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4-III. Procedures

New Student Code of Conduct

4-New-Code-of-Conduct

(From the official policy web site http://policy.cofc.edu/ and retaining the policy web site numbering system)

The New Student Code of Conduct is presented in four sections this is Section III:

4-III. Procedures - Applies to Student Honor Code and Code of Conduct

The College’s Honor Code and Code of Conduct and related procedures are inherently educational in nature and process and as such, do not ascribe to the rules of evidence or standard of proof found in criminal or civil proceedings, as they are educational in nature. The burden of proof shall at all times rest upon the complainant. The standards of proof for deciding a matter shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.

There is a three year time limit on reporting violations of the Honor Code or Student Code of Conduct. The longer someone waits to report an offense, the harder it becomes for College officials to obtain information and witness statements and to make determinations regarding alleged violations. Therefore, prompt and timely reporting is encouraged.

Though anonymous complaints are permitted, unless otherwise forbidden by State and/or federal law, doing so may limit the College’s ability to investigate and respond to a complaint. Those who are aware of misconduct are encouraged to report it as quickly as possible to the Office of the Dean of Students and/or to Campus Police (Public Safety, etc.).

Student Status during Conduct Process: The status of a student or student organization/group in most instances will not be altered and conduct sanctions are not initiated until completion of an initial review or an appeal, if any.  Failure to respond to a written notice indicating a required appointment with a designated College conduct official and failure to complete conduct sanctions by an established deadline are violations of the Student Code of Conduct and may trigger additional sanctions or restrictions. In situations where the continued presence of the student on the campus poses a threat to others or to the stability and continuance of normal college functions, the Dean of Students or designee, pending interim hearing, may suspend the respondent student for an interim period pending final outcome of conduct proceedings or medical evaluation (See Section H. Interim Action).

A. Overview of the Conduct Process

This overview gives a general idea of how the College of Charleston’s campus conduct proceedings work, but it should be noted that not all situations are of the same severity or complexity. Thus, these procedures are flexible, and are not exactly the same in every situation, though consistency in similar situations is a priority. The campus conduct process and all applicable timelines commence with notice to an administrator of a potential violation of any College rules.

NOTICE: Once notice is received from any source (complainant, victim, RA, 3rd party, online, etc.), the College of Charleston will proceed with a preliminary investigation and/or may schedule an initial educational meeting/conference with the responding student to explain the conduct process to the responding student and gather information.

STEP 1: Preliminary Inquiry and/or Informal Hearing

The College conducts a preliminary inquiry into the nature of the incident, complaint or notice, the evidence available, and the parties involved. The preliminary inquiry may lead to:

1. A determination that there is insufficient evidence to pursue the investigation, because the behavior alleged, even if proven, would not violate the Honor Code or Student Code of  Conduct, (e.g., for reasons such as mistaken identity or allegations of behavior that falls outside the code);

2. A more comprehensive investigation, when it is clear more information must be gathered;

3. A formal complaint of a violation and/or an educational conference with the responding student.

When an initial educational meeting/conference is held, the possible outcomes include:

1. A decision not to pursue the allegation based on a lack of or insufficient evidence. The matter may be closed and records will so indicate, with the option for the College to conditionally close, pending the receipt of additional evidence or information;

2. A decision on the allegation, also known as an “informal” or “administrative” resolution to an uncontested allegation (see immediately below);

3. A decision to proceed with additional investigation and/or referral for a “formal” resolution.

If a decision on the allegation is made and the finding is that the responding student is not responsible for violating a Code, the process will end. If the College’s finding is that the responding student is in violation, and the responding student accepts this finding within three days, the College considers this an “uncontested allegation.”  The administrator conducting the initial educational conference will then determine the sanction(s) for the misconduct, which the responding student may accept or reject. If accepted, the process ends.

If student accepts the findings, but rejects the sanction, the College will conduct a sanction-only hearing, conducted by a hearing body which recommends a sanction to the Office of the Dean of Students. The sanction is then reviewed and finalized by the Office of the Dean of Students and is subject to appeal (see Appeal Procedures below) by any party to the misconduct. Once the appeal is decided, the process ends.

Student shall be allowed an advisor of his or her choice and an opportunity to be heard, present questions, and present evidence at all hearings.

If interim measures are imposed, which result in a student being barred from classes, and the student rejects the interim barring, an interim hearing may be requested and held for that issue only, which is subject to appeal by the student being barred. Once that appeal is concluded, the interim appeal outcome shall stand pending the conclusion of the conduct proceedings. 

If the administrator conducting the informal hearing determines that it is more likely than not that the responding student is in violation, and the responding student rejects that finding in whole or in part, then it is considered a contested allegation and the process moves to Step 2.

STEP 2: Formal Hearing

In a contested allegation, additional investigation may then be commenced and/or a hearing may be held when there is reasonable cause to believe that a rule or rules have been violated. A formal notice of the complaint will be issued, and a hearing will be held before hearing body or administrator. Student will be allowed an advisor of their own choice and an opportunity to be heard, present questions, and present evidence.  A finding will be determined.  If the finding is that the responding student is not responsible, the process ends. Applicable appeals options are described below.

STEP 3: Review and Finalize Sanction(s)

If the student is found in violation(s), sanctions will be recommended by the hearing body or administrator to the Office of the Dean of Students, who will review and finalize the sanctions, subject to the College appeals process by any party to the complaint.

B. Student Conduct Authority

1. Authority

The Executive Vice President for Student Affairs is vested with the authority over student conduct by the President. The Executive Vice President for Student Affairs assigns to the Dean of Students to oversee and manage the student conduct process. The Dean of Students (or designee) may appoint administrative hearing official  or hearing body members as deemed necessary to efficiently and effectively supervise the student conduct process.   The Office of the Dean of Students and officials within Residence Life or other impacted offices will assume responsibility for the investigation of an allegation of misconduct to determine if the complaint has merit. The Executive Vice President for Student Affairs has final authority over all matters related to the student conduct process.

2. Gatekeeping

No complaint will be forwarded for a hearing unless there is reasonable cause to believe a policy, code of conduct or honor code provision, or regulation has been violated. Reasonable cause is defined as some credible information to support each element of the offense, even if that information is merely a credible witness or a complainant’s statement. A complaint wholly unsupported by any credible information may, at the discretion of the Dean of Students with advice and counsel, not be forwarded for a hearing.

3. Conflict Resolution Options

The Office of the Dean of Students has discretion to refer a complaint for mediation or other forms of appropriate conflict resolution in lieu or formal proceedings. All parties must agree to conflict resolution and to be bound by the decision with no review/appeal. Any unsuccessful conflict resolution or failure to comply with agreed upon alternative counseling or other measures, can be forwarded for formal processing and hearing however, at no time will complaints of physical violence be mediated as the sole institutional response. The Office of the Dean of Students may also suggest that complaints that do not involve a violation of the Student Code of Conduct or Honor Code be referred for mediation or other appropriate conflict resolution.

4. Composition of the Hearing Body

The Office of the Dean of Students will be responsible for assembling the Hearing Body, called an Honor Board, according to the following guidelines:

  1. The membership of the body is selected from a pool of at least 20 students, 8 faculty, and 8 staff/administrative members appointed and trained annually by the Office of the Dean of Students in conjunction with the leadership of the pool. 
  2. For each complaint, a body will be chosen from the available pool, and is usually comprised of three students, one faculty member and one staff member or administrator. Availability may determine a different composition for the body.  The voting chair of the hearing body assures that College procedures are followed throughout the hearing.

5. Administrative Hearing Officers or Conduct Officers

Administrative Hearing Officers (AHO) are chosen from a pool of annually trained administrators or staff members selected by the Office of the Dean of Students.

6. Honor Board Pool

To serve in the Honor Board pool, students must:

a. Be in academic good standing with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 (unless an in-coming first-year or in-coming transfer student).

b. Be in good standing with the conduct process.  Good standing is defined as having no record of misconduct during the academic year(s) in which a student wishes to serve in the hearing pool.

c. Be selected to serve in the pool by the leadership of the Honor Board.

The Dean of Students (or designee) will have final authority to approve all those serving on the hearing body. The non-voting advisor to the hearing body is a professional within the Office of the Dean of Students with responsibility for training the hearing body, conducting preliminary investigations, and ensuring a fair process for the party bringing the complaint and the responding student. In the event of a resignation from the hearing body, the Office of the Dean of Students in conjunction with the Chairperson of the Honor Board will solicit a replacement from the group from which the representative came.

7. Interpretation and Revision

The Office of the Dean of Students will develop procedural rules for the administration of hearings that are consistent with provisions of the Student Code of Conduct and Honor Code. Material deviation from these rules will, generally, only be made as necessary and will include reasonable advance notice to the parties involved, either by posting online and/or in the form of written communication. The Office of the Dean of Students may vary procedures with notice given, upon determining that elements of the specific incident or parties or changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected here. The Office of the Dean of Students may make minor modifications to procedure that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party. Any question of interpretation of the Student Code of Conduct will be referred to the Dean of Students. The Student Code of Conduct will be updated periodically as needed and when needed under the direction of the Office of the Dean of Students. Students are responsible for being aware of changes as they are disseminated to the College community, after notice and changes have been published.

C. Formal Conduct Procedures

College as Convener: The College is the convener of every action under this code. Within that action, there are several roles. The responding student is the person who is alleged to have violated the Code. The party bringing the complaint, who may be the College, a student, employee, visitor, or guest, may choose to be present and participate in the process as fully as the responding student. There may be witnesses, who may offer information regarding the allegation.

D. Conditional Amnesty

1. For Victims

The College may provide amnesty to victims, subject to conditions and limitations as set forth within the Amnesty Policy, http://studentaffairs.cofc.edu/honor-system/studenthandbook/2018-2019-good-samaritan-policy.pdf who may be hesitant to report to College officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of minor policy or code violations, such as underage drinking or drug use, at the time of the incident. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.

2. For Those Who Offer Assistance

To encourage students to offer help and assistance to others, College pursues a policy of amnesty, subject to and in accordance with the College Amnesty Policy, for minor violations when students offer help to others in need. At the discretion of the Office of the Dean of Students, amnesty may also be extended on a case-by-case basis to the person receiving assistance. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.

3. For Those Who Report Serious Violations

Students who are engaged in minor violations but who choose to bring related serious violations by others to the attention of the College may be offered amnesty for their minor violations. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or record will result.

Abuse of amnesty requests can result in a decision by the Office of the Dean of Students not to extend amnesty to the same person repeatedly.

4. Safe Harbor

The College has a Safe Harbor practice for students. The College believes that students who have a substance abuse and/or addiction problem deserve help. If any College student brings their own use, addiction, or dependency to the attention of College officials outside the threat of drug tests or conduct sanctions and seeks assistance, a conduct complaint will not be pursued. A written action plan may be used to track cooperation with the Safe Harbor practice by the student. Failure to follow the action plan may result in campus conduct processes being initiated.

E. Reporting of Alleged Violations

Any member of the College community, visitor or guest may report an alleged policy, Code, or regulation violation(s) by any student under this Code or College policy [by the following process and/or via the following https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?CollegeofCharleston]: Report an Incident or Violation.

Reporting may also be directed to the Office of the Dean of Students. Additionally, administrators may act on notice of an alleged violation whether a formal allegation is made or not. All allegations can be submitted by a campus member or a third party, and should be submitted as soon as possible after the offending event occurs. The College has the right to pursue an allegation or notice of misconduct on its own behalf and to serve as convener of the subsequent campus conduct process.

The Office of the Dean of Students will assume responsibility for the investigation of the alleged violation as described in the sub-section below. If the matter is a potential violation of our student sexual misconduct policy or our prohibition of discrimination policy, then the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs will be contacted immediately. Please see:  http://studentaffairs.cofc.edu/honor-system/studenthandbook/2018-2019-student-sexual-misconduct-policy.pdf

F. Investigation

The Office of the Dean of Students will appoint an official to investigate the allegations under these Codes. The investigation will take the following steps, if not already completed by the official:

1. Initiate any necessary remedial actions on behalf of the complainant.  Determine the identity and contact information of the party bringing the complaint, whether that person is the initiator of the complaint, the alleged victim, or a College proxy or representative;

2. Conduct an immediate preliminary investigation to identify an initial list of all policies or codes that may have been violated, to review the history of the parties, the context of the incident(s), any potential patterns and the nature of the complaint;

a. If the complainant is reluctant to pursue the complaint, determine whether the complaint should still be pursued and whether sufficient independent evidence could support the complaint without the participation of the complainant;

b. Notify the complainant of whether the College intends to pursue the complaint regardless of their involvement, and inform the complainant of their rights in the process and option to become involved if they so choose;

c. Preliminary investigation takes approximately between one to seven business days to complete but may be longer in the sole discretion of the Dean of Students;

3. If indicated by the preliminary investigation, the Office of the Dean of Students will conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that the responding student violated College policy, codes, or regulations, and to determine what specific policy, code, or regulation violations should serve as the basis for the complaint; 

a. If there is insufficient evidence through the investigation to support sufficient cause, the allegations  may be closed with no further action, with the option to reopen upon receipt of further information or evidence.;

b. A comprehensive investigation usually takes approximately between one day and two weeks, subject to extension for good cause. All time frames expressed are meant to be general guidelines rather than rigid requirements. Extenuating circumstances may arise that require an extended time frame. Good cause to extend the timeframe may include pending workload requirements, other assigned cases, the complexity, nature and scope of the allegations, the number of witnesses involved, the availability of the parties, hearing board members, or officer, or witnesses, the effect of a concurrent criminal investigation or proceeding, any intervening school break or vacation, or other unforeseen circumstances.

4. Meet with the party bringing the complaint to finalize the party bringing the complaint statement, which may be drawn up by the official or designee as a result of this meeting or submitted by the party;

5. Commence a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation by developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended timeframe, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the responding student, who may be given notice of the interview prior to or at the time of the interview.

6. Prepare the notice of alleged policy, code, or regulation violation(s) based on the reasonable cause determination, which may be delivered prior to, during or after the responding student is interviewed, at the discretion of the Student Affairs Officials.

7. Interview all relevant witnesses, summarize the information they are able to share and have each witness sign the summary to verify its accuracy or collect signed witness statements;

8. Obtain all documentary evidence and information that is available;

9. Obtain all physical evidence that is available;

10. Complete the investigation promptly by analyzing all available evidence without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline;

11. Periodically update the complainant on the status of the investigation.

G. Notice of Alleged Policy Violation

Once a determination is made that reasonable cause exists for the Office of the Dean of Students to refer a complaint for a hearing, notice will be given to the responding student. Notice will be in writing and will be emailed to the student’s College-issued email account. Once emailed, such notice will be presumptively delivered. The letter of notice will:

1. Include the alleged violation and notification of where to locate the Student Honor Code or Code of Conduct and College procedures for resolution of the complaint; and

2. Direct the responding student to contact the Office of the Dean of Students within a specified period of time to respond to the complaint. This time period will generally be no less than three working days from the date of delivery of the notice letter.

3. A meeting with an official in the Office of the Dean of Students may be arranged to explain the nature of the complaint and the conduct process. Students may be accompanied by an advisor of their choosing.  At this meeting, the responding student may indicate, either verbally or in writing, to the official, whether they:

a) admit to all the alleged policy violations,

b) admit to some violations and contest others,

c) or contest all the alleged policy violations

H. Interim Action

Whenever there is evidence that the continued presence of the student or student organization on the campus poses a threat to others or to the stability and continuance of normal college functions, the Dean of Students  (or designee) may suspend and/or remove from campus housing or install other interim actions or requirements affecting the respondent student for an interim period pending conduct proceedings or medical evaluation, such interim suspension to become immediately effective without prior notice. The College also reserves the right to exercise its authority of interim action/suspension upon notification that a student is facing criminal investigation and/or complaint.  During the interim suspension, a student may be denied access to the residence halls and/or campus (including classes) and/or all other College activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the Dean of Students (or designee) may determine to be appropriate.  At the discretion of the Dean of Students  (or designee), and with the approval of, and in collaboration with, the appropriate instructor(s) conditioned upon and subject to the review of the appropriate academic supervisorial authority, alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the student.

A student suspended on an interim basis will be given an opportunity to an Interim Hearing regarding barring from classes and campus, and may appear personally either before the Dean of Students, or other appropriate official, appointed by Student Affairs, within five working days from the effective date of the interim suspension for an Interim Hearing only on the following issues:

1. The reliability of the information concerning the student’s conduct.

2. Whether the conduct and surrounding circumstances reasonably indicate that the continued presence of the student on the campus poses a threat to others or to the stability and continuance of normal college functions.

The student may be accompanied by an advisor of their own choosing and shall have notice, the opportunity to be heard, present questions, and present evidence as to the two issues addressed.  The Interim Hearing outcome may be appealed to the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs. Regardless of the outcome of this hearing, the College may still proceed with the campus conduct process. 

A decision reached by the Dean of Students or designee about an interim action may be appealed by the respondent to the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs within two working days of the transmittal of the decision.  Such appeals shall be in writing and shall cite the name of the case; the grounds for the appeal and the relief requested.  The conditions of the interim action shall be imposed while any appeal is under review. The appeal decision of the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs shall be final.

I. Hearing Options and Preparations

The following sub-sections generally describe the College’s conduct hearing processes, subject to adjustment on case – by - case basis. No student may be found to have violated the Student Honor Code or Code of Conduct solely as a result of the student’s failure to appear for a hearing. In all such instances, conduct hearings will proceed as scheduled and the information related to the complaint will be presented to, and considered by, the hearing body or administrator presiding over the hearing.

Where the responding student admits to violating the Student Honor Code or Code of Conduct or College policies, the Dean of Students (or designee) may invoke administrative hearing procedures to determine and administer appropriate sanctions without a formal hearing. This process is also known as an administrative hearing. In an administrative hearing, complaints will be heard and determinations will be made by an official.

Where the responding student denies violating the Student Honor Code or Code of Conduct or College policies, a formal hearing will be conducted. This process is known as an Honor Board hearing. At the discretion of the Office of the Dean of Students, a request to participate in the hearing by one or more of the parties to the complaint for an administrative hearing may be considered. Students who deny a violation for which a hearing will be held will be given a minimum of five working days to prepare unless all parties wish to proceed more quickly. Preparation for a formal hearing is generally summarized in the following guidelines:

  1. Notice of the time, date and location of the hearing will be in writing and emailed to the student’s College-issued email account. Once emailed, such notice will be presumptively delivered.
  2. If there is an alleged victim of the conduct in question, the alleged victim may serve as the party bringing the complaint or may elect to have the College administration serve as the party bringing the complaint forward (only if it has been determined there is sufficient evidence to proceed without the direct participation of the victim).  Where there is no alleged victim, the College administration will serve as the party bringing the complaint forward.
  3. If a responding student fails to respond to notice from the Office of the Dean of Students, the Office of the Dean of Students may initiate a complaint against the student for failure to comply with the directives of a College official and give notice of this offense. Unless the student responds to this notice within two working days by answering the original notice, an administrative hearing may be scheduled and held on the student’s behalf. As a result of the administrative hearing, the student may be administratively withdrawn from attending classes or a conduct hold may be placed on their College account, deeming them ineligible to register for courses or College housing until such time as the student responds to the initial complaint.
  4. At least five working days before any scheduled formal hearing, the following will generally occur:
    • The responding student will deliver to the Office of the Dean of Students a written response to the complaint;
    • The responding student will deliver to the Office of the Dean of Students a written list of all witnesses for the College to call at the hearing;
    • The responding student will deliver to the Office of the Dean of Students a list of all physical evidence the student intends to use or needs to have present at the hearing and will indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known, so that the Office of the Dean of Students can arrange for its presence;
    • The party bringing the complaint will deliver to the Officer of the Dean of Students a written list of all witnesses for the complainant to call at the hearing;
    • The party bringing the complaint will deliver to the Office of the Dean of Students a list of all items of physical evidence needed at the hearing and will indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known, so that the Office of the Dean of Students can arrange for its presence;
    • The party bringing the complaint and the responding student will notify the Office of the Dean of Students of the names of any advisors/attorneys who may be accompanying the parties at the hearing.
  5. The Office of the Dean of Students will ensure that the hearing information and any other available written documentation are shared with the parties at least two working days before any scheduled hearing. In addition, the parties will be given a list of the names of all the hearing body members in advance. Should any party object to any hearing body member, that party must raise all objections, in writing, to the Office of the Dean of Students immediately. Hearing body members will only be unseated if the Office of the Dean of Students concludes that their bias precludes an impartial hearing of the complaint. Additionally, any member who feels they cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves from the proceedings.

J. Hearing Procedures

The parties have the right to be present at the hearing; however, they do not have the right to be present during deliberations. If a student cannot attend the hearing, it is that student’s responsibility to notify the Office of the Dean of Students no less than two days prior to the scheduled hearing to arrange for another date, time and location. Except in cases of grave or unforeseen circumstances, if the responding student fails to give the requisite minimum two-day notice, or if the responding student fails to appear, the hearing will proceed as scheduled. If the party bringing the complaint fails to appear, the complaint may be dropped unless the College chooses to pursue the allegation on its own behalf because it has sufficient evidence, as determined by the Dean of Students (or designee).

The Chair of the hearing will conduct the hearings according to the following guidelines:

1. Hearings will be closed to the public, unless the respondent or complainant requests that others attend provided that they are not witnesses. The granting or denying of this request shall be subject to a majority vote of the conduct body or the official presiding over the case.

2. In hearings involving more than one responding student, the  general procedure will be to hear the complaints jointly; however, the Dean of Students (or designee) may permit the hearing pertinent to each responding student to be conducted separately, either by her own decision or upon the written request of any individual student who desires an individual hearing. In joint hearings, separate determinations of responsibility will be made for each responding student.

3. The parties have the right to an advisor of their own choosing, including attorneys. Parties may select whomever they wish to serve as their advisor. The advisor may not make a presentation, present legal or oral arguments, or represent the party bringing the complaint or responding student during the hearing. They may confer quietly with their advisee, exchange notes, clarify procedural questions with the chair during recess or in writing so as no disruptive to the hearing and suggest questions to their advisee.

4. If the respondent or complainant has any special needs regarding the hearing set-up, the request for accommodation must be relayed to the Dean of Students Office at least two working days prior to the actual hearing. The Dean of Students Office may, after reviewing a request, ask the conduct body or official to accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the complainant, respondent, and/or other witnesses during the hearing by providing separate facilities, by using a visual screen, and/or by permitting participation by telephone or video conference, written statement, or other means.

5. The party bringing the complaint, the responding student, and the decisional authority will have the opportunity to question all present witnesses and to question all present parties (directly or through the decisional authority, at the discretion of the decisional authority). Unduly repetitive witnesses can be limited at the discretion of the hearing body Chair. Witnesses will normally be admitted to the hearing only to answer questions, and will leave after questioning. The party bringing the complaint, the responding student, and witnesses may elect to participate by video or audio conference, but may not be compelled to do so.

6. Pertinent records, exhibits, and signed written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by the decisional authority.  Formal rules of evidence are not observed and hearsay information is permissible. The decisional authority may limit the number of witnesses presented or may accept written statements instead.

7. If, at any time, the presiding officer or official finds it proper and necessary to recess the hearing or to continue it to a new time, they may do so, in their sole discretion.

8. A finding of “in violation” requires a majority vote of the decisional authority if a board, or a single vote if there is no board and is a one-person decisional authority.

9. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the decisional authority.

10. After a hearing, the decisional authority will deliberate and determine, by majority vote, that the responding student has violated a code, policy or regulation of the College.  An official from the Office of the Dean of Students will be available as a resource during all deliberations. Once a finding is determined, if the finding is that of a violation(s), the decisional authority will determine an appropriate sanction(s). The Office of the Dean of Students is responsible for informing the decisional authority of applicable precedent and any previous conduct violations or other relevant information about the responding student. The decisional authority will prepare a written rationale and deliver it to the Office of the Dean of Students, detailing the recommended finding and the information cited in support of its recommendation. This report should conclude with any recommended sanctions.  If expulsion is the recommended sanction, it must be by a unanimous vote. This report should be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students within two working days of the end of deliberations, but such time may be extended, for good cause shown, in the discretion of the Division of Student Affairs (Executive Vice President for Student Affairs).

11. The Office of the Dean of Students will consider the recommendations of the decisional authority, may make appropriate modifications to the letter and will then render a decision and inform the responding student and party bringing the complaint (if applicable by law or College policy) of the final determination, generally within two business days of the  determination by the decisional authority, but such time may be extended, for good cause shown, in the discretion of the Division of Student Affairs (Executive Vice President for Student Affairs).  Notification will be made in writing and will be delivered by email to the student’s College-issued email account. Once emailed, such notice will be presumptively delivered. In cases of sexual misconduct and other crimes of violence, notice of the outcome will be delivered to all parties the same day, meaning without substantial delay between the notifications to each.

12. There will be a single verbatim record, such as an audio recording, for all formal hearings. Deliberations will not be recorded. The record will be the property of the College and maintained according to the College’s record retention policy, thereafter to be purged from the system. The respondent and complainant have the opportunity to review the recording in the Office of the Dean of Students in the event of an appeal.

13. If a finding of “in violation” has been rendered by the decisional authority, the decisional authority can inform the complainant that an “impact statement” may be submitted by the complainant, orally or in writing, outlining the impact of the respondent’s behavior on the complainant’s personal life and/or educational goals.

K. Status of a Student Pending Final Resolution of a Conduct Case

Until a final resolution is determined, the status of a student will not change unless interim restrictions have been imposed to protect the health and safety of the complainant/respondent/student organization or the College community.

L. Violations Committed during Final Exam Periods, Maymester, or Summer Sessions

These procedures shall be in effect during final exam periods, Maymester and summer sessions. Efforts will be made to consolidate several hearings at one time so as not to inordinately interfere with the exam and summer schedules of the conduct body members and the parties involved. The period of time between the violation(s) and the hearing may be slightly longer than during the regular school year. Further, during these periods, the student may choose for an official in Student Affairs to hear a response of no violation or to determine a sanction for an admission to a violation in order to expedite their case.

M. Notification of Outcomes

The outcome of a campus hearing is part of the education record of the responding student and is protected from release under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), except under certain conditions. As allowed by FERPA, when a student is accused of a policy violation that would constitute a “crime of violence” or forcible or non-forcible sex offense, the College will inform the alleged victim/party bringing the complaint in writing of the final results of a hearing regardless of whether the College concludes that a violation was committed. Such release of information may only include the alleged student’s/responding student’s name, the violation committed, and the sanctions assigned (if applicable). In cases of sexual misconduct and other offenses covered by Title IX, only, the rationale for the outcome will also be shared with all parties to the complaint in addition to the finding and sanction(s).

In cases where the College determines through the student conduct process that a student violated a policy, code or regulation that would constitute a “crime of violence” or non-forcible sex offense, the College may also release the above information publicly and/or to any third party. FERPA defines “crimes of violence” to include:

1. Arson
2. Assault offenses (includes stalking)
3. Burglary
4. Criminal Homicide—manslaughter by negligence
5. Criminal Homicide—murder and non-negligent manslaughter
6. Destruction/damage/vandalism of property
7. Kidnapping/abduction
8. Robbery
9. Forcible sex offences
10. Non-forcible sex offences

 

N. Conduct Sanctions

One or more of the following sanctions may be imposed for violations of the honor system or other regulations:

1. Conduct warning – a written letter sent to the student from an official in Student Affairs or faculty member, stating that the student has been found to have violated a particular item of a code, that such conduct is unacceptable and that further misconduct will result in more severe disciplinary action.

2. Restriction – certain student privileges may be suspended for a set period of time, providing that suspension of these privileges does not interfere with the student’s ability to complete his/her academic work at the College.

3. Fines -- previously established and published fines may be imposed.

4. Restitution – compensation for loss, damage or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.

5. Conduct probation – a student on probation is not considered in good standing within the College, and his/her continued enrollment is conditioned upon good conduct for the probationary period. The period of time over which the probation extends shall be set forth in the letter to the student as well as the probability of more severe conduct sanctions if the student is found to violate any regulation during the probationary period. This sanction may limit student participation in other College activities or programs as determined by individual College units.

6. Residence Probation -- this sanction informs students that the standards necessary for community living have been seriously violated and that future violations of College policy may result in residence suspension, suspension, or expulsion from the College.

7. Residence Reassignment – Reassignment to another College housing facility. 

8. Residence Suspension -- this sanction requires the student to terminate occupancy of on-campus residence for a specified period of time, and is automatically accompanied by the assignment of a barred status from all residential environments of the College and full payment of the housing contract if the removal is due to a policy, code or regulation infraction. Residence suspension status does not limit participation in non-residential programs. Conditions which must be met in order to be eligible to live on-campus at the end of the residence suspension period must be clearly outlined.

9. Residence Expulsion – permanent separation of the student from the residential system. This sanction is automatically accompanied by the assignment of a barred status from all residential environments of the College and full payment of the housing contract if the removal is due to a code or regulation infraction.

10. Deferred suspension -- a student on deferred suspension is not considered in good standing within the College, and the suspension is held in abeyance as long as all other sanction conditions are completed and the student has no other serious proven code violations. The period of time over which the deferred suspension extends shall be set forth in the letter to the student. This sanction may limit student participation in other College activities or programs as determined by individual College units.

11. Deferred expulsion -- a student on deferred expulsion (permanent dismissal) is not considered in good standing within the College, and the expulsion is held in abeyance as long as all other sanction conditions are completed and the student has no other serious proven code violations. The period of time over which the deferred expulsion extends shall be set forth in the letter to the student. This sanction may limit student participation in other College activities or programs as determined by individual College units.

12. Transcript notation – Some form of notation describing the reason for a particular status indictor, grade, period of separation or dismissal.  (See the Honor Code for a description of the XX + grade outcome.)

13. Conduct suspension -- denial of enrollment, attendance, barring of access to campus property, and suspension of other privileges at the College for a given period of time; permission to reapply for admission at the end of the period may be granted with or without qualifications. This sanction may be enforced with a campus ban action as necessary.

14. Conduct Expulsion – permanent dismissal from the College. This sanction may be enforced with a campus ban action as necessary.

15. Other Sanctions – Additional or alternative sanctions maybe created and designed as deemed appropriate to the offense with the approval of the Office of the Dean of Students, including but not limited to:

a. written or verbal apology

b. disciplinary or restorative service hours may be assessed where the student will do work benefiting the College or community;

c. withholding a transcript or degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in this Student Handbook, including the completion of all sanctions imposed, if any;

d. rehabilitative educational experiences may be  required, with or without fees attached (restorative justice circle, drug or alcohol counseling, psychological assessment, defensive driving course, essays, class presentations, etc.);

e. any other sanction deemed appropriate.

O. Appeals

A decision reached or a sanction imposed by a conduct body or official may be appealed by the respondent and/or complainant to the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs within five working days of the transmittal of the decision.  Such appeals shall be in writing and shall cite the name of the case; the grounds for the appeal and the relief requested. 

The Executive Vice President can elect to call an advisory Appellate Board.  The Appellate Board will consist of three to five persons, none of whom participated in the original hearing in any capacity.  The Appellate Board serves in an advisory capacity to the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs and is not a decisional authority.  Its recommendations are non-binding. The Executive Vice President may use an Appellate Board in any capacity they deem necessary to best benefit the honor system and the parties involved.

Appeals shall be filed to the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs in one of two ways:

1. By Certified Mail addressed to the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs with a copy to the Dean of Students, 66 George Street, Stern Student Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424 or;

2. By email with proof of sending to the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs’ email address with a copy to the Dean of Students at their email address.

The Dean of Students will then notify and provide a copy of the appeal to the other party or parties to the proceeding. The non-appealing party or parties shall have three days from receipt of the appeal to state their position on the appeal with the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs with a copy to the Dean of Students. 

If the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, the original finding and sanction(s) will stand and the decision is final.  Deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless they affect the finding of a material fact or they could have otherwise affected the outcome. Except as required to explain the basis of new evidence, an appeal shall be limited to review of the verbatim record of the initial hearing and supporting documents.  The only grounds that will justify changing or overruling a previous decision by the official or Honor Board are the following:

1. There was no reasonable basis in the record for the decision rendered or the sanction imposed; 

2. There was a substantive mistake of procedure that likely influenced the outcome of the proceeding; or 

3. New evidence, sufficient to alter a decision was not brought out in the original hearing, because such evidence was either unavailable or unknown at that time after diligent inquiry by the person appealing.

The Executive Vice President for Student Affairs will make every attempt to reach a determination within ten working days from the date of the appeal.  The Executive Vice President for Student Affairs, as deemed necessary, may elect to interview the parties.  At this stage in the appeals process, the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs’ response time may be modified if circumstances dictate.  The decision of the Executive Vice President is final, and the Executive Vice President is not required to give any deference to previous determinations.

In cases involving appeals by student respondents of violating the Student Honor Code, Code of Conduct and/or other policy, review of the sanction by the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs cannot result in more severe sanction(s) for the respondent student.

In cases involving appeals by persons other than student respondents of violating the Student Honor Code, Code of Conduct, and/or other policy, the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs may, upon review of the case, reduce or increase the sanction(s) imposed by the Honor Board or official. 

For drug-related, marijuana and alcohol violations: If the student admits to the violation or is found in violation through a conduct process the minimum sanction is NOT subject to appeal on the grounds of the sanction being excessive or inappropriate. All sanctions above the minimum sanctions as proposed in the Student Handbook may be reviewed for their appropriateness.

The final authority over all decisions made under the honor system rests with the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs.

P. Conduct Records

All conduct records are maintained by the College for seven (7) years from the time of their creation except those that result in expulsion or are pending cases, which are maintained indefinitely.

No earlier than one year after the date of sanction completion, a student may request that their conduct record be destroyed.  This stipulation does not apply to the XX+grade sanction, pending cases or expulsions.  This request must be made in writing and will be reviewed by the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs or their designee.  The Executive Vice President will consider destruction of a conduct file after examining the incident, the sanctions, sanction completion, conduct history, evidence of personal development, demonstration of good cause shown, and any other criteria the Executive Vice President deems appropriate.