Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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Judicial Procedures

Article V of the Student Government Association Constitution prescribes the institutions and policies which maintain the Wheaton College Honor Code.

The College Judicial Procedures prescribe the process and procedures to be followed in cases where formal charges of alleged violations of the Honor Code or a college policy are brought forward to the College Hearing Board or to the Appellate Board. The procedures are reviewed annually by the Office of the Dean of Students in consultation with the Student Government Association, and they are published on the Student Government Association website and on the Wheaton College website.


ARTICLE V -- Judicial Branch

The purpose of the Judicial Branch shall be to maintain the Wheaton College Honor Code. The College's judicial policies, practices, and sanctions are designed for the purpose of education and are not to be equated with state or federal laws or the criminal justice system. The disciplinary system seeks to educate students so that they understand both personal freedoms and the limits of belonging to and living in a diverse academic community. Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. wrote in a Supreme Court decision: "Education in any meaningful sense includes the inculcation of an understanding in each pupil of the necessity of rules and obedience thereto. This understanding is no less important than learning to read and write. One who does not comprehend the meaning and necessity of discipline is handicapped not merely in his education but throughout his subsequent life? When a student merits censure for his conduct, he is rendered a disservice if appropriate sanctions are not applied." (Goss v. Lopez 419 U.S. 565,593 (1975))

A student who is accused of violating the Honor Code or a college policy may have the opportunity to appear before a two-thirds quorum of the College Hearing Board in certain circumstances, as discussed herein.

The Judicial Branch shall be divided into two sections:

1) College Hearing Board consisting of the College Hearing Officer and the Hearing Board, and

2) the Appellate Board.

SECTION 1 -- College Hearing Board/College Hearing Officer

A. Membership of the College Hearing Board

Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and one Member-at-Large are all matriculated students in good academic and social standing.

  1. Chair, who shall preside over all cases except when illness or other necessary absences from campus prevent this or when a conflict of interest arises, and then the Vice Chair shall preside. The Chair shall be a voting member of the Board. It is the Chair's responsibility to insure that current and accurate records of proceedings and decisions are maintained in the Office of the Dean of Students.
  2. Vice Chair, who shall act as Chair in the Chair's absence. The Vice Chair shall assume the duties and responsibilities of the Chair. The Vice Chair shall be a voting member.
  3. College Hearing Board Secretary, who shall keep records pertaining to the proceedings and shall submit those records to the Chair of the College Hearing Board. The College Hearing Board Secretary is also responsible for notifying members of the Board as to the time and place of all College Hearing Board meetings and of taking the minutes of these meetings. The Secretary shall be a voting member.
  4. One Member-at-Large, who shall be a voting member.
  5. Two faculty members chosen by the College Hearing Board student members in consultation with the Dean of Students and approved by the faculty Committee on Committees and the Student Government Association Student Senate. Both faculty members are voting members.
  6. An alternate faculty member may serve in the event that one of the standing faculty members cannot attend and shall be a voting member. The alternate Faculty Member shall be any faculty member who has previously served on the College Hearing Board.
  7. The Dean or Associate Dean of Students, as Advisor to the Board, will be a non-voting member except in the case of a tie.

The above persons may delegate their positions if it is deemed necessary or appropriate in the sole discretion of the Dean or Associate Dean of Students.

B. College Hearing Officer

The position of College Hearing Officer shall be filled by the Director or an Assistant Director of Student Life or his or her designee in their sole discretion.

C. Jurisdiction

1. College Hearing Board

a. Alleged violations of Academic Responsibilities and Standards as set forth in the Honor Code and the Student Handbook such as:

  1. Plagiarism (refer to complete explanation of plagiarism in the Student Handbook).
  2. Cheating: giving or receiving unauthorized aid on an examination; taking an examination in place of another student; doing assignments for another student or handing in another's work as one's own; conspiring to deceive in academic work; taking an examination in an unauthorized location; bringing unauthorized materials into a closed-book examination room; submitting the same paper for more than one class without the consent of both professors.
  3. Violations of the accepted standards governing the use of computers and computerized materials; tampering with secured computer networks or copyrighted programs.
  4. Violations of any stated academic standards or regulations put forth by faculty or college departments governing the use of academic facilities or materials.

b. Alleged violations of the Wheaton Community Standards, which state expectations for behavior on the campus, as set forth in the STUDENT HANDBOOK.

c. Alleged violations of any published Wheaton College policies or regulations.

d. Alleged conduct which is unacceptable and inappropriate to the Wheaton College community or which is not in furtherance of the mission of the college, whether or not specifically set forth in writing.

2. College Hearing Officer

The College Hearing Officer, together with the Vice Chair of the College Hearing Board or another designated member of the Board, will conduct informal hearings on minor violations of residence hall or college policies. Examples of minor violations are (but not limited to): failure to cooperate during a fire drill; violation of quiet hours; unauthorized room changes; unauthorized pets; first, or minor violations of the college's alcohol and drug policies; minor violations of the residence hall contract. Decisions about what constitutes a violation to be referred to the Hearing Officer will be made in the sole discretion of the college, through the Chair of the College Hearing Board and the Dean of Students, or their designees.

Sanctions issued by the Hearing Officer may include: a written warning, fines, reassignment to another room or residence hall, parent notification, removal from the residence halls, mandated community service.

An appeal of certain types of sanctions, such as suspension from college housing, issued by the Hearing Officer may be made by the respondent to the College Hearing Board. In this case the Hearing Board will function as an appellate body, hearing the case in order to determine whether a preponderance of the evidence warranted the Hearing Officer's finding of responsibility. If the Hearing Board upholds the finding, the case will be returned to the Hearing Officer for sanction. The Board may choose to make a recommendation on the severity of the sanction, but the Hearing Officer will decide the sanction for the violation.

SECTION II -- The Appellate Board

A. Membership

  1. Chair, who shall preside over all cases except when due to illness or other necessary absences from campus or when a conflict of interest arises, in which case the Vice Chair shall preside. The Chair shall be a full-time, matriculated student in good academic and social standing. He/she will be selected by an application process under the authority of the College Hearing Board and must be approved by the Executive Board of the Student Government Association. The Chair shall be a voting member of the Board.
  2. Vice Chair, who shall act as Chair in the Chair's absence. The Vice Chair shall be a full-time, matriculated student in good academic and social standing approved by the Executive Board of the Student Government Association. The Vice Chair shall be a voting member in all cases heard by the Board.
  3. The Appellate Board Secretary, who shall keep records pertaining to the proceedings and shall submit those records to the Chair of the Appellate Board. The Appellate Board Secretary is also responsible for notifying members of the Board of the time and place of all Appellate Board meetings. The Secretary shall be a full-time, matriculated student in good academic and social standing appointed by the Executive Board of the Student Government Association. The Secretary shall be a voting member in all cases heard by the Board.
  4. Two faculty members from the Committee on Admissions and Academic Standing. The two faculty members of the Appellate Board shall be elected by the Committee on Admissions and Academic Standing from within the membership. The two faculty members shall be voting members in all cases heard by the Board.

B. Jurisdiction

The Appellate Board shall consider all appeals from the respondent or campus groups when one believes that their procedural rights have been violated or in certain extraordinary cases when new evidence can be produced that may affect the decision rendered by the College Hearing Board.

College Judicial Procedures

The college's goal is to handle student discipline matters with basic fairness. The procedures set forth herein are recommended procedures for the handling of student discipline matters, the resolution of which lies ultimately within the college's sole discretion. The college, in its sole discretion, may determine that strict adherence to these procedures is not in the best interests of the college and/or the student(s), and may make a determination of sanctions without adherence to these procedures. Therefore, the college's strict adherence to these procedures is not always warranted or required, and a deviation from these procedures by the college will not invalidate its determinations.

College Hearing Board Procedures

1.  Formal charges of an alleged violation

A member of the community, who wishes to pursue formal charges of an alleged violation of the Honor Code, or a college policy, shall report it in writing to the Office of the Dean of Students. The following members of the Wheaton College community are expected to report an alleged violation:

a. a student who has witnessed or has knowledge of a violation of the Honor Code or the academic and community standards of the college
b. a student who has violated the Honor Code
c. a faculty member who has witnessed or has knowledge of a violation of the Honor Code
d. any student organization, club, or committee that has witnessed or has knowledge of a violation of the Honor Code
e. other members of the Wheaton College community who have witnessed or have knowledge of a violation of the Honor Code

2.  Pre-hearing
The following procedures are generally followed prior to the hearing of a case:

a. It is recommended that the person reporting an alleged violation of the Honor Code approach the individual involved and suggest that he/she report him/herself. Regardless of whether the accused reports him/herself, the person who has witnessed or has knowledge of an alleged violation shall submit a written, dated and signed report of the alleged violation to the Dean or Associate Dean of Students. Sometimes circumstances are such that it may not be practical or appropriate for the person reporting the allegation to approach the individual directly, or to submit a written statement. In such a situation, the person should consult with the Dean or Associate Dean of Students.
b. The Dean or Associate Dean of Students shall promptly inform the Chair of the College Hearing Board of alleged violations. The Chair of the College Hearing Board, in conjunction with the Dean, shall formulate the charges to be brought against the respondent after reviewing the written report of alleged violations.
c. The respondent (the person alleged to have violated the Honor Code) shall receive written notification of the nature of the charge being brought against him/her and is to prepare a written response to the charge, which shall be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students no more than three (3) academic days of receipt of the charge.
d. Upon receipt of the respondent's response to the charge, the Dean or the Associate Dean and the College Hearing Board Chair (or their designees) shall review the allegations regarding the reported violation and the respondent's response and determine whether the case will be heard by the College Hearing Board or be resolved in some other manner. The decision to present a case to the College Hearing Board shall be in the sole discretion of the college, through its Dean or Associate Dean of Students (or their designees), based upon the nature of, and circumstances surrounding, the reported violation. No student has an entitlement or right to a hearing before the College Hearing Board.
e. The standard the College Hearing Board shall use to determine if the respondent is responsible for the reported violation shall be a preponderance of the information; that is, whether it is more likely than not that a violation occurred given the information reviewed by the Board.
f. If it is determined that the case will be heard by the College Hearing Board, the College Hearing Board Chair and the Office of the Dean of Students shall determine the date, time, and place of the case hearing.
g. Upon determination of the date, time and place of the hearing, the Chair of the College Hearing Board or the Office of the Dean of Students shall inform the Board of the date, time, and place of the hearing and nature of the case to be heard and shall instruct them to read the materials pertaining to the case, in the Office of the Dean of Students, prior to the hearing. The respondent and complainant, as appropriate, shall be notified in writing of the date, time and place of the hearing, and the assignment of procedural advisors to both parties. The notification will normally take place four (4) academic days prior to the hearing date in order to allow both parties sufficient time to prepare, and not more than fifteen (15) academic days from the original receipt of the respondent's statement in response to the charge.
h. Decisions of cases involving senior students generally shall be rendered prior to the Commencement exercises of the academic year in which the alleged violation occurred. Cases involving underclass students generally shall be continued to the following academic semester if reported during final exams. In some cases, however, such as where the respondent indicates he/she wishes the hearing to commence even if the hearing occurs before the third academic day following receiving notice of the hearing, the college, in its sole discretion, may decide not to continue the case to the next academic semester, assuming the Board is able to be convened on short notice.

In cases where a student is facing criminal investigation and/or charges for conduct which is the subject of a disciplinary proceeding, or if the conduct at issue is prohibited by local, state or federal laws, the college through its Chair of the College Hearing Board, the Dean of Students, and/or the Director of Public Safety will, in their sole discretion, determine if the conduct at issue should be heard before a College Hearing Board. The college may choose, but is not required, to hold its disciplinary proceedings in abeyance, pending the outcome of such investigation and charges. In these cases, the college, through the Dean or her/his designee, may choose to place the student on interim removal from campus. (See Leaves of Absences and Withdrawals in the Student Handbook on the Wheaton website at http://wheatoncollege.edu/policies/). In making such a decision, the Dean shall consider: 1) the safety and well-being of the college community or preservation of college property; 2) the student's own physical or emotional safety and well-being; and 3) maintaining the operations of the college without disruption or interference. The student may submit a written request to the Dean of Students of the college to resume the disciplinary process if the investigation and/or criminal matter is resolved or dropped. The college, in its sole discretion, through its Dean of Students, or her designee, will determine if the disciplinary process will proceed.

3. Hearing

a. The hearing shall be held on the Wheaton College campus, and shall be closed to the Wheaton College community except to members of the College Hearing Board, procedural advisors, specified witnesses, the respondent and the complainant. The college judicial procedures and the proceedings of the College Hearing Board are educational and disciplinary in nature -- in response to violations of the Wheaton College Honor Code, Community Standards and college policies. They are not legal proceedings and students may not apply legal standards or expect legal representation in the judicial process or in the proceedings of the College Hearing Board. Attorneys and other personal advisors (with the exception of the college-designated procedural advisor) may not attend or participate in college judicial proceedings and materials prepared by attorneys or private investigators are not admissible. Polygraph tests are also not admissible; the College Hearing Board cannot be expected to evaluate their scientific reliability.
b. The complainant shall attend the hearing and verbally present his/her side of the case. The complainant and the respondent may remain in the room for the case presentation, at the sole discretion of the College Hearing Board. If either the complainant or the respondent does not appear, the College Hearing Board may choose to proceed with the hearing.
c. The complainant may request witnesses to speak on his/her behalf provided that the Office of the Dean of Students is informed of the identity of the witnesses at least twenty-four hours prior to the hearing. The complainant is limited to one (1) character witness who may appear on his/her behalf at the hearing. If the complainant chooses, other character witnesses may submit statements on his/her behalf at least twenty-four hours prior to the case hearing, to be reviewed by the College Hearing Board.
d. The respondent shall be required to appear in person and to present his/her defense to the College Hearing Board. If the respondent does not appear, the College Hearing Board may choose to proceed and impose an appropriate sanction if they determine one is warranted.
e. The respondent may request witnesses to speak on his/her behalf provided that the Office of the Dean of Students is informed of the identity of the witnesses at least twenty-four hours prior to the hearing. The respondent is limited to one (1) character witness who may appear on their behalf at the hearing. If the respondent chooses, other character witnesses may submit statements on his/her behalf at least twenty-four hours prior to the case hearing to be reviewed by the College Hearing Board.
f. The respondent, complainant and witnesses shall be expected to answer all relevant questions and submit any information requested by the Board.
g. Other relevant witnesses or members of the Wheaton College community may be called to the College Hearing Board hearing for advice and information at the request of the Chair of the College Hearing Board. Individuals who fail to comply with a request by the College Hearing Board to appear at a hearing or to provide written testimony, or who otherwise obstruct the hearing process, may be charged with an Honor Code violation.
h. All parties present at the hearing must recognize, and honor, the fact that everything stated in the course of the hearing is to remain confidential, subject to the college's implementation of its policies and sanctions, its obligations to its community, and legal requirements.
i. Any violation of confidentiality may be subject to review by the College Hearing Board.
j. In cases heard by the Board, all participating members of the College Hearing Board shall be entitled to vote.
k. The Board will use the standard of preponderance of information to determine whether or not the respondent should be held responsible for the alleged violation.
l. If any members of the College Hearing Board are involved in a case as the respondent, the complainant or a witness, they shall exempt themselves from the hearing, deliberation and voting on the case. In cases where a member of the Board has other potential conflicts of interest, the Board shall discuss that member's participation in the hearing and deliberations, and may request that the member be exempted from the case.

4. Sanctions
After hearing a case, the College Hearing Board shall deliberate in private and shall decide whether the respondent is either responsible, not responsible, or no violation was proved. If no violation was proved or the respondent is found not responsible, there will be no record that she/he was subject to an accusation. If the respondent is found responsible for a violation of the Honor Code or of a college policy, the College Hearing Board may issue one or a combination of the following or similar types of sanctions:

a. Community Violations

    • admonition or written warning
    • fines and/or restitution for damages
    • mandated community service or educational sanction
    • disciplinary probation
    • notation in disciplinary file in the Office of the Dean of Students until graduation
    • permanent notation in disciplinary file in the Office of the Dean of Students
    • parent/guardian notification of decision
    • suspension from college housing
    • suspension from the college, held in abeyance
    • recommendation to the President for suspension from the college for a specified period of time*
    • recommendation to the President for expulsion*

Other sanctions if deemed appropriate:

    • restriction from college facilities or activities
    • removal from an athletic team or campus organization
    • removal from a campus position
    • revocation of a group's charter

b. Academic Violations

    • mandated community service or educational sanction
    • loss of credit or failure for the piece of work
    • loss of credit or failure in the course for the semester in which the offense occurred
    • parent/guardian notification of decision
    • notation in academic file in the Academic Advising Center until graduation
    • permanent notation in academic file in the Academic Advising Center
    • recommendation to the president for suspension* from the college for a specified period of time
    • recommendation to the President for expulsion*

The College Hearing Board shall consider the prior disciplinary record of individuals found responsible for violation of the Honor Code in determining the sanction(s) in any particular case.

* (Note that students who are suspended or expelled from the college are not entitled to any refund of tuition and fees and may not complete work for their classes in that semester. A student who is suspended or expelled will be assigned withdrawals for courses in progress.)

Enrollment and continued attendance at Wheaton College is a privilege, not a right. Any sanction which revokes that privilege is intended to protect the campus community or the educational integrity of the college. The college's judicial system has broad educational objectives and follows procedures which are different from state or federal courts. The information contained in these judicial procedures pertains to campus disciplinary proceedings only. It does not reflect findings or judgments made in any other forum and should not be interpreted to mean that a respondent has been charged with or found guilty of any criminal offense. Also, students who are involved in judicial procedures or disciplinary proceedings must realize that the rules, formalities and standards which apply to a court matter do not apply to the college's handling of disciplinary matters.

5. Post Hearing
The following procedures shall be followed after the hearing of a case:

a. Once a decision has been reached, the respondent and the complainant, as appropriate, shall be informed by the Chair of the College Hearing Board, or his/her designee, of the outcome.
b. The decision and sanctions, if any, generally shall be mailed to the respondent within five (5) academic days of the finding of the decision.
c. A respondent who has been found responsible for an Honor Code violation and who has received a sanction other than suspension or expulsion may appeal the decision to the Appellate Board on the basis of new issues of fact or issues of unfairness in the College Hearing Board proceeding by submitting a written request to the Dean or Associate Dean of Students within five (5) academic days of the receipt of the decision of the hearing.
d. The letter requesting a hearing by the Appellate Board shall state in detail the facts which the respondent believes constitute new issues of fact or issues of unfairness in the College Hearing Board proceeding, in support of his/her appeal.
e. The Dean or Associate Dean of Students shall notify the Chair of the College Hearing Board that the case is being appealed. At the discretion of the college, the complainant in the case may be notified of the respondent's appeal and may be invited to submit a statement to the Appellate Board, as appropriate.
f. The Appellate Board will schedule and hear the appealed case generally within ten academic days.
g. Sanctions of suspension and of expulsion from the college's academic programs as determined by the College Hearing Board or the Dean of Students, shall be presented by the Dean of Students as recommendations to the President of the college for final consideration and action.
h. In cases where the recommended sanction for an Honor Code violation is suspension or expulsion from the college, a respondent may appeal the decision on the basis of new issues of fact or issues of unfairness in the College Hearing Board directly to the President of the college by submitting a written request to the Office of the President within five (5) academic days of the receipt of the decision of the hearing. The President in his sole discretion may refer the appeal to the Appellate Board.
i. The letter requesting a review of the decision by the President shall state in detail the facts which the respondent believes constitute new issues of fact or issues of unfairness in the College Hearing Board proceeding, in support of his/her appeal.
j. The President will review the appealed case generally within ten (10) academic days.
k. Any action assessed or recommended by the College Hearing Board may be enforced pending the outcome of the appeal at the sole discretion of the Dean or Associate Dean. This includes an interim suspension that may have been imposed by the Dean or Associate Dean.
l. A written summary log of all judicial cases heard by College Hearing Board in the current academic year shall be available in the Office of the Dean of Students for review by any member of the Wheaton community upon written request. The names of the responding and complaining parties shall be omitted from the summary log. The case log shall state the charge(s) heard by the College Hearing Board, the finding of the Board and the sanction(s) issued by the Board. The summary log entry for a case shall be available for review, within ten academic days following the final decision in the case. A summary log of cases heard may be submitted to the Wheaton Wire by the Chair of the College Hearing Board.

Appellate Board Procedures

1. Pre-hearing
The following procedures shall be followed upon appeal of a decision of the College Hearing Board case:

a. The respondent shall submit an appeal in writing to the Dean or Associate Dean of Students within five (5) academic days of the receipt of the written decision of the College Hearing Board.
b. Any action assessed or recommended by the College Hearing Board may be enforced pending the outcome of the appeal at the sole discretion of the Dean or Associate Dean. This includes an interim suspension that may have been imposed by the Dean or Associate Dean.
c. The Dean or Associate Dean of Students shall promptly inform the Chair of the Appellate Board of the appeal. At the discretion of the college, the complainant may also be notified of the appeal and may be given an opportunity to respond to the Appellate Board, as appropriate.
d. The Chair of the Appellate Board may request the College Hearing Board's file of the case being appealed.
e. The Chair of the Appellate Board shall determine the date, time and place of the hearing. The Appellate Board will schedule and hear the appeal case, generally within ten (10) academic days. Cases involving underclass students may be continued to the following academic semester if reported within the week of final exams, unless the Board is able to be convened on short notice. Decisions of all cases involving senior students generally are rendered prior to the Commencement exercises of the academic year in which the appeal is made.
f. Upon determination of the date, time and place of the hearing, the Chair of the Appellate Board or the Office of the Dean of Students shall inform the Board of the date, time and place of the hearing and shall instruct them to review all materials in the case file in the Office of the Dean of Students prior to the hearing.
g. Members of the Appellate Board may request that an individual or group be available to testify at the hearing in order to clarify any points it deems appropriate.

2. Hearing

a. The Hearing shall be held on the Wheaton College campus, but shall be closed to the Wheaton College community except to members of the Appellate Board and any persons requested by the Appellate Board to appear at the hearing.
b. The Appellate Board shall formulate its decision based upon the information it reviews, including the appellant's written statement.
c. If an individual has been asked to appear at the hearing, the Chair of the Appellate Board reserves the right to decide at what point during the hearing the individual shall appear to make a statement or answer questions by the Board.
d. All individuals shall be expected to answer all relevant questions and to submit any information requested by the Appellate Board.
e. All parties will be reminded by the Chair of the Appellate Board that everything stated is to remain confidential, subject to the college's implementation of its policies and sanctions, its obligations to its community, and legal requirements. Any violation of confidentiality shall be subject to review by the College Hearing Board.
f. In cases heard by the Board, all participating members of the Appellate Board shall be entitled to vote. A member of the Board shall exempt herself/himself from any deliberation and voting in cases when a conflict of interest arises while serving on the Appellate Board.

3. Decision-Making
After reviewing an appeal, the Appellate Board shall decide in private whether to deny or rule in favor of the appeal.

a. If the appeal is denied, the original decision by the College Hearing Board shall become final.
b. If the Appellate Board rules in favor of the appeal, the Board shall refer the case back to the College Hearing Board with a written expression of the Appellate Board's opinion and instructing the College Hearing Board on how to proceed. In rehearing the case, the College Hearing Board must consider the statement from the Appellate Board and may reconsider all information and testimony from the initial hearing and any new information or supporting material it deems appropriate and as consistent with the instructions of the Appellate Board. The Appellate Board may recommend to the College Hearing Board reconsideration of a sanction imposed in the case.

4. Post Hearing
The following procedures shall be followed after the reviewing of an appeal:

a. Once a decision has been reached, the appellant shall be informed of the findings of the Appellate Board.
b. The decision shall be mailed to the appellant generally within five (5) academic days of the finding of the decision and shall be sent by the Chair of the Appellate Board, or his/her designee.
c. If the remedy imposed after the appeal process is expulsion, or suspension from the college's academic program, the Chair of the Appellate Board shall present such sanction to the President of the college for final consideration and action.
d. The Chair of the Appellate Board shall submit to the Chair of the College Hearing Board a copy of the letter sent to the appellant regarding the findings of the Appellate Board. The Chair of the College Hearing Board shall report on the final disposition of the case to the College Hearing Board.

Important Notice to All

No student or community member has an entitlement or right to a hearing before the College Hearing Board or Appellate Board, or to the college's strict adherence to the procedures set forth herein. The above does not constitute a contract to any person. The college, in its sole discretion, may alter any of the above steps or procedures as it deems necessary given the facts and circumstances of each situation.

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