Residence Hall Conduct System
As students of the institution and occupants of the halls, residents are expected to follow federal, state and local law, adhere to the conduct code of the University as well as being required to abide by the restrictions listed or indicated in their housing contract. Sections of the university conduct code and specific policies relating to the residence halls are in addition to any laws or criminal statutes which may applicable to the situation.
The Office of Student Conduct has the responsibility to address violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Violations of the campus code that occur in or around the residence halls are generally addressed by Residence Life staff members, who may act on behalf of the Office of Student Conduct. Due to the standards of behavior on the university, many violations that occur in the halls are violations of both the campus code and some, the housing contract agreement. Any violations of law or state statute on or near campus property are handled as criminal matters by the University Police Department.
Violations of the housing contract are generally treated as administrative actions based upon the resident's License Agreement and Residence Hall Handbook. Residents will be required to address the issue or correct the violation as directed by the Resident Director or other Residential Life staff. Failure to comply may ultimately result in cancellation of the housing contract and removal from the halls (which often involves the application of cancellation fees and charges). Actions taken relating to the contract agreement are separate from the University's Conduct process and any city, state, or federal criminal or civil procedure.
To summarize these three separate yet overlapping systems: the housing contract relates to specific behaviors prohibited in the residence halls - as addressed by Residence Life staff. The University Conduct Code is a much broader document which deals with not only those behaviors occurring in the halls, but all student behaviors impacting the university - addressed by either by direct action or action taken under the authority of the Office of Student Conduct. Even if a student moves out of the halls and no longer subject to the housing contract, the Office of Student Conduct retains jurisdiction over the Conduct Code violation. Serious incidents which may involve violations of law or statute are dealt with by local courts after being investigated by the University Police Department.
Our conduct process is designed to encourage students to take responsibility for their actions and to assure that the rights of all members of the residence community are respected. Whether a policy is related to an administrative action occurring in violation of the resident's housing license, or if it involves a more serious violation which also is covered in the University's Conduct Code, a similar process is followed.
The conduct process generally starts with an Incident Report, completed by students or staff, indicating a possible policy violation. Other forms of documentation such as police reports and official records may also initiate the conduct process. Student staff are instructed to document apparent violations of policy. Having an incident documented does not always result in a sanction. The documentation provides the Resident Director/ Graduate Resident Director (RD/GRD) or other conduct staff with information from which to decide if a discussion with the resident is necessary. The RD/GRD may then meet with the involved student(s) to discuss the incident and take action, as authorized by the policies of the university. For example:
- The student may accept responsibility for the violation or after review of the information the RD/GRD may determine the student was involved in a policy violation and may issue sanctions as necessary.
- After review of the information, a determination may be made that the student was not involved in a policy violation and no sanctions are considered.
- If the student fails to appear, the RD/GRD makes a decision based upon the evidence at hand. By failing to appear, the student chooses not to offer evidence on the issue of responsibility.
- In cases of serious or repeat violations or in cases where the student faces cancellation of their housing license, the RD/GRD may refer the student to the Assistant Director, Student Conduct and Safety with a recommendation his/her license be canceled. The Assistant Director may hear the case, refer it to a Judicial Peer Review Board, or appoint a hearing officer to hear the case for a recommendation or decision.
- In special cases, the RD/GRD may refer a case directly to the Assistant Director, Student Conduct and Safety for immediate action.
Students are responsible for what occurs in their room. As a result they may be held responsible for violations occurring in their assigned room or suite, even if they are not present when the violation is discovered. The process used for housing contract and campus code violations has a standard of proof often much different than previously experienced by students. For conduct purposes the decision on whether a violation occurred in the residence hall is based upon a preponderance of information and not "reasonable doubt." If there is information (examples include, but are not limited to, what is seen, heard, or smelled) indicating a violation has occurred the resident may be found in violation.
Accepting Responsibility for Your Actions
During the conduct meeting, the Residential Life staff member meeting with the resident will explain the process for determining responsibility. Our conduct system does not seek to punish, but instead to use the incident as an educational opportunity. When a student accepts responsibility for violating a policy, sanctions assigned are intended to provide the student with additional information or experience that will help them to understand how the violation impacted the community, or how the student would be negatively impacted should that behavior continue.
When a student is found responsible for a violation, any of several disciplinary sanctions may be issued. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to:
- Counseling: An informal discussion with the RD/GRD to correct the behavior; may include a verbal warning, assuring rights of all members of the residence community are respected.
- Restitution: Required repayment for damage to property, cleaning or as determined by the residential life staff member.
- Assigned Project: A task, assignment or community service undertaking, such as helping plan a hall activity or program.
- Loss of Privileges: A resident may lose certain privileges such as: having guests, restricted access to facilities, use of services, or computer network access.
- Educational Sanctions: Such as writing assignments or attending a class or workshop
- Referral to Counseling: Required sessions with counseling or health professionals.
- Room Change: Reassignment to a new room, floor, or hall.
- Behavioral Contract: Signed behavioral contract, written agreement, or document that sets specific standards to be met or actions required to continue as a resident in the halls as a result of conduct or academic issues.
- Notification of Parents: In some situations parents or guardian may be contacted.
- Residence Hall Warning: A written statement placed in the student's file, indicating that further violations will result in more severe disciplinary action.
- Residence Hall Probation: This administrative decision is the final step before removal from the residence halls. A written notice placed in the student's file, indicating that further violations may result in termination of the housing license agreement. Probation is for a set period of time, during which the student may be ineligible to reapply for housing.
- Removal from Residence Hall System: Decision made by the Assistant Director, Student Conduct and Safety or the Director of Residential Life to terminate a student's housing license agreement. This is an administrative decision and is not in lieu of any university disciplinary or court/legal action. This decision may take effect immediately if the student's continued presence constitutes a threat to the health, safety, or well being of the residence hall community.
- Referral to the Office of Student Conduct: For university-level discipline, which may include reprimand, probation, suspension, or expulsion from the university. Some sanctions may appear on the student's permanent transcripts.
Alcohol & Substance Violations
While a violation of campus codes and hall policies, sanctions for substance related violations will - when possible - focus on education and treatment options before resorting to conventional conduct procedures. The university has several educational, assessment, and treatment programs in place to individually address substance use and abuse issues. The type of program to which a resident may be assigned will depend on the nature and seriousness of the violation.
Alcohol & Substance Abuse Programs
Students with substance use and abuse issues have a variety of resources and programs available on campus. These include, but are not limited to: individual substance abuse assessment by a trained counseling professional, BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening & Intervention for College Students), CASICS (CAnnabis Screening & Intervention for College Students), STEPSS (Substance Treatment & Education for Personal Student Success), SHIFT (Student High-risk Intervention for First Time alcohol violations), OnTRAC (Treatment, Responsibility & Accountability on Campus). The level of the violation will often be used in conjunction with recommendations from health care professionals to determine which program to which the student will be assigned.
Appeal of Decision or Assigned Sanction
After meeting with Res Life staff, it is possible the student may not agree with being found in violation of a policy, or the sanction assigned. Should this occur, the student needs to understand they can appeal the decision, but they have a limited time during which they may do so. Actions taken for violations of policy in the residence halls are administrative in nature and may affect your ability to remain as a resident of the halls. Conduct action taken relating to the campus code involves the university and may impact your status as a student.
While the processes are often combined to allow for efficiency, the Departmental of Residential Life and the Office of Student Conduct reserve the right to address the violations individually using their separate processes. For violations of university policies, the department follows the appeal procedures as outlined in the University's Student Code of Conduct. For those administrative decisions made by residential life staff that may impact the resident's housing status, a separate process is available.
Should you want to appeal being found responsible for violation of a policy or a sanction assigned as a resident, you have two working days following the conduct meeting to do so. This time line allows you to meet with the Assistant Director, Student Conduct and Safety, to discuss your appeal options and the appeal process. This is an informal meeting, which would occur before a formal hearing would be scheduled. Failure to meet this deadline may result in you not being able to appeal an administrative action taken by Residential Life and Housing.
An appeal is not automatic and may be granted only in those cases where the resident has cause to appeal. Not being pleased when found in violation of policy, or not wanting to complete a sanction may not be deemed an adequate cause for an appeal. Before a decision is made as to whether a case is open to appeal, there will be a review to determine: if there is any new information available that would be presented at an appeal; ensuring the resident was provided due process during the conduct process; and whether the sanction assigned was appropriate for the policy violation(s).
Once it has been determined a resident has cause for an appeal, a hearing is scheduled to hear the facts of the case. The hearing may be in front of an administrator, a student peer judicial board, or a board combined of students and administrative and/or teaching faculty. The decision of who will hear the case will be made based on the severity of the incident, the availability of board members, the ability of those involved to hear the case impartially, and other similar factors. At the hearing the resident will have an opportunity to present their information, as will representatives from the department. The decision of the individual or board reviewing the case will be shared with the resident and forwarded to the director or their designee for consideration.
In serious cases involving the removal of a resident due to safety considerations or license cancellation, or in those situations where the health of safety of the resident or the community may be at risk, the department will reserve the right to have the resident move out of the halls on a temporary basis as the appeals process takes place. The University and the Department of Residential Life and Food service will not be responsible for making alternative housing arrangements nor for payment or reimbursement of any costs the student may incur as a result of this action.