The OSC's Decision
Standard of Evidence: Clear and Convincing
For all cases involving violations of the Code of Student Conduct and the Code of Academic Integrity, the Office of Student Conduct's standard for determining responsibility is Clear and Convincing. Criminal convictions require proof beyond a reasonable doubt; verdicts in civil cases are based on a preponderance of the evidence. Clear and convincing evidence is somewhere in between. For cases of Sexual Harassment, the Office's standard is a Preponderence of the Evidence.
Think of these standards of proof as a continuum:
“Preponderance of the evidence” is when it is more likely than not that the alleged incident occurred.
“Clear and convincing evidence” is when it is highly probable, substantially more likely than not, and reasonably certain that the alleged incident occurred.
“Beyond a reasonable doubt” is when it is close to certain that the alleged incident occurred. Based on the evidence, no reasonable person would doubt that the incident occurred.
A Finding of Not Responsible:
If the Office of Student Conduct determines that a student did not violate a University policy or cannot meet the standard of evidence, then the OSC will find a student "Not Responsible." In these cases, the OSC will send the respondent a No Further Action Letter, or an NFA. This means that the student has NOT been found responsible for violating a University Policy. Therefore, the student has NO disciplinary record nor reporting obligations of any kind.
A Finding of Responsible:
If the Office of Student Conduct meets its expected standard of evidence that a student has violated a University's policy, then the OSC will find the student "Responsible." In these cases, the OSC will send the respondent a Charge Letter/Resolution Agreement. In this Letter, the OSC will outline key evidence leading to the finding of responsibility. In addition, the OSC will recommend a sanction for resolving the matter. To learn more about sanctions, click here.