What is an Initial Conference?
We send an Initial Conference notice (via email, if possible) when we receive a report from staff, faculty, law enforcement, or another source that indicates you might be responsible for a violation of a student policy. The purpose of the Initial Conference is to provide you with more information about the reported incident and explain the procedures that will be followed to determine if you are responsible or not responsible for a violation of a student policy.
Will my parents be contacted about this incident?
In most cases, no. We follow the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which keeps the student conduct process as confidential as possible. However, if you are involved in an incident involving violation of Michigan Tech’s Alcohol and Other Drug Policy, under some circumstances we will notify your parents after a final decision is reached that you are responsible for violating the policy. This is due to our concerns about your personal safety and well-being. Please see the Dean of Students' Parental Notification Policy for more information on the levels at which your parents or guardian may be notified.
Should I call an attorney or my parents to come with me?
No. The purpose of the student conduct process is to determine responsibility, not guilt or innocence. This is not a criminal or civil trial; it is educational in nature, although sanctions can be imposed if a student is responsible for a conduct violation. Our rules specifically do not allow parents to participate in the initial conference or the hearing. Under very limited circumstances (pending criminal charges), attorneys may attend but may not participate. If you have any questions about the procedures that we will follow, please review the Hearing Guidelines and don't hesitate to contact the Office of Academic and Community Conduct.
If your parents have questions about the student conduct process, we recommend this Parent Guide.
Do I need to bring witnesses with me to the Initial Conference?
No. This meeting is between only you and a staff member of the Office of Academic and Community Conduct. If a hearing is scheduled, you will be able to present witnesses.
If you tell me during the Initial Conference that I have a choice between having a single officer or committee hearing, which should I choose?
Depending on the type of incident, you may be entitled to a hearing before the University Conduct Board. This Board includes the Office of Academic and Community Conduct staff, faculty, and at least one student. If you request a committee, more than one person will be involved in making a decision, including a student/peer. The committees keep the information confidential, and the members receive training before being appointed to the committee. Regardless of whether you choose a single officer or a committee, you may appeal the decision that is made.
What happens in a hearing?
The Office of Academic and Community Conduct would like to emphasize that our hearing is not like a criminal trial. The same strict procedures or rules of evidence as you would experience in court procedures are not used. The standard used to determine if a student is responsible is called preponderance of evidence; this differs from normal court procedures because the hearing officer or committee may simply rule that it is more probable than not that a University regulation has been violated.
The purpose of a hearing is to obtain the information necessary to make a decision in a student's case. Often, the student and the hearing officer may need to simply discuss the incident report. Sometimes the complainant, the individual who makes the incident report, will attend. Additional witnesses or documents are sometimes helpful; however, character witnesses are not allowed.
The Student Code of Student Conduct handbook says I can bring an “advisor” to the hearing. What is an “advisor”?
An advisor is not a witness and is not allowed to give testimony during the hearing. However, the advisor can help prepare for the hearing, sit with the student, suggest additional questions, and provide emotional support during the hearing. The advisor must be a registered student, faculty, or staff of Michigan Tech.
What are the most important things for me to remember during a hearing?
First and foremost, be truthful. If you do not tell the truth in the hearing, that in itself is a serious violation of a University regulation. Second, be respectful of all participants in the hearing. Third, we realize that a hearing can be a stressful situation for a student; however, we follow procedures that give you a chance to speak and be heard. Lastly, please remember you have the right to appeal a decision in most circumstances.
How do I appeal a decision?
Appeal instructions are always included in the last paragraph of a disciplinary decision. To initiate an appeal, a student must state the basis for appeal in writing to the Office of Academic and Community Conduct, 310 Administration Building, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than five days from the date of this decision. Someone from our office or a designee will review the facts and evidence to determine whether there is a basis under the Student Code of Community Conduct to process an appeal. In appeals, a three-member appellate board may be convened. The Office of Academic and Community Conduct will notify the student in writing of the decision of the appellate board within ten business days of the appellant hearing. This action shall be final and is not subject to further appeal.