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Overview of the Conduct Process

This overview gives a general idea of how the University/College’s campus conduct proceedings work, but it should be noted that not all situations are of the same severity or complexity.  Thus, these procedures are flexible, and are not exactly the same in every situation, though consistency in similar situations is a priority.  The campus conduct process and all applicable timelines commence with notice to an administrator of a potential violation of University rules.[1]

Possible violations of University policy and/or the Student Code of Conduct may be reported by any member of the University community.  Reports should be submitted, in writing, on the University Student Conduct Referral form available online at http://www.una.edu/student-conduct/forms.html or via an e-mail that provides the information requested on the form. Forms are also available in the Office of Student Conduct, Room 209, Guillot University Center.  The University recognizes that some violations are of a more sensitive nature than others. A student who believes he or she has been the victim of sexual misconduct committed by another University student may explore disciplinary options by contacting the Office of Student Conduct via phone, e-mail, or office visit. Sexual assault resources are also available on the University website at http://una.edu/assault

Once a Referral Form/report is submitted, the following procedures will be followed:

  • Based on the information in the report, the Director of Student Conduct determines whether a possible violation occurred. 
  • If determination is made in the affirmative, investigation begins and, where applicable, written statements will be requested from witnesses, and/or victim(s).
  • The alleged student violator(s) is notified in writing of the possible violation and the date, time, and place of the student conduct conference.  The conference is an informal, non-adversarial meeting between a student and a Conduct Officer or designee of the Student Conduct Office.
  • During the conference, the Conduct Officer presents the information in the report, listens to the student, discusses circumstances regarding the incident, and hears student concerns.
  • Based upon the discussion and the preponderance of evidence, the conference will ultimately result in the student deciding whether to accept responsibility for any violation(s) and/or sanction(s) assigned by the Conduct Officer, or to request an appeal the decision.  A student may only appeal a sanction of Removal from University Housing and Suspension to Permanent Expulsion from the University. 
  • In cases of accusation of violations of the Student Code of Conduct that could result in suspension from the University or removal from the residence halls, the Director of Student Conduct or his/her designee may appoint two Conduct Officers to investigate the student conduct case.  All investigations will be thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt and fair.  Investigations entail interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses, obtaining available evidence and identifying sources of expert information, as necessary.  
  • If a student respondent fails to appear for the conference, the meeting may be held without his/her presence or statements and/or the student may be charged with failing to comply and may be suspended until they do appear.
  • At any point during the investigation, if it is determined there is no reasonable cause to believe that UNA policy has been violated, the Director of Student Conduct has the authority to terminate the investigation and end resolution proceedings.  All investigations are conducted so as to provide the responding party with appropriate due process, including written notice of the allegations.  The investigators will fully inform the responding party of all evidence obtained in the course of the investigation, and will offer the responding party a full and fair opportunity to respond to and rebut the allegations of misconduct.  In this sense, interviews during the course of the investigation are conducted as administrative hearings.
  • Witnesses (as distinguished from the parties) are expected to cooperate with and participate in UNA's investigation.  Failure of a witness to cooperate with and/or participate in the investigation constitutes a violation of policy and may be subject to discipline.  Witnesses may provide written statements in lieu of interviews during the investigation and may be interviewed remotely by phone, Skype (or similar technology), if they cannot be interviewed in person or if the investigators determine that timeliness or efficiency dictate a need for remote interviewing.
  • In cases of sexual misconduct and/or other violations that fall under Title IX (sexual harrassment, sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, relationship violence), the Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee does the initial inquiry and assigns investigators if the case moves forward.  For more information on Title IX investigations, see https://www.una.edu/titleix/policies-and-procedures.html.
  • If during a Title IX investigation it is determined that there is not a Title IX violation, there may still be a violation according to the University Student Code of Conduct or other University Policies and the individual may be sanctioned accordingly.

Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Misconduct

The Office of Student Conduct administers the Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Misconduct as outlined in the Student Conduct Process section of the UNA Student Handbook.

A student who believes he or she has been the victim of sexual misconduct committed by another University student may explore disciplinary options by contacting the Office of Student Conduct via phone, e-mail, or office visit. Sexual assault resources are also available on the University website at http://una.edu/assault. Once a report is received by the Office, an investigation must ensue. For completely confidential reporting that does not require a pursuant investigation, victims should report to medical or counseling services.

In order to initiate a formal complaint through the Office of Student Conduct, a student must submit a complaint. When a complaint is filed, a Conduct Officer will meet with the complainant and the respondent separately to explain the policy and procedure, and provide a written copy of the parties' rights and responsibilities.

Preponderance of evidence is the level of proof used in administrative hearings. This requires proof above probable cause, but less than that to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. In general terms, based on the evidence, Conduct Officers and University Student Conduct Board (USCB) members determine if it is more than likely than not (over 50%) that the person is responsible for a violation.

If a criminal investigation is under way or if the student has chosen to file a complaint with the police or the District Attorney's (DA) office, the University disciplinary procedure will continue unless the respondent chooses to opt for a Voluntary Disciplinary Withdrawal pending the outcome from the DA's office.

University complaints may only be brought against students who are currently enrolled or on leave, but eligible to return. To institute formal legal proceedings outside the University, the reporting student needs to file a written complaint with the University Police Department or other law enforcement within the jurisdiction where the incident occurred.

Student’s Procedural Rights

When a student or student organization representative appears for a student conduct conference before the Director of Student Conduct or his/her designee or before a University Student Conduct Board, the following procedural rights will be accorded:

  • To receive a letter of notification with the date, time, and place of the student conduct conference or USCB hearing.
  • To have a student conduct hearing that shall be scheduled no earlier than three (3) business days* after the date of the notice except in extenuating circumstances with approval from the Director of Student Conduct.
  • To have an advisor present during the student conduct conference or USCB hearing; however, the advisor may not participate in presenting the case, question witnesses, or make statements during the conference.  The advisor may not act as legal counsel. An attorney may be present only if the student has been charged with a felony offense.
  • To have the right to question all witnesses. Note: In cases of alleged sexual assault, provisions will be made for testimony via speaker phone, closed-circuit television, or other established technology to ensure that the parties are not required to be in the same room.
  • To receive written notification of the decision of the student conduct conference or USCB hearing within ten (10) business days*, barring unforeseen circumstances. Note: In cases of sexual assault, victims are also notified of the results within ten (10) business days. 
  • To either accept responsibility for the violation(s) and the assigned sanction(s) or submit a written appeal to the Conduct Officer within three (3) business days from the date of receipt of the decision. A student may only appeal a sanction of Removal from University Housing or Suspension to Permanent Expulsion from the University.

In cases of alleged sexual misconduct, both the complainant and respondent may appeal the finding of an investigation.

Appeals (for more information, see Section 7(P)

A student found responsible for a Code of Conduct violation may only appeal a sanction of Removal from University Housing or Suspension to Permanent Expulsion from the University, with the exception of cases involving allegation of sexual misconduct.

Appeals shall be heard by the Vice President for Student Affairs or his/her designed Appeal Review Officer, or in cases of alleged sexual misconduct, an Appeal Board. A written request for an appeal by the student must be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct within three (3) business days* of notification of results of the original hearing or conference. The Office of Student Conduct may administer the notification of hearing results via students’ official University email address.

The Appeal Review Officer may sustain or modify the sanction set by the Office of Student Conduct when he/she determines that the sanction recommended was outside the University’s sanction range for such violations and/or not justified by the nature of the offense. The person conducting the appeal will forward a written decision and rationale to the Director of Student Conduct within ten (10) business days of receiving the sanction review request.

*Note: Computation of time: When any period of time is referred to, such period in all cases are computed to exclude the first and include the last day of such period. Business days include normal University operating days and exclude holidays and weekends. The last business day ends at 4 p.m.