The student conduct system described in this handbook is designed to promote a living-learning environment that is conducive to educational achievement and to the integration of intellectual, social, and personal growth. College officials seek to ensure the fair and consistent resolution of alleged violations of the College's Conduct Code while protecting the relevant rights of all students.
The College's student conduct hearing is not a trial but rather a hearing, with all its attendant connotations; designated student conduct officers; and when applicable; faculty, staff, and students may be participating members of the hearing boards; the hearings conform to the guidelines for hearings described below.
The designated student conduct officer or chair, appointed by the vice president for student development, is responsible for ensuring the enforcement of regulations and the maintenance of good order on campus. Commensurate with this responsibility, the designated student conduct officer or chair, has the authority to investigate and take action on violations of the Nazareth College Student Conduct Code in accordance with the procedures described below.
College student conduct proceedings are administrative in nature and are held independent of any criminal and/or civil proceedings that may be concurrently in process. College student conduct proceedings are intended to enforce the Student Conduct Code at Nazareth College although the conduct in questions may be simultaneously in violation of federal, state, or local laws. The College may notify local and federal authorities when a violation of a criminal nature has occurred, but such notification will not modify the College's responsibility to adjudicate the alleged misconduct through its own student conduct system. The College may defer student conduct proceedings as it deems appropriate.
The student conduct office will review complaints and all relevant documentation in order to determine whether or not sufficient cause exists to initiate disciplinary proceedings, or pursue alternative means for resolution. Possible causes of action are:
- Dismiss, or take no further action as allegation lacks merit or reasonable probable cause to pursue charges. The student conduct office reserves the right to maintain an office file in the event continued, similar performance occurs and the additional history now leads a reasonable person to believe misconduct is/has occurred. Charges will be considered and initiated if appropriate.
- Determine the alleged conduct can be processed through informal student conduct hearings.
- Determination that the alleged conduct contains grounds to believe the College's policies, rules, or regulations have been violated and charge the accused student(s) or organizations on behalf of the College. These complaints will be resolved through formal student conduct hearings where appropriate.
- Direct the complaint to mediation, providing that all parties are in agreement.
Threat Assessment Team
a. The threat assessment team will be chaired by the director of campus safety and will include the vice president for student development, director of multicultural affairs, director of counseling services, and two faculty members appointed by the Faculty Executive Committee for a three-year term. Upon the establishment of the team, the entire team will receive training in threat assessment. In addition, there will be ongoing training for the team and any new members.
b. The threat assessment team will be convened whenever any member of the team feels there are serious safety issues concerning an incident, on or off campus, involving members of the campus community. An approved meeting must have at least three members in attendance. If the team is convened with only three members, an attempt will be made to ensure that the members are a diverse body. When the safety of a student, faculty, or staff member is at issue, the vice president for student development is always authorized to make whatever decisions he or she deems necessary with or without convening the threat assessment team.
c. Whenever the threat assessment team convenes as a result of a situation as described in sub-paragraph "b" above, the team will immediately assess the situation and decide what steps will be taken to address the safety issues presented by the incident. For example, it may be necessary to immediately remove the alleged perpetrator from the campus until a student conduct hearing can be convened.
Within 24 hours of convening and making such decision, a representative of the threat assessment team will meet with the alleged perpetrator in order to gather additional information regarding the extent of the safety issues involved in the incident and advise the alleged perpetrator of any decision that immediately impacts him or her. In addition, within 24 hours of convening, a representative of the team will meet with the alleged victim in order to gather additional information regarding the extent of the safety issues. If requested by the alleged victim, the representative of the team will advise him or her of the College's student conduct procedures and available campus resources.
d. The chair of the threat assessment team will notify the involved parties of the decision of the team regarding what further actions will take place concerning the safety issues created by the incident.
e. Following the completion of its role in connection with each incident acted upon by the threat assessment team, the team will convene to debrief the entire incident.
f. The work of the threat assessment team relates solely to assessing and addressing serious safety issues concerning an incident, on or off campus, involving members of the campus community. It does not supersede, supplant, or replace the College's student conduct procedures.
Student Conduct Process Referral
- Any member of the Nazareth College community may refer a student for student conduct action when it is believed that the student has violated one or more of the College's conduct code regulations stated in Section I of the code or has participated in other conduct which may be subject to disciplinary procedures.
- Complaints are directed to the student conduct office through the office of the vice president for student development, department of residential life, or campus safety, after submitting a written complaint in which each alleged violation is described in detail. Complaints originating from the offices of campus safety and residential life may be made on departmental incident report forms.
- The student charged with violation of the Student Conduct Code is referred to herein as "the accused."
In all cases, charges are brought by the College against a student accused of an offense; in many cases, the College is in fact the only identifiable alleged victim of an alleged offense. However, there are cases in which there is an identifiable victim other than the College. When that person is the complainant in an alleged act of misconduct which violates the physical and/or mental welfare of an individual, s/he can expect the College’s student conduct process will respond in a caring, sensitive, and supportive manner allowing the complainant to utilize the conduct process unimpeded while ensuring the rights afforded to the accused student(s). The designated student conduct officer agrees that when an alleged victim is identified, that person, referred to herein as “the complainant,” is entitled to the following:
- To be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion by all persons involved in the disciplinary process.
- Information regarding the College student conduct disciplinary process.
- Information about leveraging services through the College’s student health center, counseling center, campus safety department, etc.
- Freedom from intimidation and harassment throughout the student conduct process.
- The complainant may request separate hearing rooms (connected by electronic means) in order to allow full participation of the parties while at the same time avoiding any undue embarrassment or intimidation.
- The complainant may be present to hear all testimony only to the extent that the complainant’s presence is not prohibited by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). The complainant may be prohibited from attending limited portions of the hearing because of the accused’s rights under FERPA.
- The complainant is entitled to learn the decision of the hearing board to the extent allowed by FERPA.
- Privacy throughout the student conduct process in relation to campus and other media, and in relation to all other involved parties. In this regard, complainants should be aware they may be required to refrain from speaking publicly about the outcome of student conduct cases due to laws and College policies. In the event this is necessary, complainants will be informed by the student conduct office or vice president for student development (or person acting in the absence of the VP).
- In instances where the accused student(s) is found responsible, the complainant will be given an opportunity to provide an impact statement to the designated student conduct officer. Such statement (either written by the complainant or an oral synopsis by the student conduct officer) will become part of the case record/file and shared with anyone charged with determining sanctions, as well as anyone reviewing the case upon appeal.
Formal and Informal Student Conduct Hearings
The College Student Conduct Office has the responsibility to administer all non-academic discipline
involving all students. When a complaint of alleged misconduct is presented to the Student Conduct Office, and it is determined that there may be sufficient cause to believe the alleged misconduct may have occurred, the accused will be contacted to appear before one of the following:
- Formal Student Conduct Hearings: Generally, student conduct cases are resolved through hearings held by the designated student conduct officer. This person is appointed by the vice president for student development and directs the activities of the student conduct office, which is responsible for the administration of the College’s student conduct process. While most formal cases are managed in this manner, instances may arise that the vice president for student development or the student conduct officer may refer to a full student conduct hearing board.
Cases heard by a student conduct hearing board are directed by the chair of the student conduct hearing board, who manages all related activities and is a non-voting member in this specific instance. The chair will ensure board members represent the faculty, staff, and student populations of the College. Sanctions, other than oral admonitions and written administrative warnings, may be appealed using the appeal procedures provided in this process.
- Informal Student Conduct Hearings: Residential life administrators and other College officials may also hold informal hearings regarding less serious policy violations and impose appropriate sanctions. Sanctions, other than oral admonitions and written administrative warnings, may be appealed using the appeal procedures provided in this process.
Notice of Charges
- At least five (5) days before the scheduled hearing date, a written or electronic notice of the nature of the charges shall be sent to the accused, or the written notice may be personally given to the accused at least two (2) days before the hearing date in lieu of the mailing. Students may be accountable for additional violations discovered through the hearing process and not part of the initial notice of charges or summons.
- The notice of the charges shall advise the accused of the time and place of the hearing.
- For formal hearings, a copy (or web link) of the policies containing the "Student Conduct Code, Disciplinary Sanctions and Conduct Hearing Procedures" shall be provided to the accused together with the written notice of charges.
- For informal hearings a copy (or web link) of the Student Handbook with the above referenced information will be available at the hearing.
Formal Student Conduct Hearing Procedure
The formal student conduct hearing shall include the following:
- The designated student conduct officer, or, when appropriate, the chair of the student conduct hearing board (herein after referred to as "chair") shall read the charges brought against the accused by the College. The accused shall be informed the hearing is being recorded. The recording is the sole official verbatim record of the student conduct hearing and is the property of the College. No other recordings of the hearing are allowed.
- The accused and complaining students, in the presence of the Student Conduct Administrator or designee, will have access to reports describing alleged violations prior to a formal hearing.
- The designated student conduct officer, chair, board member, the accused, or the complainant may request that any person filing incident reports be called to be questioned as a witness. Requests for witnesses must be submitted in writing to the designated student conduct officer or chair at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the time of the hearing. Exceptions to this would only be made when there are extenuating circumstances preventing the names of the witnesses to be submitted in timely fashion.
- The designated student conduct officer or chair may call any other witnesses deemed appropriate to ascertain the validity of the charges.
- One at a time, a witness who is to testify will be asked to describe the incident. Other witnesses shall remain outside the hearing room.
- Only members of the hearing board may ask questions of any person testifying. However, the accused student shall be given the opportunity to ask the chair to ask additional questions of the witnesses.
- The accused student shall be given the opportunity to answer the charges, refute, explain, or offer any additional information which might be helpful in resolving the case.
- The accused student shall be given the opportunity to present witnesses in his/her behalf.
- Students will be presumed not responsible unless proven otherwise by a preponderance of the information. Decisions of the student conduct hearing board (when used) are based on the vote of the majority.
- At hearings involving more than one accused student, the designated student conduct officer or chair, may permit hearings concerning each student to be conducted separately or simultaneously.
- The Nazareth College student conduct process is not a court of law, nor is it intended to be, and legal rules of evidence and procedure do not apply. The designated student conduct officer or chair will determine in his/her sole discretion the range permitted by witnesses and items of information which will be considered based on principles of fundamental relevance and fairness.
- All procedural questions will be decided in the sole discretion of the designated student conduct officer or chair. S/he may decide to adjourn the hearing for a reasonable period of time.
- The designated student conduct officer or chair may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the complainant, accused, and/or witnesses during the hearing by providing separate facilities, using a screen, and/or permitting participation via appropriate technology to allow the testimony while not depriving the accused student access to information.
- There is a single record of a Nazareth College student conduct hearing and this record shall be the property of the College.
Special Precautions: Assessments by College officials may require additional safety and security measures to be employed. For example, in order to minimize risk, a hearing may be conducted by the designated student conduct officer at off-campus locations, limit personal items or bags that may be brought into the hearing (all may be subject to search before entering), the use of electronic wands and any additional related safety precautions as identified and recommended to the vice president for student development by the campus safety director. The accused student will be notified of these conditions by the campus safety director, either directly or through the use of electronic means or mail.
Rights of the Accused Student
The accused student shall have the following rights:
- The accused student shall have the right not to answer any questions which may be asked during the hearing.
- The accused shall have the right to be accompanied at the hearing by an advisor from the Nazareth College community. The advisor may be any member of the College faculty, staff (exception: professional staff of the College's counseling center), or a student who is not an attorney, relative, or significant other. The advisor may confer with and assist the accused, but may not speak for him or her as an advocate. Legal counsel may not be present at the hearing. Requests for an advisor must be submitted in writing to the designated student conduct officer or chair at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the time of the hearing. Exceptions to this would only be made when there are extenuating circumstances preventing the name of the advisor to be submitted in timely fashion.
- The parents, guardians, or significant other of the accused or complainant are not allowed in the vicinity of the hearing room (or remote locations).
- The accused shall have the right to be advised in writing of appropriate procedures for requesting an appeal as contained in the Student Handbook policies. Such notice may be included with the written decision sent to the accused.
- The accused shall have the right to be present and hear all testimony of any witnesses, including the complainant. If, however, the accused fails to conduct him or herself in a proper civil and respectful manner, the accused may be removed from the hearing room during the testimony of any witnesses. In such event, the accused student shall be allowed to hear an electronic live broadcast or a recording of the testimony and may request the designated student conduct officer or chair to ask additional questions of a witness. Should the accused student, or anyone else continue to disrespect or obstruct the hearing process, s/he will be removed and the proceeding will continue in his/her absence.
- The accused student, desiring an appeal of his/her hearing process may request an opportunity to listen to a copy of the recording by submitting a written request to the student conduct office. The accused student should make this request within time frames identified for appeals. The recording will then be made available to listen to, in the company of a College employee, and in a location identified by the designated student conduct officer. The recording will be accessible to any person determining the outcome of the appeal. The recording will be destroyed either after the appeal date has passed, the appeal has been decided, or at the discretion of the vice president for student development.
In the event the accused, with notice, does not appear at the appointed hearing, the hearing will be conducted in the accused's absence. In the event the accused does not remain for the entire hearing, the remainder of the hearing will be conducted in the accused's absence.
A decision will be rendered no later than two weeks following the hearing (informal or formal). A letter containing the decision, and, if applicable, the disciplinary sanction(s), shall be prepared and made available for the accused to pick up from the campus life office in Kearney Hall. In those instances where is it not possible to personally obtain the decision letter, a copy of the decision will be mailed to the accused's Nazareth College home of record. Unless shown otherwise the decision shall be deemed received by the accused three days after the date it was mailed.
Alternate Means of Resolution
If, in the judgment of the designated student conduct officer or chair, the alleged violation of the Student Conduct Code by the accused against the complainant could be better resolved through an alternate means such as counseling or mediation, the designated student conduct officer or chair may make a recommendation to that effect. In such a case, and provided the accused and the complainant both agree, the designated student conduct officer or chair shall refer the matter to an appropriate counselor or mediator.
A student conduct hearing shall be scheduled, but may then be adjourned for up to thirty (30) days pending counseling or mediation. If the accused and the complainant receive counseling or mediation prior to the adjourned hearing date, and agree that the matter pertaining to the violation is resolved, the designated student conduct officer or chair may dismiss the alleged violation.
Grounds for Appeal
The accused student shall have the right to direct an appeal to the vice president for student development. Should the student desire an appeal, the request must be received by the office of the vice president for student development on or before a date, specified in the disciplinary sanction(s), which shall be no later than five days after the receipt of the written sanction(s). In the absence of the vice president for student development, a designated individual from the College senior administrative staff will be appointed by the designated student conduct officer or chair to hear the appeal.
An appeal may be requested if the student believes one or more of the following conditions exist:
- Hearing procedures were not followed.
- If relevant information has become available since the hearing that was not available at the time of the hearing.
If the designated student conduct officer or chair believes it is appropriate, interim suspensions or conditions may be imposed during the time of an appeal or until the time to appeal has passed.
If the office of the vice president for student development receives a request for an appeal, the vice president for student development will initiate one of the following actions:
- Reject the request for appeal due to insufficient reason(s).
- Modify the decision of the designated student conduct officer or student conduct hearing board.
- Refer the matter to the designated student conduct officer or chair of the student conduct hearing board, if substantial reason for such action has been presented.
All decisions based on the actions of the vice president for student development are final, except when sanctions of suspension or expulsion are involved. These sanctions may be appealed to the president of the College. However, such an appeal shall be entered solely at the discretion of the president. This appeal must be received within five days of the decision from the vice president for student development.
If an appeal is entertained by the president, an informal meeting of the principals involved will be arranged. After the president is satisfied with the content and the extent of the information presented, the meeting will be adjourned. The president's findings will be announced within five (5) working days of the appeal hearing. Decisions of the president are final.
Disciplinary files of the College student conduct system are retained by the student conduct office and are confidential in nature. Disciplinary files will be maintained for seven years after the most recent recorded incident. Disciplinary files for students who withdraw from the College or are suspended or expelled for disciplinary reasons are maintained for an indefinite length of time depending upon the circumstances. The College reserves the right to notify parents of dependent students when student conduct action has resulted in serious disciplinary sanctions.
Summary suspension of a student and exclusion from College property may be imposed without application of the procedures outlined above, but only by the president of the College (or his or her designee). Pending a hearing which shall be held within ten (10) school days from notice to the student of the summary action, the president may summarily suspend a student and exclude him or her from College property if the president is first satisfied that the continued status of the individual as a student seriously threatens harm to the student, to any other person or the property of the College or of others.
In no event shall the student conduct procedures, outlined in this Student Conduct Code, limit the president's authority (or that of his or her designee) to suspend or expel a student from the College under the described circumstances. A student notified of such suspension may, within ten (10) days of receipt of such notice, appeal to the president as described above.
Dangerous or Life-Threatening Behavior
Students may be subject to summary dismissal or asked to take a medical leave of absence by the vice president for student development if they are not functioning well enough to appropriately meet their academic and/or communal living obligations (e.g., excessive alcohol consumption, using illegal drugs, or are deemed dangerous to themselves or others). In all instances when a student is transported to a hospital for a medical or psychiatric reason, it is considered a dangerous or life-threatening situation. In these instances, a student's parent or guardian will be notified of the situation. In all situations when the student's behavior is threatening to him or herself, a student's parent or guardian will be notified of such behavior.
Nazareth College recognizes that certain behaviors (e.g. suicide threats, suicide attempts, severe eating disorders, substance abuse, and self-injurious behaviors, such as cutting) require professional help, and the College provides services which address these problems as well as others. However, if the student's behavior becomes disruptive to and unacceptable in the academic and social/living environment of the College community and/or is dangerous to him/herself or others, the student may be asked to leave the College after undergoing appropriate assessment by the College's counseling services and/or off-campus professionals.
In some cases, students may also be required to meet with a mental health professional as a condition of their remaining attendance at the College. In addition, in connection with certain dangerous or life threatening behavior, disciplinary sanctions may be imposed if the conduct is found to be in violation of the Student Conduct Code.