This Guide is intended to assist students who are preparing for a hearing before a Faculty Adjudicator, and is supplementary to the Academic Integrity Policy.
An academic dishonesty hearing or academic dishonesty appeal hearing is intended to afford both parties the opportunity to present information and evidence. There is an established order in which the parties speak, and there are specific guidelines for witnesses and advisors.
Advisors: While the student may have an advisor present at the hearing and that person may consult with the student, the student's advisor has no speaking role. Student advisors may not include legal counsel for purposes of academic dishonesty hearings.
Faculty Adjudicator: A Faculty Adjudicator will chair the hearing, listen to the submissions, pose questions and render a decision based on the evidence within ten working days of the hearing.
Student: The student will be asked to respond to a charge of academic dishonesty. In the case of an appeal, the student will present a case for why a decision should be overturned or altered. The Academic Integrity Policy applies to all registered undergraduate and graduate students, per s.2.
University Representative: This person, who will present the case against the student or defend against a student appeal, may consist of an instructor, a graduate supervisor, a member of a graduate examining committee, a University Officer, a Department Chair or School/Program Director or an Associate Dean.
Witnesses: Both the student and the University Representative may call witnesses. Witnesses should attend the hearing in person and be available to respond to questions. Parties are responsible for producing their own witnesses and paying any associated appearance costs. Witnesses will be present at the hearing only for the duration of their testimony and any subsequent questioning.Additional Information
Administrative Law: Academic Integrity hearings fall within the domain of administrative law, and criminal law analogies or considerations simply don't apply. The biggest difference is that while in criminal proceedings a person must be found "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," the standard for academic dishonesty hearings is "preponderance of evidence," where the evidence shows that it is more likely than not that academic dishonesty has occurred.
Audio Recordings: All academic dishonesty hearings are recorded to obtain an accurate record of what is said. The audio file is held in confidence by the Office of Academic Integrity for a period of three years following the hearing. Any party to the hearing may, upon payment of a nominal fee to recoup reproduction costs, receive a copy of this file.
Open Hearing: Academic dishonesty hearings are open to the public. Either party may request that the hearing be closed such that only the parties thereto be permitted to attend. The Faculty Adjudicator will consider the reasons for the closed hearing request, and issue a determination prior to its commencement.Pre-Hearing: What's next?
You will have been made aware of a charge of academic dishonesty against you by the University Representative. Once it has been determined that a hearing is required, you will be contacted regarding hearing times. A package of information will be mailed to you containing the formal notice of the hearing, the Academic Integrity Policy, a copy of the written evidence, and this Guide.
There are a number of steps you may take to prepare for the hearing:
At the Hearing
- You will be sent a notice informing you of the date and time of the hearing and the name of the assigned Faculty Adjudicator.
- If you wish to proceed by way of adjudication without a hearing, you may request this option, as per s.29 of the Policy. (This type of adjudication is typically for cases where the facts are not in dispute.)
- If you object to the named Faculty Adjudicator presiding over the case, you may request that another Adjudicator be appointed. You must do so, in writing, through the Office of Academic Integrity.
- You may prepare a written statement in advance of the hearing which will be circulated to all parties, through the Office of Academic Integrity. This may consist of a summary of events that unfolded, details of conversations you had with people that support your position (i.e. TAs, witnesses), and any other material that negates the charge (i.e. ambiguous instructions). Please be advised that character witnesses are not generally helpful, as the purpose of the hearing is not to determine your inherent goodness so much as to determine whether academic dishonesty occurred and, if so, what the appropriate penalty should be.
- You may ask an Advisor to assist you at the hearing (see the foregoing section on Advisors).
- You must make the necessary arrangements for your witness(es) to attend the hearing (see the foregoing section on Witnesses). If it is impossible for your witness(es) to attend the hearing, she/he may submit a detailed written statement. However, please note that while written witness statements may be helpful, they have limited evidentiary bearing as they don't afford the parties to the hearing an opportunity to pose questions and seek clarification.
- Review the written case against you and prepare questions as well as your defence (i.e. the points you intend to raise, in what order, etc.).
- It is inappropriate to approach the Faculty Adjudicator outside of the hearing venue, and any information presented to the Faculty Adjudicator directly as opposed to the Office of Academic Integrity will not be considered.
- At the end of the hearing, you will be asked for your penalty recommendation in the event the charge is upheld. While you may consider what you might say in advance, you need not include any statement to this effect in your written submission.
- The Faculty Adjudicator will render a decision based on the written and oral information considered at the hearing. Only once the Faculty Adjudicator has made a determination that academic dishonesty took place will she/he inquire of the Office of Academic Integrity whether you have any prior incidents. (This means that you need not raise this at the hearing.)
- TheOmbuds Office may assist you in preparing your case: visit them in MUSC 210 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If the hearing is in respect of an appeal, you must provide the requisite information prior to the hearing. Your submission should explain why you are appealing and the remedy you seek. If you refer to written materials, you must provide a copy. At the hearing, you will be speaking first, asked to review and explain what you have provided in writing, and call your witness first. The University Representative will be presenting the defence and will be heard second.
The order of the hearing is as follows:
Other Helpful Information
- The recording device is turned on.
- Parties are introduced.
- Requests for closed hearings are made and considered.
- Witnesses are identified and asked to leave the room until called upon.
- Written submissions are identified and become part of the hearing record.
- The party requesting the hearing (the Appellant) presents the charge and any supporting evidence. The other party (the Respondent) and the Faculty Adjudicator are permitted to ask questions.
- The Appellant calls witnesses one at a time. The Respondent and the Faculty Adjudicator ask questions of each witness at the end of the witnesses' testimony, after which time witnesses leave the room.
- The Appellant clarifies any new points arising from the questioning.
- The Respondent presents his/her defence and any supporting evidence. The Appellant and the Faculty Adjudicator are permitted to ask questions.
- The Respondent calls witnesses one at a time. The Appellant and the Faculty Adjudicator ask questions of each witness at the end of the witnesses' testimony, after which time witnesses leave the room.
- The Respondent clarifies any new points arising from the questioning.
- The Appellant may respond to any evidence the Respondent has presented.
- There is no further questioning of the parties by anyone other than the Faculty Adjudicator.
- The Appellant summarizes the case. (The summary should address both the substance of the alleged offence and the appropriate penalty if the allegation is determined to be valid.)
- The Respondent summarizes the case. (The summary should address both the substance of the alleged offence and the appropriate penalty if the allegation is determined to be valid.)
- The hearing is adjourned, and the recording device turned off.
- Both parties will be informed of the decision in writing within ten working days.
- It is your responsibility to present your case. You should come to the hearing prepared and ready to present your information and/or evidence. Jotting down questions or points you wish to make in advance of the hearing is helpful, as is practising what you intend to say.
- Language choice: Though there may be more than one person involved in these roles (i.e., the hearing may be to consider a charge of inappropriate collaboration against more than one student), the foregoing Guide adopts language in the singular.
- Hearing Demeanor: All parties are expected to behave in a respectful manner at the hearing, not interrupt, listen to what others have to say, and address others in a respectful tone and manner.