Complainant FAQ

Home / Complainant FAQ

What is the difference between the trial for guilt and trial for sanction?

Although each trial follows the same format, the trial for guilt focuses strictly on whether or not the alleged events occurred, and if so, whether these events are in violation of the specific standards that have been charged.  For this reason, all witnesses and evidence are presented with regard to the specifics of the incident: (who, what, where, when). The trial for sanction, on the other hand, is intended to discuss any mitigating factors and motives that led the accused to violate the standards in question.  During the trial for sanction the counselors may discuss past disciplinary records, character patterns, extra-curricular involvement, psychological distress, or any other extenuating circumstances.  The trial for sanction also provides the accused with an opportunity to express what they have learned from the incident.  The purpose of the trial for sanction is to arrive at an appropriate sanction aligned with the goals of the UJC.

What happens during questioning?

During the trial proceedings the Complainant, Accused, and any witnesses may be called to testify.  You will be asked questions first by your own counselor.  Opposing counselors have the ability to cross-examine witness, so expect questions from the opposing counselor too.  The judges on the trial panel may also ask you questions if they feel the need for any clarification.  The goal of the UJC is to find the truth and to formulate the appropriate response, so all of the questions that you are asked are asked in this light and are not meant to be intimidating or hostile in any way.  It is important to remember that the tenets of the Honor System apply during UJC proceedings and you are expected to answer questions honorably.

Who are the judges?

The trial panel is made up of 5 judges, one of which is the trial chair who will conduct the proceeding and is a member of the UJC’s Executive Committee.  These judges come from the 25 UJC representatives that are elected by the student body; there are two from each school and three from the College of Arts and Sciences.  With the exception of the trial chair, the judges are unaware of any of the details of your case before the trial begins. You have the right at the beginning of the trial to object to any member of the trial panel that you feel may not be completely fair and unbiased during your case.

What is the goal of the University Judiciary Committee?

To maintain and promote a community of respect, safety, and freedom.

Can I have an open trial?

It is the accused student’s option to have an open trial or not.  The complainant has no say whatsoever.

What is the UJC’s confidentiality policy?

Everything must be kept entirely confidential, only the accused may publicly release information pertaining to the case (the complainant may not release information).  Violation of this policy is a violation of the Standards of Conduct.

What sanction will the accused student receive?

There are neither codified nor established sanctions for specific offenses and the trial panel has unlimited leeway in crafting a sanction.  The trial panel considers the circumstances of the incident, the Accused student’s past record, and other evidence presented during the proceedings to craft a sanction that is uniquely appropriate for each student in each situation.

What should I wear to trial?

Business casual is the minimum expectation for a trial appearance.

Who may represent me?

Any student in the University Community may represent you in trial, or you may choose to represent yourself.  A UJC counselor is assigned to every case, however, and they have been extensively trained and are well informed regarding UJC protocol.  You may not have a professional lawyer represent you in a case.

May I appeal the decision of the trial panel?

The right to appeal is a right that only the accused student may exercise.  Complainants may not appeal the decision of the trial panel.

What is a Hearing Panel?

During any stage of the investigation of a case before the UJC or the First Year Judiciary Committee, a case may be heard informally before a hearing panel. Either party may request a hearing panel.

  1. A hearing panel is composed of the Chairperson of the Committee or one of the Vice Chairs and two other judges from the committee. The panel bases its decision solely on the Investigator’s report. Neither party addresses the trial panel in person.
  2. Requirements for a case to be heard before a hearing panel are as follows: The accused must admit guilt and must be a first-time offender. The offense must be minor. Both parties must agree to have the case moved to the hearing panel.
  3. Despite the fact that a particular case appears to meet the criteria for a Hearing Panel set forth above, the hearing panel chair may deny any request for a hearing panel in his or her sole reasonable discretion.
  4. If at any time during the hearing, the hearing panel chair decides that a trial is needed to clarify facts, ensure fairness, or for any reason s/he deems appropriate, then a trial will be arranged.
  5. All committee by-laws concerning appeals and reviews by the vice-president for student affairs apply to the hearing panel.

How do I drop charges?

Cases may be dropped by completing the Drop Case Form. Charges can be amended using the Amend Charges Form.