Complainant FAQ

Complainant FAQ

Who are the Complainant and the Accused?

The individual who originally filed a complaint with the UJC becomes by default the plaintiff in any ensuing litigation; the UJC terms this individual the Complainant. The students or student organizations accused in the complaint become the defendant in any ensuing litigation; the UJC terms all such parties the Accused.

What is the difference between a UJC case and an FYJC case?

Cases against most students and all student organizations are heard by the UJC, where UJC Representatives serve as the judges at trial. In cases against first-year students, however, a subcommittee known as the FYJC hears the case and first-year FYJC Representatives serve as judges. Cases in both systems are processed identically; the only difference is the identity of the judges at trial.

Will my complaint be accepted?

The Executive Committee reviews all complaints filed with the UJC and accepts any valid report. Detailed information about the jurisdiction of the UJC can be found on the File a Complaint page. If accepted, the complaint will become a case with a unique case number and all parties will be notified.

Will my case go to trial?

Most cases are ultimately resolved in a trial. Some cases are dropped before trial, in the event that the Complainant chooses to drop all charges. Other cases are resolved via a trial alternative known as a Hearing Panel.

Can I change/drop charges in a case?

If you are the Complainant in a case currently pending before the UJC, you may drop any or all charges at any time by filing the appropriate form below. All UJC documents and forms are available to the public on the Documents and Forms page.

  • Amend Charges Form (fillable PDF) (English)
    • Information can be typed directly into this form and saved
  • Drop Case Form (fillable PDF) (English)
    • Information can be typed directly into this form and saved

Note that if you are making a motion to add new charges, the addition will be subject to approval by the Executive Committee like any other complaint.

What is a Hearing Panel?

A Hearing Panel is alternative case resolution mechanism which does not involve a trial. More information about Hearing Panels is available on the Hearing Panels page.

What is the difference between Trial for Guilt and Trial for Sanction?

Trial procedure in the UJC system splits the hearing into two distinct phases: a Trial for Guilt and a Trial for Sanction. Although each phase follows the same format, the Trial for Guilt focuses strictly on whether or not the alleged events occurred, and if so, whether these events are in violation of the specific standards that have been charged. The Trial for Guilt is skipped if the Accused pleads guilty to all charges.

If the Accused is found guilty of at least one charge, the hearing proceeds to a Trial for Sanction. In this phase, the parties discuss any mitigating or aggravating factors surrounding the incident. During the Trial for Sanction, the counselors may discuss past disciplinary records, character patterns, extracurricular involvements, psychological distress, and other extenuating circumstances.  The Trial for Sanction also provides the Accused with an opportunity to express what they have learned from the incident.  The purpose of the Trial for Sanction is to arrive at an educational yet appropriate sanction, aligned with the goals of the UJC.

What happens during questioning?

During a trial, both the Complainant and the Accused have the opportunity to call any witnesses they would like, including themselves. Witnesses will be asked questions first by the counselor representing their side; this is called direct examination. Opposing counsel has the ability to ask questions of these witnesses, too; this is called cross examination. Additionally, the judges of the Trial Panel may ask questions of any witness called. The tenets of the Honor System are in effect during all UJC proceedings, and violations can be prosecuted by the UJC and/or Honor Committee.

Who are the judges?

The Trial Panel is made up of 5 judges, one of which is the Trial Chair who will conduct the proceeding and is a member of the UJC’s Executive Committee. The other 4 judges are either UJC Representatives or FYJC Representatives, depending on the case. With the exception of the Trial Chair, the judges are unaware of any of the details of your case before the trial begins. You have the right at the beginning of the trial to object to any member of the Trial Panel that you feel may not be completely fair and unbiased during your case.

What is the goal of the UJC?

To maintain and promote a community of respect, safety, and freedom.

What is the UJC’s confidentiality policy?

Once a complaint is filed, all case-related information must by federal law be kept strictly confidential unless the Accused gives explicit, written consent otherwise.  Breaching confidentiality may be prosecuted as a violation of the Standards of Conduct.

What sanction will the Accused receive?

There are neither codified nor established sanctions for specific offenses, and the Trial Panel has unlimited leeway in crafting a sanction. The Panel considers the circumstances of the incident, the Accused's past record, and other evidence presented during the proceedings to craft a sanction that is uniquely appropriate for each student in each situation.

What should I wear to trial?

Officers of the UJC wear business formal attire to trial to foster an atmosphere of respect and gravity. If you have business formal clothing, you are encouraged to wear it if you would like. The UJC recognizes, however, that not everyone has access to formal clothing, especially while at college. In that case, you can wear whatever you feel best in.

Who may represent me?

Any currently enrolled student at UVa may represent you in trial, or you may choose to represent yourself.  A UJC counselor will be assigned to you by default. They have been extensively trained and are well informed regarding UJC protocol. You may not have a professional lawyer or any other person who is not a currently enrolled UVa student represent you at trial, though they may be present as an observer.

May I appeal the decision of the Trial Panel?

The right to appeal belongs solely to the Accused. Complainants may not appeal the decision of the Trial Panel.