University of Houston-Victoria

Handbook

Hearing Procedures

The following procedural guidelines shall be applicable in disciplinary hearings:

  • At least three business days prior to the hearing, the Hearing Officer will make available to the respondent(s) copies of documents relevant to the case and a list of witnesses.
  • The respondent is entitled to be accompanied and assisted by an advisor. An advisor may be an attorney, but who sits in an advisory capacity and who addresses the Board only upon permission from the Chair. Respondents who wish to have an attorney attend the hearing as their advisor shall notify the Hearing Officer of the attorney’s name and contact information at least three business days prior to the hearing. If the respondent’s advisor is an attorney, the University may have a University attorney present at the disciplinary hearing. An advisor may not appear in lieu of a respondent.
  • In the event that the University chooses to proceed through legal counsel, the respondent will be notified at least three business days prior to the hearing and shall also have the right to proceed through counsel. Counsel for a respondent may not appear in lieu of the respondent.
  • Hearings of the University Hearing Board will be closed to the public except when the respondent requests an open hearing and such a request is approved. This request must be made in writing to the Hearing Officer at least three business days prior to the hearing.
  • If a respondent fails to appear, the University Hearing Board will decide the case in the charged student’s absence.
  • The Hearing Officer or designee may present the case for the University or the complainant.
  • Prospective witnesses, other than the complainant and respondent, will be excluded from the hearing during the testimony of other witnesses. All participants shall be excluded during Board deliberations.
  • The hearing will be held in two parts:
    1. Determination of
    2. Determination of sanction; if a finding of “in violation” is determined.
  • The Chair will exercise control over the proceedings. Any person disrupting a hearing or who fails to adhere to the rulings of the Chair may be removed or excluded from the proceedings.
  • Any party may challenge a Board member on the grounds of personal bias. Board members may be disqualified upon a majority vote of the remaining members of the Board. Disqualification votes must be conducted by secret ballot.
  • The burden of proof shall be on the complainant or University, whichever is applicable, to prove the case by a preponderance of the evidence standard.
  • The Chair shall determine what evidence is admissible. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply.
  • The respondent, the complainant, and/or the Board members may examine the written evidence offered and may question all witnesses.
  • The respondent will not be forced to testify against themselves and their silence shall not be used to their detriment.
  • Individuals referred to in any written statements or testimony of respondent, complainant, and/or witnesses may be called as witnesses by the University Hearing Board. The Chair shall determine the length of any such witness testimony and when it shall be heard during the hearing.
  • At the conclusion of the presentations, the Board shall deliberate the violation stage of the proceeding in closed session. After deliberation and a vote, the decision of the Board will be announced to the participants.
  • The Board may hear evidence concerning sanctioning if the respondent is found to have violated the Prohibited Conduct Section of the Student Code of Conduct. The Board may consider the respondent’s prior disciplinary record during the sanctioning phase of the proceedings in order to recommend the appropriate sanction(s).
  • Decisions by the Board shall be by majority vote. In the event of a tie, the Chair will vote to break the tie.
  • Hearings will be recorded and, upon written request, the respondent will be afforded access to the recording of the hearing. The only recording devices allowed in the hearing are those provided by the Hearing Officer.
  • The Board’s recommendation of violation and sanction(s) will be forwarded to the Hearing Officer for further action. The Hearing Officer will notify the respondent of the decision in writing within seven business days of the hearing. The Hearing Officer will also make a copy of the decision available to the respondent in the Senior Director of Student Services & Judicial Affairs Office.