Hearing Procedures

What happens after a COD complaint is filed.


Initial Procedures 

1. A complaint is submitted to the Office of Student Conduct (OSC).

2. Staff from the Office of Student Conduct may or may not meet with the complainant to review the complaint for follow up and answer any questions they may have about the process. 

3. Staff from the Office of Student Conduct send a notice letter to the respondent(s), informing them that a complaint has been received and the alleged violations in the complaint.  A request to meet is included in this notification.  At that meeting, OSC staff will review the complaint, answer questions, and discuss options for responding.  Following this meeting, the respondent has five business days to submit a written response to the complaint.  

4. Once all the respondents submit their response or that deadline passes (whichever comes first), OSC staff reviews all case information with the Chair of the COD.  The Chair reviews it and determines if a case will be handled administratively, via sanctioning panel, or via COD hearing.

*Note: If the case is handled administratively, OSC staff sends a decision letter on the Chair’s behalf.  The decision may include a finding of responsibility, a letter to file, disciplinary probation, as well as educational sanctions. Cases involving suspension or expulsion may not be resolved via administrative resolution. 

5. If the case proceeds to a hearing or a sanctioning panel, OSC confirms the availability and impartiality of the hearing panel, schedules the hearing or panel, and, prior to the hearing, sends document packets to both parties, and all COD members who will serve on that hearing. 

Hearing Preparation 

  • Read all the documents you have received or written. 
  • Review the Mind and Hand Book
  • Consult the Rules of the Committee on Discipline  
  • Consider what questions you think the COD may ask and brainstorm your possible answers 
  • Consider what questions you have and prepare a list of questions you would like to ask and key points you would like to discuss. 
  • Reflect on the situation that prompted your hearing or sanction panel.  
  • Consider having an advisor.  Your advisor can be any member of the MIT community who is not a media representative.   
  • Consider who you might have serve as a witness. 
  • If you would like assistance with language translation or accommodations for a disability at your hearing or sanction panel, please notify us prior so that appropriate arrangements can be made. 

 

Hearing Process

Please note that this outline is intended to provide those participating in a Committee on Discipline (COD) hearing with information about how such hearings typically proceed.  Each case is unique and the COD rules permit the COD to adjust procedures when appropriate. Refer to http://cod.mit.edu/rules/section9 for more information. 

Questions about these procedures can be directed to the Office of Student Conduct at 617-253-3276.

I. Prior to the hearing 

  1. Prior to the hearing, all parties will receive copies of all documents submitted for review in the case. 
  2. Immediately before the hearing, the COD will convene briefly in private. 
  3. Parties will be brought into the room and seated. 

II. Introductions

  1. The chair and other members of the COD will introduce themselves. 
  2. The chair will provide a brief overview of the proceedings. 

III. Review of the complaint and alleged violations  

  1. The chair will review the alleged violations. 
  2. The respondent may respond to each allegation by indicating whether they identify as “responsible” or “not responsible” for each violation.

IV. Complainant’s Case Presentation 

  1. a. Opening statement and questions 
    • The complainant may make an opening statement. 
    • The respondent may ask questions of the complainant.  
    • The COD may ask questions of the complainant.
  2. Complainant’s witness (if applicable)
    • The witness will be brought in and asked to introduce themselves.
    • The witness will be asked to state their understanding of the incident.
    • The complainant and respondent may ask questions of the witness at designated times.  
    • The COD may ask questions of the witness.
    • The witness will be excused.  They may be asked to remain available should follow-up be necessary
  3. Points under IV.2 will be repeated until all of the complainant’s witnesses have appeared. Witnesses may be asked to stay in case the COD wishes to call them for additional questions.

V. Respondent’s Case Presentation 

  1. Opening statement and questions. 
    • The respondent may make an opening statement. 
    • The complainant may ask questions of the respondent. 
    • The COD may ask questions of the respondent. 
  2. Respondent’s witness (if applicable)
    • The witness will be brought in and asked to introduce themselves. 
    • The witness will be asked to state their understanding of the incident. 
    • The complainant and respondent may ask questions of the witness at designated times.
    • The COD may ask questions of the witness. 
    • The witness will be excused.  They may be asked to remain available should follow-up be necessary. 
    • Points under V.2 will be repeated until all of the respondent’s witnesses have appeared.  Witnesses may be asked to stay in case the COD wishes to call them for additional questions. 
  3. Expert Witnesses 
    • The COD chair may call expert witnesses to be questioned by the panel. 

VI. General Questions

  1. Time will be available for the COD to ask questions of either party as well as for the parties to ask questions of each other. 
  2. At this time, the COD may recall any witnesses for additional questions.  

VII. Concluding Statements 

  1. The complainant may make a closing statement. 
  2. The respondent may make a closing statement. 
  3. The complainant, respondent, and all witnesses are excused. The hearing is concluded.  

VIII. Deliberations and Follow-up

  1. The COD will deliberate regarding whether or not the respondent is responsible for any of the alleged violations. 
  2. If the respondent is found not responsible, deliberations conclude.  If the respondent is found responsible for some or all of the charges, the COD will hear of prior violations (if any) and determine sanctions. 
  3. The respondent will meet with OSC staff and/or the COD Chair to receive the outcome in writing. 
  4. In cases of sexual misconduct, the complainant will meet with OSC staff and/or the COD Chair to receive the outcome in writing.

Post Hearing Procedures

  1. Once the outcome letter is complete, OSC staff and/or the COD Chair will schedule an outcome meeting with the respondent, who is invited to bring their advisor.  During this meeting, the outcome letter is delivered and the respondent can ask questions. Copies/summaries of the outcome letter are typically delivered to the student’s academic/first-year advisor, housemaster, and other MIT personnel who require the outcome to do their work.  For example, if the respondent is removed from housing, the housing office is notified.  If the respondent was assigned active sanctions, a graduation hold is placed on their account until those sanctions are complete.
  2. If the case involved allegations of sexual misconduct, a similar meeting is scheduled with the person identified as the victim/survivor and an advisor of theirs.
  3. ​If the case resulted in suspension or expulsion, the respondent may appeal.  If sexual misconduct was part of the allegations, both parties may appeal any outcome.  Decisions that do not meet these above criteria are not subject to appeal.
  4. Parties wishing to appeal must submit a written letter of appeal to the Office of Student Conduct within ten Institute days of receiving the decision. Appeal grounds can be found here.
  5. Following the submission of an appeal, the Chancellor receives all the case information given to the COD, plus the outcome and appeal letters.  The Chancellor reviews this material and makes a decision.  During deliberations, the Chancellor may consult with others, including COD panel members who heard the case.
  6. The student receives that decision, as does the OSC and others who received the original decision and need to know.