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Hearing Overview

When a hearing for a conduct or other matter is initiated with the Hearing Office, a Hearing Officer will be assigned to evaluate the evidence, determine its admissibility and relevance, and to make a decision about responsibility. A Hearing Coordinator will also be assigned to work on the matter to handle communications, logistics, and other issues.

After a hearing is initiated, the Hearing Coordinator will contact the Respondent and Complainant (if a party) with information about how to participate before the hearing as well as on the day of the hearing itself. Before the hearing, Respondent, Conduct Officer (sometimes referred to as an Investigator), and Complainant (if a party) will have an opportunity to share additional evidence and perspectives during a prehearing conference (or prehearing meeting).

During the hearing the parties will have an opportunity to make opening remarks, question witnesses, and make closing remarks. A hearing typically involves the Conduct Officer or Investigator, Respondent, any witnesses, and the Complainant (if a party). In addition, advisors may be present for cases involving allegations under Chapters 209 and/or 210 and must be present for cases involving EDFR* prohibited conduct allegations. If at any time you have questions about logistics or how the hearing process works, you may contact the Hearing Coordinator for more information.

* EDFR refers to regulations issued by the Federal Department of Education in 2020. These regulations apply to some, but not necessarily all, matters that involve allegations of conduct on the basis of sex (EDFR hostile environment sexual harassment, EDFR sexual assault, EDFR dating violence, EDFR domestic violence, and EDFR stalking).

Please note that as a result of a federal court ruling, part of the federal Title IX regulations (EDFR) on which Part VII of WAC 478-121 is based has been found unlawful and was set aside. Accordingly, UW will no longer follow the part of WAC 478-121-675(1) regarding statements if a party does not testify. This means that, for allegations based on the EDFR, during the hearing a UW Hearing Officer may now consider statements a party or witness made outside of the hearing – such as to an investigator or in a text message – so long as those statements are considered admissible evidence, even if that party or witness does not testify.

After the hearing has concluded, the Hearing Officer will review all the evidence and testimony and then write and send out their decision, which is called the initial order. The initial order is sent to all parties at the same time. The initial order will have the Hearing Officer’s decision about the alleged code violations and any findings of responsibility in writing, including the rationale for any decision. If the Hearing Officer finds there was conduct that violated the code, the initial order will also include sanctions and, if there was a Complainant, remedies to increase access to their education. Information on how to request an Administrative Review will also be in the initial order.

For a more detailed look into the hearing process, please consult the hearing process outline.

For a simple breakdown of what to expect on the day of the hearing, please see the hearing process chart.

To learn more about the University, State, and Federal policies referenced above, there are links available on the Rules and Policies page.