OSA Code Procedures Section 16: The Parties' Participation in the Investigation and Hearing Processes
Both the Complainant and the Respondent may decline to participate in the investigation and/or hearing. However, the Director may continue without a party’s participation, completing the investigation, and the Hearing Panel may meet, reach findings, and issue sanctions based on the record available.
Parties are expected to cooperate in the process, including the investigative stage and interviews. If a party declines to participate in investigative interviews or other aspects of the investigative process, the party will generally forfeit the opportunity at the hearing to give a written opening statement, testify, and give oral and written closing statements, absent demonstration of compelling circumstances that reasonably prevented the party from cooperating in the process. The potential for or pendency of a related civil or criminal court proceeding shall not constitute compelling circumstances. A party who later seeks to participate may file a written request with the Panel Chair. No request for participation under this Section will be granted to a party who failed to request a postponement or otherwise timely explain to the investigator why they were unable to engage with the investigation process prior to filing the request. If the Panel Chair agrees that non-participation was justified by compelling circumstances, they will assess whether the investigation should be reopened or whether the party should instead be permitted to file a written statement for consideration by the Hearing Panel. In determining what level of participation (and resultant delays) are appropriate, the Panel Chair shall consider fairness to the opposing party and the University’s legitimate interest in resolving the matter. The Panel Chair’s decisions on such requests to reopen are final and are not subject to further review.
Parties are expected to participate in the hearing. If, despite being notified of the date, time, and location of the hearing (at their last known contract information), either party is not in attendance, the hearing may proceed, findings may be reached and applicable sanctions may be imposed. In addition, the parties are not required to testify at a hearing and the Hearing Panel will not draw a negative inference from a party's election to remain silent. Where a party declines to testify, the Hearing Panel’s ability to hear information necessary to make an informed decision in that party’s favor may be limited and the Hearing Panel will render a decision on the record and the evidence before it.