Formal Hearing FAQs

▼   What is a Formal Hearing?

A Formal Hearing (a term interchangeable with University Disciplinary Committee Hearing) happens between members of the University Disciplinary Committee (UDC) and the student.  The Coordinator of Student Conduct will chair the Formal Hearing.

A Formal Hearing is digitally recorded.  The recording is the only official, verbatim record of the Hearing.  The recording is the property of the University of South Alabama.

▼   Can I have an advisor at the Formal Hearing?  What is the role of the advisor?
The role of the advisor during a University Disciplinary Hearing Committee is limited.  This limited role reflects that the Hearing is not a courtroom proceeding.  Rather, the appropriate role of the advisor is to provide advice and counsel to the student who requested the advisor’s presence.  Thusly, the advisor’s presence cannot disturb the proceedings of the University Disciplinary Committee Hearing.  If an advisor fails to act in accordance with the procedures and expectations of the University Disciplinary Committee, he/she will be barred from the proceedings.
▼   How relevant is testimony?
Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of testimony to the University Disciplinary Committee is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.  Anyone who abuses the Student Code System may face disciplinary charges if in violation.
▼   What is the role of a witness?
A witness(es), other than the respondent and the complainant, only participate(s) in the Formal Hearing while giving testimony. This is the only time a witness is present during the proceedings.
▼   How is the questioning of witnesses handled? 
All questions of witnesses by the complainant and respondent will be directed to the Committee’s chair.
▼   What happens if I choose not to participate in the Formal Hearing?
If the student is absent from the Formal Hearing, the University Disciplinary Committee will still hear the case.  The student will be asked to respond to the evidence and provide additional materials and/or information.  A decision is communicated to the student via email within five (5) days.
▼   How does the University Disciplinary Committee consider if a violation has occurred?

Testimony, materials, and/or information from the complainant, respondent, and/or witnesses are provided to the University Disciplinary Committee, to determine if the respondent has violated the Student Code of Conduct and is responsible for any and all charges against him/her.

After all testimony, materials, and/or information is presented from both the complainant and the respondent; the University Disciplinary Committee can deliberate to determine if the respondent is responsible for any of the violations of the Student Code of Conduct with which he/she has been charged.

▼   How will I know the decision of the case?

The respondent will receive a decision via email within five (5) working days of the Formal Hearing.

▼   What is an appeal?  How is it handled?

An [optional] appeal must be filed within five (5) days of receipt of the notification of the decision.   Appeals must be made in writing.

Decisions of the University Disciplinary Committee and/or the Coordinator of Student Conduct may be appealed for the following reasons only:

  • violation of procedural rights;
  • severity of discipline action; and/or
  • evidence not available at the time of the Formal Hearing.  (Only new evidence can be presented.  The case is not reheard in its entirety.)

The Assistant Dean of Students reviews the appeal and makes the final decision on the case.  A decision is communicated to the student via email within 10 days.

For more information, please refer to the Student Code of Conduct, which is published in THE LOWDOWN.

▼   What if I have additional questions?

Any further questions regarding the Student Code of Conduct, the Student Code of Conduct System, or the decision of the University Disciplinary Committee should be directed to the Coordinator of Student Conduct. 

Questions about a case should not be directed to any member of the University Disciplinary Committee.  The members of the University Disciplinary are not to discuss a case with anyone, in order to respect the privacy of everyone involved.