Any member of the College community may report an alleged violation by a student of the college’s non-academic policies and/or standards of conduct. Such reports shall be prepared in writing or through interviews with trained investigators and directed to the Student Conduct Officer. Reports of alleged violations of the College’s Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures: Including Sexual Violence, Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking however, should be made and/or forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator. Reports should be submitted as soon as possible after the alleged violation occurs, by submitting an incident report to the Office of Public Safety, the Title IX Coordinator, or the Title IX Deputy Coordinators.
Section 1: Investigation and Administrative Resolution
Note: For cases involving alleged violations by a student of the College’s Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures: Including Sexual Violence, Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking some of the provisions of the following Section 1A of Article IV do not apply. See the Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures: Including Sexual Violence, Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking for detailed information regarding the investigation and administrative resolution for those cases.
- Upon receipt of a report, the Student Conduct Officer will gather information regarding potential policy violations. This may include speaking to the author of the report and/or speaking to others with firsthand information. If the behavior described in the report could constitute a policy violation, the student(s) alleged to have violated College policy will be informed of the allegation.
- The Student Conduct Officer is responsible for determining the alleged policy violation(s) and the level of the case. In circumstances that behavior may violate Student Conduct policies and the Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures: Including Sexual Violence, Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking, the Student Conduct Office and the Title IX Coordinator will confer about which process should be used.
- Following an initial inquiry and review of the reports, the student respondent will be contacted by the Student Conduct Officer (or designee) and will be presented with the allegation(s) against them. The student, after notification, may accept or deny responsibility for the infraction. If the student accepts responsibility, no further inquiry or investigation is generally necessary and the Student Conduct Officer will discuss the possible College responses with the student. If provided with new information, the Student Conduct Officer may need to speak with the author of the report or others with information before resolving the case. If the case can be resolved administratively by mutual agreement of the student and the Student Conduct Officer, the student is eligible to agree to an administrative agreement detailing the charges and the sanction(s). Such resolution is final and there will be no subsequent hearings or appeals. Students who are offered an administrative agreement will be given the opportunity to consider the agreement and consult with a Community Support Person before affirming the agreement. If the student respondent does not accept responsibility, the facts supporting the allegation are in question, or the allegation would establish new precedent, the Student Conduct Officer (or designee) will undertake an appropriate investigation of the matter and refer the allegation(s) to a Community Standards Board. The option of mutual agreement is not available in the formal process for responding to complaints of the Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures: Including Sexual Violence, Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking.
- As part of this process, the Student Conduct Officer will schedule an administrative resolution conference with the student respondent. During this conference, the student respondent is permitted to have access to the final investigation report, to respond to the information and offer additional relevant information and witnesses. Incident reports and information related to the conference cannot be duplicated or distributed.
- The Student Conduct Officer (or designee) will inform the respondent of the potential sanctions either at this conference or promptly following the conference. Resolutions for students found to be responsible for violating College policy can include sanctions described in Articles VI of this Code of Student Conduct. For incidents in which the behavior would not likely result in suspension or expulsion, an allegation may be referred to a Community Standards Board comprised of three voting members and a non-voting Chair. For allegations that may result in suspension or expulsion, the allegation will be referred to a Community Standards Board comprised of three voting members containing at least one faculty member, and a non-voting Chair.
- During all phases of this process, the respondent (as well as complainants) are permitted to be accompanied by a Community Support Person. A Community Support Person is a student or employee of Allegheny College chosen by a participant to serve in an advisory capacity during the participant’s involvement in the student conduct system. The primary role of the Community Support Person is to assist the participant in preparing for meetings/hearings and to attend meetings/hearings as support for the participant. The participant is responsible for presenting their own information; therefore, Community Support Persons are not permitted to speak or participate directly in any meetings/hearings without approval from the Chair.
- Any student failing to attend or reschedule a scheduled investigatory/administrative resolution conference with the Student Conduct Officer or designee does so with the understanding that the conference may be held in the student’s absence and that the student may be additionally charged with a violation of College policy for abuse of the student conduct system.
- For alleged behavior that may result in suspension or expulsion from the College, the respondents will be notified in writing about the date and time of the administrative resolution conference as well as any hearings. The notice will also include the nature of the specific alleged violations of College policy.
Section 2: The Community Standards Board Hearing
- Once a matter has been referred to the Community Standards Board, the Center for Student Success representative will contact the respondent and the complainant (if applicable) within 5 calendar days and inform them of the following as it relates to the hearing:
- time, date and place of the hearing;
- specific College policies that have allegedly been violated;
- that complainants and respondents are permitted and encouraged to have a Community Support Person accompany them to the hearing. The Community Support Person is not an advocate for the participant, does not represent the participant, speak on behalf of the participant, or examine/cross-examine other parties or witnesses, except as required by law in Title IX cases. The participant is responsible for presenting their own information; therefore, Community Support Persons are not permitted to speak or participate directly in any meetings/hearings without approval.
- that the participant is permitted and encouraged to meet with a College staff member to discuss the hearing process and to be accorded reasonable access to the disciplinary file, which will be reviewed and retained in the Center for Student Success. File contents cannot be copied, photographed or otherwise duplicated
- that the participant is permitted and encouraged to speak on their own behalf, to present relevant information, and to present a written statement and any additional information to the Community Standards Board no later than 24 hours prior to the hearing;
- that the student is permitted and encouraged to bring relevant and necessary witnesses to the hearing.
- The Community Standards Board will conduct a hearing to consider relevant information about the alleged violation, to discuss the alleged violation, to determine whether College policy, rules, and/or regulations have been violated, and to determine sanctions, if appropriate. The Community Standards Board will be chaired by the Vice President of Student Affairs or designee who is a non-voting member of the board trained in current policy and processes to answer procedural questions and advise regarding the adjudication process.
- A recording is made of the hearing and retained by the Center for Student Success representative pending an appeal. Only the Center for Student Success, the Title IX Office, the appealing student, and the Community Standards Board will have access to the recording, and it will be used only for the College appeal process. No recording devices, other than the official recording, may be used during the meetings and hearing. A file containing all records pertinent to the alleged violation is maintained in the Center for Student Success or Title IX Office.
- During the hearing, members of the Community Standards Board, the board chair, the complainant, the respondent, the Student Conduct Officer, the Hearing Board Advisor and/or the investigator, and Community Support Person(s) may be present to hear all facts and other information related to the alleged violations. The Community Standards Board will listen to all relevant information from:
- The Complainant;
- the Respondent;
- the Investigator, and
- other relevant witnesses.
- Any member of the College community may be called as a witness by any of the parties involved with the alleged violation. Witnesses are permitted in the hearing only while presenting their testimony and responding to questions. The board may determine the relevance of information and reasonably limit the participation of the witness accordingly. Technical rules of evidence, such as those that apply in civil or criminal courts of law, do not apply to the hearing. Participants in the hearing may address comments and questions only to the board.
- When the board has heard and received the relevant information and documents offered by the parties during the hearing, the board will adjourn the hearing and move to executive session when only board members and the board Chair may be present. In the executive session, the board will deliberate and decide whether they believe the accused student is responsible for violating the Community Standards and, if so, will assign sanctions, if appropriate.
- The board’s decision shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the accused student violated the Community Standards. All decisions of the board are by simple majority vote.
- After a decision has been reached, the board will report the outcome and rationale to the Student Success representative, who will notify the respondent of the decision in writing within 5 calendar days from the date of receiving the report from the board. In cases of allegations of the Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures: Including Sexual Violence, Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking, the complainant will also be notified.
- Any student failing to attend a scheduled hearing does so with the understanding that the hearing may be held in the student’s absence.
Section 3: Appeals
- An appeal of the Community Standards Board decision must be submitted in writing by the responding student (or complainant only in cases of violence) to the Student Conduct Officer within 5 calendar days after receiving notification of the outcome of the hearing.
- The appeal must specify the reason(s) for the appeal. The person(s) appealing may appeal on any or all of the following grounds:
- New facts not available at the hearing. If the facts were known but withheld during the original hearing by the person presenting the appeal, those facts may not be brought forward as a ground for appeal.
- A violation of the process as described in this student conduct system that significantly and materially affected the participant’s ability to present complete information to the board.
- The board’s decision was unsupported by any substantial evidence at the hearing.
- Failure to appeal within the allotted time will render the original decision final and conclusive.
- The appeal will be reviewed by a three member sub-committee of the Community Standards Board, chaired (non-voting) by the Dean for Student Success No member of the original hearing board is eligible to serve on the appeal board.
- Appeals will be decided upon the record of the original proceeding and upon written materials submitted by the parties.
- The appeal board reviewing an appeal may:
- Affirm the finding and the sanction imposed by the original board.
- Affirm the finding and adjust, but not eliminate, the sanction if it is found to be disproportionate to the offense,
- Assign the case to a new hearing board to resolve procedural errors, or errors in interpretation of College regulations were so substantial as to effectively deny the participant a fair hearing, A new hearing board may also be assigned if new and significant evidence became available, which could not have been discovered by proper diligence before or during the original hearing. The board will be directed not to repeat the specified errors that caused the case to be reheard.
- Deference shall be given to the determinations of the hearing board.
- The decision of the Appeal Board is final.