The discipline process described here applies to alleged violations of this Policy and the sexual harassment provisions of the Policy Prohibiting, and Procedures for Reporting, Discrimination, Harassment, including Sexual, and Retaliation.

Upon receipt of a report or complaint, whether oral or written, of an alleged violation, the Director of Student Conduct will begin a preliminary investigation and determine if there is enough information to merit a disciplinary hearing regarding the allegation. The Director of Student Conduct will meet with the complainant and the respondent separately to explain the student discipline process and obtain from each a written statement and list of witnesses, if any, who have information pertinent to the incident.

After meeting with the complainant and respondent, the Director of Student Conduct will prepare the case to be heard by the DHB panel. The complainant and respondent will generally be given at least twenty-four (24) hour advance notice of the scheduled meeting time for the DHB panel.

Students are expected to participate in the student discipline process when they are called as a complainant, respondent or witness to a hearing. Should a student fail to appear for a hearing when proper notification has been given or should the student fail to provide a statement during the hearing, the hearing will proceed without benefit of that student's input. Meetings with the DHB panel will be scheduled taking into consideration the student's regular academic schedule only.

Truthfulness

All individuals participating in the student discipline process are expected to tell the full and complete truth in all disciplinary matters. In order to ensure this is possible, individuals participating in student discipline hearings regarding an alleged violation of the Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct Policy will not be charged and held responsible for minor violations of the Code or other College policy. However, if there is a concern about a student's safety and/or use of alcohol and other drugs, the College may recommend counseling or other educational resources to the affected student.

Confidentiality/Privacy

Every reasonable and appropriate effort will be taken by the Director of Student Conduct and all other involved staff to protect the privacy of all individuals involved in a student discipline proceeding, as well as the confidentiality of the details and content of the student discipline process, including, but not limited to the preliminary investigation, DHB hearing, appeal process, and except where permitted by College policy and consistent with applicable law, the sanctions imposed and on whom. However, the College cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality. Students involved in the student discipline process, either directly, or as a witness, are expected to maintain the confidentiality of the process and be mindful of the privacy of others involved.


Rights of the Individual Alleging the Violation/Complainant

  • The right to an advisor who will assist the individual through the student discipline process.
  • The right to confidentiality of the student discipline process to the extent possible (see above).
  • The right to request a change of on-campus residence.
  • The right to request academic schedule adjustments.
  • The right to on-campus emergency counseling sessions with a member of the Counseling Center staff.
  • The right to seek off-campus medical and counseling services.
  • The right to seek confidential assistance from a member of the Counseling Center staff in a client relationship, or a priest in a confessor relationship.
  • The right to seek anonymous support from the Campus Assault Resources and Empowerment (CARE) Team
  • The right to make a complaint which will initiate the student discipline process.
  • The right to request an on-campus no contact order for the respondent as an interim measure through the student discipline process.
  • The right to file a police report and take legal action separate from and/or in addition to student discipline action.

Rights of the Respondent

  • The right to an advisor who will assist the individual through the student discipline process.
  • The right to confidentiality of the student discipline process to the extent possible (see above).
  • The right to on-campus emergency counseling sessions with a member of the Counseling Center staff.?? The right to seek confidential assistance from a member of the Counseling Center staff in a client relationship, or a priest in a confessor relationship.
  • The right to seek outside counseling support.

 

Advisors

Both the complainant and the respondent involved in a disciplinary matter alleging a violation of this Policy or the sexual harassment provisions of the Policy Prohibiting, and Procedures for Reporting, Discrimination, Harassment, including Sexual, and Retaliation, have the option of choosing a member of the College community (faculty, staff, or student) as an advisor to accompany them through the process. The advisor may not be a parent, relative, or an attorney or representative of an attorney. Members of the DHB or individuals who will be serving as a witness in the case may not serve as an advisor. The advisor is not an advocate for the student in the proceedings and may not address the DHB panel or speak on behalf of the student. The advisor may speak with the student privately and in a manner that is not disruptive to the hearing or student discipline process. The respective student's advisor may be present at any time at which the student they are advising is meeting with the DHB panel or other member of the College staff regarding the disciplinary matter and at which the student wishes for them to be present.

The advisor is obligated to maintain the confidentiality of the nature of the allegation(s), the content of the student discipline process, and the privacy of the complainant, respondent, and any witnesses known to the advisor.

A list of individuals who have volunteered and have been trained to serve as advisors in sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment cases is available from the Director of Student Conduct to both the complainant and the respondent. Students are strongly encouraged to choose an advisor to assist them in the student discipline process. It is the student's decision if they want an advisor and who that advisor will be.

Disciplinary Hearing Board

The DHB for sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment cases is comprised of faculty and staff who have been trained to hear these cases. 3 (3) members of the DHB pool will generally be called to sit on a DHB panel, with 1 member serving as chair. Members of the DHB pool are appointed by the Vice Provost for Student Affairs upon the recommendation of the Director of Student Conduct and Dean of Student Development. The Director of Student Conduct or designee serves as the discipline process facilitator for all sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment cases and is present during the hearing. The facilitator's role is to assist the chair and to ensure compliance with the process and procedures outlined below.

It is expected that DHB members will exhibit the highest ethical standards and disqualify themselves if they believe they cannot be impartial or fulfill their obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the process and the dignity and privacy of the respondent, the complainant, and any witnesses before, during, and after the disciplinary hearing. Both the respondent and complainant may raise issues of concern about the impartiality of a member of the DHB panel convened for a particular case. The Director of Student Conduct has the sole discretion to decide whether a DHB member can be impartial and will remove anyone whom he/she determines is unable to be impartial and/or respectful of the confidentiality of the process and privacy of the individuals involved.


Outline of Hearing

1. DHB proceedings are closed to all parties except the individual student(s), the DHB panel, the Director of Student Conduct or designee, witnesses, and the respective student's advisor.

2. The chair will convene the DHB panel.

3. The chair will introduce the DHB panel to the complainant and explain the process.

4. The complainant will be asked to make a statement and respond to questions from the DHB panel. The complainant will be excused until recalled for further questions and/or a closing statement.

5. The chair will invite the respondent into the hearing and will introduce the DHB panel to the respondent and explain the process.

6. The respondent will be asked to make a statement and answer questions from the DHB panel. The respondent will be excused until recalled for further questions and/or a closing statement.

7. Any witnesses will individually be asked to make a statement and respond to questions from the DHB panel.

8. All participants must be available for recall by the DHB panel for additional questioning until the chair excuses them.

9. The chair will ask the respondent to make a closing statement to the DHB panel. The respondent is then excused from the proceedings.

10. The chair will ask the complainant to make a closing statement to the DHB panel. The complainant is then excused from the proceedings.

11. The DHB panel will deliberate in private and based on their investigation and interviews will determine an appropriate finding:

  • It is more likely than not that the alleged violation did not occur and the respondent is not responsible, or
  • It is more likely than not that the alleged violation occurred and the respondent is responsible and impose sanctions, as appropriate.

12. The chair will notify the Dean of Student Development of the hearing's outcome within twenty-four (24) hours of its completion. The Dean of Student Development will communicate the finding of the DHB panel to the respondent and the complainant in writing generally within seven (7) business days. Unavoidable delay in providing notice of outcome shall not constitute an appealable procedural error.

Sanctions

The College has established the minimum sanctions for violations of the Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct Policy which are found in the Definitions of Prohibited Behaviors section of this Policy. More severe sanctions may be imposed by the DHB panel depending on the circumstances of a particular case. Any 1 or more of the sanctions found on pages 17 and 18 may be assessed to a student found responsible for violating the sexual harassment provisions of the Policy Prohibiting, and Procedures for Reporting, Discrimination, Harassment, including Sexual, and Retaliation.


Appeal Process

This process applies to an appeal of sanctions received from a violation of this Policy only. For appeal of sanctions received from a violation of the sexual harassment provisions of the Policy Prohibiting, and Procedures for Reporting, Discrimination, Harassment, including Sexual, and Retaliation, refer to page 19. Both the complainant and the respondent may participate in the appeal process in student discipline cases for violations of this Policy.

Only 1 request for an appeal may be submitted by either the complainant and/or the respondent. An appeal must be in writing and consists of:

  1. A completed Appeal Request form (available in the Student Conduct Office or the Office of Student Development), and
  2. A statement outlining and supporting the specific grounds on which the student is appealing.

An appeal must be submitted to the Student Conduct Office and be based on 1 or more of the following grounds or it will not be considered:

  1. A process or procedural error was made that was significantly prejudicial to the outcome of the hearing as it affects the student appealing.
  2. New information that was not available or known to the student appealing at the time of the hearing has arisen which, when considered, may materially alter the outcome. NOTE: Information that the appealing student chose not to present at the time of the hearing is not considered new information.
  3. The sanctions were not appropriate for the specific violation of the Code or other College policy which the respondent was found to have violated.

If an appeal is received from either the complainant or the respondent, the Director of Student Conduct will notify, in writing, the non-appealing student within 5 (5) business days of receipt of the appeal that an appeal has been filed and the ground(s) upon which he appeal has been made. Within 5 (5) business days of such notification, the non-appealing student may submit a written statement to the Director of Student Conduct that he/she wishes to be considered by the Appeal Board.

An appeal is heard by an Appeal Board consisting of 2 (2) members of the DHB who did not serve on the original case and the Dean of Student Development serving as chair (the Dean of Campus Life or Vice Provost for Student Affairs will serve as chair if the Dean of Student Development is not available). The Appeal Board will consider the merits of an appeal on the basis of the information provided in the Appeal Request form, the student's written statement, the written record of the case, and the student's entire discipline record. Based on these materials, the Appeal Board will:

  1. Reject the appeal if it finds the grounds for appeal unsubstantiated; or
  2. Reject the appeal if it finds that any procedural errors were minor in nature and would not have altered the outcome of the hearing or the sanctions imposed; or
  3. Modify the sanction(s) if they are found to be inappropriate; or
  4. Return the case to the DHB panel for a rehearing if new information, as defined above, has arisen. In such cases, the same DHB panel who originally heard the case shall reconvene as soon as possible. If a member of the original DHB panel is no longer available, the Director of Student Conduct will select additional DHB member(s) from the DHB pool.
  5. Reverse the decision of the DHB panel or remand the case to a new DHB panel where substantial procedural error is determined to have unfairly influenced the hearing.

The Appeal Board chair will communicate its decision to the respondent and the complainant in writing once a decision has been reached. The decision of the Appeal Board is final and no further appeals are permitted.

During the consideration of a request for an appeal, sanctions imposed by the DHB panel shall not be in effect. However, the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, the Dean for Student Development or the Director of Student Conduct, or their designee may impose conditions or continue existing conditions governing the respondent's status with the College during the appeal process.

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Saint Mary's College of California
1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
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