Types of Columbia Student Disciplinary Hearings

If a complaint is filed for violating the university or college code of conduct, it is generally something related to possession of alcohol, drugs, or a fake ID.  If a complaint is filed for violating the honor code, then it is generally related to plagiarism.  If the complaint is not of a criminal nature but solely a student disciplinary matter, the process may only involve a hearing at the office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.

The student, with their attorney, will meet with the hearing officer in a one-on-one meeting. The student can request a hearing before the Carolina Judicial Council hearing if they disagree with the hearing officer’s findings and recommendations. The way Carolina Judicial Council hearings are done for honor code violations are slightly different than how they are dealt with for code of conduct hearings.

Students who are facing school disciplinary actions should seek help from a skilled defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced student defense lawyer could explain the different types of Columbia student disciplinary hearings and help the student defend their case. A defense lawyer could also help the student prepare and have everything organized so that they are fully equipped to persuasively defend themselves. In short, the lawyer can help the student have all the tools necessary to fight their case.

Process for Disciplinary Hearings

The process for the different types of Columbia student disciplinary hearings depend on the allegation that has been levied against the student. There can be an alleged violation of the code of conduct or honor code violation, and the hearings are different for each one. The types of hearings range from a conduct hearing, honor code hearing, a Carolina Judicial Council hearing, or an organization hearing.

One-On-One Hearing

The first step in the process is a one-on-one hearing with a hearing officer who works at the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity at the University of South Carolina. After that meeting, the hearing officer decides whether there is enough evidence to support a violation and recommends what that person believes is an appropriate outcome.  If the student disagrees with that recommendation for an outcome, then they can request a hearing in front of the Carolina Judicial Council.

There are official code of conduct and honor policies listed that students review.  The main issue at the hearings is whether the student violated one of these policies. The hearings generally last for 30 to 60 minutes. This meeting will discuss the available punishments and outcomes.

Understanding Honor Code Hearings

The honor code hearing is when someone has been accused of cheating, plagiarizing, or engaging in another type of falsification. When they meet with the conduct administrator to go over the alleged violation, they learn more about the allegation, any test papers or essays provided by the professor or the notifying party, and they discuss the issue and possible outcomes.

If the student disagrees with their findings and their recommendations, they can request a hearing at the Carolina Judicial Council, which is entirely different than the other two hearings. It is a much more involved panel hearing. The hearing panel comprises of a panel of the faculty and the student members for academic integrity hearings. Student conduct hearings are comprised of a panel of three students and two faculty or staff members.

The case documents are presented and witnesses provide testimony. The university representative or the student can both call witnesses and present testimony and evidence during that hearing. Unfortunately, character witnesses are not permitted in these types of hearings.

If the witness is a victim of a sexual assault or interpersonal violence, a written statement can also be used instead of in-person testimony. A faculty member or instructor may also serve as a witness.

How a Student Defense Attorney Could Help

It is best for an accused student to hire a lawyer immediately. The attorney could explain the various types of Columbia student disciplinary hearings and what is required for each.

They can begin going over all the facts and circumstances, collecting all the evidence, building a strategic plan of defense, preparing the student for the hearing, making sure the student understands the serious nature of the hearing, making sure they understand how to question the witnesses, and going over how to present certain facts. The lawyer acts as a guide for the student to prepare and approach the hearing with the best defense possible and handle the process as smoothly as possible. Schedule a consultation to learn more about how an attorney could help.