Non-Academic Code of Conduct Violation Hearing Process

Conduct Hearing Flow Chart

When a non-academic incident occurs involving a Tompkins Cortland Community College student’s alleged violation of any rule or regulation outlined in the Student Conduct Code policies or in the residence life handbook, the matter will be handled according to the following procedures unless the incident occurs at the end of an academic year and involves a graduating student or it occurs at the end of a semester or between semesters. For an incident involving a graduating student, the College shall be permitted to modify the steps in the hearing procedure to allow for resolution of the matter prior to commencement. Procedures for incidents at the end of semester or between semesters will be outlined following the general process information.

1. The incident is documented.

2. The documentation is forwarded to the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards (or other appropriate administrative hearing officer) who will determine if the student should be charged with the alleged violation(s) of the student conduct code.

3. When a student is charged, the student will be notified in writing by the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards or other appropriate administrative hearing officer. This written notice will include the section(s) of the Non- Academic Code of Conduct and/or Residence Life Handbook allegedly violated; a brief description of the incident and the date of occurrence, if available; and an appointed time to meet with the designated hearing officer. The letter will include instructions for rescheduling the meeting should the student have a conflict with the scheduled time. The letter will include a statement indicating that if the student fails to appear for the meeting, that student waives the student’s right to this administrative hearing process and a decision regarding responsibility and sanction will be assessed based on the available evidence. This judicial charge notice must be received by the student at least 48 hours before an administrative hearing is convened to consider the matter.

4. If a student’s alleged violations make them eligible for suspension, they will be assigned to a board hearing with faculty, staff and student members. The Director will schedule and notify the student of the board hearing time and location. Boards will be made up of 1 faculty, 1 faculty or staff member, a student and a non-voting staff member. The 3 members will hear the case and make determination. All procedures for a board hearing will mirror the procedures for an administrative hearing. The board will, at the end of the process, determine responsibility of the student for the charges and, if they find the student responsible, will recommend sanctions. This information will then go to the Vice President of Student Services to make a final determination of sanctions.

5. Students who fail to appear at the appointed time or fail to reschedule prior to the time of the original appointment waive their right to a hearing and may be assessed an appropriate sanction by the judicial hearing officer or board if responsibility is determined based on the evidence available.

6. The administrative hearing is a one on one meeting between the student and the judicial hearing officer. The presence of an advisor, an attorney, or any other individual requested by the student, and/or written materials submitted by an attorney to assist the student in their hearing is permitted. Any other individual who attends, however, is not permitted to make statements or participate as a witness, only to consult with the student. In the administrative hearing with the judicial hearing officer, the administrative procedures and charges will be explained, documentation and evidence will be reviewed, and the student will be provided the opportunity to have all pertinent questions answered. At the hearing the student and the judicial hearing officer will discuss the relevant information from the incident as well as any other information that the student or the judicial hearing officer deems appropriate. The student may bring witnesses or witness statements relevant to the incident.  The hearing will be recorded.  Only one recording of the hearing will be made by the conduct staff.  A student may not record their own hearing; doing so is a violation and will result in additional charges.

7. This hearing will result in one of the following possible outcomes:

a. The hearing officer may dismiss the charge(s).

b. The student may accept responsibility for the violation or may be found responsible by the hearing officer based on a preponderance of the evidence. A sanction will be sent to the student in a findings notification within ten (10) college business days.

c. In the event that a judicial hearing officer determines that additional information or further investigation is required in order to reach a decision, the outcome of the hearing will be delayed pending this investigation. The judicial hearing officer will follow up with the student to arrange any additional needed meeting(s) and/or to apprise the student of the investigations in progress. The process will conclude with a final decision regarding the hearing.

8. In all cases, the burden of proof is “the preponderance of the evidence,” i.e. whether it is “more likely than not” that the violation occurred.

9. In determining a sanction, the judicial hearing officer will consider a student’s previous judicial violations as well as engagement in his or her academic program.

10. Once final decisions are made, the charged student will receive a findings notification.  If the student is found to be in violation, this letter will outline which charges they were found to have violated and the resulting sanctions for the violation(s).  If there is a student victim in the case, that student will also receive a findings notification letter.

11. The student who has been charged may, at the conclusion of the administrative hearing process, choose to accept the decision/sanction or choose to appeal the case to the next level hearing officer. Additionally, if the case involves a student victim, that individual also has the right to appeal the outcome.  If a case involves a graduating student, the decision of the judicial hearing officer is final unless the decision/sanction involves withholding of a transcript or diploma, suspension, or expulsion. A decision/sanction involving withholding of a transcript or diploma, suspension, or expulsion may be appealed through the procedures set out below.

12. An official audio recording will be made of any hearing and it will be stored until the appeal process time has elapsed.  Participants are prohibited from making any recording during the hearing.  The student, and the referring party in any sexual misconduct case, may submit a written request to the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards for permission to listen to the official audio recording in a supervised location on campus.  A written transcript can be provided by the College at the requesting party’s expense.

Additional Procedural Rights for all individuals in a sexual misconduct case

In addition to the procedures above, sexual misconduct cases allow additional rights for all individuals involved in the case.  These include:

A. The right to request that student conduct charges be filed against the accused in proceedings established by the college.

B. The right to a process in all conduct cases where a student is accused of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or other sexual misconduct that includes:

(I) Notice to a respondent describing the date, time, location and factual allegations concerning the violation, a reference to the specific code of conduct provision alleged to be violated and possible sanctions;

(II) An opportunity to offer evidence during investigation and to present evidence and testimony at a hearing, where appropriate, and have access to a recording of the hearing, which will be preserved and maintained for at least five years from the hearing;

(III) Access to appeal before a panel;

(IV) Written notice of the findings, the decision and sanction for the case;

(V) Right to an advisor throughout the process;

(IV) To have the conduct process run concurrently with a criminal justice investigation and proceeding except for temporary delays as requested by external entities while last enforcement gathers evidence.  These delays should not last more than 10 days unless law enforcement specifically requests and justifies a longer delay.

(V) To review and present available evidence IN THE CASE FILE, OR

(VI) to exclude their own prior sexual history with persons other than the other party in the process or their own mental health diagnosis and/or treatment from admittance in the conduct state that determines responsibility.  Past findings of sexual misconduct may only be admissible in the conduct stage that determines sanction;

(VII) To receive written or electronic notice of any meeting they are eligible to attend,

(VIII) To make an impact statement at the part of the hearing where the conduct officer or panel is determining appropriate sanctions;

(IX) To receive simultaneous notification (with the accused individual) of the outcome of the process including the sanction or sanctions and the rationale for the sanctions imposed

(X) To choose whether to discuss or disclose the outcome of the case;

(XI) To have all information obtained during the course of the conduct process be protected from publice release until the appeals panel makes a final determination.

Violations at end of Semester

During the period between semesters, all College discipline will be handled as established below:

  1. All reports will be reviewed by the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards to determine whether or not disciplinary charges are warranted.
  2. If the incident under review occurred prior to the end of the semester but was unable to be handled before the student left, the Director will review the complaint and determine what codes have been violated and what sanctions are merited. Notification of the decision will then be sent to the student’s permanent address, unless it is known by the college that the student is residing at another location. The accused student shall have the option to accept the decision or to file notice with the Student Conduct and Community Standards office within fifteen (15) calendar days of the date of the letter and request a hearing for the alleged violations. Should an accused student accept the finding of the judicial officer, they will be expected to comply with the sanctions according to the time-line established in the letter of notification.
  3. In the event that the judicial officer believes that disciplinary suspension or disciplinary expulsion could be an outcome, an Administrative Hearing will be convened at the earliest possible time. Should it not be possible to resolve the case during the break, a hearing will be held at the beginning of the next semester.
  4. If the student is known to be attending classes during a January or summer session when an incident occurs, the case shall be handled under the guidelines that apply during the regular academic year.

Reopening of a Judicial Case

The College reserves the right to reopen any judicial case based upon the introduction of evidence not available at the time of the hearing.

Right of Appeal

The student in violation may appeal the hearing officer’s decision within (10) days of receipt of the findings notification. Additionally, in any case in which another student was victimized, that student will have the right of appeal.  All appeals should be filed in the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. Cases heard by hearing boards will be appealed to the Vice President of Student Services.  If the original decision was made by the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, the appeal will be heard by the Vice President of Student Services. In all other cases, the appeal will be heard by the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards. All appeals must be filed within ten (10) days of receipt of findings notification.

The appeal must be in writing, setting forth the reasons the decision of the hearing officer should not be carried out and specifically setting forth the grounds for such appeal.

Requirements for the appeal can be found in General Information Related To All Grievance And Conduct Violation Procedures. The appeal officer shall make a final adjudication and determination in the matter and notify the student of the final decision in writing within two (2) weeks.  The appeal officer will determine whether the appeal meets the grounds for an appeal, as well as, whether the decision should be changed.

Any sanction imposed by the original hearing officer will be in effect as stated in the sanction letter throughout the period of time that a final appeal is being considered. As noted above under sexual misconduct cases, all appeals of these cases will be heard by a hearing panel and can be requested by the accused student or the reporting student.

Cases involving alleged dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking

The College will conduct a timely review of all complaints of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking.  Absent extenuating circumstances, review and resolution is expected to take place within thirty (30) business days from receipt of complaints.

Preliminary review of all complaints, including any necessary interviews to be conducted and necessary interim measures to be put into place, will usually be completed within five (5) business days of receipt of the complaint.

The comprehensive review and investigation, including all interviews and gathering of evidence, is usually completed within fifteen (15) business days of receipt of the complaints.

Results of the complaint from the hearing, decision and any sanctions, are typically issued within twenty five (25) business days of of receipt of the complaint to both the complainant and the accused.

An appeal of the results must be submitted within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the written results by either the complainant or accused.  Absent extenuating circumstances, decisions on appeals are typically issued within fourteen (14) calendar days of submission of the appeal.

Interim Measures

Throughout the time of this process, the College will take interim measures to ensure the safety of the complainant.  This may include adjustments to academic schedules, changes in housing assignments, cease and desist orders and/or summary actions (removal or suspension) against the accused. The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards will promptly review any interim measure (cease and desists, summary suspensions or removals, or others) at the request of either the accused individual or the reporting/affected individual. The individuals can submit evidence to support their request to the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

Extensions
All deadlines and time requirements may be extended for good cause as determined by the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards.  Both parties will be notified in writing of the delay, the reason for delay and provided the date of the new deadline or event.  Extensions will not be longer than five (5) business days.

Evidence
Evidence to be presented by either party during the hearing on the charges must be shared with other party at least two business days in advance of the hearing.  The hearing officer of the case shall make the final decision related to all admissibility of all evidence.

Right to Advisors
Both parties in these cases have a right to an advisor during their conduct hearing and any related meetings.  Advisors may speak privately to their advisee during the proceeding, but may not represent the student.

Sanctions
The College considers dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking as extremely serious violations and subject to suspension or expulsion from the College. Students found responsible for these crimes who are suspended or expelled will receive a notation of their transcript indicating that they were suspended or expelled after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation. Students who withdraw from the college while such conduct charges are pending and decline to complete the disciplinary process will receive a notation on their transcript indicating that they withdrew with conduct charges pending.

Retaliation
No member of the College community shall retaliate, intimidate, threaten, coerce, or otherwise discriminate against a person who files a complaint, serves as a witness, or assists or participates in a dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking case in any manner.  Participants who experience retaliation should report the incident to Campus Police or the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards immediately.

Administrative Actions:

Summary Removal from the College Housing System

The Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards (or designee) may, subject to prompt review, remove a student from living within any College-owned, -leased, or -operated facilities and require the student to live off campus when, in his/her judgment, such immediate steps must be taken to protect the health, safety, and welfare of campus residents or property. Persons under summary removal from the College housing system shall not be allowed in any Tompkins Cortland Community College residence life property unless given permission by the Director of Residence Life and Student Conduct and Community Standards (or designee).

The Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards must conduct a formal hearing for any summary removal case within ten (10) college business days. If, as a result of the judicial hearing, it is concluded that the student’s behavior warrants immediate termination of the student’s housing contract, the student will not be refunded any room fees and will forfeit the housing deposit.

The student may file an appeal of the the summary decision in the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards to be heard by the Vice President of Student Services. The written appeal must be filed within three (3) calendar days of receipt of the removal notification and set forth the reasons the decision of the hearing officer should not be carried out and specifically set forth the grounds for such appeal.

In Title IX cases, the reporting individual also has the right to appeal the issuance or lack of issuance of a summary removal.  The same procedure of a written appeal which sets forth the reasons there should or should not be summary action may be followed.

Requirements for the appeal can be found in General Information Related To All Grievance And Conduct Violation Procedures. The Dean shall make a final adjudication and determination in the matter and notify the student of the final decision in writing within six (6) days.

Any sanction imposed by the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards will be in effect as stated in the sanction letter throughout the period of time that a final appeal is being considered.

Summary Suspension from the College

The Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards may, subject to prompt review, summarily suspend a student from the College if, in his/her judgment, such action is necessary for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the college or any member of the college community. Summary suspensions must be reviewed in a conduct hearing with a conduct board within ten (10) college business days.

In Title IX cases, the reporting individual also has the right to appeal the issuance or lack of issuance of a summary suspension.  The same procedure of a written appeal which sets forth the reasons there should or should not be summary action may be followed.

Persons under summary suspension shall not be allowed on the Tompkins Cortland Community College campus unless given permission by the Director of Campus Police (or designee).

The student may file an appeal of the the summary decision in the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards to be heard by the Vice President of Student Services. The written appeal must be filed within three (3) calendar days of receipt of the removal notification and set forth the reasons the decision of the hearing officer should not be carried out and specifically set forth the grounds for such appeal.

Requirements for the appeal can be found in General Information Related To All Grievance And Conduct Violation Procedures. The Dean shall make a final adjudication and determination in the matter and notify the student of the final decision in writing within six (6) business days.

Any sanction imposed by the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards will be in effect as stated in the sanction letter throughout the period of time that a final appeal is being considered.

Cease and Desist Orders

The Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards may, subject to prompt review, issue a no contact order from the College if, in his/her judgment, such action is necessary for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of any member of the college community. In the case of a mutual dispute, all parties involved will be issued no contact orders.  If an individual issued such order continues contact, they may be summarily suspended pending the hearing.  If students involved encounter each other in a public space, it is the responsibility of the individual with the no contact order to immediately leave the area.

Sanctions

In the case of a violation(s) of the student conduct code and/or residence life rules and regulations, one or more of the following sanctions may be imposed by the appropriate judicial hearing officer.

Specific sanctions are not necessarily associated with particular violations. In determining the appropriate sanction(s), the hearing officer will consider the severity of the offense; judicial precedent for similar offenses; the student’s judicial history, if any, for previous violations of the student conduct code and/or residence life rules and regulations; and any other exacerbating or mitigating factors, including academic attendance and performance.

Assignment to Counseling, Options Program or a Mentor

Required participation in counseling, alcohol and/or drug related counseling and education, or mentoring by a faculty or staff member on decision making and positive community contributions. Failure to participate as instructed and by the assigned completion deadline will result in further disciplinary action.

Community Service

Required service to the College or community. This sanction may be imposed when, in the view of the hearing officer or board, the student’s actions have infringed on the community in some manner, necessitating the student providing positive service back to the community. The amount of service, nature of the service and deadline for its completion will be described in the judicial hearing and written notice to the student. Failure to complete the service assignment satisfactorily and by the assigned deadline may result in further disciplinary action.

Conduct Probation

A formal written notice to the student indicating the student is expected to refrain from any further violations of the College rules and regulations. A period of probation (not less than one full semester) will be noted. Subsequent violations may result in stronger judicial sanctions and loss of privileges, including possible suspension or expulsion from the College.  Any student on conduct probation or with higher level of sanctioning will be reviewed prior to any travel on behalf of or with the college and before serving in any student leadership role on campus.

Deferred Suspension

A formal written notice of final warning to the student indicating that the student must refrain from any further violations of the College rules and regulations. Any subsequent violation is likely to result in suspension or expulsion from the College.  Students on deferred suspension are not permitted to travel with or on behalf of the college (for class, internships, etc.) and are not allowed to hold formal student leadership positions on campus (club officers, mentors, etc.)

Expulsion

Permanent termination of the student’s status at the College. Student is also declared “Persona Non Grata” and must receive permission from the Office of Campus Police before entering onto all College properties. For crimes of violence, including but not limited to sexual violence, a notation will be made on the transcripts of students found responsible after a conduct process that they were “expelled after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation.”

Final Warning from the Residence Halls

A formal written notice of final warning to the student indicating that the student must refrain from any further violations of the residence hall and College rules and regulations. Any subsequent violation is likely to result in removal from the residence halls.

Loss of Privileges

Exclusion from specifically stated facilities, services, or activities for a designated period of time. Examples include, but are not limited to, loss of driving or parking privileges, prohibition from entering certain or all residence halls or athletic facility, prohibition from attendance at or participation in College-sponsored activities, loss of class, room change restrictions, and prohibition from sponsoring events. 

Residence Hall Probation

A formal written notice to the student indicating the student is expected to refrain from any further violations of the residence hall and College rules and regulations. A period of probation (not less than one full semester) will be noted. Subsequent violations may result in stronger judicial sanctions and loss of privileges, including possible removal from he residence halls.

Residence Hall Reassignment

In the event that in the judicial hearing officer’s assessment the student and/or the residential community would be better served by the student’s living in a different location, the student may be reassigned to another campus residence hall. If the period of reassignment is for other than the duration of the current academic year, it will be specified in the notice of reassignment.

Residence Hall Removal

The housing contract, which provides the student with residence hall living privileges, is revoked. Renewal is at discretion of the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards (or designee). Student is banned from residence halls.

Restitution

Reimbursement to the College or another party for the value of any damaged, destroyed, or misappropriated property.

Special Projects, Programs or Educational Modules

Required participation in, and/or development of, projects and/or programs; completion of an educational module; verbal or written apology; or the completion of a research paper on a relevant topic that specifically addresses a student’s behavior. Failure to complete the project or program satisfactorily and by the assigned completion deadline will result in further disciplinary action.

Suspension

Removal from the College community for a definite period of time (typically at least two semesters). The student must apply for readmission to the College when the period of suspension ends. The terms of readmission, if any, will be set forth in the notice of suspension. Student is also declared “Persona Non Grata” and must receive permission from the Office of Campus Police before entering onto all College properties until s/he is readmitted. For crimes of violence, including but not limited to sexual violence, a notation will be made on the transcripts of students found responsible after a conduct process that they were "suspended after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation."

Warning

Written notice to the student indicating that continuation or repetition of misconduct may result in further disciplinary action.

Sanctions for Alcohol and Other Drug Violations

Students found responsible for alcohol or drug related offenses will typically be subject to the following sanctions; additional sanctions may also be applied as appropriate. A notice will be sent to parents of all dependent students for drug and alcohol violations and to all students under the age of 21, regardless of dependency status.

First offense: At least one semester of conduct probation. First alcohol offense will also be assigned an Options group meeting or individual Options counseling.  First drug related offense will be assigned to Options counseling.

Second offense: Removal from the residence halls (for students in housing,) deferred suspension from the college, and assignment to the Options program or further drug/alcohol counseling.

Third offense: Suspension from the college. Student will be expected to complete appropriate drug or alcohol counseling off campus and will need to have that program follow up with our counseling staff to ensure successful completion of the external program before the student returns to Tompkins Cortland.

Failure to complete sanctions

Students are assigned educational sanctions or assessment/treatment-related sanctions to help them to learn from the violation and to learn to better manage their behaviors. The College views these sanctions as a requirement and enforces their completion. A student who fails to complete an assigned sanction will be notified of said violation and assigned additional sanctions.  If they refuse to complete, they could face suspension from the college.

Parental Notification

In addition to notice related to drug and alcohol violations, notice of other non-academic judicial proceedings may, at the college’s discretion, be provided to parents of financially dependent students when the college has determined that disclosure is in the best interests of the student or the college as the result of behavior calling into question the appropriateness of the student’s continued living in the residence halls or enrollment in the college.

Transcript Notations for Suspensions and Expulsions

For all suspensions, a notation will be made on the transcripts of students found responsible after a conduct process that they were "suspended after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation."

For all expulsions, a notation will be made on the transcripts of students found responsible after a conduct process that they were “expelled after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation.”

Students who withdrew from the college prior to a hearing for a suspension or expulsion level case will receive a transcript notation of “withdrew with conduct charges pending.”

If a finding of responsibility is vacated, the transcript notation will be removed. If a student wishes to appeal a notation for a suspension, they may do so, in writing, to the Vice President of Student Services, one year after the findings.  An expulsion notation is permanent.