Section 4: Student Conduct Procedures
The Student Conduct System addresses charges that are brought against a student that allegedly violates the student code of conduct, Community Rights and Responsibilities. The Student Conduct System utilizes a “preponderance of evidence” standard of proof. A preponderance of evidence standard evaluates whether it is more likely than not that a violation occurred.
University at Albany email is the official means of communication between Student Conduct Administrators and students on all matters pertaining to the Student Conduct System.
- When an incident occurs and there are allegations that a student violated the code of conduct, a Student Conduct Referral may be filed by any University faculty, staff and/or student.
- Individuals who wish to initiate a Student Conduct Referral must meet with a Student Conduct Administrator who will determine if the case has merit to move forward to a referral.
- If the case is deemed to have merit, then the Referring Party will be asked to put the allegations of misconduct in writing with sufficient detail to support a referral. Any charge should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place, preferably within the academic year in which the alleged infraction took place. While timeliness is preferable, there is no deadline by which a complaint must be filed as long as the referred party is a current student at the University at Albany.
- If there is an allegation of misconduct that the Student Conduct Administrator has determined has merit, the Referred Party will:
- Be notified that a complaint has been filed against him/her via University at Albany email;
- Have an opportunity to meet with a Student Conduct Administrator to review the Student Conduct Referral which includes the code violations;
- Learn about the student conduct process and have questions answered;
- Give his/her perspective about the incident;
- Provide witness information, if applicable;
- Sign the Student Conduct Referral indicating the referral and possible sanction outcomes have been reviewed; and
- Receive a copy of the Student Conduct Referral.
- After the Referred Party has received a copy of the Student Conduct Referral, the Referred Party has the option to take up to three calendar days to review their Student Conduct Referral and decide whether or not to accept responsibility for the charges. After three calendar days the Referred Party must communicate their decision to the Student Conduct Administrator. The Student Conduct Administrator will determine the manner in which the case will be resolved and will communicate this to the Referred Party.
Resolutions are the manner in which student conduct cases are resolved. A description of each type of resolution follows:
- Administrative Resolution
- Sanction Agreement
The Referred Party acknowledges responsibility for violating the code of conduct and resolves the case with a Student Conduct Administrator by agreeing to an appropriate disciplinary sanction. The Referred Party may not file an application to appeal.
- Imposed Sanction
If the Referred Party does not wish to accept an appropriate sanction from the Student Conduct Administrator, but the preponderance of evidence standard has been met, a sanction will be imposed. A sanction may also be imposed if the student fails to attend a scheduled meeting with the Student Conduct Administrator. The Referred Party maintains the right to file an application to appeal.
Imposed sanctions may only be applied in cases where sanctions will not result in removal from residence, suspension or dismissal.
- Hearing before a Student Conduct Board or Committee on Student Conduct
When the Referred Party contests the referral and/or is facing removal from residence, suspension or dismissal from the University, or at the discretion of the Student Conduct Administrator, a hearing will be scheduled. The Student Conduct Administrator may later serve as the Referring Party at a Student Conduct Hearing. Community Standards will make every effort to schedule hearings around students’ academic schedules only.
Hearings are conducted as follows:
- Both the Referred Party and Referring Party:
- Receive written notice of a hearing date, time and place at least 5 calendar days in advance;
- Must represent themselves;
- May have one advisor present. The advisor may not address the Student Conduct Body but may speak privately with the advisee during the proceedings;
- Have the right to call witnesses who have direct knowledge of the incident;
- Hear the description of incident and conduct charges (the Referred Party will then make a plea to charges);
- Have the opportunity to make an opening statement;
- Have the opportunity to ask questions of each other and their witnesses;
- May be questioned by the Student Conduct Body;
- Have the opportunity to make a closing statement.
- The Student Conduct System encourages student involvement in the conduct proceedings and relies on full and open discussion of cases with all parties concerned in order to render a fair judgment. The Student Conduct System is administrative in nature and, as such, is not considered a court of law where formal rules of process, procedure or technical rules of evidence apply. (See the University's supplemental policy "Double Jurisdiction: What does it mean and what are the implications?" for further information.)
- Referrals involving multiple students for the same incident will be resolved at one hearing.
- Hearings are regarded as confidential and closed to all but the principals of the case, their witnesses, their advisor and Community Standards. Student Conduct Body Members in-training may observe.
- An official audio recording will be made of the proceedings. This recording is the property of the University and will not be duplicated or released. Participants are prohibited from making their own recording during the hearing (including but not limited to audio, photographic and/or written recording). The Referred Party and Referring Party may submit a written request to Community Standards for permission to listen to the official audio recording in a supervised location on campus. An official written transcript can be provided by the University at the requesting party’s expense.
- It shall be the responsibility of the Student Conduct Body to determine the relevancy of testimony and written evidence.
- Should the Referred Party or Referring Party fail to appear for a scheduled hearing, a finding will be made based upon the information available and sanction(s) imposed, if appropriate.
- The primary function of any Student Conduct Body is to determine, using a preponderance standard, whether the Referred Party has violated the provisions of Community Rights & Responsibilities and if so, recommend an appropriate sanction.
- The Referred Party will be notified, in writing, of the final decision of the Student Conduct Body and of the right to appeal. Consistent with the provisions of the Family Rights and privacy Act (FERPA) regulations, and in cases involving sexual offenses or crimes of violence, both the Referred Party and the Referring Party will be notified of the final decision of the Student Conduct Body.
- The Referred Party’s status at the University is not altered until the appeal decision is final. In certain cases, however, the Vice President may determine that the Referred Party’s presence is a threat to the University community and uphold the sanction imposed by the Student Conduct Body until the appeal is final.
- Hearings in Cases of Sexual Misconduct
In accordance with US Department of Education Title IX regulations, the following hearing procedures will be followed, in addition to hearing procedures described in Section 4:3.B., for cases of Sexual Misconduct:
- Alternative Arrangements: The Referring Party and the Referred Party have the right to request alternative arrangements so as not to see or be in the same room with each other during the hearing.
- Equal Rights for the Referring Party and the Referred Party: Any rights or processes offered to one party will be offered to the other party.
- Notice of Outcome: Both the Referring Party and the Referred Party will be notified, in writing, of the hearing outcome.
- Questioning: The Referring Party and the Referred Party may not directly question each other. Each should direct questions to the Chair of the Student Conduct Board, who will be responsible for asking the questions.
- Right to Appeal: Appeal Rights are explained in Section 6, Student Conduct Appeals, Appeals in Cases of Sexual Misconduct.
- Retaliation: Retaliation against a person who files a sexual misconduct complaint, serves as a witness, or assists or participates in any manner is strictly prohibited and will result in a disciplinary referral.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
Mediation is a voluntary process that requires the commitment of all parties. It is appropriate when a violation arises out of a dispute between students. It is generally reserved for first time and less serious violations. The goal is to reach a written agreement to resolve the dispute and to prevent it from reoccurring. The Student Conduct Administrator will retain a record of the mediation efforts and the mediation agreement. If the parties fail to live up to the agreed settlement, or if mediation attempts fail to reach an agreement, a referral will be processed.
- University Community Accountability Board (UCAB)
UCAB is a restorative justice practice, which presents an alternative to the traditional disciplinary process by engaging the responsible party, as well as the parties harmed by their behavior, in a dialogue that seeks to repair harm. The goal is to design a process which reintegrates the responsible party into the community. The student also plays a key role in deciding what he or she must do to repair the harm they may have caused by the behavior. The responsible party must acknowledge that his/her behavior violated the Student Code of Conduct and harmed another in order to participate in the UCAB process. This procedure is generally reserved for first-time and less serious violations. UCAB facilitators are selected from a pool of faculty, staff and students.