Northeastern University

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Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution

Student Conduct Board Hearings

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The Student Conduct Board (SCB) is comprised solely of students who have been selected with input from the Student Government Association, the Resident Student Association, current SCB members, and staff in the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution. The SCB proceedings are managed by a SCB Chairperson, with Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution staff overseeing the process.. Chairpersons have served on the SCB for no less than one semester and go through an application and interview process with staff from the Office.

Whether involved in the process as a charged student, complainant, witness, or advisor, the goal of the office is to treat each person with respect and objectivity.

Participants in a Student Conduct Board Hearing

Participants in a SCB hearing are limited to those persons identified below. SCB hearings are closed proceedings, therefore, parents, attorneys, and the general public are not permitted inside the hearing room.

Charged Student: Student charged with allegedly violating the standards listed in the Code of Student Conduct.

Complainant / Affected Party: Any member of the University community (student, faculty, or staff) or a member of the greater community may file a written complaint with the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution against a student alleging violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct. During a SCB hearing, the complainant presents the case, documentation and other information demonstrating why they believe the charged student violated the Code of Student Conduct.

Witnesses: Either party or the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution may present witnesses to the SCB. A list of witnesses is required and must be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution no later than two (2) business days prior to the scheduled hearing.

Witnesses should be appropriately limited in number and be able to speak knowledgeably about the incident in question (e.g., the witness was at the scene of the incident or the witness can make statements about the charged student's whereabouts during the incident). At no time are witnesses permitted to slander the opposing party.

Witnesses are usually required to wait outside the hearing room. They are not permitted to bring anything into the hearing room except for their notes. Reliable witnesses are critical to the integrity of the hearing process. Witnesses who do not tell the truth or engage in otherwise inappropriate conduct during the hearing are subject to charges under the Code of Student Conduct.

Note: Live character statements are not permitted. Charged students may submit written character statements at the time of the hearing. The character statements will be read to the SCB at the conclusion of the hearing if the charged student is found responsible. Character statements will not be considered in determining responsibility for the charges, but may be considered when determining sanctions.

Hearing Advisors: The Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution maintains a list of volunteers who have been trained to serve as hearing advisors in the SCB process. The charged student must contact the hearing advisor in a timely manner. The hearing advisor may attend the hearing, however, s/he is not permitted to address the hearing board or speak on behalf of the student.

It is not the role of the advisor to “win” the case for the student. Rather, the hearing advisor may assist the student in preparing for the hearing, attending the hearing, and if necessary, assisting the student with an appeal.

It is the responsibility of the student to initiate contact with the hearing advisor. It is also the student's responsibility to confirm the hearing advisor's availability for the hearing.

The student has the option of selecting an hearing advisor, who is not included on the list of trained hearing advisors. That individual must be a current member of the University community, either as faculty, staff, or student. These individuals are expected to comply with defined roles described above.

Student Conduct Board: Each hearing is typically comprised of five (5) members. Hearings may be done with as few as three (3) members.

Hearing Administrator: A professional in the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution, the Hearing Administrator oversees the process of the SCB.  The Hearing Administrator's role is to ensure that the SCB follows the procedures outlined in the Code of Student Conduct.

Student Conduct Board Hearing Process

Filing a Complaint: Individuals who wish to pursue disciplinary charges against a student must file a written complaint with the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. The complaint should be as detailed as possible, listing the individual charged as well as any witnesses. A Hearing Administrator will review the complaint to determine the most appropriate forum (administrative or Student Conduct Board) to resolve the dispute.

Complainants/affected parties are encouraged to discuss their concerns with staff members of the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution and/or the Hearing Administrator. Every effort is made to provide complainants/affected parties with appropriate support services. Students who knowingly file a false complaint may be subject to disciplinary action.

Pre-hearing Meeting: Charged students will meet with a Hearing Administrator prior to their SCB hearing. This meeting serves several purposes. First, the Hearing Administrator reviews the disciplinary charges against the student and provides the student with all available written materials in support of the charge(s). At this point in the process, the student will typically be able to choose to accept responsibility for the charge(s) or contest responsibility.  

Accepting Responsibility: Students who accept responsibility do not appear before the SCB. Rather, a Hearing Administrator presents the case, including a summary of the facts of the case, to at least two members of the SCB. The SCB members determine appropriate sanction(s). Students should not assume that they will receive a lesser sanction by accepting responsibility for the charge(s).

Contesting Charges: Students who contest will have their case heard before the SCB.  If the student elects for this option, then the Hearing Administrator will use the pre-hearing meeting to review the hearing process and answer any questions the student may have about the process. Charged students will be assigned the first available hearing date.

Charged students should thoroughly read the Code of Student Conduct prior to their pre-hearing meeting.

The Presentation of Information at Student Conduct Board Hearing shall generally proceed as follows:

1. Complainant’s opening statement and perspective
  • Questioning of complainant (charged student and Student Conduct Board)

2. Charged student's opening statement and perspective

  • Questioning of complainant (charged student and Student Conduct Board)

3. Statements from complainant's witnesses

  • Questioning of complainant's witnesses (complainant, charged student, Student Conduct Board)

4. Statements from charged student's witnesses

  • Questioning of charged student's witnesses (charged student, complainant, Student Conduct Board)

5. Final questions from the Student Conduct Board to any party

6. Complainant's closing statement

7. Charged student's closing statement, including any statement as to mitigating circumstances

Note: Student Conduct Board members have the option of questioning all parties and witnesses at any point in the proceedings.

At the conclusion of the charged student’s closing statement, the hearing will adjourn and the SCB and Hearing Administrator will go into closed session. The SCB will deliberate on the information presented during the hearing and through written reports to make a determination regarding responsibility for the disciplinary charge(s). The SCB uses the preponderance of information, or more likely than not, in determining if a charged student is responsible for the alleged violation(s).  

Following deliberation, if the charged student is found responsible for at least one of the violations, the SCB reviews the charged student's disciplinary history and character statements, before determining appropriate sanctions for the violation(s).

Decisions from the board are rendered in writing and generally available two business days following the hearing’s conclusion.

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