After our office receives a complaint, a Student Conduct hearing officer will begin an investigation. The hearing officer may send a letter to the student being investigated (we call this student the "respondent") asking the student to call our office to schedule a preliminary conference. Sometimes we’ll take a look at your class schedule and set an appointment for you. All of this is explained in a letter we send to your university email address.
During the preliminary conference, your hearing officer will explain the student conduct process. Our goal is to address any concerns or confusion you might have. We recognize that for many of the students we meet, this is their first experience with an educational discipline process.
The preliminary conference also provides the respondent an opportunity to explain the incident at issue, identify other individuals with relevant information and provide materials helpful to the investigation. If necessary, we can schedule a second conference to allow the student time to gather relevant information to share with the hearing officer.
One more note about the preliminary conference: Students have the right to bring an advisor with them to all meetings at our office. Find more information about the role of the advisor in the student conduct process here.
- The hearing officer will seek meetings with other parties and witnesses involved in the case.
- If a police report was made to the Ohio State University Police Division, Columbus Division of Police, or other law enforcement agency, we'll ask for a copy of the report.
- For incidents that took place on campus, we'll review available video footage (if available).
- If provided, we’ll review available text messages, emails, and social media information. At the end of the investigation, the hearing officer must decide whether to close the case or issue charges.
Submitting Text Messages
In some cases, text messages sent before, during or after the alleged violation may be relevant to an investigation or in a hearing. We encourage students to consider whether they currently possess relevant text or social media messages. Even a student who routinely deletes messages might find that the person they were messaging still has the relevant messages. Students routinely provide us with "screen captures" of messages. Because those screen captures often fail to contain the time and date the message was originally sent, we ask students to organize them into a Power Point presentation document (PPPT) before sending them to us. This allows the student to put the messages in chronological order with annotations that identify the parties in the conversation. We've created a PPPT template that explains how to prepare this document.