Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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Your Judicial Hearing

Your Judicial Hearing
Student Affairs staff members help students develop moral and ethical answers to the eternal question: “How shall I live?” We seek to develop caring, responsible and respectful individuals with character, integrity and critical-thinking skills.
-Division of Student Affairs Mission

Your judicial hearing is a number of things. Hopefully, it is where you will work with your resident director or hearing officer to subject your choices and decisions in a specific incident to critical and ethical analysis, aided by the standards of our community and their moral underpinnings. As a Fordham man or woman, your participation in this process is meant to contribute to the education of your character, an important goal of your University and a complement to the intellectual education you receive in the academic realm. As life upon leaving our gates will pose many and often confusing moral and ethical problems for you, the time to learn how these are best navigated is now. The diploma you receive at Commencement is our word as a University that you will lead that life with authentic compassion, character and conscience. Hearings are small classes in these issues.

The offer of a hearing is also the second required component of the University's official judicial process. You are entitled to this hearing when there is an allegation that you have violated our code of conduct or the policies contained in the office of residential life handbook. You may waive your right to the hearing and the opportunity to tell your side of the story, but we hope you do not, for a number of reasons:

  1. The hearing is your opportunity to discuss our community's standards for conduct. These are articulated in the code of conduct and office of residential life policies. We want you to understand why you have been required to participate in the judicial process and why we have the rules we do. While you may not always agree with the rationale of your community in these matters, you have agreed upon registration to abide by these rules, and we feel strongly that you should have the opportunity to educate yourself about them when your adherence is in question. As this is meant to be an educational process and not exclusively punitive, understanding our community's standards is key.
  2. The hearing is an important chance to learn about the judicial process itself. It is important to have this knowledge as you discuss what may be a violation of the code of conduct or policy with the hearing officer. The hearing officer will help you understand the process and answer questions.
  3. The hearing is your opportunity to tell your side of the story, but it is important to keep in mind that less-than-truthful information has no place in this conversation. Failure to be honest is itselt a violation of the code of conduct, and it is an ironclad and important fundamental expectation that you are truthful in your hearing.
  4. The hearing may also be a place where you get to know your resident director or hearing officer, someone who holds the position they do to help you succesfully navigate our University. While a hearing can be somewhat uncomfortable (who likes being challenged about ethical decisions?), we hope you will find your hearing officer both determined to challenge irresponsibile behavior and to help you move past and learn from mistakes.
  5. Finally, the hearing is a place where you can hopefully learn and grow as a moral and ethical decision-maker, by discussing your decisions with the hearing officer and using the opportunity to think about whether the criteria you have used in younger years to make decisions needs to change.

It is important to also know what the hearing is not. It is not not an opportunity to present a concocted story (see point 3 above), it may not be recorded or transmitted (you may take notes) nor can anyone accompany you for your hearing.

The hearing officer will be respectful to you as a fellow member of the community and will expect that you conduct yourself respectfully as well. Dress appropriately for your hearing as a signal of your seriousness and maturity.

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