Student Disciplinary Procedures and Hearings
Should the conduct of a student threaten or constitute a danger to personal safety or property, or substantially interfere with the essential tasks of the University, the student may be summarily suspended. A student may also be subject to summary suspension if, following a warning by a faculty, staff, or administrator of the University to desist, he/she continues to engage in conduct that violates the University's rules and regulations. In such cases, if necessary and appropriate, steps will be taken to eject the student from the University's premises.
If injunctions or civil authority are required, the President, or in the President's absence, the Provost, and in the absence of the President or the Provost, another designated officer of the University, shall authorize such action after consultation with faculty and student representatives to the maximum extent practicable.
In all cases involving summary action, the following procedure will be observed:
A. The University officer taking summary action shall provide notice of the student's conduct and summary action taken to the Dean for Students for the campus at which the student is enrolled, as soon as practicable.
B. The Dean for Students shall immediately determine whether the summary suspension shall be continued or modified pending resolution of the matter. Summary suspension may be applied to a student’s enrollment status and/or residence hall status. The Dean for Students may terminate the summary action if the dean determines at any time that the summary action was taken without sufficient evidence to support it.
C. Notice of termination, continuation or modification of the summary action and the substance of the disciplinary charge against the student, if any, shall be reduced to writing and forwarded to the alleged violator by the Dean for Students personally or by first class and certified mail, return receipt requested, within ten (10) business days following the occurrence of the event. Said notice shall include a request that the alleged violator designate (if the matter is not resolved by an Informal Resolution Attempt), whether he/she wishes to have the charge resolved by an Informal or Formal Hearing pursuant to University's Procedures for a Disciplinary Hearing.
The alleged violator shall have ten (10) business days within which to contest in writing, the Dean's decision regarding continuation or modification of the summary suspension. If the Dean does not terminate the summary suspension within three (3) business days following his/her receipt of the alleged violator's written response regarding the summary suspension and if the matter is not resolved pursuant to an Informal Resolution Attempt, the student shall be entitled upon his/her demand, to an immediate Informal or Formal Hearing of the charge, as described below. If the alleged violator fails to respond to the Dean's request regarding the choice of an Informal or Formal Hearing, the Dean may convene a Formal Disciplinary Hearing upon the written notice sent at least ten (10) business days prior to the date of the Hearing. Such notice shall either be delivered personally or sent by first class mail and certified mail, return receipt requested.
Informal Resolution Attempt:
A good faith attempt will be made to resolve all problems informally, first, by the appropriate department. This may include informal discussions with the alleged violator and faculty members, deans or staff members involved and where appropriate, with supervisors or administrators at sequentially higher levels. If the matter is not resolved through an Informal Resolution Attempt, the alleged violator shall be requested to designate whether he/she wishes to have the charge determined by an Informal or Formal Hearing pursuant to University's Procedures for a Disciplinary Hearing. Upon such designation, or upon the failure of the alleged violator to designate the type of Hearing which he/she desires within ten (10) business days following the University's request for same, an Informal or Formal Hearing will be implemented, as described below.
Non-Admission Resolution Option
Ordinarily, students who are subject to the University’s disciplinary procedure because of an alleged violation of the Guiding Principles Conduct or other practice or policy of the University may elect to resolve the charges by an Informal Resolution, an Informal Hearing, or a Formal Hearing. If the Informal Resolution does not result in an agreement of the charges for which the student accepts responsibility and the sanction to be imposed, the student may elect to have the disciplinary charges resolved through an Informal Hearing or Formal Hearing.
Students against whom both University disciplinary charges and related criminal charges are pending have an additional option for resolving disciplinary charges. Such students may elect the “Non-Admission Resolution” option. The Non-Admission Resolution option permits a student to negotiate the charges for which a sanction will be imposed without admitting or denying the charges, as well as to negotiate the sanction to be imposed.
Despite the lack of the student’s admission of responsibility for any of the misconduct alleged, for purposes of a subsequent disciplinary proceeding the University will treat the student in the same manner as if he or she had accepted responsibility for the negotiated charges. The student may not appeal the results of the Non-Admission Resolution option. If the hearing officer and the student are unable to agree upon the disciplinary charges and the sanction to be imposed, the student may elect to resolve the pending disciplinary charges by either an Informal Hearing or a Formal Hearing. The University, in its sole discretion, may deny a student’s election of the Non-Admission
Procedures for a Disciplinary Hearing: The Hearing Officer
The Hearing Officer may be an Assistant Director, or a Director within Student Affairs, an Assistant Dean for Students, a Dean for Students, or the Judicial and Compliance Officer.
Notice of the Charge(s)
At least two (2) business days prior to the commencement of a Hearing, the alleged violator must receive from the complainant a written statement outlining the charge(s).
If the alleged violator elects to proceed by an Informal Hearing, the Hearing Officer shall, based upon his/her investigation, determine whether there was a violation of the Guiding Principles of Conduct, and any applicable disciplinary action. Such investigation may include interviews of the alleged violator and witnesses, as well as a review of written statements, and the alleged violator's student file.
The Hearing Officer shall convene an adversarial proceeding (the “Hearing"). The Hearing is not intended as a trial before a court of law; therefore, adherence to rules of evidence is not required. Questions relating to the competency, relevancy or materiality of evidence and the latitude in the questioning of parties involved shall be based upon the determination of the Hearing Officer as to what is just, fair and reasonable under the circumstances.
1. Responsibilities of the Hearing Officer:
a. To insure the procedural guidelines are followed.
b. To maintain proper decorum at all times. The Hearing Officer reserves the right to remove anyone who disrupts the proceedings.
c. The Hearing Officer, a party and/or the party’s adviser, may ask questions of the witnesses.
d. Once the proceedings have begun, the Hearing Officer shall have no communication with a party or the party’s adviser outside of the hearing except to schedule Hearing meetings.
2. Procedural Guidelines:
a. Each of the parties or his/her adviser shall be afforded an opportunity to present an opening and closing statement.
b. The complaining party and his/her witnesses shall be heard first.
c. The alleged violator shall be given an opportunity to testify and present evidence and witnesses, but shall not be compelled to testify nor shall an inference be drawn from the failure to testify.
d. Each of the parties or his/her adviser shall have an opportunity to hear and question adverse witnesses.
e. Each party, in addition to his/her adviser, may have three observers present during the Hearing.
f. If any party plans to have an attorney present to act as the party’s adviser, the party must notify the Hearing Officer forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the session in order to allow for University Counsel to be present. If University Counsel cannot attend the prescheduled session, the Hearing Officer will set another date convenient for all parties.
g. The decision by the Hearing Officer will be based solely upon the evidence presented at the session. The alleged violator's student file shall be deemed part of the record in evidence at the session.
h. A finding of the Hearing Officer shall be based on a fair preponderance of credible evidence.
i. It is the burden of the complainant to show that it is more likely than not that the alleged violator committed the violation(s) contained in the charge.
j. If the alleged violator fails to appear at the Hearing, the Hearing Officer may, at his/her discretion, postpone to another date or, based on the record before the Hearing Officer, issue a decision as to whether there was a violation(s) as charged and, if so, impose an appropriate sanction.
k. If the alleged violator appears, but walks out as a result of free choice, the session will continue in his/her absence. No negative inference will be made as a result of his/her departure.
l. A tape recording of the hearing shall be made at the University's expense. The recording shall be maintained by the Hearing Officer for a period of one (1) year following the date of issuance of the finding. A party to the proceeding may obtain a written transcript or a copy of the tape recording at his/her expense.
m. As soon as practicable following the conclusion of the Hearing, a written decision will be forwarded to all parties. The decision will be sent to the local Dean for Students for proper recording.
If the Hearing Officer determines that the student has committed a violation(s), a sanction will be imposed. The sanctions that may be imposed include (but are not limited to) the following:
A verbal warning that a student's conduct is improper or violates University rules or regulations coupled with a direction to cease and desist.
A formal written notice that the student has engaged in improper conduct and a warning that subsequent violations may result in more severe disciplinary action.
Reimbursement by transfer of property, money or services to the University or member of the University community in an amount not in excess of the damage or loss incurred. All financial transactions must be coordinated with appropriate Office of Student Accounts, and Finance and Administration officials.
A monetary amount assessed as a penalty for improper conduct or violation of University rules and regulations. Fines for specific violations are enumerated in University publications (i.e., Student Handbook online, or in print prior to 2005 with copies in the University Library; Guide to Residence Living).
* Educational Sanction
Community service or required participation in a project or activity, either within or outside the University, during a period and in a manner consistent with the nature and severity of the violation(s) as determined by the Hearing officer in consultation with appropriate university personnel.
* Restriction or Revocation of Privileges
Alteration, limitation or revocation of certain privileges associated with membership or participation in the University community for a specified or indefinite period of time. Examples of such privileges include but are not limited to: entering University property or facilities; use of or participation in programs, activities, events, and services on or off campus; membership, election to or holding office in a club, organization or society; representing the University on a committee or in a program or activity; operation or parking of a motor vehicle on University premises; visitation by guests; participation in recreational, intramural or varsity athletic programs; use of University technology resources.
Specified or indefinite period during which infraction-free conduct must be maintained coupled with a warning that subsequent improper conduct or violation of University rules or regulations may result in more severe disciplinary action including separation from residence and/or the University. (May include restriction and or revocation of privileges as described above.)
A suspended student will be temporarily deprived of all rights and privileges normally accorded an enrolled student. Separation from a residence, class or classes and/or University facilities or premises and revocation of rights and privileges is for a specified period of time between one day and a full academic year. Conditions may be placed on the student's return. In the case of suspension from the University, the sanction may be recorded in the student’s academic record. A student may be suspended from residence and not from the University.
A dismissed student will be separated from residence or from the University community for a period of no less than one full academic year. A student may be dismissed from residence and not from the University. In the case of dismissal from the University, the sanction may be recorded in the student's academic record. Conditions may be applied, and reinstatement to residence or as an enrolled student must be in the form of a petition, in writing to the Dean for Students.
The most severe form of disciplinary action. An expelled student may not return to residence and/or the University. The student is permanently separated and loses all rights and privileges associated with membership in the University community. In the case of expulsion the sanction may be recorded in the student's academic record. The decision to expel a student may be made only by the Director of Residential Life or higher authority in the case of expulsion from residence, or the Dean for Students or higher authority in the case of expulsion from the University.
Factors that may be considered when determining a disciplinary sanction(s):
* Nature, scope, and severity of violation(s)
* Impact on the individual(s) involved and/or on the residence or University community
* Aggravated, intentional, repeated or multiple violation(s)
* Disciplinary and civic history
* Acknowledgement of accountability / responsibility for improper conduct
* Remorse, cooperation
When a student is separated from the University for disciplinary or academic reasons or violation of the Academic Integrity code, prior to the end of a semester, or officially withdraws from any course or courses, regardless of the method of instruction, by filing a written notice at the OSA office, or withdraws using the OSA Web site, cancellation of tuition, student activity, and special course fees only will be made. Please note: Application, general institution, and installment fees are nonrefundable. Housing and meal plan fees are governed by the Housing Agreement. Cancellation will be made according to the Tuition Cancellation Policy Schedule shown in the respective term Class Schedule.
The University is under no obligation to delay or forego its disciplinary process or the imposition of any disciplinary sanction pending the investigation or proceedings involving criminal charges or a civil action.
Disciplinary sanctions which do not restrict or revoke a student's rights or privileges or otherwise effect the student's status as enrolled; or sanctions applied as a result of informal resolution as described in the Student Handbook may not be appealed.
Nothing in the preceding guidelines should be construed as limiting or preventing in any way, the right or authority of other officials of the University to take necessary and appropriate action which effect students consistent with the officials’ stated, published, or implied role or responsibility.
Furthermore, a Dean for Students may take disciplinary action in cases where he/she observes a student violating rules or regulations, or the terms of a previously applied disciplinary sanction, without following the disciplinary procedures described in the Student Handbook. If a staff member reports to the Dean that he/she observed a student violating a previously applied sanction, the Dean may impose additional sanctions without following the disciplinary procedures in the Student Handbook.
In the case of single, multiple or repeated violations the Hearing Officer may apply one or more sanctions of varying severity up to and including the level of his/her designated authority. A sanction may be instituted immediately or put in abeyance pending appeal.
Process for Appeal of a Disciplinary Action
A student, who is found guilty of violating a University regulation and subsequently disciplined, may request an appeal, providing this request is made in writing within five (5) regularly scheduled class days following the date the student receives notification of the Hearing Officer's decision. If the Hearing Officer was an Assistant Director, a Director, or an Assistant Dean for Students within Student Affairs, the appeal shall be to the Dean for Students. If the Hearing Officer was a Dean for Students the appeal shall be to another Dean for Students or the Judicial and Compliance Officer. If the Hearing Officer was the Judicial and Compliance Officer, the appeal shall be to a Dean for Students or the Vice President of Student Affairs.
The written request for appeal shall be sent to the Dean for Students or Vice President for Student Affairs and must include the following:
1. Name and address of the student
2. Nature of violation including date and place
3. Disciplinary action taken and by whom
4. Reason for requesting an appeal
There are four (4) grounds upon which a student may appeal a decision as a result of a disciplinary hearing:
1. The original Hearing was not conducted in conformity with applicable procedures.
2. The record before the Hearing Officer did not establish that it was more likely than not that the student committed the violation(s).
3. The sanctions imposed were not appropriate for the violation(s), which the student was found to have committed.
4. New Information, not known previously to the student, is sufficient to require that the decision and/or sanction be modified or vacated.
Disciplinary sanctions applied as a result of informal resolution as described in this Handbook may not be appealed.
If the Dean for Students is not the Appeal Officer, he or she shall forward the request for appeal to the University Judicial and Compliance Officer. Upon receiving the written request for an appeal with the above information, the officer considering the appeal shall obtain a copy of the Hearing Officer's decision and may review it along with the entire record presented at the Hearing. The officer considering the appeal reserves the right to modify the decision of the Hearing Officer. As soon as practicable, the decision on appeal will be made and forwarded to all parties and to the local Dean for Students for proper recording.
Releasing Disciplinary Information
Details relating to the disciplinary proceeding, the decision and the names of the individuals involved will not be made available except as required for internal University purposes or as required by law, or when charges are made or proceedings instituted by or against the University or any member of the University community in courts or governmental agencies. The University shall notify both the accuser and the accused of the outcome (final determination with respect to the alleged sex offense and any sanction that is imposed) of any campus disciplinary proceeding brought alleging a sex offense.
An alleged violator, who elects to have a charge resolved by an Informal Hearing, may waive the two (2) business day advance Notice of Charge requirement. All other time limits contained in the foregoing Disciplinary Procedure may be extended by mutual written consent of the complainant and the alleged violator, or by the Hearing Officer or the Officer considering an appeal.