Step 3: Prepare for your hearing

Once you have reviewed your file and provided your written statement, please review the information below to better understand what the hearing will look like in order to best prepare you for the upcoming conversation.

Introductions and overview

Once you arrive you will meet everyone participating (hearing officers, advisor [if applicable], campus partner [if applicable]. You’ll be given a chance to introduce yourself and, often, your hearing officer will ask you to share information about yourself that you're comfortable with in order to get to know you better. Typically students share where they're from, why they chose Columbia University, and a highlight of their Columbia University career thus far.

After introductions, the hearing officer will lead a discussion covering the hearing process which includes: 

  • Confirmation that you reviewed your file
  • Highlighting the charges 
  • A reminder that the process is about neutral fact finding and is designed to be as educational as possible.
  • Encouragement to be honest and forthcoming during your hearing to create an environment of accountability, and
  • Reflective education and appropriate support resources

After learning about how the hearing will proceed, you will be asked to provide your perspective. You can: 

  • Read from your written statement
  • Give a summary of your written statement 
  • Or, provide your own verbal narrative

After sharing your perspective you will have the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with your hearing officers. The hearing officers will discuss the report, the documentation presented, and the narrative that you shared. 

After a hearing the hearing officers reserve the right to ask clarifying/ follow up questions via email or schedule a follow up meeting.

Each hearing officer is a neutral fact finder/investigator. This means all materials submitted and discussed are reviewed through an unbiased lens. Our team works to ensure we are up to date on best practices and implementing those practices into our policies and procedures. 

Our office also has Student Conduct Navigators. These are fellow students who help support their peers through the conduct process. Navigators are not involved in the hearing process and do not have access to files related to the case. They only serve as peer student support regarding procedures. Additionally, conversation with a Navigator is kept private between the student and the Navigator.

Hearing officers have 10 business days to review all the information and determine if you are responsible for policy violation(s). Along with that determination, if you are found responsible, the hearing officer will determine the most appropriate outcome based on all the information available to them. 

The hearing officers come to a finding of responsibility by using the standard of proof named the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. This standard allows for a finding of responsibility if, at the conclusion of the investigation, the information suggests it is more likely than not that a violation occurred.

Once an outcome has been determined you will receive your outcome letter via email.

As denoted in Standards and Discipline, for cases involving financially dependent undergraduate students, parent(s) and/or guardian(s) may be notified when a student is no longer in good disciplinary standing.

For academic integrity violations, once an outcome is finalized we supply the reporting party (typically the professor) with a faculty summary. Essentially, this is a brief summary of the conversation you had with your hearing officers. We inform the faculty member if you were found either responsible or not responsible for the violation. We do not inform the faculty member of any sanction you received.

The University may impose one or more of the following sanctions on a student determined to have violated the Policy:

  • Disciplinary Warning: The student remains in good disciplinary standing and has been educated regarding community standards. 
  • Conditional Disciplinary Probation: While on this status, the student remains in good disciplinary standing on the condition that no future violations occur.

The following sanctions indicate that a student is not in good disciplinary standing:

  • Disciplinary Probation: The student is no longer in good disciplinary standing for a specific period of time. The student is permitted to continue academic progress at the University. 
  • Disciplinary Suspension: The student is temporarily separated from the University for a specified period of time. During this period, the student is ineligible to participate in any Columbia University affiliated academic or extracurricular activities. Additionally, the student is not permitted to enroll in classes at any other institution for the purpose of transferring credit back to Columbia University. 
  • Expulsion: The student is permanently separated from the University and will not be permitted to return at any time.
  • Degree Revocation: A former student may be subject to degree revocation if the University finds by a preponderance of evidence that the student engaged in research misconduct during their enrollment or obtained their degree through deceit, fraud, or misrepresentation. Columbia University may impose a sanction up to revoking those degrees, certificates, and/or decertify credit. Sanction decisions to take such actions will be made only after careful consideration of all the available evidence and in consultation with the former student’s school. Revocation of a degree is noted on the academic transcript and renders the former student ineligible to enroll in any school within Columbia University.

A student may also receive the following additional sanctions which include, but are not limited to:

  • Suspension or permanent loss of housing: A student who loses the privilege of housing at Columbia is also not permitted to visit residence halls or University owned or affiliated brownstones for an indicated period of time.
  • Access Restriction: A student who loses access to University facilities and/or campus property.
  • Removal from activities or services: A student who is restricted from participation in academic or extracurricular activities and/or University organizations, or restricted from University services.
  • Educational projects or assignments: Tasks may include but are not limited to participation in the BASICS program, alcohol and other drug screenings, research/reflection assignments, action plans, and/or Lynda learning tutorials. 

Other sanctions: Hearing Officers may implement other sanction(s) that they determine to be appropriate for the particular case (e.g., loss of host/guest privileges, restitution, compensatory services, removal from housing lottery, etc).

All students have the right to appeal a decision that finds them responsible for a potential violation. Every student is able to appeal but it is important to note that a disagreement with the finding or sanction(s) is not a ground for appeal. There are three grounds for appeal: Procedural error, New information and Inappropriate sanction. A detailed description of each ground for appeal is located in the standards and discipline document on page 23. Appeal decisions are final and binding. If there are any questions about appeals, students are advised to contact an administrator or their advisor/school officials. 

  • A student may appeal the outcome and/or sanction within five (5) business days after receipt of the decision/outcome letter
  • The appeal should be no longer than five (5) pages single-spaced typed pages, using 12 Times New Roman font and 1-inch margins, including attachments

Appeals can be submitted through the Appeal Request Form. When submitting your appeal please be sure to select your appellate Dean (as noted in your decision letter).