WPI offers several options for resolving conflict within the WPI community. Options should be discussed with the WPI case officer in the Dean of Students Office to determine the best means for resolution. Choosing to bring charges through WPI's judicial system does not preclude a community member from also seeking criminal or civil recourse as well.
Members of the WPI community who accept responsibility for the charge(s) brought against them may choose, with the agreement of the person bringing the charge, to accept a sanction imposed by the case officer.
Campus Hearing Board
The Campus Hearing Board (CHB) is comprised of elected or appointed faculty, students and staff drawn from the WPI community. Board members are charged with hearing alleged violations of WPI policies by an individual community member. Utilizing testimony and any other evidence available, the board will determine if the accused is to be held responsible for the charges using a standard of preponderance of evidence. The board will further determine what sanction is to be fulfilled. Decisions of the CHB may be appealed to the Presidential Board of Appeals.
Mediation uses a neutral third party to help resolve disputes, leaving the final resolution in the hands of the disputing parties. The purpose of mediation is not to determine responsibility but to help parties get to the root of their problems and to devise their own solutions. If a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached, the person bringing the charge may refer the complaint to the case officer for judicial action.
The Hearing Process
The hearing process is intended to reveal evidence which either supports or refutes the complaint brought by the accuser (the person bringing the charge(s)). Both the accuser and the accused (the person being charged) are given the opportunity to present statements and evidence, answer and ask questions, and call witnesses in support of their statements.
Hearing participants are given written and/or electronic notice of charge(s), as well as time, date and location of hearing.
The Appeal Process
The accused may appeal the decision of a hearing in writing within seven business days of the decision. The case officer in the Dean of Students Office can advise the student about the appeal process. For more information, see the Constitution of the WPI Campus Judicial System.
Who's Who In The Judicial Process
Various individuals from both within and outside the WPI Community may become involved in resolving conflicts. The following description of each person's rights and responsibilities is meant to answer questions about the judicial process. More detailed information can be found in the WPI Campus Planner and Resource Guide.
The case officer is a member of the Dean of Students Office staff appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs and is not a member of any hearing board. The case officer's duties involve:
- Advising persons of the complaint(s) against them and explaining their rights and responsibilities;
- Scheduling hearings and notifying all persons concerned;
- Assisting with and forwarding appeals.
The case officer will be present as an impartial and non-voting participant in a hearing.
Judicial Advocate The Judicial Advocate is trained and educated about the WPI judicial system on campus, and serves as a confidential resource and consultant for students before (and possible during) the judicial hearing process. Generally, the Judicial Advocate is used by students in preparation for their case before the Campus Hearing Board. Students are encouraged to utilize this important resource; contact information for the Judicial Advocate is available from each Judicial Case Officer.
The accuser is the individual or group who brings charges against a member(s) of the WPI community because of a violation of the WPI Campus Code.
The individual bringing the charges should request a meeting with the case officer. The case officer may make recommendations regarding options for resolution of the charges.
If the case is brought to the CHB, the accuser should prepare a statement for the case officer which includes:
- The names of the person(s) charged
- A full description of the incident
- The names of witnesses
- The section(s) of the Campus Code allegedly violated
Note: In certain cases, when serious charges have been brought by an individual who is either unable or unwilling to bring forward the complaint, the university reserves the right to serve in this capacity.
The accused is the member of the WPI community being charged. The accused is assumed to be 'not responsible' until or unless proven 'responsible'.
Once the accused has been notified that a complaint has been filed, he/she will meet with the case officer for a pre-hearing interview. During this interview, the case officer will:
- Review the complaint;
- Discuss the accused rights and the CHB procedures;
- Inform the accused that he/she is not obligated to make statements which are self-incriminating.
The Accused may also:
- Be assisted in preparing and presenting a defense by an advisor of his/her choice from within the immediate WPI community (For complete information refer to the WPI Campus Planner and Resource Guide.)
- Not be required to be present at the hearing (but the hearing will proceed inabsentia).
- Rebut testimony or challenge its validity, relevance, or admissibility;
- Not be prosecuted again by a WPI judicial authority for an offense for which he/she has previously tried before the CHB.
- Petition for a rehearing based on evidence or testimony which could not have been obtained at the time of the hearing. Petitions are submitted to the case officer.
Note: When more than one individual is charged with the same violation, the accused have the right to separate hearings or may elect to have their cases heard jointly.
Witnesses are individuals that have factual information regarding an alleged violation of the Campus Code. The accuser and the accused must notify their own witnesses regarding the time, date and location of the hearing.
The case officer can assist community members with any questions about WPI's judicial system. Please direct all questions to the case officer in the WPI Dean of Students Office.