Overview

Philosophy

Trinity University is committed to addressing issues of conduct fairly and in a manner that is reasonable for responding students. At their core, hearing procedures are intended to be straightforward, simple, and clear.

Students are entitled to a fair hearing and expected to participate in this process with civility, candor, and authenticity.

Procedure

  1. Student Conduct Violation Report Reception
  2. Hearing Forum Selection
  3. Student Notification
  4. Witnesses and Support Persons Selection
  5. The Hearing
  6. Written Summary Reception
  7. (Potential) Appeal


Hearing Forums

The Dean of Students or the Coordinator for Student Conduct and Special Projects will select the appropriate hearing forum for each case after review and consideration of corresponding policy violations.

The review may include:

  • Document reviews
  • Interviews of potential witnesses and other parties
  • Collection of other evidence

Types of Hearing Forums

Administrative Meeting

The case will be referred to a designated staff member.

This designated staff member:

  • Will meet with the responding/petitioning parties on an individual basis
  • Has the authority to determine responsibility and choose from among a full range of sanctions

Dean of Students Meeting

The case will be handled by the Dean of Students.

The Dean of Students will hear cases at the discretion and direction of the Vice President for Student Life. The procedure and the nature of the proceeding is at the discretion of the Dean of Students.

Student Conduct Panel

The case will be referred to a Student Conduct Panel.

Each Student Conduct Panel will be composed of:

  • Four students (selected from a larger pool of trained panelists)
  • One staff member from the Dean of Students office (or an appropriate designee)

Panels will:

  • Be conducted in a round-table/discussion format
  • Determine responsibility and sanctions, generally by consensus or a majority of three votes (suspension and graver sanctions will be referred to the Dean of Students for final review)

All student panelists serve for a term of one year and must complete a selection process including:

  • Interviews with the Office of the Dean of Students
  • Receiving approval from the Student Government Association
  • Receiving recommendation by the President of the University

Student Notification

After review and acceptance of a Student Conduct Violation Report, the student(s) in question will receive a notification that:

  • Will be sent a minimum of 96 hours prior to the meeting date of the Student Conduct Panel
  • Includes a list of all possible University standards of student conduct that they may have been violated
  • Refers students to procedural information

Witnesses and Support Persons Selection

Witnesses 

Any student charged with violating University standards of student conduct or any student presenting a case before any of the three hearing bodies may submit a written request to call witnesses on their behalf no later than 48 hours prior to their hearing date.

The written request must include a brief statement of the information each witness can provide. The Dean of Students, the Coordinator for Student Conduct and Special Projects, or the staff member (in administrative hearings) has the discretion to decide which witnesses will be called to the hearing.

Students will be informed in advance and in writing of all participating witnesses.

Support Persons

At any point in the hearing process, a student appearing before a hearing body in any capacity may bring a person of support, if approved by the hearing body.

This support person does not have to be a member of the University community. They may be present for purposes of advice and support, but may not speak on behalf of the student, unless they are a previously designated witness.

 

 


The Hearing

Standard of Evidence

Decisions are based on the greater weight of the credible evidence presented at the hearing. Often referred to as the "preponderance of the evidence," this standard asks decision-makers to consider whether it is more likely than not that a violation occurred. 

Hearing Guidelines

  • Students will have the opportunity (and are expected) to review case materials and all relevant documentation in advance
  • Students will have access to all written records (including but not limited to incident reports, letters, Trinity Police reports, and witness statements), but identifying information of other parties will be removed first
  • Students will be informed in advance of any witnesses called to hearings
  • Students are entitled to explain their conduct and respond to allegations against them
  • While the procedure and nature of the hearing is at the discretion of the Student Conduct Panel or assigned administrator, students will usually be asked to discuss the allegations and respond to questions
  • At any point, hearing bodies may have the discretion to determine when to consider previous allegations and violations
  • A determination whether or not a student is responsible for violating a policy (or several policies) will be determined and a sanction, if appropriate, will be communicated either immediately following the hearing or within four calendar days

Privacy Guidelines

In cases involving multiple respondents, each respondent may request at the time of the meeting/panel notification that their individual participation be conducted separately.

All meetings/panels are closed to all persons, except for the person(s) charged of violating policy, witnesses, the accusing party(ies), support person(s), the staff member or Student Conduct Panel, referring staff, and other University officials as approved by the Coordinator for Student Conduct or Dean of Students. 

Records

An audio recording will serve as the single verbatim record of all hearings. The recording is the sole property of Trinity University. No court reporters or additional recording devices are permitted. Recordings will not be destroyed until it is certain that the decision of the hearing body will not be appealed.

Appeals

Any student who has a right of appeal in the case has the right to listen to this recording but will not be provided a copy, be allowed to make a copy, nor remove the tape from the Dean of Students’ office.

Information Requests

Conduct records related to violations of Trinity University general policies are retained in the Dean of Students Office for seven years (note: this policy only applies to student conduct violations). Programs and agencies seeking access to information in these records must present a waiver signed by the current or former student before the Dean of Students office will release information for background checks.

The University will disclose records of students who were assigned with and served sanctions of probation, suspension, or expulsion, or if the student was issued a sanction of similar or significant bearing.


Written Decision Letter

Within five class days, a designated member of the Student Conduct Panel or the hearing administrator will send out a written summary to the responding student(s) and relevant University officials. It will summarize the reasoning for the decision and detail the sanctions (if applicable) and include:

  • A review of the facts
  • Witnesses heard
  • Information determined to be credible
  • Information used to reach the decision
  • Reasoning behind the sanction