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Article 4 - Student Code of Conduct Procedures

Introduction

Below are the general steps for receiving, evaluating, and resolving behavioral/Academic Misconduct issues. This process is intended to offer students guidance and transparency while maintaining efficiency and consistency aimed at providing a timely resolution.

Filing a Report and Confidentiality

Any concerned individual, including, but not limited to: faculty, staff, students, and community members, may submit a complaint regarding alleged misconduct by a student and/or organization to a Student Conduct Administrator.

Complainants are encouraged to use the online reporting system (the “Make a Report” link) on the Dean of Students website. 

Complaints should contain as much information as possible, such as:

  1. the type of misconduct alleged;
  2. the date and contact information of the accused;
  3. the date(s) of the misconduct, the name(s) and contact information of any individual(s) with information regarding the incident;
  4. existence/availability of evidence;
  5. if a criminal complaint has been made.

The institution cannot guarantee confidentiality for information related to an incident or contained in a complaint, as doing so may limit the institution’s ability to respond fully to the incident. Therefore, information from complaints may be shared as necessary to investigate and to resolve the alleged misconduct. Complaints shall be investigated and resolved as outlined below.

Anyone, who in good faith, reports what he or she believes to be student misconduct, participates or cooperates in, or is otherwise associated with any investigation shall not be subjected to retaliation. Anyone who believes he or she has been the target of retaliation for reporting, participating or cooperating in, or otherwise being associated with an investigation should immediately contact the Student Conduct Administrator. Any person found to have engaged in retaliation in violation of the student conduct policy shall be subject to disciplinary action, pursuant to the institution’s policy.

Any report should be submitted as soon as possible after the events take place, preferably within 72 hours.  Individuals filing a report or wishing to learn more about the conduct process can arrange to meet with a Student Conduct Administrator without any obligation to file a report. Reports not submitted in writing will be verified prior to beginning a conduct investigation. The University will ensure a prompt, fair, and impartial review and resolution of complaints alleging student misconduct.

Note: Where a complainant or alleged victim requests his/her identity be withheld or the allegations not be investigated, the University may be limited in its response. At the same time, when reports of behavior threatening the health and safety of the UNG community are made, the University may not be able to completely protect the reporter’s confidentiality.

Individuals are encouraged to come forward and seek medical attention for him or herself or a friend in a possible case of alcohol poisoning or drug overdose. Amnesty from misconduct charges may be offered to students who seek such assistance. For the complete Amnesty Policy and procedures, please see the University Student Handbook.

Receiving and Evaluating the Conduct Complaint (“Initial Evaluation”)

Upon receipt of a complaint of an alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct, a Student Conduct Administrator will evaluate the complaint and determine the appropriate course of action, considering the following factors:

  • Verification of accuracy of report;
  • Potential Standard violated;
  • Severity of the alleged incident;
  • Review of previous complaints to determine whether the accused student has been involved in similar prior incidents;
  • Consider whether an interim suspension is appropriate. An interim suspension should only occur in situations that present a serious and immediate danger or threat to persons or property and it is necessary to maintain safety.  When considering the use of an interim suspension, the Student Conduct Administrator should consider the existence of a significant risk to the health or safety of the campus community; the nature, duration and severity of the risk; the probability of potential injury; and whether less restrictive means can be used to mitigate the risk.

Where a report of student misconduct has been made, the institution will review the complaint to determine whether the allegation(s) describe conduct in violation of the institution's policies.  If the reported conduct would not be a violation of the institution's policies, then the report should be dismissed.  Otherwise, a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation and review should be conducted into each complaint received to determine whether charges against the respondent should be brought.

After receiving and reviewing the report, the Student Conduct Administrator will make a determination of which process will be used to resolve the case. There are three processes which may be used:

  • Informal – First-time offenses not aggravated by additional circumstances, less severe violations;
  • Formal –more severe offenses, including, but not limited to violation of professional standards, possession of drugs, repeated alcohol violations, cases involving physical assault, substantial damage to property, theft of high-value items, or substantial disruption to the orderly operation of the University; and
  • Academic – Violation of any part of Standard 1.0.

Severe and/or repeated violations will be resolved through a formal hearing process, while most first-time offenses may be resolved through an informal hearing process.

 Informal Resolution Process

  1. The accused student is notified of alleged charges and the University’s process for investigating and resolving charges.
  2. The accused student will be notified of a student conduct conference where the Student Conduct Officer and Accused Student will discuss the incident and the appropriate resolution.
  3. When the conference officer concludes that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that violations of the Student Code of Conduct occurred, sanctions will be issued.
  4. Failure to attend this conference, after appropriate notification, may result in the charges being settled without the student’s participation.
  5. The alleged victim and respondent may have the option of selecting medication as a possible resolution in certain student misconduct cases where they mutually agree, except when deemed inappropriate by the Student Conduct Administrator.  

Formal Resolution Process

  1. The Student Conduct Officer will have an initial meeting and provide the accused student with written notice of the allegations, pending investigation, possible charges, possible sanctions, and available support services.  This notice will also include the identity of any investigator involved. Where applicable, a copy shall also be provided to the person who filed the complaint.
  2. Upon receipt of the written notice, the accused student will have three (3) business days to respond in writing. In that response, the accused student has the right to admit or to deny the allegations, put forth a defense of facts, witnesses, and documents – whether written or electronic – in support of their defense. A non-response will be considered a general denial of the alleged misconduct.
  3. Based on this response, the investigation shall consist of interviews of the accused student, the alleged victim or complainant where applicable, and witnesses, the collection and review of documents or other physical or electronic information as well as other steps as appropriate. The investigator should retain written notes and/or obtain written or recorded statements from each interview. The investigator shall also keep a written record of any proffered witnesses not interviewed, along with a brief, written explanation. The purpose of the investigation is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the conduct process.
  4. The investigation shall be summarized in an initial investigation report and provided to the accused student and the complainant (where applicable) in person or via email. This summary will clearly indicate any resulting charges (or alternatively, a determination of no charges), as well as the facts in evidence in support of the charges, witness statements, and possible sanctions.
  5. The investigation report will then be shared with the accused student and the complainant. They will have the right to respond to inaccuracies and discrepancies within the report.
  6. The investigator will conduct further investigation and update the investigative report as warranted by the accused student and complainant’s response.
  7. If the accused student chooses to accept the findings and sanctions recommended in the Investigative report, the case will be considered resolved. At this point, a formal letter will be issued to the accused student and complainant detailing the findings and any sanctions.
  8. If the accused student does not accept the investigative findings or recommended sanctions, he/she will have three (3) business days to respond to the investigation report in writing.
  9. A student conduct conference will then be held to discuss the resolution process. At the student conduct conference, the student will choose to have the case resolved by a formal administrative hearing or by a formal panel hearing. During this conference, the conference officer will discuss the hearing guidelines and process, as well as the student’s rights in the hearing, including the right to an advisor and the appeals process.
  10. After the conference, the Dean of Students office will organize the appropriate hearing. Notice of the date, time and location of the hearing and the members of the hearing panel, shall be provided to the accused at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing. With this notice, a final copy of the investigative report, that includes any response submitted by the accused student, will be provided to the accused, complainant and the hearing officer or hearing panel.
  11. The formal administrative or panel hearing will be held. Please refer to the Hearing Rights and Hearing Guidelines later in this document.
    1. Following the hearing, both the accused and complainant (or alleged victim) will be provided a written decision via University email of the outcome and any resulting sanctions.  This notification will happen within three (3) business days via University email. Parents of students under age 21 found responsible of drug or alcohol violations will be notified by the University. Parents of students over age 21 found responsible of drug or alcohol violations may be notified at the discretion of the Student Conduct Administrator.
    2. Students may appeal decisions of suspension and expulsion within five (5) business days of notification of decision, via the appropriate form, which will be provided to them along with the notification of findings and sanctions. All appeals of formal hearing decisions will be reviewed by the Vice President for Student Affairs.

Academic Misconduct Process

When a Faculty Member believes that Academic Misconduct has occurred, the faculty member should meet with the student to discuss the allegations. At this meeting, the student should be given the opportunity to respond to the allegations, and should be made aware of the academic penalties the instructor intends to impose.

Following this conversation, the Faculty Member must submit an Academic Misconduct report, which can be found on the Dean of Students webpage. The faculty member’s report regarding alleged violations of the Academic Misconduct standards will serve as documentation for the student’s file and will be presented to the student conduct committee if the student should choose to appeal the faculty member’s decision.

Upon receipt of a complaint of an alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct, a Student Conduct Administrator will evaluate the complaint and determine the appropriate course of action, considering the following factors:

  • Which section of Standard 1, Academic Misconduct, has been violated;
  • Severity of the alleged incident;
  • Whether any further documentation must be obtained (course syllabi,
  • Review of previous complaints to determine whether the accused student has been involved in similar prior incidents

After receiving and reviewed the report, the Student Conduct Administrator will make a determination of the process will be used to resolve the case. Most first-time Academic Misconduct cases may be addressed through an informal hearing process, if the student accepts responsibility for the violation.

Informal Academic Misconduct Resolution Process

This process shall be used when first Academic Misconduct offense is alleged.

  1. The accused student will be notified in writing of the alleged Academic Misconduct and the University’s process for investigating and resolving charges of Academic Misconduct.
  2. If appropriate, the student will also be scheduled to meet with a conference officer. At this conference, the student will have the opportunity to learn about the university’s Academic Misconduct process and to respond to the charges, including whether they accept responsibility and the academic sanctions already issued by the faculty member. Students are also encouraged to schedule such a meeting if they have questions or concerns.
  3. The student has the right to either accept or appeal the faculty member’s decision and sanctions as well as additional educational sanctions typically imposed by the University for first-time Academic Misconduct offenses.
  4. If the student chooses to accept responsibility, the conference officer will impose sanctions, which may include an educational process about academic integrity and/or conduct probation, or other appropriate sanctions, in addition to the academic sanctions already imposed by the faculty member.
  5. If the student does not accept responsibility or believes a lesser sanction should be imposed (either by the faculty member or by the University), he or she will notify the conference officer within five (5) days of receiving the notice. At this point, the case will move to the Formal Resolution Process described below.

Formal Academic Misconduct Resolution Process

This process shall be used when a subsequent Academic Misconduct offense is alleged, or when a student wishes to challenge a first allegation and/or the sanctions imposed by the professor or proposed by the University.

  1. The Student Conduct Officer will provide the accused student with written notice of the allegations, pending investigation, possible charges, possible sanctions, and available support services. This notice will also include the identity of any investigator involved. A copy shall also be provided to the person who filed the complaint.
  2. Upon receipt of the written notice, the accused student will have three (3) business days to respond in writing. In that response, the accused student has the right to admit or to deny the allegations, put forth a defense of facts, witnesses, and documents – whether written or electronic – in support of their defense. A non-response will be considered a general denial of the alleged misconduct.
  3. Based on this response, the investigation shall consist of interviews of the accused student, the reporting faculty member, and witnesses, the collection and review of documents or other physical or electronic information as well as other steps as appropriate. The investigator should retain written notes and/or obtain written or recorded statements from each interview. The investigator shall also keep a written record of any proffered witnesses not interviewed, along with a brief, written explanation. The purpose of the investigation is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the conduct process.
  4. The investigation shall be summarized in an initial investigation report and provided to the accused student and the reporting faculty member in person or via email. This summary will clearly indicate any resulting charges (or alternatively, a determination of no charges), as well as the facts in evidence in support of the charges, witness statements, and possible sanctions.
  5. The investigation report will then be shared with the accused student and the reporting faculty member. They will have the right to respond to inaccuracies and discrepancies within the report.
  6. If the accused student chooses to accept the findings and sanctions recommended in the Investigation report, the case will be considered resolved. At this point, a formal letter will be issued to the accused student and reporting faculty member detailing the findings and any sanctions.
  7. If the accused student does not accept the investigation findings or recommended sanctions, he/she will have three (3) business days to respond to the investigation report in writing.
  8. A student conduct conference will then be held to discuss the resolution process. During this conference, the conference officer will discuss the hearing guidelines and process, as well as the student’s rights in the hearing, including the right to an advisor and the appeals process.
  9. After the conference, the Dean of Students office will organize the hearing. Due to the academic nature of these infractions, all Academic Misconduct hearings shall be conducted by the conduct panel made up of faculty members and students. Notice of the date, time and location of the hearing and the members of the hearing panel, shall be provided to the accused at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing. With this notice, a final copy of the investigation report, that includes any response submitted by the accused student, will be provided to the accused, reporting faculty member and the hearing panel.
  10. The formal panel hearing will be held. Please refer to the Hearing Rights and Hearing Guidelines later in this document.
    1. After the formal panel hearing is held, the accused student­ will be notified of the findings of the hearing body, and if necessary, the sanctions that have been issued. This notification will happen within three (3) business days via University email.
    2. Students may appeal decisions of suspension and expulsion within five (5) business days of notification of decision, via the appropriate form, which will be provided to them along with the notification of findings and sanctions. All appeals of formal hearing decisions in Academic Misconduct cases will be reviewed by the Provost.

Conduct Hearing Panel

Student Conduct Committee Composition of Members

The Student Conduct Committee is made-up of faculty and student members. Faculty members are appointed by the faculty senate and students are appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs. All members are trained in the Student Conduct hearing process.  All training of Conduct Committee members is conducted by someone who does not serve in the role as investigator.  The number of panel members will be determined by the Student Conduct Administrator. Make-up of the panel will be one of the following:

  • 3 members –two faculty members and one student
  • 5 members –three faculty members and two students
  • 7 members –four faculty members and three students

Note: In cases involving graduate students, the student conduct panel will be comprised of graduate faculty and graduate student members.

When it is not possible to convene the Student Conduct panel (e.g. during academic breaks) it may be necessary to form an ad hoc conduct panel. On these occasions, the Student Conduct Administrator will appoint a panel following the same membership outlined above.

Rights During Formal and Informal Conduct Processes

All parties to the conduct hearing (administrative or conduct panel) are guaranteed the following rights during a hearing:

  1. The right to an advisor from the University community.  Please see Hearing Guidelines for more information.
  2. The right to challenge the participation of an institution official employee or board member on the grounds of personal bias. The student should submit a written statement to the Student Conduct Administrator explaining the basis for the challenge within a reasonable time frame of notification.
  3. The right to question all witnesses. In cases where the complainant is an alleged victim, accommodations may be made. 
  4. The right to present evidence and call witnesses to the hearing officer or panel. This questioning may take place through the submission of written questions to the panel or hearing officer for consideration. The parties’ advisors may actively advise and assist in drafting these questions. The hearing officer or panel shall ask the questions as written, and will limit questions only if they are unrelated to determining the veracity of the charge levelled against the accused student. The hearing officer or panel shall err on the side of asking all submitted questions, and must document the reason for not asking any particular questions. The hearing officer or panel may establish special procedures for obtaining testimony from a party or witness who is unavailable or unable to be present due to extenuating circumstances.
  5. The right to decline making any statements or answering questions and in doing so, no assumption of responsibility will be drawn from such silence.
  6. The right to a documentation maintained by the University of the proceedings upon written request.
  7. The right to appeal the decision of the Conduct Board or conduct administrator to the Vice President of Student Affairs or designee. Issues of Academic Misconduct, professional conduct, or any sanction involving an academic penalty will be reviewed by the designee of the Provost.
  8. The right to attend classes and University functions until a hearing is held and a decision is rendered. Exceptions to this would be made when the student’s presence would create a serious and immediate danger or threat to persons or property. In such cases, the University may impose temporary protective measures, including interim suspension, pending a hearing.

Additional Rights for Students Involved in Formal Behavioral Hearings

  1. The right to an attorney to act in the role of an advisor.  Please see Hearing Guidelines.
  2. The right to bring no more than two (2) family member to all meetings and proceedings during the investigation and/or resolution process at which the student is present. Family members may provide questions, suggestions, and guidance on responses to any questions directed to the student. However, family members may not participate directly in any proceeding.

Guidelines for the Hearing

All student conduct hearings (administrative hearings and Student Conduct Panel hearings) shall be conducted according to the following guidelines:

  1. The role of an advisor is to provide advice and counsel to the accused student. The advisor may be present during meetings and proceedings during the investigation and/or resolution process at which the student is present. Advisors may provide questions, suggestions, and guidance on responses to any questions directed to the student. However, advisors cannot interact directly with the hearing panel or witnesses. 
  2. Deliberations of the conduct panel will be conducted in private.
  3. In hearings involving more than one Accused Student, the Student Conduct Administrator, in his or her discretion, may permit the hearings concerning each student to be conducted either separately or jointly.
  4. Unrelated charges and/or cases involving the same student shall be heard separately unless the accused student voluntarily consents to the charges/cases being heard jointly.
  5. Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration during the hearing at the discretion of the Conduct Panel chairperson or Student Conduct Administrator.
  6. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the chairperson of the Student Conduct Panel or Student Conduct Administrator.
  7. After the portion of the hearing concludes in which all pertinent information has been received, the Student Conduct Panel or Student Conduct Administrator shall determine whether the accused student has violated each standard of the Student Code which the student is charged with violating.
  8. The standard of review shall be preponderance of the evidence--whether it is more likely than not that the accused student violated the Student Code of Conduct. Any decision to suspend or expel a student must also be supported by substantial evidence at the hearing.
  9. Formal rules or process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in Student Code of Conduct investigations or processes.
  10.  The University will maintain documentation of the proceedings, which may include written findings of fact, transcripts, audio recordings, and/or video recording.
  11. If an accused student, with notice, does not appear for a hearing, the information in support of the charges shall be presented and considered even if the accused student is not present.

Sanctions

In determining the severity of the sanctions or corrective actions, the following will be considered: the frequency, severity, and/or nature of the offense, history of past conduct, and the accused student’s willingness to accept responsibility, previous University response to similar conduct, and the University’s interests. The Student Conduct Panel or the Hearing Officer will determine sanctions and issue the decision.  The following are possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed upon a student for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. This list is not exhaustive and may be modified to meet particular circumstances in any given case.

  1. Expulsion—Permanent, forced withdrawal from the University constitutes the maximum disciplinary penalty. Although expulsion may be imposed on the first offense, it is usually administered after other methods of discipline have been exhausted.
  2. Conduct Suspension—Forced withdrawal from the University for a specified time. Suspension is for a period of not less than one full semester. During any period of suspension or withdrawal associated with conduct reasons, a student should have permission from the Dean of Students prior to visits to campus. 
  3. Conduct Probation—Notice to the student that any further conduct violation may result in suspension or expulsion. Conduct probation might also include one or more of the following: the setting of restriction, the issuing of a reprimand, or restitution. Conduct probation can affect students’ ability to participate or hold office in certain student organizations and/or university activities.
  4. Reprimand or Warning
    1. Oral Reprimand—an oral disapproval issued to the student.
    2. Written Reprimand—a written statement of disapproval to the student.
    3. Restrictions
      1. Exclusion from participating in University activities and/or university organizations
      2. Limiting University privileges including, but not limited to, residence hall visitation, driving/parking on campus and access to University facilities
    4. Restitution- Reimbursement for damages or loss of property
    5. Educational- Work or service assignments or other related educational assignments
    6. Forced Withdrawal- From the academic course within which the offense occurred.
    7. Change in Course Grade -- This sanction may be imposed only for cases involving Academic Misconduct. This recommendation must be approved by the Provost.
    8. Removal from an Academic Program or Experience- This recommendation must be approved by the Provost.

Student Organization Sanctions

The following are possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed upon a student organization for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. This list is not exhaustive and may be modified to meet particular circumstances in any given case.

  1. Recommendation for Charter Revocation - An official request to a national office that the local chapter’s charter be revoked.
  2. Revocation of University Recognition - Permanent severance of the organization’s relationship with the University.
  3. Suspension of University Recognition - Temporary severance of the organization’s relationship with the University for a specified period of time. The period of time is to be specified in the decision of the hearing body.
  4. Restitution - Reimbursement for a loss caused by the organization’s actions.
  5. Service - Assignment to work a specific number of hours.
  6. Restrictions - Restriction of some or all of the organization’s activities or privileges, including, but not limited to, social functions and recruitment privileges. Social restrictions placed on organizations may vary, based on the nature of the offense.
  7. Oral Reprimand - An oral statement of disapproval issued to the organization by the hearing body or a person designated by the hearing body.
  8. Written Reprimand - A written statement of disapproval delivered to the organization.
  9. Probationary Status - Probationary status is defined as a period of time during which the organization cannot violate any policies (including those of the University, its national organization, or local governing bodies). Violation of probation will normally result in more severe sanctions.
  10. Other - Alcohol awareness programs, risk management programs, etc. 

Procedures for Alleged Violations of Professional Standards

 Definitions

  1. Advisor means is a person who may attend any portion of the conduct process at the request of a Reporting Party or the Responding Party, for the purpose of advising the Reporting Party or the Responding Party. The Advisor must be a Member of the University Community unless the Student is facing charges for behavior violations that may result in suspension or expulsion.  In those situations, the Student may have anyone serve as their Advisor, including their parents or attorneys.  Please see the Hearing Rights section for more information on the role of Advisors during Hearings.
  2. Administrative Hearing Officer an employee that makes decisions in the Formal Conduct Resolution Process regarding policy violations and sanctions.
  3. Professional Standards Violations means an allegation of a violation of Article 22 of the Student Code of Conduct Standards, which prohibits violations of professional or ethical standards related to an academic program.
  4. Student Conduct Hearing Panel means faculty and students authorized by the Vice President of Student Affairs to determine whether a Student has violated the Student Code of Conduct and to determine sanctions that will be imposed when a violation has occurred. Based on the needs and resources of each campus, a Student Conduct Hearing Panel will consist of at least three members, but no more than seven total members[AP1] . 
  5. Report means a report of an alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

Procedure

Article 22 of the Student Code of Conduct Standards prohibits Professional Standards Violations.  These Reports of Professional Standards Violations will be procesed according the Student Code of Conduct Procedures with the following additional elements:

  1. All allegations of Professional Standards Violations will be determined by a Student Conduct Hearing Panel and not by an Administrative Hearing Officer. 
  2. Student Conduct Hearing Panels in cases involving Professional Standards Violations will include at least one faculty member from a department that includes professional standards or a faculty member that otherwise has professional experience with compliance with professional standards
  3. Respondents facing removal from a professional program as a sanction for Professional Standards Violations are entitled to an Advisor similar to students facing suspension or expulsion from the University. 
  4. Appeals of decisions regarding of Professional Standards Violations will be considered by the Provost or his/her designee.

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