Level III Process

Level III sanctions apply to a Report of Violation where the highest recommended sanction has a substantial impact on the responding student’s access to academic and social opportunities.  Examples of a Level III sanctions include:

  • Eviction from University Housing
  • Expulsion from University Housing
  • University Suspension
  • University Dismissal

After the Report of Violation recommending Level III sanctions is received by the student, a preliminary meeting is required. The complainant will schedule and hold the meeting within two school days of the student’s receipt of the Report of Violation. Before the meeting, students should review the Report of Violation which provides information on what they are being charged. The student should consider the ramifications of the sanctions before the meeting.

At the Preliminary Meeting, there are two possible next steps to resolve the matter:

  1. Resolution at the preliminary meeting: If the student and complainant agree on charges and sanctions, the responding student will check that they are in agreement and sign the printed Report of Violation form.  At that point the charges and sanctions are final.
     
  2. Forward matter to Hearing: If the responding student does not agree on charges and/or sanctions, the respondent and complainant complete the Preliminary Meeting form to choose which type of hearing the is most appropriate to resolve the charge(s). There are two choices:
    • Responsibility Hearing – The respondent does not agree with one or more of the charges.
    • Sanction Hearing – The respondent accepts responsibility for the charges but does not agree with the recommended sanctions.

Hearing
Types of Hearings

There are two types of hearings:

  • Responsibility Hearing: A responsibility hearing consists of two phases - responsibility and sanctioning. During the first phase, the parties will be present their argument and evidence on if the student is responsible for the charges or not. The hearing panel will make a finding on responsibility during the hearing. If there is a finding of responsibility, the hearing will continue on to a sanctioning phase (see Sanction Hearing below).  If there is no finding of responsibility, the hearing is complete.
  • Sanction Hearing: A sanction hearing is utilized when a student accepts responsibility for the charges, but does not agree with the sanctions recommended by the complainant. Each party will be given an opportunity to present their sanction recommendations and rationale before a hearing panel. The hearing panel will make the final decision on the sanctions.
Hearing Panel

In cases where a student has been charged with a violation of the Student Code ,which would result in a Level III sanction, that student has the right to be heard by a Hearing Panel. The Panel consists of three members, two faculty /staff members, and a student member. A Hearing Panel is an impartial board of trained volunteers tasked with fact-finding and sanctioning, if required. The time and date of the hearing are determined by the availability of the panel members. A Responsibility Hearing includes a brief discussion of the incident and contested charges. A finding on each of the contested charges will be made based on a preponderance of the evidence. If there is a finding of responsibility for one or more of the charges, the hearing panel will proceed with a sanctioning phase.


Notifications & Deadlines

In cases where a hearing is requested, the Community Standards office will email the respondent and the complainant a notice listing all contested issues identified at the preliminary meeting and setting the date, time and place for a hearing. The hearing shall be held not less than three (3), nor more than ten (10), calendar days after the date of notice issued by the Community Standards office. The respondent may waive the 3-day notice.

No less than one (1) business day before the hearing the parties shall:

  • Receive copies of all documents, reports, photographs and written testimony that the hearing panel will consider.
  • Exchange witness lists.
  • Identify and present all requests for special accommodations or preliminary rulings.

The complainant and the respondent will each have 10 minutes to present oral testimony and to summarize arguments in their favor.  This will be followed by questions from the Hearing Panel. 


Student Advisors

Responding students will be assigned a Student Advisor prior to their hearing. The Student Advisor serves as a resource for the student before, during and after the hearing. Student Advisors are fellow UNH students who can answer questions about the conduct process, assist in reviewing and coming up with sanction recommendations. Additionally, the Student Advisor will attend the hearing with the responding student and be available prior to the start of the hearing. Conversations  that a student has with their Student Advisor are not shared with the Hearing Panel.


Third Parties

Hearings normally shall be conducted in private. The respondent’s student advisor may be present during the hearing. During a hearing for a Title IX violation respondents and complainants are allowed to have an advisor, who may be a lawyer, and a support a person of their choice present in the hearing room. The advisor and support person shall not participate in the hearing.

When criminal charges are pending or may be filed in connection with the incident described in the Report of Violation, the respondent may have an attorney present to advise the respondent. The attorney shall not participate in the hearing. 

Parents may wait in the Community Standards waiting room while the hearing is proceeding. 


How to Prepare

See also our Hearing Guide.

For Responsibility Hearings
  • Contact your student advisor.  It is recommended that you contact your advisor immediately to allow sufficient time to meet before your hearing.  Student advisors are trained volunteers with the Community Standards office.  Their role is to help you prepare for, understand and participate in the student accountability process.  The student advisor cannot ‘represent’ you, nor offers legal advice but the advisor can be a valuable source of information about the conduct process and can help you plan your presentation.
  • Review your incident report and each of the applied charges.
  • Type a statement that outlines your perspective of the incident that led to the charges outlined on the enclosed Hearing Notice.  For charges, you disagree with, specifically outline the reasons why the hearing panel should find you not responsible. Plan your presentation carefully. 
  • Compile all supporting documents that you would like the hearing panel to consider such as witness statements or any document that you believe will help the Hearing Panel to reach an accurate result.
  • Prepare questions you want to ask the complainant about the incident report and what they are presenting.
  • Students will be required to make arrangements with professors for any class absences due to a scheduled hearing.
  • Be prepared to recommend sanctions to the hearing panel in case you are found responsible for any of the charges.  Utilize the Sanction Guidelines to view the typical sanctions for the violation you have been charged.  
For Sanction Hearings
  • Get in touch with your student advisor the day you receive their contact information and set up a meeting.
  • Prepare a statement outlining the sanctions you would like to recommend as well as why you think they are most appropriate. Utilize the Sanction Guidelines to view the typical sanctions for the violation you have been charged.   
  • Prepare a list of possible questions for the complainant on the sanctions they are likely recommending.

Appeal / Review

The respondent or the complainant(s) may request an appeal of a final Hearing Decision by submitting an Appeal Petition within two (2) business days of receiving the final Hearing Decision. The Appeal Petition form is availble on our Forms page.

Grounds for Appeal

An appeal  is not a do-over.  An appeal must be based on one or more of the following grounds:

  • Procedural Error: To determine whether the original hearing was conducted in conformity with the procedures contained in the Student Code.
  • Sufficiency of Evidence: To determine whether the findings in the Hearing Decision established (or not) the charged violations in the Report of Violation by a preponderance of the evidence.
  • Inappropriate Sanction: To determine whether the imposed sanctions were too severe for the finding(s) of responsibility. The Appellate Officer will not increase the sanction(s) imposed by a Hearing Panel unless no sanction was imposed.
  • Newly Available Evidence: To consider whether there is new evidence, sufficient to alter a decision, provided, however, that the evidence was not known to the person appealing at the time of the original hearing.
Appeal Process & Outcomes

Appeals are reviewed by an Appellate Officer, who was not involved in the case at any prior point. The Appellate Officer will consider the written evidence and the verbatim record of the hearing , as well as any new evidence submitted to support a claim of newly available evidence.

The Appellate Officer will determine whether there is clear and convincing evidence to overturn the original finding(s) and/or sanction(s). The Appellate Officer will provide a written decision determining that the review standard is met or not.

  • If the Appellate Officer finds that there was a procedural error or there is newly available evidence, the case will be remanded to the original Hearing Panel to reopen the hearing.
  • If the Appellate Officer finds that the sanction was not appropriate, the Appellate Officer will order the appropriate sanction.
  • If the Appellate Officer finds insufficient evidence to support a finding of responsibility or finds sufficient evidence to overturn a finding of no responsibility, the Appellate Officer will make the appropriate determination and, as applicable, impose a proper sanction.

If a respondent is not found responsible for a violation of the Student Code, and the finding is upheld by the Appellate Officer, the respondent may not be charged again for the same violation arising from the same incident unless there is new evidence. The University or appropriate administrators, however, may address climate issues arising from the case.


Additional Questions
  • If you have been assigned a student advisor, get in touch with that person as soon as possible.
  • If you have further questions you can contact the Community Standards office at (603) 862-3377.
  • Your questions may also be answered in the Student FAQ page of this website.
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