Student Conduct Procedures for Crime Victims & Other Students Involved in University Disciplinary Proceedings
When a crime occurs on the university campus, the incident is normally addressed by University Police and the Dean of Students. The following is a review of disciplinary procedures normally used by the Dean of Students to address criminal behavior or violations of student conduct on the university campus.
ASSIGNMENT OF CASE: Serious cases are normally assigned to a three person university judicial panel for a formal disciplinary hearing. Individuals who may attend the hearing include – (1) three university administrators who serve on the panel; (2) the alleged suspect or respondent who violated the policy; and (3) the complainant or victim, university police, and/or university staff who filed the report. Other individuals who may attend include an advisor for the respondent and victim, and witnesses, which are described in greater detail below.
NOTE: Less serious offenses are normally addressed by an administrative hearing officer through an informal hearing process. Housing incidents that are not serious in nature are usually addressed by housing hearing officers or the residence hall judicial board.
NOTICE OF HEARING: A notice of hearing is sent to the respondent’s UCA e-mail account at least 72 hours prior to the hearing. Dean of Students staff also usually try to call the respondent and victim to arrange the hearing. When notice is sent, the respondent receives (1) written notification of the date, time and location of the hearing; (2) a statement of university charges; (3) in most instances a copy of the incident report; and (4) a statement of UCA Student Conduct Hearing Procedures and Appeal Instructions.
USE OF WRITTEN STATEMENTS: It is preferable for the respondent and victim to attend the hearing to present information on their behalf. However, the University cannot compel individuals to attend or to share information. In some cases, written statements may be provided by either party and used in the decision-making process.
NON ATTENDANCE AT HEARING: If the respondent and/or victim fail to appear at the hearing after being properly notified, the hearing may be held in their absence and a decision rendered accordingly based on information presented.
ADVISORS: Respondents and victims have the right to have an advisor present at the hearing. The advisor can be anybody – friend, faculty or staff member, family member, etc. The advisor’s role is limited to providing advice and consultation to the student. He/she may not participate in examination of witnesses or presentation of materials or information to the judicial panel. It is the respondent’s and victim’s responsibility to inform an advisor of the date, time and location of the hearing.
WITNESSES: Respondents and victims can present witnesses to testify on their behalf. If a witness is unable to attend, a signed written statement can be provided by the witness. It is the respondent’s and victim’s responsibility to inform a witness of the date, time and location of the hearing.
SEPARATE ROOMS FOR PROCEEDING: If a victim is uncomfortable being in the direct presence or same room of the respondent, arrangements can be made by the panel to hear the victim and respondent separately.
HEARING PROCEEDINGS: The hearing proceedings are basically informal and are outlined below –
The panel chair asks the victim what he/she knows about the incident. Panel members may then ask questions of the victim.
The panel chair then asks what the respondent knows about the incident. Again, panel members may then have questions of the respondent.
At some point in the proceeding, the respondent and victim may ask questions of each other through the panel chair, if feasible.
If there are witnesses, witnesses are normally brought in one at a time. After they give their statement, the panel members may ask questions of the witnesses. The respondent and victim may also ask questions of witnesses.
The respondent and victim are normally allowed to make a closing statement at the end of the proceeding.
All parties are then dismissed so the panel can deliberate.
PROCEEDINGS CLOSED TO PUBLIC: All disciplinary hearing proceeding are private and closed to the public.
PANEL DECISION: The judicial panel reviews all the information presented, including any written statements that may be provided. The panel then determines in violation or not in violation for each charge. Decisions are based on the standard of “preponderance of evidence.”
DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS: Respondents found to be in violation of university policy are subject to university disciplinary sanctions that may include one or a combination of the following:
Disciplinary warning or probation.
Relocation from one housing unit to another, or removal from student housing.
Counseling, anger management, or attendance at an educational seminar.
Alcohol or drug education program.
Other educational projects including research paper or other assigned project.
Community service or work project.
Restitution for theft or damages.
Restriction of activities including limited visitation, restriction from participating in campus activities, no contact orders, and/or ban from campus facilities.
Parent notification for entering freshmen under the age of 21 for alcohol or drug offenses.
Immediate suspension (immediate removal), suspension (temporary removal) or expulsion (permanent removal) from the University.
Students who fail to complete educational sanctions are subject to a disciplinary fee and possible flag of educational records, plus they must still complete the assigned sanction.
NOTIFICATION OF DECISION: The respondent will be notified in writing of the judicial panel’s decision. Victims of crimes of violence may also receive notice of the disciplinary outcome. Notice is usually provided the day following the disciplinary hearing, when feasible.
APPEAL: The respondent has the right to appeal the disciplinary outcome. The respondent has three (3) working days to file an appeal. The appeal is filed in writing with the Vice President for Student Services, who is located in 210 Student Health Center, University of Central Arkansas, 201 Donaghey Avenue, Conway, AR 72035. The appeal may be based on the following reasons – (1) denial of due process, (2) inadequate information to support decision, and/or (3) sanction not in keeping with the gravity of wrong-doing (i.e., sanction too harsh). If an appeal is filed, the judicial panel chair writes a response to the appeal. All records related to the incident – including the respondent’s written appeal and response to appeal – are submitted to the Academic Integrity and Discipline Committee for its review.
The Academic Integrity and Discipline Committee is a 12 member committee consisting of four tenured faculty members, four students, and four university staff members. The committee reviews all written records of the incident and makes a recommendation to the Vice President for Student Services, who has final authority over university student conduct proceedings. The recommendations from the committee may include the following –
Affirm the original decision and sanctions;
Affirm the original decision, but lessen the sanction;
Reverse the original decision; or
Return the case to the appropriate board or administrative hearing officer for a new hearing.
In the event the committee needs clarification of the basis of the appeal or of the judicial panel’s recommendation, the committee may hear from the respondent and/or judicial panel chair for this limited purpose.
NOTE: The complainant or victim does not have the right to appeal a disciplinary outcome, with the exception of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking incidents. Victims are permitted to file an appeal in these cases.
DECISION GOES INTO EFFECT: When the judicial panel issues a decision, the disciplinary sanction goes into effect immediately, unless the respondent files an appeal. If an appeal is filed, the sanction does not go into effect until the appeal process is completed, unless stipulated otherwise by the Vice President for Student Services. Again, all decisions made regarding student conduct are recommendations to the Vice President for Student Services.
UNIVERSITY DISCIPLINARY RECORDS: University disciplinary records are considered educational records and are subject to the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA. They are basically confidential and kept on file in the Dean of Students Office located in 210 Student Health Center. They are not a part of the student’s academic transcript. Individuals who have access to disciplinary records include – (1) accused students or respondents; (2) university students, faculty and staff who are responsible for adjudicating violations of university policy; (3) faculty or staff who have legitimate educational interests; (4) other institutions in which students wish to enroll, upon institutional requests; (5) prospective employers (such as law enforcement agencies) only if permission is granted by the respondent; (6) parents or legal guardians if the respondent is an entering freshman (under the age of 21) and he/she violates the alcohol or drug policy at UCA; (7) appropriate authorities when records are subpoenaed by a court of law; and (8) complainants or victims of crimes of violence, including sexual and domestic violence.
NOTE: Police records are public records and are subject to FOI laws. This is why students who are involved in criminal activity may have their names printed in the campus, local or state newspapers or other media. Disciplinary actions taken by the University are basically confidential and subject to FERPA. FERPA does permit, however, the release of disciplinary record information to the public, including media, without student consent for crimes of violence, including non-forcible sex offenses, when respondents have been found in violation of the offense. The decision to release this information is made on a case by case basis.
OFF CAMPUS INCIDENTS: The University generally does not address off campus behaviors unless – (1) the behavior is part of an off campus recognized student organization activity (such as a Fraternity or Sorority event), and/or (2) the behavior poses a significant risk to the health, safety and welfare of the university community.
CRIMINAL VS. DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS: Students who are charged with a crime and university violation are subject to both criminal prosecution and university disciplinary proceedings. The University may and usually does take disciplinary action before criminal proceedings. One proceeding generally does not impact the other. Rules of evidence and standards for decision-making are much different. Information shared in university disciplinary proceedings is not made available for criminal court proceedings unless the information is subpoenaed, which is extremely rare.
SEXUAL ASSAULT & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INCIDENTS: Sexual assault (including sexual harassment incidents), domestic violence, dating violence and stalking incidents are addressed by the UCA Office of Title IX. For information regarding these incidents, please go to http://uca.edu/titleix.
CONTACT INFORMATION: For more information about student conduct procedures and sanctions, please contact Dr. Gary Roberts, Dean of Students, Student Health Center Room 210, 501 450-3416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.