ARTICLE IX. STUDENT CONDUCT PROCESS
All students and student organizations are subject to the judicial procedures prescribed in this code. If a student, allegedly involved in a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, separates or graduates from the University prior to resolution, the student conduct process can continue at the discretion of the University. If a conference or hearing is not pursued upon separation of the student, the pending charges will be resolved, at the discretion of the University, prior to any future readmission.
- Initiation of Charges. The Associate Dean of Students/designee bears the responsibility for the initiation of student conduct procedures against a student for alleged misconduct. The Associate Dean of Students/designee will review instances of reported misconduct to determine if student misconduct proceedings should be initiated. Any member of the University community may register a complaint in writing with the Associate Dean of Students/designee against a student for alleged violation of University policy. In the absence of sufficient information as determined by the Associate Dean of Students, a complaint will be dismissed.
- Notification of Charges. Once it is determined that student conduct proceedings will be initiated, all charges and dispositions will be issued to the charged student. All charge notices will be (a) emailed to the student’s University e-mail account, (b) mailed to the on-campus address of the charged student, or (c) mailed by certified, return receipt requested mail to the off-campus address on file in the University Registrar’s office. Notices sent by these methods will be presumed to be delivered unless returned as undeliverable. Students are responsible for ensuring that their mailing address of record is current and complete. Students are also responsible for checking their University assigned e-mail account. In some cases, the Associate Dean of Students/designee may notify a student of charges in person.
- Failure to Respond. The student will be considered properly notified when the formal charge letter scheduling a conference has been (a) e-mailed to the student’s University e-mail account, (b) mailed to the on-campus address of the charged student, or (c) mailed by certified, return receipt requested mail to the off-campus address on file in the University Registrar’s Office. If the charged student has been properly notified of the charges and the student conduct conference date, and still does not attend the scheduled conference, a decision of responsibility will be made based upon the available information. No recommendation for the imposition of sanctions may be based solely upon the failure of the accused student to answer charges or appear at the conference.
- Student Conduct Conference Procedures
- The Associate Dean of Students/designee is responsible for scheduling, coordinating, and presenting all cases. The Associate Dean of Students/designee shall determine if the alleged misconduct requires a hearing by the Student Conduct Hearing Board.
- Options for Resolution of Student Conduct Charges. It should be clearly understood that there is a fundamental difference between the nature of student discipline and that of criminal law. Regardless of the options exercised for resolution of charges the discipline of students within the University community must be consistent with the educational mission of the institution. At the conference with the Associate Dean of Students/designee, the charged student will have all the resolution options outlined below fully explained:
- Accept responsibility for the charge(s) and elect for the Associate Dean of Students/designee to determine appropriate sanction(s).
- Enter a statement of not responsible to the charge(s) and present evidence and testimony relevant to the charged student’s alleged violation and/or misconduct.
- The Associate Dean of Students/designee will exercise control over the conference to avoid needless consumption of time, repetition of information, and/or prevent the harassment or intimidation of participants. The conference can be recessed at any time by the Associate Dean of Students/designee.
- All conferences shall be conducted in an informal manner and technical rules of evidence will not be applied. Responsibility can only be determined if the Associate Dean of Students/designee finds that it is more likely than not that the accused is responsible.
- Upon completion of the conference, the Associate Dean of Students/designee shall, within a reasonable time [usually five (5) school days] make findings of fact and conclusions for the disposition of the case and sanctions to be imposed, if any. The student will be notified of the disposition of the case, sanctions and appeal process by (a) e-mail to the student’s University e-mail account, (b) mailed to the on-campus address of the student; (c) mailed by certified, return receipt mail to the office campus address on file in the University Registrar’s office.
- The Associate Dean of Students may impose sanctions up to and including Residence Hall Suspension.
STUDENT CONDUCT BOARD
This judicial process is confidential, but the decision is not necessarily confidential. The student may appeal this decision to the appropriate administrator (see “Appeals Process” within the Judicial Process section). In special cases requiring immediate action, the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or a designee may impose sanctions, which will be temporary until the Student Conduct Board can be convened. Such temporary sanctions must be reported to the Student Conduct Board and other appropriate administrators.
The Associate Dean of Students shall present the case for the institution at the Conduct Board hearing. Any student charged with a violation will receive written notification of the charges, the nature of the evidence, and the name(s) of any witness who will testify. Hearings are non-adversarial (i.e. no attorneys), confidential, and shall not be considered analogous to court proceedings. Hearings will be conducted with simplicity and fairness, and will not be restricted to technical rules of substantive or procedural law. While the proceedings of the Student Conduct Board are confidential, its decision is not necessarily confidential.
1. The Student Conduct Board shall consist of the following voting members:
- Three (3) faculty members (appointed by the chair of the Faculty Senate)
- Six (6) student members (appointed by the president of Student Senate):
- One student (1) representing Pierce, White and Swope Halls
- One student (1) representing Grand and Liberty Halls
- One student (1) representing Briscoe, Constitution, McCorkle Halls and Cottages
- Three (3) at large members
*Student members must be in good standing with Buena Vista University. Good standing means that the student may not be or have been on disciplinary probation or have been previously found responsible for violations of the Code of Student Conduct. During the term of appointment if the student member has a change in status, he/she will be removed from the position and the president of the Student Senate will appoint an alternate to fill the vacancy.
It is encouraged that one (1) of the at-large positions be held by an off-campus student. The Student Senate president may represent one (1) of the student groups. Students in their first semester at Buena Vista University are not eligible. One (1) faculty standing alternate will be appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty and one (1) student standing alternate will be appointed by the president of Student Senate. All faculty and students are appointed to the Student Conduct Board on an annual basis.
- The charged student is entitled to:
- Appear in person, hear all information presented and present any relevant information, have an advisor present or call witnesses
- A witness must be a person who has firsthand knowledge of the event or actions in question.
- Witnesses who wish to testify to the character of the student charged with the violations may not be called at this stage of the process.
- A student must submit in writing the names of any witnesses that he/she wishes to give testimony. The list of witnesses must be submitted to the Associate Dean of Students/designee at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled conference.
- An advisor is a current member of the University faculty or administration. The role of the advisor will be to consult with the accused at reasonable intervals during the course of the conference. The advisor may not address the Conduct Board or other persons at the hearing unless permitted to do so by the chair of the hearing board. Attorneys are not permitted in the hearing regardless of their relationship to the University. Parents, guardians, or other family members may not serve as advisors or attend a formal student conduct hearings unless approved as a rare exception at least 48 hours in advance by the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students.
- Elect not to appear at the conference, in which case the conference shall be conducted in the accused student’s absence.
- Refuse to answer any questions or make a statement; the conference authority shall make its decision on the basis of information available at the time of the conference.
- Confidentiality. All conferences shall be conducted in private session. All statements, information, or comments given during the conference will be held in the strictest confidence by the student, the conference authority, the University staff, witnesses and advisors before, during and after deliberation.
- The proceedings shall be preserved by means of written and audio records. The audio record shall be destroyed six (6) months after the case has been resolved.
- The Student Conduct Board chairperson will be selected by the Board from one of the appointed faculty members. The chairperson has the authority to maintain order and control of all persons at the hearing. The chairperson may expel persons from the hearing whose conduct interferes with the proper procedures of the Board. In such an event, the hearing will continue without the expelled person(s).
The Associate Dean of Students shall call for meetings of the Judicial Board. The Associate Dean will inform the accused of the convening of the Student Conduct Board meeting in a timely manner. After the hearing, the Conduct Board shall, within a reasonable time [usually five (5) school days] make findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations for the disposition of the case and sanctions to be imposed, if any, and forward to the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students.
Within ten (10) days following receipt of the conduct board recommendations the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students shall review the facts of the case and take such action as may be appropriate. The student will be notified in writing of the decision.
The decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students will be final.
- A Secretary will be selected by the Board from its membership and is responsible for keeping accurate records of the case(s). These records are confidential as to specifics of the case(s) and person(s) involved, but not as to university rules or principles of conduct, whether the final decision is guilty or not guilty.
The secretary’s confidential record should include thorough notes during the hearing, summaries of the reasoning of the Board and copies of the charges, decision, and sanctions. A report, omitting all names but otherwise complete, shall become a part of the permanent record of the Judicial Board and be available to members of the Board so as to provide a guideline for future deliberations. The secretary must file results of the hearing with the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students within two (2) class days after the adjournment of the proceedings. Sanctions recommended by the Judicial Board will be implemented by the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, or his/her designee. If the media requests information, the secretary may make available a report of any disciplinary action recommended, omitting all names but including university rules or general principles of conduct violated. The Judicial Board may make public all decisions without names.