Student Conduct Authority

Authority

The Dean of Students is vested with the authority over student conduct by the President of the University. The Dean of Students may appoint a Director of Student Conduct to oversee and manage the student conduct process. The University appoints a standing committee consisting of faculty, staff, and students to serve as the Judicial Conduct Board as deemed necessary to efficiently and effectively supervise the student conduct process.

The Dean of Students (or designee) will assume responsibility for the investigation of an allegation of misconduct to determine if the complaint has merit.

Gatekeeping

No complaint will be forwarded for a hearing unless there is reasonable cause to believe a policy has been violated. Reasonable cause is defined as some credible information to support each element of the offense, even if that information is merely a credible witness or a victim’s statement. A complaint wholly unsupported by any credible information will not be forwarded for a hearing.

Conflict Resolution Options

The Dean of Students has discretion to refer a complaint for mediation or other forms of appropriate conflict resolution. All parties must agree to conflict resolution and to be bound by the decision with no review/appeal. Any unsuccessful conflict resolution can be forwarded for formal processing and hearing; however, at no time will complaints of physical sexual misconduct or violence be mediated as the sole institutional response. The Dean of Students may also suggest that complaints that do not involve a violation of the Code of Student Conduct be referred for mediation or other appropriate conflict resolution.
Composition of the Hearing Panel

The University General Counsel will be responsible for assembling the Hearing Panel according to the following guidelines:

  • The membership of the panel is selected from a pool of at least 6 students, 6 faculty, and 6 staff/administrative members appointed and trained for at least twelve (12) hours annually (Minimal competence requires 8 hours of training, and panel members ought to be more than minimally competent.) by the Dean of Students or University General Counsel.
  • For each complaint, a panel will be chosen from the available pool, and is usually comprised of one student, one faculty member, and one staff member or administrator. Availability may determine a different composition for the Panel, and in complaints involving discrimination, sexual misconduct, or other sensitive issues, the Dean of Students will usually use three administrative/staff members for the panel. The Dean of Students appoints the non-voting chair of the Hearing Panel, who assures that University procedures are followed throughout the hearing.

Administrative Hearing [or Conference] Officers

Administrative Hearing Officers (AHO or ACO) are chosen from a pool of annually trained administrators or staff members selected by the Dean of Students.

Panel Pool and the Appeals Panel

Three-member Appeals Panels are drawn from the panel pool, with the only requirement being that they did not serve on the Panel for the initial hearing. Appeals Panels review appeal requests submitted by the Dean of Students. If an all administrative/staff panel is used to hear a sensitive issue, the Appeals Panel will also be comprised of only administrative/staff members. To serve in the panel pool, students must:

  1. Be in academic good standing and have completed 15 hours of academic credit with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5.
  2. Be in good standing with the conduct process throughout the semester 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. A serious history of misconduct could disqualify a student for service.
  3. Submit a letter of recommendation from a faculty member or administrator from within the University community.

The Dean of Students will have final authority to approve all those serving on the panel. The non-voting advisor to the panel is the Dean of Students (or designee) with responsibility for training the panel, conducting preliminary investigations, and ensuring a fair process for the party bringing the complaint and responding student. In the event of a resignation from the panel, the Dean of Students (or designee) will solicit a replacement from the group from which the representative came. Decisions made, and sanctions imposed, by the panel or an AHO will be final and implemented, pending the normal appeal process. At the discretion of the Dean of Students (or designee), implementation of sanctions may be stayed pending review.

Interpretation and Revision

The Dean of Students will develop procedural rules for the administration of hearings that are consistent with provisions of the Code of Student Conduct. Material deviation from these rules will, generally, only be made as necessary and will include reasonable advance notice to the parties involved, either by posting online and/or in the form of written communication. The Dean of Students may vary procedures with notice upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this Code. The Dean of Students may make minor modifications to procedure that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party. Any question of interpretation of the Code of Student Conduct will be referred to the Dean of Students, whose interpretation is final. The Code of Student Conduct will be updated annually under the direction of the Dean of Students with a comprehensive revision process being conducted every three (3) years.