Approved by the UMM Student Behavior Committee: Spring Semester 2009. Amendments reviewed and approved by the Student Behavior Committee, Student Affairs Committee, and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Spring Semester 2014.
The Student Behavior Committee (SBC) assists in implementing Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code at the University of Minnesota, Morris (UMN Morris). The SBC provides a fair hearing to determine if a student’s behavior has violated the Student Conduct Code and to determine what, if any, outcome should be imposed. Complaints of Student Conduct Code violations may be referred to the SBC by students, faculty, staff, or others. The SBC Administrative Secretary receives the complaints and assists the SBC Chair in managing the hearing process.
Any materials used as part of a hearing or the case will be provided in an accessible manner to any of the parties who request it. This would include captioning videos, providing written materials in alternative formats, and language interpreters if needed. To request accommodations for this student conduct process, please contact the Secretary of the Student Behavior Committee or contact the office of disability resources at 320-589-6178 or [email protected].
B. Parties to the Complaint
In SBC cases, the University is the formal complainant and the accused student is the individual alleged by the University to be in violation of the Student Conduct Code. For the purposes of these procedures, the parties are identified as the University presenter and the accused student.
The University appoints a presenter to bring the University’s case before the Committee. Students may obtain the services of an advocate/adviser, by their own choice or appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, who can help them prepare and present their case before the SBC. If an accused student is represented by an attorney, the University’s Office of General Counsel will assign an attorney to serve as the University presenter.
The accused student must submit the name of any advocate/adviser or attorney to the SBC Administrative Secretary before the pre-hearing conference, and must give immediate notice to the SBC Administrative Secretary if there is any change in an advocate/adviser or attorney.
C. Committee and Panels
The UMN Morris Student Affairs Committee identifies faculty, P&A staff and student members for the SBC.
Panels are drawn from the SBC to hear individual cases. A SBC Panel consists of the Panel Chair and a panel of three (3) voting members, two of whom should be students. In cases when two students are unavailable, the panel should consist of one student, one faculty member, and one P&A staff member. The Panel Chair and the SBC Administrative Secretary have no vote. One of the SBC Chairs normally serve as the Panel Chair, but may delegate that role to another SBC member.
Panel members are not advocate/advisers for either side. The Panel will fairly consider the information presented at the hearing and may ask questions of the witnesses. The Panel will decide whether the accused student violated the Student Conduct Code and, if so, what outcomes are appropriate. The Panel may not talk privately (outside of the hearing room) about the complaint with the parties or their advocate/advisers.
D. The Complaint and Scheduling
When a complaint is received by the SBC, the Administrative Secretary will notify one of the SBC Chairs. The Chair and Administrative Secretary will notify the accused student of the statement of the complaint, the Student Conduct Code, and the committee’s procedures. In most cases, following a meeting with the accused student, review of relevant materials, and the gathering of needed information, the SBC Chair will propose a resolution to the complaint. When a complaint is not resolved through the resolution proposed by the SBC Chair, the accused student may request a hearing before the Student Behavior Committee. The Student Behavior Committee Chair may choose to send a complaint directly to a hearing.
The SBC will strive to complete a hearing within four to six weeks of the student’s request for a hearing, not including periods when the University is not in session. The SBC Secretary will be responsible for scheduling a pre-hearing conference and the hearing, taking into account the parties’ schedules as appropriate. The SBC Administrative Secretary generally will provide at least 5 days notice before the pre-hearing conference.
E. Student Status During the Process
An accused student ordinarily is allowed to continue the status of a student-in-good-standing pending the outcome of the SBC hearing. However, in certain cases, the Chancellor, as the University of Minnesota President’s designee may suspend a student temporarily, pending the SBC’s hearing and decision, as provided in the Student Conduct Code. In such situations, the SBC should hold a hearing as soon as possible.
Complaints of alleged scholastic dishonesty are addressed by UMN Morris’s Committee on Academic Integrity, a subcommittee of the Scholastic Committee, through their procedures.
F. Pre-hearing Conference
The Panel Chair will convene a pre-hearing conference to plan for the hearing and discuss the topics outlined in Appendix A of these procedures. The University presenter, the accused student and the student's advocate/adviser, the SBC Administrative Secretary, and the Panel Chair attend the pre-hearing conference. If either party does not attend the pre-hearing conference, the Panel Chair will determine whether and how that absence will affect the scheduling and presentations at the hearing.
The parties must be informed of the names of the Panel Chair and potential members of the Panel at the pre-hearing conference. At that time, either party may ask that the Panel Chair remove themself from the hearing due to a direct relationship with the case or being a reporting party or witness. At that same time, either party may challenge the panel member(s) on the grounds of conflict of interest or bias. The Panel Chair, after hearing arguments, will decide whether a panel member should be removed from the Panel. If a panel member is removed because of a successful challenge, a new person will be appointed from the SBC or by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs as appropriate. A party who learns after the pre-hearing conference of a potential conflict must immediately notify the SBC Administrative Secretary of an objection.
The parties will identify the witnesses they intend to present at the hearing. The Panel Chair or the panel may, at its discretion, exclude from the hearing those witnesses who were not previously identified to the other party. The Panel Chair or the panel may also rule on the relevance of witnesses.
The University is committed to resolution of complaints prior to a hearing whenever possible. The SBC Chair will work with the accused student and those impacted by the reported behavior to review and address the behavior. The SBC Chair will present the accused student with a proposed resolution to the complaint. During the pre-hearing conference and up to the start of a hearing, the accused student can accept a proposed resolution.
G. The Hearing
The Panel Chair is responsible for maintaining an orderly, fair, accessible and respectful hearing. The Chair has broad authority to respond to disruptive or harassing behaviors, including adjourning the hearing or excluding the offending person. SBC complaints, pre-hearing conferences, and hearings are closed to the public. Guests may be permitted to attend with agreement from both parties and the Panel Chair. All cell phones and other electronic devices must be turned off during the entire hearing
If the accused student does not appear in person at the hearing, the Panel may elect to either (1) vote to suspend the accused student until a hearing is held; or (2) vote to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the student. A student choosing not to appear may provide the Panel with a signed, written statement.
- Standard of Proof
To establish that an accused student violated the Student Conduct Code, the University presenter must persuade a majority of the Panel that it is more likely than not that the student committed the violation.
- Record of Hearing
The SBC Administrative Secretary will keep an official electronic recording of each hearing. No camera, TV or other recording device, except for that used by the Administrative Secretary to keep the official record of the hearing or for interactive video participation if requested by the complaining witness for the University in cases involving violations of sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, or relationship violence, will be permitted in the hearing room.
A copy of the correspondence, the complaint, and the exhibits presented at the hearing, the electronic recording of the hearing, and the SBC decisions will be maintained in a file by the Administrative Secretary of the SBC.
- Case Presentation
The parties are expected to be prepared for a clear, complete yet economical presentation of their cases. The Panel Chair may impose reasonable time limits on any phase of the proceedings.
Each party may offer reliable information relevant to the issue, and may object to the relevance of information offered by the other party. The Panel Chair and the panel have discretion to determine what information should fairly be included or excluded.
The parties may also introduce relevant written documents, objects, films, or other materials as exhibits. Each party is responsible for bringing copies of written materials in sufficient number for distribution to panel members and the opposing party at the hearing.
Parties should offer witnesses in person whenever possible. Each party is responsible for getting its own witnesses to the hearing. If reasonable efforts to accommodate the schedules are not successful, the unavailability of a witness is not a ground for postponement of the hearing. If an important witness prefers not to testify, the parties may ask the Panel Chair to assist in encouraging the witness to testify. When necessary, witnesses may present information by telephone or written statement. After a party’s witness presents information, the other party may ask questions, and then Panel members may ask questions.
The Panel Chair will exclude witnesses from those parts of the hearing in which they do not testify.
- Panel Deliberations and Decision
At the end of the hearing the Panel will retire to deliberate in closed session. The Chair, Secretary, and Panel members, as well as legal counsel to the Panel, may attend.
The SBC Panel must be prepared to make a judgment based on the information provided even if it is not complete. Each panel member will vote on whether or not the accused student is responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code for each alleged charge. A majority vote of Panel members is required to find a violation. A tie will be considered a vote of “not responsible.” If an accused student is found responsible for one or more items, the Panel will next vote on outcomes, as listed in the Student Conduct Code.
The task of the Panel is more than determining responsibility; it is one of assessing the qualifications of the accused student for continuing membership in the University community if determined responsible for the conduct. The panel will consider the individual’s record of conduct and responsiveness to opportunities, advice, and counsel. The Panel decides the issues based on the information presented by the parties at the hearing and determines whether the University presenter persuaded them that the accused student violated specified provisions of the Student Conduct Code.
The Panel’s decision will be communicated in writing to the parties no later than one week following the hearing. No one participating in the deliberations will give any party verbal information about the decision or the deliberations prior to issuance of the decision.
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. The request for an appeal must be submitted to the Chancellor within 5 days of the SBC action. The request must be submitted in writing with a clear statement of the grounds on which the appeal will be based. The grounds for appeal include an original decision made in the absence of important information now available, lack of fairness in the process (such as lack of notice, opportunity to be heard, and/or opportunity to question), inconsistency between the outcome and the severity of the offense, inconsistency between the original decision and the information presented at the hearing, and/or a decision that conflicts with the interests of other affected University constituents. The appeal must state clearly the facts that support the claim that serious error occurred in the original proceeding, as well as relief requested from the Appeal Panel.
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 Chancellor's Executive Assistant within five (5) days of receipt of the original student conduct decision. (Address: Office of the Chancellor, 309 Behmler Hall, 600 East 4th Street, Morris, MN 56267 or call 320-589-6020 to request an email address the appeal.) The appellant is then provided an additional five (5) weekdays for submission to the Chancellor’s Executive Assistant 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.
Appendix A: Student Behavior Committee Pre-hearing Conference
University of Minnesota, Morris vs. Student
Purposes for the Pre-hearing Conference are:
- To identify the advocate/advisers or attorneys of the parties.
- To review the complaint.
- To describe the procedures to be followed at the regular hearing (Appendix B).
- To review the date, time, and place for the hearing.
- To identify the panel members (3 required for a quorum).
- To identify and exchange the names of potential witnesses that may be scheduled to appear.
- To discuss the possible resolution of the complaint without a hearing.
- To resolve special considerations, answer other questions, or share information prior to the hearing.
Appendix B: Student Behavior Committee Order of Proceedings
- Call to order by the Chair.
- Reminder to turn off all electronic devices.
- Announcements and opening remarks by the Chair.
- Notice that the hearing is being electronically recorded.
- Identification of the parties attending the hearing.
- Review the standard of proof.
- Understandings reached at the pre-hearing conference.
- Opening the hearing by the Chair.
- Presentation of the complaint and alleged specific rules violation.
- Poll the panel for bias.
- Allow both parties to challenge any of the panel members
- Announcement of the seating of the voting members (quorum of 3 required).
- Accused student responds to the complaint (responsible or not responsible).
- Opening comments (up to 10 minutes), University presenter and then accused student.
- University presenter presents information about the alleged violation.
- University presenter may call witness(es).
- Accused student may question witness(es).
- Panel members may question witness(es).
- Accused student presents information about the alleged violation.
- Accused student may call witness(es)
- University presenter may question witness(es).
- Panel members may question witness(es).
- A witness may be recalled by the Chair to testify on specific issues:
- At the request of either party.
- At the request of a Panel member.
- Closing comments (up to 10 minutes), University presenter and then accused student.
- Hearing is closed by the Chairperson.
- Panel retires to deliberate (closed meeting, not recorded).
- The Panel finds the accused responsible or not responsible for each Student Conduct Code violations alleged in the complaint.
- If responsible, the Panel decides on appropriate outcomes.
- The Panel’s decision will be reported in writing to the parties by the SBC Administrative Secretary.