1.9 The Judicial Committee of the Council of the Princeton University Community

1.9.1 Powers and Membership

The Judicial Committee of the Council of the Princeton University Community hears and decides, either in the first instance or on referral from one of the other judicial bodies, cases that involve alleged violations of those established rules and regulations whose violation constitutes a serious infringement of the recognized rights of members of the University community, a serious offense against the University’s mission, a threat to the ability of the University to carry on its essential operations, or a substantial impairment of the common and legitimate interests of the University. The committee also hears and decides appeals from persons found guilty of violations of rules by other judicial bodies, when such persons have claimed that the procedures against them have not been fair and reasonable, and when another route of appeal is not otherwise specified. The committee’s members include three members of the faculty, two undergraduate students, one graduate student, one member from one of the other groups represented on the council, and a chair who does not vote except in the case of a tie. The nature and structure of the Judicial Committee ensures that members of the University community, if they stand accused of the same offense and if it is a serious one, will have their cases decided in accordance with the same interpretation of the rules involved. Under previous arrangements, cases of alleged offenses by undergraduates, graduate students, faculty members, and staff members were heard by different judicial bodies, and there was no mechanism to prevent the different judicial bodies from putting quite different constructions on the same rule.

Special judicial bodies and special procedures do, however, remain in existence and continue to deal with alleged violations of rules which apply only or mainly to some particular group within the University (e.g., rules governing students, faculty, staff, Public Safety officers, or administrators). Acts which are an exercise of a function unique to such a particular group are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee so long as it would have been reasonable for a person in the circumstances to have believed that those acts were properly within the scope of the individual’s particular function. Such acts may, however, fall under the jurisdiction of the rule-applying body or office of the particular group.

1.9.2 General Procedures

  1. The procedures of the Judicial Committee, which are outlined below, are designed to enable the committee to fulfill its charge, and to guarantee to each person charged the following rights in the interest of ensuring procedural fairness:
    1. To receive in writing in advance of a formal hearing a statement of the charges against the individual, together with a list of the witnesses and of the material evidence which the person bringing charges intends to make available to the Judicial Committee.
    2. To testify if the individual desires and to answer questions without prejudice for failure to testify or answer questions.
    3. To supply to the committee material evidence and a reasonable number of witnesses to be called in the individual’s own defense.
    4. To question all witnesses called by the committee, and to challenge the evidence.
    5. To have an adviser of the individual’s choice from the resident members of the University community at any hearing, open or closed, who may speak on the individual’s behalf.
    6. To receive upon request a record of the proceedings at the hearing. The procedures of the committee also ensure that all persons involved in judicial hearings have the right to orderly procedures.
    Any individual involved in proceedings is entitled to be protected from harassment, or fear of harassment, by other participants or by observers. In addition, the University community is entitled to have the triers of fact protected from the influence of threats, harassment, or unruly mob behavior.
  2. The procedures of the Judicial Committee were formulated after consideration of a multitude of matters, among them the nature of this University community, the role of the Judicial Committee in the community, procedures of other organizations in and out of this University which have related interests, procedures in courts of law, procedures in congressional and other legislative hearings, the needs, the interest, and the welfare of the individuals who form this community, and the experience of the committee in its first year of existence. Some aspects of the procedures are investigative, others are deliberative. They provide the Judicial Committee the opportunity:
    1. to ascertain the facts surrounding an alleged violation of University regulations;
    2. to explore issues related to such charges, in order to determine possible mitigating circumstances which should be taken into account in the levying of the penalties, if any.
    They aim therefore to facilitate the disposition of matters brought to the Judicial Committee with the greatest degree of justice and fairness for all concerned. The committee assumes that all members of the Princeton University community participating in proceedings will observe generally accepted principles of honesty and fair play.

1.9.3 Procedure in Cases Not Previously Heard by Another Authority

  1. Charges. Persons wishing to place a case before the committee shall file a complaint with the secretary of the Council of the Princeton University Community within a reasonable time, stating the nature and circumstances of the alleged violation of University regulations.

    The secretary will immediately forward the complaint to the chair of the committee, who will make a preliminary determination of jurisdiction, subject to review by the full committee. The chair may refer the case to another authority or agree to put the case before the committee.

    If the case is to come before the committee, the chair will obtain from the person making the complaint a formal statement of the charges being made against a specific person or persons, identifying the University regulation or regulations alleged to have been violated, together with an outline of the case to be presented.

  2. Notification. Upon receipt of this information the chair will immediately send a copy of the information described in the paragraph above to each person so charged, informing them of the date and place of a pre-hearing conference, to be held within one week of the date of the notification.
  3. Pre-hearing conference. The purposes of the pre-hearing conference are the following:
    1. To give the committee sufficient information for it to determine whether or not a hearing is necessary to determine the facts. If the matter of jurisdiction is at issue, and if a hearing is necessary, the determination of jurisdiction will be the first order of business in the hearing.
    2. To make sure that the persons charged fully understand their rights, the charges against them, and the nature of the supporting evidence.
    3. To clarify for all parties the procedures to be followed by the committee in hearing and deciding upon a case.
    4. To determine whether the persons charged wish to request an administrative determination on the charge. Persons against whom charges have been made may request, and at its discretion the committee may approve, an administrative disposition of the case by an appropriate officer of the University. Under these circumstances the persons charged must sign a statement indicating that they understand the charges against them and their right to a hearing before the Judicial Committee, but that they waive this right and the right to an appeal to the committee. The administrative officer will dispose of the case, sending to the persons charged and to the committee a record of the disposition of the case. Administrative disposition of a charge in no way denies the right of an appeal to the president of the University.
    5. To determine whether the persons charged desire an open or a closed hearing and to discuss the scheduling of the hearing.
    6. To determine whether any member of the committee chooses not to hear this case because the member cannot in good conscience apply established rules and standards in this case (Charter, 5.6.3). The pre-hearing conference will be closed. It will be attended by the committee and its staff, the persons charged or their representative, the persons bringing charges or their representative, and any other persons invited by the committee. Each party to the case may be accompanied by an adviser from within the University community. If after proper notice the persons charged do not appear, the committee will proceed to make its own determination in the case. At least three members of the committee shall be present. After the pre-hearing conference, the committee will meet privately to determine on the basis of what it has heard whether a hearing is required under section 5.6.1 of the Charter of the Council of the Princeton University Community and to set a date for the hearing. Parties to the case will then be informed of the decision of the committee. If the case is to be heard, the committee will obtain from all parties involved:
      1. a list of the witnesses prepared to give testimony if called by the committee, with an indication of the relevance of the testimony of each to the charges being made;
      2. a description of the material evidence available to the committee, with an indication of its relevance. The committee will distribute to all parties involved a list of all witnesses and material evidence to be presented.
  4. Hearings. Hearings will be closed unless the persons being charged request an open hearing. At any point during an open hearing, the persons charged may request permission to close the hearing. The committee will rule on any such requests. In exceptional circumstances, the committee reserves the right to hold a portion of the hearing in closed session.
    1. At a closed hearing only the persons bringing charges and their advisers, the persons being charged and their advisers, witnesses called by the committee, members of the committee, and the committee staff may be present. The names of the persons charged will not be released by the committee, and the records of the case will be considered confidential.
    2. At an open hearing, in addition to the persons mentioned in the paragraph above, spectators from the University community may be admitted up to the normal seating capacity of the room. Arrangements may be made for the broadcast of the hearing in an additional auditorium if there is sufficient public interest to justify these arrangements.
    3. The chair of the Judicial Committee is responsible for maintaining conditions which are consistent with the orderly conduct of hearings. In carrying out this responsibility, the chair is obligated to prevent and deter hostile, threatening, or unduly disrespectful remarks or behavior by any individuals present and also to prevent and deter prolonged or emphatic audience response to testimony or argument. In meeting this obligation, the chair may take such steps as are outlined under section 1.9.5 “Responsibilities of the Chair,” point 3.
    4. The committee will call a reasonable number of witnesses requested by the persons bringing charges and the persons being charged. Normally, these witnesses will be called from lists provided before the opening of the hearing by the persons involved and made available to both parties, but the committee may call any witnesses it pleases. Normally, witnesses shall not be present at the hearing until they present their testimony.
    5. The committee may permit additions to lists of witnesses or evidence when it is convinced that the availability or relevance of such witnesses or evidence could not have been foreseen before the hearing began. Advance notice of such additions shall always be given to all parties, and the committee shall allow such delay as it may consider necessary to prepare for the questioning of added witnesses or the examination of added exhibits.
    6. All witnesses may be questioned by all parties in a case and their advisers and by any member of the committee. The chair may rule any question out of order.
    7. All material evidence and documents shall be formally introduced as presented in the hearing, lists of the exhibits proposed for presentation as evidence and copies of documentary evidence having been made available in advance to all parties in a case. The committee may introduce additional materials during the course of the hearing.
    8. The credibility of any evidence which is introduced may be challenged by any parties in a case.
    9. The judgment of the committee shall be based entirely upon testimony and evidence presented formally during the course of the hearing. The persons charged shall be presumed innocent until the committee is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt by the evidence presented during the hearing that they are guilty. In determining their guilt or innocence the committee will disregard any previous history of disciplinary action with respect to the persons charged. If the persons charged are found guilty, the committee may, in determining a penalty, take into account any previous disciplinary action.
    10. The persons charged and the persons bringing charges may be questioned by the members of the committee and by the other parties in the case. The persons charged may decline to answer questions without prejudice.
    11. A verbatim record of the hearing shall be made and kept under the supervision of the secretary of the committee. This record shall be supplied to the persons being charged and the persons bringing charges upon request.
  5. Judgment.
    1. After the parties in the case have had a reasonable opportunity to present their arguments and to question opposing witnesses, and the committee has completed its questioning, the committee shall meet in private to reach a decision and, if it finds the charges to have been sustained, to assign an appropriate penalty.
    2. Five members, not including the chair, shall constitute a quorum. All decisions shall be made by a majority of those present.
    3. When the committee has reached its decision, the chair will notify the parties and then those authorities mentioned in section 5.6.6 of the Charter of the Council of the Princeton University Community and the press of the committee’s disposition of the case. The committee’s report will include the result of its vote and a majority opinion, together with minority opinions, if any. If the hearing has been closed, the committee in making its public report will be guided by the principles concerning the confidential nature of student records.

1.9.4 Procedure in Appeals of Cases Previously Heard by Another Authority

  1. According to the charter of the council, the Judicial Committee may also decide to hear appeals from persons found guilty of violating established rules and regulations, when it has been alleged by such persons that the procedures of the original authority were not fair and reasonable.
    1. The person wishing to have a judgment reviewed shall, within one week (during which the University is in session) of the original judgment, file a request for review with the secretary of the council, stating the authority that made the judgment and the date, and indicating the reasons for requesting a review.
    2. The secretary will immediately forward the request to the chair of the committee.
    3. The chair will immediately notify the original authority that the request for review has been made and will as promptly as possible obtain from the authority that made the earlier judgment the record of the proceedings in the case. A copy of this record will be furnished by the committee to the person making the request.
    4. The person making the request will file with the chair of the Judicial Committee within one week of receiving the record a memorandum stating in what specific respects it is alleged that the procedures were not fair and reasonable. In preparing this memorandum, the person requesting review has the right to seek any advice the person chooses.
  2. Review and Determination. The committee will meet in closed session to review the appeal memorandum. It may at its discretion call the person making the appeal for questioning in closed session, but if it does, the authority which made the original judgment shall be invited to have a representative present, who may participate in the questioning. The committee may then come to a judgment as listed in point 4 below. Note that the only grounds for appeal are that the procedures of the original authority were not fair and reasonable.
  3. Hearing. The committee, at its discretion, may hold a formal hearing to determine if the procedures of the original authority were fair and reasonable. If such a hearing is conducted, the procedures would be analogous to those outlined in the above section 1.9.3 “Procedure in Cases Not Previously Heard by Another Authority,” in point 4.
  4. Judgment. The committee may decide to uphold the previous judgment, or to return the case to the original authority. In exceptional cases, for instance where the committee determines that it is unable to return the case to the original authority, the committee may decide to reverse or alter the previous judgment. The ruling of the original authority will be upheld unless convincing argument is presented to the contrary.

1.9.5 Responsibilities of the Chair

  1. The chair of the Judicial Committee shall preside at all hearings. If the chair must be absent during part of a hearing, the chair may designate another member of the committee to act in the chair’s place as deputy chair for the period the chair is absent. If, in extraordinary circumstances, an entire hearing must be conducted in the absence of the chair, the committee shall elect a chair pro tem from among its members by a majority vote, selecting a person from the alternate panel to replace the missing member as a regular voting member so long as the chair shall be absent.
  2. The chair, as presiding officer, is responsible for procedural correctness. The chair
    1. makes an initial determination of any procedural question which arises during the course of a hearing;
    2. rules on the propriety of any questions asked by members of the committee, persons charged, or persons bringing charges.
  3. The chair is responsible for maintaining conditions which are consistent with the right to orderly conduct of hearings as described in section 1.9.3 point 4.c). When persons attending the hearings as observers engage in acts which violate this right, the chair may, after due warning, require the withdrawal of such persons from the hearing room. The chair may also, after due warning, adjourn the hearing and reconvene, barring all observers except members of the press. The chair may also initiate, on consultation with the committee, charges against observers who are disrupting the hearing.

    In cases where the violation of this right stems from acts of persons charged or persons bringing the charges, the committee shall normally adjourn the case and begin hearings within 48 hours on the charge of violating the rights to an orderly hearing. If such persons persist in their disruptive actions, the committee may, after due warning in exceptional instances, continue these proceedings in their absence.

    1. Any decision of the chair may be challenged by a member of the Judicial Committee. The committee will meet, if necessary, in executive session to consider the decision and vote on it. A majority of the committee is required to reverse the chair’s decision.
    2. In hearing cases involving the violation of the right to orderly hearings, the committee shall normally restrict itself to hearing arguments concerning mitigating circumstances involved in the alleged violation. The committee shall then meet to discuss the case and to decide upon appropriate penalties, if any, by majority vote. Penalized individuals wishing to appeal such decisions must address their appeals to the president of the University.
  4. The chair shall have no vote in decisions related to the adjudication of charges or the conduct of hearings except to resolve a tie.

1.9.6 Order of Proceedings in Cases of the First Instance

  1. The chair shall first call upon the persons bringing charges or their representatives to outline the substantive basis of the charges. They may introduce additional material evidence at this time.
  2. Members of the committee may then question persons bringing charges.
  3. The chair of the committee shall then call upon persons charged to outline their case.
  4. Members of the committee may then question the persons charged.
  5. Witnesses will then be called by the committee in an order to be determined by the chair.
    1. Witnesses normally will first be questioned by members of the committee, then by the persons bringing charges, and, finally, by the persons charged. Each group may, in the same order, then re-question each witness and the members of the committee may ask final questions of witnesses before they are dismissed. (Since all witnesses are called by the committee in order to facilitate its investigation and adjudication of charges, there are no friendly or hostile witnesses, and cross-examination, redirect examination, and re-cross-examination procedures are not germane.)
    2. Witnesses will normally not be present before giving their testimony. After they have been questioned, they may remain at an open hearing and may be called for further questioning by the committee.
    3. Persons charged and persons bringing charges will always have an opportunity to speak in direct rebuttal of evidence or the testimony of witnesses when it is their turn to address themselves to the committee.
    4. In asking questions of witnesses, persons bringing charges and persons charged may address themselves to the substantive basis and validity of testimony. The committee will make every effort to protect each witness from undue harassment during a hearing.
  6. After all witnesses have been called, persons bringing charges and persons charged may question the evidence and documents and raise additional questions. These parties may address their questions directly to one another, unless the chair rules otherwise.
  7. Members of the committee may at any time question the persons bringing charges and the persons charged. The latter may decline to answer without prejudice.
  8. The chair shall then call upon the persons bringing charges and the persons charged to summarize their positions and to make concluding remarks.
  9. At the completion of concluding remarks, the chair may make summary remarks on behalf of the committee and shall close the hearing. The committee shall then meet in executive session in order to make its judgment and to impose penalties, if any.

1.9.7 Order of Proceedings in Appeals Cases

The order of proceedings in appeals cases is the same as that in cases of the first instance, except that persons making an appeal present their case first and representatives of the body having made the original decision second.

1.9.8 Procedural Requests

  1. The parties to a case may request a ruling by the chair concerning procedural correctness at any time during the hearing.
  2. The parties to a case may request that the committee add witnesses to be called before it or that the committee call witnesses in a specified order.
  3. At any point during an open hearing, the persons charged may request permission to close the hearing. The committee will rule on any such requests.
  4. Any member of the committee may request a recess of the hearing so that the committee can meet in executive session at any time during the hearing.

1.9.9 Evidence

  1. Normally, evidence accepted by both parties at a pre-hearing conference will be labeled before the hearing opens.
  2. Other evidence, not accepted by one party, may be introduced and challenged during the hearing. After arguments are given, the chair shall make a ruling on the issue of its admissibility.
  3. Photographic evidence introduced:
    1. Persons who took photographs used as evidence are subject to questioning by the committee and both parties to a case as to the circumstances under which the photographs were taken.
    2. Witnesses who used photographs for purposes of identification prior to the hearing are subject to questioning as to how such photographs were used.

All documentary evidence will be retained in the permanent records of the committee.

1.9.10 Reports

  1. In accordance with section 5.6.6 of the Charter of the Council of the Princeton University Community, the Judicial Committee shall submit a written report on the disposition of each case.
  2. This report shall include:
    1. a chronology of the case from the receipt of charges to final disposition;
    2. a statement of actions taken by the committee pertaining to the case;
    3. a statement of the findings which were significant and relevant to the disposition of the case and the selection of any penalties; and
    4. remarks on procedural questions raised during the hearing.

1.9.11 Appeals from Decisions of the Judicial Committee

In accordance with the charter of the CPUC (CPUC charter 5.6.5), the president of the University may review decisions of the Judicial Committee in cases not previously heard by another authority and may reduce any penalties imposed by the committee but may not increase them. It has been the policy of each president during the time of the existence of the council, and it is correct in the view of the Committee on Rights and Rules, to regard an appeal to the president chiefly as an opportunity for an individual to seek clemency by explaining special circumstances that might be taken into account with respect to penalties imposed upon the individual. The purpose of an appeal to the president is not to initiate a rehearing of substantive issues of fact or a new determination of innocence or guilt.

Appeals will not be considered unless lodged with the president within one week after the Judicial Committee’s decision, unless otherwise specified in the decision.