Introduction and purpose
This procedure implements Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code and explains the Twin Cities campus's process for actions initiated against students or student groups by the University under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code. Procedures governing resolution of student-initiated complaints against the University are provided pursuant to Board of Regents Policy: Conflict Resolution Process for Student Academic Complaints.
The purpose of the student disciplinary process is to provide a framework for resolving complaints about violations of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code, so that:
- Informal resolution is encouraged. The student conduct process encourages informal resolution of complaints where appropriate.
- Student development is emphasized. The student conduct process emphasizes the educational purpose in the procedures, including helping students understand and accept responsibility for their own behavior.
- Community interests are met. While the emphasis of the student conduct process is on student self-development, the nature of the prohibited behavior may require, in fairness to the community, the imposition of educational outcomes up to and including suspension or expulsion.
- Students receive fair treatment. Most matters are resolved informally, with the agreement of the student; however, the Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code affords the students an opportunity to a fundamentally fair hearing and a campus-wide appeal if they do not accept an informal resolution.
Sexual misconduct matters are not subject to this Procedure and are instead handled as specified in the University’s Administrative Policy: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Relationship Violence.
Different disciplinary processes: Twin Cities campus
The University of Minnesota Twin Cities has a campus-wide student conduct process, managed by the Office for Community Standards (OCS) and the Campus Committee on Student Behavior (CCSB), that handles most complaints under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code. In some circumstances, complaints are handled through a different process on campus.
- A college may maintain its own hearing process for complaints within the college of scholastic dishonesty (which is a violation of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code).
- Professional or graduate programs may maintain their own codes of conduct for their students and their own procedures for handling complaints of violations.
- Certain administrative units, specifically Housing and Residential Life, the Student Activities Office, or the Learning Abroad Center, also may maintain student conduct processes for violations of their rules.
Regardless of the process, OCS is a resource for colleges and units in handling student conduct matters.
Complaints of violations of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code
Notice of alleged violations of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code may issue from OCS, a responsible administrator under the code of conduct of a professional or graduate program, a responsible administrator under the student conduct processes of an appropriate administrative unit (i.e., Housing and Residential Life, the Student Activities Office, or the Learning Abroad Center), or an instructor in the case of a grade outcome for scholastic dishonesty. In any case, students are entitled to a notice of the alleged violations and the basis for the allegations. Complaints should be made as soon as possible after the event takes place.
The offices and individuals that informally resolve complaints under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code are:
- Office for Community Standards
The Office for Community Standards (OCS) seeks to informally resolve complaints of violations of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code. OCS staff meet with the student and consult with affected instructors or administrators to develop an informal resolution. Students may accept OCS's proposed informal resolution, or may choose to have a formal hearing. OCS also may choose to send a complaint to a formal hearing, rather than informally resolve it.
OCS handles complaints of violations of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code, including complaints that fall within an administrative unit's rules but are so serious as to warrant a University, rather than unit, response. Students who refuse to respond to OCS upon receiving a complaint of violation of the Student Conduct Code will have a hold placed on their record, preventing them from registering or obtaining a transcript until they respond to the complaint.
- Instructors and colleges for scholastic dishonesty complaints
Allegations of scholastic dishonesty frequently are first raised by the affected instructor and are resolved simply by the assignment of a grade or other academic consequence in the class and the acceptance of that grade or consequence by the student. Instructors or their college are nonetheless obligated to report all cases of scholastic dishonesty to OCS. Any academic (grade) outcome will be implemented immediately. OCS is the central repository for all reports of scholastic dishonesty violations.
- Responsible administrator under a professional or graduate program code of conduct
Some professional or graduate programs maintain their own codes of conduct which may overlap with Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code. The programs may apply their own student conduct procedures for violation of their codes by their students. Some of these codes may provide for informal resolution of complaints. Students should consult the code that applies to them for information about informally resolving complaints.
- Administrative unit
Some administrative units (Housing and Residential Life, the Student Activities Office, Athletics, Greek Life, and the Learning Abroad Center) have their own student conduct processes, which overlap with Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code, and may issue and resolve complaints of their rule violations through their own process. Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code complaints that are so serious as to warrant outcomes beyond the authority of the particular administrative unit, however, should be forwarded by the unit to OCS for handling, which may include a formal hearing.
If a complaint under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code is not resolved informally, the student is entitled to a hearing. The hearing procedure varies depending on the circumstances of the student and the nature of the complaint.
In all cases, hearings on violations of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code must be fundamentally fair. What constitutes fundamental fairness in a University hearing depends on a number of factors, including the seriousness of the potential outcome. However, a fundamentally fair hearing process usually allows for students or student groups to:
- be notified in writing of the alleged violation and the underlying factual allegations; the time, date, and place of the hearing; and the range of possible outcomes;
- receive a prompt hearing;
- present their case, including witnesses;
- hear all evidence against them;
- question adverse testimony;
- be confronted by their accusers (subject to reasonable procedures to address concerns for safety or well-being);
- be accompanied or represented by an advisor of their choice, including an attorney, and if the advisor is an attorney, the University will appoint an attorney to present on its behalf;
- be found responsible only if the information as a whole shows that it is more likely than not that the student's conduct violated Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code;
- receive a written disciplinary decision following the hearing; and
- receive notification of the procedure for a campus-wide appeal of the student conduct decision.
A recording or a transcript of the hearing must be kept for appellate purposes. Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code hearings are not court cases, and court rules of process, procedure, or evidence do not apply.
The hearing bodies are:
- Campus Committee on Student Behavior (CCSB)
The CCSB is a campus-wide hearing body composed of faculty, staff, and students that hears and decides complaints under the Student Conduct Code. See Procedure: CCSB Hearing Procedures: Twin Cities. The CCSB has authority to hear the following types of complaints under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code, including:
- complaints of scholastic dishonesty that cross college lines;
- "intracollege" complaints of scholastic dishonesty (i.e., complaints involving a student within the college, in a course offered by that college) that are referred to CCSB by a college, or that are accompanied by non-scholastic complaints under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code; and
- any other complaints under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code that are referred to CCSB by a professional or graduate program, college, or administrative unit.
Each undergraduate college has the authority to manage its own hearing process for formal resolution of intracollege complaints of scholastic dishonesty, which is a violation of Section VI(1) of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code. A complaint of scholastic dishonesty is "intracollege" when it involves a student admitted by that college, in a course offered by that college. Colleges may have their own established hearing procedures that afford students due process. A copy of the final decision must be sent to the Office for Community Standards (OCS). Students should consult the code that applies to them for information about formally resolving complaints.
- Professional or graduate programs
Professional or graduate programs that maintain their own codes of conduct may formally resolve complaints according to their own established hearing process. A copy of the final decision must be sent to the Office for Community Standards (OCS). Students should consult the code that applies to them for information about formally resolving complaints.
- Administrative units
Some administrative units (Housing and Residential Life, the Student Activities Office, the Learning Abroad Center) have their own student conduct processes to formally resolve complaints involving violation of their rules and Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code Students should consult the process that applies to them for information about formally resolving complaints.
Possible outcomes for violation of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code
Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code outlines the range of outcomes for violation of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code. Colleges, programs, and administrative units may further define the applicable sanctions under their processes. When hearing cases of violations of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code, CCSB and colleges are authorized to apply the full scope of outcomes available to the University, including expulsion from the University. Professional or graduate programs or administrative units enforcing their own codes or student conduct rules generally limit their outcomes to those that fall within the reach of the program or administrative unit, including expulsion from the program. Cases that may warrant a broader outcome should be referred to or coordinated with the Office for Community Standards.
Interim student suspension
In rare circumstances, the president or delegate may impose an immediate interim suspension on a student or student group pending a hearing before the appropriate student conduct committee (1) to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University community or to preserve University property, (2) to ensure the student's own physical or emotional safety and well-being, or (3) if the student or student group poses an ongoing threat of disrupting or interfering with the operations of the University. During the interim suspension, the student or student group may be denied access to all University activities or privileges for which the student or student group might otherwise be eligible, including access to University housing or property. The student or student group has a right to a prompt hearing before the president or delegate on the question of whether the interim suspension should remain in effect until the full hearing is completed. An interim suspension will not be considered when determining responsibility during the hearing or appeals processes.
A student found to have violated Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code is entitled to a campus-wide appeal of student conduct decisions made in the hearing process.
Grounds for Appeal
The following are the grounds for appealing a disciplinary decision.
- There was significant procedural error sufficient to affect the outcome (e.g., lack of notice, opportunity to be heard, or opportunity to challenge information). A procedural error is not a basis for sustaining an appeal unless it was significant enough to affect the outcome.
- The rule found to have been violated was misapplied, misinterpreted, or contrary to law.
- New evidence exists that was not previously available to the appealing party and that is sufficient to affect the outcome.
- The outcome was grossly disproportionate to the offense.
- The student conduct decision was not based on substantial information. Substantial information means relevant information that a reasonable person might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. In making this determination, the appellate officer must respect the credibility determinations of the hearing body and must not substitute the officer's judgment for the hearing body. Rather, the appellate officer must determine whether the hearing body’s decision was unreasonable (i.e., arbitrary) in light of the information presented.
Nature of Appellate Review
A student found to have violated Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code has the right to appeal the disciplinary decision. Appellate review generally is a review of the record to determine whether a serious error occurred in the original proceeding that resulted in unfairness. Appellate review respects the credibility judgments of the hearing body, and respects the hearing body’s determinations as long as there is any evidence to reasonably support them.
The appellate officer makes the final University decision regarding student discipline. The Provost serves as the appellate officer, unless the Provost authorizes another administrator who holds a position of campus-wide scope to serve as the appellate officer in the Provost's place.
Parties and Advisors
The parties to an appeal are the 1) appellant and 2) the chair of the original hearing panel. The appellant is the student found to have violated Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code. The appellant may be represented by an advisor (e.g., Student Advocate Services or an attorney). If the appellant is represented by an attorney, the chair of the panel will be represented by an attorney from the Office of General Counsel. Unless the appellate officer decides otherwise, the appeal needs to be a written submission and can be submitted by the appellant or their advisor.
Procedure for Filing an Appeal
To appeal a student conduct decision, a student found to have violated Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code must submit a notice of appeal to the Provost at [email protected] The appellant is then provided an additional five (5) weekdays for submission to the Provost of a written statement specifically identifying the ground(s) for the appeal, explaining why the ground(s) for appeal are met, and providing any supporting documentation.
Review of Information
To decide an appeal, the appellate officer reviews the written appeal submitted by the appellant and may review any or all portions of the record as appropriate to decide the appeal. The appellate officer also has discretion to seek further information to assist in deciding the appeal, including one or more of the following:
- additional written information from the appellant, including citations to key portions of the record;
- a written response from the respondent;
- written responses to questions, from either the appellant or the respondent; and
- oral presentations from the appellant and the respondent (or their advisor/attorney), which will be recorded.
The appellate officer makes the final University decision. The appellate officer may accept, modify, or reject the disciplinary decision of the hearing body, or return the matter for further proceedings. The appellate officer will provide a written decision to the appellant and the chair of the hearing body. The appellate officer will strive to issue a final decision within thirty (30) calendar days of the notice of appeal.
Outcomes Pending Appeal
Academic (grade) outcomes by the hearing body are implemented immediately, even pending appeal. Disciplinary outcomes affecting the student's status/attendance at the University generally are stayed pending appeal, unless the Provost or delegate determines that outcomes should be immediately implemented because the underlying offense involved serious harm to another person or the student otherwise presents a continuing risk of harm or disruption to the community. All other disciplinary outcomes are generally stayed pending appeal.