If a student disputes the facts upon which the charges are founded and/or disputes the penalty, they may request, in writing to the Dean of Students or their designee, within ten (10) business days following notification of the judicial officer’s ruling, a review of the case before a Judiciary Review Panel. Failure of the student to continue the appeal at the appropriate level and/or to comply with procedures outlined in this handbook will result in dismissal of the student’s case. The appeal must state the specific grounds for appeal and should include all supporting documentation. Students have the right to appeal only once for each discipline case. Students are encouraged to meet with the Dean of Students to explore options prior to submitting the appeal.
The Dean of Students will convene a Judiciary Review Panel as soon as practical within ten (10) college business days following receipt of the request for a review. The Dean of Students will communicate the following in writing to the student and to the judicial officer (at least five (5) college business days prior to the hearing):
- Date, time, and location of the review
- Procedures to be followed during the review
- Deadline for submitting documentary evidence and/or list of witnesses (two (2) business days prior to the review)
The student may request in writing that the hearing be expedited as quickly as possible, waiving the minimum notification requirements.
Judiciary Review Panel
The President will appoint the chair of the Judicial Review Panel, and other members will be appointed by the chair:
- Chair: Dean of Students or other administrator as appointed by the President
- Two staff members
- Two faculty members
- Two students
The Judiciary Review Panel will be subdivided into three panels: Big Spring, SWCD, and San Angelo. Members of the Judicial Review Panel cannot be involved in, nor have direct knowledge of, the case or the accused.
Judiciary Review Panel Hearing Procedures
The Judicial Review Panel hearing is informal in nature and closed to the public. If a student fails to appear, the hearing will proceed as scheduled. Each party may be accompanied by a representative at the hearing for advisory purposes only. The student’s representative may be a legal counselor only if the student has pending criminal charges against him/her on the same fact. If the institution uses a legal counselor, the student will be afforded the same right. The student will be notified of this intent at the time the student is notified of the hearing. However, the representative(s) may not address the panel.
The chair will introduce panel members, outline hearing procedures, and review the charges and sanctions. The student and the judicial officer will each present evidence to support their respective positions. Witnesses may be invited by the student and the judicial officer. Panel members will be allowed to ask questions of the student, judicial officer, and witnesses. The student and the judicial officer may ask each other questions, as well as question witnesses. Prospective witnesses, other than the student and the judicial officer, will be excluded from the hearing during the testimony of other witnesses. Witnesses may be charged with Student Standards of Conduct violations if it is found that they intentionally provided false information to the college. The Judiciary Review Panel has the authority to summon witnesses. Refusal to obey the summons may subject the student witness, if so recommended by the review panel, to disciplinary action by the judicial officer.
In cases where the student disputes the facts, previous disciplinary records of a student may not be used in the hearing until after determination of guilt has been made. However, if the Judiciary Review Panel finds the student guilty, the previous record may then be introduced to be considered in assessing penalties. In cases where the student appeals the penalty, previous disciplinary records may be introduced and considered at any time during the hearing.
The hearing will be conducted in a manner that is fair to all. The chair will provide reasonable time for cases to be presented, questions to be asked, and witnesses to be heard. The chair will exercise discretion in leading the hearing. The chair may exclude irrelevant, immaterial, and unduly repetitious evidence and may stop discussion that is not relevant and/or productive to the hearing. The chair may remove any person who becomes disruptive during the hearing, including the student.
Only the Judiciary Review Panel shall be present at its deliberations after the panel hearing concludes. Student members’ opinions shall be heard prior to those of staff or faculty members. The panel deliberations shall not be recorded or transcribed. A secret ballot will be taken deciding (a) that the student has violated standards of acceptable conduct, as charged, or (b) that the student has not violated standards of acceptable conduct, as charged. A majority vote will control. If the Judiciary Review Panel finds that the student has violated standards of acceptable conduct, as charged, it may uphold the sanctions imposed by the judicial officer or may revise the sanctions as deemed appropriate, as prescribed under the disciplinary sanctions section of this handbook.
A written notice of the decision will be provided to the student and to the judicial officer within five (5) college business days of the Judiciary Review Panel hearing.
Record of Proceedings
A single record consisting of written notes, electronic recordings, or other method selected by the panel chair, will be made of all hearings. Such record will remain the property of the college but will be made available to the accused for review during any appeal period.
Notice to Victims of Violence
Results of directly related disciplinary proceedings may be released to the victim of a violent or non-forcible sex offense, upon written request.
If the outcome of the hearing with the Judiciary Review Panel is not to the student’s or judicial officer’s satisfaction, the dissatisfied party (appellant) has five (5) college working days to submit an appeal, in writing, to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, chair of the Appeal Panel. The Appeal Panel will hold a conference within seven (7) college working days of the request.
The Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs serves as chair of the Appeal Panel. The panel consists of three members, including the chair. The Vice President will select faculty and/or staff members according to the case.
In general, appeals must be based on the issue of substantive or procedural errors which are prejudicial and which were committed during the Judiciary Review Panel hearing. Specific questions for the review, which should be addressed in the written appeal, are the following:
- Were procedures outlined in the Student Handbook followed?
- If a procedural error was committed, were the rights of either party materially violated?
- Was the hearing conducted in a way that permitted both parties an adequate opportunity to present their case?
- Was evidence presented at the hearing substantial enough to justify the decision reached?
The Appeal Panel’s consideration must be based on the information developed by the Judiciary Review Panel, and no new evidence shall be received by the panel. The decision will be reviewed upon the basis of the transcript or summary of the hearing. Both parties may, at the discretion of the Appeal Panel, submit oral and/or written statements to support their position. The chair will exercise discretion regarding meeting procedures.
The Appeal Panel may uphold, reject, or modify the sanctions imposed by the Judiciary Review Panel or may require that the original hearing be reopened for the presentation of additional evidence and reconsideration of the decision. The chair will notify, in writing, both parties and the chair of the Judiciary Review Panel of the decision.
Appeal to College President
If the decision made by the Appeal Panel is not to the student’s or judicial officer’s satisfaction, the appellant has five (5) college working days to request, in writing, a review by the college President, who will render a final opinion within five (5) college working days.