Preparing for Hearings Guide for Students

This information is provided to help you prepare for a Student Honor Code Council hearing. This guide is supplemental to the Student Honor Code which details the Honor Code hearing process. This guide does not replace information located in the Student Honor Code nor does this document represent policy. This document is a set of tips for preparing for a Student Honor Code hearing. Thus, you are encouraged to read the Student Honor Code Operational Procedures thoroughly. If you have questions or concerns not addressed in this guide, you are encouraged to contact the Student Honor Code Office.

A student referred for an alleged violation of the Student Honor Code has the right to contest the charges and request to appear before the Student Honor Code Council. Remember that the hearing is an administrative hearing, not a court of law. The process is designed to be non-adversarial and to elicit as much information as possible. The Honor Code Council’s objectives are to determine the facts of the case; to make a determination using the standard of “more likely than not” that a violation of the Student Honor Code did or did not occur; and, if a violation did occur, to determine an appropriate outcome that will facilitate learning and deter subsequent violations

Hearing Tips

  1. The suggested dress is business casual. This attire shows respect for the Student Honor Code Council hearing and for the seriousness of the situation.
  2. You may not drop or withdraw from a class if there is a pending accusation for violating the Student Honor Code. If you have already processed paperwork to drop or withdraw, you will be administratively re-enrolled.
  3. Neither you nor anyone acting on your behalf should have any contact with a panel member before a hearing regarding the alleged Student Honor Code violation.
  4. Take the process seriously and prepare carefully. Remember that this is a professional meeting, and you should present yourself in a professional manner. Do not behave in an argumentative or disrespectful manner. This does not help your case and may result in your being asked to leave, with a decision made in your absence.
  5. Tell the truth. You are expected to be completely honest at all times. Providing false representations to the University in any form, written or verbal, is listed as a violation of University regulations.
  6. Your non-verbal language speaks volumes itself. The way you carry yourself, the way you sit, and the way you look directly at those asking questions. Even your non-verbal expressions are important. Slouching, slurring or muttering responses, rolling your eyes upward, making mouth noises, all constitute behavior seen as undesirable.
  7. State up front if you are responsible for a Student Honor Code violation. Taking responsibility for your actions reflects positively on you and demonstrates your honesty. Think about what you have learned from your decisions and discuss this. The University is looking to see that students accept responsibility for their actions and that they learn from these decisions. You should explain what you are doing to correct your behavior and be prepared to discuss this before the council. Prior to coming before the council, reflect on who you want to be and whether your behavior in the current situation is congruent with this or not.
  8. If you are admitting responsibility for the behavior, you should think about recommending an appropriate sanction. Recommending a sanction shows that you are reflecting on your behavior, being proactive about avoiding the behavior in the future, and making amends to your University community. Consider what others might expect to happen when this type of behavior occurs, what might you expect if you heard about another student doing what you did, and what you can do to show you are learning from this experience.
  9. Don’t be afraid to speak up, ask questions or ask for clarification if you do not understand a question or comment.
  10. Take notes during the hearing so that you can name the specific points of your disagreement with the information presented. It is fine to challenge the information brought before the hearing panel. Discuss your side thoroughly but avoid relating irrelevant information. Be sure your statements contain information that either prove or disprove important issues in your case. The Chair or Council may redirect you if you get off topic or are discussing matters that are not relevant to the discussion at hand.
  11. Your last opportunity to address the Honor Code Council is at the “Closing Remarks.” Be brief, sincere, and thank the Council for their time.
  12. Remember that INTENTION is not related to acts that are violations. Even if you did not REALIZE your actions constituted a violation, the actions themselves are what will be judged - not your intentions. Your intentions, or lack of, may be considered during the sanctioning portion of the deliberation process.

Preparation

  1. You are encouraged to schedule a meeting with a member of the Student Honor Code Office staff, to address any concerns you may have.
  2. You should receive information from the Student Honor Code Council as to the time, date, and location of the hearing.
  3. You will have the right to inspect and review the case file. Contact the Student Honor Code Office to schedule a time prior to your hearing to do so. Review this information carefully.
  4. Please send any relevant documents that you would like included in your file to the Student Honor Code Office for distribution at least (3) days prior to the hearing.
  5. Students who are reported to the Student Honor Code Council have the right to know the name of the person who reported the alleged act of academic misconduct and may also view any information contained in their file.
  6. You have the right to be accompanied by a person of your choice for support at the hearing. That person may provide advice to you in a non-disruptive manner but may not participate in the hearing or deliberations. If this person is an attorney, you must notify the Student Honor Code Council Office at least 48 hours prior to the hearing.
  7. We recommend that you prepare what you intend to say prior to the hearing. The statement should be focused and clear; outlining information that is relevant to the incident.
  8. Student Honor Code hearings are heard by a Student Honor Code Council hearing board, consisting of 6 council members, (3 faculty members, 2 student members, 1 non-voting Chair). These hearings typically last about an hour and a half, but can last longer if the case has several witnesses or contains complex evidence.

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Phone: 662.325.9151
Fax: 662.325.3699

Mailing Address
Student Honor Code Office
Mississippi State University
608 Allen Hall
P.O. Box DS
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Mail Stop 9515

Office Hours:
Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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