Introduction and purpose
This procedure implements Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code and explains the Crookston campus' process for actions initiated against students or student organizations 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 non—academic complaints about violations of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code, so that:
- Informal resolution is encouraged. The disciplinary process encourages informal resolution of complaints where appropriate.
- Student development is emphasized. The disciplinary process emphasizes the educational purpose in student discipline, including helping students understand and accept responsibility for their own behavior.
- Community interests are met. While the emphasis of the disciplinary process is on responsible student self-development, the nature of the offense may require additional considerations with respect to appropriate sanctions, including the safety and well-being of our students and the greater University community.
- Students receive fair treatment. Most disciplinary matters are resolved informally, with the agreement of the accused student. When an informal resolution is not possible, however, Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code requires that students have the opportunity to receive a formal, prompt, fair, and impartial hearing and a campus-wide appeal, if needed.
Different disciplinary processes: Crookston campus
The University of Minnesota Crookston has a campus-wide disciplinary process, managed by the Office for Student Conduct (OSC) within Student Affairs and the Student Conduct Committee (SCC), a Campus Assembly committee that handles most matters involving alleged Conduct Code violations. In certain circumstances, discipline follows another process:
- Academic Affairs may maintain its own hearing process for resolving alleged scholastic dishonesty as provided under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code.
- Administrative units such as Residential Life, the Student Activities Office, Learning Abroad Office and Athletics, also may maintain disciplinary processes for violations of each unit’s own rules of conduct.
Regardless of the process, the Student Conduct Coordinator is a resource for units in handling disciplinary matters.
Complaints of violations of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code
Complaints of violation of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code may be issued from the following: Office of Student Conduct; a responsible administrator of the Office of Academic Affairs; a responsible administrator under the disciplinary processes of Residential Life, the Student Activities Office, Learning Abroad Office or Athletics; or an instructor in the case of a grade sanction for scholastic dishonesty. In each circumstance, students are entitled to notice, identifying the alleged violations and explaining the basis for the allegations. Complaints should be made as soon as possible after the event takes place.
All complaints of violations of the Student Conduct Code will be resolved in a manner that is prompt, fair, and impartial. This will include the following:
- Complaints will be resolved within a reasonably prompt timeframe which allows for extension of the timeframe for good cause. If the timeframe must be extended, the accused student and impacted person will be notified in writing of the delay and the reason for the delay.
- Proceedings will be conducted in a manner that is consistent with University policy and is transparent to both the accused student and impacted person.
- Timely notice of meetings at which the accused student, impacted person or both may be present.
- Timely and equal access of the accused student, impacted person and appropriate officials to any information that will be used during informal meetings and formal hearings.
- Proceedings will be conducted by UMC officials who do not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against the accused student or impacted person.
The offices and administrators that informally resolve complaints under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code are the following:
- Office for Student Conduct
The Office for Student Conduct (OSC) seeks to informally resolve complaints of violations of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code. The Student Conduct Coordinator or designee will conduct an investigation, except in matters involving sexual misconduct. In matters involving sexual misconduct, the Title IX Investigator performs the investigation. The Title IX Investigator annually receives training on issues related to dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking and on how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of the victims and promotes accountability. For policy and process involving sexual misconduct, see Administrative Policy: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assult, Stalking and Relationship Violence.
The investigating officer will gather information, including, where appropriate, meeting with the accused student and other witnesses with relevance to the case.
The accused student and impacted person may be accompanied by an advisor of their choice at any meetings related to the disciplinary process.
The OSC will develop a written summary of the findings and a proposed written resolution, including sanctions where appropriate. Decisions on whether or not Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code has been violated will be based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, meaning that it is more likely than not that a violation of the Student Conduct Code occurred. Students may accept OSC’s proposed informal resolution, or they may reject the informal decision and choose to request a formal hearing with a panel of the Student Conduct Committee. The OSC may also choose to send a complaint directly to a formal hearing, rather than attempt to informally resolve it.
- Administrative unit
Some administrative units (Residential Life, the Student Activities Office, Athletics, and the Learning Abroad Office) have their own disciplinary processes, which may 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 sanctions beyond the authority of the particular administrative unit, should be forwarded by the unit to OSC for handling.
If a complaint under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code is not resolved informally, the student is entitled to a formal hearing. The hearing procedure varies depending on the circumstances of the student and the nature of the complaint. The hearing bodies are:
- Student Conduct Committee (SCC)
The Student Conduct Committee (SCC) is a campus-wide hearing body comprised of faculty, staff, and students that hears and decides complaints under the Student Conduct Code. See Appendix: UMC Student Conduct Committee Hearing Procedures. The SCC has authority to hear all types of complaints under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code, including:
- Any other complaints under Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code that are referred to SCC by an administrative unit.
- The SCC is also the appellant body for appeals from the Residential Hall Judicial Board.
- Administrative unit disciplinary process
Some administrative units (Residential Life, the Student Activities Office, the Learning Abroad Office, and Athletics) have their own disciplinary processes to formally resolve complaints involving violation of their rules and Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code violations. Students should consult the process that applies to them for information about formally resolving complaints. The UMC Student Complaint Process has a summary and links to this information.
Students who fail to respond to OSC upon receiving a complaint of violation of the Student Conduct will have a hold placed on their student record, preventing them from registering or obtaining a transcript until they respond to the OSC.
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 sanction. However, a fundamentally fair hearing process usually allows for students or student organizations 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 sanctions;
- 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 advocate of their choice;
- 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; this is also known as a preponderance of the evidence standard
- receive a written disciplinary decision following the hearing; and
- receive notification of the procedure for a campus-wide appeal of the disciplinary
A formal record, an audio 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 University uses a preponderance of the evidence standard when determining whether there was a violation of the Student Conduct Code.
Possible sanctions for violation of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code
Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code outlines the range of sanctions for violation of Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code. Departments, 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, the SCC is authorized to apply the full scope of sanctions available to the University, including expulsion from the University. Academic departments and administrative units enforcing their own codes or disciplinary rules generally must limit their sanctions to those that fall within the reach of the program or administrative unit including expulsion from the program or expulsion from Residential Housing. Cases that may warrant a broader sanction should be referred to or coordinated with the Office for Student Conduct.
Interim student suspension
The Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs may impose an immediate interim suspension on a student or student organization, pending a hearing before the appropriate disciplinary 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 organization poses an ongoing threat of disrupting or interfering with the operations of the University. During the interim suspension, the student or student organization may be denied access to all University facilities, activities or privileges for which the student or student organization might otherwise be eligible, including access to University housing or property. The student or student organization has a right to a prompt hearing before the Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs on the questions of identification and whether the interim suspension should remain in effect until the full hearing is completed. The student must be informed in writing of the terms of the suspension, the reasons for it, and the opportunity to be heard on the limited questions described above. The underlying Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code case will be heard and decided by the appropriate hearing body, and the case generally will take precedence over other cases pending before that body.
A student found to have violated Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code is entitled to a appeal of disciplinary decisions made in the formal 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 sanction was grossly disproportionate to the offense.
- The disciplinary 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 their judgment for the hearing body. Rather, the appellate officer must determine whether the hearing body’s disciplinary decision was unreasonable (i.e., arbitrary) in light of the information presented.
Nature of Appellate Review
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 Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs serves as the appellate officer, unless the Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs delegates this authority to another administrator who holds a position of campus-wide scope.
Parties and Advocates
The parties to an appeal are (1) the appellant, who is the accused student and (2) the respondent, who is either the chair or a representative member of the original hearing panel. The appellant may be represented by an advocate. If the appellant is represented by an attorney, the respondent will be represented by an attorney from the Office of General Counsel. Unless the appellate officer decides otherwise, the appeal is a written appeal and representation by an advocate or attorney is limited to providing written information.
Procedure for Filing an Appeal
To appeal a disciplinary decision, a student found to have violated Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code must submit a notice of appeal to the Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs’ Appeal Secretary within five (5) business days of receipt of the original disciplinary decision. [Address: Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Appeal Secretary, 307 Selvig Hall, 2900 University Ave, Crookston, MN 56716.] A student found to have violated Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code or the impacted person in a sexual misconduct case then has an additional five (5) business days for submission to the Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs’ Appeal Secretary 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.
To appeal an Administrative Unit’s formal resolution, a student must submit a notice of appeal to the OSC within five (5) business days of receipt of the original disciplinary decision and then an additional five (5) business days for submission. That appeal notice and submission documents will to be forwarded to the Student Conduct Committee.
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. 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 advocate/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.
Sanctions Pending Appeal
Academic (grade) sanctions by the hearing body are implemented immediately, even pending appeal. Disciplinary sanctions affecting the student's status/attendance at the University generally are stayed pending appeal, unless the Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs or delegate determines that sanctions 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 sanctions are generally stayed pending the final decision on the appeal.