After reviewing the incident report, the Assistant Director of Student Life chooses among several options to address the student(s) involved in the incident. First time violations or minor violations are generally referred to an educational conference facilitated by an Assistant Director or a Graduate Residence Coordinator. If the Assistant Director chooses to refer an incident beyond the educational conference level, they, in consultation with the Director of Student Conduct, will determine whether the case will be handled as an administrative hearing, a Peer Conduct Board hearing, or an administrative panel hearing. Incidents may also be addressed through an alternative resolution. The Assistant Director and the Director also decide who will serve as the hearing officer or who will serve as panel members. Panel members are chosen from a pool of University and Student Development staff and administrators trained to hear cases. Both decisions are based on the nature of the incident and the conduct history of the student(s) involved in the incident.
A Graduate Residence Coordinator or Assistant Director generally will hear first offenses or minor violations of the Student Code of Conduct. During the conference, a discussion will occur as to the student’s involvement in the incident and the circumstances surrounding the incident. Together, the student and the hearing officer will determine what violations of the Code occurred. If a student accepts responsibility for the violations, the remainder of the conference will be spent discussing what sanctions are appropriate. The student then signs the educational conference form indicating agreement with the charges and the proposed sanctions, thus waiving the right to appeal this decision. If the student does not accept responsibility for the violations with which they are charged or does not agree with the sanction(s) imposed, the case will then be referred to a different hearing officer or Peer Conduct Board for an administrative hearing.
Administrative hearings are more structured than educational conferences. An administrative hearing generally occurs when one or more of the following situations exists: 1) a resolution does not occur during the educational conference, 2) the student fails to attend an educational conference or to respond to a request for an educational conference, or 3) the severity of the alleged violation or the student’s prior conduct history warrants an administrative hearing. The student will be notified in writing of the charges of violations of the Student Code of Conduct. In the charge letter, the student will be given the date, time, and location of the hearing or will be asked to schedule an appointment. Administrative hearings are held before either the Peer Conduct Board, an administrative panel, or before an administrative hearing officer. During the hearing, the student will be expected to respond to the charges listed in the charge letter. The student will be asked to explain their involvement in the incident and, if found responsible, what sanctions would be appropriate. The Rights and Responsibilities of Students in the Hearing Process apply to administrative hearings.
Peer Conduct Board
The Peer Conduct Board is a conduct hearing body that hears cases for undergraduate students. It is comprised of three to five undergraduate students and one non-voting advisor, usually a Graduate Residence Coordinator. In order to have a quorum, three students and the advisor must be present. These students are selected and trained to hear student conduct cases. The Peer Conduct Board will usually hear cases that involve violations that have an impact on the larger community in which students live. These violations include, but are not limited to quiet hours, roommate conflicts, disorderly gatherings, alcohol violations, and visitation. The Peer Conduct Board hears the case, decides on responsibility for the charges, and determines sanctions. The Rights and Responsibilities of Students in the Hearing Process apply to the Peer Conduct Board hearings.
Certain cases may be referred to alternative resolution pathways if the parties involved are willing to participate, and the Assistant Director, in consultation with the Director of Student Conduct, deems the pathway an appropriate resolution option. Alternative resolution pathways include but are not limited to: educational conversation, conflict coaching, mediation, or restorative practices, such as conferences or circles. Restorative practices are processes designed to facilitate an intentional conversation where targeted persons, or harmed parties, can share the harm they experienced and be an active decision-maker for determining resolutions for the harm to be addressed. Additionally, in a restorative process, the alleged offender, the persons who caused harm, may answer questions such as why they caused the harm and discuss steps they will take to repair the harm. Normally a restorative process concludes with an agreement between all parties involved that addresses how the respondent and other community members can repair the harm caused, rebuild trust, and restore any broken relationships.