The Trial Process (Accused)
Cases originate when complainant parties (often from the Office of the Dean of Students) submit a complaint to the UJC. The Committee reviews these complaints and accepts those that fall within its jurisdiction, without prejudicial determination of guilt. After the Committee accepts a complaint, it is assigned a case number. The following steps then occur:
- You will receive an email from the Vice Chair for Trials notifying you of the case. The email will identify the complainant party and the Standards charged. It will also include the date, time, and location of your trial, and the name of the UJC Counselor that has been assigned to represent you.
- Your Counselor will contact you to schedule an initial meeting, where you will sign a “Rights & Responsibilities” form and have the opportunity to ask additional questions about the UJC process. Subsequently, you will work with your Counselor, as needed, to prepare for your trial. This may include additional meetings up to and including the day of the trial.
- You must also meet with a UJC Investigator, who will solicit your input in the course of compiling an objective report of the alleged incident.
The trial room is arranged similarly to a courtroom. You will sit with your Counsel facing the panel of five judges who will hear your case. When called to testify, you will approach the panel and sit facing them for the duration of your testimony and cross-examination. In the room for your trial will be: five Judges (including the Trial Chair); your Counselor; the Complainant and respective Counsel; and the UJC Investigator assigned to your case. Additionally, you may choose to invite whomever you wish to the trial, provided that they identify themselves and their affiliation to the University for the Record. All participants in the trial are obligated to confidentiality on penalty of referral to the Honor Committee. Only you as the accused party may wave confidentiality.
Every trial begins with an introductory statement given by the Trial Chair, who will preside over the proceedings as a representative of the UJC’s Executive Committee. The statement outlines the procedures governing the trial, which include the Honor Code obligating wholly truthful testimony. After this statement, the Trial Chair will ask you the following questions:
- Have you had adequate time to prepare for your case?
- Have you been advised of your right to Counsel?
- Have you been informed of your right to call witnesses?
- Are there any Judges sitting before you whom you feel are unable to be fair and unbiased in this proceeding?
Provided you answer these questions in a manner that permits the trial to proceed, the Trial Chair will ask you how you plead to the charges against you. You must answer “guilty” or “not guilty” to each of the Standards of Conduct with which you have been charged. Depending on your plea, the hearing will either move into a Trial for Guilt (for a “not guilty” plea) or a Trial for Sanction (for a “guilty” plea). Both proceedings follow the basic format below:
- Opening statements by Counselors from both sides.
- The Complainant will present their case, including any witnesses or evidence. Your Counselor will have the opportunity to cross-examine.
- You and your counselor will then have the opportunity to present your case, present your own evidence, and call your own witnesses.
- Closing statements by counselors from both sides
- Everyone will leave the trial room while the Panel deliberates.
- A Trial for Guilt that results in a finding of Guilt will then move to a Trial for Sanction, which follows these same steps; a finding of No Guilt will terminate the Trial. At the conclusion of a Trial for Sanction, an admonition and sanction will be announced.
For any procedural questions in advance of the trial, please do not hesitate to contact your Counselor or the Vice Chair for Trials. Nothing in this informal guidance should be construed as a guarantee. Authoritative, binding guidance on UJC procedures can be found in our Constitution and By-laws.