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Preparing for a Hearing

If you have received a letter from The Vice President and Dean of Student Life Office requesting your presence at a Hearing or Informal Resolution Meeting the information below will help in preparation.

Informal Resolution

The College aims to respond to student misconduct in an educational and restorative manner whenever appropriate. Informal resolution seeks to resolve conflict, restore an individual or group’s relationship with the community and to promote and maintain community trust and civility. This is achieved through outcomes mutually agreed to by the college and the student. Informal resolution is reserved for allegations of misconduct in which the facts of the incident are not in dispute, the student(s) or organization(s) involved has accepted responsibility for his/her/its actions and when, based upon the behavior at issue, the likely outcome does not alter a student or organization’s relationship or status with the College.  Students or organizations selected for informal resolution can request formal resolution.

Formal Resolution

Formal resolution takes two forms.  Students alleged to have violated the Community Standards will be called to an Administrative or Panel Hearing. An administrative hearing is an individual hearing with one hearing officer.  Panel hearings are utilized when a student’s status could be impacted if they are found responsible.  A panel hearing is heard by a faculty, student, administrator and the Assistant Dean of Students (non-voting chairperson).  The checklist below should assist you in preparing for formal resolution. 

  • Read the Community Standards - The *Community Standards* outline the conduct process and provides information on students rights, responsibilities and the hearing procedures.  It is your responsibility to know what is expected of you and what your rights are throughout the process.
  • Inform Others/Seek Perspective - We encourage you to contact your adviser, coach, residential community director and/or college dean. These individuals are often vested in your success here and can offer great perspective.   If you are an athlete or member of a student group, it is also important to notify your coach or advisor of your organization. Parents or guardians often prefer to be notified and we encourage you to reach out to them as well.  Notifying these individuals is not required, but can be helpful.
  • Select a Hearing Advisor - Students/organizations participating in the formal hearing process are encouraged to have an advisor.  This person should be someone whose perspective you value and/or someone who serves as a support source to you on campus.  This person may help prepare the party for the hearing and may accompany the party that he or she is assisting to the hearing. An adviser must be a current student, faculty member or staff member of Dickinson College. This person must not have a law degree and cannot speak on behalf of the responding party or complaining party during the hearing.
  • Prepare Notes - Students are encouraged to prepare notes outlining their recollection of the events that resulted in the hearing.  It can be helpful to also document any information you wish for the panel to know, and bring all notes with you to the hearing.  It is difficult to remember everything, so we recommend having notes as a reminder.
  • Ask Questions - If there is any part of the conduct process that you have questions about please stop by the Vice President and Dean of Student Life Office.  We are happy to answer questions, and meet with you to discuss the conduct process further prior to your hearing.
  • Submit Witnesses Names - If you intend to bring a witness with you for your hearing, please provide the name of any witnesses prior to your hearing to the Vice President and Dean of Student Life Office by emailing or completing the webform in your notice letter.  If the complainant is a student who has selected to participate in the hearing process due to being affected by the behavior in question, a deadline of 24 hours prior to the hearing is often given so that the complainant can be notified of witnesses attending the hearing.  Witnesses are subject to approval of the hearing chairperson based on relevancy to the violations in question.
  • At the Hearing - We suggest you show up a few minutes early for your hearing.  If there are new materials for your hearing that were not available at the time of the letter you will be able to review those at that time.   During the hearing you will be asked if you believe you are responsible or not responsible for each of the violations.  Share the details you recall from the event and ask questions if you are unsure of any aspect of the hearing.

In addition to preparing for your hearing, we encourage you to check out additional conduct resources that may be helpful:

Conduct Process   |   Hearing Outcomes/Sanctions  |  Appeal Process
Student Conduct Frequently Asked Questions