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Section VII: Student Conduct Authority

A. Authority

The Dean of Students is vested with the authority over student conduct by the University President and the Board of Trustees. The Dean of Students supervises and manages the student conduct process. The Dean of Students may appoint administrative hearing/conference officers as deemed necessary to efficiently and effectively supervise the student conduct process.

The Dean of Students or designee will assume responsibility for the investigation of an allegation of misconduct to determine if the complaint has merit.

B. Gatekeeping

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 credible information to support each element of the offense, even if that information is merely a credible witness or a victim’s statement. A complaint wholly unsupported by any credible information will not be forwarded to a hearing.

C. Conflict Resolution Options

The Dean of Students, or designee, has discretion to refer a complaint for mediation or other forms of appropriate conflict resolution. All parties must agree to conflict resolution and to be bound by the decision with no appeal. Any unsuccessful conflict resolution can be forwarded for formal processing and hearing; however, at no time will complaints of sex/gender violence or sexual misconduct be mediated as the sole institutional response. The Dean of Students, or designee, may also suggest that complaints that do not involve a violation of the Code of Student Conduct be referred for mediation or other appropriate conflict resolution.

D. Composition of the Student Conduct Panel

The Dean of Students, or designee, will be responsible for assembling the Student Conduct Panel according to the following guidelines:

  1. The membership of the panel is selected from a pool of at least six (6) students, six (6) faculty, and six (6) staff/administrative members appointed and trained in preparation for any called panel hearing by the Dean of Students and designee(s).
  2. For each complaint, a panel will be chosen from the available pool, and is usually comprised of one student, one faculty member, and one staff member or administrator. Availability may determine a different composition for the Panel. The Dean of Students, or designee, appoints the non-voting chair of the Hearing Panel, who assures that University procedures are followed throughout the hearing.
E. Administrative Hearing or Conference Officers

Administrative Hearing Officers or Administrative Conference Officers (AHO or ACO) are chosen from a pool of annually trained administrators or staff members selected by the Dean of Students. 

F. Panel Pool and the Appeals Panel

In cases that were initially heard by the Student Conduct Panel (see Section VII, D), any appeal requests will be reviewed by an Appeals Panel.  Three-member Appeals Panels are drawn from the panel pool, with the only requirement being that they did not serve on the Panel for the initial hearing. Appeals Panels review appeal requests submitted by the Dean of Students. If an all administrative/staff panel is used to hear a sensitive issue, the Appeals Panel will also be comprised of only administrative/staff members.

To serve in the panel pool, students must:

  1. Be in academic good standing and have completed 15 hours of academic credit with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0;
  2. Be in good standing with the conduct process throughout the semester in which they serve. Good standing is defined as having no record of misconduct during the semester(s) in which a student wishes to serve on the panel. A serious history of misconduct could disqualify a student for service; and

The Dean of Students will have final authority to approve all those serving on the panel. The non-voting advisor to the panel is the Dean of Students, or designee, with responsibility for training the panel, conducting preliminary investigations, and ensuring a fair process for the party bringing the complaint and responding student. In the event of a resignation from the panel, the Dean of Students, or designee, will solicit a replacement from the group from which the representative came. Decisions made, and sanctions imposed by the panel will be final and implemented, pending the normal appeals process. At the discretion of the Dean of Students, or designee, implementation of sanctions may be stayed pending review.

G. Interpretation and Revision

The Dean of Students will develop procedural rules for the administration of hearings and conferences that are consistent with provisions of the Code of Student Conduct. Material deviation from these rules will, generally, only be made as necessary and will include reasonable advance notice to the parties involved, either by posting online and/or in the form of written communication. The Dean of Students may vary procedures with notice upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this Code. The Dean of Students may make minor modifications to procedures that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party. Any question of interpretation of the Code of Student Conduct will be referred to the University President, whose interpretation is final. The Code of Student Conduct will be updated annually under the direction of the Dean of Students with a comprehensive revision process being conducted every three (3) years.