Does the Honor System hear sexual assault cases?
No, as of August 1, 2012 the Honor System no longer hears cases of sexual assault. The removal of sexual assault from the Honor System’s jurisdiction was led by Honor System members. Additionally, from January 2012 – August 1, 2012 all cases regarding sexual assault were held under Interim Policies and were heard by University Hearings Boards rather than an Honor Court.
What were the Interim Policies?
The Interim Policies were in effect from January 2012 – August 1, 2012. It was an attempt to move the University sexual assault adjudication policies closer to the Dear Colleague Letter while a more thorough policy was drafted. Under the Interim Policies, cases of sexual assault were not heard by an Honor Court but rather by a University Hearings Board. The composition of these boards was 2 students, 2 faculty, and 1 administrative chair. The administrative chair was responsible for the conduct of the hearing and leading of the deliberations. Other changes were made such as a lowering of the burden of proof and the addition of bilateral appeal rights.
Why are students making these decisions?
Because we, as current Carolina students, as have Carolina students for over 100 years before us, feel that we should have the autonomy to determine for ourselves what shall and shall not be appropriate behavior in our community, and to have the opportunity to assign sanctions that we feel are appropriate before faculty members and administrators become involved. This is not only a vital part of the long tradition of student-self-governance at our University, but also has a very practical application. It is the value of our degrees that would be diminished if academic misconduct were allowed uninhibited, and it is our safety, security, and reputations that would be at risk we did not take steps to ensure that students adhered to an agreed-upon code of conduct. Additionally, we feel that students understand the situations facing our peers and represent student interests better than faculty can.
Why does my charge notification list expulsion?
By law, the Office of Student Conduct and the Honor System are required to list any sanction that a student could possibly receive. Because there is no maximum sanction for any charge, every student who is charged by the University will see expulsion on their list of possible sanctions. However, expulsion is a very rarely assigned sanction.
Can I be expelled by the Honor Court?
The Honor Court can recommend a sanction of expulsion. Any case in which the Honor Court recommends a sanction of expulsion or permanent suspension will be reviewed by the Chancellor or his designee.
Who serves in the Honor System?
The Honor System consists of three branches on both the undergraduate and graduate level: the Student Attorney General’s Staff, the Honor System Outreach Branch, and the Honor Court. The Student Attorney General or her designee receives all reports that a student may have violated our community’s standards (see the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance) and is responsible for reviewing the report, meeting with the accused student, and conducting a preliminary investigation. After this investigation, the Student Attorney General must decide whether to charge a student with a potential Honor Code violation, if there is a reasonable basis to believe that a violation may have occurred.
Two members of the Student Attorney General’s staff are then assigned to assist the reporting party and the accused student, respectively, in preparing for an Honor Court hearing. Members of the Honor Court will then convene a hearing, carefully and completely review all evidence presented, and deliberate a judgment. If the Honor Court determines that there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a violation occurred, they will then determine an appropriate sanction for the violation. Available sanctions range from a written letter of warning to expulsion.
What’s the difference between a charge and a guilty verdict?
A charge merely indicates that the Student Attorney General or her designee has determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that a violation might have occurred. In order to be found guilty of a violation, a majority of a panel of five Honor Court members must determine that there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a violation did occur.
What does a reasonable basis mean?
A good explanation is that the evidence available reaches a minimum level that the AG does not feel comfortable unilaterally deciding that a violation did not occur, and therefore has an obligation to refer the case to a full process.