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SCC Hearing

All authority for further deliberation and judgment in cases referred by the Dean to the Student Conduct Committee rests with that Committee. The Dean will aid the Committee in further investigations that the Committee might authorize.

The Student Conduct Committee conducts its inquiry and deliberations through a two-step process: (i) a closed hearing, during which all evidence upon which the Committee will base its subsequent decisions shall be introduced; and (ii) a closed Committee session during which the evidence introduced at the hearing shall be con-sidered by the Committee, and during which both a decision regarding student involvement in the alleged misconduct and a deci-sion regarding disciplinary action shall be reached.

Students called to testify as witnesses in Student Conduct hearings are required to testify and to do so truthfully. An accused student, any accusing students, or any prospective witness may ask the Co-Chairs to relieve him or her of the obligation to testify. The Co-Chairs of the Student Conduct Committee may relieve an individual of the obligation to testify if the Co-Chairs judge that the person’s reason for being relieved is a reasonable concern about self-incrimination in a pending or potential criminal matter. When an individual is so relieved, the Student Conduct Committee members are to draw no inferences from the individual’s choice not to testify or from the Co-Chairs’ decision to relieve the individual from testifying.

The Co-Chairs of the Student Conduct Committee may request the Dean of Students to begin disciplinary procedures against any student who refuses when called to testify in a Student Conduct hearing. If a witness declines to testify prior to a hearing, or if a witness, after being called by the Co-Chairs of the Student Conduct Committee, unjustifiably fails to appear for or refuses to testify during a hearing, the Co-Chairs may proceed with the hearing without the witness’s testimony, may adjourn the hearing, or may take such other measures which, in the Co-Chairs’ discretion, are necessary to serve the interests of justice.

1. In cases referred to the SCC, the Dean informs the student in writing of the charge, with the alleged misconduct stated with sufficient specificity to allow the student to prepare to answer the charge. The statement of the principal charge shall be deemed to include all lesser offenses, if any, which constitute elements of the stated offense. At this time the Dean shall also deliver to the accused student, and in cases of Actions Against Persons to the ac-cusing student, a copy of the investigative file, which may include a statement of the facts, dates, times, and events relevant to the charge, a list of persons having knowledge of the case, and their statements and/or interview notes pertaining to their statements, on hand at that time. Any additional information relevant to the charge which emerges after this initial delivery of the investigative file will be furnished by the Dean to the accused, and in the case of Actions Against Persons, to the accusing student, as soon as reasonably possible after its receipt by the Dean of Students.

2. The notice of a Student Conduct Committee hearing also states the time and date of the hearing, which shall be held between two and five class days from the time of notification. The Dean of Students, an accused student, or, in the case of Actions Against Persons, the accusing student, may request that an alternative time pe-riod be specified by the Co-Chairs of the Student Conduct Com-mittee. The Co-Chairs may then set an alternative time period within which the hearing is to be held. In the case of charges brought very late in a semester, or under other circumstances, the Co-Chairs might even postpone a hearing into a subsequent semester. In deciding whether to honor such a request, the Co-Chairs shall consider (i) the health, safety, and educational progress of all involved, including the College community, (ii) the complexity of the case, and (iii) the likelihood that delay or hastening would markedly serve the cause of fairness. The President has the authority to cause a case to be heard earlier or later in exceptional circumstances.

3. Prior to the hearing, the Co-Chairs of the Committee meet with the accused student to assure the student’s understanding of his or her rights and of the pending procedures. The Co-Chairs also meet separately with the accusing party in cases involving allegations of Actions Against Persons. These “pre-hearing conferences” have several functions: to hear challenges to SCC hearing panel compo-sition based on actual bias (see subsection a.2 above), to answer questions regarding the hearing process, to provide lists of potential witnesses to the Co-Chairs, and to allow the Co-Chairs to preview the scope of witness testimony. Decisions regarding each of these issues are at the sole discretion of the Co-Chairs. In cases of alleged Actions Against Persons, when all pre-hearings have been held, the Co-Chairs of the SCC will share with the accused student and any accusing students a list of all potential witnesses identified in the pre-hearings.

4. There are two types of witnesses who may be called to testify at an SCC hearing: “evidentiary” and “character.” Evidentiary witnesses have direct, i.e., firsthand, knowledge of events and circumstances relevant to the case. Character witnesses testify regarding the character of the person who has requested their appearance (either the accused student or an accusing party in cases alleging Actions Against Persons). Character witnesses must be members of the Bates community (i.e., current student, faculty, or staff). Evidentiary witnesses may be accompanied to the hearing by an advisor from within the Bates community.

5. All witnesses are called by the Co-Chairs of the Student Conduct Committee. All such witnesses are notified by the Dean of the time and place of the hearing. If the Dean of Students learns that a called witness is unlikely to appear at a Student Conduct hearing, the Dean shall notify the accused, and, in the case of alleged Actions Against Persons, the accusing student, that the witness seems unlikely to attend. Any student with knowledge of alleged misconduct may provide the Dean with names of possible evidentiary witnesses. The Dean of Students will provide the Co-Chairs of the SCC with a list of potential evidentiary witnesses whom the Dean has found to have direct knowledge of events and circumstances relevant to the case, be that knowledge favorable or unfavorable as regards the accused. The Dean of Students will also indicate to the Co-Chairs any of those potential witnesses the Dean deems sufficiently redundant in the information they have to offer as to be not needed in the hearing. The Co-Chairs of the SCC will call, inter alia, each witness whom the Dean names as not excessively redundant, so long as the Dean of Students establishes, to the satisfaction of the Co-Chairs of the SCC, a prima facie explanation for how that proposed witness might have direct knowledge of events and circumstances relevant to the case. The Co-Chairs of the SCC should be notified in advance of the hearing, preferably at the prehearing conferences, whom parties wish called to give witness. The accused student and any accusing party, in cases alleging Actions Against Persons, may each propose to the Co-Chairs that the Committee call one character witness. The Co-Chairs shall call any proposed character witness, so long as the proposed witness is a member of the Bates community. The Co-Chairs will call specific evidentiary witnesses at the request of the accused and, in cases alleging Actions Against Persons, at the request of accusing students, subject only to the provisos noted below.

Evidentiary witnesses identified at the pre-hearing as potential witnesses by the accused student or any accusing party will be called by the Co-Chairs of the SCC, provided that (i) the party wishing a witness be called establishes, to the satisfaction of the Co-Chairs of the SCC, a prima facie explanation for how that proposed witness might have direct knowledge of events and circumstances relevant to the case, and (ii) if the list of evidentiary witnesses proposed by any party exceeds six, the party wishing a witness to be called es-tablishes, to the satisfaction of the Co-Chairs of the SCC, a prima facie explanation for why that specific witness is not redundant, given other witnesses. The Co-Chairs will exercise their judgment about the adequacy of such explanations so as to protect the integrity and effective functioning of the SCC; considerable latitude will be allowed accused students and accusing parties in the identification of evidentiary witnesses.

Evidentiary witnesses identified only after the pre-hearing as potential witnesses by the accused student or any accusing party will be called by the Co-Chairs of the SCC, subject to three provisos: (i) the party wishing the witness be called establishes, to the satisfaction of the Co-Chairs of the SCC, a prima facie explanation for how that proposed witness might have direct knowledge of events and circumstances relevant to the case. (The Co-Chairs will exercise their judgment about the adequacy of such explanations so as to protect the integrity and effective functioning of the SCC; considerable latitude will be allowed accused students and accusing parties in the identification of evidentiary witnesses.); (ii) the Co-Chairs conclude that the proposed witness’s testimony will be helpful to the SCC; and (iii) the Co-Chairs conclude that adding the witness at that particular juncture in the process would not un-fairly burden other parties preparing for the hearing.

6. On the morning of the SCC hearing, the Co-Chairs of the Student Conduct Committee shall issue to the accused student, and to the accusing student in cases alleging Actions Against Persons, the final list of witnesses who will appear at the hearing. This final witness list shall be made available at the office of the Dean of Students, and it shall be the responsibility of the accused and, if applicable, accusing students to pick up the list at the time. Names may be added to the witness list after this time, if the Co-Chairs judge that their testimony will be helpful to the SCC.

7. A student accused of misconduct who has been properly notified of the Committee hearing and who fails to appear shall be considered to have waived the right to be heard by the Committee, and the hearing may proceed without him or her.

8. The student may be accompanied to the hearing by an advisor from within the Bates community (see Part III, A.1.).

9. The hearing shall be private. Only the members of the Committee, the Dean, the accused student, and his/her advisor are present. Witnesses may be present only as they are called to testify. An accusing party in cases alleging Actions Against Persons, and his/her advisor, may be present during any testimony which relates directly to him/her. Discretion on these matters rests with the Co-Chairs of the Committee.

10. Each member of the Committee and the Dean shall have the opportunity to question all witnesses. The accused student may question all witnesses through the Co-Chairs. In cases alleging Ac-tions Against Persons, the accusing party may also question wit-nesses through the Co-Chairs when testimony relates to that stu-dent. The Co-Chairs may instruct a student or witness not to answer questions which the Co-Chairs deem to be irrelevant or improper.

11. At the conclusion of all testimony and statements, the Committee meets in closed session to determine whether or not the student accused of misconduct has violated the Code as charged or by having committed a lesser offense included within the offense charged. For the Committee to find a violation of the Code, this Committee must determine that the offense charged has been established by a preponderance of the evidence. “To establish by a preponderance of the evidence” means to prove that something is more likely than not. The Dean is not present during the Committee’s deliberation and its vote. Individual cases should be heard on their own merits and not be used to set College policy, except as an incidental result of the Committee’s decision.

12. If the Committee finds that a violation of the Code has oc-curred, it continues to meet in closed session to determine the penalty. During penalty deliberation the Dean may be called back to provide non-evidentiary information as requested by the Committee. The Dean will present and the Committee will only consider evidence of charges adjudicated by Dean’s Review or Student Conduct Committee decision and the Dean will not participate in or make recommendations concerning penalties discussed and/or voted on by the Committee. The student accused of misconduct and his/her advisor may be present at the initial stage of the penalty deliberation to respond to non-evidentiary information provided by the Dean to the Committee from the student’s file. The Committee may ask questions of the student based on the information con-veyed from the file or the student’s response to that information.

13. When a student is found to have violated the Student Conduct Code, the Co-Chairs of the SCC shall orally convey to the student the Committee’s rationale for its decisions with regard both to the violation and to the penalty.

14. Decisions of the Committee on Student Conduct shall be final, subject only to appeal by the accused student.

15. Any action decided upon by the Committee shall take effect two class days after the decision is made unless otherwise stated by the Committee, or unless the Committee decision is appealed.

16. The Co-Chairs of the SCC shall ensure that for every SCC hearing a professional secretary shall take detailed notes and that an audio recording is made of all portions of the hearing at which the accused student is entitled to be present. These notes shall be reviewed by the Co-Chairs of the SCC, who shall amend the notes as they deem necessary to ensure an accurate record of the hearing. These notes, once approved by the Co-Chairs of the SCC, together with the audio recording shall be the official record of the hearing. The office of the Dean of Students shall have custody of the audio recording and official notes of every SCC hearing and shall main-tain this material in a secure location for a period of not less than seven (7) years after the last date of the hearing. The official notes and the audio recording of an SCC hearing will be made available to an appealing student and/or to members of the ad hoc Appeal Panel only under controlled circumstances assuring that the official notes and the audio recording cannot be lost or altered. A partial or complete transcript of an audio recording will be prepared under supervision of the Dean of Students either (a) at the expense of an accused student who requires a transcript for appeal under Section II.D. or (b) at the expense of the College if the ad hoc Appeal Panel convened under Section II.D. requests such a transcript. Transcripts shall be confidential, and upon conclusion of any Appeal all transcripts (and any copies made) must be returned to the Dean of Students.

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