A student accused of violating the Graduate Honor Code shall have certain procedural guarantees to ensure fair judicial hearing of evidence.
Rights of the accused:
- Students shall be considered innocent until judged guilty.
- Students shall have the right to refrain from speaking for or against themselves.
- Students shall have the right to speak in their own behalf.
- Students may choose a member of the university community, such as a fellow student, faculty member, or staff member who is willing to assist them in preparing their defense. This person may attend a Facilitated Discussion, but may only participate in an advisory capacity to the student. During a Judicial Panel, the student's representative shall only be allowed to address the Judicial Panel; they may not question witnesses. Lawyers retained by accused students shall not be permitted in Judicial Panel hearings or at Facilitated Discussions.
- Students may terminate a Facilitated Discussion at any time, without reason.
- Students shall have the right to review the report prepared by the Investigator, prior to the scheduling of an Investigative Board.
- Students shall have the right to suggest corrections and/or additions to the report prepared by the Investigator, prior to the scheduling of an Investigative Board. All suggestions will be considered at the discretion of the Chief Justice and the Investigator for the case.
- Students may at any time privately seek counsel with their university community representative. Statements made at this time shall be confidential.
- Students may have any Graduate Honor System function that they are entitled to attend stopped at any time for a point of clarification.
- Students may leave any Graduate Honor System function at any time; however, it is in their best interest to remain until they are made aware of all the details.
- Students shall have the right to receive written notice of the charges, the "Order of Events for Judicial Panel Hearings," and any other pertinent information sufficiently in advance of the Judicial Panel hearing and in reasonable enough detail to allow them to prepare a case in their behalf. Likewise, students shall have the right to examine all evidence collected during the investigation prior to the Judicial Panel hearing. The students and their representatives shall have a copy of the evidence during the Judicial Panel hearing.
- Students shall have the right to be aware of all testimony.
- Students shall have the right to face the referrer, when such opportunity exists, at the Judicial Panel hearing and to present a defense against the charges, including presenting witnesses on their behalf. Consequently, students shall be consulted in the scheduling of the Judicial Panel hearing. However, students shall only be allowed to reschedule the Judicial Panel hearing once. Except under extenuating circumstances, Judicial Panel hearings shall not be rescheduled unless the Chief Justice or the Graduate Honor System Advisor is notified of the requested change prior to three (3) days preceding the scheduled hearing date.
- Failure of students to be present at Judicial Panel hearings, assuming reasonable effort has been made to ensure their presence, shall indicate that they are waiving their rights to face the referrer and to appear before the Judicial Panel.
- Students may ask that a panel member be excused from the Judicial Panel hearing if they can give reasonable cause why that panel member may be biased or have some other conflict of interest. The Chief Justice and the Graduate Honor System Advisor shall make a final ruling on any such request.
- Students shall have the right to an appeal as specified under Article VI, Section 2.
Obligations of the accused:
Students accused of Graduate Honor Code violations shall have the responsibility of cooperating with Graduate Honor System personnel. Furthermore, when a case involves other students, these students' rights to privacy should be observed. Students should be aware that the confidentiality of Honor System proceedings may be covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as outlined on the University Registrar’s website at http://www.registrar.vt.edu/privacy/index.html.