Hearings

A hearing is a meeting between a student who is suspected of academic misconduct, the student’s instructor and a faculty adjudicator.

Not all cases of academic misconduct require a hearing. Hearings are required if:

  • a student’s file shows that this is not a first violation

  • a first violation is deemed particularly serious

  • a student challenges the instructor’s decision, believing he is wrongly accused

  • a student challenges the penalty imposed

At the hearing, the instructor and the student present their cases and respond to questions. A faculty adjudicator listens to both sides of the situation, asks questions and decides on appropriate next steps.

 

Before the hearing

Notification of hearing details

About three weeks before the hearing is to take place, the Academic Integrity Coordinator lets the student and the instructor know the date, time and location of the hearing. In some cases, hearings may be held via videoconference or teleconference.

The name of the assigned faculty adjudicator is included in the hearing notification. The adjudicator is the trained, unbiased decision-maker who moderates the hearing and ensures all parties follow appropriate procedure. If either party believes the assigned adjudicator is not appropriate to hear the case, they can contact the Academic Integrity Office and ask for a different adjudicator.

The notification also includes details about how to prepare for and what to expect at the hearing.

Preparation and submission of materials for the hearing

At a hearing, the party making the charge is responsible for leading the hearing and is referred to as the applicant. The other party is referred to as the respondent.

In the case of a second violation or a serious first violation, therefore, the applicant is the university representative (usually the instructor, but in some cases a chair or associate chair) and the student is the respondent.

In the case of a student-requested hearing (arising when a student appeals a charge of misconduct or believes the penalty is too severe), the student is the applicant and the university is the respondent.

 

University applicant

In a university-led hearing, the instructor prepares a package of materials that describes the accusation and provides all evidence related to the violation. Ideally, everything the instructor wants to say at the hearing will be included in the package and the evidence will prove that academic misconduct occurred.

The instructor submits pdf copies of the hearing materials package to the Academic Integrity Coordinator one week after receiving notice of the hearing.

Specifically, the package includes:

  • a written summary of the suspected misconduct, the circumstances and all steps taken as a result

  • summaries of conversations with the student and any witnesses and written statements from witnesses (for example, a statement from an exam invigilator who observed suspicious behaviour)

  • material that supports the charge (such as a pdf version of an online essay that a student plagiarized or a copy of the mid-term that was altered)

  • additional information that is helpful to the case (for example, a course outline that explains students are required to work alone on an assignment).

Do not include reference to previous findings of academic misconduct against the student. The case will be judged on its own merits. A previous sanction only becomes relevant if the adjudicator finds the student guilty and must assign a penalty.

 

Student applicant

In a student-requested hearing, the student prepares a package of materials that provide evidence that no academic misconduct occurred and/or reasons for believing a sanction is too severe. Ideally, everything the student wants to say at the hearing will be included in the package. The instructor also prepares a package of materials for a student-requested hearing, as described above.

The student submits pdf copies of the hearing materials package to the Academic Integrity Coordinator one week after receiving notice of the hearing.

Specifically, the package includes:

  • a written summary that proves no violation has occurred or explains why the consequence is too severe

  • copies of correspondence from the instructor (for example, vague assignment guidelines for a group project)

  • summaries of conversations with the instructor

  • materials that prove no violation has occurred (such as rough drafts of an essay)

  • additional information that is helpful to the case.

Invitation to witnesses and support persons

Both students and instructors can invite a witness (for example, an exam invigilator or a classmate) to attend the hearing. Witnesses are present at the hearing only while they are testifying or responding to questions. They will be asked to leave the room at all other times.

As well, students have the right to invite an advisor or support person. The support person may consult with the party being supported, but is not allowed to speak at the hearing.

If you’d like a support person to attend, let the Academic Integrity Coordinator know ahead of time so that there is time to explain the process and other expectations.

Students and instructors are responsible for inviting witnesses and paying any costs associated with their appearance.

 

At the hearing

Introductions

When you arrive at the assigned room, the faculty adjudicator will

  • greet you and introduce the parties, witnesses and representatives to one another

  • request that all present treat one another with respect

  • explain how the hearing will unfold

  • identify written documents that have been received and include them as part of the hearing record

  • ask witnesses to leave the room until called upon.

Evidence from the applicant

The adjudicator will invite the applicant to begin the formal part of the hearing. The parties proceed in this order:

  • The applicant presents the charge and any supporting evidence

  • The defending party and the faculty adjudicator ask questions if needed

  • The applicant calls witnesses one at a time

  • The defending party and the faculty adjudicator ask the witnesses questions at the end of their testimony

  • The witnesses leave the room after their testimony

  • The applicant clarifies any new points arising from the questioning

Evidence from the defending party

After the applicant has finished, the defending party is given a turn to present evidence. The parties proceed in this order:

  • The defending party presents their defense and supporting evidence

  • The applicant and faculty adjudicator ask questions if needed

  • The defending party calls witnesses one at a time

  • The applicant and the faculty adjudicator ask questions of witnesses at the end of their testimony

  • The witnesses leave the room after their testimony

  • The defending party clarifies any new points arising from the questioning

  • The applicant may respond to any evidence the defending party has presented

Adjudicator questions and summary

After the applicant and defending party presentations are completed, only the faculty adjudicator can ask further questions.

The adjudicator invites the applicant to summarize the case.

If the student admits to violating the policy, in either a university-led hearing or a student-led hearing, appropriate sanctions will be addressed during the summary.

If the student does not admit to violating the policy, sanctions are not addressed at the hearing.

Adjournment

The faculty adjudicator lets both parties know that they will be informed of the decision in writing. The meeting is adjourned. It is not appropriate to discuss the case with the faculty adjudicator outside of the hearing. Questions can be directed to the Academic Integrity Coordinator.

 

After the hearing

Decision

After the hearing, the adjudicator reviews all of the presented evidence and will either find the student innocent of the charge, remove the academic penalty and close the case OR find the student in violation of the policy and impose the appropriate sanctions.The faculty adjudicator submits a report to the Academic Integrity Office, which informs the student, instructor and program chair of the decision by email.

Appeals

A student who chooses to launch an appeal contacts the Academic Integrity Coordinator, who then begins the process of organizing the appeal hearing. The process governing the appeal is outlined in Policy E3103.