Student Conduct

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Student Conduct Procedures

A. COMPLAINTS

B. INTERIM MEASURES

C. CONFERENCES, HEARINGS AND BOARDS

D. HEARINGS CONDUCTED BY THE PEER REVIEW BOARD AND THE CRITICAL ISSUES BOARD

E. ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS IN MATTERS INVOLVING ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OR RELATIONSHIP VIOLENCE

F. CONDUCT APPEALS PROCESS

G. CONDUCT FILES AND RECORDS

 

A. COMPLAINTS

1.  Any current student, faculty, administrator or staff member of the University of San Diego may file a complaint against any student alleging a violation of the Code.  Complaints shall be prepared in writing and directed to the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or his/her designee (“Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students”).   A complaint should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place, generally within 30 days of the alleged incident.   At the discretion of the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, the time permitted to file a complaint may be extended.  In addition to complaints from those identified above, an incident report from a University department (including but not limited to Public Safety, Residential Life, or Human Resources) may initiate these procedures. The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students may request that Public Safety investigate the incident.  

2.   In addition to on-campus conduct, acts committed off-campus, but related to the security of the University or a member of the University community, the well-being or reputation of the University, or the educational mission of the University are subject to these student conduct procedures as determined by the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or his/her designee.  

 

B.   INTERIM MEASURES

1.  Suspension

The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students may suspend the Alleged Offender from the University and/or from the residence halls on an interim basis prior to the hearing.

a. An interim suspension may be imposed to ensure the safety or well-being of any member of the University community; to preserve or protect University of San Diego property; to ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being; or if the Alleged Offender poses an ongoing threat to, disruption to, or interference with the normal operations of the University.

b. During the interim suspension, the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, in his or her discretion, may restrict or deny access by the Alleged Offender to the residence halls and/or to the campus (including classes) and/or any or all other University activities or privileges for which the Alleged Offender might otherwise be eligible.

c.  A student who is placed on interim suspension shall continue to be subject to these student conduct procedures.

The student will be notified in writing of this action and the reasons for the suspension. The notice will also include instructions regarding the process in which they may show cause why his or her continued presence on campus does not constitute a threat.

2.  Change in Living Arrangements

 As stated in the Campus Housing and Dining Services Agreement, the University  reserves the right to assign roommates, to change room or hall assignments, and/or to consolidate vacancies by requiring residents to move from one accommodation to another in the event such reassignments are determined to be necessary by the University.

 

C.  CONFERENCES, HEARINGS AND BOARDS

1. The Assistant Dean of Students or his/her designee (“Assistant Dean of Students”) may assign an Alleged Offender to appear before a hearing officer in a Community Standards Conference or an Administrative Hearing, or to appear before a Peer Review Board or a Critical Issues Board (each referred to as a “Board”). The Assistant Dean of Students shall determine which hearing officer or hearing Board will hear each matter. When an Alleged Offender is assigned to appear before a hearing Board, the Assistant Dean of Students shall convene the Board. In circumstances when a Board can not reasonably be convened in a timely manner (for example, prior to training, during the last two weeks of the fall and spring semesters, or during intersession and summer sessions), complaints are generally resolved through the administrative hearing process.

a.  Community Standards Conference

For minor residential life violations that are alleged to violate the Community Standards contract (i.e. noise, pets, screens, smoking), a Community Standards Conference is conducted by a Residential Life professional, whose duties include:

(1)  Determining the allegations.

(2)  Reviewing all information available to the residence life professional.

(3)  Determining whether the Alleged Offender has violated the Residential Life Community Standards.

(4)  Determining appropriate sanctions when necessary.

(5)  Allowing for reflection and education.

(6)  Documenting the decision and any sanctions.

b.  Administrative Hearings

Hearings of alleged violations of the Student Code that occur on campus or off campus are conducted by the Assistant Dean of Students or his/her designee (which includes but is not limited to the Director of Student Conduct) who shall be the administrative hearing officer. The administrative hearing officer will determine whether the charges will be resolved administratively, or may refer the matter to a Peer Review Board or Critical Issues Board for adjudication. When a charge will be resolved administratively and not referred to a Board for adjudication, an administrative hearing officer’s responsibilities include:

(1)  Determining the allegations.

(2)  Reviewing all information available to the administrative hearing officer.

(3)  Determining whether the Alleged Offender has violated the Code

(4)  Determining appropriate sanctions when necessary.

(5)  Creating an opportunity for student reflection and education.

(6)  Documenting the decision and any sanctions.

c.  Peer Review Board

A Peer Review Board hears all cases referred to it by the Assistant Dean of Students or his/her designee. The responsibilities of the Board include:

(1)  Reviewing the charges.

(2)  Reviewing all information available to the Board.

(3)  Determining whether the Alleged Offender has violated the Code.

(4)  If a violation has occurred, recommending appropriate sanctions to the Assistant Dean of Students.

(5)   Creating an opportunity for reconciliation and reflection.

The Peer Review Board shall be composed of three students trained in the University’s conduct procedures. The Peer Review Board will be advised by a Student Affairs professional, appointed by the Assistant Dean of Students.

d.  Critical Issues Board

A Critical Issues Board hears all the cases referred to it by the Assistant Dean of Students or his/her designee.  These hearings usually involve allegations of a more serious nature that may result in suspension or expulsion. The responsibilities of the Board include:

(1)  Reviewing the charges.

(2)  Reviewing all information available to the Board.

(3)  Determining whether the Accused Offender has violated the Code.

(4)  If a violation has occurred, recommending appropriate sanctions to the Assistant Dean of Students.

(5) Creating an opportunity for student reconciliation and reflection.

The Critical Issues Board is composed of one administrator, one faculty member and one student. The Assistant Dean of Students or his/her designee serves as the Board's advisor and is present during all Board hearings and deliberations.  The Chair shall be the administrator or faculty member serving on the Critical Issues Board.  Members of the Board shall be selected by the Assistant Dean of Students from a group of students, faculty, and administrators who are trained in the University’s conduct procedures.

Hearing Board members who hear a matter involving allegations of Sexual Misconduct or Relationship Violence (see Rules of Conduct #7) will receive annual training on the issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability.

 

D.  HEARINGS CONDUCTED BY THE PEER REVIEW BOARD AND THE CRITICAL ISSUES BOARD

Peer Review Board and Critical Issues Board hearings are conducted according to the guidelines set forth in this Section D.  See Section E below for additional requirements that apply to matters involving allegations of Sexual Misconduct or Relationship Violence (see Rules of Conduct #7).

1.  A student against whom the complaint is filed shall be given notice of the hearing date and the specific allegations against him or her at least five (5) business days in advance of the hearing.

2.  In most circumstances, the Board shall be convened within ten (10) business days of the date on which the administrator receives the final investigative documents regarding the allegations.

3. The Alleged Offender will be given the opportunity to examine all documents available to the Board prior to the start of the hearing or as information is presented to the Board. The complainant will be given the opportunity to examine all documents available to the Board that relate specifically to the complainant’s connection with the allegations or as information relating to the complainant is presented to the Board

4. Hearings shall be conducted in private.

5. In Board hearings involving more than one Alleged Offender, the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, in his or her discretion, may permit the hearings concerning each student to be conducted either separately or jointly.

6. The Complainant and the Alleged Offender have the right to be accompanied at the hearing by an advisor. Unless the matter involves allegations of Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence (see Section E.3 below), the advisor must be a member of the University community and shall not be an attorney or parent/guardian of the complainant or the Alleged Offender, and shall not speak or participate directly in any hearings before the Board.

7. Witness accounts, pertinent records, exhibits and written statements may be accepted as evidence for consideration by the Board at the discretion of the Chair. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply to any hearings or other proceedings conducted pursuant to the Code.

8. A Board member may ask the Alleged Offender, the Complainant, and any witnesses any questions that Board member deems appropriate and relevant to the hearing.

9. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Chair of the Board.

10. After the hearing, the Board shall determine, by majority vote, whether the Alleged Offender has violated each section of the Code that the student is alleged to have violated.

11. The Board's determination shall be made on the basis of a preponderance of the evidence standard (ie. whether it is more likely than not that the Alleged Offender has violated the Code).

12. In the case of a hearing by the Critical Issues Board only, there shall be a single recording. The record shall be the property of the University. Peer Review Board hearings are not recorded.

13. If the Alleged Offender fails to appear for a scheduled hearing or refuses to cooperate with the Board during the course of the hearing, information relating to the charges shall nevertheless be presented and considered by the Board. The Board will then determine findings and propose sanctions. The Alleged Offender retains the right to appeal the outcome as provided for in Section F.

14.  The Alleged Offender will be notified in writing of the outcome of the hearing.  Consistent with the requirements of FERPA and its implementing regulations, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted with respect to an alleged offense of violence or a non-forcible sex offense may be disclosed to a member of the University community who was alleged to be the victim of the offense. 

 

E.  ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS IN MATTERS INVOLVING ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OR RELATIONSHIP VIOLENCE

In matters involving allegations of Sexual Misconduct or Relationship Violence (see Rules of Conduct #7), the additional requirements set forth below shall apply. For the purpose of this section, “Complainant” shall refer to the member of the University community who believes (s)he has been a victim of an act of Sexual Misconduct or Relationship Violence committed by the Alleged Offender.

1. Both the Alleged Offender and the Complainant will have the same opportunity to present evidence at the hearing.

2. Both the Alleged Offender and the Complainant may be present for the entirety of the hearing. Neither party may be present during the deliberations of the Board or administrative hearing officer.

3. Both the Alleged Offender and the Complainant are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during the hearing, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by an advisor of their choice.  Neither the Alleged Offender nor the Complainant shall be limited in his/her choice of advisor or presence in any meeting or proceeding; however, the advisor shall not speak or participate directly in any proceeding and must comply with any other restrictions placed by the institution on the extent to which he or she may participate in the proceeding, as long as such restrictions apply equally to both parties. 

4. Neither the Alleged Offender nor the Complainant may personally (or through their advisors) question one another at any time during the hearing.  All proposed questions from the Alleged Offender and the Complainant must be submitted to the Board or administrative hearing officer.

5. Questions about the Complainant’s past sexual history with anyone other than the Alleged Offender, or about the Alleged Offender’s past sexual history with anyone other than the Complainant, are not permitted.  Past consent between the parties does not imply present or future consent.

6. The Alleged Offender and the Complainant will be simultaneously informed, in writing, of the result of the hearing, the procedures for the Alleged Offender and/or the Complainant to appeal the results of the hearing, any change to the results that occurs before the results become final, and when the results become final. 

7. The notice of the outcome to the Complainant must include whether or not the alleged conduct was found to have occurred, any individual remedies offered or provided to the Complainant, and any sanctions imposed on the Alleged Offender that directly relate to the Complainant, the rationale for the result and sanctions, and any other steps taken to eliminate any hostile environment found to exist.

8. Both the Alleged Offender and the Complainant are entitled to the appeal rights described in Section F below.  Each party shall be entitled to submit no more than one appeal arising from the decision of the Board or administrative hearing officer.

 

F.  CONDUCT APPEALS PROCESS

1. An Alleged Offender may appeal a decision by a Critical Issues Board. In addition, an Alleged Offender may appeal a decision by any hearing body in which the sanction imposed includes removal from housing, suspension or expulsion.

2. An appeal must be submitted by the Alleged Offender in writing to the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students within five (5) business days of the decision. The written appeal must identify one or more purposes for the appeal, as set forth in Paragraph 5 below. The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or his or her designee may uphold the sanction(s) until the appeal process is completed.

3.  Appeals shall be considered by an Appeals Board.

4.  The Appeals Board shall be comprised of one student, one faculty member, and one administrator. Members of the Appeals Board shall be selected by the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students from a group of faculty, administrators and students who have been trained in the University’s conduct procedures.

5.  Except as required to explain the basis of new information, an appeal shall be limited to a review of the record of the hearing board or administrative hearing officer and supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes:

a. To determine whether the hearing was conducted fairly in light of the charges and information presented, and in conformity with applicable procedures. Deviations from applicable procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless the deviation resulted in significant prejudice to the Alleged Offender.

b. To determine whether the decision reached regarding the Alleged Offender was reasonably based on the information made available to the hearing Board or hearing officer (ie. whether there were facts in the case that, if believed by the hearing Board or hearing officer, were sufficient to establish that a violation of the Code occurred).

c. To consider new and significant information that is sufficient to alter a decision because such information was not known to the Alleged Offender and could not have been reasonably discovered at or before the time of the original hearing.

d. To determine whether the sanction imposed was inappropriate and excessive under the circumstances. (This criterion is only to be considered in cases where the sanction is suspension, expulsion, or the loss of the privilege to live in University housing).

6. Following its review, the Appeals Board may:

a. Uphold the original decision of the hearing Board or hearing officer.

b. Conclude that the Alleged Offender has not violated any, or all, of the specific policies in the Code determined by the hearing Board or hearing officer. The Appeals Board may determine that different policies were violated.

c. Recommend a change to the sanction(s) imposed.

7. The Appeals Board decision, including any recommended changes to the sanction imposed, shall be forwarded in writing to the Vice President of Student Affairs. The Vice President of Student Affairs or his/her designee shall communicate the final decision in writing to the Alleged Offender.

8. When a Peer Review Board or administrative hearing officer decision is not appealable, the Peer Review Board or administrative hearing officer may reconsider its/his/her prior decision only where the Alleged Offender presents new and significant information that is sufficient to alter the prior decision because such information was not known to the Alleged Offender and could not have been reasonably discovered at or before the original hearing. The request for reconsideration must be made by the Alleged Offender to the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students within five (5) calendar days of the Alleged Offender’s first knowledge of the information, but in no event more than ninety (90) days from the original decision.

 

G.  CONDUCT FILES AND RECORDS

1.   Records of individuals processed through the University’s conduct procedures shall be subject to the provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Disposition of cases involving student organizations is not considered confidential.

2.  Student conduct records will be retained in a manner consistent with the University’s Record Retention Policy.

3.  No student shall receive a diploma while an allegation of a Code violation is pending against him/her.

4.  No student shall receive a diploma without first fulfilling the terms of the disciplinary sanctions.   Participation in the graduation ceremony by an Accused Offender who has not yet fulfilled the terms of any disciplinary sanctions is at the discretion of the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or his or her designee.