Hearing Resource Page

The following information is presented In an effort to educate students and provide transparency to the Hearing setting which is administered by the Office of Community Standards.  In addition to the resources found on this page, students may also find interest in these links found in du Lac: A Guide to Student Life:

NOTE:  The Conduct Process for alleged violations of the University's Sexual Assault, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Hostile Environment policies is addressed through the Administrative Hearing setting.  Click here for the Administrative Hearing Resource procedures outlined in du Lac.

THE HEARING PROCESS

The following outline and timeline are intended to provide students with a general understanding of the different steps involved in a typical Hearing.  Please know that the outline is only an example, and it is subject to change given the nature of an incident, the number of students involved, the time of year for a particular incident, etc.   For specific questions about what to expect with your Hearing timeline, please contact the staff member who sent your Hearing Notification Letter.

  • Student is contacted via e-mail by the Office of Community Standards
    • A secure link is provided in the e-mail for the student to download a PDF copy of their Hearing Notification Letter
    • Student's Rector (if student lives on campus) receives a copy of the letter via e-mail
  • Student prepares for the Hearing
    • Student attends an optional pre-Hearing meeting with Conduct Officer to review the incident report and ask procedural questions (the date and time of the pre-Hearing meeting is noted in the Hearing Notification Letter)
    • Student reviews the FAQs on this page
    • Student reviews pertinent University Standards of Conduct as outlined in their Hearing Notification Letter
    • Student contacts their Rector to discuss if hall staff will be attending the Hearing
    • Student notifies the Office of Community Standards if they wish to invite a witness
    • Student determines if they wish to invite a University Support Person (to share insight about the student's learning and growth)
  • Hearing is held with the Student, Conduct Officer, Rector (or other hall staff, if a student lives on campus), and University Support Person (optional)
    • Lead Conduct Officer provides introductions of everyone in the room
    • Conduct Officer reads the incident report that was forwarded to the office (note: the report is typically reviewed by the student at the pre-Hearing meeting and there is no need to read the report at the Hearing)
    • Student is asked to share their account of the incident from their perspective
    • Conduct Officer asks questions to better understand the incident
    • Student shares their understanding of University Standards of Conduct related to the incident
    • Rector and University Support Person are offered the opportunity to share insight about student's development and learning
    • Conduct Officer provides closure and direction for the Student to write a Reflection
  • Student types Reflection and e-mails to the Office of Community Standards (ocs@nd.edu)
  • Hearing Panel makes a decision based on the information presented at the Hearing, the witness statements (if any), and the student's Reflection
  • After a decision is made, the Office of Community Standards contacts Student to schedule a Decision Meeting
  • A Decision Meeting is held with the student and the Conduct Officer.  Hall Staff and University Support Person sometimes attend the Decision Meeting (this is not required and not common)
  • A copy of the Decision Letter is e-mailed to Student as a PDF.  The individual who is financially responsible for the student (typically a parent) is sent a copy of the letter via US Mail
  • Student has an opportunity to request a case review within 7 calendar days after the notification of the outcome (this information will be included in the decision letter)
  • File of the incident is maintained by the University as an educational record

FAQ CATEGORIES

The following FAQ have been organized into three categories below below. If you have particular questions that are not addressed below, please don't hesitate to call our office at 574-631-5551 or e-mail us at ocs@nd.edu.

 


BEFORE THE HEARING FAQ

I received an e-mail with a subject line that read "IMPORTANT - From the Notre Dame Office of Community Standards".  What is this?

The e-mail you received is an official message from the Office of Community Standards.  A link  is provided Hearing Notification Letter that has been provided to you on a secure website as a PDF.  

What is the difference between a Conference and a Hearing?

Hearings are reserved for addressing alleged violations of Standards of Conduct where dismissal from the University may be a possible outcome.

Why am I meeting with the Office of Community Standards?

A report was forwarded to the Office of Community Standards and your name was listed as someone who was allegedly violated a University Standard of Conduct.  The purpose of the Hearing is to discuss the extent of your involvement (if any) with the incident. The Office of Community Standards does not assume that you are responsible for a violation.

Who will I meet with?

Hearings are administered by the Director or Assistant Director of Community Standards, along with trained University Conduct Officers.  Hearing panels typically include 2 or 3 university administrators.

 Who else will be present at the Hearing?

In addition to the Respondent (student) and the Conduct Officer(s), the following individuals may be present:

  • Hall Staff (Rector, Assistant Rector, or Resident Assistant):  Rectors are invited to participate in Hearing to provide insight to the student and Conduct Officer about the learning and growth the student has experienced during their time at Notre Dame, particularly related to the alleged incident and policies in question.
  • University Support Person (Notre Dame Faculty, Staff, or Student):  This is optional.  The purpose of this support is to provide moral support for the student and to help the student learn from the incident.  The University Support Person will also asked if they would like to share any insight about the student's learning and growth. University Support Persons may be present for the entire Hearing.  Attorneys and parents may not serve as University Support Persons.
  • Witness:  Witnesses only participate for a portion of the Hearing.  Witnesses will be invited to join the Hearing and (see below for more questions about witnesses)

I don't want my Rector to come to the Hearing.

Consistent with the University's mission of fostering the development and formation of students, a student's Rector is invited to participate in the Hearing setting.  An Assistant Rector or Resident Assistants may attend in the place of a Rector.  Students are advised to contact their Rector after receiving the Hearing Notification Letter if they have concerns about their Rector attending the Hearing.

I live off-campus.  Will my former Rector be attending the Hearing?

The Office of Community Standards does not contact former Rectors about conduct matters for students who live off-campus.  A student may invite their former Rector (or Assistant Rector) to participate in the hall staff role.

I heard that you can provide an excused absence for my Hearing.

The Office of Community Standards can provide a student with an excused absence, upon request.  The Office of Community Standards will attempt to schedule Hearings around a student's class schedule.

What will you tell my professor if I have a schedule conflict?

The Office of Community Standards will provide you a general notification paper that you can provide to a professor.  No information about your reason for the class absence will be provided to a professor.  

What happens if I can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that I am not guilty?

The Hearing is an educational process, not a legal process.  A student is not asked to "prove" that they are "not guilty."  The standard of evidence used in the Hearing is referred to as the "preponderance of the evidence," meaning is it "more likely than not" that a policy was violated.  As such, the standard is not the same as "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard that is used in criminal court cases.  At the conclusion of the Hearing process, a student is not found "innocent" or "guilty."  The purpose of the Hearing is to determine if, more likely than not, a University Standard of Conduct was violated.

What types of questions can I expect?

The Hearing is a dialogue between a student and a Conduct Officer(s).  The questions that will be asked are dependent on the nature of the incident and the student's level of development.  The student will be asked to provide their perspective on the incident.  Additional clarifying questions are also asked.  A student is typically asked what they have learned from the incident and the University Conduct Process.
 

Where can I find the conduct procedures?

Hearing procedures can be found in du Lac: A Guide to Student Life, Notre Dame's student handbook.

Can I bring a witness?

Yes.  A students may invite a witness to the Hearing, provided that he/she notifies the Office of Community Standards at least five (5) calendar days in advance of the schehduled Hearing. For more information about witnesses, please read through our Witness Resource Page.

I already have a court date scheduled for this incident.  Is the Hearing necessary?

Students are responsible for their behavior both on and off-campus.  The University will address alleged violations of University Standards of Conduct that are reported to the Office of Community Standards.  Any court process is separate from the University Conduct Process.

Do I need legal representation at the Hearing?

The Hearing is an educational setting to discuss an alleged incident.  Attorneys are not permitted in the Hearing setting.  If you have a pending legal matter in the court system and you have hired an attorney, he/she may contact the Office of General Counsel if he/she has questions about the University Conduct Process.  The Office of Community Standards will not communicate through your attorney.

Do I have to come to the Hearing?  What if I decide not to show up?

Students are encouraged to attend their scheduled Hearing so that they can share information about their involvement (or lack thereof) in a reported incident.  The Office of Community Standards reserves the right to make a decision in the student's absence.

What happens if I choose not to answer any questions that are asked of me?

Students are asked to use the Hearing opportunity to share information.   Students should keep in mind that the standard of evidence used by the Office of Community Standards is the "preponderance of evidence," meaning, is it more likely than not that the Standard of Conduct has been violated.  

I am not satisfied with the outcome of my Hearing.  How can I appeal?

The University Conduct Process defines two criteria for requesting a case review:  procedural defect or substantive new information not made available at the time of the Hearing.  Severity of outcome is not grounds for filing a request for a case review.  For more information, please read the Conduct Case Review Procedures.

AFTER THE HEARING FAQ

What if I am found guilty?

The Hearing is an educational dialogue, not a legal proceeding. We do not use terms such as "guilty" or "innocent."  One of the purposes of the Hearing setting is to determine if a policy was violated.  If the Office of Community Standards determines that a student has violated a policy, the student will be "found responsible" for violating a particular University Standard of Conduct.  The student will receive a letter at a Decision Meeting (usually scheduled one week after the Hearing) that will articulate which standards have been violated.

I heard that my punishment will be different than other students

The Office of Community Standards does not "punish" students; we hold students accountable for their decisions, and we challenge students to consider on their behavior and how it reflects (or does not reflect) their personal values and beliefs.  Outcomes from every Hearing are tailored to each individual student. As such, a particular student's outcome may be different than other students.  The University strives for consistency in process, not consistency in outcomes.

What are the likely outcomes from my Hearing?

Outcomes from Hearings can include any of the outcomes found in du Lac: A Guide to Student Life. Outcomes may include dismissal from the University.

The e-mail I received stated that my letter will be available on the secure website for 30 days.  I forgot to save a copy of my notification letter.  Can you please re-send it to me?

Yes.  The Office of Community Standards maintains copies of all correspondence.  Please e-mail us at ocs@nd.edu.

PARENT-RELATED FAQ

At what point will the Office of Community Standards contact my parents?

If you are found responsible for violating a Standard of Conduct, the Office of Community Standards will contact parents by sending a copy of your decision letter at the conclusion of your Hearing process.  If your parent calls before a decision is made, the Office of Community Standards will answer questions about the Hearing process, but will not discuss substantive details of the case.

My parents are divorced, one of my parents is deceased, etc.  Which parent will you contact?

The Office of Community Standards sends notification letters to the individual who is "financially responsible" for the student. In most cases this is a parent, but in some situations it may be a different family member or legal guardian. You may ask at the Hearing who the financially responsible individual is.

Can you send a copy of the incident report to my parent/guardian?

No.  The incident report will be shared with the student as part of the Hearing is a part of the student's conduct file.