Judicial Procedures

Members of the University Judicial System
Process for Handling Alleged Violations of UMW’s Code of Conduct
Threat/Danger to Individual Students and the University Community
Compliance with the Judicial Process
Failure to Comply

Members of the University Judicial System

The judicial system, which adjudicates alleged violations of UMW’s Code of Conduct, consists of the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility, the Judicial Review Board, the Student Conduct Hearing Board, Residence Life staff, the Dean of Student Life, the Vice President for Student Affairs, and the President of the University. Members of the judicial system treat all students with fairness, impartiality, and appropriate confidentiality. Members of the judicial system uphold institutional regulations in their conduct and perform their duties in an exemplary manner.

Process for handling alleged violations of UMW’s Code of Conduct

Students alleged to have violated UMW’s Code of Conduct may be charged at any time, as long as they remain students at the University of Mary Washington. For example, a student alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct in their first semester at the University may be charged in their senior year, if the student bringing charges against them wishes to do so. Polygraph evidence cannot be considered in any University hearing.

Alleged violations inside residence halls

When an alleged violation of UMW’s Code of Conduct occurs within the residence halls, an Incident Report documenting the alleged violation is written – for example, by a residence hall staff member, although any member of the UMW community may report an alleged violation. Incident Reports may be considered individually or cumulatively in addressing the behavior involved. A student can be charged with one or more alleged violations of the Code of Conduct by a Residence Life administrator, or by the Director of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility, and will be given the opportunity to attend a hearing in which it is determined whether or not the student is responsible for the alleged violations, and if responsible, what sanctions he or she should receive.

Less serious alleged violations heard by Residence Life administrators and/or the Judicial Review Board (JRB) – also known as Level II violations (see “Code of Conduct” – generally are handled as follows:

The Residence Life administrator notifies the accused student that he or she has been charged with one or more judicial violations. At a mandatory pre-hearing conference, available incident documentation is made available to the student, and the student is invited to review the University’s judicial procedures. The student is then given the opportunity to choose a hearing with the JRB, or to waive his or her rights to a hearing and to accept sanctions determined by the Residence Life administrator at the close of the pre-hearing conference.

Alleged violations heard by the Director of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility or designee – also known as Level I violations (see “Code of Conduct” [link]) – generally are handled as follows:

Upon receipt of incident documentation by the Director or designee, the student will be informed in writing of the charges. Formal pre-hearing procedures are not required at this level of alleged violations because accused students do not have a choice of hearing options. However, the Office is committed to assisting accused students throughout the judicial process, and students in need of further information related to the charges, or to the judicial process in general, are invited to meet with the Director or designee.

Alleged violations outside residence halls

When an alleged violation of University policy occurs outside the residence halls but on University property, a report will be written by the observer of the alleged violation — for example, by a University Police Officer. The report is then routed to the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility and referred to the appropriate hearing body. Alleged violations that are otherwise handled by Residence Life administrators or by the JRB may be heard by the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility when they occur outside of residence halls. Alleged violations that are heard by the Student Conduct Hearing Board are heard by this Board no matter where they occur, on or off University property.

Alleged violations off campus

Violations of civil or criminal law are subject to University adjudication in cases where the interests of the University may be affected, (as judged by proper authorities to be the case).  Participants in this decision may include the Director of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility, Dean of Student Life, and /or the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee).

The University also has jurisdiction, notwithstanding the location of the offense, to suspend a student on an interim basis (interim suspension prior to adjudication) for any alleged major violation of state or federal criminal law which the Dean of Student Life, Director of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility, or designee finds would jeopardize the safety and security of the campus community.  The student shall have the right to appeal the interim suspension, and the appeal will be heard by the Vice President for Student Affairs.  For purposes of this section, “major violation” shall mean only felonies or their equivalents and not misdemeanors, traffic violations, or their equivalents.

Adjudication of Off-Campus Incidents

        Philosophy: The conduct of UMW students away from campus has an impact not just on those students involved, but also on UMW peers and on members of the greater Fredericksburg community. Holding students accountable, through the judicial system, for off-campus conduct (resulting in arrest or citation) is a standard process in higher education resulting in positive learning outcomes for students and favorable town-gown relationships.  UMW’s judicial process is an educational tool to support student learning and is intended to perpetuate life skills and citizenship through accountability. 

Off-Campus Adjudication Policy

        Jurisdiction: Geographic jurisdiction includes any violation of the UMW Code of Conduct occurring on campus or University-leased or controlled properties, in study abroad programs, at any UMW-related event, in Stafford or Spotsylvania Counties or the City of Fredericksburg that impacts the educational mission of the University. (The University reserves the right to adjudicate felonies derived from outside of this geographic scope when deemed in the best interest of the University community.)

        Process: UMW will adjudicate off-campus violations when the conduct has an equivalent in the Code of Conduct. For example, if a student is arrested or cited for being “drunk in public,” he or she could be charged with violating UMW’s policy related to alcohol intoxication. If a student is charged with public urination, he or she could be charged with violating UMW’s policy related to disorderly conduct. This information will typically come to the University through official police communication. The incident will be adjudicated by an administrator or by the Judicial Review Board (or Student Conduct Hearing Board) as noted in the judicial hearing procedures. 

A standard response to off-campus conduct may include the following:

  1. Off-campus incidents involving first offenders may be noted for record-keeping purposes; unless the Dean of Student Life (or designee) makes a finding that the alleged violation impacts the safety and security of the campus community. In these cases the University reserves the right to adjudicate the offense.
  2. Off-campus incidents involving students who previously have been found responsible for any violation on campus, or who previously have been previously arrested or cited off campus will be adjudicated through the campus judicial system.

(This policy does not apply in minor traffic or parking violations.)

Threat/Danger to individual students and the University community

In cases involving student-to-student behavior which is considered violent, harassing, or threatening, the Dean of Student Life or designee may issue a “no contact” order to the students involved. The purpose of these orders is to limit contact and communication (direct and indirect) between the students prior to any judicial action being taken. “No contact” orders may be extended indefinitely at the discretion of the Dean or designee, or as a judicial sanction.

The Dean or designee also may immediately relocate a student within the residence hall system, or immediately suspend a student from the residence halls, from specific areas of the University, or from the entire University pending judicial or criminal proceedings. Relocations and interim suspensions are enacted when the student’s continued presence is reasonably believed to pose a substantial threat to him/herself, to the safety and well-being of any member of the University community, to the preservation of property, or to the normal operations of the University.

 Compliance with Judicial Process

No student shall engage in any activity that disrupts, unfairly influences, or obstructs the judicial process of the University of Mary Washington or the Commonwealth of Virginia. This includes, but is not limited to, activities such as:

1. Attempting to influence, intimidate, or threaten any witness, accuser, documenter, hearing panel member, or other participant involved in the preparation of a case or the procedures constituting a judicial proceeding.
2. Conducting oneself in an unruly and inappropriate fashion towards any official when being confronted on judicial matters.
3. Failing to cooperate completely with the judicial system and corresponding sanctions.

All students are expected to comply with any disciplinary conditions imposed upon him or her by a judicial body or University official.

Failure to comply

Failure to comply with directives of University officials or with the judicial process (by not responding to judicial correspondence, not attending scheduled meetings or hearings, or by not fulfilling assigned sanctions) constitutes a violation of University policy with penalties ranging from a warning to dismissal from the University. Also, an administrative hold may be placed on the ability of non-compliant students to register for classes, and to receive and send official grade reports and transcripts.

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