Composition & Training of the SCC
1. The SCC is composed of four voting student members, four voting faculty members, an additional member of the faculty serving as Co-Chair, and an additional student serving as Co-Chair. The Co-Chairs will vote at the hearing only in the case of a tie. The most senior member of the four voting faculty members (as determined by term of service as defined by the Dean of the Faculty) shall serve as Vice-Chair and shall cast a deciding vote on any ruling required by the Co-Chairs before or during a hearing when the Co-Chairs are in disagreement. Faculty Committee members are selected by the Committee on Faculty Governance and appointed by the President. Student Committee members are appointed by the Bates College Student Government’s Representative Assembly, following recommendations from the BCSG’s Student Committee on Committees. Every member hears cases brought before the Committee unless a member is excused or recused. A quorum for a hearing is six Committee members total and must include at least five voting members. Ordinarily, a member must be in attendance throughout a hearing and may not join a hearing already in progress.
If a student is entitled to another hearing after a successful appeal, the President shall appoint a special, ad hoc panel from the faculty and student body consisting of four voting student members, four voting faculty members, a faculty Co-Chair, and a student Co-Chair, to hear the case. The special ad hoc panel shall hear the case in conformity with the Code of Student Conduct in all applicable respects.
2. The accused student and the accusing party (in cases alleging Actions Against Persons) may petition the Co-Chairs of the SCC at a pre-hearing conference to remove, on the basis of actual bias, any standing SCC member from the upcoming hearing (on the pre-hearing conference, see b.4 below). Opposition to any member’s participation must be based on a specific and actual bias related to the individual or to the event in question. Challenges must be made at the pre-hearing conference with the Co-Chairs of the SCC. The decision whether to remove a Committee member from a hearing panel is at the sole discretion of the Co-Chairs. A Committee member should be removed from a panel only when, in the judgment of the Co-Chairs, the member’s presence would seriously compromise the fairness of a hearing. If bias is alleged against either of the Co-Chairs, then the Dean of the Faculty will rule on removing the Co-Chair(s) from the hearing panel. If a Co-Chair is removed, the Vice-Chair will serve as Co-Chair for the hearing. Members of the SCC shall recuse themselves from a hearing if they have a specific and actual bias related to the individual or event in question. At the hearing, after members of the SCC in attendance have been informed who the parties in the hearing are, who the witnesses in the hearing will be, and what the charge is, the Co-Chairs shall inquire if any member thinks it necessary that he or she recuse himself or herself from the hearing. Individual members may consult with the Committee as they deliberate about whether or not to recuse themselves. Either Co-Chair may recuse himself or herself earlier in the process, when he or she first learns who the parties in the case are and what the charge is, or at any time thereafter. If a Co-Chair recuses himself or herself, the Vice-Chair will serve as Co-Chair for the hearing. Actual bias exists when a member cannot fairly and impartially render a decision or settle upon an appropriate penalty should the accused be found to have engaged in misconduct. Having an accused or accusing student in one’s class is not, on its face, reason for recusing oneself. Nor is social acquaintance with the individual. Nor is the mere fact that a member has sat on another hearing panel in which a party to the present case was accused, the accuser, a witness or an advisor, or in another hearing on the same matter as the case at hand. If, for any reason that cannot be resolved by rescheduling the hearing, the SCC lacks a quorum to hear a case, the Co-Chairs shall so advise the President. The President shall thereupon appoint replacements from the faculty and the student body, as needed to maintain the intended composition of the SCC, to hear the case.
3. The College offers a training process and an orientation for the SCC to better prepare its members to hear cases. This process is designed to assure the community that the members of the SCC have a full understanding of the Code of Student Conduct and of the scope of the Committee’s authority. This training should also include acquaintance with sentencing precedent. Before deliberating on the penalty for a particular case, the SCC must be aware of the kinds of penalties used in prior cases of a similar nature. The SCC is certainly not bound by such precedent, but this information provides important guidance. SCC training shall also stress the importance of confidentiality by all parties.
4. Each member of the SCC shall also receive training on the topics of (i) racial harassment and assault, and (ii) sexual harassment and assault. No member of the SCC may hear a case that concerns these matters until they have completed this training.