10. University Tribunal
University Tribunal Composition
The members of the University Tribunal are students, faculty and staff volunteers appointed by the Vice-Provost Students upon recommendation by a selection committee comprising University Tribunal members, one of whom will be a student. University Tribunal members may serve for a renewable two-year term, unless terminated earlier by the Vice-Provost Students upon recommendation by a panel comprising the same representatives that make up the selection committee.
Quorum for a University Tribunal Hearing panel will be three persons, one of whom will be a student. They will elect a Chair for the proceedings. In rare circumstances where a Tribunal matter continues over a period of time and one Tribunal member becomes unavailable for unavoidable reasons such as a medical emergency, the remaining two Tribunal members may complete the proceeding with the consent of the parties. If the Tribunal member who is unavailable was the Chair of the proceeding, one of the remaining two members will become the Chair.
University Tribunal Hearing Process
University Tribunal Hearings provide an opportunity for a balanced airing of the case. The hearings are held in "private", i.e. restricted to persons who have a direct role or interest in the hearing, or persons who are acting as Witnesses. At the discretion of the Chair, other persons may be admitted to the hearing for training purposes or other reasonable considerations.
The University Tribunal Hearing panel’s purpose is to provide a fair evaluation of the case and determine whether or not the Respondent is responsible for violating University regulations and to assign appropriate sanctions in the case where a student is found responsible. University Tribunal (UT) members will ask questions not only to determine whether or not there has been a breach, but also to determine what the impact of the behaviour was, the level of harm that has occurred and how that harm can be addressed. If a student is found responsible, then the University Tribunal will consider how the harm should be addressed and identify the appropriate sanctions.
The standard of proof required to determine that there has been a breach of the Code will be "on a balance of probabilities," meaning that the UT must determine whether the evidence shows that it is more likely than not that the alleged events and/or Code breach(es) occurred.
The University Tribunal will attempt to make decisions by consensus. Where a decision proves to be challenging for the panel to achieve consensus, each member, including the Chair, will have one vote and decisions will be made by a majority vote.
Formal rules of procedure and evidence such as those applied in a criminal or civil court are not used in Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities proceedings. In order to ensure that its procedures are as fair as possible in the context of University circumstances and traditions, the University Tribunal shall comply with the following procedural guidelines:
- The Chair introduces the other Tribunal members and explains how the hearing will proceed.
- The Chair reads a description of the alleged Code breach and the reason for the hearing.
- An opportunity is presented to the Respondent to admit or deny responsibility in whole or in part.
- The Complainant presents the complaint and any supporting documentation and Witnesses to the University Tribunal Hearing panel.
- The Respondent has the opportunity to ask questions of the Complainant and any Witnesses through the Chair of the University Tribunal. Members of the University Tribunal will also have the opportunity to ask questions of the Complainant and his or her Witnesses. Alternative methods of hearing testimony and asking questions may be used in cases where potential traumatization of any party is a consideration (e.g. allegations involving physical violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking).
- After the Complainant has presented the complaint, the Respondent will have the opportunity to present his or her response to the complaint, including any supporting documentation and Witnesses. Members of the University Tribunal will also have the opportunity to ask questions of the Respondent and the Witnesses.
- The Complainant has the opportunity to ask questions of the Respondent and his or her Witnesses through the Chair of the University Tribunal. Members of the University Tribunal will also have the opportunity to ask questions of the Respondent and the Witnesses.
- Both the Complainant and the Respondent then summarize the information that has been presented through documentation and Witnesses, explain their respective interpretations of that information and whether it shows that there has, or has not, been a breach of the standard of conduct contained in the Code.
- Both the Complainant and the Respondent will have the opportunity to suggest what remedies and sanctions, if any, they believe are appropriate to the matter before the University Tribunal.
- The decision of the UT, with reasons, will be put in writing no more than 10 business days from the end date of the hearing and delivered to the Respondent and the Complainant by regular mail, Express Post or e-mail and filed with the Office of Student Conflict Resolution. Whenever possible, decisions of the University Tribunal will also be made orally immediately following the hearing.
- Variations from procedural guidelines within this Section shall not necessarily invalidate a decision, unless significant prejudice to a student or the University may result.
The Director (or Designate) of the Office acts as the secretary to the University Tribunal and provides procedural guidance and resources for the Tribunal as required.
A hearing may be postponed at the discretion of the University Tribunal if it has independent reasons to do so or upon the request of a party where the party satisfies the Tribunal that the postponement is necessary for a fair hearing to be held. When deciding whether or not to grant a postponement, the Tribunal may consider one or more of the following factors:
- the timeliness of the request;
- the adverse impact, if any, of postponement on the parties;
- whether postponements have been previously granted in the case;
- the consent of the parties;
- any other relevant factor(s).
The Tribunal may grant a postponement on such terms and conditions as it considers appropriate and fair. Any parties seeking a postponement shall seek the consent of the other key party or parties via the Office of Student Conflict Resolution before bringing a request before the Tribunal. Whether consent is obtained or not, the party seeking the postponement is required to contact the University Tribunal via the Director of the Office of Student Conflict Resolution and put the request in writing. The request must include the reasons for the request, any relevant documentation, and must state whether or not the other party consents to the postponement. A copy of the request will be forwarded by the Director to the Tribunal as well as to the other party.
A party making a request for postponement will give the University Tribunal and the other party written notice of their request as soon as possible.
Where possible, the University Tribunal will consider the request in advance of the original hearing date. Where this is impractical or impossible, the University Tribunal may consider the request as a preliminary matter on the hearing date. Either way, the University Tribunal will decide whether or not to grant the postponement request. If the request is denied, the hearing will proceed on the originally scheduled date.
The University Tribunal may, in its discretion, deny a postponement even though the parties consent.
Where the University Tribunal finds that a breach of the Code has occurred, it has the authority to impose any of the sanctions and make any of the recommendations outlined in Section 14, depending on the gravity of the breach of the standard of conduct in question.
Where a University Tribunal is persuaded, by the information it has heard and reviewed, that there is a risk that the Respondent will engage in future behaviour that is likely to cause harm to others in the University community, the Tribunal may impose behavioural restrictions, suspension or expulsion.