Michigan Tech's Student Code of Community Conduct has been updated as of August 16th, 2021. Currently, our website does not reflect all updates. Please refer to the code for the most up-to-date information, or contact the Office of Academic and Community Conduct at 906-487-2192 or studentconduct@mtu.edu. 

6. Hearing Guidelines

A hearing governed by the Office of Academic and Community Conduct is not a criminal trial. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable in conduct hearings. Information that is relevant, credible, and which a reasonable person would accept as having probative value can be considered in any hearing on responsibility, sanctions, and/or interventions. The standard used to determine if a student is responsible is called preponderance of evidence; this differs from normal court procedures because the procedural 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 of responsibility in a student's case. Relevant witnesses or documents will be considered and reviewed; however, character witnesses are not allowed.

6.1 Privacy

Hearings are closed to the public. Privacy will be preserved to the fullest extent possible, as allowed by law. At the discretion of the procedural officer, an additional official may be present for the purpose of assisting in managing the hearing, but the additional official shall not otherwise participate in the decision-making process.

6.2 Recording

Hearings will be recorded. Deliberations will not be recorded. The recording will be the property of the University and maintained according to university records policy. No unauthorized audio or video recording of any kind is permitted during the hearing.

6.3 Rules of Decorum

It is the parties’ responsibility to share the rules of decorum with their witnesses, advisor, and support person. The procedural officer will review the rules of decorum prior to beginning a hearing. 

6.4 Hearing Process Facilitator 

Michigan Tech may designate a hearing process facilitator to coordinate the hearing, including, but not limited to, coordination and scheduling of the hearing; the logistics of physical or virtual rooms for parties and/or witnesses, including separation of the parties; ensuring all technology is working appropriately; ensuring the parties have access to electronic documents during the hearing; distributing materials; etc.  The facilitator may invite the parties and their advisors to a meeting prior to the hearing to review the hearing process and rules of decorum for the purpose of ensuring a smooth hearing. This meeting is separate from the pre-hearing conference discussed below.

6.5 Pre-Hearing Matters

In order to streamline the hearing process, the procedural officer may request the submission of questions prior to the hearing through electronic submission and/or a pre-hearing conference.

6.5.01 Pre-Hearing Submission of Questions

The procedural officer may request the parties to submit questions, in writing prior to the hearing. This submission does not preclude the parties from asking additional questions during the live hearing. The procedural officer may allow for the pre-hearing submission of questions regardless of whether a pre-hearing conference occurs.

6.5.02 Pre-Hearing Conference

The procedural officer may hold a pre-hearing conference. During the pre-hearing conference, parties will be asked to submit, in writing, any questions they wish to ask during the live hearing so that the procedural officer can be prepared to respond to relevancy at the hearing. This conference does not preclude the parties from asking additional questions live during the hearing. 

At the pre-hearing conference, the procedural officer may also hear arguments from the parties regarding the evidence as relevant or not relevant, and/or directly related to the allegations. The respondent may also choose to accept responsibly, deny responsibly, or choose not to answer to the allegations of violations of the Student Code of Community Conduct. If a respondent accepts responsibility in the pre-hearing conference, they waive the right to a hearing and the procedural officer will appropriately sanction or send the case to the University Conduct Board for a sanctioning hearing.

6.6 Information at the Hearing

During the hearing, the parties may give an opening statement, present an explanation of the facts and circumstances relating to the incident, present relevant witnesses who can speak to the same, reserve the right not to respond to questions, and give a closing statement. The parties may cross-examine each other directly, or may choose to do so indirectly through the procedural officer.  The parties may cross-examine witnesses directly, or indirectly through the procedural officer. The procedural officer may determine that witnesses, information, and/or questions are relevant to the charge(s) and/or case. The procedural officer may also call on the complainant to explain events.

6.7 Individuals Present at Hearing

6.7.01 Parties

The complainant and respondent are invited to the hearing as well as their relevant witnesses. It is the parties’ responsibility to notify the procedural officer of relevant witnesses and provide their witnesses hearing information such as time, date, location, etc.

6.7.02 Witnesses

The procedural officer will determine if witnesses are relevant. Witnesses must have relevant evidence and statements in order to be called upon. Witnesses are subject to cross-examination. Character witnesses are not allowed.

6.7.03 Support Person

The parties may each invite one “support person” to accompany them during the conduct hearing process. A support person is any member of the University community (faculty/staff/student) chosen by the party to provide support to that party during a conduct hearing process. The support person may not be an immediate family member. Support persons, including attorneys, if allowed to be present throughout the proceedings, may not participate directly in the conduct process, but may offer advice, guidance, and/or support to the student (complainant/respondent).

6.7.04 Advisor

When allegations involve sexual misconduct and/or if criminal charges have been filed against the responding student, parties are permitted to have an advisor that is not required to be a member of the University community. An advisor may be, but is not required to be, an attorney. The complainant party may also invite an attorney present as their support person.

6.7.05 Procedural Officer

The procedural officer shall exercise control over the proceedings to avoid needless consumption of time and to achieve orderly completion of the hearing. Any person, including the student charged with the conduct violation, who disrupts a hearing, may be excluded by the procedural officer. The procedural officers are authorized to take reasonable measures to maintain control over the proceedings in order to elicit relevant facts; to prevent the harassment of participants; to ensure that proceedings are not disrupted; and to see that the interests of fairness are served. These measures may include regulating the timing, length, and manner of presentations, objections, declaring recesses in the proceedings, and other appropriate actions. The procedural officer should have training and experiences appropriate to the demands of the office. The procedural officer may also be a University Conduct Board member and decision-maker. 

6.7.06 University Conduct Board 

Conduct boards consist of a three-member panel. Panels may include professional staff, faculty, and full-time students. All conduct board members receive annual training. Members of the University Conduct Board may be currently or formerly licensed attorneys. These individuals serve on the University Conduct Board in their capacity as a student/faculty staff member of the University, not as an attorney. These individuals do not represent or advise the University on the matters before them as attorneys. The University Conduct Board members are decision-makers in hearings.

6.8 Challenge of University Conduct Board Member

Either party may challenge the appointment of a University Conduct Board Member, based on conflict of interest or bias.

6.9 Standard of Proof

No conduct action shall be taken unless it is established by the University Conduct Board or the procedural officer that a preponderance of the evidence indicates the student is more likely than not to be responsible for a code violation. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable in conduct hearings. Information which reasonable persons would accept as having probative value will be considered.

6.10 Decision of Responsibility

Written notification of the conduct decision made by the University Conduct Board will be sent to the parties within five (5) business days of the hearing. In cases of sexual misconduct, notification will occur simultaneously. The procedural officer may use reasonable judgment to extend this time if necessary. Any conduct decision may be appealed and must follow the established procedures as outlined in Section 8— Appeal Procedures

6.11 Sanctioning Hearing

In cases where students have accepted responsibility which may result in a sanction of suspension or expulsion or when a student has numerous prior conduct cases, the University official may choose to have the University Conduct Board render an appropriate sanction in a sanctioning hearing. During the sanctioning hearing, the University Conduct Board may contact the student for relevant questioning to aid in their decision.

←Previous Section | Next Section→