Student Disciplinary Committee Hearings
If, after reviewing a sexual misconduct report and related investigative materials, the associate dean believes that there is a probable violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and the resulting sanction could result in a suspension or dismissal from the University, the matter will be submitted for hearing by the Student Disciplinary Committee. The committee will include a minimum of three faculty and/or staff members, with a mix of both male and female members. The associate dean will chair the committee but is not a voting member unless there is a tie vote.
Prior to the committee hearing, the involved parties will receive a written notice prior to the hearing date that will include a description of the behavior that allegedly violates the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the investigative materials, and any other information the associate dean deems necessary to provide to the involved parties. The notice and related materials will be sent to the involved students' pepperdine.edu email accounts. The notice will also include the date and time of the hearing, not less than five (5) or more than fifteen (15) calendar days after the date of the written notice to the involved parties. Maximum time limits for scheduling hearings may be extended at the discretion of the associate dean.
Other than as outlined below, hearings need not adhere to formal rules of procedure or technical rules of evidence followed by courts of law. Hearings will be conducted according to the following guidelines:
- All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the associate dean.
- The hearing will normally be conducted in private. Admission of any person to the hearing will be at the discretion of the associate dean. The associate dean may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the complainant, respondent, 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, as deemed appropriate by the associate dean.
- Involved parties may be assisted at hearings and pre-hearing meetings by an advisor of their choice. The advisor cannot speak for the involved parties. The role of the advisor is to accompany the involved parties and advise them privately during the pre-hearing and hearing process.
- Hearings will be chaired by the associate dean or designee, and will proceed in the
- Reading of the charges.
- The respondent's denial or admission of the charges (If the respondent admits the charges, then the committee may dismiss the respondent and deliberate on the appropriate sanctions).
- Presentation of information and/or witnesses supporting the charges and questions by the committee.
- Presentation of information and/or witnesses that rebuts the charges and questions by the committee.
- Each involved party has the option of presenting a closing statement to the committee.
- Involved parties are not required to provide witness testimony. However, if an involved party chooses to provide a witness's testimony, that witness may appear in person at the hearing or submit a written statement at least 24 hours before the hearing. If the witness attends the hearing, the committee may ask him or her questions. Witnesses may only be present while giving testimony. Involved parties must submit a list of intended witnesses and purposes of their statements to the associate dean at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing. The associate dean reserves the right to limit which witnesses the involved parties may call at the hearing.
- A list of witnesses called by the University should be presented to the involved parties at least 24 hours before the hearing.
- 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 before the hearing. The Student the Disciplinary Committee may or may not consider any documents received after the 24-hour deadline subject to the discretion of the associate dean.
- Involved parties will receive a copy of witness lists and all relevant materials submitted.
- If, during the course of the hearing, additional policy violations are discovered, the respondent will be notified of the new charges and will be granted additional time, if needed, to prepare a defense of the new charges. The respondent 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 respondent desires additional preparation time.
- Information about the misconduct of other students shared at the hearing may be used as the basis for disciplinary action unless immunity pursuant to the reporting party Immunity/Good Samaritan policy has been granted.
- The committee's determination will be made on the basis of the preponderance of the evidence standard (whether it is more likely than not that the respondent violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy).
- After the hearing, the committee will determine by majority vote whether the respondent has violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
- If the respondent is found to have violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the committee will then make a recommendation to the associate dean on the appropriate sanction(s).
- The associate dean will notify the involved parties in writing to the involved parties' pepperdine.edu accounts of the committee's decision and the sanctions issued, if any.
- 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 involved parties, statement of the decision, and the sanctions issued, if any. The hearing will not be transcribed or otherwise recorded.
- If either of the involved parties fails to appear at the hearing or participate, the committee may make a decision based on the available information. If the associate dean determines that good cause exists for the either of the involved parties accused student not appearing at the hearing, a new date may be set for the hearing.
- The committee will render a decision within 60 days of the formal report being filed or within 60 days of the Title IX Coordinator for Students' decision not to honor a confidentiality request. However, there may be extenuating circumstances that render this time-frame impractical. In such cases, decisions will be rendered as promptly as possible.