Spring 2020 Code Revisions - Section 8: General Panel Procedures Applicable to All Types of Hearings Under These Procedures
Please note that a * denotes a section that has corresponding CJC comments that the committee wishes the public to review.
The Administrative Panel or Hearing Panel will issue a written decision as expeditiously as possible upon completion of deliberations. The OSCCS will provide the written decision to the respondent as soon as practicable. The decision will include:
The specific prohibited conduct for which the respondent was found responsible or not responsible, including the number of Panelists finding the respondent responsible for each specific prohibited conduct; and
the findings of fact and the rationale for the determinations regarding both responsibilityand sanctions; and
any dissenting opinion should one be authored by a Panel member.
The decision may incorporate and reference any portions of the proceedings, including the pre-hearing submissions. The decision will include instructions and time limits for appeals. Any sanctions and remedies imposed should state the date by which the requirements must be satisfied (if applicable), and the consequences of failure to satisfy the requirements.
The Appeal Panel will issue a written decision as expeditiously as possible upon completion of deliberations. The OSCCS will provide the written decision to the respondent as soon as practicable. The decision will include:
The specific grounds for appeal that have been sustained or an affirmance of the Panel’s decision, including the number of Panelists supporting the majority’s decision and the rationale for each determination; and
any dissenting opinion should one be authored by a Panel member.
Strict rules of evidence shall not apply under these procedures. However, during written, oral, pre-hearing, and hearing statements, the OSCCS or the respondent may make objections on the following grounds, unless otherwise provided by the Code, to evidence presented during a hearing:
Past findings. However, such findings are admissible at the stage of the hearing for determining sanctions.
Mental health or medical information. However, a named complainant or respondent who wishes to have the Hearing Panel consider mental health or medical information that the named complainant or respondent considers favorable and relevant to the case, may voluntarily share such information.
The Administrative, Hearing, or Appeal Chair will make a determination on objections and instruct the panelists accordingly.
The burden of proof on violation shall rest on the OSCCS, and the standard of proof on violation shall be preponderance of the evidence.
*The CJC was divided on the burden of proof. 6 voting members favored preponderance of the evidence, while 4 members supported the clear and convincing standard. We ask the community to weigh in with the current understanding that Policy 6.4 and Greek Judicial proceedings utilize the preponderance of the evidence standard, while the existing Campus Code of Conduct utilizes the clear and convincing standard. Members who voted for the clear and convincing standard believed it was the best way to ensure respondents are provided due process. Clear and convincing means that the University must prove something is “highly probable.” Members who support preponderance of the evidence noted that it was the best standard to balance interests of the community, rights of the accused student, and due process. Members who supported preponderance of the evidence said that it was the standard that it helped students engage in the student conduct process in a more “educational” way; however, members who support clear and convincing disputed noting that providing students the assurance of due process is educational.*
Upon receipt of written notice of the identity of the Hearing or Administrative Chair and/or the members of the Administrative or Hearing Panel, if any party (respondent, complainant, OSCCS, or panel member) believes that they have a potential conflict of interest with either a Panel member or Chair, the party should notify the Vice President of Student and Campus Life, who will forward the notification to the Chair. The notification must be in writing, made within five (5) business days of the notice, and include facts substantiating the claim of conflict. The Panel has discretion whether to remove a member of the Panel or to recuse themselves.
Upon receipt of written notice of the identity of the members of the Appeal Panel, if a party respondent, complainant, OSCCS, or panel member) believes that they have a potential conflict of interest with an Appeal Panel member, the party should notify the Vice President of Student and Campus Life, who will forward the notification to the relevant Appeal Panel Chair. The notification must be in writing, made within five business days of the notice, and include facts substantiating the claim of conflict. Appeal Panel members have discretion whether to recuse themselves.
At the discretion of the Panel Chair, in consultation with the OSCCS, multiple Formal Complaints under these procedures may be joined in one hearing if doing so is likely to result in reliable and more efficient outcomes. In determining whether to consolidate, the Panel Chair will provide the respondent with an opportunity to explain their preferences for consolidated or severed hearings. Any respondent may request in writing to be severed from a consolidated hearing on any of the following grounds:
the respondent is not charged with the same violation of the Code;
the respondent is charged with the same violation of the Code as other respondents but because of circumstances occurring at a different time and place;
the facts relevant to the respondent would differ materially from the facts relevant to other respondents;
consolidation is likely to cause prejudice or confusion for the fact finders.
In all consolidated hearings involving multiple respondents, the Hearing or Administrative Panel will consider individually the sanctions and remedies appropriate for each respondent.
For Formal Complaints where the possible sanctions for any respondent may be suspension or dismissal but not for other respondents, the Formal Complaints cannot be joined in one hearing.
Either the OSCCS or the respondent may request that a hearing be rescheduled. Absent extenuating circumstances, requests to reschedule must be submitted at least three (3) business days prior to the hearing. A request to reschedule a hearing must be supported by a compelling reason.
An audio recording will be made of all hearings, but not of deliberations. The OSCCS, respondent, and, if applicable, the named complainant may listen to the audio recording of the hearing during business hours at a secure and private campus location, with access facilitated by the Vice President of Student and Campus Life. The audio recording is the property of Cornell University and the OSCCS.
Because the student conduct system utilizes the decision of the Administrative, Hearing, and Appeal Panels to define or interpret violations, all decisions of those Panels shall be kept on file in the OSCCS, but with names of individuals and other identifying information redacted.
**Please submit comments on the main 2020 Proposed Amendments to the Campus Code of Conduct page.**