Student Code of Conduct - Disciplinary Responsibility
Student Code of Conduct
IV. Disciplinary Responsibility
The responsibility for the campus discipline system is delegated from the Board of Regents for Oklahoma State University to the Vice President for Academic Affairs through the President. The Vice President for Academic Affairs further delegates authority for student conduct to Student Conduct Education and Administration, and designated hearing officers. A hearing officer is a University employee who is an officially designated administrator, faculty member, staff member, or graduate assistant working under the direct supervision of a professional staff member. The goal is to resolve cases closest to the point of infraction for maximum educational benefit.
All complaints brought against students alleging violations of the University’s policy prohibiting Gender discrimination shall be subject also to the provisions of OSU Policy and Procedure No. 1-0702. (“Gender Discrimination/Sexual Harassment Policy and Title IX Grievance Procedure”). The two policies are intended to be applied in harmony with one another wherever possible. However, to the extent that any of the provisions of this policy are in conflict with OSUP P & P Letter No. 10702, for example, with reference to the reporting and timeliness provisions of P & P letter no. 1-0702, the provisions of P & P Letter No. 1-0702 (Gender Discrimination/Sexual Harassment Policy and Title IX Grievance Procedure) shall prevail. Any person having any questions about the interaction of these two policies should contact the Student Conduct Education Office for assistance.
A. Disciplinary Process:
The following information is provided to inform students of the procedures in place at OSU for resolving alleged violations of University regulations. The procedures are designed to allow for fact finding and decision making in the context of the OSU educational community. The objective is to provide procedures that balance the rights of the individual with the legitimate interests of the University.
- Any member of the University community (faculty, staff or student) may file a complaint against a student alleging that a violation of the Code of Conduct has occurred. The University may itself initiate a complaint.
- Such complaint shall be filed with the official having jurisdiction as soon as possible but within 60 days of the alleged violation. The time may be extended at the discretion of the Vice President for Academic Affairs or designee. If an individual is unsure of where to direct a complaint, contact Student Conduct Education for advice.
- The complaint must be submitted in writing and signed by the complainant(s) and must include the date, time, place, name(s) of person(s) involved (i.e., witnesses) and sufficient detail to make a determination of whether disciplinary action may be warranted.
- Complaints may be initiated for incidents where concurrent criminal charges are pending. The University reserves the right to adjudicate incidents without regard to either pending civil litigation or criminal prosecution. University disciplinary proceedings may proceed before, during, or after court proceedings.
A.2 Evidentiary Standards:
The official having jurisdiction will be responsible for compiling sufficient information/evidence to substantiate the allegation(s). The evidence must support a determination that it is "more likely than not" that a violation of the Code of Conduct occurred for cases in which the potential sanction is less than expulsion. If expulsion is a possible sanction, the evidence must support a "clear and convincing” standard. Hearsay evidence and personal testimony may be considered but will be weighed accordingly.
A.3 Disposition of Charges:
Alleged violations of University regulations are normally resolved through an informal hearing process with a University Hearing Officer. If the Student Conduct Officer or other hearing officer believes that suspension or expulsion from the University is a possibility, the student will be referred to the Student Conduct Office where the formal hearing option and procedures will be explained to the student.
B. Student Rights in Conduct Proceedings
The University views the discipline process as an educational experience that can promote growth in personal understanding of one's role as a member of an educational community and one's rights, responsibilities and privileges therein.
During a disciplinary hearing process, both the respondent and the complainant have the rights to:
- a written notice of the alleged violation(s);
- be given an explanation of the student conduct process upon request;
- have no code violation assumed until proven;
- a timely hearing;
- be accompanied by an adviser during the hearing. The adviser is limited to advising the student and may not present the case, question relevant parties, or make statements during the proceedings;
- have access to the information, statements, and other evidence to be presented at the hearing in advance of the hearing;
- be present during the entire hearing, excluding deliberation;
- the accused has the right to question his/her accuser, either directly or indirectly, at the discretion of the hearing officer or hearing panel chair; the complainant has the right to question the accused either directly or indirectly, at the discretion of the hearing officer or hearing panel chair;
- question witnesses, either directly or indirectly, at the discretion of the hearing officer or hearing panel chair;
- present material witnesses (those with firsthand knowledge of the incident). The respondent and complainant are responsible for contacting, and arranging for the attendance of, their own witnesses in all cases.
- the respondent has the right to a written notification of the outcome of the hearing; the complainant has the right to receive written notification of the outcome of the hearing in cases of cases of crimes of violence (including forcible sex offenses) and in cases of nonforcible sex offenses.
- an avenue for appeal from a Level Two Administrative Hearing, a Level Three Student Conduct Committee Hearing or a grievance hearing.
C. Level One Administrative Hearing:
- Upon determining that sufficient evidence exists to believe that a violation of the Code of Conduct may have occurred, the Student Conduct Officer or other hearing officer with jurisdiction will notify the student in writing of the alleged charges against him/her. The written notice will be hand delivered directly to the student or mailed to the student's local address as filed in the Registrar's Office.
Students are responsible for providing and maintaining a current local address to the Registrar's Office.
- At the administrative hearing the student will be provided with the following:
- an explanation of the allegations/charges which have been made;
- a summary of the facts and information which substantiate the charges;
- the opportunity to reflect upon and give his/her account of the incident or circumstances involved with the allegation(s);
- an explanation of the decision of the hearing officer which may result in the following:
- the allegation(s) may be dismissed as unfounded;
- student may admit responsibility for the violation(s) and a sanction imposed;
- the student may be found responsible for violating the Code of Conduct and a sanction imposed.
- Any sanction, except disciplinary suspension, deferred suspension, and disciplinary expulsion may be imposed.
- Decisions reached at Level One administrative hearings shall be final with no option to appeal or other proceedings.
- Failure to respond to a written allegation of charges or failure to complete the assigned sanction(s) will result in either a hold being placed on the student's enrollment privileges or graduation, the filing of additional charges, or a decision being made based on the information available at the time.
D. Level Two Administrative Hearing
Hearing procedures are provided for allegations against an individual or group for which suspension or expulsion from the University are possible, if found responsible. Cases of suspension and expulsion are only processed through Student Conduct Education. In the event that a student or student organization admits responsibility for the violation(s) or has been found responsible for a violation through another student conduct process, a Level Two Administrative Hearing will be conducted. This determination is made at the hearing, depending on if the student admits responsibility or was referred from another student conduct process. If there is contention about the facts of the case, the case will then be referred for a Level Three Hearing.
D.1 Sanction Proceedings:
Sanction proceedings will be utilized for cases as follows:
- cases in which a student admits to the violation but disagrees with the sanction;
- cases in which a student has been found responsible for a violation of the Code of Conduct through another discipline process within the University and for which suspension or expulsion is being considered or recommended. The proceeding is not a rehearing of a matter(s) but is a procedure to determine the sanction. Sanction proceedings can be processed administratively or through the Student Conduct Committee. The following will guide sanction proceedings:
- The administrator or committee will have received and reviewed the results of the previous hearing;
- The student will have the opportunity to make a brief statement relevant to the sanction decision;
- The student may bring an adviser who may advise the student but may not present information on the student's behalf.
D.2 Composition of the Hearing Panel
- The Student Conduct Committee will be appointed by the Student Conduct Officer and the Chief Academic Affairs Officer.
- A Hearing Panel of two (2) members is drawn from the Student Conduct Committee by the Student Conduct Officer. The two (2) members include two (2) faculty members, (2) students, and (1) staff person. One faculty member will be designated as the chairperson by the Chief Student Affairs Officer. Alternate hearing panel members may be seated to be available in case of conflicts. In unusual circumstances, a hearing panel of less than two (2) may proceed.
- The Student Conduct Officer will be present as a nonvoting observer/recorder and adviser to answer procedural questions as needed. If the Student Conduct Officer presents the case for the University, OSU legal counsel or other designee will serve as the adviser/recorder/observer.
- If the charged student is accompanied by an attorney at the hearing, the University will have an attorney present as well. Any adviser, including an attorney, is limited to advising the student, as noted elsewhere in this document.
D.3 Pre-Hearing Procedures
- Hearing Panel Members will be assigned by the student conduct officer based on their availability.
- The student conduct officer will prepare and send a written notice to the charged student or group at least five (5) University working/school days before the hearing. If expulsion is a possibility, a ten (10) day notice is required. The notice will be delivered in person or mailed to the student's local address of record as filed in the Registrar's Office and will include:
- a statement of the date, time, place and nature of the hearing;
- reference to the sections of the Code of Conduct involved;
- a brief explanation of the alleged violation including the approximate date, time and place where the alleged violation occurred;
- names of witnesses, if known;
- acts or actions alleged to constitute a violation;
- the right to be accompanied by an adviser. The adviser may not present the case, question relevant parties, or make statements during the proceedings. The student must notify the student conduct officer forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the hearing if accompanied by an attorney. In such case, the University will have an attorney in attendance.
- The student conduct officer will be available to meet with the accused student to discuss and explain the hearing procedures and answer questions.
D.4 Three University Working Days in Advance of the Hearing
- The charged student and the complainant will have the right to have access to copies of documentary evidence to be presented at the hearing, by prior appointment.
- The charged student and the complainant will provide to the Office of Student Conduct Education and Administration copies of documentary evidence to be presented at the hearing and the names of witnesses who will be called. It is the responsibility of each student to notify his/her witnesses of the date, time, and location of the hearing.
D.5 Student Conduct Committee Hearing Process
- The purpose of the hearing is to attempt to provide a forum where all the evidence and testimony can be presented, where questions can be asked of all parties, and where the hearing panel can deliberate and decide to the standard of "more likely than not" that a violation of the Code of Conduct did or did not occur. For cases of expulsion, the standard is “clear and convincing.” Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in Student Conduct proceedings. Deviations from prescribed procedures will not necessarily invalidate a decision or proceeding unless significant prejudice to the student or the University may result.
- If the student admits that a violation did occur, the hearing officer(s) decides what disciplinary action is appropriate.
- To protect the privacy of all parties, and in accordance with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), hearings will be closed.
- Both sides have the right to present witnesses, who will be subject to questioning by the hearing panel. Questioning by the complainant or the accused is permitted so long as it is done in a civil manner.
- The hearing (excluding the deliberations) will be audio tape recorded. The tape recordings are the property of the University. Others will not be allowed to make a recording of any type. The University is not responsible for equipment malfunctions. Requests to review audio tapes may be made to the Student Conduct Office.
- If the charged student elects not to appear for the hearing, the hearing will be held in his/her absence. Failure to appear will be noted without prejudice. Findings will be based on information presented at the time of the hearing.
- Material witnesses will be present during the introductory comments of the hearing, including the honesty statement*, at which point they will be excused until time to give their testimony. Witnesses will be excused upon completion of testimony and questioning, however, s/he may be asked to remain available for recall. The complainant and respondent remain throughout the hearing.
- At the conclusion of the hearing, all parties will be dismissed except for the hearing panel so they may deliberate and reach a decision.
- A student's past disciplinary record will be revealed to the Hearing Panel only if the accused is found responsible for the violation of the Code of Conduct under consideration. If the student raises the issue of past behavior during the hearing, the issue is then open to discussion.
- The order of presentation at the hearing will be as follows:
- Purpose of the hearing provided by the Chair of the Hearing Panel.
- The University representative will present an opening statement.
- The responding student may present an opening statement.
- The University representative will present evidence and call witnesses.
- The responding student will present evidence and call witnesses.
- At the conclusion of each witness statement, s/he may be questioned by the hearing panel, the accused student either directly or indirectly, or the University representative.
- Closing statement will be made by the University representative.
- Closing statement may be made by the responding student.
- All parties are dismissed for Hearing Panel deliberation.
- The Student Conduct Committee may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the complainant, accused student, and/or other witnesses during the hearing by modifying procedures as determined in the sole judgment of the Student Conduct Officer to be appropriate.
*Honesty statement: The University expects that all information presented will be truthful and accurate. Be advised that if false information is will fully provided, a student will be in violation of Section III (27) of the Code of Conduct and may be subject to disciplinary action.
D.6 Level Two Administrative Hearing Deliberations and Decision
- The hearing officer(s) will deliberate a decision and find whether or not a violation(s) of the Code of Conduct as charged has been proven by the evidence presented.
- The hearing officer(s) may find that the evidence was not sufficient to establish that a violation of the Code of Conduct, as charged, was committed and dismiss the case.
- The hearing officer(s) may find that the evidence submitted was sufficient to affirm the charges and impose a sanction commensurate with the offense.
- The hearing officer(s) decision will be communicated in writing to the student as soon as possible. The notification letter will include findings of fact, sanction(s) imposed (if any) and the rationale for the decision.
The notification letter will be sent certified mail to the student’s last known address listed on the Student Information System.
E. Victim Notification
Victims are entitled to know about the results of proceedings involving alleged crimes of violence or non-forcible sex offenses when they request this information in writing from the University, as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Both the accused and complainant/victim (upon written request) will be notified in writing of the results of any hearing involving alleged crimes of violence or non-forcible sex offenses. Victims of an alleged sexual assault will be provided with notification in writing of the final outcome of the disciplinary hearing against the alleged perpetrator, as required by the Campus Security Act.