The Student-Wide Judiciary (SWJ) is the judicial extension of the University at Buffalo student governments. It was created in 1973 through the joint efforts of the administration and student governments of the University to implement a system of discipline that is based on "fair play" and timely adjudication. Every case is reviewed by at least one student justice. The full court is comprised of approximately 21 justices plus alternates. They are selected based on their interpersonal skills and impartiality. The justices represent the undergraduate schools and the various graduate and professional schools.
Charges of violating University Rules and Regulations may be brought by anyone, but commonly stem from University police reports. The individual/party charged must be a student(s). Complaints are drafted by Hearing Representatives who work in the Judicial Affairs office, as part of the Student Wide Judiciary. The office is composed of law students employed by the Division of Student Affairs. Hearing Representatives investigate alleged violations and determine the potential validity of charges made against a student. Throughout the SWJ proceedings they serve as the "voice" of the University.
Judicial Affairs is part of the Division of Student Affairs. Elizabeth Lidano is the Director of Judicial Affairs and administrative advisor for the Student-Wide Judiciary. The Judicial Affairs staff supervises the assignment of sanctioned community service hours handed down by the Student Wide Judiciary, Residential Life staff, Community Standards Panel (CSP) and, on occasion, civil courts. CSP, the residence hall judicial board, has specific jurisdiction only over violations of the University Residence Hall Rules and Regulations.
The Student-Wide Judiciary may have jurisdiction over numerous University related issues including:
- All violations of regulations of the University, not specifically excluded by other statutory regulations
- All election disputes arising from student elections of member constituencies
- All disputes arising between student governments
- Matters concerning the constitutionality of the acts of student governments
- Students are notified to appear at the Judicial Affairs office through:
- appearance referral issued by University Police or
- subpoena by the SWJ
- Students have the right to an advisor and opportunity to reach a plea agreement with University Hearing Representatives.
- Justice Review - students must plead one of the following:
- responsible - upon which sanctions are assigned
- not responsible - upon which a hearing date is scheduled
- no contest - allows student to accept plea agreement without having to admit to a violation of University Rules (Generally only used when a student has charges pending in another court.)
The sanctions handed down by the SWJ are aimed at both educating the offender and providing justice to the University community. The sanctions are determined by plea agreements between the student and University Hearing Representative or at the discretion of the justices upon recommendation. The Court has the power to impose the following sanctions:
- Alcohol and drug education courses
- Loss of privileges consistent with the committed offense (including Campus Orders of Protection)
- Community service hours designed to provide both restitution and rehabilitation
- Transcript notations
- Disciplinary probation
- Recommend suspension/expulsion from the University
- Placement of a "D" (Disciplinary) checkstop on the offender's registration record
- Other sanctions as may be deemed appropriate by the SWJ
Right to Advisor
Every student has the right to be assisted by an advisor of his/her choosing. An individual may request the assistance of an advisor to help prepare him/her for an appearance before the Student-Wide Judiciary court.
SBI Legal Assistance will provide an advisor upon request. SBI Legal Assistance Advisors are law students trained in dispute resolution and familiar with the procedures of the SWJ. In addition, SBI Legal Assistance provides free legal services to all university students. SBI Legal Assistance is located in 377 Student Union. For more information call 645-3056.
All decisions of the SWJ are subject to appeal if a request is filed within 10 school days of the judgment, and granted only on the basis of procedural error. The appeals panel is empowered to affirm, reverse, or order another hearing. The appeals panel can modify all decisions which come before it. The Supreme Student Court is the final level of appeal. The Supreme Student Court has original jurisdiction over disputes between student governments, as well as all constitutional and jurisdictional challenges.
The following are the minimum procedural guidelines to ensure that the rights of alleged victims appearing or testifying before the court are upheld.
- The right of a victim to have a person or persons of his or her choice accompany him or her throughout the disciplinary hearing.
- The right to remain present during the entire proceeding.
- The right, as established in state criminal codes, not to have his or her irrelevant past sexual history discussed during the hearing.
- The right to make a "victim impact statement" and to suggest an appropriate penalty if the accused is found in violation of the code.
- The right to be informed immediately of the outcome of the hearing.
The Judicial Affairs office offers other options to those students who do not wish to resolve their violations in the Student-Wide Judiciary. The Director of Judicial Affairs or designee is the Administrative Hearing Officer. Students who feel more comfortable with an administrative decision may prefer this alternative. These options provide a more confidential atmosphere for students who wish to have their case handled by a campus administrator.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact the Judicial Affairs office at 645-6154 in 252 Capen Hall. For a complete copy of the Student-Wide Judiciary Rules of Procedure and the University Rules and Regulations, please stop by the office.
|Student Wide Judiciary Office||645-6050|
|SBI Legal Assistance||645-3056|
|University Police (General Inquiry)||645-2227|
|University Police (Emergencies & Services)||645-2222|
|Wellness Education Services||645-2837|
|Rape and Sexual Assault:|
|SBI Safety Services||829-2584|
|Sexuality Education Center||829-2584|
|Equity, Diversity and Affirmative Action||645-2266|