Rights of Accused Students:
A student who has been accused of violating the Code of Conduct has the following rights with regard to the conduct process:
1. To participate in a one-on-one meeting with an OSCAR or Residence Life professional in which conduct process rights and procedures are explained. The University reserves the right to mandate such a meeting.
2. To be informed of all charges prior to a hearing, and to review available incident documentation. Documentation that includes information about other individuals may be redacted.
3. To advance notice of at least three working days before a hearing is to be conducted.
4. To have a fair and impartial conduct hearing.
5. To request witnesses to speak in the student’s defense. The hearing officer or Chair may limit witnesses or statements deemed repetitious or unnecessary. Accused students should inform the hearing officer or Chair prior to the hearing as to the identity of their witnesses no fewer than two working days prior to the hearing. The only witnesses allowed will be those with information regarding the specific incidents or conduct in question. Character witnesses are not allowed.
6. To ask questions of all witnesses who participate in the hearing.
7. To be present at the hearing, except during deliberation, or when other accused students are speaking. Students who do not appear for a hearing are not assumed to be in violation, but the hearing may be conducted in their absence.
8. To be presumed not in violation unless found in violation for any charge(s). The standard of evidence used in all University conduct hearings is preponderance of evidence. This means that for a student to be found in violation of a charge, the evidence must persuade the hearing officer or board that it is more likely than not that the student was in violation.
9. To name an advisor. The advisor must be willing to assist and advise the student during the hearing, but may not speak on behalf of the student. The advisor may be any individual of the accused student’s choosing, as long as they are not also a hearing witness. Accused students are requested to provide notice of the identity of their advisor preferably at least one working day in advance of any hearing or investigative meeting that the advisor is slated to attend.
10. To be aware of all evidence presented during the hearing and to have the opportunity to review all relevant available documents.
11. To be notified of the decision made as a result of the hearing.
12. The right to not participate in the hearing.
Rights of Complainants:
A student who is a complainant in the student conduct process has the following rights:
1. The right to speak with law enforcement and to explore whether any incident might be handled as a criminal matter, independent of whether the incident is handled as a possible Code of Conduct violation. If the incident occurred on campus, the complainant would contact UMW Police (540-654-1025) to start this conversation. If it occurred off campus, the complainant would contact law enforcement in that off-campus jurisdiction. If the incident occurred in the City of Fredericksburg, UMW Police can assist the complainant in contacting the Fredericksburg Police Department.
2. The right to pursue an Order of Protection with the magistrate from the City of Fredericksburg. An Order of Protection would place a short- or longer-term restriction on the ability of the accused student to contact and approach the complainant. UMW Police can assist the complainant in pursuing an Order of Protection.
3. The right to contact OSCAR or law enforcement (UMW Police or local law enforcement) if they feel unsafe or threatened.
4. The right to share their account of the incident during the conduct hearing in the presence (virtual or physical) of the accused student. The accused student will have the right to ask questions of the complainant, as will the hearing officer, board, or appellate panel.
5. The right not to respond to questions asked during the hearing, although the complainant should be aware that if they choose not to do so, that could have an impact on the outcome of the hearing.
6. The standard of evidence used in all University conduct hearings is preponderance of evidence. This means that for the accused student to be found in violation of a charge, the evidence must persuade the hearing officer or board that it is more likely than not that the student was in violation.
7. The right to be accompanied by an advisor during the hearing, as long as that advisor is not also participating in the hearing as a witness or as another complainant. Complainants are requested to notify the hearing officer or chair about the identity of their advisor, if they choose to be accompanied by one, at least one working day before the hearing. The advisor plays a silent role and may not speak during the hearing.
8. The right to be notified of the outcome of the hearing.
The following additional rights shall extend to complainants only when the accused student has been criminally charged with a crime of violence as defined in Title 18 of the U.S. Code Section 16, i.e.,“(a) an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or (b) any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense”:
1. The right, if they participate in the hearing, to be physically separated from the accused student during the hearing. The complainant must indicate that choice at least two working days prior to the hearing. Whether or not the complainant participates in the hearing, the hearing administrator will notify, in writing, the complainant about the outcome of the hearing and any sanctions imposed, as permitted by law.
2. The right to appeal the decision on the following grounds:
a) the hearing administrator or board exhibited unfair bias, which influenced the results of the hearing;
b) the availability of new evidence, unavailable at the time of the hearing, that could substantially impact the hearing administrator’s or board’s decisions or sanctions;
c) an error in hearing procedures, such as those described in the “Student Conduct Process Rights – Rights of Complainants,” that is of such magnitude as to deny fundamental fairness; and/or
d) the sanction(s) issued by the hearing administrator or board are inappropriate for or inconsistent with the violation
In the case of a), b), or c), an appellate hearing may occur, if deemed appropriate by the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs or designee. In the case of d), the appellate board shall convene to consider the sanction only.
Instructions for submitting an appeal electronically, using UMW’s conduct management system, can be found in the hearing outcome letter that the complainant receives after the conclusion of the conduct hearing. All appeals should be submitted electronically. If students are unable to do so for any reason, they should contact OSCAR for assistance. Appeals must be submitted within five (5) working days of the date on the hearing outcome letter.
All appeals of conduct hearing decisions, whether those decisions were made by an administrator or by SCRB, will be heard by a trained appellate panel comprised of one UMW administrator, one member of UMW’s teaching faculty, and three members of SCRB who did not participate in the original hearing. The appellate hearing will be chaired by the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs or designee. Appeal decisions are final.