The following hearing procedures are generally followed. The COD reserves the right to adjust these procedures as the Chair deems appropriate. As described in Sections XIV, XV, and XVI, special procedures will be employed for sexual misconduct hearings and Title IX Sexual Harassment hearings.
A. The hearing is scheduled as soon as is reasonably possible after any Investigation is completed and the respondent's written response has been received by the OSCCS 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 OSCCS 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.
i. 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 OSCCS will provide documents and distribute them to the COD panelists, the complainant, the respondent, and their advisors.
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, or where the COD makes non-binding recommendations concerning a residence hall to MIT Senior Leadership as described in Section VII, 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.
iii. If the COD decides to make non-binding recommendations to MIT Senior Leadership concerning a residence hall (either in addition to or in lieu of traditional sanctions), it may consult with various stakeholders prior to making its recommendations. Recommendations to MIT Senior Leadership will be communicated directly to those officials and to the parties. MIT Senior Leadership may meet with the parties and consult with various stakeholders prior to making a final decision. The decision of MIT Senior Leadership to accept, reject, or modify the COD’s recommendations will be communicated to the parties and the COD and will be final with no appeals. The COD need not make a formal finding of responsibility for a policy violation if its decision is limited to making non-binding recommendations to MIT Senior Leadership (as opposed to issuing traditional sanctions).
H. Record Keeping
i. No recording of any kind of a hearing is allowed, with the exception of Title IX Sexual Harassment hearings, which will be recorded and/or transcribed by MIT as described in Section XVI. No recording devices may otherwise 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.
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