Processes and Guidelines
The University will respond to violations of the Code through a variety of pathways, informally and/or formally, with the goal of educating all parties involved. Resolutions, as well as appeal processes, are administrative functions internal to the University. Students may also face external, criminal/civil proceedings for violations of federal/state laws and/or city ordinances. Proceedings under the Code of Community Conduct may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following criminal/civil proceedings.
Student groups/organizations are expected to comply with the community standards set forth in the Code and may be charged with violations of those standards. Hearings for student groups or organizations follow the same general student conduct procedures. Determinations as to responsibility will be made. Sanctions will be assigned collectively and/or individually, and will be proportionate to the involvement of each individual and the organization
After receiving a report, a University official may decide to schedule a meeting with the respondent student to discuss the alleged violation(s). At the meeting, the official will
- explain the purpose of the conduct intervention meeting;
- review the incident report and any impacts/harms to individuals and/or community as a whole;
- listen to the student’s explanation of what occurred and why;
- discuss community behavioral expectations and conflict resolution techniques;
- discuss the consequences of the student conduct process; and
- assist the student in developing an action plan to
- repair the impacts/harms to individuals and or community,
- avoid recurring behavioral issues,
- make any referrals as deemed appropriate, and
- reintegrate into the community.
No sanctions will be imposed other than a verbal warning during the conduct intervention, and there is no right to an appeal. The official has the authority to change handling the incident at the conduct intervention level to the administrative option, voluntary adaptable resolution, or formal action, based on the information revealed in the conduct intervention meeting or if a student fails to appear for the conduct intervention meeting.
The official may send a written notice of the alleged policy violation(s), potential sanctions and educational conditions, with the option for the student to
- accept responsibility with the designated sanctions and educational conditions, or
- request formal action.
The student’s written response must be returned to the official within seven (7) business days. If the response is not returned within the designated time period, the student waives his/her right to formal action and the sanctions and educational conditions outlined in the written notice are imposed. If the student requests formal action, then a hearing will be scheduled, and the case will proceed with the formal action procedures.
Voluntary Adaptable Resolution (VAR)
The official may offer the option for the parties involved to informally resolve the conflict/incident. If the respondent accepts responsibility for violating the Code, and the parties to the complaint agree to be involved, adaptable pathways such as mediation, facilitated dialogue, restorative group conferencing, and/or circle processes may be utilized. These voluntary processes allow all parties to be involved in and have influence on the resolution process and outcome. The primary focus is to address the impacts, repair the harm, restore integrity, and reintegrate individuals back into the community. If all parties are not in agreement to VAR, or at any time during the process the official decides it’s not in the best interest of those involved, including the University, then the matter will be handled through formal action.
The official may send written notice of the alleged violation(s), the range of sanctions related to the violation(s) and the date, time and location for an initial conference. If the student fails to appear at the initial conference, the official may consider all information true and accurate and take appropriate administrative action.
An initial conference notice is sent (via email, if possible) when a report from staff, faculty, law enforcement, or another source that indicates a student might be responsible for a violation of the Code. At the initial conference, the student will meet with an official. The purpose of the initial conference is to provide the student with additional information about the reported incident and explain the procedures that will be followed to determine if he/she is responsible or not responsible for a violation the Code. At that time, the student may elect one of the following courses of action:
- To take responsibility for violating one or more University rules. The case may then be immediately reviewed by the official, who will take appropriate action.
- If the student wishes to demonstrate mitigating circumstances by producing relevant witnesses or information, a postponement of action may be requested for a reasonable time.
- To deny responsibility for the violation(s), in which case, the official shall determine the next appropriate course of action from the following list.
- Hold an immediate formal hearing with the official or postpone the hearing in order to allow the student to prepare a defense or to arrange for the person who filed the complaint to appear.
- Refer for a formal hearing to another official.
- Refer for a formal hearing before a conduct board. If the board cannot convene, Student Conduct Services will arrange a formal hearing by an official.
- Adjourn the conference in order to obtain additional information, and then complete the hearing at a later after all additional information has been gathered.
- Dismiss the charges.
At the formal hearings, the student will appear before an individual official or a conduct board. As appropriate to the conduct charges, in most cases a conduct board will be convened to review the possible conduct violation. Conduct boards generally consist of one member of the Student Affairs professional staff, one member of the faculty, and one full-time student.
Hearing Guidelines for Participants
The Office of Academic and Community Conduct would like to emphasize that our hearing is not like a criminal trial. The same strict procedures or rules of evidence as you would experience in court procedures are not used. The standard used to determine if a student is responsible is called preponderance of evidence; this differs from normal court procedures because the hearing officer or committee may simply rule that it is more probable than not that a University regulation has been violated.
The purpose of a hearing is to obtain the information necessary to make a decision in a student's case. Often, the student and the hearing officer may need to simply discuss the incident report. Sometimes the complainant, the individual who makes the incident report, will attend. Additional witnesses or documents are sometimes helpful; however, character witnesses are not allowed.
- Hearings are closed to the public. At the discretion of the official, an additional official may be present for the purpose of assisting in managing the hearing, but the assistant shall not otherwise participate in the hearing.
- Where a sanction of suspension or expulsion can be imposed, hearings will be recorded. Deliberations will not be recorded. The recording will be the property of the University and maintained according to University policy.
- The official and/or chair of the conduct board shall exercise control over the proceedings to avoid needless consumption of time and to achieve orderly completion of the hearing. Any person, including the student charged with the conduct violation, who disrupts a hearing, may be excluded by the official or chair.
- During the hearing, the student may present an explanation of the facts and circumstances relating to the incident, present relevant witnesses who can speak to the facts and/or written information, ask questions, and reserve the right to not respond to questions. The official and/or chair may determine that witnesses or information is not relevant to the charge(s). They may also call on the complaining party to give an explanation of events.
- The participant may have a “support person” to accompany and assist in the campus hearing process. The support person may advise and/or provide support to the participant but may not take part directly in the hearing itself. When criminal charges have been filed against the accused student (and the accused student will have an attorney present during the hearing), the complaining person may also have an attorney present. The attorney may advise the participant but may not take part directly in the hearing itself.
- No disciplinary action shall be taken unless it is established by a preponderance of the information that the student is responsible for the violation(s). Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable in conduct hearings. Information which reasonable persons would accept as having probative value in the conduct of their affairs can be considered.
- Written notice of the conduct decision will be sent to the student within seven (7) business days of the hearing. This time may be extended if necessary in the reasonable judgment of the official and/or chair.
- Any conduct decision may be appealed and must follow the established procedures as outlined in Section VII.
Reasonable cause needs to be present for the University to take interim action with any student to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of the University community; to ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being; or if the student poses a threat of disruption of or interference with, the normal operations of the University. If a student fails to comply with the requirements of the interim action, the University may immediately take any lawful action to obtain compliance.
The student can request an interim suspension review to be conducted. The interim suspension letter will contain instructions on how to request a review. Those present at the meeting may include the responding university official and other witnesses as deemed appropriate. During the review, the student will be given an opportunity to demonstrate why his or her continued presence on campus does not constitute a threat to themselves, others or property.
“Interim action” includes, without limitation:
- Immediate suspension from the University;
- Restriction on student’s presence in the residence halls, on University property and/or at University events;
- A requirement that the student secure an individualized psychological assessment through Counseling Services or at another facility and/or a medical assessment. The assessment(s) may be used to determine the appropriateness of withdrawing, sustaining, or altering the interim action.
- No verbal/non-verbal/third-party contact with another person(s).
- Disciplinary hold on the student account that prevents registering for academic courses and/or making any type of academic requests (i.e. transcripts). In order to have the hold removed the student will need to comply with official’s request.
- Mandatory behavioral agreement that reinforces conduct expectations, with any further violations of the Code resulting in severe sanctions.
Statement of Intent Regarding Medical Emergency
The welfare of students in the University community is of paramount importance. At times, students and other individuals may need medical assistance. The University encourages students to offer assistance to others in need, and also for students to seek assistance for themselves. Sometimes students may be hesitant to seek or offer assistance due to concerns that their conduct violates University rules, or that a student in a medical emergency will be charged with a rule violation.
The University intends to exercise considerable discretion to avoid the finding of responsibility under the Student Code of Community Conduct in medical emergencies as defined in this policy for a student providing assistance, as well as for a student receiving assistance in cases of a medical emergency. Educational conditions may be imposed rather than conduct sanctions if appropriate based on the professional judgment of the Dean of Students or designee.
A “medical emergency” is defined as any situation where an individual’s physical and/or psychological health is at serious risk and immediate action must be taken to protect the individual or others.
This statement of intent applies only to administrative enforcement of the Student Code of Community Conduct and does not provide immunity/amnesty from arrest or criminal prosecution.
Possible Sanctions and Educational Conditions
- Written Warning is a statement that further violations of University rules will result in more serious sanctions.
- Conduct Probation is a status which generally will not exceed 18 months unless in the discretion of the decision maker the status should exceed 18 months. Students who violate any regulation while on conduct probation are likely to receive enhanced sanctions for any subsequent violations. Conduct probation means a student is not in good social/conduct standing, and therefore may be ineligible to participate in co- and/or extra- curricular activities, student employment, scholarships, etc.
- Conduct Suspension is the termination of a person’s status as a student for a definite or indefinite period of time with possibility of reinstatement. The student must submit a petition for reinstatement and have it approved before being allowed to return.
- Conduct Expulsion is the termination of a person’s status as a student without possibility of reinstatement
Conduct decisions may, in addition to sanctions, include educational conditions. This may include: writing assignments, educational/experiential workshops such as Husky Habit Boot Camp, counseling, fees, community service, restorative practices, loss of privileges, educational projects and/or assessments. The University has complete discretion to require or to not require educational conditions on a case by case basis.
An example of an Education Condition would be a reflective paper. The student will complete a paper reflecting on an agreed upon topic, such as their decision-making process, understanding of a policy or purpose of a policy. The value of this condition is to provide an opportunity for the student to reflect on behaviors, actions, decision and polices, and/or helps the student develop better self-awareness of self, values and relationship with others.
Another example of an educational condition would be Husky Habits Boot Camp. This is an intense 2-hour ethical decision making workshop that combines personal reflection, group discussion and practical application to assist participants in evaluating and improving their decision making.
Revocation of Degree
The University reserves the right to revoke an awarded degree for fraud in receipt of the degree, or for serious disciplinary violations committed by a student prior to the student’s graduation.
Students found responsible for conduct violations may appeal decisions made by an official and/or board. Instructions for initiating an appeal will be provided in every conduct decision letter. In incidents involving acts of violence as well as cases brought under the Sexual and/or Relationship Misconduct Policy, the complaining individual may also appeal under these procedures. The basis for an appeal is limited to questions of fact, questions of procedure and severity of sanction.
- Question of Fact— Students may appeal on “questions of fact” by introducing new information that would significantly affect the outcome of the case. Information introduced that was not known or could not be reasonably known at the time of the hearing by the student shall be considered new information. Evidence that was known but withheld by the student shall not constitute a question of fact and will not be considered upon appeal.
- Question of Procedure—Appeals will be considered on the basis of “questions of procedure” by demonstrating that the procedural guidelines established in this document were breached, and that such departure from established procedure significantly affected the outcome of the case.
- Severity of Sanction— Students may appeal the “severity of sanction” that has been imposed by presenting a statement that explains why they believe the sanction should be reconsidered.
Appeals must be in writing and submitted within seven (7) business days to the Office of Academic and Community Conduct. Appeals will be resolved by the Dean of Students or designee. In appeals with sanctions of suspension or expulsion, and all cases under the Sexual and/or Relationship Misconduct Policy, an Appellate Board will be appointed by the Dean of Students to review the appeal. The Appellate Board consists of one professional staff, one faculty, and one student. The Appellate Board will review the record and render a decision on the appeal. The Dean of Students or designee will notify the appellant in writing of the decision of the Appellate Board within seven (7) business days of the appellate decision. This action shall be final and is not subject to further appeal.
Students who have been sanctioned with suspension or expulsion may have access to the hearing recording under the supervision of Academic and Community Conduct staff prior to submitting an appeal letter. The imposition of sanctions will be deferred while an appeal is pending unless, at the discretion of the Dean of Students or designee, the Interim Action provisions are invoked or for other good cause. The Dean of Students or designee, or Appellant Board, may
- deny the appeal;
- remand the case to the original hearing officer or hearing committee;
- change (increase or decrease) the sanctions, and/or
- dismiss the original charges. In cases involving more than one charge.
An appeal decision may include more than one of the options in (a) through (d).