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5. Grievance Hearing


Hearings will be closed to anyone who is not directly involved in the case as a party, Process Advisor, Support Individual, Investigator, witness, Hearing Panel member, or other appropriate individual. The College recognizes that both parties have the right to engage legal representation at their own expense. While attorneys are not permitted to be present during a Hearing Panel proceeding, both parties may petition the Chair of the Hearing Panel for a recess during which to consult with their attorney by phone, e-mail, or other means. The College may at its discretion designate its own attorney to be present or otherwise available during proceedings before the Hearing Panel and provide legal counsel to the Chair and the Hearing Panel members. During the hearing, each party may present only witnesses who were named in the list distributed or otherwise approved by the Chair of the Hearing Panel in advance of the hearing. Witnesses will be present only during their period of testimony and questioning.

Either the complainant or the respondent may request to participate in the hearing through a method that limits or does not require physical presence in the hearing room. For instance, either party may participate using technology or they may request the use of partitions in the hearing room. Witnesses may also participate using technology. Such requests must be reviewed in advance by the Chair of the Hearing Panel to ensure that they do not compromise fairness and equity.
The complainant and respondent will have equal access to information before and during the hearing and an equal opportunity to present witnesses and information at the hearing.

The College will arrange for audio-recording the entire Hearing. The Hearing Panel's deliberations will not be recorded.

Sequence of Hearing

a. The hearing will begin with the Chair calling the hearing to order, explaining the process and providing an opportunity for all parties to ask procedural questions.

b. The Chair reminds the parties that the proceedings are confidential as required under FERPA and asks each person present to state their name and role for the record.

c. The investigator presents a summary of the information and evidence gained through the investigation process. The complainant or complainant's process advisor will then ask questions of the investigator until there are no further questions at that point. The respondent or respondent's process advisor will then ask questions of the investigator until there are no further questions at that point. The Hearing Panel may then ask questions of the investigator. The questioning will continue until both parties and the Hearing Panel have no further questions. The investigator then leaves the room.

d. The complainant may present his or her account of the events, followed by questions from the respondent (or Process Advisor). The respondent (or Process Advisor) is not permitted to address the complainant directly, but may present written questions for the complainant to the Chair, who will determine whether the questions are relevant and appropriate and, if so, read them aloud for the complainant to respond. The Chair will have the discretion to deny questions that are inflammatory or otherwise not appropriate. The Hearing Panel may then ask questions of the complainant. The complainant (or Process Advisor) will then present his or her witnesses, with each witness presentation to be followed by questions by the respondent (or Process Advisor). Questions to witnesses need not be in writing but the Chair retains discretion to determine relevancy and appropriateness of the questions asked.  The Panel will then ask questions of each witness. After each witness' initial presentation and questioning, the Chair will query the parties and the Panel as to whether they have any further questions for that witness. Once the parties and the Panel have completed their questioning for a witness, the witness is escorted from the room but will remain available for additional questioning until released by the Chair.

e. The respondent may present his or her account of the events, and the same process will be followed as in (d) above.

f. Both the complainant and the respondent may make brief summary statements, in that order, or their Process Advisors may read their written statements aloud. The Hearing Panel then may recall any party or witness for further questions. After the summary statements and the recall of witnesses are completed, the Chair will close the hearing and dismiss the parties, Process Advisors and witnesses.

g. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Panel will meet in closed session to make a decision on the case by majority vote. College counsel may remain in the room but will neither vote nor participate in the deliberations. The Chair may participate in the deliberations but may not vote.

h. The Hearing Panel's decision will rest on whether or not the respondent was found in violation of the Policy, based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The Hearing Panel will use a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard (i.e., whether it is more likely than not that the respondent violated the Policy).

i. The Panel will notify the Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator of its decision. As noted above, both parties have been permitted to provide impact statements and letters attesting to character in sealed envelopes to the Chair of the Hearing Panel at the start of the Hearing Panel. These statements will be conveyed to the Dean of Students along with the Panel's decision.

j. To the greatest extent possible, the complainant and respondent will be notified contemporaneously/simultaneously of the outcome of the hearing by the Chair of the Hearing Panel within 24 hours of the conclusion of the Panel's deliberations.

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