A. Range of Sanctions and Special Conditions for Students Accused of Violating College Regulations
An important objective of the college Judicial System is that of education of all participants through the judicial process. Sanctions and special conditions such as suspension, probation, and community restitution are not regarded as punishments or controls but rather as educational devices to assist the student in attaining the maturity required to live in society. Suspension may be one way of telling the student that he/she is not yet ready for the living environment and/or education the College offers. The awareness itself may be a significant step in educating the student in question.
These conditions will vary with each case and may result in restriction from participating in intercollegiate athletics, co-curricular and residential life activities, or involve requirements not academically restrictive in nature and which are intended to be educational in nature. A student may be required to participate in a mentoring and/or counseling relationship as designated by the appropriate hearing body.
The imposition of sanctions and special conditions is based upon the severity of the behavior exhibited by the student and subsequent review of any past disciplinary actions and their outcomes with the student. Repeated offenses are clearly looked upon less favorably by hearing bodies and can lead to more severe sanctions including suspension or expulsion from the College. It is incumbent upon students to learn how to make decisions that will increase their compliance with the College’s community standards and reduce the likelihood of a repeat offense.
Repeat Offenses: Students who are found responsible for a code violation and receive a sanction must make every effort to insure they do not have a repeat offense. It is the College policy that a student currently on a sanction cannot receive a lesser sanction for a second offense and that the minimum for a second offense is an extension of the current sanction. This extension can only be extended to the student once while on a sanction. If the student has a third offense while on an extended sanction, the next highest sanction is the minimum sanction that can be imposed by the hearing officer/panel.
B. Types of Sanctions
All disciplinary status levels listed below are subject to special conditions (specific restrictions and/or extra requirements) as deemed appropriate by the hearing body.
A decision of suspension terminates the person’s status as an enrolled student and prohibits the student from attending classes. Persons who reside on campus shall remove their belongings from their place of residence within 24 hours of notice that the penalty of suspension has been rendered. Reinstatement of conditions for reinstatement, if any, shall depend upon an evaluation by the vice president for student affairs or designee following application for reinstatement by the student. Students who are suspended from the College will not receive any credit for the classes enrolled in at the time of the infraction and residential students are also responsible for full payment of all fees (room, board, college fees) and will not be eligible for any reimbursement.
A decision of expulsion terminates the person’s status as an enrolled student with no opportunity for reinstatement. An expelled student may not enter onto any part of the campus without specific authorization from the vice president for student affairs. Persons who reside on campus shall remove their belongings from their place of residence within 24 hours of notice that the penalty of expulsion has been rendered. Students who are expelled from the College will not receive any credit for the classes enrolled in at the time of the infraction and residential students are also responsible for full payment of all fees (room, board, college fees) and will not be eligible for any reimbursement.
Please note: A record of disciplinary sanctions may impact a student’s ability to be a resident assistant, student government officer, orientation leader, judicial board member, etc. or participate in International Study Programs. Such a record must be reported on most laws school applications, state bar examiner reports, medical school applications, some graduate school forms, some college transfer forms, and in some instances, job applications particularly for federal or state positions.
C. Special Conditions
Special conditions are the method in which a hearing officer or hearing panel is able to individualize a student’s disciplinary outcome. Special conditions are imposed if it is believed they can help in the growth and development of a student, protect the student or the community, or help to make the community whole.
It is the student’s responsibility to provide the hearing officer with documentation that he/she has compiled with the special condition. Examples include copies of an apology letter, a note signed by the supervisor that a community service project has been completed, and a written release from a counselor that an alcohol assessment has been completed.
Other special conditions may be imposed in addition to those listed above if the hearing officer believes they may aid in the growth or development of the student, protect the student or the community, or help to make the community or individual members whole.
D. Permanent Notation on the Transcript
For lesser violations of the Student Code of Conduct where the student has been suspended, the College will temporarily note the sanction of “suspension” on the academic transcript for the duration of time that the student is suspended from classes. This disciplinary notation will be removed when the student returns to classes. If the student does not wish to return to the College but would like the notation removed from his/her transcript, he/she may make a request in writing to the vice president of student affairs to have the notation removed. If the request is approved, the notation will not be removed until after the sanction of suspension has expired.
For serious violations of the student code of conduct, especially hazing and conduct which is considered by the College as an act of violence (physical assault, sexual assault, drug sale, bias-related crimes), or leads to death or serious injury of another person, the sanction shall be permanently noted on the student transcript.
The College will permanently note “expulsion” on the transcript for a student expelled from the College. There is no opportunity to remove the notation of expulsion. These notations on a transcript for student misconduct are imposed by the vice president for student affairs and are subsequently placed on the student’s record in the Registrar’s Office through notification by the Office of Judicial Affairs.
E. Ineligibility for Refunds
Whenever students are suspended or expelled from the College, they also are not eligible for any refund of tuition or fees (including but not limited to room, board, student activity fee, lab fees) for the semester he/she was enrolled.
The vice president for student affairs has responsibility for all cases of nonacademic misconduct. It is the responsibility of the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs to coordinate and evaluate the judicial process of the College. The vice president for student affairs designates the associate dean for judicial affairs as the staff member responsible for the daily administration of student violations of the student code of conduct.
A. Filing Written Complaints
All members of the campus community and others can report alleged violations of College regulations. They can do so by submitting a written complaint to an administrative hearing officer (residence hall directors), or the associate dean for judicial affairs. The associate dean for judicial affairs can assist any College member in writing a complaint and preparing a case against another student.
B. Notification of Disciplinary Charges
Students charged with a violation of College regulations shall be notified in writing of the charge(s) imposed (persons or offices lodging a specific complaint, the range of sanctions related to the charge(s) applicable, and the date and time scheduled for the initial conference). Students can be charged with a violation of College regulations while not enrolled in classes. Students academically dismissed or inactive must answer to the charge imposed prior to returning to the College as an enrolled student. An initial conference provides the student with an opportunity to discuss the procedures of a disciplinary hearing with an administrative hearing officer. Decisions on whether a student is considered responsible for violating a College regulation is determined in a disciplinary hearing (see Disciplinary Hearing Bodies in this section).
C. Initial Conference
An administrative hearing officer shall schedule an initial conference with the accused and shall notify the accused in writing, of the time, date, and place of the meeting which shall be conducted within five (5) business days from the time of notification. This Initial Conference Letter will be mailed to a student at either his/her on-campus address (residential students) or home mailing address (commuter students). At the initial conference, the student will review (and receive a copy, if a request is made to this effect) all written documentation that will be presented during an administrative hearing or a hearing with the Student Conduct Committee, ask questions regarding the hearing process, and affirm or negate each charge imposed by the College. Initial conferences generally occur within seven (7) business days from the date of the incident. The student’s rights in the disciplinary process, hearing formats, and the range of sanctions that pertain to the charges imposed will also be discussed at the initial conference.
If the student fails to appear at the initial conference, all charges can be considered true and accurate and appropriate administrative action shall be taken by the administrative hearing officer.
At the initial conference, a student may elect one of the following courses of action:
(a) To hear the case immediately with the official conducting the initial conference (for violations of regulations that fall under Level A). An administrative hearing would be conducted by the official. The official may, in appropriate cases, postpone a hearing in order to allow the accused to prepare a defense or to arrange for the complaint to appear. The official may assign, or the student may choose to have, the case heard by another administrative hearing officer.
(b) To refer the case to the Student Conduct Committee (for violations of Level B regulations). If, however, the Student Conduct Committee cannot convene, the associate dean for judicial affairs or designee will arrange a hearing by an administrative officer. The associate dean for judicial affairs may, in appropriate cases, grant additional time to the student charged to prepare for the hearing.
The following table summarizes how cases are routed in the College’s disciplinary system. It is important to note that when a student is facing multiple charges in an incident but one of the charges carries a maximum sanction of expulsion, the case is automatically referred to the Student Conduct Committee. Violations of sexual misconduct are heard by specialized panels of the Student Conduct Committee. (See Procedures for Hearing Cases of Sexual Misconduct for additional information.)
Regulation Section Title
Regulations Heard Only by Student Conduct Committee
Regulations Heard Only By Administrative Hearing Officers
All section 1 regulations are heard administratively (with one exception for 1.3, see footnote -*)
Disorderly and Irresponsible Conduct
All other Section 3 regulations are heard administratively
Demonstrations & Public Gatherings
All other Section 4 regulations are heard administratively
Sexual Misconduct & Harassment
5.1a., 5.1b., 5.1c., 5.2
Residence Hall Access and Room Visitation
All Section 6 regulations are heard administratively.,
Fire & Safety Equipment
7.1b* All other Section
Firearms, Ammunition, Knives and Dangerous Weapons
All Section 8 regulations are heard by SCC
Assault and Harassment
Theft & Possession of Stolen Property
All Section 12 regulations are heard administratively.
Motor Vehicles & Motorcycles
All Section 13 regulations are heard administratively.
Conduct of Organizations
All organization conduct hearings are heard by the SCC
Computer Misuse & Fraud
*Administration of severe Indents: Individuals charged with these violations that have allegedly placed others in significant harm’s way (e.g., an individual provides alcohol to another where a level of significant alcohol intoxication occurs) will have this matter heard by the Student Conduct Committee.
D. Rights of Students Accused of Violating College Regulations
Students charged with one or more violations of College Regulations have a right to:
E. Disciplinary Hearing Bodies
Administrative Hearing: Administrative hearings are conducted by College staff designated by the vice president for student affairs. All administrative hearing officers are trained in the educational merits of disciplinary proceedings and the basic tenets of due process. Administrative hearing officers will review the charge against the accused student and the evidence presented to support the charge. All administrative hearings are closed to the public. No disciplinary action shall be taken unless it is established by a preponderance of evidence upon the record considered as a whole that the accused student has committed the charged offense. Findings and an explanation of decisions resulting from administrative hearings shall be rendered in writing within four (4) working days. Administrative hearing officers may impose sanctions ranging from disciplinary warning to disciplinary probation and may recommend sanctions of suspension and expulsion to the associate dean for judicial affairs.
Student Conduct Committee: The Student Conduct Committee is the highest judicial body of the College. This committee is responsible for hearing and considering violations of the Student Code of Conduct that are of a sufficiently serious nature that might lead to disciplinary suspension or expulsion from College. The role of the committee is to hear cases and make recommendations for disciplinary action, suspension, or expulsion to the associate dean for judicial affairs. The associate dean will determine the action to be taken thereafter.
The Student Conduct Committee shall consist of eight students, eight faculty members, and four staff members. Selection to the Student Conduct Committee shall be made by the vice president for student affairs. Appointments shall be made during the spring semester with the normal term of office for students being two years and the normal term of office for faculty and staff members being four years. Terms shall be staggered so that equal numbers of terms expire each year. All members of the Student Conduct Committee must complete a training session with the Office of Judicial Affairs before they serve on a panel. In addition, the vice president annually appoints one member of the committee to serve as chair of the Committee (usually tenured faculty member). The chair shall preside over the hearing panel session and can be a member of the faulty or staff. In some cases, it may be necessary to appoint an alternative hearing panel chair when the chair is not available. Alternate chairs must attend a training session for chairs that will be conducted by the vice president for student affairs (or designee) and the Committee chair.
The vice president for student affairs shall appoint a staff member to be responsible for administering student judicial affairs. This responsibility is assigned to the associate dean for judicial affairs who will be responsible for convening hearing panels. The associate dean for judicial affairs shall select two students, two faculty, and one staff member to serve on a panel to hear each case as it occurs (forming a five-person panel, of which one is the Committee chair). In the event a five-person panel cannot be convened, the associate dean will convene a three-person panel (one faculty, one staff, and one student member, where either the faculty or staff member will serve as chair of the panel). If neither a five-nor three-person panel can be convened, the case may be heard administratively by the associate dean for judicial affairs. The associate dean may appoint a staff member to present the case to the hearing panel. The Student Conduct Committee will not ordinarily meet during finals week, the summer, or during official College breaks. During these periods, the functions of the committee shall be carried out by administrative hearing officers. Hearings where a sanction of suspension or expulsion can be imposed shall be taped by the chair of the hearing panel. The audio recording can be made available to the accused student if requested for the sole purpose of appealing a disciplinary decision. In these instances, the student will be allowed to listen to the recording in the Office of Judicial Affairs.
The Student Conduct Committee can hear cases where a sanction of suspension of expulsion is a possible outcome. Cases shall be referred to the Student Conduct Committee by the associate dean for judicial affairs. Hearings shall be private (limited to the complainant, respondent, incident witnesses, hearing advisers, associate dean for judicial affairs, members of the hearing panel) and are not open to the public. The only exception to this clause is when the College has been notified by law enforcement officials that criminal charges have been filed against the respondent. In these instances only the respondent may have an attorney present solely for the purpose of protecting the respondent against self-incrimination in a future court proceeding. The attorney may not serve in any other capacity during the hearing including speaking on behalf of the respondent or questioning/addressing those present. No disciplinary action shall be taken unless it is established by a preponderance of evidence upon the record considered as a whole that the accused student has committed the charged offense.
The chairperson of the Committee shall file a report to the associate dean for judicial affairs of each case heard before the Student Conduct Committee. These reports are to include a statement of charges, the plea, the decision of the committee, the evidence considered, and the reasons for the final action taken, if any. Decisions of the hearing panel are final, unless appealed by the accused. However, the hearing panel can only recommend to the associate dean for judicial affairs that a sanction of suspension or expulsion be imposed. Appeals of decisions regarding suspension or expulsion are heard by the vice president for student affairs. Such appeals from a student must be made in writing within four (4) business days of receipt of the decision or the matter is considered as final.
F. Order of Business for Disciplinary Hearings
Unless otherwise determined by the chair of the Hearing Panel or the administrative hearing officer, the hearing will generally follow the order described below.
a) Members of the Hearing Panel introduce themselves and ask all present to do the same.
b) The panel chair briefly reviews the hearing procedures as outlined here.
c) The charges are read by the coordinator of judicial affairs/administrative hearing officer.
d) The complainant may first present his/her testimony. Members of the Hearing Panel may question the complainant at any point during this presentation. The respondent will have the opportunity to question the complainant after this testimony is finished. If the complainant does not present his/her testimony, or if the College is the complainant, administrative officer or Hearing Panel chair may read a summary of the alleged event(s).
e) When the complainant has finished, the complainant’s incident witnesses will each present testimony, with the Hearing Panel and the respondent permitted to ask questions as in step (d) above.
f) When the complainant has produced the evidence he/she wishes to present, the respondent will be given the opportunity to present his/her testimony and incident witnesses’ testimony as in (d) and (e) above. Again, both the Hearing Panel and the complainant will be permitted to question the respondent and his/her incident witnesses. Character witnesses are not permitted at any disciplinary hearing. Respondents may elect to submit written character references for the hearing panel/administrative officer to review as a part of their deliberations.
g) When the respondent has produced the evidence he/she wishes to present, the Hearing Panel may ask further questions of either party or recall witnesses. The Hearing Panel may call brief recesses at any time to discuss the proceedings, and may ask further questions upon return from any such recess.
h) The chair may also call witnesses, including expert witnesses from the College staff, to aid the Hearing Panel in its consideration of the case.
i) When the Hearing Panel’s questions have concluded, the chair should inform the respondent that a written decision will be sent to him/her. The hearing will then be adjourned. The members of the Panel will meet in executive session to deliberate and to render a decision.
A. Basis for Findings: Standard of Evidence
The standard or basis for findings refers to the criterion or measure of proof that is used to assess if a student is responsible or not for violating Community Standards.
The basis for findings used during any judicial proceeding is a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence means that the hearing panel/officer found that a level of evidence presented led to more than a 50% finding that a student is in violation of a regulation of these Community Standards and thus responsible for a code violation. An easier way to think about this may be to consider the question, “Is it more likely than not that with the evidence and testimony presented that the student violated Community Standards?” If the answer is “Yes,” the hearing officer/panel has achieved a preponderance of evidence.
The College uses a preponderance of the evidence as a standard of evidence for student disciplinary hearings because it is the basis for findings that is the most conducive to the academic setting and the educational process found is disciplinary hearings.
H . Appeals
Students may wish to appeal decisions of the Student Conduct Committee/administrative hearing officer. To initiate an appeal, the student must submit a written appeal within four (4) days of notification of the results of the hearing. The College can only accept appeals from the respondent. It cannot accept appeals from third parties (e.g., parents, faculty, staff, and friends). All appeals must be submitted in writing to Office of Judicial Affairs (EJ Brown Hall room 106A). The vice president for student affairs will review all appeals where a sanction of suspension or expulsion was imposed, appeals submitted for cases heard by the associate dean for judicial affairs, or cases that are heard under a charge of sexual misconduct. All other appeals are heard by the associate dean for judicial affairs. Students who have been sanctioned with suspension of expulsion may request to listen to the audio recording made during the hearing prior to their submission of an appeal letter.
An appeal must be in writing and its scope shall be limited to the following:
(a) Question of Fact: Students may appeal on “questions of fact” by introducing new evidence which would significantly affect the outcome of the case. Evidence that comes forward that was not known by the accused shall be considered new evidence. Evidence that was withheld by a student shall not constitute a question of fact, nor is it to be considered upon appeal.
(b) Question of Procedure: Appeals will be considered on the basis of “questions of procedure” by demonstrating that the procedural guidelines established in this document were breached and that such departure from established procedure significantly affected the outcome of the case.
(c) Severity of Sanction: Students may appeal the “severity of sanction” that has been imposed by presenting a statement explaining why they feel the penalty is too severe.
Appeals are considered for breach of procedures when the procedure in question directly affects the disciplinary decision rendered. For example, the time of notification of a disciplinary decision could result in a procedural breach but would have had no impact in how the decision was initially rendered by a panel. Thus, no grounds for appeal would be granted. However, if the hearing chair, per se, failed to allow the respondent or complainant to ask questions in the hearing related to the charges imposed, such action may constitute a procedural breach that eventually affected how the panel reached a decision. As a result, a respondent might assert that this type of procedural breach was grounds to submit an appeal.
All facts and evidence related to the case shall be reviewed by the vice president for student affairs (or associate dean for judicial affairs) to determine whether just cause exists to overturn the Student Conduct Committee’s recommendation/administrative hearing officer’s decision. If just cause is demonstrated to exist, then the appellate officer may choose to rehear the case or modify the sanction and/or special conditions imposed. If no just cause is demonstrated to exist, the appellate officer shall notify the student in writing of why the appeal was denied. This action shall be final and is not subject to further appeal.
A. Pre-Disciplinary Hearing Information & Procedures.
Off-Campus Complaints: Alfred State takes judicial jurisdiction to the extent practical and possible, over all sexual misconduct cases as long as the person charged is a student, regardless of the enrollment status of the alleged victim,
The College will also take judicial jurisdiction to the extent practical and possible, over all sexual misconduct cases that occur off campus, if the person being charged and the alleged victim is a student and the impact of the assault is likely to have a substantial effect on the alleged victim’s on-campus life and activities, or if the incident poses a threat or danger.
To the extent practical and possible, Alfred State may also take judicial jurisdiction over students charged with off-campus sexual misconduct cases where the alleged victim is not a student. Complaints can also be brought against students when incidents take place during a period when the College is not in session (such as spring break). This policy does not include adjudicating incidents that occurred before the accused was matriculated or after the student has graduated. The College cannot hear complaints against students who have graduated.
B. Rights of Complainant and Respondent for Cases of Sexual Misconduct or Bias-Related Harassment
It is the goal of Alfred State to ensure that student victims (complainant) and the student accused (respondent) of sexual misconduct or bias-related harassment have access to needed resources, services, and information. Alfred State strives to offer a reasonable parity of resources, services, and information, to the extent possible, to all parties to the complaint, including, but not limited to, the following rights:
Rights of Complainant (Victim): It is the goal of Alfred State to ensure that students alleging sexual misconduct or bias-related harassment have access to needed resources, services, and information including:
Rights of the Respondent (Accused Student); Students charged with one or more violations of the sexual misconduct code have a right to:
C. Removing Respondent from Residential or Academic Environment
The College will remove a respondent from her/his living unit and/or academic setting, if requested by the complainant and the College finds it is reasonable to do so (space available, etc.). Although such an administrative action by the College may seem unfair to the respondent, it may be necessary action so that the College can protect the rights of the complainant and minimize any further interaction that may occur if left unaddressed. This decision is implemented by the vice president for student affairs or designee.
D. Interim Suspension – Removal from the College until Hearing
The College can also choose to invoke an interim suspension with alleged infractions of sexual misconduct and can be invoked when the College believes there is evidence that the respondent may pose a risk to the safety and well-being of others prior to the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings.
E. Size and Composition of Sexual Misconduct Panels
Sexual misconduct is a complex issue for disciplinary panels to hear. Panelists for sexual misconduct cases complete additional training provided by the Division of Student Affairs before they can serve on a specialized panel for sexual misconduct.
Sexual misconduct complaints are heard by faculty and staff who are appointed to the Student Conduct Committee and are selected by the vice president for student affairs to serve on sexual misconduct cases. Sexual misconduct panels are chaired by the associate dean for judicial affairs (if associate dean is not available, an alternate chair will be appointed by the vice president for student affairs). The three-person sexual misconduct panel will consist of the chair and two other members. All disciplinary hearings are closed to the public and are limited to College representatives on the hearing panel, the victim, the respondent, advisers and witnesses. The College does not allow character witnesses to attend any disciplinary hearings.
Respondents may wish to appeal decisions of the administrative hearing panel. To initiate an appeal, the student must submit a written request for an appeal to the vice president for student affairs within four (4) business days of notification of the results of the hearing.
Flow Chart for Sexual Misconduct & Bias-Related Harassment Hearings
F. Rendering Disciplinary Decisions Regarding Sexual Misconduct
Disciplinary panels for sexual misconduct will draft a preliminary decision and send it to the complainant and respondent for their review. At that time, the complainant may elect to provide a written impact statement on the draft decision before it is finalized by the panel. This statement must be submitted to the chair of the Panel within four (4) days of receipt of the draft decision. Thereafter, the panel will render a final decision. No disciplinary action shall be taken unless it is established by a preponderance of evidence upon the record considered as a whole that the accused student has committed the charged offense.