SECTION 7: FORMAL CONDUCT PROCEDURESEdit
A. University/College as ConvenerEdit
The University/College is the convener of every action under this code. Within that action, there are several roles. The responding student is the person who is alleged to have violated the Code. The party bringing the complaint, who may be a student, employee, visitor, or guest, may choose to be present and participate in the process as fully as the responding student. There are witnesses, who may offer information regarding the allegation. There is an investigator(s) whose role is to present the allegations and share the evidence that the University/College has obtained regarding the allegations.
B. Group ViolationsEdit
A student group or organization and its officers and membership may be held collectively and individually responsible when violations of this code by the organization or its member(s):
- Take place at organization-sponsored or co-sponsored events, whether sponsorship is formal or tacit;
- Have received the consent or encouragement of the organi¬zation or of the organization’s leaders or officers; or
- Were known or should have been known to the membership or its officers.
Hearings for student groups or organizations follow the same general student conduct procedures. In any such action, individual determinations as to responsibility will be made and sanctions may be assigned collectively and individually and will be proportionate to the involvement of each individual and the organization.
- For Victims. The University/College provides amnesty to victims who may be hesitant to report to University/College officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of minor policy violations, such as underage drinking, at the time of the incident. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result .
- For Those Who Offer Assistance. To encourage students to offer help and assistance to others, University/College pursues a policy of amnesty for minor violations when students offer help to others in need. At the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct, amnesty may also be extended on a case-by-case basis to the person receiving assistance. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.
- For Those Who Report Serious Violations. Students who are engaged in minor violations but who choose to bring related serious violations by others to the attention of the University/College are offered amnesty for their minor violations. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or record will result. Abuse of amnesty requests can result in a decision by the Director of Student Conduct not to extend amnesty to the same person repeatedly.
- Safe Harbor. The University/College has a Safe Harbor rule for students. The University/College believes that students who have a drug and/or addiction problem deserve help. If any University/College student brings their own use, addiction, or dependency to the attention of University/College officials outside the threat of drug tests or conduct sanctions and seeks assistance, a conduct complaint will not be pursued. A written action plan may be used to track cooperation with the Safe Harbor program by the student. Failure to follow the action plan will nullify the Safe Harbor protection and campus conduct processes will be initiated.
D. Notice of Alleged ViolationEdit
Any member of the University/College community, visitor or guest may allege a policy violation(s)by any student for misconduct under this Code[by the following process and/or via the following URL]:
Notice may also be given to the Director of Student Conduct (or designee)and/or to the Title IX Coordinator, when appropriate. Additionally, administrators may act on notice of a potential violation whether a formal allegation is made or not. All allegationscan be submitted by a victim or a third party, and should be submitted as soon as possible after the offending event occurs. The University/College has the right to pursue an allegation or notice of misconduct on its own behalf and to serve as convener of the subsequent campus conduct process.
The Director of Student Conduct(or designee) will assume responsibility for the investigation of the alleged violation as described in the sub-section below.
Investigation is referenced in both steps 1 and 2 above, with detailed investigation procedures described in this sub-section. The Director of Student Conduct will appoint an investigator(s) for allegations under this Code. The investigator(s) will take the following steps, if not already completed by the Coordinator or designee:
- Initiate any necessary remedial actions on behalf of the victim (if any);
- Determine the identity and contact information of the party bringing the complaint, whether that person is the initiator of the complaint, the alleged victim, or a University/College proxy or representative;
- Conduct an immediate preliminary investigation to identify an initial list of all policies that may have been violated, to review the history of the parties, the context of the incident(s), any potential patterns and the nature of the complaint;
- If the victim is reluctant to pursue the complaint, determine whether the complaint should still be pursued and whether sufficient independent evidence could support the complaint without the participation of the victim;
- Notify the victim of whether the University/College intends to pursue the complaint regardless of their involvement, and inform the victim of their rights in the process and option to become involved if they so choose;
- Preliminary investigation usually takes between 1-7 business days to complete;
- If indicated by the preliminary investigation and authorized by the Coordinator or Director or Student Conduct, conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that the responding student violated College/University policy, and to determine what specific policy violations should serve as the basis for the complaint;
- If there is insufficient evidence through the investigation to support reasonable cause, the allegations will be closed with no further action;
- A comprehensive investigation usually takes between one day and two weeks;
- Meet with the party bringing the complaintto finalize the Party bringing the complaint’s Statement, which will be drawn up by the investigatoror designee as a result of this meeting;
- Commence a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation by developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended timeframe, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the responding student, who may be given notice of the interview prior to or at the time of the interview;
- Prepare the notice of alleged policy violation(s) on the basis of the reasonable cause determination, which may be delivered prior to, during or after the responding student is interviewed, at the discretion of the investigator(s);
- Interview all relevant witnesses, summarize the information they are able to shareand have each witness sign the summary to verify its accuracy;
- Obtain all documentary evidence and information that is available;
- Obtain all physical evidence that is available;
- Complete the investigation promptly by analyzing all available evidence without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline;
- Make a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not);
- Present the investigation report and findings to the responding student, who may:
- accept the findings,
- accept the findings in part and reject them in part,
- or may reject all findings;
- Share the findings and update the party bringing the complaint on the status of the investigation and the outcome.
The following options (1-3) describe how to proceed depending on whether the responding student is found responsible and whether the Responding Student accepts or rejects the findings and/or the sanctions either in whole or in part.
- The Responding Student is Found “Not Responsible”. Where the responding student is found not responsible for the alleged violation(s), the investigation will be closed. The party bringing the complaint, if any, may request that the [Title IX Coordinator and/or]Director of Student Conduct, as applicable,review the investigation file to possibly re-open the investigation or convene a hearing. The decision to re-open an investigation or convene a hearing rests solely in the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or the Director of Student Conduct in these cases, and is granted only on the basis of extraordinary cause.
- The Responding Student Accepts a Finding of “Responsible”...
- The Responding Student Accepts a Finding of “Responsible” and Accepts the Recommended Sanctions. Should the responding student accept the finding that they violated University/College policy, the Investigator will recommend appropriate sanctions for the violation, having consulted with Director of Student Conduct and/or Title IX Coordinator, as appropriate. In cases involving discrimination, recommended sanctions will act to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on the victim and the University/College community. If the responding student accepts these recommended sanctions, the sanctions are implemented by the Director of Student Conduct and the process ends. [There will be a three-day period for review between the date of acceptance and when the resolution becomes final. Should the responding student decide to reject the sanctions within that time period, Option 2B, below, will apply]. This outcome is not subject to appeal.
- The Responding Student Accepts a Finding of “Responsible” and Rejects the Sanctions Recommended. If the responding student accepts the “responsible” findings, but rejects the recommended sanctions, there will be an administrative conference on the sanction, only. Administrative conference procedures are detailed below.
- Responding Student Rejects the Findings Completely or In-part
- Responding Student Rejects the Findings Completely. Where the responding student rejects the finding that they violated University/College policy, a formal hearing will be convened within seven business days, barring exigent circumstances. At the hearing, the investigator(s) will present their report to the panel, the panel will hear from the parties, and any necessary witnesses. The investigation report will be considered by the panel, which renders an independent and objective finding. Full panel procedures are detailed below. If the panel finds the responding student not responsible for all violations, the Director of Student Conduct will timely inform the parties of this determination and the rationale for the decision in writing. This determination is subject to appeal by any party to the complaint.Appeal review procedures are outlined below. If the panel finds a violation, it will recommend a sanction/responsive action to the Director of Student Conduct, who will[confer with the Title IX Coordinator as necessary and], render a decision within [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7?] days of the hearing and timely notify the parties [orally, as well as] in writing. An appeal of sanction(s) may be filed by any party to the complaint as detailed below.
- Responding Student Accepts the Findings in Part and Rejects in Part. Where the responding student rejects in part the finding that they violated University/College policy, there will be a panel hearing solely on the disputed allegations within seven days, barring exigent circumstances. For all findings holding a responding student responsible for a violation, the College/University will follow the sanctioning process detailed in sub-sections K(8) and K(9), below. If the Panel finds the responding student “Not Responsible” on any of the contested allegations, the process will move to the Sanctioning Phase on only the uncontested allegations, as detailed in sub-sections K(8) and K(9), below.
G. Special Hearing Provisions for Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination and Other Complaints of a Sensitive NatureEdit
All hearings under this sub-section will be conducted by a three member administrative panel drawn from the panel pool. For sexual misconduct, discrimination and other complaints of a sensitive nature, whether the alleged victim is serving as the party bringing the complaint or as a witness, alternative testimony options may be provided, such as placing a privacy screen in the hearing room or allowing the alleged victim to testify from another room via audio or audio/video technology. While these options are intended to help make the alleged victim more comfortable, they are not intended to work to the disadvantage of the responding student.
The past sexual history or sexual character of a party will not be admissible by the other parties in hearings unless such information is determined to be highly relevant by the panel Chair. All such information sought to be admitted by a party or the University/College will be presumed irrelevant until a showing of relevance is made, in advance of the hearing, to the Chair. Demonstration of pattern, repeated, and/or predatory behavior by the responding student, in the form of previous findings in any legal or campus proceeding, [or in the form of previous good faith allegations], will always be relevant to the finding, not just the sanction. The parties will be notified in advance if any such information is deemed relevant and will be introduced in the hearing.
The party bringing any complaint alleging sexual misconduct, other behavior falling with the coverage of Title IX and/or a crime of violence will be notified in writing of the outcome of a hearing, any sanctions assigned and the rationale for the decision.
H. Notice of HearingEdit
Once a determination is made that reasonable cause exists for the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) to refer a complaint for a hearing, notice will be given to the responding student. Notice will be in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person by the Director of Student Conduct(or designee); mailed to the local or permanent address of the student as indicated in official University/College records; or emailed to the student’s University/College-issued email account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, such notice will be presumptively delivered. The letter of notice will:
- Include the alleged violation and notification of where to locate the Code of Student Conduct and University/College procedures for resolution of the complaint; and
- Direct the responding student to contact the Director of Student Conduct(or designee) within a specified period of time to respond to the complaint. This time period will generally be no less than two days from the date of delivery of the summons letter.
A meeting with the Director of Student Conduct(or designee) may be arranged to explain the nature of the complaint and the conduct process. At this meeting, the responding studentmay indicate, either verbally or in writing, to the Director of Student Conduct (or designee), whether they admit to or deny the allegations of the complaint.
I. Interim ActionEdit
Under the Code of Student Conduct, the Dean of Students or designee may impose restrictions and/or separate a student from the community pending the scheduling of a campus hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct when a student represents a threat of serious harm to others, is facing allegations of serious criminal activity, to preserve the integrity of an investigation, to preserve University/College property and/or to prevent disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the University/College. Interim actions can include separation from the institution or restrictions on participation in the community for no more than ten (10) business days pending the scheduling of a campus hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct.[A student who receives an interim suspension may request a meeting with the Dean of Students or designee to demonstrate why an interim suspension is not merited.Regardless of the outcome of this meeting, the University/College may still proceed with the scheduling of a campus hearing].
During an interim suspension, a student may be denied access to University/College housing and/or the University/College campus/facilities/events. As determined appropriate by the Director of Student Conduct, this restriction may include classes and/or all other University/College activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible. At the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct and with the approval of, and in collaboration with, the appropriate Dean(s), alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the responding student.
J. Hearing Options & PreparationEdit
The following sub-sections describe the University/College’s conduct hearing processes. Except in a complaint involving failure to comply with the summons of the Director of Student Conduct (or designee), no student may be found to have violated the Code of Student Conduct solely as a result of the student’s failure to appear for a hearing. In all such instances, conduct hearings will proceed as scheduled and the information in support of the complaint will be presented to, and considered by, the Director of Student Conduct, AHO or panel presiding over the hearing.
Where the responding student admits to violating the Code of Student Conduct, the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) may invoke administrative hearing procedures to determine and administer appropriate sanctions without a formal hearing. This process is also known as an administrative conference. In an administrative conference, complaints will be heard and determinations will be made by the Director of Student Conduct or designee. Where the responding student denies violating the Code of Student Conduct, a formal hearing will be conducted. This process is known as a panel hearing. At the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct (or designee), a request by one or more of the parties to the complaint for an administrative conference may be considered. Students who deny a violation for which apanel hearing will be held will be given a minimum of seven [3,5,7] days to prepare unless all parties wish to proceed more quickly. Preparation for a formal hearing is summarized in the following guidelines:
- Notice of the time, date and location of the hearing will be in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person by the Director of Student Conduct (or designee); mailed to the local or permanent address of the student as indicated in official University/College records; or emailed to the student’s University/College-issued email account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, such notice will be presumptively delivered.
- If there is an alleged victim of the conduct in question, the alleged victim may serve as the party bringing the complaint or may elect to have the University/College administration serve as the party bringing the complaint forward. Where there is no alleged victim, the University/College administration will serve as the party bringing the complaint forward.
- If a responding student fails to respond to notice from the Director of Student Conduct (or designee), the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) may initiate a complaint against the student for failure to comply with the directives of a University/College official and give notice of this offense. Unless the student responds to this notice within two days by answering the original notice, an administrative conference may be scheduled and held on the student’s behalf. As a result, the student may be administratively withdrawn from attending classes or a disciplinary hold may be placed on their University/College account, deeming them ineligible to register for courses or University/College housing until such time as the student responds to the initial complaint.
- At least three (3) days before any scheduled formal hearing, the following will occur:
- The responding student will deliver to the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) a written response to the complaint;
- The responding student will deliver to the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) a written list of all witnesses for the University/College to call at the hearing;
- The responding student will deliver to the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) all physical evidence the student intends to use or needs to have present at the hearing and will indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known, so that the Director of Student Conduct can arrange for its presence;
- The party bringing the complaint will deliver to the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) a written list of all witnesses for the University/College to call at the hearing;
- The party bringing the complaint will deliver to the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) all items of physical evidence needed at the hearing and will indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known, so that the Director of Student Conduct can arrange for its presence;
- The party bringing the complaint and the responding student will notify the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) of the names of any advisors/advocates who may be accompanying the parties at the hearing.
- The Director of Student Conduct (or designee) will ensure that the hearing information and any other available written documentation is shared with the parties at least two (2) days before any scheduled hearing. In addition, the parties will be given a list of the names of all the panelists in advance. Should any party object to any panelist, that party must raise all objections, in writing, to the Director of Student Conduct immediately. Hearing officers will only be unseated if the Director of Student Conduct concludes that their bias precludes an impartial hearing of the complaint. Additionally, any panelist who feels they cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves from the proceedings.
K. Panel Hearing ProceduresEdit
The Director of Student Conduct will appoint one panelist as the Chair for the hearing. The parties have the right to be present at the hearing; however, they do not have the right to be present during deliberations. If a student cannot attend the hearing, it is that student’s responsibility to notify the Director of Student Conduct no less than three (3) daysprior to the scheduled hearing to arrange for another date, time and location. Except in cases of grave or unforeseen circumstances, if the responding student fails to give the requisite minimum three (3)day notice, or if the responding student fails to appear, the hearing will proceed as scheduled. If the party bringing the complaint fails to appear, the complaint may be dropped unless the University/College chooses to pursue the allegation on its own behalf, as determined by the Director of Student Conduct.
The Director of Student Conduct (or designee), the Chair and the Panel will conduct panel hearings according to the following guidelines:
- Hearings will be closed to the public.
- Admission to the hearing of persons other than the parties involved will be at the discretion of the panel chair and the Director of Student Conduct.
- In hearings involving more than one responding student, the standard procedure will be to hear the complaints jointly; however, the Director of Student Conduct may permit the hearing pertinent to each responding studentto be conducted separately. In joint hearings, separate determinations of responsibility will be made for each responding student.
- The parties have the right to an advisor/advocate of their own choosing, including attorneys. Typically advisors are members of the campus community, but the parties may select whomever they wish to serve as their advisor. The advisor may not make a presentation or represent the party bringing the complaint or responding student during the hearing. They may confer quietly with their advisee, exchange notes, clarify procedural questions with the chair and suggest questions to their advisee.
- The party bringing the complaint, the responding student, the panel, and the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) will have the privilege of questioning all present witnesses and questioning all present parties (directly or through the Chair, at the discretion of the Chair). Unduly repetitive witnesses can be limited at the discretion of the [panel Chairand/or the Director of Student Conduct, or designee].
- Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by the panel and the Director of Student Conduct. Formal rules of evidence are not observed. The [panel Chair and/or the Director of Student Conduct, or designee] may limit the number of character witnesses presented or may accept written affidavits of character instead.
- All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Director of Student Conduct[or panel Chair].
- After apanel hearing, the panel will deliberate and determine, by majority vote, whether it is more likely than not that the responding student has violated the Code of Student Conduct. The Director of Student Conduct (or designee) will be present and available as a resource during all deliberations. Once a finding is determined, if the finding is that of a policy violation, the panel will determine an appropriate sanction(s). The Director of Student Conduct (or designee) is responsible for informing the panel of applicable precedent and any previous conduct violations or other relevant pattern information about the responding student. The panel Chairperson will prepare a written deliberation report and deliver it to the Director of Student Conduct, detailing the recommended finding, how each member voted, the information cited by the panel in support of its recommendation, and any information the panel excluded from its consideration and why. This report should conclude with any recommended sanctions. This report should not exceed two pages in length and must be submitted to the Director of Student Conduct within two (2) days of the end of deliberations.
- The Director of Student Conduct will consider the recommendations of the panel,may make appropriate modifications to the panel’s report and will then render a decision and inform the responding student and party bringing the complaint (if applicable by law or University/College policy) of the final determination within [2,3,4,5, or 7]days of the hearing. Notification will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person by the Director of Student Conduct (or designee); mailed to the local or permanent address of the student as indicated in official University/College records; or emailed to the student’s University/College-issued email account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, such notice will be presumptively delivered. In cases of sexual misconduct and other crimes of violence, notice of the outcome will be delivered to all parties simultaneously, meaning without substantial delay between the notifications to each.
- There will be a single verbatim record, such as an audio recording, for all panel hearings. Deliberations will not be recorded. The record will be the property of the University/College and maintained according to the University/College’s record retention policy.
L. Conduct SanctionsEdit
One or more of following sanctions may be imposed upon any student for any single violation of the Code of Student Conduct:
- Warning: An official written notice that the student has violated University/College policies and/or rulesand that more severe conduct action will result should the student be involved in other violations while the student is enrolled at the University/College.
- Restitution: Compensation for damage caused to the University/College or any person’s property. This could also include situations such as failure to return a reserved space to proper condition – labor costs andexpenses.This is not a fine but, rather, a repayment for labor costs and/or the value ofproperty destroyed, damaged, consumed, or stolen.
- Fines: Reasonable fines may be imposed. Fines are specified to include:
- Community/University/College Service Requirements: For a student or organization to complete a specific supervised University/College service.
- Loss of Privileges: The student will be denied specified privileges for a designated period of time.
- Confiscation of Prohibited Property: Items whose presence is in violation of University/College policy will be confiscated and will become the property of the University/College. Prohibited items may be returned to the owner at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct and/or Campus Police.
- Behavioral Requirement: This includes required activities including, but not limited to, seeking academic counseling or substance abuse screening, writing a letter of apology, etc.
- Educational Program: Requirement to attend, present and/or participate in a program related to the violation. It may also be a requirement to sponsor or assist with a program for others on campus to aid them in learning about a specific topic or issue related to the violation for which the student or organization was found responsible. Audience may be restricted.
- Restriction of Visitation Privileges: May be imposed on a resident or non-resident student. The parameters of the restriction will be specified.
- University/College Housing Probation: Official notice that, should further violations of Residence Life or University/College policies occur during a specified probationary period, the student may immediately be removed from University/College housing. Regular probationary meetings may also be imposed.
- University/College Housing Reassignment: Reassignment to another University/College housing facility. Residential Life personnel will decide on the reassignment details.
- University/College Housing Suspension: Removal from University/College housing for a specified period of time after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for re-admission to University/College housing may be specified. Under this sanction, a student is required to vacate University/College housing within 24 hours of notification of the action, though this deadline may be extended upon application to, and at the discretion of, the Director of Housing and Residence Life. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action if deemed necessary. Prior to reapplication for University/College housing, the student must gain permission from the Director of Housing and Residence Life (or designee). This sanction may include restrictions on visitation to specified buildings or all College/University housing during the suspension.
- University/College Housing Expulsion: The student’s privilege to live in, or visit, any University/College housing structure is revoked indefinitely. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action if deemed necessary.
- University/College Probation: The student is put on official notice that, should further violations of University/College policies occur during a specified probationary period, the student may face suspension or expulsion. Regular probationary meetings may also be imposed.
- Eligibility Restriction: The student is deemed “not in good standing” with the University/College for a specified period of time. Specific limitations or exceptions may be granted by the Director of Student Conduct and terms of this conduct sanction may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Ineligibility to hold any office in any student organization recognized by the University/College or hold an elected or appointed office at the University/College; or
- Ineligibility to represent the University/College to anyone outside the University/College community in any way including: participating in the study abroad program, attending conferences, or representing the University/College at an official function, event or intercollegiate competition as a player, manager or student coach, etc.
- University/College Suspension: Separation from the University/College for a specified minimum period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Eligibility may be contingent upon satisfaction of specific conditions noted at the time of suspension. The student is required to vacate the campus within 24 hours of notification of the action, though this deadline may be extended upon application to, and at the discretion of, the Director of Student Conduct. During the suspension period, the student is banned from university property, functions, events and activities without prior written approval from the Director of Student Conduct. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary.[This sanction will be noted as a Conduct Suspension on the student’s official academic transcript]
- University/College Expulsion: Permanent separation from the University/College. The student is banned from university property and the student’s presence at anyUniversity/College-sponsored activity or event is prohibited. This action may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary.[This sanction will be noted as a Conduct Expulsion on the student’s official academic transcript].
- Other Sanctions: Additional or alternate sanctions may be created and designed as deemed appropriate to the offense with the approval of the Director of Student Conduct or designee.
The following sanctions may be imposed upon groups or organizations found to have violated the Code of Student Conduct:
- One or more of the sanctions listed above, specifically a) through i) and o) through q); and/or
- Deactivation, de-recognition, loss of all privileges (including status as a University/College registered group/organization), for a specified period of time.
M. Parental NotificationEdit
The University/College reserves the right to notify the parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations. The University/College may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under the age of 21 of alcohol and/or other drug violations. Parental notification may also be utilized discretionarily by administrators when permitted by FERPA or consent of the student.
N. Notification of OutcomesEdit
The outcome of a campus hearing is part of the education record of the responding student and is protected from release under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), except under certain conditions. As allowed by FERPA, when a student is accused of a policy violation that would constitute a “crime of violence” or forcible or nonforcible sex offense, the University/College will inform the alleged victim/party bringing the complaint in writing of the final results of a hearing regardless of whether the University/College concludes that a violation was committed. Such release of information may only include the alleged student’s/responding student’s name, the violation committed, and the sanctions assigned (if applicable). In cases of sexual misconduct and other offenses covered by Title IX, only, the rationale for the outcome will also be shared with all parties to the complaint in addition to the finding and sanction(s).
In cases where the University/Collegedetermines through the student conduct process that a student violated a policy that would constitute a “crime of violence” or nonforcible sex offense, the University/College may also release the above information publicly and/or to any third party. FERPA defines “crimes of violence” to include:
- Assault offenses (includes stalking)
- Criminal Homicide—manslaughter by negligence
- Criminal Homicide—murder and nonnegligent manslaughter
- Destruction/damage/vandalism of property
- Forcible sex offenses
- Non-forcible sex offenses
O. Failure to Complete Conduct SanctionsEdit
All students, as members of the University/College community, are expected to comply with conduct sanctions within the timeframe specified by the Director of Student Conduct or Administrative Hearing [Conference] Officer. Failure to follow through on conduct sanctions by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect or any other reason, may result in additional sanctions and/or suspension from the University/College[and may be noted on, or with, the student’s official transcript at the end of the semester]. In such situations, resident students will be required to vacate University/College housing within 24 hours of notification by the Director of Student Conduct, though this deadline may be extended upon application to, and at the discretion of, the Director of Housing and Residence Life and/or the Director of Student Conduct. A suspension will only be lifted when compliance with conduct sanctions is satisfactorily achieved. This determination will be made by the Director of Student Conduct.
P. Appeal Review ProceduresEdit
Any party may request an appeal of the decision of the Panel/Administrative Conference by filing a written request to the [Director of Student Conduct], subject to the procedures outlined below. All sanctions imposed by the original hearing body remain in effect, and all parties should be timely informed of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration, and the results of the appeal decision.
GROUNDS FOR APPEAL REQUESTSEdit
Appeals requests are limited to the following grounds:
- A procedural [or substantive error] occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.);
- To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included;
- The sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation [preferred: “the sanctions imposed are substantially outside the parameters or guidelines set by the College/University for this type of offense or the cumulative conduct record of the responding student].
Appeals must be filed in writing with the [Director of Student Conduct] within three (3,5, or 7) business days of the notice of the outcome to the hearing, barring exigent circumstances. Any exceptions are made at the discretion of the [Director of Student Conduct] and, when appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator.
The [Director of Student Conduct] will share the appeal by one party with the other party (parties) when appropriate under procedure or law (e.g., if the responding student appeals, the appeal is shared with the complainant, who may also wish to file a response, request an appeal on the same grounds or different grounds). The Director of Student Conduct will refer the request(s) to the College/University’s designated Appeal Review Officer, appointed by [the President]. The [Director of Student Conduct] will also draft a response memorandum to the appeal request(s), based on the Appeal Review Officer’s determination that the request(s) will be granted or denied, and why. All request-related documents are shared with all parties prior to submission to the Appeal Review Officer, who serves a three-year term.
The Appeal Review Officer will conduct an initial review to determine if the appeal request meets the limited grounds and is timely. They may consult with the Director of Student Conduct and/or Title IX Coordinator on any procedural or substantive questions that arise.
If the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, the original finding and sanction will stand and the decision is final. If the appeal has standing, the Appeal Review Officer determines whether to refer the appeal to the Appeals Panel or to remand it to the original decision-maker(s), typically within 3-5 business days. Efforts should be made to use remand whenever possible, with clear instructions for reconsideration only in light of the granted appeal grounds. Where the original decision-maker may be unduly biased by a procedural or substantive error, a new panel will be constituted to reconsider the matter, which can in turn be appealed, once. Full rehearingsby the Appeals Panel are not permitted [are very rarely used]. Where new evidence is presented or the sanction is challenged, the Appeals Review Officer will determine if the matter should be returned to the original decision-maker for reconsideration or if it should be reviewed by the Appeals Panel with instruction on the parameters regarding institutional consistency and any applicable legal guidelines. In review, the original finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately, thus the burden is on the appealing party(ies) to show clear error. The Appeals Panel must limit its review to the challenges presented.
On reconsideration, the Appeals Panel or original decision-maker may affirm or change the findings and/or sanctions of the original hearing body according to the permissible grounds. Procedural [or substantive] errors should be corrected, new evidence should be considered, and sanctions should be proportionate to the severity of the violation and the student’s cumulative conduct record.
All decisions of the Appeals Panel are to be made within five (5) days of submission to the Panel and are final, as are any decisions made by the original hearing body, Director of Student Conduct or Title IX Coordinator as the result of reconsideration consistent with instructions from the Appeal Review Officer.
THE APPEALS PANELEdit
Three-member Appeals Panels are drawn from the hearing panel pool, with the following requirements to serve:
- they did not serve on the Panel for the initial hearing
- they were not involved in the investigation in any way
- they have been properly trained in appeals procedures
If the institution allows for students to serve in the panel pool, they must:
- Be in academic good standing and have completed 15 hours of academic credit with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.
- Be in good standing with respect to the conduct process throughout the term in which they serve. Good standing is defined as having no record of misconduct during the semester(s) in which a student wishes to serve on the panel, as well as not currently being on any probation. A serious history of misconduct could disqualify a student for service.
The Appeal Review Officer will have final authority to approve all those serving on the panel. The parties may challenge a panelist(s)on the basis of potential bias, and any panelist who cannot render an impartial decision must recuse themselves. The Appeals Review Officer will make the determination as to the validity of any challenge or need for recusal. In the event of a recusal from the panel, the Appeals Review Officer will solicit a replacement from the pool of panelists.
The Director of Student Conduct or designee serves as the non-voting advisor to the panel, with responsibility for training the panel, conducting preliminary investigations, and ensuring a fair process for the complainant and responding student.
The presumptive stance of the College/University is that all decisions made and sanctions imposed by the original decision-maker are to be implemented during the appellate process. At the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct, and in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator when necessary, implementation of sanctions may be stayed pending review only in extremely exigent circumstances. This does not include proximity to graduation, end of term, or exams. Instead, it refers to an overwhelming likelihood, as determined by the Appeals Review Officer and Director of Student Conduct, in consultation, that the appeal would result in a reversal of the finding and/or substantial modification of the sanctions.
OTHER GUIDELINES FOR APPEALSEdit
- All parties will be timely informed [specify timeframe here if desired]of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration, and the results of the appeal decision;
- Every opportunity to return the appeal to the original decision-maker for reconsideration (remand) should be pursued;
- Appeals are not intended to be full re-hearings of the complaint (de novo). In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal; Witnesses may be called if necessary.
- Appeals are not an opportunity for appeals panelists to substitute their judgment for that of the original decision-maker merely because they disagree with the finding and/or sanctions. Appeals decisions are to be deferential to the original decision-maker, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if there is a compelling justification to do so.
Q. Disciplinary RecordsEdit
All conduct records are maintained by the University/College for seven (7) years from the time of their creation except those that result in separation (suspension or expulsion, including from housing) and those that fall under Title IX, which are maintained indefinitely.
R. Approval and ImplementationEdit
This Code of Student Conduct was approved on [date] by, and implemented on [date].
- ↑ Records regarding the provision of amnesty, however, should be maintained.
- ↑ For any complaint that falls under Title IX (e.g. sexual misconduct) or involves any other form of discrimination, the Director of Student Conduct will work under the direction of the Title IX Coordinator.
- ↑ “Day”, used throughout this document, refers to normal business days when the College/University is in operation.
- ↑ Note that some jurisdictions (e.g.: North Carolina) require institutions to permit attorney participation in a hearing.
- ↑ Consider whether you wish to permit appeals on substantive grounds. We believe you can and should avoid this need by formulating your process as one where the original hearing body makes the finding a recommendation to the Student Conduct Office. In this formulation, the Director of Student Conduct will be able to correct manifestly wrong findings prior to appeal by changing the recommendation of the original hearing body, and appeals on the basis of finding should therefore be unnecessary. If you include an appeal on finding, our concern is that it opens the door for appeal in every case, for appeals of appeals, and for rehearing on appeal, all of which we hope to avoid. It is also possible to view a manifestly wrong finding as a procedural error, thus mooting the need for finding as an explicit basis for appeal.
- ↑ Failure to provide information during or participate in an investigation or a hearing, even resulting from concern over pending criminal or civil proceedings, does not make evidence “unavailable” at the time of the hearing.
- ↑ The Director of Student Conduct is expected to consult with the chair of the original panel to inquire as to whether the new evidence would, in the opinion of the Chair, have substantially impacted the original finding or sanction.
- ↑ Campuses using this ground for appeal should meet the following criteria: (1) There are no sanctioning guidelines or parameters offered by the Institution to the Original Hearing Body, and/or (2) There is no review of the sanctions by the Student Conduct Office, as articulated in the previous footnote.If the above exists, this ground should read, “the sanctions imposed are substantially outside the parameters or guidelines set by the College/University for this type of offense or the cumulative conduct record of the responding student.” These guidelines and parameters are NOT to be confused with precedent. Prior findings/sanctions in similar cases that are flawed should not create the basis for all future cases. Finally, appeals officers/committees (preference for committees) MUST discern the difference between a SANCTION and the IMPACT of a sanction. For a SANCTION to be disproportionate or inconsistent, it must be viewed as a “stand-alone” outcome. Simply put, where a one-year suspension is within the guidelines or has been issued by the Board and/or reviewed by the Student Conduct Office, it is, by default, proportionate. The other impacts on the student’s life are notwithstanding. This should alleviate the potential of subjective decision-making that will later be scrutinized as potentially arbitrary, capricious or pretextually (or actually) discriminatory. For example: A violation of the sexual misconduct policy where the sanction is a one-year suspension (with conditions for reinstatement) is not “disproportionate” because of the graduation status, time in the semester, pending internship/job/externship/graduate school application. Altering the suspension to allow for some personal situation that may appear academic on its face, or extending it for the same reasons, is not only inconsistent, but also puts the campus at both actual and litigation risk.
- ↑ Institutions may opt to have a standing appeals panel, but it is recommended to have alternates at the ready or a pool of panelists.
- ↑ Again, students should not be panelists for sexual misconduct and other Title IX-covered behaviors, because of the chilling effect on reporting this causes.