Student Responsibility Conduct Procedures
A primary responsibility of every student is to regulate his/her own affairs so that they are in concert with the standards of the community they have joined. Accordingly, Concordia College admits students with the expectation that they will comply with its standards and conduct themselves as responsible persons within the framework of this Christian college community. Since attendance at Concordia is a privilege rather than a right, revocation of this privilege may occasionally be necessary to protect the interests of the college community.
The College recognizes the need for a fundamentally fair conduct system that responds to allegations concerning violations of the community's standards. We presume, therefore, that a campus conduct system should minimally afford a student or organization the right to receive a written notification of a complaint, an opportunity to respond to the allegations of the complaint, the right to a review of the complaint by objective decision makers, and the right to proportional sanctions if the complaint is accepted or proved. Consequently, we establish the Student Responsibility Conduct Procedures and the Student Responsibility Board.
The Student Responsibility Board will be responsible for hearing all incidents involving alleged violations of college social policy where responsibility is not admitted. In the event a student is involved in an incident that results in a complaint by the college and a criminal/civil charge, it is understood that there is no requirement for the college conduct system to await the outcome of the other proceeding(s).
Standards of Behavior
The Student Affairs Committee has the responsibility to recommend to the president of the college changes in or additions to existing institutional standards of behavior and sanction guidelines for infractions. These standards of behavior are published so that all students are aware of expectations concerning conduct. However, the college reserves the right to make changes to conduct standards whenever necessary. Complaints may be filed against a student or organization for violating established conduct standards. All members of the college community share responsibility for upholding these standards.
An individual student or the leaders of an organization (when an organization is involved) alleged to have violated a policy will be interviewed by a member of the Student Affairs staff and receive written notification of a complaint against them if warranted. This complaint will contain the standard of conduct allegedly violated and the sanction(s) that may be imposed. Students will also be informed of their rights and established conduct procedures. The student(s) must enter a response to the complaint within 2 business days after having it presented or forfeit the right to a hearing or appeal.
Section A. In incidents where the alleged violation is admitted, a member of the Student Affairs staff will recommend a sanction proportionate with the violation. If the student is not satisfied with the sanction recommendation, he/she may ask the dean of student life to review the sanction. The dean of student life has sole discretion to accept or amend recommended sanctions.
Section B. If the alleged violation is not admitted, the Student Responsibility Board will review the incident.
Clause 1. The Student Affairs Office will notify the Student Responsibility Board of the complaint against the student or organization and the need to arrange a hearing.
Clause 2. The student will receive a Notice of Hearing which stipulates the time and place of the hearing at least 2 business days in advance. The student will also be provided with a statement of procedures the Board will utilize for the hearing.
Clause 3. The Student Responsibility Board, after reviewing an incident, will decide whether the respondent is responsible or not responsible for a violation of college policy and, when appropriate, recommend a sanction to the dean of student life (within guidelines approved by the president of the college). The dean has sole discretion to accept or amend a Board's sanction recommendation. If the student or the dean of student life disagrees with the Board's finding concerning responsibility, he/she must follow the appeal procedure outlined in the Appeals section of this document.
Board Membership and Responsibilities
Section A. Members
Clause 1. The Student Responsibility Board will be composed of one student, one faculty member, one member of the administrative staff outside of the Student Affairs Division, and one administrative observer - also outside the Student Affairs Division. Student and faculty membership will be determined by their respective governing bodies. The college president will appoint the administrative member and observer. Board members should preferably be appointed to two-year terms, with strong consideration given to reappointment of some members in order to maintain operational continuity of the Board. Although the dean of student life or a member of his/her staff may not be included in the membership of the Board, the dean or a designee is free to attend and observe any hearing. However, in all complaints where suspension or expulsion are possible, the dean or a designee will be available to advise the Board about questions of policy or procedure.
Clause 2. The college president will appoint a staff member to chair the Board.
Clause 3. The Board will elect one member to be secretary.
Section B. Duties
Clause 1. Duties of Chairperson
- To convene meetings of the Board.
- To administer this code and implement hearing procedures.
- To contact, or arrange to have the Student Affairs Office contact, the student involved in the incident and inform him/her about the following: the time and place of the hearing, his/her rights, and the specific complaint filed against him/her.
- To provide the student with a written statement of Board's procedures and the names of Board members.
- To manage information and advisors in the hearing.
- To make any other necessary administrative decisions regarding the hearing.
Clause 2. Duties of Secretary
- To maintain a written record of all persons in attendance at the hearing, all persons providing information, items submitted as information, and Board decisions. The secretary will also make a recording of the entire hearing.
- To verify in the written record that the voting on decisions was consistent with the provisions of this document.
- To deposit with the Student Affairs Office all records of the hearing within 1 business day following the hearing.
Clause 3. Duties of Board Members
- To decide complaints with objectivity and in accord with fundamentally fair procedures, as defined above.
- To decide complaints on the standard of "more likely than not".
- To keep proceedings confidential to the extent required by law.
Section C. Voting. Student Responsibility Board
Clause 1. Each member will have one vote in every decision.
Clause 2. For action to be binding, at least two members present at the hearing must concur in the decision.
Rights of the Individual Issued a Complaint (Respondent)
Section A. In the event a student is issued a complaint for violating a standard of conduct, he/she will be informed of the following rights in writing. They are:
Clause 1. The right to a fundamentally fair review of the complaint.
Clause 2. The right to testify on his/her own behalf.
Clause 3. The right to present information and witnesses.
Clause 4. The right to request a written summary of the information supporting the decision to issue a conduct complaint.
Clause 5. The right not to be found in violation of college policy unless information provided meets the standard of "more likely than not".
Clause 6. The right to appeal a finding regarding responsibility.
Clause 7. The right to be notified in writing of a scheduled hearing no less than 2 business days in advance.
Clause 8. The right to be assisted by an advisor (a student advocate or one member of the college community) in preparing a response to a complaint before a conduct board. Advisors are not allowed to address the Board unless granted permission by the chairperson.
Clause 9. The right to refuse to answer questions/participate in a hearing. The Board may draw reasonable inferences from refusal to answer or participate.
Clause 10. The right to contest the seating of any member of the Board for demonstrated bias. A Board member may also disqualify himself/herself. If a Board member is contested by the respondent, the chairperson of the Board has authority to grant or deny the contest. If the respondent contests the seating of the chairperson, the remaining members of the Board will decide whether or not to grant or deny the contest. Board decisions on disqualification are final. The chairperson of the Board must be notified of any contest at least 2 business days before any scheduled hearing. See Special Provisions.
Clause 11. The right to question any witnesses who appear in person.
Clause 12. The right to make an impact statement prior to a Board recommending a sanction.
Rights of an Alleged Victim (or Complainant)
Section A. In the event an incident is brought to the Board as a result of a complaint from an alleged victim, he/she will be assured of the following:
Clause 1. The right to be assisted in preparing for a hearing by an advisor (a student advocate or one member of the college community). Advisors are not allowed to address the Board unless granted permission by the chairperson.
Clause 2. The right to contest the seating of any member of the Board for demonstrated bias. A Board member may also disqualify himself/herself. If a Board member is contested by the respondent, the chairperson of the Board has authority to grant or deny the contest. If the respondent contests the seating of the chairperson, the remaining members of the Board will decide whether or not to grant or deny the contest. Board decisions on disqualification are final. The chairperson of the Board must be notified of any contest at least 2 business days before any scheduled hearing. See Special Provisions.
Clause 3. The right to testify about their account of the incident.
Clause 4. The right to be present and hear all testimony during a hearing.
Clause 5. The right to make an impact statement prior to a Board recommending a sanction.
Clause 6. The right to be informed, as permitted by law, of the finding and any sanction imposed against the respondent.
Section A. Normally, conduct hearings will be scheduled within two weeks after the respondent has denied responsibility for an alleged violation. Most hearings are concluded in one day - usually an evening. In rare cases, however, a hearing may occur over a two-day period with an overnight recess.
Section B. Any party to a disciplinary complaint has the right to request with good reason that a hearing be rescheduled. Such requests must be presented to the chairperson of the Board at least 1 business day in advance. The chairperson has sole authority to decide whether or not to grant the request.
Section C. If the student issued a complaint fails to appear at a properly scheduled hearing, the Board may proceed with the hearing.
Section D. Conduct hearings are closed to the public.
Section E. A college official bringing a complaint to the Board has the right to present information and witnesses, the right to appeal, the right to question witnesses, and the right to contest the seating of any member of the Board for demonstrated bias. A Board member may also disqualify himself/herself. If a Board member is contested, the chairperson of the Board has authority to grant or deny the contest. If the contest involves the chairperson, the remaining members of the Board will decide whether or not to grant or deny the contest. Board decisions on disqualification are final. The chairperson of the Board must be notified of any contest at least 2 business days before the scheduled hearing. See Special Provisions.
Section F. The Board first decides whether the complaint was proved or not proved. Sanctions should be considered only if a complaint is proved. Decision-making deliberations are to be conducted with only members of the Board and the (non-voting) administrative observer present. Findings about the complaint should be determined only on truthful statements and information presented at the hearing. Normally, previous violations of policy may not be considered when making a finding. However, an exception to this practice may be made in rare circumstances where the dean of student life determines it is warranted. Lying to the Board is a violation of college policy.
Section G. All records of the hearing proceedings should be maintained in the Student Affairs Office. The student respondent, and in some situations the complainant, have the right to examine these records if an appeal is filed. All records, while being examined, must remain in the custody of the Student Affairs Office. The recording of hearing proceedings that involved the possibility of suspension or expulsion may be destroyed no less than 2 years after the time permitted for appeal has elapsed. All other hearing recordings may be destroyed no less than 60 days after the time permitted for appeal has elapsed.
Section H. If the complaint is proved, and when the Board is considering a sanction recommendation, college officials have the right to submit information substantiating any prior incident(s) where complaints involving the student were previously proved or accepted.
Section I. The student issued a complaint must be given written notification of the Board's decision(s).
Findings and Sanctions
Section A. Following a hearing, the Board will make one of the following findings:
Clause 1. Responsible. The finding where the information and testimony presented (using the standard of "more likely than not") establishes that the complaint was proved.
Clause 2. Not Responsible. The finding where the information and testimony presented (using the standard of "more likely than not" ) establishes that the complaint was not proved.
Section B. In the event a complaint is proved, one or more of the following sanctions may be recommended according to approved guidelines. These guidelines are intended to provide sufficient flexibility to be proportionate with the violation. The purpose of sanctions includes: promoting the health, safety and well being of members of the campus community; furthering the mission of the college; and helping students learn that there are consequences for misconduct and its impact on the community.
Clause 1. Warning. Warnings call for a written statement to the student that he/she has violated a college standard of conduct and that repeated violations will likely result in more significant sanctions.
Clause 2. Restrictions. Restrictions may include such things as withholding permission to participate in certain activities, limiting access to campus facilities, limiting access to, or eviction from, residence halls, or withholding permission to register.
Clause 3. Restitution. Restitution means reimbursement for damage to, or misappropriation of, property. This may take the form of work assignments, repair of damaged property or cash payment for the cost of repair or replacement of property.
Clause 4. Fines. Monetary fines may be levied within predetermined guidelines.
Clause 5. Probation. Disciplinary probation means that a student's misconduct has placed them at significant risk of being suspended or expelled from the college for further violations of the college's standards of conduct. Normally the probationary period ranges from one semester to one year.
Clause 6. Suspension. Suspension means the immediate or deferred exclusion from classes, residence halls, and other privileges (as set forth in the notice of suspension) for a designated period of time. At the end of a suspension the student is eligible to apply and be considered for readmission as a student. Disciplinary suspension may be included on a college transcript.
Clause 7. Expulsion. Expulsion means the immediate and permanent termination of student status at Concordia College and loss of access to all college grounds and activities. Disciplinary expulsion may be included on a college transcript.
Appeals of the Student Responsibility Board's findings may be made to the college president. The respondent, the complainant and/or the dean of student life have the right to appeal a finding on the basis of established grounds. Unless otherwise stipulated, all appeals must be submitted in writing within 3 business days of receiving notification about the outcome of any hearing. Appeal procedures and grounds for appeal are as follows:
Section A. Appeal Procedures
The appellant student must file a written appeal with the Student Affairs Office within 3 business days of the decision of the Board. The Student Affairs Office will transmit the appeal and the records of the Student Responsibility Board hearing to the president and notify the Board that the appeal is being made. If the dean of student life is the appellant, he/she must submit a written appeal to the president within the same time period. He/she must also give written notification to the Board and to the student.
Section B. Grounds for Appeal.
All appeals must be made in writing and state the grounds on which the appeal is based and the rationale for making the appeal. Grounds for appeal include:
Clause 1. Information not available at the time of the decision, is now available and could affect the decision.
Clause 2. The hearing was conducted with procedural irregularities that could affect the decision.
Clause 3. The information presented did not meet the "more likely than not" standard.
Section C. Process of Considering Appeals
The president or designee will determine whether necessary grounds exist to consider an appeal. The president or designee will then prepare a memorandum and send it to the respondent, the complainant, the Student Responsibility Board and the dean of student life outlining the reasons for his/her decision. If an appeal is considered, the president or designee will review all the records and make a finding or send the matter back to the Board. (The preference is to send granted appeals back to the Student Responsibility Board.)
These procedures will be in effect year round. Consequently, interim appointments to the Student Responsibility Board and the Student Affairs Committee may be made to accommodate these procedures at times other than the official academic year. In the event a majority of the Board's members disqualify themselves and/or are disqualified, the president may make interim appointments to the Board. The president may also initiate other interim accommodations deemed necessary facilitate implementation of these procedures.
The Student Affairs Committee, upon approval by two-thirds of the total Committee membership, may recommend amendments of these procedures to the president of the college. The Student Government Association also has the prerogative to recommend amendments of this code to the Student Affairs Committee or directly to the president of the college.