The Hearing


a. The judicial coordinator shall assemble a panel of four Judicial Board members (from among those available) for individual cases based upon their availability, overall caseload, and level of experience. Each available panelist must indicate to the judicial coordinator whether they have knowledge of the participants in the case that may impair—or may be perceived to impair—his/her ability to judge a case impartially, and recuse him/herself if his/her participation might reasonably compromise the integrity of the process.

b. Board members must be provided with all written documentation at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.

c. The respondent and complainant must have the opportunity to select an advisor from the Oberlin College community (current student, staff, or faculty member) and the opportunity to have that advisor present at both the meeting with the judicial coordinator and the hearing. The advisors are present not to act as legal counsel, but to assist and support the student and to give advice on procedural matters. The advisors do not have speaking privileges during the hearing. A hearing will not be canceled or postponed in the event a scheduled advisor does not attend.

d. Prior to the hearing, board members must appoint a nonvoting chair from among themselves. The chair is responsible for maintaining good order, recognizing who is to speak, moving the process along according to the hearing procedures, and presiding over the hearing and the deliberations.

e. The chair shall determine the relevance and admissibility of information in consultation with the judicial coordinator. Respondents and complainants may address questions of the witnesses and one another when recognized by the chair. Witnesses are to speak only when they are addressed.

f. Present at the hearing are a) the Judicial Board, b) the judicial coordinator, c) the respondent(s), d) the complainants, e) approved witnesses and, f) advisors to the respondent and complainants (as previously defined). Parents, attorneys, or other observers (with the following exception) are not permitted in the hearing.

g. Hearings may be open to the Oberlin College community if agreed upon by the respondent and the complainant.

h. If the respondent or complainant fails to appear at the hearing, the matter will be resolved in his or her absence.

i. Witnesses may be present at the hearing only as they are called to testify. A hearing will not be canceled or postponed if a scheduled witness does not attend.

j. Written statements of witnesses not in attendance due to extreme emergencies shall be considered and may be approved by the chair.

k. At the start of the hearing, the chair shall ask the respondent whether he/she is acquainted with the charges that have been filed, and whether he/she understands them. All written testimony previously made available to the respondent, complainant, and board members is relevant information at this time.

l. The remainder of the hearing shall customarily proceed in the following order with all of the elements occurring at least once:

(1) Opening statement from respondent.
(2) Opening statement from complainant, if appropriate.
(3) Board questioning of respondent and complainant.
(4) Board questioning of witnesses.
(5) Respondent and complainant questioning of each other, and of witnesses.
(6) Final questions from board.
(7) Complainant's closing statement, if appropriate.
(8) Respondent's closing statement.

m. The respondent and complainant must have all information (upon which a decision may be based) introduced at the formal hearing.

n. All hearings will be audiotaped. A transcription of the tape will be made in the event a request for an appeal is filed.

o. These procedures also apply to the Community Board when it is functioning as the board of original jurisdiction.


a. Deliberations shall occur in closed session immediately following the hearing or as soon as practicably possible but not more than one business day after the hearing.

b. During deliberations, board members must first review the hearing and determine the responsibility of the respondent based solely on the information presented at the hearing.

c. Once the level of responsibility has been determined, board members shall then determine the appropriate sanction(s), if necessary. Board members must not be apprised of a respondent's prior disciplinary record until the sanctioning stage of the deliberations.

d. A majority vote (from two of the three voting members) will be used when determining the level of responsibility and the appropriate sanctions, if any.

e. The standard of proof used for making a decision regarding the level of responsibility is: preponderance of evidence. This means there is belief that, on balance, it is more likely than not that the available facts support a particular outcome.

f. In the interest of fairness, sanctions must be determined with due regard for precedent. For reference, the judicial coordinator should prepare in advance a log of previous similar infractions and their sanctions for the board.

g. At the conclusion of the deliberations, the chair shall draft a letter to the respondent, to be sent by registered mail within 12 hours of the conclusion of the deliberations. This letter shall include a) the decision as to responsibility for infractions, b) any sanctions imposed, and c) information regarding the review process.

h. Complainants may be notified of the outcome by the judicial coordinator at the conclusion of the Judicial Board hearing and any subsequent appeals. While complainants may be informed of the respondent's culpability, they may not ordinarily be informed of sanctions imposed.

i. This deliberative process also applies to the Community Board when it is functioning as the board of original jurisdiction.