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Sexual Assault, Stalking, Gender Related Harassment and Domestic/Relationship Violence Conduct Process

If a case is forwarded to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for a formal hearing, the following outlines the process. Refer to Part 10 of the Student Conduct System Handbook for more  information on the hearing process for cases involving sexual assault, stalking, gender-related harassment or dating or domestic violence.

  1. The investigator will provide the alleged Code of Student Conduct violations, the written report, and the parties’ written responses to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Based on the outcome of the investigation, the Director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will determine if the complaint contains sufficient cause to proceed to a University Conduct Board hearing, and will either confirm or amend the proposed Code of Student Conduct violations. Unless extenuating circumstances exist, a hearing will typically be convened within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the full investigative file by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
  2. The University Conduct Board is comprised of three (3) members who are full-time faculty or staff from Syracuse University and who are trained annually on the handling of Title IX related complaints, the University’s Title IX Policy and Grievance Procedures and applicable confidentiality requirements. Members of the University Conduct Board are appointed by the Senior Vice President for Enrollment and the Student Experience, or designee, from a pool of at least ten (10) members recommended by the University community. The University Conduct Board is advised by the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities, by the Associate Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities or an attorney appointed by the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
  3. Chairpersons, appointed by the Director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, or a designee, will preside at each University Conduct Board hearing.
  4. The complainant and respondent will be notified simultaneously in writing of the charges filed against the respondent, the date, time and location of the hearing. Notice will be emailed at least three (3) University business days prior to the hearing to the parties’ syr.edu email address or in any other manner reasonable designed to give notice to the parties.
  5. At its sole discretion, the University Conduct Board may rely upon the investigator’s report, the parties’ responses to the report, and any supplemental reports, for its understanding of the relevant facts, or it may conduct additional witness interviews and/or gather other additional information. The University Conduct Board may also interview the investigator. The complainant and respondent will be invited to speak to the University Conduct Board, but neither party is required to attend the hearing. Neither party will be permitted to directly cross-examine the other party, but they may submit questions to the University Conduct Board advisor for the Board to consider asking to the other party during the hearing. The University Conduct Board, in its sole discretion, will determine the relevance of the proposed questions.
  6. Any interviews conducted by the University Conduct Board may be recorded. Either party may request that a written transcript of these recordings be made at the expense of the University. Printed transcripts may be redacted by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities prior to being provided to the requesting party in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended.
  7. Based on the information contained in the final report, any written statements, and witness information provided to the Board, the Board will determine whether it is more likely than not that the respondent violated the Code of Student Conduct using the preponderance of the evidence standard. The University Conduct Board will render a decision on all Code of Student Conduct violations listed in the complaint including those related to sexual and relationship violence or harassment as well as other, general misconduct (e.g., underage drinking; property destruction; hazing).
  8. Rules of evidence and criminal standards of proof do not apply. University Conduct Board decisions are made in private and by a majority vote of the Board members.
  9. Both parties have the right to exclude their own prior sexual history with persons other than the other party in the conduct process or their own mental health diagnosis and/or treatment during the finding of responsibility phase of the hearing.
  10. Once a finding of responsibility is made, and prior to deliberations regarding sanctions, the Board will consider any other relevant information including, without limitation:
    • impact statements submitted by either party;
    • prior misconduct of the respondent (student conduct and criminal convictions);
    • sanctions issued in prior similar University conduct cases, if any;
    • the nature or violence of the conduct at issue;
    • whether the respondent accepted responsibility for the conduct;
    • maintenance of a safe and respectful learning and living environment;
    • protection of the University community; and
    • any other mitigating, exacerbating, or compelling circumstances in order to reach a just and appropriate resolution in each case.
  11. Sanctions will be designed to eliminate the prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. The University Conduct Board may impose sanctions up to and including expulsion from the University and may design sanctions that are educational and/or remedial specific to the facts of a given case. Standard sanctions for alcohol, safety, sexual harassment and violence related behaviors are listed in Part 11 of the Student Conduct System Handbook.
  12. The hearing will be considered complete when the Board has agreed upon the final written version of the Board’s decision. Decisions of the University Conduct Board are confirmed by the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities or a designee.
  13. University Conduct System formal resolution proceedings are confidential and closed to persons not directly related to the case. The results of University Student Conduct System formal resolution process are held confidential in accordance with applicable law. The University reserves the right to correct any misinformation with regard to University Student Conduct System action that may be circulated in the media when the well-being of the community so requires. The University will publish data related to the activities of the University Student Conduct System on a periodic basis consistent with constraints and requirements imposed by law.
  14. The process of investigation and the Board’s decision will typically be concluded within 60 business days of the original complaint, pending special circumstances. If circumstances arise that delay either the investigation or the Board’s determination of an outcome, both parties will be sent written notification of the delay and its cause. Each party will receive written notification of the decision of the University Conduct Board including a finding of responsibility, whether sex discrimination was found and sanctions.In all cases of sexual assault, stalking, gender-related harassment, and domestic/relationship violence the decisions of the University Conduct Board are effective immediately. Information on how to appeal decisions of the University Conduct Board can be found in Part 12 of the Student Conduct System Handbook.

Procedural Advisors for Sexual and Relationship Violence Cases

The complainant and the respondent have an equal opportunity to be advised by an advisor of their choice throughout all phases of the investigation. For a University-trained procedural advisor, parties may contact the Office of Student Assistance at 315.443.4357. Procedural advisors, including attorneys where applicable, have no standing in the University investigation or in the University Student Conduct System proceedings, except to provide advice to their respective parties in a quiet non-disruptive manner. Advisors do not represent or speak for their respective parties. Any advisors, including attorneys, who fail to conform their behavior to these requirements will be removed from the proceedings and barred from acting as an advisor in future University Student Conduct System proceedings. In such cases, the Board will determine whether to proceed with the formal resolution process without the presence of an advisor or to reschedule the proceedings at which time the case will be forwarded to the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities for further processing.