Formal Procedures

A.  Discipline Committee

Each year the Dean shall designate five faculty members who shall constitute the Discipline Committee. The Dean shall designate one faculty member of the committee as the chair.  The faculty members of the committee shall not be members of the Executive Committee. A hearing panel of the committee shall consist of two of the five faculty members and one student who is a member of the Executive Committee.  The faculty members of a hearing panel shall be chosen by the chair and may include the chair. The student member shall be chosen by lot. If the chair of the discipline committee is on the panel, he or she shall chair the panel; otherwise, he or she shall designate a faculty member as chair. If the chair of the committee cannot serve because of a conflict, the senior full-time faculty member on the committee shall be acting chair. The Vice Dean shall give the members of the panel a copy of the charge and the answer.

B.  Formal Procedures

1.  Any person (a “complainant”) may inform the Vice Dean of an apparent violation of the rules contained in Part I (B) or the University Student Conduct Policy (collectively “a Part B rule”) by another person (a “respondent”).  A complaint shall be filed in writing not later than 45 days after the complainant knows or reasonably should have known the facts giving rise to the subject of the complaint.  In computing these periods, the days between the last day of class in each semester and the first day of class in the following semester shall not be counted. The Vice Dean shall conduct such investigation as is reasonably necessary to determine whether there is reason to believe that a Part B rule has been violated and that a formal or informal response is appropriate. If the Vice Dean determines that the allegations in the complaint warrant an investigation, he or she shall provide the respondent with a copy of the complaint. The investigation shall be completed within 20 days subject to the agreement of the respondent or a majority of faculty members of the Executive Committee to extend the period of the investigation. This investigation may include speaking with the complainant, speaking with other witnesses if any, and speaking with the respondent. The respondent shall be informed that statements offered in this investigation can be used in the investigation and any disciplinary proceeding. After conducting this investigation, the Vice Dean shall proceed as described hereafter. In cases where the perpetrator is unidentified, the Vice Dean shall conduct such investigation as he or she deems appropriate for the purpose of identifying the perpetrator. This investigation shall be completed in 30 days. At the conclusion of such an investigation, the Vice Dean shall inform the complainant of the results of his/her investigation.  A complaint may be filed by any person within 30 days of the conclusion of the investigation. The Vice Dean may designate another member of the tenured faculty to act in his or her stead with regard to the authority given to the Vice Dean in this Part B. If the Vice Dean is the complainant or otherwise has a conflict, the Dean shall designate another tenured member of the faculty to perform the duties assigned to the Vice Dean in this Part B. 

2.  If after an investigation the Vice Dean concludes that the circumstances do not warrant further action, he/she shall dismiss the complaint and inform the complainant and respondent forthwith. The Vice Dean may make this determination because the facts do not constitute a rules violation, because the allegations lack sufficient credibility, or because in the Vice Dean’s discretion no further action is warranted. The Vice Dean may accompany any such decision with an oral or written caution to the respondent and an explanation of the requirements of the rule allegedly violated.  Any such caution is not discipline and no record of it shall be kept in the respondent’s file. If the Vice Dean decides that no further action is warranted, whether before or after an investigation, the complainant may appeal that decision to the dean within ten days of receiving notice of the Vice Dean’s decision. The Dean, after reviewing the record and hearing the parties and any witnesses he/she may choose, may affirm the Vice Dean’s decision or reverse it. If the Dean reverses the Vice Dean’s decision, the Dean shall appoint a tenured member of the faculty to perform all of the tasks of the Vice Dean hereafter described. Except as provided in this paragraph, a decision of the Vice Dean that no further action is required is not subject to further review. 

3. If after conducting the investigation identified in Paragraph B1 the Vice Dean determines that dismissal is not appropriate, he or she shall attempt to resolve the matter without formal hearing. The respondent may insist on a hearing before the discipline committee at any time after the Vice Dean determines that dismissal is not appropriate (or the Dean so decides on appeal of a decision of the Vice Dean to dismiss).  Resolution without a hearing will usually entail an agreed statement of facts and a sanction. The Vice Dean shall keep the complainant informed of any progress toward a resolution and shall take the complainant’s views into consideration, but the nature of any resolution shall be decided between the Vice Dean and the respondent. In evaluating whether a dismissal is appropriate, and, if not, whether to seek a resolution of the complaint without formal hearing and the nature of the resolution, the Vice Dean may consult with any member of the faculty or administration other than faculty members of the Discipline Committee. A resolution without formal hearing requires the agreement of a majority of the faculty members of the Executive Committee. The respondent may have the assistance of any adviser, whether from inside the Law School or not, in negotiation of a resolution or in the event of a formal hearing as hereafter described. If a resolution without a hearing is not possible, the Vice Dean shall proceed as described hereafter. 

4. If the matter is not resolved without hearing as described above, the Vice Dean (or his or her designee) shall prosecute the alleged rules violation against the respondent. From this point in the proceeding, the “parties” are the prosecutor and the respondent. If the Vice Dean is not the prosecutor, he or she shall provide the prosecutor with the file and consult as requested by the prosecutor.  The complainant and respondent shall be informed of the identity of the prosecutor. The Vice Dean shall notify the chair of the Discipline Committee and he or she shall convene a hearing panel pursuant to paragraph A.  The Vice Dean shall provide the hearing panel with a copy of his or her file in the matter, including the results of the investigation, but not the terms proposed for resolving the matter without a hearing. The prosecutor shall prepare a document (“the charge”) describing the conduct that allegedly constitutes a rules violation and shall specify the rule violated. The charge shall be served on the respondent in person or by registered or certified mail or an express mail service at the respondent’s local address on file with the law school and if school is not in session, at the respondent’s permanent address on file with the law school. The charge shall be served within 20 days of the date that the respondent exercises the right to a formal hearing or the faculty members of the Executive Committee or the respondent inform the Vice Dean that a resolution without a formal hearing is not possible. The allegations and the charge shall be deemed denied by the respondent, but the respondent may serve an answer to the allegations in the charge within fourteen days after the charge is served. The answer shall be served on the prosecutor in person or by registered mail or an express mail service to his or her law school office. The answer may simply deny the accusations or specify the respondent’s position. The hearing shall commence two weeks after the charge is served or a reasonable time thereafter unless (a) the respondent waives a hearing and the hearing panel concludes that no hearing is needed, or (b) a party shows the discipline committee good cause why the hearing should be postponed, or (c) both parties and the chair of the hearing panel agree to a postponement. 

5. Unless otherwise stated in these rules or required by law, all proceedings described in this Part B shall be confidential except for participants to the proceedings and others whose assistance is reasonably necessary to effectuate the purpose of these rules. The respondent may elect in writing to the Vice Dean to waive confidentiality generally or for a particular person or entity. Confidentiality shall not extend to reports to the law school community to the extent described in paragraph 9. 

6. The purpose of the hearing is to determine fairly and accurately the facts and the appropriate sanction, if any, in the event a violation of the rules is found. The rules governing the formal hearing shall be interpreted to advance these goals. The hearing shall be conducted according to the following procedures: 

a. The respondent (and his or her adviser) and the prosecutor shall have the right to be present at the taking of all evidence, to make opening and closing statements, and to be present whenever the other is addressing a member of the discipline panel on the subject of the hearing. 

b. The panel may pose written questions to the parties and witnesses at the hearing or thereafter, but it does not have the power to compel testimony or production of documents. The faculty strongly urges members of the law school community to cooperate with requests from the hearing panel or from a party, for testimony and production of documents.  The panel may draw negative inferences from a party’s failure to cooperate. 

c. All three members of a panel shall be present at the hearing.  All actions shall be by majority vote. 

d. Any hearing panel member may excuse himself or herself sua sponte from hearing a particular charge.  Any party may request that a hearing panel member disqualify himself or herself for cause from hearing a charge.  Such a request will be resolved by the hearing panel. Each party is also entitled to one peremptory challenge.  If, as a result of the exercise of challenges and recusals, there are insufficient replacements to constitute the Discipline Committee, the Dean shall designate additional persons so that the hearing panel can be composed of two faculty members and one student. 

e. The rules of evidence may inform but are not binding on the hearing panel. The parties may present written and oral evidence but each party shall have the right to respond to written evidence submitted by the other.  The chair of the hearing panel will determine the mode and order of the parties’ presentations.  The parties may examine and cross-examine each witness, either by putting questions directly to the witness or by asking questions through members of the hearing panel. The method of questioning is determined by the hearing panel and may be altered by the hearing panel at any time during the hearing. The prosecutor has the burden of production and the burden of persuasion. The standard of proof is clear and convincing evidence. 

f. The proceedings shall be recorded on audio tape or by such other method (including videotape or stenographic record) as the hearing panel may direct. 

g. The hearing panel shall make a written report which sets forth findings of fact, together with the hearing panel’s conclusions and reasons, within fourteen days of the completion of the hearing. Copies of the report shall be served in person or by certified or registered or express mail on the prosecutor, the respondent (at the addresses in paragraph 4), the respondent’s adviser if any, and the Vice Dean (if not the prosecutor). 

h. If the hearing panel dismisses the charge, the record shall be kept confidential except to the extent that disclosure may be required by law. 

i. If the charge is sustained in any respect, the hearing panel’s report shall designate one or more of the following sanctions, as may be more fully described elsewhere in this handbook and as provided in Section IV of the University Student Conduct Procedures, including but not limited to:

1. Warning 

2. Censure 

3. Denial of academic honors 

4. Disciplinary probation [1] 

5. Restitution 

6. Monetary fine 

7. A grade of FX for the class 

8. Suspension for a specified period 

9. Dismissal 

10. Revocation of degree according to University Rules 

The panel may also impose one of the listed sanctions but suspend it on condition that the student accepts another sanction not on the list but appropriate in the panel’s opinion.  If the disciplinary violation is in connection with a class and the panel’s sanction does not provide for a grade of FX, the faculty member shall determine the grade for the class.  The panel has no authority to impose a grade for the class other than a grade of “FX.” 

7. The investigation and determination described in this Part B shall be conducted with appropriate speed taking into consideration the nature of the charge, the availability of witnesses, and the time of the academic year in which the allegation is made, including whether class is in session and whether examinations are imminent or in progress.  In the ordinary course, any hearing before a hearing panel should be held not later than the last day of classes in the semester in which the allegation is made, unless in the opinion of the hearing panel in consultation with the Vice Dean and the parties’ further delay is warranted.  Time limits contained in this Part B except those in paragraph 1 can be extended by the hearing panel chair for good cause. 

8. The respondent may appeal to the Dean from any adverse determination of the hearing panel.  Notice of appeal shall be filed with the panel chair, the Vice Dean, and the prosecutor within seven days of the action from which the appeal is taken by registered or certified mail or express mail or in person.  Within seven days of receipt of the notice of appeal or such reasonably longer time if necessary to transcribe the record, the panel chair shall forward to the Dean the entire record of the proceedings on the charge. The respondent and the prosecutor may make written submissions to the Dean and reply to the submissions of the other, and may make oral arguments, according to a time schedule the Dean shall determine.  Each party has the right to reply to the oral or written submissions of the other party. The Dean may affirm the hearing panel’s action, reverse it, or reverse it and return the charge for further proceedings by the hearing panel.  In a case where the Dean affirms a hearing panel action sustaining a charge, or where the appeal is limited to the recommended sanction, the Dean may reduce but may not increase the sanction recommended by the hearing panel.  If a hearing panel finds against a respondent and its findings or sanction are not appealed as described in this paragraph, they shall be final. 

9. The Vice Dean shall prepare an annual written report of any discipline imposed under these rules during the prior academic year and issue it to the faculty and student body at the beginning of each academic year. The report shall generally describe the nature of any violations and sanctions but shall not contain names of parties or witnesses or give details that will identify the parties or witnesses.

[1]Disciplinary probation is a decision that the underlying conduct will be revisited for a sanction (or a harsher sanction) if the student is found culpable of another infraction under these rules during the remainder of his or her time in school or if the student fails to abide by conditions the panel imposes as part of its sanction.