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Accusing Party’s Rights & Responsibilities

The rights and responsibilities described in this section are equally applicable, where relevant, to students and to faculty or other College employees who accuse a student of misconduct.

While all cases which are brought before the Student Conduct Committee are presented by the Dean, in some cases there is a principal witness who alleges to have been injured by the accused student. This second party, the “accusing party,” also has much at stake at the disciplinary hearing, and has certain rights that the process must respect. For purposes of a Student Conduct Committee hearing, a student or College employee who accuses a student of misconduct is an evidentiary witness (as distinguished from a character or expert witness). In cases involving a charge of Actions Against Persons, the accusing party has a particular set of rights and responsibilities, noted below at c. and d.

a. The right to bring to the attention of the Dean an incident of misconduct by another student. This does not include the right to insist on a hearing before the Student Conduct Committee, since it is the Dean who has authority to conduct an investigation and to determine whether a case should go forward.

b. The right to meet with a Judicial Educator and to have an advisor, if s/he so chooses.

c. In cases of misconduct involving Actions Against Persons: the right to meet with the Co-Chairs of the SCC at a pre-hearing con-ference at which the accusing party may challenge, on the basis of actual bias, the presence of a member of the SCC at the hearing; to make a statement at the hearing; and to propose evidentiary witnesses, one character witness, and one expert witness; the right to be present during any testimony which relates directly to him/her and the right to pose questions through the Co-Chairs when the testimony relates directly to the accusing party; and the right to be informed of the decision of the Student Conduct Committee. (The right to be present at the hearing is not absolute, however; the ac-cusing party may not make statements while witnesses are testifying and being questioned.)

d. In cases specifically involving allegations of sexual assault, the accusing party has rights comparable to those of the accused stu-dent throughout any disciplinary process.

e. The right to be free from harassment from the accused student or other witnesses (or parties acting on their behalf) at any time during or after investigation and hearing.

f. In cases involving an alleged sexual assault incident, the right to notice of options for, and available assistance in, changing academic and living situations, if the accusing party so requests. This notice of options and assistance in changing academic and living situations shall be provided by the Dean of Students as soon as possible after the alleged sexual assault incident is brought to the attention of the Dean of Students. Such changes in academic and living situations shall be made if they are reasonably available.

g. The right to be informed of the outcome of the disciplinary proceeding.

h. The right, in cases involving Actions Against Persons, to be notified of the option to notify proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police, and the option to be assisted by campus authorities in notifying such authorities, if the accusing student so chooses.

i. The responsibility to testify truthfully at the hearing.

j. The responsibility to refrain from contact (direct or indirect) with accused student or other witnesses, certain members of the Bates community or members of the community at large involved in the pending case, or with members of the Student Conduct Committee, when so directed by the Deans, the Student Conduct Com-mittee, or its Co-Chairs.

k. The responsibility to make a good-faith effort at mediation when the option of mediation is chosen by all parties as an alternative method of resolution.

l. The responsibility to abide by the instructions of the Co-Chairs of the Student Conduct Committee, including instructions regarding witness testimony. (The Co-Chairs of the SCC always have the authority to remove from the hearing any individual whose conduct unduly interferes with the proceedings.)

Both the accused and accusing parties are reminded that they have a number of resources available to them when instances of misconduct are being addressed by the College. As specified in the rights and responsibilities above, both have available to them the Judicial Educator as well as an advisor from within the Bates community. There are also resources outside the College of which they may avail themselves. Any person who feels s/he has been the victim of a crime always has the option of going to local law enforcement officers and pursuing the case through the criminal court system.

The accused or accusing parties may benefit from meeting with a psychological, religious, or substance-abuse counselor to discuss difficult issues and problems raised by the alleged incident of misconduct. While counselors are available through the College and confidentiality is maintained, in some instances parties to a conduct case may feel more comfortable seeking the assistance of someone not associated with the College, and they should feel free to do so.

The accusing party may consult with an attorney, but that attorney may not be involved in the College’s disciplinary processes. In the very specific circumstance where the College has initiated discipli-nary proceedings while a serious criminal case arising out of the same conduct is pending against the accused student in court, the accusing party shall be allowed to have an attorney present during the College disciplinary proceeding. Even then, any attorney re-tained by the student has an extremely limited role as an advisor: the attorney may not make statements or ask questions at the hearing, but is simply available to advise the student during the pro-ceedings. Note that if a current member of the Bates College com-munity is otherwise eligible to serve as an advisor to a student that individual will remain eligible to serve as an advisor regardless of her/his status as a practicing or nonpracticing attorney, or her/his experience or education in the legal field.

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