Disciplinary Process

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 Community Life will begin a preliminary investigation and determine if there is enough information to merit a disciplinary hearing regarding the allegation. The Director of Community Life 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 Community Life 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 Community Life 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

An Advisor serves to guide the Complainant and Respondent through the investigation and hearing process and may accompany the student any meetings associated with the investigation. The Advisor is not an advocate for the student in the proceedings and may not direct questions to or otherwise address the Investigator or Disciplinary Hearing Board (DHB), but may consult with the student that they are assisting. 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 Dean of Students, or designee, to both the Complainant and 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. Students may be accompanied by an advisor of their own choice and are not limited to the list provided by the Dean of Students or Designee.

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. Three (3) members of the DHB pool will generally be called to sit on a DHB panel. The Dean of Students, or designee, will prepare the case to be investigated by an assigned Investigator, then heard by a Disciplinary Hearing Board (DHB). In addition to the DHB, a facilitator is present. The facilitator's role is to assist the chair and to ensure compliance with the process and procedures outlined below. The facilitator does not participate in determining the outcome of the DHB.

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 an Investigator or member of the DHB panel convened for a particular case. The Dean of Students, or designee, has the sole discretion to decide whether a DHB member or Investigator can be impartial and will remove anyone whom they determines is unable to be impartial and/or respectful of the confidentiality of the process and privacy of the individuals involved.

Outline of Hearing

 DHB panel proceedings are closed to all parties except the individual student(s), the DHB panel, the facilitator, the Investigator, witnesses, the respective students’ advisor(s), and a recorder.

2.     The facilitator will convene the DHB panel.

3.     The facilitator will introduce the DHB panel to the complainant/respondent and explain the hearing process.

4.     The facilitator will read the alleged violation(s) of the Code or other College policy and will read (if written) or explain (if oral) the report of conduct.

5.    The complainant (if available) and respondent will be invited separately to the DHB, regarding the allegation(s) of the complaint.

6.     The facilitator will ask the investigator to read the investigation report aloud and/or will read aloud any changes that have been made since the DHB’s receipt of the written report. 

7.     The facilitator will then ask the DHB panel if they have any additional questions of the investigator about the report or if they would like to direct clarifying questions to the complainant (if appropriate) / respondent. If the DHB has questions for the complainant/respondent, the facilitator will first ask the complainant/respondent if they are comfortable responding directly to the DHB or if they prefer to defer to the investigator.  As the DHB panel deems appropriate to the case, the panel may invite and ask clarifying questions of witnesses identified by either the complainant and/or respondent.  All participants (complainant, respondent, and their respective advisors) must be available for recall by the DHB panel for additional questioning until the facilitator excuses them.     

8.     After all questions have been asked by the DHB panel, and if the party chooses, the complainant and the respondent may each make a closing statement to the DHB panel.  The purpose of the closing statement is to provide the DHB with information that the complainant or respondent would like the DHB to consider in making its decision regarding responsibility.  Statements may be oral, written, or both. 

9.     The facilitator excuses the respondent from the proceedings after they make their closing statement to the DHB panel.

10.  The facilitator excuses the complainant from the proceedings after they make their closing statement to the DHB panel.

11.  The DHB panel will then meet in private and, based on the investigation and interviews, will deliberate on the information provided and determine an appropriate finding:

a.      Using a preponderance of the evidence standard, it is more likely than not that the alleged conduct did occur but the respondent is not responsible for a violation of the Code or College policy; or

b.     Using a preponderance of the evidence standard, it is more likely than not that the alleged conduct did not occur and the respondent is not responsible for a violation of the Code or College policy; or

c.      Using a preponderance of the evidence standard, it is more likely than not that the alleged conduct did occur and the respondent is responsible for a violation of the Code or College policy and imposes appropriate sanctions.

12.  The DHB will notify the Dean of Students, or designee, in writing of the hearing’s outcome within twenty-four (24) hours of its completion.  The Dean of Students, or designee, will communicate the finding of the DHB panel to the respondent and the complainant in writing at the same time, and generally within seven (7) business days; however, unavoidable delay in providing notice of outcome is not an available ground for appeal. Upon written request, in cases where the complainant is deceased, the next of kin would be provided with this information. 

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 Office of Community Life 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 Office of Community Life 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 Community Life 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 Community Life 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.