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Pepperdine University

For Students: Formal Hearing Guidelines

Hearings will be conducted according to the following guidelines:

1. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the associate dean of student affairs for community standards.

2. The hearing will normally be conducted in private. Admission of any person to the hearing will be at the discretion of the associate dean of student affairs for community standards. The associate dean may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, wellbeing, and/or fears of confrontation of the reporting party, accused student, and/or other witness during the hearing by providing separate facilities, and/or by permitting participation by telephone, video conferencing, written statement, or other means, where and as determined in the sole judgment of the associate dean to be appropriate.

3. Accused students may be assisted at hearings by an advisor. The advisor must be a current student, faculty, or staff member of the University who was not involved in the incident. The advisor cannot speak for the accused student. The role of the advisor is to accompany the student and advise him or her privately during the hearing process.

4. Hearings will be chaired by the associate dean of student affairs for community standards (or designee), and will proceed in the following manner:

a. Reading of the charges.

b. The student's denial or admission of the charges. If the student admits the charges, then the Committee may dismiss the student and deliberate on the appropriate sanctions.

c. Review of the information in support of the charges.

d. Questions about the information by the student charged and/or the Committee.

e. Presentation of information by the student charged that rebuts the charges and questions by the Committee.

f. Closing statement by the accused student.

5. The chair and the accused student may call witnesses. The Committee may ask questions of the witnesses. The accused student may not directly question the witness, but may direct questions to the chair after the witness has been excused. The chair will then determine if the questions are appropriate, and if so, will follow up with the witness as necessary. Witnesses may only be present while giving testimony. Accused students must present a list of witnesses and purposes of their statements to the chair 24 hours in advance of the hearing.

6. A list of witnesses called by the University should be presented to the accused student 24 hours in advance of the hearing.

7. Pertinent records, exhibits and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by the Committee at the discretion of the chair. This information must be submitted to the chair at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing.

8. If, during the course of the hearing, additional charges are discovered, the accused student will be notified of the new charges and will be granted additional time, if needed, to prepare a defense of the new charges. The accused student may waive the additional time and the hearing can proceed with the new charges taken under consideration by the Committee. A record should be made in the hearing notes of additional charges and whether or not the student desires additional preparation time.

9. Information about the misconduct of other students shared at the hearing may be used as the basis for disciplinary action.

10. The Committee's determination will be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the accused student violated the Code of Conduct.

11. After the hearing, the Committee will determine by majority vote whether the student has violated each section of the Code of Conduct that the student is charged with violating.

12. If the student is found to have violated the Code of Conduct, the Committee will then make a recommendation to the associate dean of student affairs for community standards on the appropriate sanctions.

13. The associate dean of student affairs for community standards will notify the student in writing of the Committee's decision and the sanctions issued, if any.

14. There will be a single written record of the hearing, which normally consists of the statement of alleged misconduct, a summary of the information presented in the hearing, a summary of the statement of the accused, statement of the decision, and the sanctions issued, if any. The hearing will not be transcribed or otherwise recorded.

15. If the accused student fails to appear at the hearing, the Committee may make a decision based on the available information. If the associate dean of student affairs for community standards determines that good cause exists for the accused student not appearing at the hearing, a new date may be set for the hearing.

Interim Suspension

In certain circumstances, the vice president for student life and dean of student affairs or a designee may impose a University or residence-hall suspension prior to a meeting with the Student Disciplinary Committee. Interim suspension may be imposed only: a) to ensure the safety and well being of members of the University community or preservation of University property; b) to ensure the student's own physical or emotional safety and well being; or c) if the student poses a definite threat of disruption of or interference with the normal operations of the University. During the interim suspension, students will be denied access to the residence halls and/ or to the campus (including classes) and/or all other University activities or privileges for which the students might otherwise be eligible, as the vice president or the designee may determine to be appropriate.

Click here for information on sanctions.