Article 3: Conduct Procedures
Section 1: Administration
These procedures provide for the orderly administration of the Student Code of Conduct.
Section 2: Conduct Complaints
St. Edward’s University community members, including students, faculty, staff, guests and visitors may file a conduct complaint against a student alleging a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. University conduct complaint forms are available from the Dean of Students Office or web page. The university may institute an investigation or proceeding based on information it receives even if not filed as a formal student conduct complaint.
Section 3: Sanctions
A student who engages in misconduct is subject to one or more of the following sanctions:
- Verbal or written reprimand outlining behavior and associated concern
- Restitution, which may take the form of monetary compensation or of appropriate community service to repair or otherwise compensate for damage
- Conduct probation for a specified period of time and a review of behavior, including terms appropriate to the violation, during which the student must demonstrate compliance with university policies and the terms of the probationary period
- Suspension from the university, students cannot earn or accumulate St. Edward’s University credit. During the period of suspension, the student is prohibited from entering the university campus or facilities under control or jurisdiction of the university or attending university-sponsored events without prior written approval from the dean of students or his/her designee. Conditions to be satisfied during the suspension or as requirements for re-entry may also be specified. If the suspension occurs during the semester, no credit will be awarded that semester and incomplete grades will not be allowed.
- Expulsion from the university during which students cannot earn or accumulate St. Edward’s University credit. The student is not permitted to re-enroll at a later date. The student is prohibited from entering the university campus or facilities under control or jurisdiction of the university or attending university-sponsored events. If the expulsion occurs during the semester, no credit will be awarded to that semester and incomplete grades will not be allowed.
- Educational sanctions including, but are not limited to, attending an educational program or class, creating an educational poster, writing a reflective essay, or hosting a residence hall program
- Community service to be served to the benefit of the St. Edward’s University community
- Loss of privileges, including the following:
a. Prohibition for a specified amount of time from attending certain university functions or activities
b. Restriction from entering certain university buildings and/or using university facilities
c. Ineligibility to hold an elected or appointed position on campus
d. Prohibition from operating a motor vehicle on campus (must be approved by chief of police)
e. Loss of on-campus employment
f. Residential transfer that reassigns a student from one residence hall to a different residence hall or apartment
g. Loss of housing eligibility for a specific amount of time
h. Permanent loss of housing eligibility
i. A no-contact agreement that limits contact between a student and another student, faculty or staff member. At the request of a student, and after investigation by the dean of students, or his/her designee, a no-contact agreement may be enforced between the above parties. These agreements are for a designated period of time. No contact means that while the accused student or the complainant are on university property, or at any activity or event associated with the university, the accused student may not attempt to communicate with the complainant. Communication includes talking with, attempting to talk with, touching, staring at, writing to, attempting telephone or electronic contact (e.g. e-mail, fax, text messages, Facebook, Twitter and/or other forms of social media), or any ther form of contact of any kind. In addition using a third person to access the complainant is unacceptable and considered a violation to the agreement. Limitations on physical presence may also be imposed.
Section 4: Authority
Authority over student conduct rests with the Dean of Students
Section 5: Investigation
When the dean of students receives information that a student has allegedly violated university policies, the dean of students will investigate the alleged violation.
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 information to support each element of the offense, even if that information is only a credible witness or victim’s statement. A complaint wholly unsupported by any information will not be forwarded for a hearing.
When it is determined that there is reasonable cause to believe a policy or policies have been violated, the dean of students will attempt an informal resolution. All notice for complaints referred for informal resolution will be delivered orally or via e-mail. The parties and relevant witnesses will be interviewed. If the allegations can be disposed of by mutual consent of the parties on a basis acceptable to the parties involved and the dean of students, such disposition will be final and there will be no subsequent proceedings.
If an informal resolution is not successful, the complaint will proceed through an administrative hearing, or will be referred to the Critical Issues Board (CIB) for a hearing. The university maintains a CIB to hear all complaints of sexual misconduct, discrimination, stalking, relationship violence, threat of harm, physical harm to others and intolerance/harassment. All other allegations are subject to an administrative hearing. The CIB is a formal hearing process while an administrative hearing is less formal. The dean of students shall determine whether a complaint is referred to the CIB or for an administrative hearing.
Section 6: Hearings
A. Administrative Hearings
All notice for complaints referred for an administrative hearing will be delivered orally or via e-mail. After investigating the alleged violation, the dean of students will confer with the involved students to gain information regarding the incident. If after the conference with the student, the dean of students or his/her designee believes disciplinary action is warranted, sanctions may be applied. The dean of students or his/her designee will inform the student of the sanctions in writing.
B. Critical Issues Board (CIB) Hearing
The Critical Issues Board is comprised of three staff members, including the chief hearing officer/chair, and representatives from Human Resources and Counseling and Consultation Center, appointed to the board by the dean of students. There is no term limit for CIB members. Any midyear vacancy will be filled immediately by the dean of students. The dean of students may make any necessary ad hoc modifications to board membership, format or procedures that do not materially jeopardize the fairness of the proceeding. For example, convening hearings during summer semesters may require administrative hearings or hearings without all members present.
Critical Issues Board Notice and Pre-Hearing Procedures
1. Once a determination is made that reasonable cause exists for the dean of students to refer a complaint for a CIB hearing, notice will be given to the accused student. Notice will be in writing, and may be delivered in person during a meeting with the dean of students or via e-mail to the student’s St. Edward’s University e-mail account. This notice is presumptively delivered whether the student actively uses this account or not. Notice will also be mailed to the local or permanent address of the accused student for complaints in which suspension or expulsion are possible. Once mailed, such notice will be presumed delivered to the student the following class day.
a. The letter of notice will state briefly a description of the incident alleged, as well as all policies the accused student is alleged to have violated and the possible consequences if the accused student is found in violation. Relevant procedures for resolution of the complaint will be included in the notice.
b. The letter of notice will direct the accused student to contact the dean of students within two class days of receipt to respond to the complaint.
c. A meeting with dean of students can be arranged to explain the nature of the complaint and the conduct process. Within the two-class-day period, the accused student must indicate in writing to the dean of students whether he/she admits or denies the allegations of the complaint. Failure to timely respond to the dean of students will be deemed admission of the allegations.
d. Where the accused student admits to violation(s) of the Student Code of Conduct, the dean of students may invoke informal resolution procedures above to determine and administer an appropriate sanction without a formal hearing or can be referred to the CIB for formal hearing procedures.
e. Where the accused student denies the violation, the formal hearing procedures in this section will be followed.
2. Where a student denies violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the dean of students will upon receipt of a written denial from the accused student, schedule a hearing.
a. Written notice of the time, date and location of the hearing will be sent to the address on record with the registrar to all parties to the complaint, who may additionally be notified in person, by telephone or by e-mail. When sent to the address of record, notice will be presumed delivered the following class day.
b. If there is an alleged victim of the conduct in question, the alleged victim may serve as the complainant, or may elect to have the administration serve as complainant. Where there is no victim, the administration will serve as complainant.
c. If a student fails to respond to notice from the dean of students or refuses to respond to questions, the hearing will proceed on the basis of the information available at the time.
3. Once a student denies a violation, he/she will be given a minimum of seven (7) calendar days to prepare for a hearing. At least 48 hours before any scheduled hearing, the following will occur:
a. The accused student will deliver to the dean of students a written response to the complaint.
b. The accused student will deliver to the dean of students a written list of all witnesses the accused student wants the university to request attend the hearing on his/her behalf, giving the full contact information of any such witness, if known.
c. The accused student will deliver to the dean of students a written list of all items of physical information the accused student intends to use or needs to have present at the hearing, and will indicate who has possession or custody of such information, if known (the university will be under no obligation to obtain all of the items identified by the student).
d. The complainant (or the university if the university is the complainant) will deliver to the Dean of Students a written list of all witnesses the complainant wants the university to request attend the hearing on his/her behalf, giving the full contact information of any such witnesses, if known.
e. The complainant (or the university if the university is the complainant) will deliver to the dean of students a written list of all items of physical information the complainant intends to use or needs to have present at the hearing, and will indicate who has possession or custody of such information, if known (the university will be under no obligation to obtain all of the items identified by the student).
f. The parties will notify the dean of students, at least 48 hours prior to the hearing, of the names of any advisors who may be accompanying the parties at the hearing.
g. The Dean of Students will ensure that this information and any other available written documentation is shared between the complainant and accused student at least 24 hours before any scheduled hearing. In addition, the parties will be given a list of the names of all the hearing officers for the complaint. Should either party object to any members of the hearing or conduct board, they must raise all objections in writing to the dean of students immediately. Hearing officers will only be unseated if the Dean of Students concludes that their bias precludes an impartial hearing of the complaint. Additionally, any conduct board or hearing officer who feels he or she cannot make an objective determination must recuse himself or herself from the proceedings.
h. The parties may elect to be counseled by an advisor. The advisor may be a member of the university community. He or she can be a currently enrolled student or a current member of the faculty or staff. The advisor may also be from outside the university community, including an attorney or parent. The advisor will not be allowed to participate in the hearing process other than to advise the student. If the student elects to have an attorney at the hearing, the student must notify the dean of students or his/her designee within five working days after notification of the hearing. The decision to have an attorney present at the hearing may affect the date of the hearing to accommodate the university’s option to obtain counsel.
i. Hearings shall be closed to the public and university community.
After a hearing, conduct board members will deliberate and determine by majority vote whether it is more likely than not that the student has violated the Student Code of Conduct as alleged in the notice provided to the accused student.
Once a finding is determined, if that finding is that of a policy violation, the conduct board will determine an appropriate sanction. The Dean of Students is responsible for informing the conduct board of applicable university precedent and any previous relevant conduct violations by the accused student. The chair will prepare a written report to the Dean of Students detailing the finding, any information that the conduct board excluded from its consideration, and why. This report should conclude with any recommended sanctions and not exceed two pages in length. The chief hearing officer will implement the final determination and inform the parties (in accordance with the university’s policy for notification of outcomes) within seven calendar days after the hearing.
The past sexual history or sexual character of a party or witness will not be admissible by the other party in hearings unless such information is first determined to be highly relevant by the chair. All such information sought to be admitted will be presumed irrelevant, and any request to overcome this presumption by the parties must be included in the complaint/response or a subsequent written request, and must be reviewed in advance of the hearing by dean of students.
4. While previous conduct violations by the accusted student are not generally admissible as information about the present alleged violation, the Dean of Students may supply previous complaint information to the conduct board, or may consider it while hearing the complaint, only in these situations:
a. The accused student was previously found to be responsible
b. The previous incident was substantially similar to the present allegation
c. Information indicates a pattern of behavior and substantial conformity with that pattern by the accused student
Conduct decisions and sanctions implemented will be considered final, except where further review is provided under these procedures. The dean of students has the authority to stay implementation of sanctions pending review at her or his sole discretion.
Hearings at which suspension or expulsion are possible will be audio-recorded by the university. No other recordings may be made. The dean of students may substitute summary notes in lieu of a recording as necessary. Recordings will be retained in the same manner in which student records are retained. Recordings may be reviewed in, but not removed from, the dean’s office by the parties in preparation for any final review.
Critical Issues Board: Hearing Procedures
A hearing proceeds as follows:
- The chair calls the hearing to order and notes all members present.
- The chair admonishes all participants of the expectation for full and truthful testimony.
- The chair advises the accused student of the alleged violations and potential sanctions by reading the notice of sanction from the dean of students or his/her designee. The chair then asks the accused student to admit or deny the alleged violations in whole or in part.
- A complete admission requires no further procedure other than to offer the student the opportunity to present, at that time, any evidence of character or scholarship with bearing on the extent of the sanctions to be determined. The sanctions will then determined by the conduct panel and relayed to the dean of students.
- A denial or partial denial by the accused student requires presentation of information. Such information may consist of signed statements, oral testimony, written documentation and physical artifacts.
- All questions are directed through the conduct board in the manner determined by the chair.
- Generally, the order proceeds as follows:
a. Opening statement by complainant
b. Response by accused student
c. Presentation and questioning of witnesses by the conduct board
d. Closing statement by complainant
e. Closing statement by the accused student
Questioning of witnesses applies only to those witnesses who appear in person. Some witness testimony may be given by written statement when the witness is unavailable at the time of the hearing, as determined by the chair. Additionally, witnesses are generally identified to the parties, but where a witness desires to remain anonymous, he or she will only be permitted to remain anonymous if good cause is shown and his or her identity is not essential to ensuring a fair hearing to the parties.
Information Before Critical Issues Board
The chair of the Critical Issues Board may admit or exclude information in his/her professional discretion so as to arrive at a fair decision. The chair will exclude irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious information. The chair will also rule on all procedural questions that arise.
Section 7: Review
Only a student who has been assigned violations or sanctions by a hearing officer or by the CIB may request review of those determinations.
A. Review of Administrative Hearings
If the student wishes to request review of the violations and sanctions assigned by a hearing officer, the student must request review from the appropriate administrator. Students may petition within three business days of the written decision of the administrative hearing officer for the review of his/her decision or the sanction imposed. Such petitions must be in writing, set forth in detail the grounds for the review and be delivered to the appropriate administrator with full contact information of the student requesting review.
A student requesting review of a residence director’s decision should petition to the Residence Life director. A student requesting review of the decision of the Residence Life director should petition to the assistant dean of students. A student requesting review of the decision of the assistant dean of students should petition to the associate dean of students. A student requesting review of the decision of the associate dean of students should petition to the dean of students for referral to the Community Review Board (CRB).
The violations and sanctions may be reviewed one time; therefore, the decision of the appropriate administrator or CRB is final. The grounds for review of an administrative hearing are limited to the following:
- To consider new information, unavailable during the original hearing, that could affect the outcome
- To assess whether a material deviation from written procedures impacted the fairness of the hearing
- To review whether the sanctions imposed is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense
- To review a student’s contention that the finding of a violation is not supported by the information considered by the hearing officer. For purposes of such review, the information, taken as a whole, is reviewed and the reviewing administrator assumes all determinations of credibility to have been correctly made by the hearing officer.
B. Review of Critical Issues Board (CIB) Decisions
A student may petition within three business days of the written decision of the CIB for the review of its decision or the sanctions imposed. Such petitions must be in writing, must set forth in detail the grounds for review and must be delivered to the dean of students for referral to the chair of the Community Review Board (CRB) with full contact information of the student requesting review.
The violations and sanctions may be reviewed one time; therefore, the decision of the CRB is final. Except as required to explain the basis of new information, a review will be limited to review of the verbatim record of the CIB hearing documents submitted at the hearing and the written report of the CIB chair. The grounds for review are limited to the following:
- To consider new information, unavailable during the original hearing, that could affect the outcome
- To assess whether a material deviation from written procedures impacted the fairness of the hearing
- To review whether the sanctions imposed are grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense
- To review a student’s contention that the finding of a violation is not supported by the information considered by the hearing officer or the CIB. For purposes of such review, the information, taken as a whole, is reviewed and the reviewing administrator assumes all determinations of credibility to have been correctly made by the hearing officer or CIB.
If the CRB determines, following its review, that one of the four grounds for review exists, the CRB may refer the matter back to the original CIB or associate dean of students for reopening of the hearing to allow reconsideration of the original determination and sanctions imposed. The CRB may also act on the charges or sanctions itself by modifying such determinations as appropriate based on the review. Every opportunity should be taken by the CRB to return the complaint to the CIB or associate dean of students for reconsideration of the original determination.
The CRB may confirm or change a decision or increase, decrease or modify a sanction, and all decisions of the CRB are final. The CRB defers to the original decision maker, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if a compelling justification to do so exists. The CRB must reach a unanimous decision.
The CRB is composed of three members of the St. Edward’s University community, including faculty, staff and/or student membership, appointed by the dean of students. CRB members participate in semiannual training with the dean of students. Anyone who does not receive semi-annual training will not be eligible to participate in conduct proceedings. Administrative hearing officers may serve on the CRB as long as they were not previously involved in processing the original complaint. The chair is elected by the CRB and serves for the duration the panel is convened.