Guide for Hearings

Hearings are conducted according to the rules and procedures of the Student Code. Although these guidelines are intended to provide helpful information, each student should read the Student Code carefully to understand the full scope of their rights. Community Standards staff are available to answer questions about the Code and the hearing process.

The matter will generally be decided by a three-person hearing panel that will include two staff/faculty members and one student (the Code allows for the use of a single hearing officer during finals and semester breaks). The hearing panel will find a student responsible for a charge only if the panel finds that there is a preponderance of evidence to support the charge – that it is more likely than not that the student committed the violation.

The hearing panel will review the Report of Violation, any written statements or documents submitted before the hearing, the testimony of the parties and any witnesses at the hearing, and any additional information/evidence presented at the hearing.

If a hearing panel finds a student responsible for a violation, the hearing panel will determine the appropriate sanction(s).

The Hearing Process

Before the Hearing

Each party may submit evidence to the hearing panel before the hearing. This evidence could include a written statement by the party, written statements from witnesses, and any documents the party feels would be important for the panel to consider when making its decision.

The Hearing

You will have the opportunity to give a statement and ask questions.
You may directly address the hearing panel concerning the incident and the charges. The parties (the complainant and the responding student(s)) can use this opportunity to discuss the evidence, present new evidence, address the credibility of anyone who has provided information about the incident, discuss whether the information presented supports the charge(s), and address other issues they feel are important for the hearing panel to consider when making its decision.

Questioning by the hearing panel and the parties.
The hearing panel will have the opportunity to ask questions of the respondent and complainant.

Each party will have the opportunity to submit written questions for any other party to answer. The written questions are submitted to the panel and it is up to the Community Standards procedural advisor and panel to determine whether the questions are appropriate. If so, the hearing panel asks the questions (not the party who submitted them).   

Opportunity to present live witnesses.
Although a party may submit written witness statements to the hearing panel, they also have the opportunity to have witnesses appear at the hearing to present evidence and to respond to questions. There is no requirement that any party presents live witnesses. The hearing panel and each party will have the opportunity to question any witness.

Note about “hearsay”: A panel may rely on “hearsay” evidence if it determines that the evidence is generally reliable.

Note about presenting live witnesses: Each party is responsible for ensuring the presence of any witness they would like to attend the hearing. They should not assume that another party will bring the witness.

Suggestions for Preparing for the Hearing

These are suggestions only. Although we have found that students are generally better prepared when the follow at least some of these suggestions, there is no requirement that you do so. It is entirely up to you how you decide to prepare for and participate in the hearing.

Contact your Student Advisor

We recommend that you contact your advisor immediately to allow sufficient time to meet before your hearing. Advisors are trained volunteers with Community Standards. Their role is to help you prepare for, understand and participate in the student accountability process. The advisors cannot ‘represent’ you, nor offer legal advice but the advisor can be a valuable source of information about the conduct process and can help you plan your presentation.

Submit a Written Statement

Hearing panels often find it helpful to have a written statement from a student that outlines their perspective of the incident and points out to the panel anything the student believes the panel should consider in deciding the matter.  For charges you disagree with, it is helpful to specifically outline the reasons why the hearing panel should find you not responsible. You are encouraged to submit any written statement before the hearing (by the date listed in the Hearing Notice).  Understand statements about one’s character, opinions, and irrelevant information may be redacted by Community Standards.  Sanction recommendations will also be redacted, however, if the panel finds responsibility that redacted portion with sanction recommendations will be unreacted and provided to the panel.

Compile and Submit Supporting Documents

The hearing panel will always receive a copy of the Report of Violation before the hearing. In addition, each party has the opportunity to submit witness statements and/or any document that they believe will help the hearing panel to reach an accurate result. These documents will help the hearing panel to understand what the dispute is about and can save valuable time at the hearing.   

Prepare an Oral Presentation

You will have 10 minutes to make an oral presentation directly to the hearing panel.  Plan your presentation carefully.  Keep in mind that if you have submitted a written statement to the panel before the hearing, they will have read it before the hearing. Accordingly, although it is up to you whether or not to read your statement to the panel, you may want to consider using your time to address the key issues you raised in your statement and any other things (e.g. witness credibility, facts not included in the ROV, etc.) you think it is important for the panel to understand. 

Prepare a Separate Written Statement for Sanctions

In addition to a statement regarding responsibility, we suggest that you think about preparing possible sanction recommendations should you be found responsible for any of the charges.  The UNH Sanction Guidelines document is a helpful tool when considering sanction recommendations. Your advisor or a member of the Community Standards staff can show you how to use the document if you have questions.