Responding to a Complaint


a. The respondent shall normally receive written notice regarding a complaint within seven business days after it was reported to a judicial coordinator.

b. The respondent must meet with that judicial coordinator within three business days after receiving notification of the charge in order to discuss a) the nature of the charge, b) the rights and responsibilities of the respondent, c) the judicial process, and d) the slate of potential hearing board members. Respondents have the right to remain silent and exercising this right will not be used against them.

c. The respondent may bring an advisor to the meeting with the judicial coordinator. An advisor may be any member (student, faculty, or staff member) of the Oberlin College community.

d. If the respondent fails to arrange a conference with the judicial coordinator or return the completed form within three business days, the matter will be referred to the Judicial Board for adjudication.

e. If both parties to the dispute agree that mediation is appropriate, the matter may be referred to the Oberlin College Dialogue Center (OCDC). The judicial coordinator may also refer students involved in judicial matters to the Office of the Ombudsperson for mediation when both of the following conditions are met:

  • Both parties agree to mediation as the appropriate means for addressing their dispute.
  • Major violations of the rules and regulations (those likely, according to precedent, to result in suspension or dismissal) have not occurred, as determined by the judicial coordinator. If they do not agree, the matter will be referred to the Judicial Board.

f. The judicial coordinator may determine whether mediation will be the sole means of conflict resolution. While the judicial coordinator may require the formal adjudication of a complaint regardless of mediation, the successful mediation of an incident prior to a Judicial Board hearing may be regarded as a mitigating factor in the Board's determination of sanction.

g. All relevant security reports, witness reports, complaint forms, respondents' statements, and other relevant written materials are to be shared with the respondent and complainant two business days prior to the hearing.

h. The respondent shall receive a written copy of the judicial process and hearing procedures.

i. The judicial coordinator will present a list of all 15 Judicial Board members to the respondent at the meeting. The respondent and the complainant have the opportunity to request in writing to the judicial coordinator, within 24 hours that a specific board member (or members, up to five) not participate in the hearing due to a conflict of interest or perceived bias. The rationale for the request shall be included.

j. After the respondent has been contacted, the complainant will be kept informed of developments and will be advised of procedures.

k. The respondent and complainant must be properly informed of the date and time of the hearing in writing and must have at least five business days to prepare.

l. The respondent and complainant shall have the opportunity to request that witnesses testify on their behalf. The judicial coordinator retains the authority to admit witnesses, based on the relevance of their testimony.

m. The respondent and complainant must notify the judicial coordinator of any advisors and witnesses attending the hearing within three business days following their individual meeting. Any scheduling needs must be addressed at that time.

n. The respondent and the complainant will be notified of each other's witnesses at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.

o. The judicial coordinator will encourage respondents to notify their parents or guardians of pending deliberations, and in advance of any college notification of outcome.

p. If a judicial case is also being heard by a civil or criminal court, the college retains the right to hear the judicial case before, after, or during the same time as the civil or criminal case. However, the judicial coordinator will entertain a request from a respondent to postpone a hearing until after a civil or criminal case if the respondent believes that the admission of information in the college's judicial process could compromise her/his ability to a fair trial in the court.

q. The intimidation or harassment of witnesses or board members is a violation of the code of conduct and will result in judicial action.