Frequently Asked Questions

How will I find out about the hearing?
You will receive an official letter via e-mail with the date, time, location,and other pertinent information related to the hearing. E-mail is our primary method of communication, so please check your university e-mail account for hearing information. Please confirm with the staff member whether or not you are able to attend.

Can I meet with Student Conduct before the hearing?
Yes. You may schedule a "pre-hearing appointment" with the hearing officer assigned to the case in order to answer any questions you may have, review your statement, and/or provide additional information. To do so, you may call the office during regular business hours at 785-628-5824.

I want to see what everyone else said. Can I see their statements or the entire file?
No. You may only review statements you personally provided regarding the case. If this is a Title IX case, then you may review the statement that was written accusing you in the Title IX Coordinator's office.

Do I have to attend the hearing?
Your information is critical to the disciplinary process. We ask that you attend in person and provide your perspective. If you have other obligations during the hearing time such as class or work, you are expected to promptly inform the hearing officer in order for us to best accommodate you. We are able to provide letters to your professor(s) and/or your employer confirming that you were in attendance at an official university hearing.

What will occur at the hearing?
You will be asked to wait outside the hearing room until the hearing officer calls you in to provide your information. If you previously provided a statement to the hearing officer, that statement will be in the room for you to refer to. Before you speak, the hearing officer will read you an honesty statement reminding you that this is an official university proceeding and any false information can lead to charges against you under the Student Code of Conduct. You will then be asked to provide your perspective on the incident to the hearing officer or hearing board.

The hearing officer will hear from all parties (at different times) and witnesses. You will not face the accusing party in person, unless decided upon in advance. The hearing officer will conduct an investigation and then meet with you within 60 days of the result.

Do I have to answer questions asked of me?
The Student Code of Conduct provides that you are allowed to refuse to answer questions. Please be aware that refusing to answer may impact the quality of the information you provide. If there is a specific reason you do not want to answer or feel uncomfortable answering a particular question, you may discuss your concern with the hearing officer.

Is a student conduct hearing like a trial?
A student conduct hearing is much less formal and more educational in nature than a legal trial. In a student conduct hearing, witnesses are not sworn in as they re in a court hearing. However, it is expected that all participants will be honest, and Student Code of Conduct charges may be pursued against those students who provide false or dishonest information in a hearing. Also, in the student conduct hearing, "hearsay" evidence is allowed, and federal rules of evidence do not apply. The student conduct hearing is recorded. Unlike in a legal trial, attorneys or advisors may not speak for the accused students or accusing parties.

What is preponderance of evidence?
Preponderance of evidence is based on the more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy, and not on the amount of evidence. This means the hearing officer is 51% convinced of the evidence.

How long will the hearing last?
Hearings tend to average about two or three hours; however, the length of a hearing depends on a variety of factors, such as the complexity of the case, the amount of questions asked, and the number of individuals involved. You may not be needed during the entire duration of the hearing, but you may want to bring something to do or read while you wait.

What happens if a witness is not truthful during the student conduct process?
A student witness who provides false or dishonest information may be charged under the Student Code of Conduct for "Dishonest Conduct" and/or "Student Conduct System Abuse."

What should I do if I am harassed by someone about the hearing?
If you are being harassed, contact FHSU Police (785-628-5304) if you are on-campus or the Hays Police Department (785-625-1030 or 911) if you are off-campus and the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs (785-628-5824) immediately for assistance. Behavior that discourages you from properly participating in the student conduct process is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

A witness is someone who (1) directly observed an incident or (2) has direct or indirect knowledge related to an incident. Witnesses should be able to speak knowledgeably about the incident and be able to provide relevant facts to Student Conduct. Reliable witnesses are critical to the integrity and effectiveness of the disciplinary process.

The accused student, the accusing party, and/or Student Conduct may request relevant witnesses to participate in the student conduct process. You do not have to be a student to be asked to be a witness in the student conduct process. If you are determined to be a witness, Student Conduct may request a meeting with you.

What is a Witness?
Accused students and accusing parties may bring relevant witnesses to the hearing. The hearing officer must be notified with the names of the witnesses at least two business days prior to the hearing. Final determination of relevance of witnesses resides with the hearing officer. If a witness is unable to attend, the witness' signed statements may be brought to the hearing.

Can I bring a character witness?
Character witnesses are generally not permitted to address a hearing officer or hearing board at any time during the disciplinary process. Accused students and accusing parties may submit written character statements to the hearing officer for consideration. Character statements will not be considered in determining responsibility for the charges, but may be considered when determining credibility and/or sanctions.

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