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VI - Disciplinary Proceedings

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Dean's Inquiry |  Appeals | Sanctions | Table of Contents


VI-A DEAN'S INQUIRY

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 have committed a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.

Generally Applicable Procedures:

  1. The student will be notified of the charges, which will consist of the following information at a minimum: the nature of the misconduct in which the student is suspected of having engaged and the section(s) of the Code of Conduct that may have been violated. A Dean's inquiry is initially a fact-finding process and may or may not lead to disciplinary action against the student.
  2. A Dean's inquiry is conducted as a series of meetings. The Dean of Students may conduct these meetings himself/herself. The Dean of Students may designate Campus Security personnel or appropriate administrator(s) to conduct the inquiry, or the Dean of Students may conduct the inquiry in conjunction with another appropriate administrator or person.
  3. The charged student will be asked about the incident. Interviews also will be held with other individuals who may have witnessed the incident or otherwise have relevant information, including the complainant, if there is a complainant. As a general rule, the only persons who may attend an interview are the Dean of Students and an additional administrator if the Dean so selects, and the person being interviewed. Neither the charged student nor the complainant, if any, will be permitted to be present during any interview other than his/her own interview. Other persons, such as an advisor or support person, may be present during the interview process at the Dean of Students discretion. In cases of alleged violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, there is a right to an advisor.
  4. The nature of the investigation into the facts depends on the nature of the matter under inquiry.
  5. Based upon the information collected, the Dean of Students decides whether the charged student violated the Code based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, and, if so, whether disciplinary action is warranted. The Dean will render a written decision in the case. The decision will include sanction(s), if responsibility for a violation is found and the sanction(s) are deemed warranted. The Dean of Students may impose sanction(s) up to and including expulsion.
  6. a.  If the charged student agrees with the decision (including sanction(s)), the case is considered resolved. A letter to this effect will be sent to the student and placed on file in the Dean of Students Office.  b.  If the charged student does not agree with the judgment (including sanction(s)), he or she may appeal to the Hearing Committee on Discipline and Disorders. The appeal must be in writing and must be submitted to the Dean of Students within three (3) calendar days. The grounds for appeal need not be stated in detail but must make clear whether the charged student requests a hearing before the Hearing Committee on the issue(s) of the determination as to responsibility or sanction(s) or both.
  7. 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.
  8. Pending the Dean of Students' decision as to whether the charged student is responsible for the violation(s), 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.
  9. 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.
  10. If there is an appeal of a Dean of Students' decision imposing sanction(s), the Dean of Students will determine whether the sanction(s) will be implemented immediately or held in abeyance pending the outcome of the appeal hearing.

    Additional Procedures Applicable to Inquiries involving the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy:
  11. The complainant and the charged student will have an equal opportunity to present evidence and information for consideration.
  12. In reaching a decision on charges of violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Dean of Students may rely in whole or in part on the investigation conducted by the Title IX Coordinator and/or Title IX investigator(s) instead of conducting meetings as described above, and the Dean of Students may consult with the Title IX Coordinator and/or Title IX investigator(s) and/or Affirmative Action Officer as the Dean of Students reaches his/her determination.
  13. If the Dean of Students finds that a violation has been established by a preponderance of the evidence, the Dean of Students then will consider sanctions. In case involving sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking where the Dean of Students finds that a violation has been established by a preponderance of the evidence, the Dean of Students will inform the charged student and the complainant that a conclusion has been reached as to responsibility on the charge(s) and the charged student and complainant will be allowed to submit a written impact statement within three (3) calendar days. A decision as to sanction(s) then will be made. To the extent consistent with law, the complainant will be informed of the judgment and sanction(s).
  14. In any meeting conducted pursuant to this policy that either the charged student or complainant is required or entitled to attend, the charged student and complainant may be accompanied by an advisor of his/her choice. If the advisor is a paid advisor, this will be at the party's own expense. The advisor may be present but may not participate as an advocate in the proceedings. The advisor may not speak for the advisee or make objections. The role of an advisor is limited to providing quiet counsel and advice to the advisee. The Dean of Students may dismiss any advisor who disrupts the meeting or fails to follow rules as set by this policy or the Dean, and the meeting will proceed without the opportunity for the advisee to secure a another advisor. A meeting may be delayed for a short period of time (generally not to exceed three calendar days) due to an advisor's unavailability, and a student is advised to take into account a potential advisor's availability when selecting an individual to serve in this capacity.
  15. In cases where a law enforcement investigation or criminal charge is pending, the University will not delay its disciplinary process for more than 10 calendar days unless law enforcement justifies a longer delay.
  16. Both the charged student and complainant shall have the right to exclude their own prior sexual history with persons other than the other party or their own mental health diagnosis and/or treatment from admittance in any disciplinary proceeding held under this policy. The charged student's past disciplinary violations may be considered for purposes of determining the appropriate sanction after a finding of responsibility.
  17. Both the charged student and complainant will receive simultaneous written notice of outcome, to the extent permitted by law. The outcome letter shall include factual findings supporting the determination, the decision and the sanction, if any, as well as the rationale for the decision and sanction.
  18. The charged student and complainant will have an equal right to appeal to the Hearing Committee on Discipline and Disorders if he/she disagrees with the judgment and/or sanction(s).
  19. Students are referred to the Students' Bill of Rights, found in the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  20. Allegations of organizational misconduct will be handled pursuant to the Fraternity and Sorority Recognition Policy or CUSA Student Organization Conduct Board. The exception will be for cases involving violations of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy. Those matters involving organizational cases will be heard pursuant to this policy.
  21. Pending initial decision by the Dean of Students, 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. Sanction(s) imposed by the Dean of Students will take effect immediately unless there is an appeal to the Hearing Committee and than the Vice President for Enrollment & Student Advancement decides if implementation should be delayed.

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VI-B APPEAL OF HEARING COMMITTEE ON DISCIPLINE AND DISORDERS

The purpose of the Hearing Committee is to hear appeals from decisions made by the Dean of Students or designee.

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.

The Hearing Committee is not constrained by the reason for the appeal, meaning, for example, that a charged student may appeal on the ground that the Dean of Students sanction is too severe, but the Hearing Committee may find that a more severe penalty is appropriate. Similarly, a complainant may appeal the sanction on the ground that it is too lenient, but the Hearing Committee may impose a less severe sanction than that imposed by the Dean of Students.

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 Hearing Committee convened to hear appeals including violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking. In these 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. No Committee member shall sit in review of a case in which he or she has a conflict of interest.
  • 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 any case involving even a single charge of violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, a quorum consists of three members with decisions being made by the majority as to all of the charges even if the remaining charges are unrelated to the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  • The chair shall vote only in case of a tie.

VI-B-1. Appeal Hearing Procedures

The following procedures shall be followed when an appeal hearing is convened:
  1. The charged student will be informed, in writing, at least seven (7) calendar days in advance of the hearing of the following:
    • a statement of the charge(s) on which the appeal will be held;
    • 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 charged student (and, in cases alleging violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, to the complainant) 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.

       In cases of charges alleging violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, the complainant will receive this notification as well. Also, in cases of charges of violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, the charged student or complainant may request the opportunity to review the case file, but this review must occur, if at all, within the seven (7) calendar days before the hearing. The University reserves the right to make redactions to the extent required or permitted by law.
  2. If necessary for compelling reasons, the Dean of Students may grant a request to adjourn a hearing for short period, generally not to exceed five calendar days. A charged 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. A charged student's absence at the hearing will not preclude a finding of responsibility for the charges(s) pending against the student and the student will be subject to the sanction, if any, levied by the Hearing Committee on Discipline and Disorders. Similarly, a hearing may be held and a decision rendered as to responsibility and sanction, if any, despite the failure of the complainant to appear.
  3. The charged student has the right to be assisted in his or her defense by an advisor of their own choice from within the Clarkson community and who may not be a lawyer. However, in cases involving charges of violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, the charged student may have an advisor of his/her choice and this person may be an attorney, and the complainant also will be entitled to this right. A paid advisor is at the party's own expense. The advisor may be present but may not participate as an advocate in the proceedings. The advisor may not speak for the advisee and may not address the Committee or make objections. The role of an advisor is limited to providing quiet counsel and advice to the advisee. The Chair may dismiss any advisor from the proceeding who disrupts the proceeding or fails to follow rules as set b this policy and the Chair, and the hearing will proceed without the opportunity for the advisee to secure a another advisor. The charged student and complainant should consider the availability of prospective advisors for the scheduled hearing date when selecting an individual to serve in this capacity.
  4. Only those persons having a role in the hearing shall be permitted to attend, and, even then, only during the part of the hearing in which their presence is required or permitted by the chair.
  5. 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.
  6. The Chair is authorized to make decisions in his/her discretion with respect to what evidence will be admitted and to resolve procedural disputes.
  7. 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.
  8. The charged student 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. In cases of charges of violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, the complainant will be allowed an equal opportunity as is offered to the charged student to present evidence and witnesses who testify and to hear and question witnesses. 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 Committee 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. 
  9. Similar to the Dean's Inquiry process, in the case of charge(s) for violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, both the charged student and complainant shall have the right to exclude their own prior sexual history with persons other than the other party or their own mental health diagnosis and/or treatment from admittance in any disciplinary proceeding held under this policy. The charged student's past conduct violations may be considered for purposes of determining the appropriate sanction after a finding of responsibility.
  10. In no case will the Hearing Committee consider statements unless the charged student and complainant, if any, have been provided an opportunity to review or otherwise 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.
  11. There will be an audio recording of all hearings.

VI-B-2 Results of the Appeal to the Hearing Committee

  1. The Chair of the Hearing Committee will notify the charged student of the Hearing Committee's decision as to responsibility, and, if the student is found responsible, the sanction, if any. In case of charges of violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, both the charged student and complainant will receive simultaneous written notice of the decision, to the extent permitted by law, and the decision letter shall include factual findings supporting the determination, the decision and the sanction, if any, as well as the rationale for the decision and sanction.
  2. The Hearing Committee may but is not required to defer to the Dean of Students or designee's decision being appealed. The Hearing Committee may take any of the following actions with respect to the Dean of Students' or designee's decision on each charge being appealed: 

i. Affirm the finding of responsibility and affirm the sanction(s)

ii. Affirm the finding of responsibility and increase or decrease the sanction.

iii. Affirm the finding of no responsibility.

iv. Reverse the finding of responsibility to a finding of no responsibility and eliminate the sanction(s).

                   v. Reverse the finding of no responsibility to a finding of responsibility and assign
                   sanction(s).

VI-B-3 Appeal of a Hearing Committee Determination

  1. A decision of the Hearing Committee may be appealed, but the grounds of appeal are limited.
  2. An appeal of a Hearing Committee decision must be submitted in writing to the VP for Student Affairs ("VP for SA") within 10 calendar days from the date of the Hearing Committee decision. The charged student may appeal and, in cases of violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, the complainant also may appeal.
  3. The ground(s) for appeal must be included and clearly stated in the request. Grounds for appeal are limited to:
    1. A procedural error occurred during the process that had a direct impact on the outcome;
    2. 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; or
    3. The decision as to responsibility and/or sanction is arbitrary or capricious, including but not limited to as a result of bias or disregard of substantial evidence, or because the sanction(s) is (are) clearly disproportionate to the violation.
  4. Appeals shall be submitted to the VP for SA. In cases of charges of violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, the VP for SA will forward a copy of the appeal to the non-appealing party, and the non-appealing party may respond within five (5) calendar days. The appealing party will receive a copy of any statement submitted but is not allowed a right of further submission or response.
  5. Appeals shall be decided only upon the record of the original proceeding and the written appeal statement(s) submitted by the charged student and/or complainant, unless the VP for SA deems it necessary to seek additional information.
  6. While the appeal is pending, the sanctions imposed will remain in effect unless the VP for SA decides otherwise.
  7. In deciding the appeal, the VP for SA may take the following actions. The VP for SA is limited to taking action(s) responsive to the ground(s) for appeal.
     
    a. Affirm the finding of responsibility and affirm the sanction(s).
    b. Affirm the finding of responsibility and increase or decrease the sanction.
    c. Affirm the finding of no responsibility.
    d. Reverse the finding of responsibility to a finding of no responsibility and eliminate the sanction(s)
    e. Reverse the finding of no responsibility to a finding of responsibility and assign sanction(s).
    f. Remand the case to the original or a new 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. 

The VP for SA will notify the student of the decision. In cases of charges of violation of the University Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, both the charged student and complainant will receive simultaneous written notice of the decision, to the extent permitted by law, and the decision letter shall include a rationale for the decision.

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VI-C SANCTIONS

The following may be imposed upon students for violation of the Code of Student Conduct:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. Restitution: the student is required to pay for damages resulting from a violation of this code.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.  
  6. 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 the conduct is sufficiently egregious to warrant the revocation of a conferred degree.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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VI-D DESIGNATION OF AUTHORITY

Any references in this policy to a specific title or position should be read to include "or his/her designee", and a person to whom authority to act is granted pursuant to this policy may designate that authority.