Student Code of Conduct - Student Conduct Responsibility and Procedures

Student Conduct Responsibility

Responsibility for University student conduct matters is vested in the President of St. Cloud State University who delegates to the Vice President for Student Life and Development the task of policy development and adjudication of student conduct matters. Students, faculty and staff are asked to assume positions of responsibility by serving on the University Student Conduct Board. Final authority in student conduct matters is, however, vested in the University Administration.

University Student Conduct Procedures

University student conduct procedures have been established to guide the fair and uniform interpretation and enforcement of the St. Cloud State University Student Code of Conduct. These procedures are applicable to any student or student organization charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. These conduct procedures are designed to allow for fact finding, decision making in the context of an educational community, and to encourage students to accept responsibility for their own actions.

The intent is to provide adequate procedural safeguards to protect the rights of the individual student and/or student organization and the legitimate interests of the University. The focus of inquiry in student conduct proceedings will be whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the Student Code of Conduct. Formal rules of evidence will not be applicable, nor will deviations from prescribed procedures necessarily invalidate a decision or proceeding unless significant prejudice to a Respondent and/or student organization or the University exists.

Due to the nature of bias motivated and sexual violence offenses, alleged violations will usually be administered through the Equity and Affirmative Action office. The 1B.3 policy and procedure addresses alleged violations that include, but are not limited to sexual violence, sexual assault, harassment, domestic violence, and some forms of stalking and generally follows these steps:

  1. A complaint is filed.
  2. The complaint is reviewed and forwarded to the Title IX Officer or designee for review if that complaint involves behavior described above.
  3. The Title IX Officer determines whether an investigation is required and assigns an investigator.
  4. Upon completion of the investigation, the Title IX Officer will review the results of the investigation, make a decision as to whether a violation or violations of the University Student Code of Conduct have occurred and will assign appropriate educational sanction(s).
  5. Both the complainant and the accused student will be informed of the results of the decision in writing and will be given an opportunity to appeal the decision. If suspension or expulsion from the University is the proposed sanction the Title IX Officer forwards this decision to the Vice President for Student Life and Development or designee for action. If the Vice President or designee upholds a decision of suspension or expulsion, the student may seek review under Minnesota Statute Chapter 14.

Note: The possible educational sanctions applied in this process are the same as those subsequently described in this document.

Violations of the Student Code of Conduct which may subject a student to suspension or expulsion from the University normally will be accorded a University Student Conduct Board hearing, except when final examinations, official closure of the University or breaks would prevent a timely hearing by the University Student Conduct Board; or when, in the judgment of the Vice President for Student Life and Development or designee, appearing before the University Student Conduct Board poses a threat to the physical well-being or safety of individuals involved in the process or is not in the best interest of the student and/or University. Under these circumstances, the Vice President for Student Life and Development or designee may apply any and/or all educational sanctions, including suspension or expulsion from the University. Suspensions lasting more than ten (10) business days or expulsion from the University will be listed on the student’s official academic transcript.

Student conduct records are kept on file for seven (7) years. After a period of five (5) years, the student may make a request in writing to the Vice President for Student Life and Development that the notations of conduct action be removed from their transcript. Decisions will be made based on the circumstances surrounding the request and the original Student Code of Conduct violation(s).

Students and/or student organizations that violate the terms of University Probation may be referred to the University Student Conduct Board. The University may utilize mediation or conciliation procedures in addition to, or in lieu of, formal conduct procedures.

Students and/or student organizations may be assisted by an Adviser of their own choice and at their own expense. The Adviser may be present at student conduct proceedings but may not speak or participate in the proceedings except to advise the student and/or student organization. An Adviser may not appear in lieu of the student and/or student organization.

If a student and/or student organization fails to respond to a notice of a student conduct hearing, the Student Conduct Administrator or University Student Conduct Board may review the available information and act upon the complaint in the student or student organization’s absence. The student or student organization will be notified in writing of the actions taken, any applicable educational sanctions and the opportunity to appeal decisions, according to the criteria and procedures established in the Student Code of Conduct.

If a student has been notified of an alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct and prior to a hearing withdraws or does not enroll for the next semester, a hold may be placed on the student’s registration and/or transcript until the alleged violation is addressed.

Students who are victims of violence will be notified in writing of the decisions and any applicable educational sanctions imposed on a Respondent upon completion of the student conduct process.

Filing a Complaint

Any person may file a complaint against a student and/or student organization suspected of violating the Student Code of Conduct. A complaint shall be in writing and directed to a Student Conduct Administrator.

  1. Complaints should be submitted as soon as possible after the incident.
  2. The complaint must state facts, including the specific name(s), date, location, and description of the alleged act(s) of misconduct in sufficient detail to enable the Student Conduct Administrator to make a determination as to what fact finding is necessary and if sufficient information exists for an informal meeting on the alleged Student Code of Conduct violation.
  3. A Student Code of Conduct complaint may be filed against a student and/or student organization also charged with a violation of a local ordinance, state, or federal law. Proceedings under the St. Cloud State University Student Code of Conduct may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings at the discretion of the University. Determinations made or sanctions imposed shall not be subject to change because criminal charges arising out of the same facts giving rise to violation of the Student Code of Conduct were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of or against the student and/or student organization.

Initial Review of a Complaint

  1. Upon receipt of a written complaint or incident report against a St. Cloud State University student and/or student organization, a Student Conduct Administrator shall review the complaint, make a determination as to whether an investigation needs to be conducted, and/or if the situation can be disposed of by mutual consent of the persons involved on a basis acceptable to the Student Conduct Administrator. Such disposition shall be final and there shall be no subsequent proceedings. The Student Conduct Administrator may also refer the complaint to another Student Conduct Administrator or office for further action.
  2. To determine if there is sufficient basis to believe that a violation of the Student Code of Conduct may have occurred, the Student Conduct Administrator may interview the Complainant, Respondent and/or other witnesses, or request additional information from others. The Student Conduct Administrator will conduct a preliminary review of the complaint to determine whether the alleged conduct could result in suspension or expulsion from the University.
  3. If there is sufficient information to support the complaint, the Student Conduct Administrator shall send a written notice to the student and/or student organization. The written notice will include the basis of the complaint, the behavior that allegedly violates the Student Code of Conduct, and will inform the student and/or student organization of their responsibility to meet with a Student Conduct Administrator.
  4. The notice will be sent through one or more official means of communication including HuskyNet, campus mail (for on-campus residents) or to the address recorded by the Office of Records and Registration. Students are expected to notify the Office of Records and Registration when they change addresses.
  5. If a student and/or student organization fails to respond to the written notice, the Student Conduct Administrator may review the available information and act upon the complaint in the student and/or student organization’s absence. The student and/or student organization will be notified in writing of the actions taken, any applicable educational sanctions and the opportunity to appeal decisions according to the criteria and procedures established in the Student Code of Conduct.
  6. The Vice President for Student Life and Development or designee reserves the right to refer any complaint to another University official, process or the University Student Conduct Board.

Informal Student Conduct Meeting

  1. The student and/or student organization will be given an opportunity to read and respond to the written complaint, present relevant information, and be provided with the nature of any other information regarding the complaint prior to accepting or not accepting responsibility for the alleged violation(s).
  2. The student and/or student organization can make a decision at that time to seek a resolution through the informal student conduct meeting process or request a formal student conduct hearing with a Student Conduct Administrator or the University Student Conduct Board.
  3. If the student and or student organization decides on an informal student conduct meeting, the student and/or student organization will then have an opportunity if charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to accept or not accept responsibility for that violation. After considering the information available, the Student Conduct Administrator may make a decision at that time.
  4. The Student Conduct Administrator shall inform the student and/ or student organization in writing of the decision, including any applicable educational sanctions. The student and/or student organization can appeal any sanction(s), according to the criteria and procedures established in the Student Code of Conduct.

Formal Student Conduct Hearing

  1. Students and/or student organizations alleged to have violated the Student Code of Conduct, who dispute the complaint, and who are not subject to suspension or expulsion are entitled to a formal student conduct hearing with another Student Conduct Administrator, if requested by the student(s) and/or student organization(s) or determined by the Student Conduct Administrator.
  2. Respondents will be given no less than four (4) days notice in writing of the date, time and location of the formal student conduct hearing. The notice will also include written documentation of the complaint, and the alleged Student Code of Conduct violations. A student’s and/or student organization’s failure to appear shall not prevent the hearing from proceeding as scheduled.
  3. The Respondent will have an opportunity at the formal student conduct hearing to respond to the complaint and to present relevant information and witnesses.
  4. After the hearing, the Respondent will receive a written notice of the Student Conduct Administrator’s determination of whether or not a violation of the Student Code of Conduct was established. The notice will include any applicable educational sanction(s) that have been imposed and the option to appeal according to the criteria and procedures established in the Student Code of Conduct.

University Student Conduct Board

Students and/or student organizations alleged to have violated the Student Code of Conduct for which a finding of “responsible” could result in suspension or expulsion from the University are normally accorded a hearing with the University Student Conduct Board.

The University Student Conduct Board will be composed of five (5) members: three (3) students, and two (2) faculty or staff members. One member will be designated the chairperson and preside over the hearing.

A student has a right to an Adviser at the University Student Conduct Board hearing. If the Respondent is advised by an attorney, the University reserves the right to also have an attorney present.

In order to preserve the confidential nature of the student conduct process and to protect the privacy of all parties, University Student Conduct Board hearings will be closed. University Student Conduct Board hearings will be audio recorded. The University is not responsible for technical malfunctions. The Respondent may obtain a copy of the hearing transcript by making a request in writing to the Vice President for Student Life and Development or designee. The cost of transcribing the hearing will be shared equally between the Respondent and the University.

University Student Conduct Board Procedures

The University Student Conduct Board will operate using the following procedures:

  1. The Student Conduct Administrator will send a written notice to the student and/or student organization no less than five (5) days prior to the date of the University Student Conduct Board hearing. The notice will be delivered to the student and/or student organization by HuskyNet email, to the campus address of on-campus students and/or be sent by certified mail to the address listed with the Office of Records and Registration, and will include:
    1. The date, time, and location of the University Student Conduct Board hearing;
    2. A written statement specifying the alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct in sufficient detail to enable the Respondent to prepare a response;
    3. Notice of student’s and/or student organization’s right to an Adviser; and
    4. The names of the University Student Conduct Board members selected for the hearing.
  2. At least three (3) business days prior to the University Student Conduct Board hearing, the student and/or student organization will receive:
    1. The names of the material witnesses who may be called to speak at the University Student Conduct Board hearing on behalf of the University.
    2. Copies of all documents or written statements to be presented by the University at the University Student Conduct Board hearing.
  3. At least three (3) days prior to the University Student Conduct Board hearing, the student and/or student organization will provide the Student Conduct Administrator:
    1. Any written documentation; and
    2. Names of witnesses who will be called by them. It is the responsibility of the Respondent to notify these witnesses of the time, date and location of the hearing.
  4. The Respondent may request the removal of a member of the University Student Conduct Board member on the grounds of personal bias by submitting a written statement to the Student Conduct Administrator setting forth the basis for the challenge no later than three (3) days prior to the University Student Conduct Board hearing. The Student Conduct Administrator will determine whether to sustain or deny the request. If the request is sustained, a replacement will be appointed.
  5. The student and/or student organization will be afforded an opportunity to meet with the Student Conduct Administrator to discuss the University Student Conduct Board hearing process prior to the hearing.
  6. A representative of the University will present the information informing the charge(s) and will have the burden of showing that it is more likely than not that a violation of the Student Code of Conduct has occurred.
  7. Witnesses will be asked to leave the University Student Conduct Board hearing following their testimony. The Complainant and Respondent may remain throughout the entire hearing.
  8. Usually, the order of presentation at the University Student Conduct Board hearing will be as follows:
    1. The University Representative and/or Complainant will present an opening statement.
    2. The Respondent may present an opening statement.
    3. The Chairperson will call witnesses for the University or Complainant to provide statements.
    4. The Chairperson will call witnesses for the Respondent to provide statements.
    5. At the conclusion of each witness' statement, he/she may be questioned by the Respondent, Complainant and/or University Representative and by members of the University Student Conduct Board. Any witness may be recalled.
    6. Following the witnesses, summations may be presented.

University Student Conduct Board Deliberations and Recommendations

  1. Only members of the University Student Conduct Board and the Board’s Adviser may be present during deliberations.
  2. A simple majority of votes is necessary to make a recommendation that a Student Code of Conduct violation more likely than not occurred.
  3. If a Respondent is found responsible for one or more violations, the hearing will proceed to the educational sanctioning phase. The University Representative and/or Complainant may introduce additional information and/or witnesses at that time. The Respondent may also introduce information and/or witnesses.
  4. At the conclusion of the educational sanctioning phase, the University Student Conduct Board will deliberate and render its sanction recommendation to the Student Conduct Administrator in writing.
  5. The Student Conduct Administrator will review the process and recommendation and notify the Respondent of the final decision in writing.
  6. The Respondent has the right to appeal the decision according to criteria and procedures established in the Student Code of Conduct.

St. Cloud State University Registered Student Groups and Organizations

  1. Student groups and organizations may be charged with violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Initial investigations and/or resolution may be conducted by the Department of Campus Involvement or another appropriate department. The University student conduct procedures will be followed as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.
  2. A student group or organization and its officers may be held collectively and/or individually responsible when violations of the Student Code of Conduct by those associated with the group or organization have received the tacit or overt consent or encouragement of the group or organization or of the group’s or organization’s leaders, officers, or spokespersons. Usually, if more than three members are present at a function, it may be considered a student organization or group sponsored event.
  3. The officers or leaders or any identifiable spokesperson for a student group or organization may be directed by the Student Conduct Administrator to take appropriate action(s) designed to prevent or end violations of the Student Code of Conduct by the group or organization or by any persons associated with the group or organization who can reasonable be said to be acting in the group’s or organization’s behalf.
  4. Failure to make reasonable efforts to comply with the directives of University representatives will be considered a violation of the Student Code of Conduct by the officers, leaders or spokesperson(s) for the group or organization and by the group or organization itself.

Summary Suspension and Altered Privileges

At any time following the submission of a written complaint, the Vice President for Student Life and Development or designee may alter or suspend the rights of a student, including, but not limited to being present on University premises attending classes, participating in University sponsored activities, and/or maintaining a residence on campus for an interim period prior to resolution of the student conduct proceeding.

The Vice President for Student Life and Development or designee will base their decision on whether the allegation is apparently reliable and whether the continued presence of the student on University premises reasonably poses a threat to the physical or emotional condition and well-being of any individual, including the student, or for reasons relating to the safety and welfare of any University property or any University function.

The decision to alter or suspend the rights of a student for an interim period will be communicated in writing to the student, and will become effective immediately. Notification will be delivered or sent by certified mail to the current address provided to the Office of Records and Registration or to the residence hall (for on-campus students) and through HuskyNet email. Failure or refusal to take receipt of notification will not negate or postpone said action.

A student who is summary suspended or has their privileges altered for an interim period will be provided an opportunity to respond to the allegations to the Vice President for Student Life and Development or designee no later than two (2) days following the effective date of the action.

The summary suspension or altered privileges will remain in effect until a final decision has been made on the pending complaint or until the Vice President for Student Life and Development or designee determines that the reason for imposing the summary suspension or alteration of privileges no longer exists.

For a summary suspension, the student shall be provided an opportunity for a formal or informal hearing within a reasonable time period, not to exceed nine (9) days.

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