University Hearing Boards are comprised of students, faculty and/or staff who have displayed a commitment to upholding the community standards set forth by the Code and by the Mission of the University and are trained in the UMass Amherst Code of Student Conduct processes. University Hearing Board members play a crucial role in the adjudication of student conduct matters and ensure that students and/or student organizations are given the opportunity to have their cases heard by a representative body of the University.
University Hearing Board Procedures
The following information is provided to help students involved in a hearing understand the hearing process. For detailed information about the University Hearing Board procedures, please refer to the Code of Student Conduct and the Student Conduct Hearing Board Agenda.
Before the Hearing
- Read the Code of Student Conduct, specifically the policies under review
- Review the Student Conduct Hearing Board Procedures
- Attend a pre-Hearing meeting with a Student Conduct and Community Standards staff member (encouraged)
- Provide the Case Administrator with all information you would like to be considered in the case, including but not limited to your own account of the incident, witness statements and any other relevant information (e.g. pictures, phone/text records)
Scheduling of the Hearing
- A Student Conduct and Community Standards staff member will contact you via your student email to schedule your hearing. Please note that failure to respond to contact requests by a staff member will lead to a hearing being scheduled without your involvement.
- The Respondent and Reporting Party will receive a hearing notification at least five business days prior to the date of the hearing. The notification will include date, time and place of hearing, as well as a description of the alleged act(s) and the alleged violation(s).
Who can attend the Hearing?
- Per the Code of Student Conduct, Section 5.2.3.b, “The hearing will be open only to the Reporting Party(ies), Respondent(s), Case Administrator(s), Hearing Board members, Witnesses, Procedural Advisor(s), and Advisor(s). Others will be permitted at the discretion of the Procedural Advisor(s) in consultation with all parties involved and hearing board members.”
- The Respondent and Reporting Party are allowed to have an advisor of their choosing present for the hearing process. Advisors (including attorneys) may only act in an advisory capacity and may not represent you or otherwise participate in the hearing.
- Individuals who have submitted statements and are confirmed as witnesses by the Procedural Advisor can attend the hearing. Please note these individuals must be able to provide information directly related to the incident. Character References are accepted to be included in the case file, but they are not shared with or considered by the board. Character References are reviewed and considered when determining sanctions.
Where can I get assistance?
All parties involved in a hearing can request support and/or service from these resources.
What happens during a hearing?
The University Hearing Board shall be composed of University faculty, staff, and/or students. Each hearing board will be comprised of three to five (3-5) board members. The procedural advisor follows a prescribed procedure, the University Hearing Board Agenda, to facilitate the hearing.
- The procedural advisor does not ask questions during the hearing nor do they participate in the deliberation process. They are present for the deliberation to monitor and ensure hearing procedures are being followed.
- The Chair of the hearing is responsible for leading the deliberation process. The board will rely upon oral and written information and use a preponderance of evidence to determine if the charged student is responsible or not responsible for each alleged violation.
- The University Hearing Board will complete a Hearing Board Report outlining the decision regarding the violation(s) and rationale for the decision. The Hearing Board Report will be forwarded to the Dean of Students, or designee, within two (2) business days of conclusion of the hearing.
What happens after the hearing?
- The Dean of Students, or designee, will wait a minimum of three (3) business days after receiving the Hearing Board Report to render an outcome. During the three (3) business days, parties involved may submit relevant information they wish to be considered in determining sanctions. The Dean of Students, or designee, will render a decision to the Respondent. When applicable, the Reporting Party will be notified of the outcome.
- The status of a student does not change during appeal. The sanctions will commence when the appeal period/process has concluded. All interim restrictions will remain in effect during this period.