support the findings;
- the sanction is inconsistent with the findings;
- there was unfairness in the proceedings;
- or there is newly discovered important evidence that was not available at the time of the hearing.
A reporting party also has certain appeal rights. An appeal may be denied, granted in whole or part, or other relief may be directed where appropriate.
This information is excerpted from the UC Davis Policy on Student Conduct & Discipline.
Edited 10/25/2017 by djd