Honor to hold rare open trial

Trial to take place Nov. 19


The trial is being held for an undergraduate engineering student who is accused of cheating on an exam.

Shweta Watwe | Cavalier Daily

The committee will hold its first public Honor trial of the year this coming Saturday, Nov. 19 — its first since Feb. 2013.

The open hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and will be held in the trial room on the fourth floor of Newcomb Hall, Honor Committee Chair Matt West, a fourth-year College student, said in an email statement.

“The accused student is enrolled in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and has been accused of cheating on an exam,” West said in an email statement. West declined to identify the student in question.

The case goes through several other steps before an open trial is possible.

For a hearing to occur, the student must have opted for a full investigation instead of choosing to submit an Informed Retraction or to claim a Contributory Mental or Medical Disorder. The investigation then goes to a panel that decides if there was evidence to support an accusation or “more likely than not.” A hearing is then established if the student does not call for a CMD or leaves admitting guilt.

“When a student is accused of committing an Honor offense by an Investigative Panel and requests a hearing, he or she can elect to have either an open or closed hearing,” West said. “If a student requests a closed hearing, as most accused students do, the entire process remains strictly confidential. If a student chooses to have an open hearing, he or she waives the right to confidentiality.”

Despite the infrequency of open trials, this trial will not be run any differently than a closed door meeting. Observers will be allowed to hear testimony and evidence presented during the proceedings throughout the entirety of the trial.

“The hearing will be conducted according to standard procedures,” West said. “Observers will be expected to abide by a specified code of conduct, which they will receive information about via email prior to the hearing.”

Arrangements have been made so that students will have the opportunity to attend the trial through a process of sign-ups with the executive secretary for Honor. Space will be limited, but the committee wishes to accommodate everyone who wants to attend the hearings.

“The Honor Committee will try to reasonably accommodate everyone who wishes to observe the hearing,” West said. “Students interested in attending can sign up with Mary White, Executive Secretary to the Honor Committee. Mrs. White can be reached via email or in person in the Honor Committee offices on the fourth floor of Newcomb Hall. Her contact information is available on the Honor Committee's website.”

Viewing space for the trail will only be conducted in Newcomb 480. However, the committee will reasses other viewing options if there is not enough space for everyone that attends the hearing.

Students, faculty and staff will be able to sign up to observe the hearing starting on Monday, Nov. 14 at 9 a.m. The sign-up period will be open throughout the week by email or walk-in until Thursday Nov. 18 at 5 p.m.

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