What Happens In UNC Honor Court?
Being located in Chapel Hill, NC and so close to the University of North Carolina, Matthew Charles Law has helped students with their UNC Honor Court proceedings for years. As a condition of joining the Carolina community, Carolina students are asked to pledge “not to lie, cheat, or steal” and to hold themselves to a high standard of academic and non-academic conduct wherever they might be.(This includes off-campus) Matthew Charles Law is here to help if you are accused of a UNC Honor Code violation.
Step 1) The Accusation
The reporting procedure is different for depending on if you are a student or a member of the faculty.
Faculty who suspect academic or non-academic misconduct must file a report and may inform the student of their intention to file a report. Furthermore, the faculty accuser may choose to meet with the student prior to filing the report to provide the student the opportunity to give additional perspective on the matter. (Assuming the student has been advised of his or her rights and agrees to meet.)
Students should report suspected Honor Code of any kind directly to Office of Student Conduct.
Step 2) Preparation For Original Hearing
Accused students hearings will take place in the appropriate Honor Court, determined by their status as a undergraduate or professional student. All accused parties are given at least five business days’ written notice prior to their original hearing in order to provide adequate time for preparation. All standard hearings are held in closed session, not open to the public, unless the student requests an open hearing in writing in advance of the original hearing. Open hearings are open to the public and the press in accordance with the North Carolina Open Meetings Law. All hearings are recorded to preserve a record in case of the student’s appeal. In addition to the Court members hearing the case, the accused student, the Defense Counsel, and the Investigator are present throughout all phases of the hearing. In cases involving certain offenses, the reporting party may remain throughout the hearing, and, in limited circumstances, the accused student may be accompanied by their private attorney.
Accused students have the option to plead not guilty, guilty, or they may enter no plea, which will result in the default entry of a not guilty plea.
Original Hearing Types
Not Guilty Hearing: In a hearing in which the student decides to plead not guilty, five Honor Court members determine guilt or innocence, and if necessary, an appropriate sanctions.
Expedited Hearing Process: If a student wishes to take responsibility and does not plan to challenge the evidence, he or she may participate in an Expedited Hearing Process. In this hearing, three Honor Court members hear the case and determine the appropriate sanction for the offense. The Student Attorney General must agree to grant a student an Expedited Hearing Process if one is desired; otherwise, an accused student can still plead guilty and have a hearing under the procedures of a regular Honor Court hearing.
Full Guilty Plea: In a hearing in which the student wishes to plead guilty, but perhaps disagrees with a portion of the evidence, five Honor Court members hear the case and thoroughly review the record in light of the student’s concerns.
Honor Court Alternative Resolution: If a student is charged with certain conduct violations, he or she may be granted an Honor Court Alternative Resolution (HCAR) hearing. In this hearing, the Honor Court Chair and one Honor Court Vice-Chair hear the case and determine the appropriate sanction for the offense. The accused student may choose to accept or reject the sanction(s) offered by the HCAR panel. If the student does not accept the sanctions, the case will be rescheduled for an Expedited Hearing Process.
Student-Instructor Alternative Resolution: While not a hearing per se, the Student-Instructor Alternative Resolution (SAIR) is an alternative method available for resolving certain cases of academic misconduct.
Step 3) The Appeal
Any accused student who has been found guilty by the Honor Court or by a University Hearings Board may file a petition for appeal. This appeal must be submitted no later than five business days from delivery to the accused student of the written summary of the judgment and sanctions imposed by the original hearing.
The Judicial Programs Officer reviews each appeal to determine if the petition states a permissible ground for appeal and established a sufficient factual basis for the stated ground of appeal. Students whose petitions for appeal are denied by the Judicial Programs Officer may request that decision be reviewed by a three person Appellate Review Board. The determination of the Appellate Review Board is final.
Sometimes the initial hearing may not fall in the student’s favor. If this happens, our attorneys have successfully appealed previous decisions to make sure the consequences are not as severe. Our aim is to protect what is most valuable to the student whether that’s continued education for currently enrolled students or ensuring graduation plans remain intact for those who plan to graduate. We can help draft petitions so that there’s a good chance the appellate boards will hear the case.
Why Should You Choose Matthew Charles Law?
We have strong ties to UNC and the city of Chapel Hill, NC. The way UNC administers these charges reflects on the university as a whole, and it means a lot to the firm to help students receive a fair chance to contest the alleged violation. The firm’s attorneys have been members of the community for decades. Their families gain their livelihood from the university and keep close ties with the school’s organizations. Many of the firm’s legal assistants are also students who are active in student organizations and Greek life. Our office is just off Franklin Street, this is our town too.