Overview of the Conduct Process

This overview gives a general idea of how Henderson State University’s campus conduct proceedings work, but it should be noted that not all situations are of the same severity or complexity. Thus, these procedures are flexible, and are not exactly the same in every situation, though consistency in similar situations is a priority. The campus conduct process and all applicable timelines commence with notice to an administrator of a potential violation of Henderson State University rules. In Title IX related issues, the “administrator” is any “responsible employee” as defined under Title IX and/or campus policy.

Notice

Once notice is received from any source (victim, RA, 3rd party, University Police, online, etc.), Henderson State University may proceed with a preliminary investigation and/or may schedule an initial educational meeting/conference with the responding student to explain the conduct process to the responding student and gather information.

Step 1: Preliminary Inquiry and/or Educational Conference

Henderson State University conducts a preliminary inquiry into the nature of the incident, complaint or notice, the evidence available, and the parties involved. The preliminary inquiry may lead to:

  1. A determination that there is insufficient evidence to pursue the investigation, because the behavior alleged, even if proven, would not violate the Code of Student Conduct, (e.g.: for reasons such as mistaken identity or allegations of behavior that falls outside the code);
  2. A more comprehensive investigation, when it is clear more information must be gathered.
  3. A formal complaint of a violation and/or an educational conference with the responding student.

When an initial educational meeting/conference is held, the possible outcomes include:

  • A decision not to pursue the allegation based on a lack of or insufficient evidence. The matter should be closed and records should so indicate;
  • A decision on the allegation, also known as an “informal” or “administrative” resolution to an uncontested allegation (see immediately below);
  • A decision to proceed with additional investigation and/or referral for a “formal” resolution.

If a decision on the allegation is made and the finding is that the responding student is not responsible for violating the Code, the process will end. [The party bringing the complaint may request that the Dean of Students and the Title IX Coordinator reopen the investigation and/or grant a hearing. This decision shall be in the sole discretion of the Dean of Students and the Title IX Coordinator and will only be granted for extraordinary cause]. If the University finding is that the responding student is in violation, and the responding student accepts this finding within three days, the University considers this an “uncontested allegation.” The administrator conducting the initial educational conference will then determine the sanction(s) for the misconduct, which the responding student may accept or reject. If accepted, the process ends.

If a student accepts the findings, but rejects the sanction, the University will conduct a sanction-only hearing, conducted by [a panel, etc.] which recommends a sanction to the Dean of Students. In cases of minor misconduct, both steps in this paragraph can be accomplished in one meeting. The sanction is then reviewed and finalized by the Dean of Students and is subject to appeal (see Appeal Review Procedures in Section 7P) by any party to the misconduct. Once the appeal is decided, the process ends.

If the administrator conducting the educational conference determines that it is more likely than not that the responding student is in violation, and the responding student rejects that finding in whole or in part, then it is considered a contested allegation and the process moves to Step 2.

Step 2: Formal Hearing.

In a contested allegation, additional investigation may then be commenced and/or a hearing may be held when there is reasonable cause to believe that a rule or rules have been violated. A formal notice of the complaint will be issued, and a hearing will be held before [a panel, an administrator, etc.] A finding will be determined and is final except in cases that involve Title IX or other discrimination allegations. In those cases, the hearing results serve as a recommendation to the Dean of Students and, where appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator, who review and finalize the finding. The findings of the hearing should only be overturned or modified when necessary to conform to Title IX and/or to repair error that would result in appeal. If the finding is that the responding student is not responsible, the process ends. Applicable appeals options are described under Section 7P of this document.

Step 3: Review and Finalize Sanction(s).

If the student is found in violation(s), sanctions will be recommended by the [panel, administrator, etc.] to the Dean of Students [and Title IX Coordinator when applicable], who will review and finalize the sanctions, subject to the University’s appeals process by any party to the complaint.