Student Conduct Hearing Board

Student Conduct Hearing Boards are comprised of students, faculty and 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. 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.

Student Conduct Hearing Board Procedures

The following information is provided to help students involved in a hearing understand the hearing process. For detailed information about the 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 and Residence Hall Community Standards, specifically the policies under review
  • Review the Student Conduct Hearing Board Procedures
  • Attend a pre-Hearing meeting with a Dean of Students office staff (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 Dean of Students Office 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 charged student and complainant 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, Part III, Section D, Paragraph 2, “The hearing shall be open only to the complainant, the charged student, Hearing Board members and witnesses. Others shall be permitted only if the charged student and the complainant agree”. A procedural advisor will also be present to monitor the hearing process and ensure the prescribed hearing procedures are followed.
  • The charged student and complainant 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. Dean of Students must be notified at least three business days in advance of the hearing.
  • Individuals who have submitted statements and are confirmed as witnesses by the Dean of Students Office can attend the hearing. Please note these individuals must be able to provide information directly related to the incident. The Dean of Students Office accepts character references but they are not shared with or considered by the board.

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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?

Each board is composed of 3-5 members of the campus community (faculty, staff and students). The Hearing Board chair follows a prescribed procedure, Hearing Board Agenda, to lead the hearing. The outline of the hearing agenda is as follows:

  • Greeting and Introductions
  • Review of Procedures
  • Review of Information Received
  • Review of Case Information
  • Break
  • Final Statements
  • Final Questions
  • Closing of the Hearing

The board will rely upon oral and written information and use a preponderance of information to determine if the charged student is responsible or not responsible for each alleged violation. 

The board will complete a hearing report outlining their decision and the entire record shall be forwarded, within two business days, to the Dean of Students or designee. 

Individuals including the charged student, complainant, and witnesses have the option to participate in the hearing via alternative options including telephone or video conferencing. Individuals may chose not to participate in a hearing. Individuals should discuss their options and decisions regarding participation at least two business days in advance of the hearing board. 

What happens after the hearing?

  • Within five business days of receiving the Hearing Report, the Dean of Students or designated University official shall render a written decision regarding the case, which may include findings of facts, sanction(s), and rationale. A copy of this decision will be sent to the charged student. In cases involving violence or non-forcible sexual misconduct, the complainant(s) shall have the same rights of appeal as the charged student(s). The hearing outcome letter will be sent via email. If applicable, information regarding appeals will be outlined in the outcome letter. 
  • 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.

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