As members of the Pacific Oaks community, students have rights and responsibilities which help create an atmosphere of concern and caring; one conducive to the teaching/learning process.
Student rights include the following:
- Freedom from threats;
- Freedom from acts of violence;
- Freedom from unfair or obscene treatment from others;
- Freedom from interference from others in an unreasonable and unauthorized manner while in class, activities, and public events;
- Freedom from theft and willful destruction of personal property;
- Right to study and learn in an atmosphere of academic freedom;
- Right to fundamental fairness in College disciplinary action;
- Right to be governed by justifiable academic regulations;
- Right to be informed of the regulations for academic and social conduct, and graduation requirements of the College; and
- Right to petition for redress of grievances, academic and non-academic.
Each student is responsible for the following:
- Reading the Catalog and Schedule of Classes.
- Submitting official transcripts to the Admissions Office when transfer coursework has been completed
- Registering for classes within the registration deadlines.
- Completing appropriate forms (drops, adds, status changes, etc.) by the published deadlines.
- Applying for aid and finalize number of units for the semester.
- Paying tuition and fees in full or develop a payment plan on or before the first day of the term.
- Meeting all payment deadlines in a timely manner.
- Following up on understandings and agreements with the student services offices and faculty.
- Adhering to standards of confidentiality regarding information shared by classmates and instructors during class discussions
- Keeping copies of all transactions, records, and receipts.
- Submitting change of name, address, or phone number to the Registrar’s Office in writing.
- Checking office hours before driving to Pacific Oaks.
- Parking in designated areas
- Be willing to engage actively in critical thinking and classroom discussions.
- Upholding Pacific Oaks College’s anti-bias commitment by approaching interactions and diversity openly and in an adult manner.
- Filing timely changes of forms with the appropriate offices.
- Respect the rights and property of others;
- Be fully acquainted and comply with the Pacific Oaks published rules and regulations.
- Comply with all local, state, and federal laws;
- Adhere to the academic requirements determined by individual instructors.
Admission to Pacific Oaks carries with it the presumption that students will conduct themselves in a manner compatible with Pacific Oaks’ function as an educational institution. Behavior that is disruptive and/or interferes with the educational process is disrespectful of the rights of others and is not acceptable.
Classes at Pacific Oaks are interactive, drawing on the rich experiences of faculty and students alike. Often in the course of the discussions, information of a personal or potentially damaging nature is shared. It is the expectation of the College that such information will remain confidential, allowing all to share freely without fear of disclosure outside the classroom. Breaches of confidentiality damage the building of community and trust and are not acceptable.
Pacific Oaks’ anti-bias commitment applies to all areas of discrimination, including those based on race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, and religious affiliation. Each student is responsible for approaching interactions and diversity openly, and for acting from their centered, adult, compassionate self. Disrespect shown towards persons in all categories, both generally and as individuals, is not acceptable.
Violation of standards of behavior, academic integrity, confidentiality, and discrimination are deemed to be a serious breach of conduct and students doing so will face the possibility of disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from Pacific Oaks.
Unacceptable behaviors include, but are not limited to the following:
- Any violation of Pacific Oaks Policy as outlined in the Catalog, this Student Handbook, or in Volumes II, VI, or VII of the Pacific Oaks College and Children’s School Policy Manual.
- Unlawful Possession, Use, Sale, or Distribution of Drugs.
- Consuming Alcohol on Pacific Oaks property other than at Institutionally Sanctioned Events. In accordance with California law, only individuals who are 21 years or older are allowed to consume, possess, or transport alcohol. Moreover, individuals are forbidden to sell, purchase, or serve alcoholic beverages to persons younger than 21.
- Being under the Influence of Non-prescription Drugs or Alcohol.
- Inappropriate Sexual Conduct.
- Exhibiting Behavior which is Disruptive including, but not limited to, Harassing or Discriminatory Conduct.
- Non-Compliance with the Reasonable Requests of Pacific Oaks Representatives who are acting in performance of their duties.
- Furnishing False Information: Honesty requires making an accurate presentation of facts free of known errors or omissions, including a complete gathering of information.
- Unauthorized Use, Forgery, or Alteration of Pacific Oaks’ Documents, Name, Logo, or Seal.
- Destruction of Pacific Oaks or Individual Property.
- Unauthorized Possession or Use of Pacific Oaks or Individual Property.
- Unauthorized Use of Pacific Oaks Keys, Access Codes, or Scan Cards.
- Possession of Firearms, Fireworks, Explosives, or Weapons on Pacific Oaks’ Premises.
- Misuse of Pacific Oaks Communication Systems: Behavior that Disrupts or Causes Disruption of Computer Services, including but not limited to, damaging, altering, or destroying data, records, computer systems, software, programs, or networks. Student behavior that is not in compliance with the institutional Computer Systems Use Policy, Computer Software License Policy, Millennium Copyright, and Website Conduct Approval Policy will be considered to be in breach of the Code.
- Theft of Pacific Oaks or Individual Property.
- Unauthorized Animals on Institutional Premises.
- Disorderly, Lewd, or Indecent Conduct.
- Divulging Confidential Information: Students who work or volunteer in Pacific Oaks’ administrative offices and have access to confidential information are prohibited from divulging such information under FERPA.
- Unauthorized Use, Forgery, or Alteration of Student Identification Cards.
- Violation of Federal, State or Local Law.
- Abuse of the Student Conduct System, including violating the terms of any disciplinary sanction imposed in accordance with this Code.
- Inappropriate Off-Campus Conduct.
- Disrespect for Privacy: Students may not give directory information or photos of other students to anyone outside the Pacific Oaks Community.
- Inappropriate Conduct of Guests.
- Failure to Comply with Additional Pacific Oaks Policies.
- Committing acts of Academic Dishonesty.
Academic honesty is essential to a college community’s purpose and pursuits. Thus, academic integrity is expected of all Pacific Oaks College students. A student’s academic work and conduct should always represent the student’s personal effort and thus be above reproach. Those who are dishonest impair their own intellectual and personal growth and development and undermine the integrity of the community that nurtures them. Several forms of dishonesty constitute threats to the interests of Pacific Oaks College and violations of its Academic Integrity Policy.
Violations of academic honesty are prohibited. Violations of academic honesty are acts that seek to secure an academic advantage for a member of the Pacific Oaks College community by illegitimate or unethical means. Such violations include, but are not limited to, committing, knowingly assisting, or acquiescing in one or more of the following:
1. Plagiarism (via traditional or electronic means): Representing the words, ideas, arguments, or findings of another person or persons as one’s own: For example, plagiarism occurs when one copies portions of another person’s writing with only minor changes in wording or fails to give adequate and appropriate credit for others’ concepts, theories, or conclusions. When making use of someone else’s work, one must credit that person by using quotation marks, references, or footnotes, in accordance with one of the conventional documenting systems (e.g., that of the Modern Language Association [MLA] or the American Psychological Association [APA]). Submitting, as one’s own, a homework assignment, a term paper, a laboratory report, or other comparable document prepared wholly or in part by others or downloaded from the Internet is also an example of plagiarism.
2. Falsifying research data: Presenting falsified data in papers or essays.
3. “Double dipping”: Using the same or substantially the same written work, research paper, or essay to satisfy the requirements of more than one course, without the permission of the instructors involved.
4. Forging academic records. Altering academic records, including attendance records, entering the signature of an academic staff member on any College form, presenting false information at an academic proceeding, or intentionally destroying evidence relevant to such a proceeding.
5. Collaboration on projects where collaboration has been forbidden.
Upon violation of the academic honesty policy, the instructor will speak directly with the student about the alleged offense and impose an appropriate sanction (see Sanctions below) as detailed in the class syllabus. The instructor may consult with the Program Director or seek the Program Director’s arbitration in arriving at a decision regarding an appropriate sanction. The incident and the sanction shall be documented in a report to be included in the student’s file so that any future incidents may be referred to directly to the Chief Academic Officer. Records of the first offense will be removed from the student’s official file upon graduation.
In serious, flagrant, or repeat cases of academic dishonesty, the incident shall be reported by the instructor in writing to the Chief Academic Officer for further action. Examples of serious and flagrant offenses include, but are not limited to, violations through which, in the determination of the instructor, the student intended to achieve academic advantage, such as misrepresentation of substantial portions of written work, cheating, and other forms of significant dishonesty. The instructor must file, within ten (10) business days of discovery, a report with the Chief Academic Officer detailing the specifics of an alleged instance of serious or flagrant academic dishonesty. The report may suggest the instructor’s preferred sanctions for the offense from the possibilities below.
The Chief Academic Officer will decide the appropriate sanction if a violation of the academic honesty has occurred. While the Chief Academic Officer may ultimately decide on charges of a serious or flagrant offense, the Chief Academic Officer may choose instead to refer any offenses to an ad hoc judicial committee to review the matter and collect evidence. The committee shall be appointed by the Chief Academic Officer and consist of two (2) faculty members and an Academic Program Director from one of the other academic programs.
The ad hoc committee will then conduct a hearing using written and/or oral evidence. The parties may be present; however, attorneys are not permitted to represent either party’s interests, and strict legal rules of evidence do not apply. The student’s academic advisor may assist the student in preparing testimony. A student who has a pending academic dishonesty charge will not be allowed to drop a class to avoid the consequences of such a charge, receive transcripts or semester reports, be permitted to register for an ensuing semester, or be allowed to graduate.
Within ten (10) business days of conducting the hearing, the ad hoc committee shall issue a written recommendation to the Chief Academic Officer, who will then have ten (10) business days to render a written decision, copies of which shall be provided to all parties. The decision of the Chief Academic Officer is final. If the Chief Academic Officer finds that there has been no violation, the student may continue in the course in which the charges arose or may decide to withdraw from the course, without academic or financial penalty.
The sanctions for violating the academic honesty policy range from a written warning to dismissal from the College. These sanctions may include one or more of the following or some other sanction, within this range.
For minor offenses, faculty members may propose only sanctions one (1) or two (2). Any violation considered to warrant a sanction other than one (1) or two (2) must be handled as a serious or flagrant offense.
1. A written warning.
2. No credit on the assignment in question.
3. Disciplinary probation for one or more semesters.
4. No credit for the course.
5. Suspension for one or more semesters.
6. Dismissal from Pacific Oaks College.
If either the Chief Academic Officer or the ad hoc committee (as applicable) determines that a student has committed a second major offense, the student will be dismissed from the College.
Only if there has been a determination that there has been a second major offense will documentation of both offenses be kept permanently in the student’s official academic file. If no second major offense occurs, any record of the first offense will be removed from the student’s official file upon graduation.
Depending on who adjudicates the matter, either the Chief Academic Officer or the ad hoc committee will notify the student by certified mail of its decision in a case. The student may appeal in writing within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the decision by delivering the appeal to the Office of the President of the College. The appeal will be limited to issues of procedural fairness or severity of sanction.
The Vice President of Administration, or designee, is responsible for implementing the Student Misconduct and Disciplinary system at Pacific Oaks, which is non-academic in nature. Academic related misconduct and discipline is addressed and adjudicated in accordance with the Pacific Oaks Academic Integrity Policy. In cases when students’ misconduct is inextricably mixed with academic issues, the process outlined in the Code will be followed.This does not preclude academic sanctions separate from this process. (This is especially applicable when a student violates professional conduct codes of the Marriage and Family Therapy and the Teacher Education Departments.)
Any member of the Pacific Oaks community may file a written complaint for misconduct against any student or student organization with the Vice President of Administration, or designee.
The Vice President of Administration, or designee, shall review the complaint to determine within three (3) business days whether or not there is sufficient evidence to charge a student with a violation of the Student Conduct Code. If there is sufficient evidence, the Vice President of Administration, or designee, will meet with and inform the student of the charge, who initiated the charge, and the procedures to be followed. If the student admits culpability, the Vice President of Administration, or designee, will take action, which can range from reprimand to suspension or dismissal from Pacific Oaks (see Sanctions below). Students who admit culpability do not have a right to an appeal. If the accused does not admit culpability, the case is referred to an ad hoc committee. One exempt administrator, one faculty member, and the Vice President of Administration, or designee, (Chair) will populate the committee. The student shall choose the first member of the committee while the Vice President of Administration, or designee, will appoint the second member. The faculty member chosen must teach in an academic program different from the student’s program. In the event that the Vice President of Administration, or designee, has a conflict of interest given the facts of the case, the President shall designate a replacement for the Vice President of Administration, or designee, to serve as Chair.
Within seven (7) business days of being appointed, the committee will set a hearing date at which both the accused and the accuser must be present.
1. The student will receive advance notice of date, time, and place of an initial hearing in a manner appropriate as decided by the Vice President of Administration, or designee,.
2. The student will receive a statement of the alleged Student Conduct Code violations.
3. The student will be informed of the rights afforded the student including:
a. Adequate time to prepare for the hearing;
b. The opportunity to testify and present supporting information;
c. Reasonable access to the evidence supporting the charge prior to the hearing;
d. Witnesses who have pertinent information in regard to the alleged incident of misconduct may be called by the student;
e. The opportunity to question witnesses; and
f. All matters upon which the decision may be based must be introduced into evidence at the hearing.
4. A sanction will be levied if it is determined that the student committed the violation, otherwise the complaint will be dismissed and all relevant documents destroyed.
5. The committee reserves the right to employ additional mediation and other resources as deemed necessary.
1. The committee and the student have the right to request witnesses whom they believe have pertinent information in regard to the alleged incident of misconduct.
2. The student may request the presence of a person, who will support the student while the student is bearing witness, but may not speak or participate directly in the hearing. The support person must be a member of the campus community (student, faculty member, academic advisor, etc.) who has been approved by the Chair.
3. Hearings will be private except for the presence of the student and the support person if the student so chooses.
4. The student may challenge a member of the hearing panel for personal bias. The Vice President of Administration, or designee, will determine whether or not there is basis for the challenge, and if basis is found the member will be disqualified. If a personal bias or conflict of interest charge is made against the Vice President of Administration, or designee, the committee will determine whether or not there is a basis for the challenge and, if basis is found, the President shall designate a replacement for the Vice President of Administration, or designee, to serve as Chair.
5. The committee will exert control over the hearing to avoid needless consumption of time. A person disrupting the hearing may be removed at the discretion of the committee.
6. Witnesses, including the complainant and student, shall be asked to affirm that their testimony is truthful.
7. The burden of proof is on the accuser, who must establish the responsibility of the student in the alleged incident of misconduct by a preponderance of the evidence.
8. Formal rules of evidence and discovery, as in criminal or civil judicial proceedings, shall not be applicable in disciplinary hearings under this Code.
9. Written statements shall not be accepted unless signed and witnessed by the committee chair.
10. Everyone involved in the hearing must maintain confidentiality.
11. The decision of the committee must include a summary of the testimony, findings of fact, decision, and sanctions and shall be sufficiently detailed to permit an appeal. If all participants agree, a tape recording may be used as an alternate to a summary of testimony.
12. If the accused is found not culpable, the case is closed. If the accused is found culpable based upon a preponderance of the evidence, the committee will impose sanction.
1. The student may file an appeal of the decision of the committee based on the following:
a. Lack of due process;
b. New relevant evidence which becomes available after the time of the hearing; or
c. The decision is not supported by substantial evidence.
2. The student may appeal the sanction imposed by the committee to the Chief Academic Officer.
3. Any appeal must be in writing and filed with the Chief Academic Officer within ten (10) business days after the written notification of the decision/sanction of the committee has been mailed. Failure to appeal within this time period will render the decision/sanction final. The appeal must include the reason(s) the student feels the decision/sanction is unjust.
4. In the case of an appeal based on the decision of the committee (#1 above), the Chief Academic Officer will review the hearing documents and speak to members of the hearing panel, the student, or the complainant and may reverse the decision if the Chief Academic Officer finds any of the above to be true.
5. In the case of an appeal of the sanction imposed by the committee (#2 above), the Chief Academic Officer may change the disciplinary sanction if the sanction is determined to be grossly disproportionate to the offense.
6. The Chief Academic Officer’s decision is final in all appeals.
Possible sanctions are herein listed, but not limited to the following:
1. Disciplinary Warning. The student is given verbal or written warning that future misconduct may result in more severe disciplinary action.
2. Reprimand. The student is given a written censure for failure to meet Pacific Oaks’ standards of behavior. A copy is kept in student’s disciplinary file.
3. Non-paid work for Pacific Oaks may be assigned to a student for a violation of the Code.
4. Community Service/Education Project may be assigned.
5. Restitution. The student is required to make payment to Pacific Oaks or other persons for damages incurred as a result of a violation of this Code.
6. Ineligibility for Graduation and Commencement Exercises. A student who is eligible for graduation will be prohibited from graduating until the case has been decided and sanctions completed. Implementation of this sanction requires review and approval by the Chief Academic Officer.
7. Suspension from Pacific Oaks is defined as separation of the student from Pacific Oaks for a specified period of time. Implementation of this sanction requires review and approval by the Chief Academic Officer.
8. Dismissal from Pacific Oaks. Permanent separation of the student from Pacific Oaks barring the student from the premises. Notification will appear on the student’s official transcript. Implementation of this sanction requires review and approval by the Chief Academic Officer.
9. Other Sanctions commiserate with the facts of the case.
The Vice President of Administration, or designee, may suspend a student for an interim period pending disciplinary proceedings, behavioral, and/or medical evaluation; such interim suspension becomes immediately effective without prior notice whenever there is evidence that the continued presence of the student on Pacific Oaks campus poses a substantial threat to the student, to others, or to the stability and continuance of normal Pacific Oaks functions.
The Vice President of Administration, or designee, will maintain student disciplinary records. These records shall include copies of complaint reports, hearing records, and any sanctions issued. If the student is found to be guilty of a charge, the records will be kept in accordance with the Records Retention Policy, retained for six (6) years.
The primary objectives of this Student Grievance Policy are to ensure that students have the opportunity to present grievances to Pacific Oaks regarding a certain action or inaction by a member of the Pacific Oaks community and that Pacific Oaks has a consistent way of resolving those grievances in a fair and just manner.
An action or decision is grievable only if it involves a misapplication or misinterpretation of Pacific Oaks policy, regulation, or rule, or a violation of state or federal law. Grievances may not be used to challenge policies or procedures of general applicability.
In addition, this procedure may not be used to grieve:
- Claims based on purchases or contracts;
- Claims against a Pacific Oaks’ employee on matters that are unrelated to the employee’s job or role at Pacific Oaks;
- Student disciplinary decisions or formal complaints of harrassment or discrimination since there is a separate procedure for them.
- Where another Pacific Oaks policy and procedure could have been used for the matter being grieved (e.g. academic evaluation, academic honesty, and FERPA grievances).
Upon request from any student, the Center for Student Achievement, Resources and Enrichment (CARE) Office will provide guidance about the appropriate system for redress of a particular complaint.
The procedures set forth below may be used by grievants who are enrolled as Pacific Oaks students, or who are participating in a Pacific Oaks-sponsored educational event, at the time of the incident being grieved. The person filing the grievance must be the alleged victim of unfair treatment; a grievance cannot be filed on behalf of another person. The existence of this procedure does not bar grievants from also filing claims in other forums to the extent permitted by state or federal law.
The formal resolution process described below must be initiated within sixty (60) business days of the decision, action, or events giving rise to the grievance. This time limit may be extended by the Vice President of Administration, or designee, if the grievant makes the request for extension within the 60-day period, for good cause shown (e.g., an active effort at informal resolution at the departmental level).
Prior to invoking the formal resolution procedures described below, the student should discuss the grievance with the person alleged to have caused the grievance. This is not required in cases where the grievant believes that efforts at informal resolution may result in retaliation or other unfair treatment. The discussion shall be held as soon as the student first becomes aware of the act or condition that is the basis of the grievance. Additionally or in the alternative, the student may wish to present the grievance in writing to the person alleged to have caused the grievance. In either case, the person alleged to have caused the grievance must respond to the student promptly, either orally or in writing.
If informal resolution is not successful, the student may file a grievance by sending a request for hearing along with the following information to the Vice President of Administration, or designee.
The grievance must:
- Be in writing;
- State how the decision or action is unfair and harmful to the grievant and list the Pacific Oaks policies or state or federal laws that have been violated, if known;
- Name the respondent parties (the person(s) against whom the grievance is filed);
- State how the respondents are responsible for the action or decision;
- State the requested remedy; and
- State whether the grievant will bring a support person to the hearing.
If it is clear on the face of the written grievance that the grievance has not been filed within the time limit, or pertains to a matter not grievable under this procedure, or is from a person without grievance rights under this grievance, Vice President of Administration, or designee, shall so indicate in a letter to the grievant and the grievance shall be dismissed. If the grievance is not dismissed, the Vice President of Administration, or designee, shall appoint a hearing committee of three persons to hear the grievance and shall provide them with a copy of these procedures and the written request for hearing. Committee members shall include at least one member who is not part of the same office or immediate academic unit as the respondent(s) and one member who is not part of the same office or immediate academic unit as the grievant.
If the respondent is the Vice President of Administration, or designee, the grievance process shall be administered by the Chief Academic Officer or designee. Committee members shall have no personal interest in the outcome of the proceeding, and shall not have any personal involvement in earlier stages of the matter.
The committee shall meet, elect a chair, and send the grievant’s hearing request to the respondent(s), all within ten (10) business days of being appointed. The chair shall offer the respondent(s) an opportunity to provide a written response to the allegations within ten (10) business days to the chair. The chair may also instruct the parties that they have ten (10) business days to provide each other and the committee with (i) copies of any exhibits they wish to introduce as evidence, and (ii) a list of witnesses that each party will call. The chair may extend the deadlines for submitting a response and for exchanging proposed exhibits upon a showing of good cause.
The chair shall notify the parties of the hearing date, time, and place at least ten (10) business days in advance of the hearing. (The committee may schedule additional days for hearing, if needed, after the hearing is underway, so long as all parties receive reasonable advance notice of the additional dates.). The response to the grievance must be distributed to the committee and all parties at least ten (10) business days prior to the hearing.
1. The committee, the grievant, and the respondent have the right to request witnesses whom they believe have pertinent information in regard to the complaint.
2. The grievant and the respondent may request the presence of a person who will support them during the hearing but may not speak or participate directly in the hearing. The support person must be a member of the campus community who has been approved by the chair.
3. Hearings will be private except for the presence of the committee, the grievant, the respondent, their support persons, and witnesses. If all persons are agreed, the hearing may be taped.
4. Prospective witnesses will be excluded from the disciplinary hearing except during the time of their testimony.
5. The grievant and respondent may challenge a member of the committee for personal bias. The chair will determine whether or not there is basis for the challenge and, if basis is found, the member will be disqualified. If a personal bias charge is made against the chair, the committee will determine whether or not there is a basis for the challenge and, if basis is found, the chair will be disqualified and another member of the panel will chair the committee.
6. The committee will exert control over the hearing to avoid needless consumption of time. A person disrupting the hearing may be removed at the discretion of the committee.
7. Witnesses, including the grievant and the respondent, shall be asked to affirm that their testimony is truthful.
8. The burden is on the grievant to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the grievant has experienced an injury that would entitle the grievant to relief and that such injury is remediable.
9. Formal rules of evidence and discovery, as in criminal or civil judicial proceedings, shall not be applicable in disciplinary hearings under this Policy.
10. Written statements shall not be accepted unless signed and witnessed by the Vice President of Administration, or designee.
11. Committee members, witnesses, parties, and all other persons involved in the grievance proceeding must maintain strict confidentiality regarding the proceeding. State and federal laws govern the privacy rights of students and employees.
12. At the conclusion of this step of the procedure, the parties and witnesses shall be excused.
The committee shall deliberate and reach a decision on the grievance in closed session. Deliberations are not tape recorded or transcribed. The decision must be based solely on material presented in the grievance. The committee should be careful not to substitute its judgment for that of the respondent(s). Rather, the committee should decide if the decision being grieved was the result of a misapplication or misinterpretation of Pacific Oaks policies, regulations, or rules or a violation of state or federal law.
The decision of the committee must include a summary of the testimony, findings of fact, the committee’s decision, and shall be sufficiently detailed to permit review as provided in this Policy. The report and official record shall be delivered to the Vice President of Administration, or designee, with copies of the report to be sent to the parties, within sixty (60) calendar days after the hearing. A dissenting panel member may file a minority report at the same time.
The Vice President of Administration, or designee, shall issue a written decision within twenty (20) business days of receipt of the committee’s report and official record. The decision may either adopt the committee report in whole, modify it in part, or reject the report and reach different findings or conclusions for reasons expressly stated. The Vice President of Administration, or designee, may also remand the matter if clarification of the committee’s report is necessary or additional proceedings to clarify the record or cure procedural error are required. This decision shall be sent to the parties (certified mail return receipt, or personal delivery with a signed and dated receipt, to the grievant) and may be shared with the panel members.
Once a hearing (formal resolution) has been requested, there should be no ex parte communication between parties and committee members concerning the merits of the case. An ex parte contact or communication is one sided; it occurs when one person shares information with a panel member without including all other parties. To prevent this from occurring, all communications that (a) occur outside the hearing, and (b) are between one or more parties and one or more committee members, shall be in written form and distributed simultaneously to all parties and committee members. Discussion of the merits of the case or presentation of evidence outside the hearing should be avoided. The rule against ex parte contacts also applies to communication with the final decision-maker and everyone who is responsible for deciding appeals.