5.16 – Student Discipline and Appeals Process

  1. Purpose
    1. To detail the disciplinary process and possible sanctions which may be imposed on students who violate Board of Trustees policy or the Standards of Conduct for Students and Organizations.
    2. To provide a fair, timely and efficient disciplinary and appeals process for students and victims.
  2. Policy
    1. The College administration will maintain a formal, fair and equitable process for addressing violations of the Standards of Student Conduct.
    2. The procedures established will be focused on resolving such violations appropriately, expediently and fairly, and will include the process for appealing a disciplinary determination.
  3. Preliminary Matters
    1. Conflicts of interest: If any person involved in implementing these procedures determines that he or she cannot apply them fairly because of the identity of a Victim, Respondent, or witness, or due to any other conflict of interest, another appropriate individual will be designated to fulfill his or her responsibilities.
    2. Conduct that constitutes a crime: Some alleged violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy also constitute criminal conduct. In such instances, the Victim is encouraged to file a report with the appropriate law enforcement authorities and, if requested, the College will assist the complainant in doing so. The pendency of a criminal investigation, however, does not relieve the College of its responsibilities under Title IX to investigate such claims. Therefore, to the extent doing so does not interfere with any criminal investigation, the College will proceed with its own investigation and resolution of the complaint.
    3. Advisors: At all stages of the process when there is an allegation of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, both a Respondent and Victim, if applicable, may have an advisor of their choice attend. See the definition of “Advisor” in Section F for more information regarding the role of an advisor.
    4. Rights of the parties: At all stages of the process, the Victim and Respondent shall have equal rights. They include:
      • Equal opportunity to identify and have considered witnesses and other relevant evidence.
      • Similar and timely access to all information considered by the investigators and Student Conduct Panel.
      • Equal opportunity to review any statements or evidence provided by the other party.
      • Equal access to review and comment upon any information independently developed by the investigators.
    5. Notice: Throughout the process, the involved parties will be given timely notice of meetings and appeal hearings.
    6. Title IX Coordinator: The Title IX Coordinator will be involved during all stages of the process when there is an alleged violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  4. Procedures
    1. Investigation
      1. As designated by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, when the Dean of Students (“Dean”) or other appropriate campus or center administrator receives information that a student has allegedly violated a Board of Trustees policy, College procedure, or administrative rule, the Dean or another College administrator designated by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs shall investigate the alleged violation:
        1. The Dean and/or other College administrators designated by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (“designee”) will initiate an investigation by contacting all involved parties to schedule an individual meeting, obtain a statement in writing detailing the events of the incident in question or review a statement if already available. The length of time of the investigation is dependent on the complexity of the incident and number of individuals involved if applicable.
        2. At a minimum, the investigation will include interviews of all witnesses identified by the individuals involved in the incident, or a review of a written summary of their testimony, or a review of a copy of their written statements if already available, a review of all relevant records and documents, a review of photographs and other physical evidence, and a review of security video footage if available.
        3. Investigations of these cases will be completed as quickly as possible and all reasonable attempts will be made to complete the disciplinary process within 60 days. The length of the resolution process will depend upon the complexity of the case.
        4. Following meetings with the involved parties, interviews of witnesses or reviews of their written testimony, a review of all relevant records and documents, a review of any available photographs and other physical evidence, and a review of security video footage, if available, the Dean or designee may utilize informal means of resolution, such as mediation, in lieu of additional formal processes. However, informal means may only be used with the parties’ voluntary cooperation and, in cases alleging sexual misconduct, the involvement of the Title IX Coordinator. However, a Victim will not be required to work out the problem directly with the Respondent. Moreover, the parties may terminate any such informal means at any time. In any event, informal means, even on a voluntary basis, will not be used to resolve complaints alleging any form of sexual violence.
    2. Interim Measures
      1. No-Contact Order: Upon receipt of a report of a violation of policy, the Dean or designee may issue a no-contact order between the parties involved in the case. The no-contact order prohibits communication between/among the parties including but not limited to: contact by telephone, email, hand-written note, instant messaging, text messaging, online postings/message boards, through a third person, or in person. This includes any email or message accounts that are affiliated with the parties’ identities. If any party violates the no-contact order, the Dean or designee may pursue additional disciplinary action.
      2. Interim Suspension
        1. In certain circumstances, the Dean of Students or designee may impose an interim suspension prior to the Administrative Disposition. Interim suspension may be imposed only where, in the opinion of the Dean of Students, the presence of the Respondent would:
          – seriously disrupt the operation of the College;
          – constitute a danger to the records or other physical properties of the College; or
          – constitute a danger to the safety or welfare of the Respondent or other persons.
        2. During interim suspension, the Respondent shall be denied access to part or all of campus, College facilities, activities, classes or privileges for which the Respondent might otherwise have access.
        3. The Dean or other designated campus or center administrator must notify the Respondent of this action in writing and set a resolution meeting date as soon as practical.
      3. Other Interim Measures: In certain circumstances, the Dean of Students or designee may provide a Victim an effective escort between classes and activities, may make alternative class-placement arrangements, or may implement any other interim measure deemed appropriate for the circumstances.
    3. Administrative Disposition
      1. At the conclusion of an investigation, if, by a preponderance of the evidence, the Dean or designee determines that no policies have been violated, sanctions will not be imposed. In that event, a written decision (“Administrative Disposition”) will be sent simultaneously to the Respondent and to the Victim, if applicable, which will include a description of the information considered, the results of the investigation, and a copy of this policy. The Dean or designee may implement and notify the Respondent and Victim of any accommodations necessary to safeguard the campus. This Administrative Disposition is final subject to a Victim’s appeal rights in Section 5, below.
      2. At the conclusion of an investigation, if, by a preponderance of the evidence, the Dean or designee determines that a violation has occurred, he or she will issue a written decision within five (5) College business days. The written decision (“Administrative Disposition”) will be sent simultaneously in writing to the Respondent and Victim, if applicable. The written decision will include a description of the policies violated, the conduct that violated policy, the sanction imposed and a copy of this policy. This Administrative Decision is final subject to the parties’ appeal rights in Section 5, below.
    4. Sanctions
      The severity of sanctions or corrective actions will depend on the frequency or severity of the offense and history of past misconduct. The Dean of Students, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, or other administrator designated by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Student Conduct Panel, or the Chancellor may impose one or more of the following sanctions for violation of Board policies, College regulations, or administrative rules:

      1. Censure. Written reprimand to the Respondent on whom it is imposed, giving official notice that subsequent violations of College policy will carry heavier penalties because of this prior infraction.
      2. Probation. The Respondent may continue to attend classes but may be prohibited from officially representing the College or participating in any extracurricular activities. Probation may be for a designated period of time or indefinite as outlined in the letter to the Respondent. Any further violations of Board policy may lead to suspension or expulsion from the College.
      3. Withholding of Transcripts/Registration Restrictions. Imposed upon a Respondent who fails to pay a debt owed the College or who has a disciplinary case pending final disposition.
      4. Restitution. Reimbursement by the Respondent for damage to, or misappropriation of property. Reimbursement may include appropriate service to the College to repair or otherwise compensate for damages.
      5. No Contact Order following Administrative Disposition. Requires that one or more involved individuals have no contact through any means of communication with another party. This order remains in effect until rescinded by the Dean of Students or administrator designated by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, or by written request from all involved parties.
      6. Failing or lowered grade. In cases of academic integrity violations, final course grades assigned may be lowered or an “F” grade assigned.
      7. Suspension. Severs the relationship of the Respondent with the College and College related activities under conditions which permit and anticipate the Respondent’s eventual return to the College. The conditions for readmission will be stated in the letter of disposition. Suspension may be for a designated period of time or indefinite.
      8. Permanent severance from the College. Expulsion may be rescinded only by the Chancellor.
      9. Other remedial measures. Other remedial measures may be implemented as appropriate based on the circumstances. For example, a person found to have violated College policy may be required to undergo training or counseling.
    5. Appeal Hearing
      The Respondent or Victim, if applicable, may appeal the administrative disposition within five college business days of receipt of the written notification of the decision. Any such request for appeal must be made in writing to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee and must include the following: 1) the name of the individual requesting the appeal; 2) the disciplinary decision being appealed and the date the disciplinary decision took place; and 3) the basis for the appeal.

      1. Administrative Dispositions can be appealed for the following reasons only: 1) new information that alters the finding of fact and was not reasonably available at the time of the administrative disposition; 2) a procedural error that unfairly and materially affected the outcome of the case; 3) the sanction imposed is excessive or disproportionate to the offense(s); and/or (4) conflict of interest or bias on the part of the person(s) who participated in the decision.
      2. The status of the Respondent will not be changed during the process of the appeal except in the event of an interim suspension. Any violation of policy occurring during the appeal process may result in a change of status of the Respondent.
      3. If the Respondent or Victim, if applicable, chooses not to appeal or does not request an appeal by the appropriate date, the administrative disposition indicated in the written decision will go into effect as specified.
      4. The College will grant to students with disabilities a reasonable amount of additional time to appeal a disciplinary determination when a student’s disability impacts or limits the student’s ability to appeal an Administrative Disposition within the deadline of five college business days after receipt of the written notification of the decision. Upon receipt of an untimely appeal from a student with disabilities, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee, in consultation with the Director for Disability Support Services, will determine if the student’s untimely appeal was due to a disability impacting or limiting the student’s ability to appeal within the 5 day deadline. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs’ or designee’s decision to grant or deny the appeal is final, and notification of the decision will be made in writing within 5 college business days.
      5. Within five (5) college business days from receipt of the written decision, any Respondent or Victim may request an extension of the timeframe for appealing an administrative disposition:
        1. An extension will be granted only for serious illness or injury of the Respondent/Victim, serious illness or injury of the Respondent’s/Victim’s immediate family, or a death in the Respondent’s/Victim’s immediate family.
        2. The request for an extension must be made in writing to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee and include documentation supporting the reason for the needed extension such as an obituary notice, doctor’s note, etc.
        3. Within five college business days from receipt of the request for an extension, a written decision on the request will be sent to the requesting student. If the College grants an extension, the decision will include the length of the extension and the new date by which the student must appeal the administration disposition in question.
        4. The decision of Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee concerning a request for an extension of the time to appeal shall be final.
      6. Receipt will be presumed to have occurred three (3) college business days after the mailing or emailing of the written decision to the last known address on file for the Respondent and/or Victim.
    6. Procedure for Appeal Hearing
      1. When an appeal has been timely filed or has otherwise been granted with an extension, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, or designee, will review the substance of the appeal request and may take either of the following actions: 1) deny the appeal request if a proper basis for appeal has not been identified; or 2) refer the matter for a hearing before the Student Conduct Panel. The decision of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee on granting an appeal is final.
      2. If an appeal is referred to the Student Conduct Panel (“Panel”), the Panel shall consist of at least three individuals chosen from a pool of trained faculty, staff and administrators and will be appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee.
      3. The chairperson of the Panel will be selected by the Panel by majority vote and the chairperson will preside over the hearing.
      4. Proceedings will be closed to all but members of the Panel, the Respondent, the Victim if applicable, the Vice Chancellor or designated campus administrator, a note taker or court reporter appointed by the chairperson, advisors, and pertinent witnesses.
      5. Prior to the hearing, both the Respondent and Victim will be notified in writing of the date and time of the hearing and be given similar and timely access to information that will be used by the Panel during the hearing.
      6. The chairperson of the Panel or his/her designee shall prepare a record of the hearing which shall include a copy of the notice of the hearing, all documentary and tangible evidence, a summary or transcript of all testimonial evidence, and any other material considered by the Panel, and the Panel’s decision for submission to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee.
      7. The results of a polygraph test will not be used nor will a polygraph test be requested with respect to any process described in this policy.
      8. Both the Respondent and Victim may be present during the hearing. Upon request from the Victim, arrangements will be made so that the Victim and the Respondent are not in the room at the same time. The Victim’s presence is not a prerequisite to conducting a hearing.
      9. Cross examination of the parties or witnesses is not permitted. However, the Respondent or the Victim may present questions to be asked of a party or witness by the chairperson of the Panel. The chairperson has discretion to determine whether the question is appropriate and relevant and whether he or she will ask the question on behalf of a party.
      10. In proceedings involving alleged violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, questioning about the Victim’s past sexual history with anyone other than the Respondent is not typically permitted, especially when the purpose is to show the complainant’s sexual predisposition. However, in certain circumstances it may be permissible, such as if the Victim raises the issue or if it is of particular relevance to the current complaint. Evidence of a prior consensual dating or sexual relationship between the Respondent and Victim by itself does not imply consent or preclude a finding that the Sexual Misconduct Policy was violated.
      11. The Respondent and Victim if applicable will have the opportunity to make an opening statement. The Respondent and Victim are not required to testify at a hearing, and no inference will be drawn from the failure to testify. The Respondent and Victim will have equal opportunities to offer testimony and other evidence at the hearing.
      12. During the hearing, the College has the burden to prove the violation(s) of the Standards of Conduct for Students and Organizations by the preponderance of the evidence. Proceedings before the Student Conduct Panel are non-adversarial; the rules of evidence of court proceedings do not apply.
      13. When a Respondent or Victim wishes to present witnesses who are members of the College community, they can request that the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee’s office issue notifications to the witnesses requesting their presence at the hearing, but the College shall not be responsible in any manner for the presence of any witnesses at the hearing.
      14. If evidence is presented at the hearing that was not previously made known to the Respondent or Victim, the Respondent or Victim may have time during the hearing to examine and respond.
      15. Following the hearing, by majority vote, the Panel will provide a written decision to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee within five college business days from the hearing. If the Panel finds that a violation occurred, the written decision will include recommended sanctions.
      16. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs designee will review the decision of Student Conduct Panel giving presumptive weight to the decision of the Panel. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee can affirm, vacate or modify the Panel’s decision and recommended sanctions in whole or in part. The Vice Chancellor’s decision is final subject to the parties’ right to Chancellor review in Section 7 below. The Vice Chancellor’s written decision will be sent simultaneously to the Respondent and Victim within five college business days of receiving the Panel’s decision.
    7. Chancellor Review
      1. The Respondent or Victim may request that the Chancellor review the Vice Chancellor’s decision from an appeal hearing only where the sanction imposed is expulsion or a suspension of more than ten college business days. The request must be made within five College business days of receipt of the Vice Chancellor’s decision. The request for review must be made in writing to the Vice Chancellor. If the Respondent or Victim, if applicable, chooses not to seek a review or does not request a review by the appropriate date, or where a review is not available, the decision of the Vice Chancellor will go into effect as specified.
      2. Any request for review by the Chancellor shall include the following: 1) name of the individual requesting the review, 2) the decision being reviewed, 3) the reasons for the review, and 4) any other information the person requesting the review believes is important.
      3. A decision can be reviewed for the following reasons only as determined by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs: 1) new information that alters the finding of fact and was not readily available at the time of the hearing, 2) a procedural error that materially or unfairly affected the outcome, 3) the sanction imposed is excessive or disproportionate to the offense(s), and/or 4) conflict of interest or bias on the part of person(s) who participated in the decisions.
      4. When a request for review has been timely filed or has otherwise been accepted with an extension, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee will review the substance of the request and may take either of the following actions: (1) deny the request if a proper basis for review has not been identified or (2) send the record of the hearing, the Vice Chancellor’s decision and the request for review to the Chancellor. The Vice Chancellor’s or designee’s decision to grant a review by the Chancellor is final.
      5. The standard of review will be preponderance of the evidence and the Chancellor will give presumptive weight to the decision of the Vice Chancellor or designee. The decision of the Chancellor will be final and is not subject to further appeal or review.
      6. The Chancellor can affirm, vacate or modify the Vice Chancellor’s or designee’s decision in whole or in part. The Chancellor may also remand the matter to another Student Conduct Panel for another appeal hearing or for further fact finding. The decision of the Chancellor will be sent in writing simultaneously to the Respondent and the Victim.
      7. Within five college business days from receipt of the Vice Chancellor’s or designee’s decision from an appeal hearing, the Respondent or Victim may request an extension of time to request a review by the Chancellor:
        1. An extension will be granted only for serious illness or injury of the Respondent/Victim, serious illness or injury of the Respondent’s/Victim’s immediate family, or death in the Respondent’s/Victim’s immediate family.
        2. The request for an extension must be made in writing to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee and include documentation supporting the reason for the needed extension such as an obituary notice, doctor’s note, etc.
        3. Within five college business days from receipt of the request for an extension, a written decision on the request will be sent to the requesting student. If the College grants an extension, the decision will include the length of the extension and the new date by which the student must submit a review request.
        4. The decision of Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee concerning a request for an extension of the time to submit a request for a review by the Chancellor shall be final.
      8. Receipt will be presumed to have occurred three (3) college business days after the mailing or emailing of the written decision to the last known address on file for the Respondent and/or Victim.
      9. The College will grant students with disabilities a reasonable amount of time to request a review when a student’s disability impacts or limits the student’s ability to request a review within the deadline of five college business days after receipt of the Vice Chancellor’s or designee’s decision. Upon receipt of an untimely request for review from a student with disabilities, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee, in consultation with the Director for Disability Support Services, will determine if the student’s untimely request for review was due to a disability impacting or limiting the student’s ability to request a review within the 5 day deadline. The Vice Chancellor’s or designee’s decision to grant or deny the review is final, and notification of the decision will be made in writing within 5 college business days.
      10. The Chancellor may appoint a person to act for the Chancellor concerning any process set forth in this Section 7.
    8. The College will not require a Respondent or Victim to abide by a non-disclosure agreement, in writing or otherwise, that would prevent the redisclosure of information related to the outcome of the proceeding.
    9. In the event any portion of this policy conflicts with state or federal law, state or federal, the law shall be followed.
    10. Neither the College nor any officer, employee or agent of the College may retaliate, intimidate, threaten, coerce or otherwise discriminate against any individual for exercising their rights to avail themselves of the College’s disciplinary procedures or otherwise participating in the process outlined above (for example, as a witness).
  5. Responsibilities N/A
  6. Definitions
    1. “Respondent” means a student, group, or organization who is alleged to have violated Board policy.
    2. “Victim” means an individual who has allegedly experienced an act or acts prohibited by Board Policy 5.38. The term “victim” when used herein shall not apply to any administrative disposition and/or disciplinary proceeding that does not involve an alleged violation of Board Policy 5.38.
    3. “College business day” means any day the administrative offices of the College are open for business.
    4. “Advisor” means a person who assists a Respondent or Victim during an investigation, resolution conference or hearing. The role of the advisor is limited to consultation. While advisors may be present at any resolution meeting or hearing, they may not address hearing bodies, speak in resolution meetings, or question witnesses. Because the purpose of this disciplinary process is to provide a fair review of alleged violations of the Standards of Student Conduct rather than a formal legal proceeding, advisors may not advocate for a party, may not be actively involved in the proceedings, and must agree to maintain the confidentiality of the process.
    5. “Preponderance of the evidence” means more likely than not that the Respondent violated College policy, procedure or administration rule.
  7. Authority This policy is maintained under the authority of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
  8. Related Policies 5.15 Standards of Student Conduct, 5.38 Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
  9. Implementation
    1. Policy approved and adopted by the Board of Trustees on 2/23/98. Revised 7/13/09, 11/10/14.
    2. Purpose, procedures, responsibilities and definitions approved and adopted by the Cabinet on 10/31/14..