rules and procedures
Ratified on 6 May 2004 | Printable (PDF)
Council Judicial Committee Code
This document addresses the membership, rules and
procedures of The Dormitory Council's Judicial Committee, hereafter
referred to as DormCon JudComm.
DormCon JudComm shall have the authority to undertake judicial
proceedings concerning activities in the immediate environs of
undergraduate dormitories, which may violate MIT rules and
regulations, rules established by the Dormitory Council, and rules
established by individual dormitories. DormCon JudComm shall
have the authority to conduct hearings and adjudicate disputes
according to the rules and procedures contained within this
II. MIT's Educational
As an Institute disciplinary entity, DormCon JudComm must conform to Institute procedures and processes
that reflect the necessary elements of fair process while rendering
decisions consistent within an educational framework and that of
Institute-wide community standards.
A. Requirements for a Hearing
hearing body can hear a case until their procedures are reviewed and
approved by the OSD.
individual may sit on a hearing panel without having been trained by
complaint may be heard by a hearing panel until the complaint has
been reviewed by the OSD and a determination has been made that it
is appropriate for the complaint to be heard by DormCon JudComm.
Specifically, cases of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, acts
of violence, criminal acts and incidents of academic dishonesty and
cases involving “individual repeat offenders” cannot be heard by
DormCon JudComm. However, “repeat offender” cases
concerning allegations against undergraduate dormitories (including
floors, entries or similar living units) may be heard by DormCon
judicial hearing bodies must render decisions regarding alcohol and
drug use that are consistent with MIT’s alcohol and drug use
sanctioning protocols. It is important to the Institute and required
by federal law that disciplinary bodies are consistent in rendering
decisions regarding alcohol and drug violations. In addition, MIT
has established disciplinary protocols for cases where harassment is
evident, which a hearing board must also comply with.
disciplinary decisions rendered must be in writing and filed with
Assistant Dean for Residential Programs, or other OSD designee
approved by the DormCon JudComm Chair, will serve as
procedural officer for each DormCon JudComm hearing panel
B. Rights of individual or organization charged
(hereafter referred to as the respondent)
respondent will be provided with a letter outlining the charge(s),
and a description of the hearing process.
respondent will be notified in a timely manner (and if an
investigation is underway, once it has concluded) regarding the
imposition of charges and the scheduling of a hearing.
respondent (and complainant) may have an advisor, who may provide
advice and assistance. Advisors must be registered students, faculty
or staff members at MIT. Advisors may speak only with the respondent
(or complainant) and may not present evidence or statements
themselves to the hearing or appellate panel. Family members, legal
counsel and reporters are not permitted to attend Institute
respondent shall be afforded the opportunity to make statements,
bring witnesses and ask questions of the complainant or any witness
present. Character witnesses are limited to one, and may speak for
no longer than five minutes. No questions may be asked of a
written decision of the hearing board will be provided to the
respondent, complainant, the OSD and any other need-to-know parties
in a timely manner. A decision is based on a preponderance of
evidence and is supported by the evidence presented at hearing, and
all other matters of record.
shall be afforded the right to appeal a hearing board's decision.
There shall be only one level of appeal.
Although these rights are guaranteed, all participants in
the disciplinary process should understand that there is a
fundamental difference between the nature of Institute disciplinary
proceedings and the proceedings in a court of law. The discipline of
students within the Institute community is primarily a part of the
educational process. The exact processes of criminal and civil law
do not apply because they are designated for circumstances unrelated
to the academic community. Specifically, they are separate
A house judicial committee has original jurisdiction in
all cases arising within the house and its immediate environs
involving violations of house rules or polices, provided that the
respondent is a resident of that particular house. DormCon
JudComm has appellate jurisdiction over these cases.
DormCon JudComm has original jurisdiction over cases involving
individuals living in undergraduate dormitories in which the alleged
misconduct took place in a dormitory other than the one in which the
respondent resides. DormCon JudComm also has original
jurisdiction in all cases in which a Dormitory (including floors,
entries or similar living units) is named as the respondent.
Additionally, DormCon JudComm will hear cases in
which a house Judicial Committee has original jurisdiction if the
dormitory's JudComm cannot convene or the dormitory's JudComm is not
established. However, if the dormitory does not wish for such cases
to be heard by an all peer disciplinary body, the case shall be
referred to a Dean's Office Panel.
V. Membership and Selection
undergraduate dormitory may elect/appoint, in accordance with their
house rules, one representative from their building to DormCon
JudComm for a term of one year.
must be trained by the OSD before they serve on any panel (hearing
must maintain confidentiality as student disciplinary proceedings
are a part of the student educational records.
B. Panel Composition
A five-person panel is convened in the following manner:
panel shall be chaired by one of the DormCon JudComm chairs
on a rotating basis. If neither is available, the chairs may appoint
another committee member to chair a panel.
second seat on the panel shall be filled by the other DormCon
JudComm chair if he or she is available.
remaining panelists shall be selected on a random and rotating basis
from the remaining members of DormCon JudComm.
Conflict of interests issues must be addressed as they
arise and resolved in the following manner. The details of a case
will be provided to panelists prior to the hearing, which will
afford panelists the opportunity to recluse themselves from the
panel and to notify the Chair accordingly. Complainants and
respondents need to bring any concerns over conflicts of interest to
the Chair’s attention prior to the hearing. The Chair of the Panel
can consult with the procedural officer before rendering a final
decision on whether or not a conflict of inertest exists.
The Chair reserves the right to convene three person
panels during the summer if there are not enough panelists available
to convening a five person panel. Summer is defined as beginning the
day after spring finals and ending the day before Fall Registration.
If a DormCon JudComm panel cannot be convened due to
unavailability of panelists, cases will be referred to a Dean's
The Dormitory Council, as a governance body of the MIT
community is generally responsible for the conduct of its residents.
The unique advantage of a student judicial board lies in the ability
of its residents to influence the attitudes and subsequent behavior
of other students through a formally constituted judicial mechanism.
These procedures have been developed by Dormitory Council and are
approved by the OSD to ensure that all disciplinary cases are
adjudicated in a fair, objective, consistent and orderly manner,
protecting the rights of all parties to fair process.
A. Rules of Procedure
of privacy concerning student records, no taping (audio or video) is
permitted by participants. All hearings are closed to the public.
Members of the panel, the procedural officer, the complainant,
respondent and witnesses are the only individuals who may attend the
hearing. Lawyers and members of the press are not permitted to
attend disciplinary hearings.
allegation of reprisal prior to a hearing will be considered at the
hearing as an addition to the complaint (or will become a counter
the respondent fails to appear at a hearing after receiving proper
notification the panel may, should it choose, hear the case without
the respondent present.
Chair of the panel shall warn any participant that he or she deems
disruptive or to be harassing or intimidating any other participant.
The Chair of the panel may, if the warning is ignored, close or
postpone the hearing, terminate that person's participation in the
hearing, or take any other action deemed necessary by the panel and
procedural officer to ensure an orderly hearing.
parties are expected to offer their own testimony and the testimony
of witnesses, if any, concerning the matters alleged in the
complaint. Both parties have the right to question the testimony of
the other party and the witnesses.
members of the panel shall determine what weight to give to
testimony and other evidence; decide whether, and if so how, to
consider additional alleged offenses that come to light in a
hearing; resolve questions of fact; and determine which MIT and/or
dormitory policies and/or standards are applicable and how they are
to be interpreted.
Chair of the hearing may decide to permit witnesses to be present at
the hearing only during their testimony.
of the Panel may question any participant in a case after that
individual has made a statement to the hearing panel.
before a Hearing Panel by any participant is considered an
independent violation of the MIT standard of conduct and may result
in appropriate disciplinary action.
The Assistant Dean for
Residential Programs (If unavailable, the Associate Dean for Student
Discipline will appoint another procedural officer with approval by
the hearing panel chair) will serve as procedural officer for the
hearing panel and will rule on procedural matters in the hearing and
during private deliberation.
B. Order of Business for Disciplinary Hearings
Unless otherwise determined by the Chair of the Hearing
Panel, the hearing will generally follow the order described below:
of the Hearing Panel introduce themselves and ask all present to do
Panel Chair briefly reviews the hearing procedures as outlined here.
charges are read and the respondent is given the opportunity to
admit or deny responsibility for the violations of MIT
policies/standards alleged in the complaint.
complainant will first present his/her testimony. Members of the
panel may question the complainant at any point during this
presentation. The respondent will have the opportunity to question
the complainant after this testimony is finished.
the complainant has finished, the complainant's witnesses will each
present testimony, with the panel and the respondent permitted to
the complainant has produced the evidence he/she wishes to present,
the respondent will be given the opportunity to present his/her
testimony. Members of the panel may question the respondent at any
point during this presentation. The complainant will have the
opportunity to question the respondent after this testimony is
the respondent has finished, the respondent's witnesses will each
present testimony, with the panel and the complainant permitted to
the respondent has produced the evidence he/she wishes to present,
the panel may ask further questions of either party or any witnesses
panel may call a brief recesses at any time to discuss the
proceedings, and may ask further questions upon return from any such
The Chair may call witnesses,
including expert witnesses, to aid the panel in its consideration of
Open discussion period for any
final comments or questions by respondent(s), complainant(s) and/or
When the panel's questions have
concluded, the Chair should inform the parties that a written
decision will be sent to them, when it is expected to be sent, and
advise them of applicable appeals procedures. The Chair should
reiterate that all information presented at the hearing should be
treated as confidential. The hearing will then be adjourned.
The members of the Panel will meet in executive session to
make their decision.
C. Sanctions and Special
Although each case is considered on its own merits and
circumstances, there are certain guidelines useful in determining a
sanction for a specific offense. In determining sanctions, panels
may consider precedents of similar circumstances, but it decision
will be based upon the particular circumstances of the case itself,
including the student's or student organization's past record, the
seriousness of injury inflicted, malice or intent. Impairment of
judgment due to alcohol or drug use is not a defense and will not be
considered as an excuse in determining sanctions.
Types of Sanctions include, but are not limited to, the
Probation: A student or student organization may be placed on
probation, with or without loss of designated privileges, or with
deferred sanctions for a specified period of time. Probation is a
time during which the student or student organization will be
subject to critical evaluation and examination by the Institute and
whose conduct is expected to be free from further violations of
Institute policies/standards (Formal probation includes notation on
the student's academic record).
Warning: The student is given written notice that the conduct
engaged in is inconsistent with Institute policies/standards, and
informed that future violations may result in the imposition of more
In addition special conditions may also be included as a
part of a sanction. Special conditions include but are not limited
on Transcript: Entry of the disciplinary action may be noted on the
student's permanent academic record. The entry may be removed at the
student's request after a period of time specified by the Hearing
of Housing Privileges: In appropriate cases, the panel may recommend
to the Dean of Student Life that a respondent be banned from a
specific undergraduate dormitory or removed from the entire
Undergraduate Dormitory System.
Service: The respondent is required to render a designated number of
hours of labor in service of the Institute or the community.
(compensatory damages): The student is required to replace or
restore damaged, stolen or misappropriated property, or otherwise
make amends for the behavior that led to the sanction.
Punitive monetary sanctions may be imposed.
The student may be required to seek counseling or educational
programming on or off campus.
Work: The student may be required to write a paper on a topic
relevant to the case.
In addition, all judicial hearing bodies must render
decisions regarding alcohol and drug use that is consistent with
Institute's alcohol and drug sanctioning protocols. The same holds
true regarding minimum standards for sanctioning in (non violent
and/or non-sexual) harassment cases.
Decisions rendered by the panel are done so in writing to
the respondent, complainant, the OSD and any other need to know
VII. Appeals Heard Before
A respondent or complainant may wish to appeal a
disciplinary decision of an individual dormitory’s Judicial
Committee to DormCon JudComm. To initiate an appeal, the
student must submit a written request for the appeal within five
business days of receipt of the original decision to the Associate
Dean of Student Discipline or to the Chair of DormCon JudComm.
Both complainants and respondents may appeal a decision.
Grounds for appeal are limited to the following:
Question of Procedure: Appeals
will be considered on the basis of “questions of procedure” by
demonstrating that the procedural guidelines established in this
document were breached, and that such departure from established
procedure significantly affected the outcome of the case. For
example, a delay of notification of a disciplinary decision could
result in a procedural breach but would likely have had no impact on
how the decision was initially rendered by a panel. Thus, the appeal
would not be granted. However, if for example, the chair of a the
hearing panel failed to allow the respondent or complainant to ask
questions during the hearing related to the charges imposed, this
inaction may constitute a procedural breach that eventually affected
how the panel reached a decision.
Question of New Evidence: The
respondent or complainant may appeal on “questions of new
evidence” by introducing new evidence that would significantly
affect the outcome of the case. New Evidence shall be defined as
information that was not known by or not available to the
complainant or respondent at the time of the original hearing.
Evidence that was withheld shall not constitute a “question of new
evidence” and will not be considered upon appeal.
Question of Sanction: A
respondent may appeal the sanction that has been imposed by
presenting a statement that explains why he or she believes the
sanction of the hearing panel was too severe. A complainant may also
appeal the sanction that has been imposed by presenting a statement
that explains why he or she believes the sanction of the hearing
panel was too lenient.
The appellate board does not hold a new hearing of the
complaint, but instead reviews the adequacy of the process, evidence
and decisions of the original hearing panel. Only members of the
appellate panel and the procedural officer attend an appeals review
request. The complainant(s) and respondent(s) do not attend. The DormCon
JudComm appellate panel will not make independent factual
findings, but reserves the right to contact any person for the
purpose of obtaining additional clarification before the appellate
board renders a final decision. If there exist grounds to grant any
form of appeal, the appellate board may make the following
appealed on a question of procedure, the appellate panel may
instruct the original Judicial Committee to rehear the complaint.
appealed on a question of new evidence, the appellate panel may
instruct the original Judicial Committee to rehear the complaint, or
else dismiss the charges.
appealed on a question of sanction, the appellate board may modify
The decision of the Hearing Panel on all other issues,
and the decision of the appellate board on these three issues is
final, except where removal from campus residency is recommended, in
which case the final decision rests with the Dean for Student Life.
Decisions rendered by the panel are done so in writing to
the respondent, complainant, the OSD and any other need to know
VIII. Appeals of Disciplinary
Decisions Rendered by DormCon JudComm
Respondents and complainants whether students, staff, faculty, dormitories or living groups who
have been sanctioned by DormCon JudComm in a disciplinary
hearing (not an appeal decision) may appeal the decision to the
Office of Student Discipline. To initiate an appeal, the respondent
must submit a written request for the appeal within five business
days of receipt of the original decision to the Associate Dean of
Student Discipline. If granted, the appeal will be heard by a Dean's
As an extension of the Dormitory Council Constitution,
this document may be amended according to rules and procedures set
forth in that document. Final approval is granted by the OSD.
by DormCon and OSD: May, 2004