Ⅴ. The Judicial Process
B. Presentation and Defense of Cases
C. Summary Disposition
D. Notice of Charges and Trials
F. Administrative Review
H. Appeals Committee
I. Annual Code Reviews
- Investigations: When advised of a potential breach of the Honor Code the President of Student Government shall promptly determine whether there is sufficient evidence of a violation of the Honor Code to warrant investigation. If so, he shall, within 48 hours of such determination: (i) advise the Dean of Students of such potential breach, and (ii) appoint, from among the court officers described in Paragraph Ⅳ.C., a student to complete the investigation and to present the case to the Student Court. When advised of a potential breach of the Code of Student Conduct, the Chairman of the Student Court and the Dean of Students shall promptly determine whether there is sufficient evidence of a violation of the Code of Student Conduct to warrant investigation. If so, the Chairman of the Student Court shall designate a student to complete the investigation and to present the case to the Student Court.
- Searches: When the Dean of Students, or other appropriate member of the College administration, has reason to believe that an Honor Code violation has occurred, or that a violation of the Code of Student Conduct has occurred or is continuing (which violation, if proved, would be serious enough to warrant disciplinary probation or suspension), and if he believes further that a search of a suspect’s person, property, or quarters would aid the investigation, then such College official may authorize the President of the Student Government or other investigator to search the suspect’s person, property, and quarters. Should a student investigator determine that such search can only be made with the use of force, he shall report this fact to the officer who authorized the search, who may enlist the aid of campus security officers. The Dean or other authorizing officer shall document the giving of such authority and the basis therefore at the first available opportunity.
- Fines: Fines assessed to students by the Student Justice System for Code of Conduct violations are to be paid by the student to Hampden-Sydney College in the Dean of Students Office within thirty days of notification. Failure to make payments in full within that thirty day period will result in contempt of the Student Justice System charges and the referral of the fine to the student’s account in the Business Office.
B. Presentation and Defense of Cases
The designee of the President of Student Government shall present cases heard by the Student Court. An accused shall have the right to select a student advisor from the court officer group described in Paragraph Ⅳ.C. above to assist him in his defense. If he prefers, an accused may be represented by a student (with no prior legal training) who is not a designated member of said group. No third parties shall be permitted in the court room during a trial and the accused shall not be permitted to suspend the trial in order to consult with a third party.
C. Summary Disposition
Reported violations of the Code of Student Conduct which are not deemed by the Chairman of the Court and the Dean of Students to be serious enough to warrant suspension or expulsion may be dealt with by the Chairman and the Dean, acting for the Student Court as a summary tribunal. The Chairman and Dean may also determine that the evidence of a violation of such Code lacks merit or is insufficient to warrant prosecution. At the next meeting of the Court the Chairman shall give a report to the Court, in appropriate detail, of any matters which have been disposed of by summary process or which have been determined to be unsuitable for prosecution.
D. Notice of Charges and Trials
When the President of Student Government, in an Honor Code matter, or the Chairman of the Student Court and Dean of Students, in a Code of Student conduct matter, has or have determined that there is sufficient evidence of a violation of such Codes to warrant prosecution by the Court, the President or Chairman, as appropriate, shall prepare written charges. The accused student shall be immediately notified in writing of the specific charges against him and of the time and place set by the Student Court for the trial thereon. Such notice shall be delivered to the student at least twenty-four hours before the hearing. All such cases shall be brought to trial as soon as is practical, however for good cause shown, e.g., the complexity of the issues, the unavailability of witnesses, illness, etc., the Chairman, at his discretion, may grant the accused’s request for a greater notification period or for a reasonable postponement of a scheduled trial.
- General: When the President of the Student Government has determined that there is sufficient evidence of a violation of the Honor Code or when the Chairman of the Student Court and the Dean of Students have determined that there is sufficient evidence of a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and that such violation involves complex facts and circumstances or that such violation if proven might reasonably warrant suspension or expulsion, a trial will be conducted by the Student Court with prior notice thereof delivered to the Dean of Students. Trials need not be held in strict compliance with legal rules of evidence but rather should be conducted based on general principles of fairness and reasonableness. Lawyers or other third parties may not participate in trials before the Student Court or in appellate proceedings. Every reasonable effort should be made by the Student Justice System to investigate and adjudicate all cases in a timely manner. In all but unusual circumstances, cases should be tried by the Court within 30 days from the date the offense is brought to the attention of the President of the Student Government or Chairman of the Student Court. Any delay caused or contributed to by the student or witnesses called on his behalf should not be a factor at trial or on appeal. The accused may not attempt to influence any witness, Court member or member of any appellate body to his advantage. Any such attempt should be reported to the President of the Student Government if an honor trial or the Chairman of the Student Court in a student conduct case. Should such attempts be deemed as tampering by the applicable student leader, a presumption of guilt shall be made.
- Quorum: At least seven members of the Court must be present at the conduct of a trial unless the trial is held before the freshman class has elected its Court representatives, in which case five members shall constitute a quorum.
- Evidentiary Standard and Prior Acts: A preponderance of the evidence is the standard on which the Court’s convictions shall be based. Information regarding acts of prior misconduct shall not be received as evidence of guilt but may be considered by the Court in determining the punishment to be assessed.
- Witnesses: Except as otherwise provided by Law, an accused student shall have the right to cross-examine any witness who testifies at a trial. If a report of, or information about, an offense is provided to the Chairman by an individual who fails or refuses to testify at the trial, then such information will not be communicated to the full Court or received or considered as evidence at the trial.
- Presentation of the Defense: The accused shall be given reasonable opportunity to testify and/or to offer the sworn oral or written testimony of other(s) on his behalf. It is for the Court to determine the probative value of written statements offered by the accused from affiants who were not subject to cross-examination at the trial. Should the accused make no offer to refute the charges against him, the Court may draw from such circumstance any inference it deems appropriate. The unavailability of defense witnesses or their refusal to testify shall not result in a delay of a trial beyond a reasonable period.
- Recordation: On its own motion, or at the request of the accused, the Court may cause a trial (but not the Court’s deliberations) to be taped or otherwise recorded. These recordings may be transcribed or otherwise used by appellate bodies but no other party.
- Required Vote for Conviction, Punishment: Of the Court members sitting in a particular case, a minimum of all but one must vote in favor for there to be a conviction. The punishment shall be determined by simple majority vote.
- Decision: The Chairman of the Student Court, in each case where an accused student has been convicted, shall, within 48 hours of the trial, reduce its decision to writing, which writing shall include a clear recitation of the Court’s verdict, the findings on which the verdict was based, the punishment assessed, and the rationale therefore. This trial summary statement shall be promptly delivered to the Dean of Students and shall be available to appellants upon their request.
- Confidentiality: All trials by the Student Court shall be confidential and all persons attending the proceedings, including the accused, shall be obligated not to disclose any of the evidence or the findings except as hereinafter provided. Only persons summoned to participate or who otherwise are permitted to be present by the Student Court may attend the trial. Witnesses shall be sequestered and shall be available for follow up until the trial has been completed. A breach of this confidentiality requirement shall be punishable under the contempt provision of the Code of Student Conduct, Paragraph III. A.(20) above.
- Reports of Results: If a student is found guilty, a notice of such finding, which does not include the name of the convicted student, shall be promptly posted on the Student Government electronic bulletin boards.
- Trials of Graduates, Spring Semester Seniors: Where an alleged Honor Code violation, or a Code of Student Conduct violation which, if proved, would be serious enough to warrant suspension or expulsion, is not duly reported and prosecuted until after a student graduates from the College, such prosecution will be conducted with the former student being invited to defend himself (or tried in absentia if he elects not to appear). Any decision rendered against such former student shall be entered in his student record. When a Spring Semester Senior is accused of such a violation at or near the end of the semester and there is insufficient time before commencement for the conduct of the investigation and trial, the accused, if otherwise eligible for graduation, will be allowed to participate in commencement activities and the graduation ceremony, however, an actual diploma will not be awarded unless and until the Student Court proceeding shall have been resolved on terms which permit the student to be able to graduate. Such proceeding shall be conducted as soon after commencement as it is practicable to do so. Graduating Student Court members shall retain their seats on the Court for the purpose of hearing such cases.
- End of Semester Offenses: When an alleged violation of either code, which, if proved, would be serious enough to warrant suspension or expulsion, is not discovered until at or after the end of the semester, every effort will be made by the President of the Student Government and the Student Court, respectively, to investigate and try the matter immediately, as appropriate, regardless of whether school may, or may not, be in session. Graduating Court members and other involved individuals shall retain their roles in the proceedings for the purpose of dealing with such cases fairly and expeditiously. In the event that a trial cannot take place until the beginning of the following semester, the Student Body President will, at minimum:
- determine if the evidence warrants prosecution;
- certify the charges to the Court and notify the accused;
- assign an Investigator to develop the case over the Semester Break.
These actions will be taken before the Student Body President leaves for the Semester Break. The Court will make every effort to try the case before, or soon after, the day of matriculation for the semester following the offense. As long as the provisions of the foregoing paragraph have been carried out any delay shall not prejudice the prosecution or defense of the trial.
F. Administrative Review
In any Code of Student Conduct case where the Student Court has ordered the expulsion or suspension of a student, such punishment shall not become effective without the concurrence of the Dean of Students acting for the President of the College. If the Dean, after a reasonable review of trial materials, recordings and consultations with Court members, does not concur with the punishment which has been ordered, he may remand the matter to the Student Court with instructions that the Court assess a lesser punishment or, as an alternative, the Dean may enter a final order in the matter. This Administrative Review is in addition to the possible intervention of the College President as described in Section I hereof.
A convicted student whose punishment is suspension or expulsion may appeal his conviction to the Appeals Committee of the Faculty (the "Appeals Committee") as a matter of right. In cases involving less severe punishment, the Appeals Committee, at its discretion, may elect to entertain an appeal and in such instances it shall be the final appellate authority. In suspension or expulsion cases, the convicted student may appeal an unfavorable decision of the Appeals Committee to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. Notice of appeal must be given in writing within forty-eight hours after the pronouncement of a Student Court or Appeals Committee decision. Notice of appeal to the Appeals Committee shall be given to the Dean of the Faculty. Notice of appeal to the Trustees shall be given to the Office of the President of the College. Following proper notice, the appellant may submit a written statement or written rationale for the appeal which normally should not exceed 1,200 words. This additional material must be submitted to the appropriate Office (Dean of the Faculty or the President) within one week (five working days) of the decision by the Student Court or the Appeals Committee. In extenuating circumstances, this time period may be extended by the Dean of the Faculty. A copy of this statement shall be delivered to the President of the Student Body if an Honor Trial or the Chairman of the Student Court if a Code of Student Conduct matter. The applicable President or Chairman shall then submit to the appropriate appellate body a reply statement which normally should not exceed 1,200 words in length and a copy of such reply statement will be provided to the accused. Neither of the two appellate bodies will hear evidence or act as trial courts. They will confine their consideration of the appeal to a review of the record of the earlier proceedings and the written statements referenced in this paragraph; provided, however, the Executive Committee may, on action, assume original jurisdiction of any cases brought to its attention by appeal. The appellate body, in unusual circumstances may, at its discretion, request, and allot specified amounts of time for, oral arguments by the convicted student or his student advisor and by an appropriate representative of the Student Court. All appeals should progress to a conclusion as soon as is practicable. The Appeals Committee and the Executive Committee should endeavor to hear appeals within 45 days of the date of an adverse appealable decision. The appellate body may take any one of the following actions:
- affirm the Student Court decision in whole or in part;
- send the case back to the Student Court for retrial of one or more of the issues presented;
- affirm the determination of guilt but reduce the penalty;
- reverse the finding of the Student Court and dismiss the charges.
The only grounds on which either appellate committee may reverse or modify a Student Court decision are that:
- the accused was not afforded the due process protection provided for herein;
- the penalty imposed was too harsh for the offense;
- there was insufficient evidence to support the verdict.
A simple majority vote of the members in attendance at an appellate body hearing (where a quorum is present) shall be required for the reversal of a Student Court decision. Tie votes will constitute affirmation of the decision of the tribunal from which the case was appealed.
Special Appellate Procedures in Cases Involving Sexual Misconduct
In cases involving allegations of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, sex or gender harassment or stalking ("sexual misconduct cases"), or that otherwise implicate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 or the Jeanne Clery Act of 1990, both the complainant and accused shall have the same rights to appeal. In such cases, either the complainant or accused shall have the right to appeal any decision of the Student Court, regardless of its outcome, to the Appeals Committee. Thereafter, upon receiving notice of a decision of the Appeals Committee, either the complainant or accused may appeal the Appeals Committee's decision to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. In such cases, the final adjudicatory body, whether it be the Appeals Committee or the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, shall have full authority, at its discretion, to issue an appropriate remedy including, but not limited to:
- reversing or upholding the decision of the Student Court and/or Appeals Committee in whole or in part;
- remanding the matter to the Student Court for retrial of one or more of the issues presented;
- reducing or increasing any penalties imposed by the Student Court and/or Appeals Committee, up to and including suspension or expulsion;
- dismissing the charge(s); or
- initiating new charges(s) as appropriate.
Appeals in such cases shall otherwise conform to the procedures applicable in other student disciplinary actions as described above and throughout this section. (amended April 17, 2015)
H. Appeals Committee
The membership of the Appeals Committee is as follows:
- Three faculty members, who shall be appointed for staggered three-year terms by the President of the College with one of said faculty members being designated by the President as Chairman of the Committee. One additional faculty member shall be appointed by the President of the College to serve a one-year term as an alternate. Appointments for the succeeding academic year (July 1–June 30) shall be made before the end of the second semester.
- No more than two students, who shall be members of the Junior or Senior class and who shall be appointed for a one-year term by the President of Student Government shall serve on the Appeals Committee. One additional student shall be appointed for a one-year term as an alternate by the President of Student Government. Appointments of students for the succeeding academic year (July 1–June 30) shall be made before the end of the second semester. Neither the President of Student Government nor the Chairman of the Inter-fraternity Council, the Chairman of the Student Court, the Chairman of the Student Senate, nor any member of the Student Court may be a member of the Committee.
Three faculty and two student members shall constitute a quorum. A majority of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees shall constitute a quorum.
I. Annual Code Reviews
To enable the College to respond to changing conditions and to ensure continued student support of the Student Justice System, new Student Government leaders and College Administration should review, on an annual basis, the codes and other material set forth herein and make such recommendations as they deem appropriate.
The Student Court or the Executive Committee of the Faculty may propose amendments to this document and to the codes contained herein, provided that, except as hereinafter provided, no amendment shall become effective until the same shall have been approved by both of said bodies and by the Board of Trustees of the College. Any amendment deemed by the Dean of Students to be of a minor nature may be effectuated upon the concurrence of the Chairman of the Student Court, the Executive Committee of the Faculty, and the Dean of Students. The Student Court Chairman, when he deems an amendment to be of a major nature, may, at his discretion, condition his approval upon the favorable outcome of a student body referendum. Any amendment hereto which would have the effect of modifying the Student Government Constitution must be adopted in accordance with Article Ⅷ of that Constitution.