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Procedural Standards

A. Complaint.

See also Appendix D for a flow chart of the student conduct process.

1. Filing a complaint.  Any member of the College community may file a complaint against a student for possible violations of the Student Conduct Code, including a representative from the Office of the Dean of Students on behalf of a person outside the College community if the incident has an adverse effect on the College and there is documentation from a verifiable source. A complaint must be prepared in writing and submitted to the Director of Student Conduct. Any complaint should be submitted as soon as possible after the incident takes place, preferably within 30 days. However, the Director of Student Conduct has discretion to accept or issue a complaint and issue charges against a student regardless of when the complaint is submitted if the conduct poses a possible threat to the College community or to individual members of the College community.

2. Investigation.  The Director of Student Conduct will conduct an investigation to determine if the information in the complaint merits charges against a student or students, a formal admonishment, no charges, or if the incident can be addressed through an alternate dispute resolution process, including mediation.

B. Charge(s).

Any charges will be presented to the accused student in writing through the student’s College email address, as the official means of communication at the College, and a conference with a hearing administrator shall be scheduled within a timely period. Maximum time limits may be extended at the discretion of the hearing administrator for unforeseen circumstances.

C.Conference.

The accused student will meet with an assigned hearing administrator for a conference to discuss the grounds for any charges, process, and sanctioning practices. The accused student will select whether he or she will participate in a formal or informal conduct hearing. An advisor of the accused student’s choice may be present during the conference. If after notice an accused student does not attend a scheduled conference, the hearing administrator may postpone the conference, or review the information available and make a decision on responsibility including assigning any sanctions to the student if deemed appropriate.

D.Informal hearing.

If the accused student selects an informal hearing to address any charges, the hearing administrator conducting the conference will immediately conduct the informal hearing. The accused student’s advisor may remain present for the informal hearing, but may not represent the student or address the hearing administrator. The advisor’s role is limited to providing support to the student by observing or advising the student outside of the proceeding. Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in student conduct proceedings. The hearing administrator may temporarily adjourn the informal hearing if he or she determines that further review or clarification is necessary including, but not limited to, interviewing the complaining party and/or other witnesses.

1.  Joint hearing.  In cases involving more than one accused student, the administrator or board may permit the hearing concerning each student to be conducted either separately or jointly.
2. Information.  The informal hearing provides an opportunity for the accused student to be heard and to provide information such as written witness statements. The student may accept or deny responsibility for any charges.
3. Decision.  The hearing administrator will determine whether the student is responsible for any charges. The hearing administrator’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the accused student violated the Student Conduct Code. If the student is found not responsible for any charges, the process is concluded. If the student is found responsible for any charges, the hearing administrator will then assign any appropriate sanctions.
4. Appeal.  The accused student may appeal the decision and/or any sanctions issued by the hearing administrator in writing to the Director of Student Conduct. (Please see Section F. Appeals for more information).

E. Formal hearing.

If the accused student selects a formal hearing, then he or she has the opportunity to select an administrative hearing, a Community Standards Board hearing, or an All College Standards Board hearing. A student may choose an All College Standards Board hearing only if his or her case may result in suspension or expulsion in the event he or she is found responsible for any charges. Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in student conduct proceedings.

1.  Administrative hearing.  An administrative hearing is conducted by a trained faculty or staff member of the College who is selected by the Director of Student Conduct and who has not previously served as a hearing administrator in the accused student’s conduct process. The administrator will hear information presented by any parties and render a decision and sanctions if appropriate. A student may appeal the decision of the administrator to the Director of Student Conduct.

2. Community Standards Board.  The Community Standards Board is a student board chaired by a student representative and advised by the Assistant Director of Student Conduct. The Community Standards Board is comprised of four voting members; the student chair votes only in the case of a tie. The advisor to the board does not vote nor participate in deliberations, but may answer questions regarding procedural standards, policy, or sanctioning practices. A student may appeal the board’s decision to the Director of Student Conduct. The Community Standards Board will not hear cases that may result in suspension or expulsion  should the accused student be found responsible for any charges.

3.  All College Standards Board.  The All College Standards Board is comprised of five members and is chaired by the Director of Student Conduct or designee of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The membership of the All College Standards Board includes two student representatives, one faculty member, one student affairs staff member, and an additional representative that can be either faculty or staff member. The Director of Student Conduct neither votes nor participates in deliberations, but may answer questions regarding procedural standards, policy, or sanctioning practices. The All College Standards Board will hear cases that may result in suspension or expulsion should the accused student be found responsible for any charges. A student may appeal the board’s decision to the Vice President for Student Affairs.

4.   Formal hearing guidelines.  Formal hearings shall be conducted according to the following guidelines.

a. Private hearing.  A hearing is conducted in private. The person bringing the complaint, the accused student, and advisor(s) are allowed to attend the entire portion of the board or administrative hearing at which information is received (this excludes deliberations). Admission of any other person to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the board or administrator hearing the case.

b. Joint hearing.  In cases involving more than one accused student, the administrator or board advisor may permit the hearing concerning each student to be conducted either separately or jointly.

c. Advisors.  The person bringing the complaint and the accused student may be assisted by an advisor of their choice, at their expense. Students must notify the Director of Student Conduct of whom they have designated as their advisor five business days prior to the scheduled hearing. A representative from the College’s Office of the General Counsel may also be present at the hearing. Students are responsible for presenting their own information, and therefore advisors are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any hearings. A student should select as an advisor a person whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled date and time for the hearing as delays will not normally be allowed due to the scheduling conflicts of an advisor.

d. Questions.  The person bringing the complaint, the accused student, and the hearing board or administrator may arrange for witnesses to present pertinent information. The parties may suggest questions to be answered by one another and/or one another’s witnesses, but the questions must be directed to the chairperson of the board or the administrator rather than to the other party or witness directly. The chairperson of the board or the administrator will determine whether questions or potential information are appropriate at his or her discretion.

e. Additional information.  Relevant records, exhibits and written statements (including student impact statements during the sanction phase) may be accepted as information for consideration by a board or administrator at the discretion of the chairperson or administrator.

f. Decline to provide information.  The accused student has the right to decline to provide any written or oral statements, answer questions posed in a hearing, or provide any information on his or her behalf. However, the hearing board or administrator may draw an adverse inference from the student’s absence of information or refusal to answer questions.

g. Procedural questions.  All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the chairperson of the board or administrator.

h.  Majority vote and quorum.  A board will determine by majority vote whether the accused student has violated the policy as charged. For any board hearing, a quorum of three voting members is necessary. Quorum is not required for an administrative hearing as the decision is made by the administrator alone.

i.  Basis for decision.  The board or administrator’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the accused student violated the Student Conduct Code. Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in student conduct proceedings.

j. Hearing recorded.  There will be a single verbatim record, such as a tape or digital recording of all formal hearings. Deliberations will not be recorded. The record will be the property of the College.

k. Decision in absentia.  If an accused student, with notice, does not appear for a formal hearing, the hearing administrator or board may postpone the hearing or hear the information in support of the charges in the accused student’s absence and will make a decision on the available information.

l.  Special accommodation.  The board or administrator may accommodate persons with concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation during the hearing by providing separate facilities or physical dividers, and/or by permitting participation by telephone, videophone/conferencing, videotape, audio tape, written statement, or other viable means as determined by the Director of Student Conduct to be appropriate.

m. Differing abilities accommodation.  The board or administrator will provide any reasonable accommodation for hearing participants who have a disability and are registered with, or notify the Office of Differing Abilities and the Office of the Dean of Students in a timely manner.

F.Appeal Procedures.

1. Accused student appeal.  An accused student is afforded one single opportunity to appeal decisions and/or any sanctions issued by a hearing administrator or board within five business days of the date of the written decision. The decision of the administrator reviewing the submitted appeal is final and conclusive.

2. Student complainant appeal.  A student who filed a complaint resulting in a student being charged with a violation under Personal Abuse (see Section D.3. under Violations of Expectations for Student Conduct) is afforded one single opportunity to appeal decisions and/or any sanctions issued by a hearing administrator or board within five business days of the date of written notification of the decision and/or relevant sanctions. The decision of the administrator reviewing the submitted appeal is final and conclusive.

3. Required format.  All appeals must be in writing, and include any supporting documentation that the student wishes to be considered. Deference is given to the original hearing administrator or board’s findings of fact and decision of responsibility and/or any sanctions, therefore the burden of proof is on the student filing an appeal to sufficiently demonstrate cause to alter procedures, the original decision or any sanctions. An appeal will generally be limited to a review of the verbatim record of the hearing and supporting documents for one or more of the purposes below, provided however the administrator may request additional information or clarification from the accused student, complaining party, and/or witnesses for purposes of this review.

a. Process review.  To determine whether the hearing was conducted in accordance with published procedures and without bias on the part of the hearing administrator or any board member. Deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant prejudice results.

b. Information review.  To determine whether there was information presented in the hearing that, if believed by the board or administrator, was sufficient to establish that a violation of the Student Conduct Code occurred.

c. Sanction review.  To determine whether any sanctions imposed were appropriate for the violation of the Student Conduct Code which the student was found to have committed.

d.  New information.  To consider new information, submitted by the appealing student within the prescribed five day period, sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, because such information was not known to the student appealing at the time of the original hearing.

4.     Appeal decision.  An administrator reviewing an appeal may make one of the following decisions.

a. Affirm.  The administrator may decide to affirm the decision of the original hearing administrator or board.

b. Alter sanction.  The administrator may alter the sanctions issued by the original hearing administrator or board. Alteration in the sanction may include reducing or increasing the sanction or requirements.

c. New hearing.  The administrator may determine that a new hearing by a different hearing administrator or board is warranted to correct procedural irregularity or to consider new information. A student may appeal a decision of the new hearing administrator or board.

d. Remand.  The administrator may direct the original hearing administrator or board to review their original decision subject to any instructions from the administrator; and may affirm that decision or render a new decision consistent with those instructions. A student may appeal a decision made by the original hearing administrator or board if there are any changes after the review.

e. New information.  To consider new information, submitted by the appealing student within the prescribed five day period, sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, because such information was not known to the student appealing at the time of the original hearing.

G.Summer and End of Academic Year Cases.

Any incidents that are reported near the end of the spring semester and are unable to be heard before the last week of classes in accordance with the conduct process may be heard by an existing hearing administrator or board over the summer.

1.  Minor incident. For a minor incident (where a finding of responsibility would result in a warning and/or educational sanctions), the accused student will be asked to submit a statement in writing regarding the incident that may include statements by any witnesses by a prescribed date. The hearing administrator or board, in conjunction with the incident report form, will consider this statement. The accused student will be notified of the administrator or board’s decision via electronic communication. This process will also be utilized to handle such incidents that occur during summer sessions conducted at the College. If the accused student wishes to appeal the decision of the administrator or board, he or she must do so within five business days of notification of the decision. 

 2.  Major incident. For a more serious incident (where a finding of responsibility may result in a status of pending termination of residency, termination of residency, pending suspension, suspension, or expulsion), the student may choose to respond to the charges in writing (as described above), or to participate in a hearing process in person through existing procedures. The Director of Student Conduct will determine whether this process should take place during the summer or after classes have reconvened in the fall.

H.Sanctioning Practices.

The following sanctions, alone or in any combination, may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the Student Conduct Code. See also Appendix E for specific sanctioning procedures for selected violations.

1. Warning. A notice in writing to the student that the student is violating or has violated institutional regulations and that further violations may result in more severe disciplinary action.

2. Loss of privilege. Denial of any specified privilege for a designated period of time.

3. Restitution. Compensation for loss, damage, or injury to College property. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.

4. Discretionary sanctions. Work assignments, essays, presentations, research projects, conduct contracts, service to the College, or other discretionary assignments.

5.  Restorative justice.  Participation in a mediated discussion with any persons or departments harmed and development of a shared agreement of how to correct the harm. Unlike other sanctions, all participants must voluntarily agree to participate in the restorative justice process. Restorative justice and mediation programs will not be available to students accused or found responsible for any sexual misconduct.

6. Master education plan. Develop a master education plan with the aid of the Director of Student Conduct and mentor committee, agree to the terms of the plan, and to continuous evaluation.

7. Parental notification. Notification may be sent to parents or guardians of a student who is under 18 years of age, or financially dependent on his or her parents or guardians, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Parents or guardians may also be notified of alcohol and other drug incidents for students under 21 years of age, regardless of financial dependency or resulting sanction.

8. Pending termination of housing. This status serves as a housing probationary status assigned to a student for a specified period of time before his or her housing privileges are terminated. While on this status, any further violations of College policy may result in termination of housing. In addition, this status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of the Dean of Students for five years after a student separates from the College.

9. Termination of housing. Removal of a student from College housing after a specific date and for a specified period of time. Through the duration of the termination, the student will be restricted from entering all residential floors in College buildings. Students who are removed from College housing for disciplinary reasons will receive the refund available based on the time of the semester according to the Department of Residential Education and Housing policies and the housing contract. In addition, this status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of the Dean of Students for five years after a student separates from the College.

10. Pending suspension. This status serves as the disciplinary probation status assigned to a student for a specified period of time before he or she is suspended from the College. While on this status, any further violations of College policy may result in suspension from the College. In addition, this status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of the Dean of Students for five years after a student separates from the College.

11. Suspension. Termination of course registration and residency (if applicable) from the College after a specific date and for a specified time. Through the duration of the suspension, the student may be restricted from College property and may be required to provide prior notice and receive approval from the Director of Student Conduct for the purpose of conducting College business. Before a student may be readmitted to the College after the designated period of time, he or she must meet with the Dean of Students to show satisfactory completion of any assigned directives or to discuss stipulated conditions for his or her return. In addition, this status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of the Dean of Students indefinitely. Should a student wish to return to the College after the suspension period, he or she must comply with any academic standards and procedures then in effect.

12. Interim suspension. Immediate separation of a student from the College and/or housing by the Dean of Students pending a hearing. Through the duration of the interim suspension, the student may be restricted from College property and may be required to provide prior notice and receive approval from the Director of Student Conduct for the purpose of conducting College business. Interim suspension will be imposed only in exceptional circumstances to ensure the health, safety or welfare of members of the College or College property or to ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and welfare. Students who have been suspended on an interim basis must have a conduct hearing within a practical period of the interim suspension.

13. Expulsion.  Permanent dismissal from the College and restriction from College property. In addition, this status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of the Dean of Students indefinitely. Expulsion is the most serious disciplinary action taken by the College and is generally reserved for only those cases of behavioral misconduct in which all the relevant facts and aggravating circumstances support a conclusion that the only reasonable sanction is permanent removal from the College.

I.Disciplinary Record Keeping Practice.

1. File maintenance.  A student who is charged with a violation of the Student Conduct Code has a file created and maintained by the Office of the Dean of Students. Files are maintained for five years after the date the student separates from the College; however files of students who have been suspended or expelled are maintained indefinitely.

2. Confidentiality.  The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) protects a student’s education records, including student conduct files, from unauthorized disclosure to third parties. A student must sign a waiver to grant access to his or her disciplinary record before the College will disclose information protected by FERPA contained in the student’s records. These confidentiality requirements apply to students’ parents or guardians with the exception of a health or safety emergency, an alcohol or drug violation, or if the student is financially dependent on the parents or guardians. Federal law makes exceptions in these cases and does allow the College to share disciplinary information with specific persons. In addition, FERPA allows the College to disclose a student’s education record without prior written consent when the disclosure is to a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense. The disclosure may include only the final results of the disciplinary proceeding conducted by the institution of postsecondary education with respect to that alleged crime or offense. Furthermore, FERPA permits the College to disclose sanction information to a student or party who has filed a complaint of conduct that is a violation under Personal Abuse (see Section D.3. under Violations of Expectations for Student Conduct) when any sanction directly relates to the complaining party.

3. Inspection.  Students may request to inspect or view their disciplinary records in accordance with FERPA. To do so, a student should make an appointment with the Director of Student Conduct. Records are not immediately available to students because they must first be reviewed for confidential information regarding other students, and thus may need to be redacted. Upon request, the Office of the Dean of Students will provide students with copies of redacted incident reports, letters, and any forms or receipts in the student’s file.

4. Reporting.  If a student has given proper permission for the College to share disciplinary information to a third party, it is the practice of the College to only disclose a disciplinary file if a student has ever been placed on a probationary status, has been removed from housing, or has been suspended or expelled from the College. The College retains discretion to release additional information contained in a student’s disciplinary file if a third party requires disclosure of further information, or if a student separates from the College with any pending student conduct matters.

5. Petition for administrative deletion.  Disciplinary records may be administratively deleted upon approval by the Dean of Students. When a record is administratively deleted, the information it contains is no longer part of an official disciplinary record. The College is required by law and College policy to retain for statistical purposes information regarding certain types of disciplinary violations. Statistical information from deleted files may be retained with the student’s name and student identification number removed. Administrative deletion affects only information maintained by the Office of the Dean of Students. Copies of letters distributed to other College departments, incident reports, police reports, and the results of previous background checks reported outside of the Office of the Dean of Students are not affected by an administrative deletion. Petitions for an administrative deletion may be made no sooner than one year after the date of the student’s last finding of responsibility from the student conduct process and must be submitted in writing to the Dean of Students. Administrative deletion may not be granted for conduct that resulted in suspension or expulsion from the College and may also be denied for conduct that posed a threat to a member of the College community or serious damage to College property.

J.Violation of Law and Student Conduct Code. 

College student conduct proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with conduct that potentially violates both the criminal law and College policy without regard to the pendency of civil or criminal litigation in court or criminal arrest and prosecution. Proceedings under these procedural standards may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct. Prior determinations made or sanctions imposed under these procedural standards will not be subject to change because criminal charges arising out of the same facts giving rise to violation of College rules are later dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of or against the criminal law defendant.

K.Leave of absence or withdrawal.

1. Individuals who withdraw or take a leave of absence from the College while a conduct matter or any sanction is pending will have a registration hold placed on their student account(s) and will be notified of the pending matter and registration hold.

2. If documentation of a complaint or incident is brought to the attention of the Office of the Dean of Students after an individual separates from the College, but includes conduct that allegedly occurred while an individual was a student, the College retains discretion to assign any charges, ban the individual from campus, and/or place a registration hold on the individual’s account pending adjudication.

3. The College retains discretion to determine when there is enough information available or it is necessary to adjudicate charges for formerly enrolled students. An individual may contact the Office of the Dean of Student to request arrangements to adjudicate or dispose of the matter before the registration hold will be released.

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