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Conduct Process


As stated in the Code of Students Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct

College disciplinary proceedings are not civil or criminal court hearings. Thus the due process requirements for hearings conducted under this Code are not identical to the due process requirements of courts of law. College disciplinary proceedings shall extend fundamental fairness to all parties, which includes the presumption of innocence, as required by SUNY. Responsibility shall be established by a reasonable conclusion based upon the evidence presented.

1.General Procedures

a.Any academic or administrative official, faculty or staff member, or student may file a complaint against any student or student organization. The organization's president or designee shall represent the organization charged throughout the judicial process.

b.Any party involved in disciplinary proceedings may be accompanied by another individual - friend, Advocate, or advisor - whose role shall be advisory only.

c.For cases involving the subject matter of the Discrimination and Sexual Offense Hearing Board see IX (2) herein.

d.A Hearing Officer/Board member who is unable to be impartial for whatever reason shall disqualify himself or herself.

e.The institution may make a preliminary investigation to determine if the charges may be disposed of informally to the satisfaction of all parties involved without the initiation of formal disciplinary proceedings. If all parties do not agree to informal disposition of charges, then the Dean of Student Affairs or designee must initiate formal charges see X (d).

f.All charges shall be initiated by the filing of a written complaint with the Dean of Student Affairs or designee. Said officer shall conduct a preliminary investigation to determine if formal charges are to be filed.

g.If charges are filed, the accused student shall have the choice of either a hearing before a Hearing Officer or Hearing Board or the opportunity to work with a judicial officer on the development of an Administrative Agreement in Waiver of a Hearing, as directed by the judicial charge letter, except in cases of alleged discrimination or sexual assault.

h.Upon the service of notice of charges, the Dean of Student Affairs or designee may suspend a student for an interim period pending disciplinary proceedings whenever there is evidence that the continued presence of the student on the campus poses a substantial threat to himself/herself or others, or to the stability and continuance of normal College functions.

i.A student suspended on an interim basis shall, upon his or her request, be given an opportunity to appear personally before the Dean of Student Affairs or designee, within five (5) school days from the effective date of the interim suspension except when the student is physically or mentally incapacitated, or when he or she has been incarcerated. In such cases, the meeting shall be held at the student's request as soon as is practical. A meeting shall then be held on the following issues only:

1.The reliability of the information concerning the student's conduct, including the matter of his or her identity;

2.Whether the conduct and surrounding circumstances reasonably indicate that the continued presence of the student on the College campus poses a substantial threat to himself/herself or to others, or to the stability and continuance of normal College functions.

j.If a violation of the Code of Conduct occurs when the College is not in session, between semesters, when the Boards have not been formed, when the end of the semester precludes conformance to the established procedures, and an Administrative Agreement/Waiver of a Hearing is not a viable option, a hearing before a Hearing Officer shall be held in lieu of a board hearing.

This determination shall be made by the Dean of Student Affairs or designee. In such cases, appeal from the decision of the Hearing Officer shall be to the Dean of Student Affairs.

k.All effort will be made to ensure that the calendar of the disciplinary proceedings shall be set between three and ten days from the date of notification of the filing of formal charges by the Dean of Student Affairs or designee. The actual disciplinary hearing shall be scheduled in a manner that is both expeditious and fair to all parties. The accused student shall receive written notification of the date, time and place of the hearing.

l.All disciplinary hearings are presumptively closed to the college community in an effort to maintain confidentiality of judicial/education records.

m.In hearings involving more than one party, the Hearing board/Officer may agree to separate hearings for any of the accused upon request by that student no less than twenty-four (24) hours in advance of the hearing.

n.The complainant and accused party shall have the right to offer witnesses, and to challenge evidence and/or witnesses against him or her.

o.Hearing Procedures:

1.The accused shall be asked how he or she pleads to the accusation(s).

2.If the plea is not responsible, the Presenter shall present the evidence of the investigation.

3.Either the victim or the accused may thereafter present additional evidence.

4.The complainant, accused and presenter may ask the Hearing Board/Officer to ask clarifying questions regarding testimony and/or evidence.

5.Closing statements may be given.

p.There shall be either a digest or a verbatim record (tape recording) of the hearing. Access to this record must be made available to either the victim or the accused for use in an appeal.

q.No recommendation for the imposition of sanctions may be based solely upon the failure of the accused student to answer the charges or appear at the hearing. In such a case, the evidence in support of the charges shall be presented and considered.

r. An appeal of a decision from the initial hearing may be made by Dean of Student Affairs or designee, or the accused student in a case within four (4) school days of the decision except as the period may be extended by the Appellate Board. A victim, if dissatisfied with the sanction(s) imposed, may request the Dean of Student Affairs or designee to file an appeal, and such request shall not be unreasonably refused.

1.Appeals may be filed by the Dean of Student Affairs or designee, on the following grounds only:

(a)that the initial hearing body failed to observe the procedural requirements established by this Code;

(b)that the sanction imposed by the initial hearing body was clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.

2.An appeal may be filed by the accused student on the following grounds only:

(a)that the initial hearing body failed to observe the procedural requirements established by this Code;

(b)that the sanction imposed by the initial hearing body was clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances;

(c)that due process requirements have not been met;

(d)that new evidence has appeared, that was not available at the time of the hearing, which could have substantially affected the initial decision.

s.A party charged with any offense under the Code and thus subjected to any of the proceedings herein may choose to waive, in writing, any of the rights attendant to those proceedings.

2.Discrimination and Sexual Offense General Procedures

a.Individuals who are alleged victims of sexual assault, sexual, racial or ethnic harassment, or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation are encouraged to contact (for 24 hour assistance) an Advocate, a Residence Hall staff member, University Police or CAVA (Citizens Against Violent Acts), an off-campus organization. For additional professional support, contact the SUNY-PotsdamCounseling Center and/or the Student Health Service.

b.Discrimination and Sexual Offense Judicial Process:

1.Mediated Resolution: Students may, with an Advocate should they so choose, bring their complaint of alleged discrimination to:

a.The Coordinator of the Campus Judicial System, or

b.The Affirmative Action Officer.

At this stage, complaints may be mediated and resolved without formal charges being filed. The purpose at this stage is to minimize embarrassment for all parties, to resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of all parties, and to centralize reporting of alleged offenses.

If one or both parties do not agree that informal resolution has occurred, the case will be forwarded to the formal campus adjudication process.

2.Formal Resolution: All cases of alleged discrimination or sexual offense will be heard either by a Discrimination and Sexual Offense Hearing Officer or a Discrimination and Sexual Offense Hearing Board.

c.Alleged victims of sexual assault or sexual, racial or ethnic harassment and the accused student have the right to have an Advocate/Advisor accompany them throughout the judicial process.

d.Alleged victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment shall have the right to not have their past sexual history discussed during their hearings except if it pertains to prior sexual activity with the accused.

e.In cases of alleged discrimination (racial, sexual or ethnic harassment), sexual assault or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, the Dean of Student Affairs or designee, in consultation with the victim, will choose either a Discrimination and Sexual Offense Hearing Officer or a Discrimination and Sexual Offense Hearing Board to adjudicate the case.

f.In cases of sexual assault:

1.There may be a delay of up to six months.

2.The Hearing Board/Officer may allow screening to avoid direct contact between victim and accused.

3.The victim may have an Advocate act as advisor.

4.The victim's advisor and accused's advisor may request the Hearing Board/Officer to raise questions on behalf of their advisee.

5.The Hearing Officer/Board may allow the presence of the victim throughout the hearing.

X.JUDICIAL PROCESS

Within the Judicial Process, there are Hearing Boards and Hearing Officers as described herein.

a.APPOINTMENT: All members of the Discrimination and Sexual Offense Board, the Appellate Board, and all Hearing Officers shall be appointed by the Judicial Council.

1.The Judicial Council shall consist of the President of the College, the President of the Student Government Association, and the Chairperson of the Faculty Assembly. The Affirmative Action Officer shall be an advisor to the Judicial Council and attend all meetings.

2.Unanimity of the Judicial Council is a desired goal, but a simple majority vote of the Judicial Council shall be adequate to appoint any candidate.

3.The Judicial Council shall appoint one alternate for each constituency serving on the Campus-Wide Hearing Board, and the Appellate Board.

4.Except in extraordinary circumstances all appointments shall be made in April prior to the academic year in which the appointees will serve.

5.The Judicial Council will select Hearing Officers and Hearing Board members who are capable of adjudicating cases in a fair, knowledgeable, and impartial manner.

6.Hearing Officers and Board members will possess or receive the necessary education and training regarding the subject matter of cases he or she will be adjudicating.

b.VACANCY: All effort shall be made to ensure that vacancies shall be filled by the Judicial Council within twenty (20) days of the date of the actual vacancy.

c.HEARINGS: Hearings are prescribed by the Code may be held before the following Hearing Board or Hearing Officers:

1.Hearing Board - This Board hears cases involving violations of this Code which are not referred to a Hearing Officer, or to the Discrimination and Sexual Offense Hearing Board or Officer. This board shall consist of one student and two faculty or staff. Every effort will be taken to include at least one faculty member according to procedures outlined in Section X, a. The Hearing Board can impose any of the sanctions listed in Section VIII or any combination thereof, of this Code.

2.Hearing Officer-A Hearing Officer may be a member of the faculty or the administration of the College. The Dean of Student Affairs or designee shall choose from a list of hearing officers one officer to hear each case in which an Hearing Officer has been requested. The choice of Hearing Officer shall be made by the Vice President for Student Life or designee. A Hearing Officer who is unable to be impartial for whatever reason shall disqualify himself or herself. Hearing Officers may impose any of the sanctions listed in Section VIII or any combination thereof, of this Code. For cases of discrimination and sexual offense there shall be hearing officers appointed by the Judicial Council.

3.The Discrimination and Sexual Offense Board-This Board hears cases as set forth in IX (2). This Board shall consist of one student, one faculty member and an administrator. They may impose sanctions as set forth in Section VIII.

An alternate for each Board position shall be appointed by the same process.

4.The Appellate Board - This Board is empowered to hear all appeals according to Section IX, s. The Appellate Board may review a case, deny review, remand to the disciplinary body below with or without instructions to include the choice of Hearing Officer or Board should that option not have been originally available, and/or alter the sanctions imposed below.

The Appellate Board may not alter or reverse a disciplinary agency's decision on any grounds other than those outlined in Section IX, s. The burden of establishing that standard has been met rests on the party making the appeal. Further, the Appellate Board may not alter or reverse the decision of the disciplinary agency on any grounds other than that specifically cited as the basis of the appeal.

The Appellate Board shall consist of two students, two members of the faculty, and one administrator according to the procedures outlined in Section X, a.

The Appellate Board can impose any of the sanctions set forth in Section VIII, or any combination thereof, of this Code.

5.Administrative Agreement/Waiver of a Hearing- Students found to be in violation of the Code of Student Conduct can have the case resolved through the Administrative Agreement/Waiver of a Hearing process (AA). An Administrative Agreement/Waiver of a Hearing would be completed only when there is acknowledgment of responsibility on the part of the student who has been charged, and agreement that the sanction/s imposed is/are reasonable and fair. All parties, including the victim, must agree that the sanctions are reasonable and fair. Should the accused student not accept responsibility for the charges, nor accept the proposed sanction, the case will be referred to the Dean of Student Affairs, or designee. The case will then be heard by a Hearing Officer or a Hearing Board.

d.Resolving a Complaint by Mediation

1.The College encourages mediation whenever practical and appropriate. If the parties agree, the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards may refer any disciplinary matter other than an alleged act of academic dishonesty to the Campus Mediation Program or other resources for mediation.

2.It is within the sole discretion of the Dean of Student Affairs or designee to determine whether a disciplinary complaint is suitable for mediation. If mediation fails or new information comes to light about an unresolved matter then in mediation, the Dean of Student Affairs or designee may proceed with an investigation and the filing of disciplinary charges. The Dean of Student Affairs or designee may also set a date after which it will begin to investigate the original complaint or file charges if a matter has not been successfully mediated.

3.If the Dean of Student Affairs or designee refers a complaint for mediation and both parties to the dispute agree to participate, the College Mediation Center will assign a trained mediator and advise the complainant(s) and respondent(s) in advance of the date, time, and place set for mediation. In order to resolve a disciplinary matter by mediation, both the complainant and the respondent must agree, first, to participate in the mediation and, second, to the proposed resolution.

4.If a student fails to comply with the terms of a mediation agreement, the Dean of Student

Affairs or designee may take steps to enforce the agreement (including use of a Judicial Hold or the Filing of new charges under the Code of Student Conduct) or may investigate the original complaint and bring disciplinary charges under this Code.