The following hearing procedures are generally followed. The COD reserves the right to adjust these procedures as the Chair deems appropriate. As described in Section XIV, special procedures will be employed for sexual misconduct hearings.
A. The hearing is scheduled as soon as is reasonably possible after the respondent's written response has been received by the OSC staff or after the deadline for submission has passed.
B. In cases of a student organization, the governing council responsible for that student organization shall be notified of the pending case and be invited to submit a letter to the COD about the case.
C. The OSC will notify a complainant and respondent of the hearing date and provide both parties with guidelines for submitting documents for the hearing and a date by which any documents to be presented at the hearing must be submitted.
- All parties are required to affirm that materials they submit to the COD are their own work. Outside collaborators, including an advisor, must be cited.
ii. Information submitted following this date may only be included for consideration at the discretion of the Chair.
iii. Following receipt of this information, the OSC will provide documents and distribute them to the COD panelists, the complainant, the respondent, and their advisors.
iv. At the discretion of the Chair, the COD may request a fact-finding report from the Office of the Dean for Student Life to be submitted.
D. The hearing usually proceeds as follows, although the Chair may vary the procedure at their discretion.
i. The Chair reads introductions and description of the hearing procedures to the parties.
ii. The Chair reads the alleged violation(s) and asks the respondent either to accept or deny responsibility.
iii. The complainant may make an opening statement followed by the opportunity of the respondent and the COD to ask questions of the complainant.
iv. The complainant's witnesses may provide statements followed by the opportunity of the complainant, the respondent, and the COD to ask questions of the complainant's witnesses.
v. The respondent may make an opening statement followed by the opportunity of the complainant and the COD to ask questions of the respondent.
vi. The respondent's witnesses may provide statements followed by the opportunity of the respondent, the complainant, and the COD to ask questions of the respondent's witnesses.
vii. The Chair may call witnesses to aid the COD. The COD may recall witnesses who previously appeared for the purpose of asking further questions.
viii. The COD may ask questions of both parties and the parties may question each other.
ix. The complainant may make a brief closing statement, followed by the same opportunity for the respondent.
x. The Chair makes a closing statement, including when decision is expected to be made.
xi. The COD meets in executive session to deliberate.
i. Witnesses may only be present at the hearing during their presentation of information and response to questions. The Chair may ask that any witnesses remain available following their presentation in case a witness needs to be recalled for additional information.
ii. Character witnesses are not permitted.
iii. Unless the Chair decides otherwise in unusual circumstance, expert witnesses are not allowed.
F. Chair's Role (or Associate Chair, when applicable)
i. The Chair convenes and facilitates the hearing.
ii. The Chair may postpone or suspend a hearing.
iii. The Chair may call a brief recess at any time during the hearing.
iv. At any time, the Chair determines whether certain witnesses should appear and decides whether any particular question, statement, or information will be allowed during a hearing. Formal rules of evidence that apply to civil or criminal judicial processes are not applicable.
v. The Chair may call a particular witness.
vi. The Chair shall warn any participant deemed to be disruptive, harassing, or intimidating to any other participant and if appropriate, excuse any individual's presence at a hearing, or take any other action deemed necessary by the Chair to ensure an orderly hearing.
G. COD Deliberations and Decision
i. Once the Chair concludes the hearing, the COD meets in executive session to reach its decision. The COD decides first, using a preponderance of the evidence standard and based on a majority, if a respondent is responsible for committing one or more violations of MIT policy or standards. If a respondent is found responsible, the COD will then decide what is the appropriate sanction or sanctions to impose. In deliberations on sanctions, the COD may review any prior findings of responsibility of the respondent. The sanctions available are described in Section XI.
ii. Except as provided in Section XII and Section XIII (C) of the Rules, the COD's decision is final. The Chair will usually meet with the respondent as soon as reasonably possible after the hearing. A written notice of the decision is usually provided to a respondent no later than ten business days after the hearing. This letter will be copied to MIT officials as appropriate.
H. Record Keeping
i. No recording of any kind of a hearing is allowed. No electronic devices may be used during a hearing by anyone present.
ii. A documentary record of the proceedings will be kept in the files of the COD. This record should consist of: (1) the complaint and respondent's response, (2) all documents submitted at the hearing, and (3) the decision letter. This record does not summarize or otherwise attempt to preserve the hearing or deliberative discussions.