VI - Disciplinary Proceedings
A dean's inquiry occurs when the name of a student comes to the attention of the Dean of Students' staff as someone who may be involved in, or may have been a witness to, a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.
- The student(s) will be notified of the nature of the inquiry and of the disciplinary process. The inquiry does not necessarily lead to formal charges, but is part of the initial fact-finding phase of the disciplinary process. The student(s) will be asked questions about the incident. Other persons may be present during the interview process at the Dean of Students' discretion. At this stage, witnesses or other individuals with information about the allegations may also be interviewed. The nature of the investigation into the facts of the situation depends on the nature of the case. The investigation may be conducted by the Dean of Students or his/her designee or Campus Security. In cases where there is an identifiable victim of the student’s alleged behavior, the alleged victim and the accused student will have an equal opportunity to present evidence and information for consideration. The accused student and the alleged victim will not be required to meet together as part of the investigative process.
- Based upon the information collected, the Dean of Students or his/her designee decides whether disciplinary action is warranted for the student(s)' alleged violation of the Code. If so, the student(s) will be charged with one or more violations of the Code of Student Conduct. The Dean or the designee will then render a judgment in the case or have the matter referred to the Hearing Committee on Discipline and Disorders. In sexual misconduct cases, the alleged victim will be informed of the judgment and/or the referral for a hearing.
- a. If the student(s) agrees with the judgment, the case is considered resolved. A letter to this effect will be sent to the student(s) and placed on file in the Dean of Students Office and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
b. If the student does not agree with the judgment, he or she may appeal the decision to the Hearing Committee on Discipline and Disorders. In a sexual misconduct case, the alleged victim is also entitled to appeal to the Hearing Committee on Discipline Disorders if he/she disagrees with the judgment.
- Cases recommending suspension or expulsion go directly to the Hearing Committee on Discipline and Disorders.
- The University endeavors to complete the Dean’s Inquiry phase promptly. Ordinarily, this phase is completed no more than 30 calendar days after the allegations come to the attention of the Dean of Students’ office. However, several circumstances may require a longer Dean’s Inquiry process, including but not limited to the complexity of the case and availability of witnesses.
- Pending action on the charges, the status of a student should not be altered, or his or her right to be present on the campus and to attend classes suspended, except in circumstances where the Dean of Students deems such action necessary to protect the safety and/or well-being of the student, other members of the campus community and/or University property or operations. In certain cases, interim measures may be necessary to safeguard the campus environment, including but not limited to changes in housing or course assignments or temporary bans from campus property. The University retains the right to impose interim protective measures in its sole discretion.
- In some instances, a student may be subject to criminal investigation or prosecution carried out by law enforcement officials. The University may or may not delay its disciplinary procedures in light of criminal proceedings. Further, the University retains the right to make its own, independent determination as to whether a student has violated University policy regardless of the outcome of any criminal proceedings.
- In cases involving alleged violations of Clarkson Regulations Section VIII-F (except gender discrimination and harassment), the Dean will inform the Affirmative Action Officer of the facts and circumstances and consult with him/her with respect to the disposition of the case pursuant to this policy.
- In cases involving alleged violation of Clarkson Regulations Section VIII-F (gender discrimination and harassment only), or Section IX-N (Sexual Misconduct), the Dean will inform the Title IX Officer of the facts and circumstances and consult with him/her with respect to the disposition of the case pursuant to this policy.
The Hearing Committee on Discipline and Disorders has two functions in disciplinary proceedings:
- It holds initial hearings in all cases of suspension and expulsion and in those referred to it by the Dean of Students.
- It hears appeals of the results of dean's inquiries.
The disciplinary process is an administrative and not a criminal proceeding, therefore, there is no need to define prohibited conduct or the hearing procedures with the specificity required in criminal law. In general, a student or organization shall be entitled to a proceeding that is fundamentally fair and that shall comply generally with the following. Strict adherence to the rules is not required.
1. a. The Committee shall consist of six members selected in the spring to serve for the following academic year and who may also be selected for successive terms. The president shall select a person to serve as chair. The membership shall be:
- two undergraduate students selected by the Student Senate from full-time students in good standing who will be juniors or seniors during their term and who are not members of the Student Senate;
- one graduate student nominated by the Dean of the Graduate School/Provost from full-time graduate students in good standing;
- two faculty members selected by the Faculty Senate from full-time faculty who are not members of the Faculty Senate;
- one member of the Administrative Council selected by the Administrative Council;
- a chair selected by the president;
- Students do not sit on panels convened to hear charges of sexual misconduct (i.e., charges pursuant to the Sexual Misconduct Policy). In sexual misconduct cases, the Committee consists of two faculty members, one Administrative Council member, and the chair).
Corresponding alternates shall be selected at the same time and in the same manner.
- No Committee member shall sit in review of a case in which he or she has personal knowledge of the relevant facts.
- The heads of the appropriate governance bodies shall fill permanent or temporary vacancies as they occur.
- A quorum consists of five members with decisions being made by the majority. In sexual misconduct cases, a quorum consists of three members with decisions being made by the majority.
- The chair shall vote only in case of a tie.
Note: Allegations of organizational misconduct will be handled pursuant to the Fraternity and Sorority Recognition Policy or CUSA Student Organization Conduct Board.
1. Initial Hearing ProceduresThe following procedures shall be followed when a disciplinary hearing is convened:
- The student will be informed, in writing, of the reasons for the proposed disciplinary action at least seven (7) calendar days in advance of the hearing. The written notice shall include:
- a statement of the charges;
- a list of all currently known witnesses and a description of the currently known evidence in support of the charges; this shall not preclude the introduction of additional witnesses upon notice to the accused student (and, in sexual misconduct cases, the alleged victim) prior to or at commencement of the hearing ;
- a statement of the time and place of the hearing; and
- a copy of these hearing procedures.
- A student who fails to appear or to participate in a hearing after proper notice will be deemed to have waived their opportunity to be heard and may be found responsible for the charge(s) pending against him or her and will be subject to the sanction, if any, levied by the Hearing Committee on Discipline and Disorders.
- The student has the right to be assisted in his or her defense by an adviser of his or her choice. In sexual misconduct cases, the alleged victim will also be entitled to an adviser of his or her choice. The adviser must be a current member of the Clarkson University community (i.e., faculty, staff, or student) and may not be an attorney. The adviser may be present but may not participate as an advocate in the proceedings.
- Only those persons having a role in the hearing shall be permitted to attend.
- Technical rules of evidence applicable to civil and criminal courts are not applicable. All matters upon which the decision may be based must be introduced into evidence at the proceedings before the Committee. Its decision must be based solely upon such matters.
- The Chair is authorized to make decisions in his/her discretion with respect to what evidence will be admitted and to resolve procedural disputes.
- The applicable burden of proof is a “preponderance of the evidence”. This is a lower standard than applicable in criminal proceedings. A preponderance of the evidence means the evidence is more convincing than other evidence such that it is more likely than not that a fact is true or an event occurred.
- The student charged will be given the opportunity to testify and to present evidence and witnesses upon his or her behalf. He or she shall have an opportunity to hear and question adverse witnesses who testify, as will the Panel. The Chair will decide the method of questioning, and this method may be limited to questions presented through the Chair. The Chair may exercise discretion in terms of the manner in which testimony is taken, including whether witnesses appearing before the panel should be shielded in some way (e.g., a screen, closed circuit television, etc.). Witnesses may appear by teleconference or videoconference if the Chair so allows. The Chair may allow written statements or summaries of interviews to be considered as evidence in lieu of testimony. In sexual misconduct cases, the alleged victim will be allowed an equal opportunity to present evidence and witnesses who testify and to hear and question witnesses as is offered the accused student.
- In no case will the Panel consider statements against a student unless the student has been advised of their content. The University reserves the right to withhold the name of an individual who made a statement if the Dean deems necessary and appropriate in the Dean’s sole discretion.
- There will be an audio recording of all hearings.
- The Chair of the Hearing Committee will notify the student (and in cases of sexual misconduct will also notify the alleged victim) of the Hearing Committee’s decision as to responsibility, and, if the student is found responsible, the sanction, if any.
- Appeals of a Hearing Committee decision must be submitted in writing to the Vice President for Student Affairs within 10 calendar days from the date of the letter notifying the student of the original decision. In sexual misconduct cases, the alleged victim will also be notified of the decision. The accused student (and, in cases of sexual misconduct, the alleged victim) may appeal the decision.
- The ground(s) for appeal must be included in the request. Grounds for appeal are limited to:
- A procedural error occurred during the process that had a direct impact on the outcome;
- New evidence has come to light that has a direct impact on the outcome which could not have been discovered by a properly diligent person before or during the original proceeding;
- The sanction is too severe (and, in sexual misconduct cases where the appeal is filed by the victim, the victim may appeal on the ground that the sanction is too lenient);
- The decision is arbitrary and capricious.
- Appeals shall be forwarded to the VP for SA. In sexual misconduct cases, the VP for SA will forward a copy of the appeal to the non-appealing accused/alleged victim, and the non-appealing party may respond within five (5) calendar days. The appealing party will receive a copy of any statement submitted.
- Appeals shall be decided only upon the record of the original proceeding and the written appeal statement(s) submitted by the student(s), unless the VP for SA deems it necessary to seek additional information.
- While the appeal is pending, the sanctions imposed will remain in effect unless the VP for SA decides otherwise.
- In deciding the appeal, the Vice President for SA may take the following actions. The VP for SA is generally limited to taking action(s) responsive to the ground(s) for appeal except that the VP for SA may take action to correct procedural errors whether or not the appeal is based on procedural error. The VP for SA will give appropriate deference to the Hearing Committee on Discipline and Disorders.
- Affirm the finding and the sanction imposed by the Hearing Committee.
- Affirm the finding and increase or reduce, but not eliminate, the sanction. Sanctions may only be modified if found to be grossly disproportionate to the offense or inconsistent with sanctions in other comparable cases.
- Remand or refer the case to the Hearing Committee on Discipline and Disorders. This may occur if specified procedural errors were so substantial as to effectively deny the student a fair hearing, or if new and significant evidence became available which could not have been discovered by a properly diligent person before or during the original proceeding.
- Dismiss the case. This may occur if the original decision is held to be arbitrary or capricious, or if new evidence renders the decision clearly erroneous.
- In cases in which the VP for SA intends to impose or affirms a penalty of suspension or expulsion, the President will conduct an administrative review, and the suspension or expulsion may be altered, deferred or withheld. This review will occur prior to the time the VP for SA notifies the student of outcome of the appeal.
- Once the decision of the VP for SA has been announced to the student (and the alleged victim in a case of sexual misconduct), the decision is final.
3. Status of Student Pending Final Action
Pending action on the charges, the status of a student should not be altered, or his or her right to be present on the campus and to attend classes suspended, except in circumstances where the Dean of Students deems such action necessary to protect the safety and/or well-being of the student, other members of the campus community and/or University property or operations.
The following may be imposed upon students for violation of the Code of Student Conduct:
- Disciplinary reprimand: a written warning that further misconduct may result in more severe disciplinary action (generally given in cases of minor misconduct). A copy of this warning is kept in the student's disciplinary file.
- Disciplinary probation: a letter of probation is placed on file with the Dean of Students and in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs indicating that further violations may result in suspension or expulsion from the University. Forfeiture of privileges or other sanctions may be enacted by the Dean of Students or the Vice President for Student Affairs (given for a specified period of time and for serious misconduct).
- Restitution: the student is required to pay for damages resulting from a violation of this code.
- Disciplinary suspension: given for extremely serious misconduct when it is believed that the student should be removed from the University for a specified period of time. Upon readmission, the student is placed on disciplinary probation for a minimum of one semester. A letter may be sent to parents and notice is sent to the dean of the appropriate school and the department chair or the Interdisciplinary Engineering and Management director.
- Disciplinary expulsion: given for extremely serious misconduct when it is the judgment of the University that the student should never be permitted to reenter the University. A letter may be sent to parents and a notice is sent to the dean of the appropriate school and the department chair or the Interdisciplinary Engineering and Management director.
- Revocation of degree: Where a degree has been conferred, the University may revoke the degree if the sanction imposed would have been expulsion had the individual been a student at the time of the hearing and/or penalty and the conduct is sufficiently egregious to warrant the revocation of a conferred degree.
- Other sanctions: instead of, or in addition to, sanctions appearing in 1 through 5, other sanctions may be imposed. These could include, without limitation, suspension from University housing, denial of driving privileges, fines, participation in educational program(s), and/or assignment to work or research projects that benefit a charitable or nonprofit institution, including the University.
- Parental notification: when a student under the age of 21 has violated campus regulations regarding alcohol or drug use for a second time, or in a manner that is considered particularly dangerous or risky for the student or others, parents or legal guardians will be notified of the violation, disciplinary sanctions, and recommendations for appropriate action. This represents an effort to recognize parents as partners in the educational process, and the University encourages parents to discuss the situation with their student before the student faces potentially more serious repercussions. A letter will typically be sent to parents at the student's legal address on file with the University. In the case of dangerous or risky situations, a student affairs administrator may call the family. The University encourages families to discuss such matters together, and find positive and creative means for preventing further problems.