Students participating in Conferences and Hearings are provided the opportunity to invite witnesses to participate and share information about an incident. Please read below for information to consider about witnesses.
WHO MAY INVITE WITNESSES?
Both students and the Office of Community Standards may invite witnesses to participate in Conferences and Hearings. Students are asked to notify the Office of Community Standards at least 48 hours for Hearings (or 24 hours for Conferences) if they have invited any witnesses. A student may request the names in advance of witnesses that have been invited to participate in the Conference or Hearing by the Office of Community Standards by calling 574-631-5551 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHO CAN BE A WITNESS?
Witnesses are generally limited to "witnesses to the incident." See below for further clarification on the definition of a "witness to the incident." The participation of any witness is at the sole discretion of the Office of Community Standards. If you are not sure if a witness is eligible to participate, please call the Office of Community Standards at 574-631-5551 or e-mail email@example.com.
WHAT IS A "WITNESS TO THE INCIDENT"?
A witness to the incident is an individual who has direct knowledge of an incident and had direct contact with an individual involved in the incident, before, during or after an incident.
For example, assume a physical altercation between two students named Pat where both were allegedly intoxicated.
In this case study, the following witnesses would be permitted:
- An individual who actually saw the altercation happen
- An individual who was with Pat earlier in the night and was aware of how much alcohol Pat consumed
- An individual who came across Pat at the end of an altercation and noticed Pat's condition
- An individual who was approached by Pat immediately after the incident and Pat shared specific details of what happened
In this case study, witnesses that would not be permitted include
- An individual who heard about the altercation from a friend of Pat.
- An individual who has a character statement about Pat and how Pat would "never hurt anyone."
- An individual who had contact with Pat a few days after the incident.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE WITNESS?
Witnesses participate in the conduct process to provide information. At the conclusion of the witness' participation, the witness will be asked to type and submit a summary (in their own words) of the information they shared at the Conference or Hearing. The witness statement is submitted using an online form.
CAN I ASK THE WITNESS QUESTIONS?
All communication with the witness is between the Conduct Officer(s) and the witness; however, the respondent is present to hear the information that is shared by the witness. The Conduct Officer(s) may ask clarifying questions of the witness. The respondent may ask the Conduct Officer(s) to ask the witness a question. There is to be no direct communication between the witness and the respondent.
WHAT IF MY WITNESS HAS A SCHEDULE CONFLICT?
Witnesses may receive an excused absence from a University obligation (class, work, etc.). If you would prefer to re-schedule your Conference, please call Sherri at 574-631-5551 at least 48 hours in advance of your Conference to inquire about re-scheduling. Hearings will not be re-scheduled to accommodate at witness.
WHAT IF A WITNESS CANNOT PARTICIPATE?
As mentioned above, witnesses are eligible to receive excused absences to participate in Conferences and Hearings. In some situations, witnesses may submit a written description of the incident in advance of the Conference or Hearing. Please call the Office of Community Standards at 574-631-5551 (or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) before the scheduled Conference or Hearing to discuss options.
CAN I HAVE A CHARACTER WITNESS?
Character witnesses are not permitted, since the Conference or Hearing is not a venue to judge a student's character. The focus of the Conference or Hearing is about a particular incident and to determine if a Standard of Conduct has been violated.