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Preparing for a Hearing as a Respondent

The purpose of the Washington College Honor Board is to adjudicate cases of alleged violations of the Washington College Honor Code. These violations may be academic or social violations of the Honor Code. Students who are being brought before the Honor Board often have many questions and concerns about the process. The information below is meant to address those questions and concerns and help students prepare for the hearing.

Rights of a Student Called Before the Honor Board

You have certain rights in regard to the judicial process at Washington College. The student brought before the Board has the right to…

  • Be treated with respect and dignity
  • Be notified of the alleged violations at least 5 business days prior to the hearing
  • An explanation of the campus judicial process
  • Request a separate hearing if there is more than one student brought before the Board
  • Review information contained in his/her student conduct file in the Student Affairs Office
  • Have an advisor with him/her throughout the proceedings (advisors may attend but not participate in the hearing itself)
  • Present information on his/her own behalf
  • Be informed in a timely manner of the board’s findings and of the outcome of the hearing
  • Appeal the decision of the hearing board by submitting, in writing, the appeal to either the VP for Student Affairs (for social cases) or the Provost (for academic cases) within 5 class days of the date of the Honor Board decision

Structure of the Honor Board

The Honor Board is composed of both students and faculty members. Students are named to the Honor Board by the SGA Executive Board through a selection process at the beginning of the academic year.  Nine students are selected, and they rotate throughout the year as one of the three student panelists at any given hearing. Six faculty members are appointed to the Honor Board with just two serving on a panel at any given hearing. The Honor Board is presided over by the student chairperson who facilitates the hearing. Other advisory members of the Board include: The Assistant Dean for First Year Experience and Student Success or designee and the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs or designee who act as advisors to the Board. In some instances, cases may be referred to be heard in a Conduct Meeting. A Conduct Meeting is different from a full Honor Board hearing in that the number of panelists is reduced.

Conduct Meetings are often recommended when a separation from the College (through either suspension or expulsion) is not an expected outcome. Most frequently Conduct Meetings include the chair and vice chair of the Honor Board as well as an administrator who serve as panelists. All of the following information is relevant to Conduct Meetings as well as full Honor Board Hearings.

Preparing for a Hearing

Students called before the Honor Board are strongly encouraged to prepare their opening statement ahead of time. If the student would like to review his or her student judicial file or specific information (including incident reports and witness statements) about the case, they should contact the appropriate administrators at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled hearing.

For social violation hearings, students should contact Greg Krikorian ([email protected]) in the Student Affairs Office. For academic hearings, students should contact Professor Sara Clarke-De Reza ([email protected]).  All information contained in a student’s file is confidential and students will be required to sign a statement indicating that they understand that and will not release any information about other students whose names are contained in the documents they receive.

Appropriate Dress

Students who appear before the Honor Board should keep in mind that their appearance can send a message about how seriously they are taking the hearing and their respect for the process. There is no specific dress code for students appearing before the Honor Board, but it is recommended that students avoid overly casual clothes. Students bringing case or character witnesses may also want to encourage those witnesses to carefully consider what they wear to the hearing.


There are two types of witnesses for Honor Board hearings, case witnesses and character witnesses.

Case witnesses are those who have factual knowledge about the alleged violation. Case witnesses appear before the Honor Board one at a time and can present a brief statement. If a witness appears at the hearing, the Honor Board and the respondent will have the opportunity to question that witness by submitting questions through the hearing facilitator. In Title IX cases (sexual misconduct, harassment, or discrimination), both the complainant and respondent have the opportunity to question the witness.

Character witnesses do not have any factual knowledge about the alleged offense but are able to address the character of the student brought before the Board. Normally, character witnesses submit a statement prior to the hearing and do not attend the actual hearing.

When a student respondent is notified that they will appear before the Honor Board, they must provide the Honor Board Chair the names of any witnesses they wish to be contacted in the investigation as well as the name of their advisor (if any) who will be attending the hearing. Those names must be sent to the Honor Board Chair no later than five class days prior to the hearing. Witnesses can also be called by the administrators (representatives of the Dean of Students or Provost’s Office) who are facilitating the hearing. These Honor Board administrators make the final decision about which witnesses will appear at the hearing.

Honor Board Hearing Procedures

The student who is the subject of the complaint (Respondent) can expect the Honor Board hearing to follow the agenda below (although minor changes may be made in this agenda depending upon the nature of the case).   At times, there may not be a Complainant as the Complainant will be the College:


Call to Order

Honor Board Chair


Introduction of Honor Board Members

Honor Board Members


Alleged Violations Stated

Honor Board Chair


Opening Statements

Student Respondent and Student Complainant


Questioning of Case Witnesses (one at a time)

Honor Board Members; Student Respondent and Student Complainant


Questioning of Complainant

Honor Board Members; Respondent


Questioning of Respondent

Honor Board Members; Complainant


Complainant Closing Statement

Student Complainant


Respondent Closing Statement

Student Respondent


Dismissal of Complainant

Honor Board Chair


Dismissal of Respondent

Honor Board Chair


Deliberation (Responsible or Not Responsible)

Honor Board Members


Decision (Responsible or Not Responsible)

Honor Board Members


Report on prior violations or incidents

Assoc. VP for Student Affairs and/or designee


Deliberation of Sanction if in violation

Honor Board Members


Decision on Sanction if in violation

Honor Board Members


Dismissal of Honor Board Members

Honor Board Chair

Attendees at Honor Board Hearings & Advisors

Please note that attendance at Honor Board hearings is limited to the following: those who are members of the Honor Board; those involved in the administration of the hearing; witnesses called before the Honor Board; the student Respondent; and an advisor who the student Respondent has designated, the student Complainant; and an advisor who the student Complainant has designated.

The advisor must be a member of the Washington College community (student, staff member, or faculty member) and may attend and provide support for the parties during the hearing but may NOT participate in the hearing itself (ie. asking questions of witnesses, making statements, etc.). In Title IX cases, the advisor is anyone of the respondent’s choice and does not have to be a member of the College community. In Title IX cases the complainant may also bring an advisor of their choice. All parties must notify the Honor Board chair (or the appropriate administrator identified by the Honor Board chair) at least five days prior to the hearing in writing who the advisor will be.

Opening and Closing Statements

After the charges have been stated at the hearing, the student respondent will then be able to make an opening statement that normally includes a summary of his/her version of the incident that resulted in the alleged violation as well as any other information that he/she feels is relevant to the case. It is recommended that the student write out the opening statement and make sure that the statement is clear and thorough. While there is no set time limit, opening statements normally do not last more than a couple of minutes. If the student brought before the Board is admitting to the violation, then it is also appropriate for the student to express his/her acceptance of responsibility in the opening statement and any actions he/she has taken since the violation to address that acceptance.

The closing statement should summarize the student’s viewpoint. Again, if the student is admitting to the violation, the closing statement should indicate that as well as what the student has learned from the experience. If the student is contesting responsibility, then he/she should summarize why.

The Hearing and the Outcome

Honor Board hearings normally take anywhere between 45 minutes to three hours to complete. Following the hearing (normally the next business day), the Respondent will be notified whether the Board determined if the student was found responsible or not responsible for violating the Honor Code. If it was determined that the student was responsible for violating the Honor Code, they will also be informed of the sanctions at that time. Sanctions for students found responsible for violations of the Honor Code can range anywhere from an Official College Warning through expulsion.


A student found responsible for violating the Honor Code has five business days to submit a written appeal. Appeals for social violation cases should be submitted using the link provided in the decision letter.

For more information about the appeal process, including the criteria for appeals can be found in the student handbook.

Student respondents who intend to appeal a decision of the Honor Board are expected to read this information in the handbook carefully before submitting an appeal.


Names and information related to Honor Board cases are confidential and are only communicated to Honor Board members or other members of the College community who have a legitimate and educational interest.  Students involved in any Honor Board hearing are prohibited from releasing the names of any students (whether respondents or witnesses) or communicating information that would allow those students to be identified.

Other Questions

The Student Handbook contains a comprehensive description of the Washington College Honor Code and more information about the Honor Board and its procedures. Students called to appear before the board are strongly encouraged to review the section titled “The Washington College Honor Code and Student Judicial System” located in the student handbook.

Any other questions about the Honor Board, its policies or procedures, can be directed toward Heather Fabritze, Student Honor Board Chairperson, ([email protected]), Greg Krikorian, Dean of Students ([email protected]/410-778-7752), or Professor Sara Clarke-De Reza ([email protected]).