1. When are attorneys permitted to participate in the student conduct process?
A: An attorney who is licensed to practice law in the State of West Virginia is permitted to represent a student in any hearing where the possible sanctions include suspension and/or expulsion.
2. Is the criminal process akin to the student conduct process?
A: There are significant differences between the criminal process and the student conduct process, but they are not mutually exclusive from one another. If a student is arrested and charged in a criminal proceeding, that student can also be charged under the Campus Student Code. However, there are many charges under the Campus Student Code that do not rise to criminal behavior, as well.
3. What are the procedures for a student conduct hearing?
A: The student conduct hearing process is not the same as a trial. The whole idea of a student conduct hearing is to be educational for the students, not punitive in nature. Rules of evidence that are present in a criminal proceeding will not apply in a student conduct hearing. The chair of the Hearing Board will have final authority on evidentiary matters. Hearsay and third party testimony are admissible if relevant to the case.
4. What is the standard of evidence?
A: The standard in the student conduct process is “preponderance of evidence” as opposed to “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
5. How are the sanctions decided?
A: The sanctions are developed with consideration of the individual circumstances of the case, the student’s prior disciplinary history, if any, the impact that the sanctions will have on the student’s situation, his or her educational record, and any other relevant information that the Hearing Panel deems useful.
6. Are the sanctions public record like criminal records are?
A: No. Student conduct cases are confidential in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).