Judiciary Process of the Activities Board at Columbia (ABC)


Section 1 – Purpose


Group Adjudication will provide a formal process to review and assess grievances, culpability and potential penalties for groups that allegedly violate university policy, violate ABC policy, fail to implement their own constitutions, act in a way that interrupts or impedes another group or organization’s mission and/or function, or engage in other acts of misconduct as subject to the ABC’s discretion.


Every effort will be made to preserve the integrity of the ABC constitution.


In the cases in which the ABC Judicial Board cannot agree on a compromise or a decision, the case will be turned over to the Office of Student Development and Activities (SDA) for final arbitration.  ABC reserves the right to refer cases to be reviewed under the Dean’s Discipline policies.


Section 2 – Guidelines for Membership of the J-Board


The Judicial Board (J-Board) will be a standing committee and will be comprised of six standing members of the ABC: the ABC Vice-President and five ABC Representatives-at-Large.  The ABC Vice-President will chair the board.


Members of the ABC that may not be considered for positions on the J-Board are the Council Representatives and any Liaisons. Individuals on the J-Board cannot be members of any of the groups presenting a case before the ABC.


If the ABC Vice-President has a conflict of interest, another ABC Executive Board member aside from the ABC President will preside over the J-Board. If there is still a conflict of interest, then the final member of ABC’s Executive Board will serve as chair.  If the parties involved have reason to believe that there is a conflict of interest for any of the J-Board members via affiliation, such conflicts of interest should be reported to the ABC President, who will then make a final decision.


The six members of the J-Board will appoint one member aside from the Chair as the Recorder. The Recorder is responsible for taking detailed minutes of all J-Board proceedings.


Section 3 – Jurisdiction and Who Is Allowed to File a Report


If members of the ABC’s general body desire a redress of grievances against the ABC board, such group can appeal to the executive boards of the CCSC, ESC, and GSSC according to their procedures.


In accordance with the following, the ABC may hear grievances lodged by individuals against any recognized ABC groups, by any recognized ABC group against another recognized ABC group, by members of a recognized ABC group against fellow members of that same recognized ABC group


  • An individual’s complaint must fall under the purview of the ABC.  Local, State and Federal Crimes cannot be addressed by ABC.  Violations where University policy supercedes ABC jurisdiction cannot be addressed by the ABC. ABC reserves the right to refer cases to be reviewed under the Dean’s Discipline policies.


  • In general, the scope of ABC complaints consists of one or more violations of general values and principles of our community as determined by ABC, as well as violations by groups of their own constitutions.


Section 4 – Procedure


A letter detailing the charges/complaints should be submitted to the ABC Vice President. This letter will be reviewed by the ABC Executive Board. If the complaint is deemed inappropriate for ABC review, the party will be informed. If the complaint is unsuitable and/or exceeds the jurisdiction of the ABC (including, but not limited to, violation of law), the Executive Director of Student Development and Activities will be informed. If the complaint merits action, the ABC Vice President will inform the involved parties of the status of the complaint; at this time, the ABC Vice President will also inform the involved parties of the option of mediation, as outlined in a subsequent section.


The ABC Vice President will oversee the formation of a J-Board that adheres to the aforementioned J-Board membership guidelines.


The first step after the six members of the J-Board have been selected is a review of the constitution of the group(s) involved. This should be the initial process in all cases. The only constitution that will be considered is the one on file with the ABC Board.


The Chair of the J-Board will work with both parties to establish an amicable meeting time.


All members of the J-Board must be in attendance in order for the proceeding to proceed.  The J-Board will declare the allegations and the issues for which reconciliation is sought.  The J-Board will hear each party’s side individually.


No more than two (2) members of each party will be allowed to be present at the time of the hearing.  The number and length of the hearing(s) may vary depending on the particular case; the J-Board will vote on specific hearing procedures to use for each particular case brought before it and will let the involved parties know the hearing procedures at least 48 hours prior to the hearing. The hearings will be closed. During the session, any J-Board member may ask questions at any time. The Chair will facilitate this questioning as necessary.


Should a party desire to include the use of evidence in the hearing, the evidence must be submitted to the Chair at least 48 hours prior to the hearing and must be deemed appropriate and meet validation standards to be determined by the Chair. If the evidence submitted is not deemed appropriate and does not meet validation standards, the evidence will not be allowed in the hearing. Additional support may be submitted in writing by other individuals. Consideration of such material is at the discretion of the Judiciary Board.


Legal counsels cannot be involved in the hearing procedures.


If the complaining party fails to attend the hearing at the agreed time, the hearing will be dismissed.  If the defending organization fails to attend the hearing at the agreed time, the J-Board may consider this failure when determining a recommendation for sanctions and reserves the right to proceed in their absence.


The Chair will set the Agenda for the hearings.


Section 5 – Mediation


Prior to hearings scheduled to be heard by the J-Board, there will be an opportunity for the involved parties to settle their dispute through mediation. Mediation is an informal resolution to a judicial matter. Mediation implies that the parties will resolve the matter through discussion and will agree upon an outcome.


The Chair will ask involved parties whether or not they are willing to first address the complaint through mediation. If all parties involved are interested in pursuing mediation, the Chair will arrange a mediation meeting.


At said meeting, the Chair, the groups’ ABC Representative, the groups’ SDA/OMA Advisor and the ABC’s SDA Advisor will jointly mediate the discussion between the parties using the model for restorative conferencing.


If an agreement is reached, the Chair will collaborate with the SDA/OMA Advisors present at the mediation meeting to confirm the informal resolution in writing and to provide a copy to the parties involved within 24 hours of the conclusion of said meeting.  Each party has a right to rescind this agreement within forty-eight (48) hours of receiving the decision in writing and the matter will then be reviewed by the J-Board.


Section 6 - Voting Procedure and Decision Making


Once the investigatory hearings are over, the J-Board will deliberate and vote on the necessary action(s) to be taken. The deliberations will be closed to anyone other than J-Board members. A tentative timeline for the length of deliberations will be established by the Chair in conjunction with the other J-Board members.


Once deliberations are over, there will be a closed vote. The votes will be counted by the Chair, who does not vote. No abstentions are permitted in the vote. A simple majority is required for a vote to pass.


In the cases of elections, the vote is an affirmative predetermined vote (i.e., whether or not to hold new elections). In other cases, the specific action to be taken must be decided upon. Once a consensus is reached as to what action is to be taken, the J-Board will vote.


Section 7 – Sanctions


The J-Board has the power to recommend one or a combination of sanctions. These sanctions will be brought before the ABC for a final vote prior to being announced.  The final approval of these sanctions is determined by SDA. The following is a list of possible sanctions; however, the ABC is not limited to the implementation of these sanctions alone:


-       Warning

-       Censure, implying risk of a more severe penalty if future violations are committed.

-       Letter of apology from the defendant party

-       Loss of privileges

-       Category demotion

-       Loss of recognition

-       Financial Punishment


Section 8 – Announcing the Decision


The outcome of the J-Board hearings will first be made known to the Executive Director of Student Development and Activities and the administrative advisors of the student group(s) involved. The outcome will then be made known to the involved parties.


The number of the vote will not be announced.


The decision that is reached will be announced. Any sanction(s) recommended by the J-Board will be announced at the same time as the decision. The decision and sanction(s) will be explained fully.


If a group's constitution is found to need updating, the ABC Vice President and the group’s ABC Representative will assist in any necessary constitutional revision/amendment.


Section 9 – Appeals


Any of the parties involved in the judiciary process, upon receiving the announcement of the decision, may file an appeal with the Executive Director of the Office of Student Development and Activities (SDA).  This must be done within forty-eight (48) hours of the announcement of the decision to the parties involved. In the case that the Executive Director of SDA in unavailable and cannot be reached, the appeal should be filed with the SDA Advisor of the ABC. The grounds upon which an appeal may be filed are as follows:


  1. New substantial information can be presented which was unavailable at the time of the hearing.


  1. Parties involved have concerns with the process that may change or affect the outcome of the decision.


  1. Parties involved feel that the decision was too severe.


The Executive Director of the SDA will decide on whether or not the appeal is valid.  An organization is only allowed to appeal a decision once.


If the appeal is deemed valid, the Executive Director of the SDA will have five business days to review all documents associated with the particular judiciary process and to meet with both the ABC Vice President and the involved parties. Should any of the parties be unavailable and/or unwilling to meet with the Executive Director of the SDA, the Executive Director’s decision will be made with what information is available and provided within the five days.


The decision made by the Executive Director of SDA is final.