A student may lodge a complaint about any academic misconduct decision made that involves the following: cheating, plagiarism, or other academic dishonesty, or violation of professional/ethical standards within restricted enrollment programs.
SUMMARY OF PETITION PROCESS
Level 1: Informal Level
- (1) After unfavorable academic misconduct decision, student talks to faculty, department chair, and/or dean by the last day of the subsequent semester.
(2) In instances of serial academic misconduct, Dean of Students may investigate and meet with student to inform student of allegations.
- Decision maker/Dean of Students provides student with a decision and where required the decision is in writing.
Level 2: Formal Level
- Student completes Petition Form within 10 working days of a written decision or 20 working days of a non-written decision. .
- Student Code Review Committee reviews petition allowing parties an opportunity to respond to the evidence.
- Student Code Review Committee makes a decision.
Level 3: Due Process Level
- Either party requests Due Process review within 5 working days.
- Due Process Officer reviews whether the process was prejudicial.
- Due Process Officer makes final decision.
DETAILED ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT PETITION PROCESS AND STANDARDS
Jurisdiction: This section describes procedures for handling allegations of academic misconduct under the Student Code, including cheating, plagiarism, or other academic dishonesty, or violation of professional/ethical standards within restricted enrollment programs.
Goal: The goal of the hearing process is to provide for the prompt and fair resolution of all grievances as they occur so that constructive, educational, and developmental relationships can be maintained at Weber State University. Procedures that foster dialogue and promote resolution between the immediate parties involved in a dispute are encouraged. Informal resolution of any dispute should be attempted. Whenever possible, grievances should be resolved at the lowest level.
Standard of Review: Preponderance of the evidence – meaning it was more likely than not that the student violated University standards.
Level 1: Informal Level: A student attempts to resolve the issue by a direct appeal to the relevant decision-maker.
- A student who disagrees with an academic misconduct action should discuss the academic misconduct action with the faculty member (or other appropriate decision-makers) and attempt to resolve the issue before the last day of the semester following the semester in which the action was taken. It is often easier to resolve an issue before the final day of class and students are strongly encouraged to do so, where possible.
- Academic areas should provide students with information regarding further steps a student must take for informal redress of concerns beyond the faculty member, including time limitations.
- Academic programs may require/permit students to have their issues reviewed at more than one level in the informal process.
- It should be made clear to the student what is the informal level decision and what the student’s options are to petition the decision at the formal level, including time limitations for bringing the issue to the formal level, if desired.
- Academic areas also have the option of submitting the complaint to the Dean of Students for review. This is particularly appropriate where students are alleged to have engaged in more than one instance of academic misconduct. The Dean of Students may conduct an informal investigation. At any point in the proceedings, the parties may reach an informal resolution. If it is determined that there is reason to believe a student has violated University standards, the Dean of Students will informally meet with the student. In this meeting, the student will be informed of the allegations and be allowed to provide his or her side of the story, including any relevant evidence. The parties may have an advisor present who may only advise the student and may not actively participate in the informal process. In instances where it is foreseeable that a sanction of expulsion or suspension for ten days or more may be applied, the student shall be notified of this right prior to being interviewed about allegations of misconduct. The Dean of Students will make a decision regarding whether the student has violated University standards, and if so, determine appropriate sanctions. The parties will be notified of the decision, the basis for the decision, and any proposed sanctions or other resolutions. Parties may appeal a decision by the Dean of Students at the formal level, described below.
Level 2: Formal Level: A student attempts to resolve the issue by submitting a formal petition that is reviewed and (if necessary) evaluated by a committee.
Decision Maker: Behavioral complaints shall be reviewed by the Student Code Review Committee (“Committee”), which committee shall be made up of 5 individuals who can engage in independent judgment. At least one of these individuals must be a student and at least one must be a faculty member from the college in which the issue arose. The Due Process Officer will appoint one member of the Committee to be the Chair. Parties may submit timely objections to the Due Process Officer if there is good cause to believe the Committee members will not engage in independent judgment, who may appoint alternate members of the Committee.
Time Limits: All formal level academic misconduct petitions must be sent to the Due Process Officer within 10 working days of a final written level 1 decision at the informal level or within 20 working days of the student's notification to the decision-maker of the disputed action if the decision-maker does not give a written decision to the student by that time.
- If the issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the parties at the informal level, either party may submit a petition for a hearing to the Due Process Officer. The Due Process Officer shall promptly send the petition request to the Chair of the Committee.
- The petition must be in writing and include the basis for the challenge and the remedy sought.
- The Chair may determine not to review the petition if it is frivolous, based on issues that are beyond the jurisdictional boundaries established by University policy, or contains no actionable facts. Such a decision must be in writing and is may be reviewed by the Due Process Officer, as described below. The Chair may also recommend that the issue be reviewed further for resolution at an informal level, where appropriate.
- If the petition is accepted, the Chair shall give the Level 1 decision-maker a copy of the petition, notification of the process, and shall inform the decision-maker of the opportunity to submit a written response to the Chair.
- The Chair shall schedule a hearing date within a reasonable time and notify the parties in writing of the date of the hearing, the names of the committee members, and the procedures for the hearing.
- Prior to the hearing, the parties shall make available to each other and to the Committee a list of witnesses and a list of documents or other evidence the parties would like the Committee to consider at the hearing. In exceptional circumstances, the Committee may allow a party to invite others not listed or submit additional evidence at the hearing, at their discretion.
- The Chair has the option of holding a pre-hearing conference with the parties, to discuss how the hearing will be held, set forth procedures, review witnesses lists and a summary of witnesses’ testimony, and lists and summaries of exhibits. A mediated solution may be attempted at the pre-hearing conference if desired by the parties.
- The parties may be accompanied by an advisor of their choice. In instances where it is foreseeable that the sanction may be expulsion or suspension for ten days or more, the advisor may actively participate in the formal hearing to the same extent that would be otherwise allowed by the party but may waive these rights. The parties must advise the Committee of their intent to bring the advisor no less than five (5) working days in advance of the hearing.
- A hearing is not to be an adversarial process. The hearing committee may determine the structure of the hearing and may require the parties to communicate their positions in accordance with reasonable rules of procedure, decorum, and respect, so long as the parties have an opportunity to be heard, including submission of testimony from witnesses and other relevant evidence, and the opportunity to respond to evidence submitted by the other party. This may include requiring the parties to submit questions to the Chair to be asked of any individuals testifying. At the discretion of the Chair, the Chair may ask the witness the question, ask the party to rephrase the question, disallow the question or ask the party to move on to another question or area of questioning. Parties are permitted to give opening and closing statements.
- The hearing committee may determine the relevance of any evidence received and may limit evidence, including scope, nature, duration, when in the discretion of the hearing committee it is deemed inappropriate, repetitious, disruptive, unreliable, or otherwise of little use. The Utah Rules of evidence or procedure and any other formal rules of legal evidence or procedure do not apply. The Committee may admit evidence such as witness statements or some or all of a report prepared by an investigator; however, the Committee shall take appropriate care to review the reliability of the evidence submitted and should seek first-person accounts where possible.
- Hearings shall be closed to the public.
- Hearings shall be recorded. Deliberations and decision-making of the Committee are not recorded.
- Participants are not allowed to bring weapons to the hearing and appropriate security measures may be taken to ensure enforcement, in accordance with law and PPM 9-20. Hearings shall be held in a secure hearing room.
- The Committee shall be advised by University Legal Counsel to provide guidance on legal matters.
- The Committee may only rely on the evidence and testimony presented in the hearing. They may not rely on prior knowledge of the facts or conduct their own investigation of the facts.
- Students are presumed not to have engaged in academic misconduct until found otherwise. The decision-maker shall bear the responsibility of showing, through a preponderance of the evidence, sufficient reason exists to find a violation of University standards.
- The Committee will make a decision based on the majority vote.
- After reviewing all evidence deemed relevant, the Committee will issue a written decision, including findings, grounds for the decision, sanctions or remedies, as appropriate, and any additional recommendations. Decisions shall be given simultaneously to the parties.
- The hearing committee is empowered to structure a resolution, which in its discretion satisfies the interests of justice. Such a resolution may not unduly burden a party where the party has not been found to have acted in violation of the standards of the institution. Any such resolution must respect the right to Academic Freedom considerations outlined in PPM 6-22, Section IX.E.
- If any party fails to attend the hearing without good cause, the committee may proceed with the hearing and take testimony and evidence and report its decision on the basis of such testimony and evidence.
Level 3: Due Process Level: The decision of the Committee may be appealed on due process grounds.
- Either party may ask for a review of the decision or resolution by the Due Process Officer by submitting notice and reasons in writing, identifying the ground(s) and rationale for the requested review, to the Due Process Officer within five working days of notice of the decision.
- Except as may be required to clarify the issues and/or to explain the significance of new information, a review shall be limited to review of the evidence provided to the Committee and the record kept, for one or more of the following purposes:
- To determine whether the hearing was conducted fairly in light of the charge and information presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures;
- To determine whether the decision reached was based on substantial information; that is, whether the findings in the case were sufficient to establish a violation of University standards based on a preponderance of the evidence;
- To consider new information sufficient to alter a decision or other pertinent facts not submitted to the Committee because such information and/or facts were not known to the party at the time of the hearing.
- Any of the above grounds must be shown to have had a prejudicial impact on the decision.
- The Due Process Officer may take the following actions:
- Affirm the decision of the Committee;
- Direct the Committee to open the hearing again for a particular purpose;
- Remand the case for a new hearing.
- The decision shall be in writing and delivered to the parties and the Committee in a timely manner.
- The decision of the Due Process Officer is final.