Student Code of Conduct Hearing Procedures
The University, through the Associate Vice President & Dean of Students, has the duty and corollary disciplinary power to protect its educational purpose and objectives through setting standards of conduct.
The student conduct process aims to treat reporting parties and responding parties with equal care and dignity and also to reach fair and correct results.
- Any member of the University community, department or academic unit may register an allegation of violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The allegation will be reviewed to determine the appropriate student conduct or administrative action to be taken in accordance with this Code.
In the event that there is insufficient evidence to support formal action, a determination that student conduct or administrative action is not warranted may be made by the Student Conduct Administrator.
- An allegation should be made within a reasonable time frame after the alleged incident and directed to the Office of the Dean of Students, or the Office of Housing and Residence Life.
- Administrative action, in lieu of formal student conduct action, may be taken at the discretion of the University, in an appropriate and reasonable manner, to address student behavior. Administrative action is action taken in events where the student has a conduct related issue pending and the student is physically absent from the University. It is done if the Dean of Student, or his or her designee, believe that there is a likelihood that the student will pose a threat to others and/or will seriously interfere with the rights of other in the community to carry on their education pursuits.
Student Conduct Procedures
- All conduct process, non-Title IX (Sexual Harassment), are conducted via an Administrative Conduct meeting.
- Allegations of “Sexual Harassment” will be resolved under the procedural guidelines found in the student handbook.
- A student who accepts responsibility for violations of the Code of Conduct (prior to the student conduct meeting) may meet with a conduct administrator in an administrative meeting to determine an appropriate sanction(s). This acceptance of responsibility for the violation(s) is acknowledgment that the full range of sanctions may be imposed.
Guidelines for Student Conduct Procedures
The following procedural guidelines shall be applicable in student conduct proceedings. Formal rules of process, procedure, and technical rules of evidence, such as applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in student conduct proceedings. Deviations from prescribed procedures shall not necessarily invalidate a decision, unless significant prejudice to an accused student, complainant or the University results. As stated previously, allegations of “Sexual Harassment” will be resolved under the procedural guidelines found in the student handbook.
- The Conduct Officer shall send the Respondent, who is the student responding to the allegations of Conduct Code violation(s), advanced written notification of the specific violations and the date, time, and location of the scheduled conduct meeting. Notice will most often take the form of a letter delivered to a student’s University e-mail account.
- The Conduct Officer will meet with the student, read the incident report and alleged violation(s) and explain the conduct process. If the Student Conduct Officer determines that no violation has occurred, then the disposition is final, and no further meetings will be held.
- 3. If it is determined that a violation did occur and the Respondent (the student responding to the notice of alleged violations) admits responsibility for engaging in the alleged behavior(s) or action(s), the Student Conduct Officer can assign sanctions and adjudicate the incident at this meeting. If there is more than one student involved in the same incident, the Student Conduct Officer may choose to adjudicate the incident after meeting with all the students allegedly involved.
- If the Respondent does not admit responsibility for the alleged behavior(s) and/or action(s), the Student Conduct Officer may choose to adjudicate during this meeting, and or may schedule a follow up meeting within a reasonable timeframe.
- The Respondent may request a reasonable extension of time to prepare for the conduct meeting. Requests for an extension will be granted for a period not to exceed two business days, except in unusual circumstances where the Respondent can demonstrate the necessity for a longer delay. All requests for extension of time should be made in writing at least one business day prior to the scheduled conduct meeting, except in cases of documented serious illness or emergency.
- The Respondent shall be afforded reasonable access to review the case during the conduct meeting. “Case file” means the file containing those materials pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. If additional information becomes available and is relevant, it will be discussed and reviewed at the conduct meeting. The notes of University staff members and investigators are not included in the case file and thus are not accessible. Names and other information of students may also be redacted in the incident report as appropriate for confidentiality.
- The Respondent shall have the opportunity to provide additional and relevant information that is not contained within the incident report to be considered during any conduct meeting.
- The Respondent may provide, for any conduct meeting, the names of witnesses who have relevant and material information pertaining to the incident. These individuals may be invited at the discretion of the Conduct Administrator to participate in the conduct meeting. Ordinarily, witnesses who are not members of the University community will not be invited to serve as a witness in the proceeding, and expert witnesses generally will not be invited.
- Proceedings will be closed to non-participants and to the public, including friends and University personnel without an official interest in the case.
- A Respondent and Complainant may be accompanied by one advisor of her/his choice. The role of the advisor shall be limited to support and consultation; the advisor may not speak during any student conduct proceeding except privately to the respondent, nor shall the advisor question or address witnesses. Violation of this expectation will result in the advisor being removed from a meeting at the discretion of the student conduct administrator. In consideration of the limited role of an advisor, and of the interest of the University to expeditiously conclude the matter, a proceeding will not normally be delayed if an advisor is unavailable.
- During the meeting, the Respondent shall have the opportunity to respond to the information related to the alleged violation of the Code of Conduct.
- Information or that does not directly relate to the issue(s) at hand, but instead reflects upon the character, reputation, personality, qualities, or habits of the Respondent should not be presented and, if offered, may be excluded.
- A Respondent who fails to appear at a scheduled meeting without good cause (e.g. documented serious illness), after proper notice of such a meeting, may have his case adjudicated in absentia, and forfeits all rights to an appeal unless it is for lack of proper notice. In such cases, decisions will be based solely on information available, or information presented during the meeting.
- Conduct meeting outcomes must be supported by a preponderance of the information. Preponderance of the information means that a greater weight of information supports the conclusion that a fact is true, or to establish that an event occurred. A preponderance of the information does not necessarily mean the greater amount of information, but rather the greater quality of information – making it more likely than not the matter in question is true.
- A Respondent may be found responsible for any prohibited conduct (including sections of the Code of Conduct for which he or she was not originally charged) when behaviors that were previously unknown are discovered during the student conduct meeting or if it is determined that a different section of the Code of Conduct more appropriately addresses the conduct in question.
- The outcome of the meeting shall be conveyed to the Respondent in writing.
- An audio recording may be done of a conduct meeting and will be maintained in the Dean of Student’s office. This recording will be used only in cases of appeal which claim questions of improper procedures at the conduct meeting. The recording will be destroyed once the period to appeal the sanction(s) has elapsed.
- The decision reached at a Student Conduct Meeting is final, subject only the student’s right of appeal.
- If an appeal is presented, a decision issued regarding that appeal is final.
The Student Conduct Officer holding an Administrative Hearing is authorized to impose the following sanctions:
- Warning – a notice in writing that the student has violated institutional regulations.
- Redress (apology, either written or oral)
- Restitution – compensation for loss, damage, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
- Educational activity or project.
- Community service.
- Loss of privileges – denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time, including, but not limited to, restrictions from and/or limited access to specified areas of campus and/or University events.
- Behavioral Agreement – a set of appropriate actions imposed to provide an educational experience as well as conduct guidelines for an extended period.
- Housing Probation – A written reprimand indicating that the student’s behavior has raised serious questions concerning the student’s status as a member of the University residential community. The student will be given a stated period during which his/her conduct will establish whether s/he is to be returned to good standing by having met definite requirements in behavior or whether s/he is to be suspended or expelled from the University. This sanction includes the probability of more severe sanctions if the student is found to violate any University regulation(s) during the probationary period.
- Housing Termination – this may be for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return or permanent separation from University housing.
- University Probation – A written reprimand indicating that the student’s behavior has raised serious questions concerning the student’s status as a member of the University community. The student will be given a stated period during which his/her conduct will establish whether s/he is to be returned to good standing by having met definite requirements in behavior or whether s/he is to be suspended or expelled from the University. This sanction includes the probability of more severe sanctions if the student is found to violate any University regulation(s) during the probationary period. Students may not represent the University or hold office in any student organization during the period of probation. Other conditions typically include, but are not limited to:
- Exclusion from all or designated co-curricular activities.
- Exclusion from leadership positions in the Student Government Association.
- Exclusion from the use of specified University facilities.
- The performance of community service projects.
- Exclusion from sponsorship of or participation in educational and/or athletic programs.
- The re-assignment of resident to another residence unit for the period of probation.
- Parents of students placed on disciplinary probation may be so notified by the Dean of Student. A statement of offense and decision will be placed in the student's file in the Dean of Student’s office.
If while on disciplinary probation a student is found responsible for a further infraction of University policies/regulations and/or the Student Code of Conduct, the student will be subject to the possibility of suspension/expulsion from the University and/or University housing.
- University Suspension – separation of the student from the University for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Readmission, however, is not automatic and is at the sole discretion of the University. Conditions for readmission must be specified. The student is not allowed to be on campus, any University owned or leased property, or attend any University event, on or off campus while on University suspension.
- University Expulsion – permanent separation of the student from the University. The student is not allowed to be on campus, any University owned or leased property, or attend any University event, on or off campus.
- Revocation of Admission and/or Degree – Admission to, or a degree awarded from, the University may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violation of University standards in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation.
- Withholding Degree – the University may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in this Student Code of Conduct, including the completion of all sanctions imposed, if any.
- More than one of the sanctions listed above may be imposed for any single violation.
In certain circumstances, the Dean of Students, or his or her designee, may impose an Interim University suspension prior to any Student Conduct Meeting.
- Interim Suspension may be imposed on a student only: 1) to insure the safety and well-being of members of the University community or preservation of University property; 2) to ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being; or, 3) if the student poses an ongoing threat of disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the University.
- While on Interim Suspension, a student will not be allowed access to the campus, including all University owned or leased properties, including the residence halls and/or all University activities, on or off campus, or privileges as the Dean of Students may determine to be appropriate.
- Interim Suspension does not replace the regular Student Conduct process. At the time a student is interim suspended, the individual affected shall be informed of a right to a conduct meeting without undue delay. The student shall remain dismissed until his/her status is determined in a conduct meeting.
- Only cases which result in loss of University housing, suspension and/or expulsion may be appealed.
- A decision reached, and/or sanction imposed, by a Student Conduct Administrator, may be appealed by the Responding Party, in writing, within forty-eight (48) hours (not including weekend and/or holidays) of the decision.
- The administrators authorized to hear appeals are the Associate Vice President & Dean of Students, the Director of Housing & Residence Life, and the Associate Director of Housing & Residence Life. The Associate Vice President & Dean of Students is the highest level of appeal in the University.
- Appeals, regardless of the type of adjudication, shall be based only on:
- Significant procedural error that changes the findings of fact of the student conduct meeting.
- New information that significantly alters the finds of fact, that was previously unknown to the respondent, has been discovered and is available during the appeal process.
- A student adjudicated in absentia forfeits all rights to an appeal process unless it is proven that it is for lack of proper notice, except in an extraordinary circumstance.
- General dissatisfaction with the outcome of the student conduct proceeding or an appeal for mercy are not appropriate grounds for appeal.
- The response to the appeal shall be sent to the responding party within forty-eight (48) to seventy-two (72) hours (not including weekend and/or holidays) of receipt.
- Decisions of the Student Conduct Administrator remain in effect until such time, if and when, an appeal is granted. All parties involved will be informed of the disposition of appeals.
- Once an appeal has been heard, the decision issued regarding that appeal is final.
Student Conduct Records
The University will retain conduct records for seven years. Records may also be maintained for an indefinite period of time if a student:
- Is expelled for conduct reasons,
- Withdraws from the university prior to the resolution of a pending a conduct matter; or,
- Has a Hold Flag activated on his/her university academic record or account.
The University may disclose the results of a conduct proceeding against a student found in violation of a University policy, rule, regulation or standard of conduct involving any crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense. The University will only release the name of the student found in violation, the violation committed, and any sanctions imposed on the student.