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University Hearing and Appeals System (UHAS)

Summary of the Process

The University Hearing and Appeals System is the formal disciplinary system of Northwestern University in Qatar. If you are involved in a UHAS case, it is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. Below is a brief summary of the process.

  1. First, you will receive a copy of the complaint that will spell out any and all the University policies you have allegedly violated. It will also give you a summary of the circumstances that led the complainant to file the complaint.
  2. Second, you may be asked whether you are willing to participate in conciliation. Not in all cases, however, will conciliation be an option.
  3. Third, if you or the complainant do not want to participate in conciliation or if conciliation was not successfully in resolving the dispute, a hearing will occur.



Conciliation meetings

In a conciliation meeting, you and the complainant meet with a member, or members, of the Northwestern University community who have been trained to help resolve conflict between parties. Conciliators can be faculty or staff. The only other people present are the Executive Secretary of the UHAS and your representative if you choose to have one (a member of the Northwestern community that agrees to come with you; for more information see below) and the complainant’s representative if they too choose to have one. No attorneys or parents are allowed.

In the conciliation meeting, you and the complainant tell “your sides of the story,” identify issues that need to be addressed, and then discuss how the matter can best be resolved. The conciliators help you and the complainant come to a resolution that you can both agree with. If you do, the Executive Secretary draws up an agreement that you and the complainant then sign. And that’s it. The matter is resolved. The key is that there must be unanimous agreement by all parties on all aspects of the resolution. If you don’t reach a mutually agreeable resolution, the matter goes to a hearing.

The advantages of resolving this matter in conciliation is (a) the process is more informal, (b) a party does not have to (but may) admit to violating a university policy, (c) you have some input into the outcome, and (d) fewer people know about the conflict. Also, whatever you say in conciliation cannot be used against you in a hearing — if a hearing is required for resolution.



Hearings

Hearings are conducted according to a specific procedure, which is outlined in more detail below. They are far more formal than conciliations. Although they may seem like “court,” they are actually a process that was developed by Northwestern University community members and are not analogous to court proceedings.

A hearing panel will consist of 3 individuals, with alternates, representing the NU-Q community.  The panel may consist of faculty members, members of the academic administration, and members of the administrative staff. 

The chair of the hearing will be a member of the university staff.  This person has the authority to maintain order and to control the conduct of persons in the meeting room of the hearing panel. Any individual or individuals refusing to cooperate with the instructions of the presiding officer will be subject to disciplinary action.

The Executive Secretary will manage correspondence leading up to the hearing, and will be present to record the events and activities during the hearing itself.

Individuals appearing before a hearing panel have the responsibility to present truthful information to the hearing panel. Any individual thought to have willfully presented false or misleading information to the panel will be subject to the filing of a complaint by vote of the hearing panel.  All individuals are also required to abide by confidentiality rules, as well.

More information about hearings

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