The hearing board chair asks everyone but the hearing board members to leave so that the deliberations may begin. All notes and documentation must be left with the hearing board chair and be brought back to the Executive Director.
A. Determination of “In Violation” or “Not in Violation”
The first thing that must be determined is whether or not the student is in violation of the Honor System. The discussion will have no mention of sanctions, only whether or not a violation occurred, and what that violation was. A violation can occur even if the student did not intend to violate the Honor System. For example, if a student accidentally turns in a plagiarized paper, then plagiarism has occurred. To find the student to be “In Violation,” at least 3 hearing board members must vote “In Violation.”
The Honor Council’s standard for finding a student in violation is based on the preponderance of evidence. This means that for a hearing board member to find the student to be in violation, he/she must believe that the evidence implies it is “more likely than not” that the student committed a violation. Please note that this standard differs from other legal standards used in other cases such as the “clear and convincing” test or the “reasonable doubt” test.
If the student is found to be “not in violation,” the deliberations are concluded. The envelope that states whether or not the student has been previously found in violation of the Honor System remains unopened. The hearing board is free to go and the chair will write up a summary of the hearing and inform the student and the HC Chairs of the outcome. Usually, in a case when the student is found to be “Not in Violation,” the HBC will inform the student that he/she need not meet with the HBC the following day.
If the student is found to be “in violation,” the deliberations continue to the sanctioning stage. The envelope with information indicating whether or not the student has been found previously in violation of the Honor System is opened. If the student has been previously found in violation of the Honor System, the board may use that information when deciding on a sanction. Multiple offenses provide a legitimate basis for issuing a more severe sanction.
B. Sanctioning: The board will determine what the violation was and what is the appropriate sanction for that violation, considering the Honor Council’s Sanctioning Guidelines. There must be a majority vote in favor of the recommended sanction.
Once it is determined what sanction fits the violation, a discussion will ensue regarding any special circumstances that may mitigate or exacerbate the original decision of sanction. There must be a majority vote to change the recommended sanction because of extenuating circumstances. See the Sanctioning Guidelines for a more detailed description of what circumstances may and may not serve as extenuating.