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Procedures in Student Conduct Cases

Procedures in Student Conduct Cases 

The University will use the disciplinary authority inherent in its responsibilities to protect its educational purposes and processes. In the exercise of this authority, safeguards shall be observed to ensure due process to students allegedly responsible for violations of the General Regulations Concerning Student Behavior.

Student Conduct System

The system is designed to be both educational, disciplinary and fundamentally fair.  All parties must receive equal and just treatment, with due respect for all individual rights and privileges.  The same rights are afforded to the party alleging the policy violation, the complainant, and the party alleged of violating the policy, the respondent.  Students under this system have the right to appeal hearing body decisions. 

The University’s jurisdiction for application of the General Regulations Concerning Student Behavior shall be limited to conduct which occurs on University Premises; the off-campus conduct of students in direct connection with any credit-bearing experiences, including, but not limited to, internships, field trips, study abroad, or student teaching; any activity supporting pursuit of a degree, including, but not limited to, research at another institution or a professional practice assignment; any activity related to an athletic or other extracurricular activity as a representative of the University; or conduct which adversely affects the University Community and its pursuit of its objectives.

Any member of the University Community may report any student for misconduct and such reports may originate from parties outside of the University Community.  A report should be prepared in writing and submitted to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.  The student retains all rights and privileges of a student in good standing until determined to be found “responsible” for violating university policy.  Exceptions to this may be taken when interim sanctions are imposed.  Interim sanctions may be determined and imposed by the Dean of Students or designee, in consultation with the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.  Such sanctions are meant to be temporary, to address immediate emergencies, and to preserve the safety of the community.  The interim sanctions are in effect until the respondent has had the opportunity to have a hearing or appeal.

The “burden of proof” lies solely with the complainant.  The complainant must provide evidence needed to determine the “responsibility” of the person who allegedly violated university policy.  Student conduct decisions are based on a preponderance of evidence, a determination of what more likely than not happened, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards will assign cases to hearing bodies according to the severity of the incident. The complainant and respondent involved in the proceedings are afforded the same rights.

Investigation

The offices of Student Housing or Student Conduct and Community Standards may conduct an investigation to determine whether the allegations of a policy violation have merit, and/or if they can be disposed of administratively by mutual consent of the involved parties. Such agreed dispositions shall be final and there shall be no right of appeal.

Student Conduct Hearing

If the complaint cannot be remedied by mutual consent, a hearing will be scheduled with the appropriate hearing body as determined by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. There shall be a single official record of all hearings that may consist of written documents, audio recording, or other method selected by the hearing body. The record shall be the property of Eastern Kentucky University, and maintained in the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

Procedures

The purpose of the student conduct hearing is to arrive at a fair and just decision.  All hearings shall be private and the formality of the hearing will vary depending on the severity of the alleged policy violation.  Strict rules of evidence shall not apply.  Technicalities will not be permitted to avoid sanctions and are not in line with the purpose of the student conduct system.

If the complainant or respondent does not appear for the hearing, provide sufficient notice or a reasonable excuse for their absence, the hearing may proceed without the complainant or respondent present.  The evidence available will be presented and the case will be heard in a just manner.  The order of presentation of the hearing will normally follow the steps indicated below.  During the presentation of evidence and witnesses, the party presenting the evidence or witnesses will be able to ask initial questions followed by questions from the other party, and finally questions by the hearing body.  Questions regarding the evidence or witnesses shall be directed through the hearing body who will determine whether the question is relevant to the proceedings.

  1. Introductions and reading of the alleged violations
  2. Opening statement by the complainant
  3. Opening statement by the respondent
  4. Presentation of witnesses by the complainant
  5. Presentation of witnesses by the respondent
  6. Presentation of evidence by the complainant
  7. Presentation of evidence by the respondent
  8. Questions from the hearing body
  9. Closing statement by the respondent
  10. Closing statement by the complainant
  11. Closed session deliberation by the hearing body
  12. Decision of responsibility rendered by the hearing body
  13. Students found responsible for policy violations may present two character witnesses.  Complainants may present statement regarding effect of policy violations.
  14. Closed session deliberation by the hearing body to determine appropriate sanctions
  15. Decision of sanctions rendered by the hearing body

During the closed deliberation session, the hearing body will meet to decide whether the respondent is responsible or not for violating the alleged university policies by a preponderance of evidence.  If the respondent is found responsible for violating university policies, the hearing body will assign a sanction taking into consideration any prior violations, character witnesses presented by the respondent and the complainant’s statement regarding the effect of policy violations.

Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Sexual misconduct may occur in a variety of forms (e.g., physical, verbal, visual, online/electronic/social media, etc.). Sexual misconduct is conduct of a sexual nature that is nonconsensual, or has the effect of threatening, intimidating, or coercing a person. Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment, dating/domestic/intimate partner violence, non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse, sexual exploitation and stalking.

Alleged violations of this nature shall be primarily within the purview of the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Offenses of this nature and the procedures for resolving them are not governed by this policy and are addressed by Policy 1.4.1P and Regulation 1.4.2R.  Any sexual misconduct not covered by the Office of Equity and Inclusion's policies may be addressed by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

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