Witness Resource Page for Administrative Hearings
This resource page has been provided for individuals who have been invited to participate as witnesses at Administrative Hearing for Alleged Violations of the Sexual Assault, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and/or Hostile Environment Policies (referred to on this page as “Administrative Hearing").
Note: The information presented below provides a general guideline of what to expect. In some situations the information below may be modified. If you have any questions or wish to confirm any of the procedures, please call the Office of Community Standards at 574-631-5551 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Witnesses for Administrative Hearings may be invited by:
- Respondent (the student who has allegedly violated the University's Standards of Conduct)
- Complainant (the individual who reported an alleged violation of a University Standard of Conduct or who was directly affected by an incident)
- Hearing Panel convened by the Office of Community Standards
Witnesses will receive a confirmation PDF letter (via e-mail) from the Office of Community Standards about a scheduled Administrative Hearing where they are asked to participate as a witness.
- The letter will include the date, time and location of the Administrative Hearing.
- Witnesses may be asked to wait in the reception area for an extended period of time, particularly if there are multiple witnesses. Witnesses should bring something to keep themselves occupied (book, laptop, etc.) in case of an extended wait.
Witnesses that participate in the Administrative Hearing must first submit a written description of the incident (writen statement) to the Office of Community Standards. Witnesses that participated in an Administrative Investigation will automatically have their investigative interview statement forwarded to the Office of Community Standards. If the witness did not participate in the Administrative Investigation, they will be required to submit a written description of the incident (written statement) no later than three (3) calendar days before the scheduled date of the Administrative Hearing. The complainant and respondent have the opportunity to review all witness statements before and at at the Administrative Hearing.
When the witness arrives at their scheduled time:
- Please check-in at the location of the Administrative Hearing. Note: Some Administrative Hearings will be held in LaFortune Student Center or other buildings on campus. Please refer to your witness notification letter for instructions on where to report.
- If an excused absence from a University obligation (class, work, etc.) is needed, the witness should ask the Office of Community Standards (306 Main Building - 574-631-5551) for the necessary paperwork (note: professors will not be notified of the reason for the absence, only that the student has an official excuse from class).
- Witnesses will wait in the reception seating area until their presence in the Administrative Hearing is requested. A more private place to wait is available upon request. Depending on how many other witnesses will be participating, some witnesses may be asked to sit in a separate room.
- A Community Standards staff member will exit the conference room where the Administrative Hearing is being held and ask the witness to enter the conference room.
When the witness enters the conference room, they will likely see the following individuals:
- Hearing Panel comprised of 2-3 University administrators
- Respondent, along with up to 1 or 2 other individuals who serve in non-speaking roles:
- Respondent's Advisor (any individual of the respondent's choosing)
- Respondent's Rector, Assistant Rector, or Resident Assistant (or former rector or assistant rector if the student lives off campus)
- Complainant, along with up to 1 or 2 other individuals who serve in non-speaking roles:
- Complainant's Advisor (any individual of the complainant's choosing)
- Complainant's Rector, Assistant Rector, or Resident Assistant (or former rector or assistant rector if the student lives off campus)
Note: It is possible for the complainant to participate via web conference (similar to Skype) instead of being present in the room where the Administrative Hearing is held.
- At times, the University may also have a non-speaking observer also present in the room.
When the witness enters the conference room, the following protocol will typically be followed:
- The Hearing Panel will introduce everyone in the room.
- The Hearing Panel will ask the witness clarifying questions regarding the information the witness provided through the Administrative Investigation (or written statement submitted in advance if the individual did not participate in the Administrative Investigation). All of the witness' responses will be directed to the Hearing Panel, not any other individuals in the room.
- The Respondent and Complainant will each be provided the opportunity to ask questions of the witness through the Hearing Panel by submitting their questions in writing to the Hearing Panel. The Hearing Panel will verbally ask any questions. All of the respondent's and complainant's questions will be directed at the Hearing Panel, not the witness. The Hearing Panel will determine which questions the witness would be asked to respond to.
- After the witness is finished, he/she will be excused from the Administrative Hearing by the Hearing Panel.
After the witness is finished participating, he/she may leave.
A witness' participation time in the Administrative Hearing will vary based on the level of their involvement in an incident. The time for a witness to participate in the conference room will typically range from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. Depending on the pace of the Administrative Hearing and the number of witnesses participating, witnesses may have to wait for an extended period of time in the waiting area. The Hearing Panel will attempt to schedule witnesses in a manner to prevent a long waiting period ; however, we cannot guarantee how long you will have to wait.
Alleged Violations of Standards of Conduct
At times, students are hesitant to report the occurrence of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and/or conduct that creates a hostile environment to University officials because they are concerned that they themselves, or witnesses to the misconduct, may be found responsible for other policy violations (e.g, parietals or alcohol violations). These behaviors are not condoned by the University, but the importance of addressing the alleged sexual assault, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and/or conduct that creates a hostile environment outweighs the University’s interest in addressing lesser violations. Accordingly, in these cases, the University will not refer a complainant or witness to the University Conduct Process to address lesser policy violations (e.g. parietals or alcohol violations).
For More Information
If you are interested in learning more about the University Conduct Process, please refer to information found on the page titled Important Information Regarding Sexual Assault, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Conduct that Creates a Hostile Environment.