A. Student Conduct Mission and Policies
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Student Conduct Mission and Policies
The Code of Student Conduct outlines behavioral standards developed by the University community for students and student organizations and the related procedures for addressing misconduct. Students should be aware that the student conduct process is not a criminal or civil court proceeding. Students and student organizations are responsible for actions that constitute misconduct and violate the Code of Student Conduct. Any student or student organization found responsible for misconduct may be subject to conduct sanctions.
The University provides a fair and equitable student conduct process, utilizing a thorough, neutral, and impartial investigation, from which is generated a prompt resolution.
The Code of Student Conduct and related processes educate students about their rights and responsibilities while promoting holistic development, self-worth, and mutual respect for all members of the University community. Freedom of discussion, inquiry and expression is also fostered by an environment in which the privileges of citizenship are protected and the obligations of citizenship are understood.
Angelo State University is committed to an educational and developmental process that balances the interests of individual students with the interests of the University community. No student will be found in violation of University policy without sufficient information and evidence showing that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred and any sanctions will be proportionate to the severity of the violation and to the cumulative conduct history of the student.
The student conduct process at the University exists to protect the interests of the community and to challenge those whose behavior is not in accordance with our policies. Sanctions are intended to challenge students’ moral and ethical decision-making and to help them bring their behavior into accord with our community expectations and values. When a student is unable to conform their behavior to community expectations, the student conduct process may determine that the student should no longer share in the privilege of participating in this community.
1. Disciplinary Authority
The authority to enact and enforce regulations of the University is vested in the Board of Regents. The responsibility for enforcing the regulations and imposing penalties is delegated to the President of the University and any University officials the President designates. The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management is the principal agency for the administration of student conduct. The Executive Director of Student Affairs, the Director of Title IX Compliance, and the Director of Housing and Residential Programs shall implement the student discipline procedures. All references to the officials listed above shall be interpreted to include persons designated to act on their behalf.
The Executive Director of Student Affairs, the Director of Title IX Compliance, or designee will assume responsibility for the investigation of an allegation of misconduct to determine if the complaint has merit.
- Student Conduct Officer/Investigator
A Student Conduct Officer/Investigator is a trained University staff member whose role is to conduct a thorough, reliable, and impartial investigation of alleged violations of the Code of Student Conduct. In most cases heard by a University Hearing Panel, the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator will present the information and evidence obtained through the investigation to the Hearing Panel, which will make a determination of responsible or not responsible, and assign a sanction. In cases heard through the Administrative Hearing process, or completed via an Informal Resolution, the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator may render findings and issue sanctions. Investigators are assigned to cases by the Executive Director of Student Affairs, the Director of Title IX Compliance, the Assistant Director of Student Conduct, or designee. Investigators are trained University full-time employees.
- Administrative Hearing Officer
An Administrative Hearing Officer is a trained University staff member whose role is to make a decision of responsibility and assign sanctions, as appropriate in an Administrative Hearing. The Administrative Hearing Officer may be the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator who completed the Investigation/Investigation Report, or an Administrative Hearing Officer assigned by the Executive Director of Student Affairs, Director of Title IX, or designee.
- Hearing Panel
The Hearing Panel will conduct disciplinary Panel Hearings. The Panel pool will consist of a trained pool of full-time faculty, full-time staff, and full-time students according to the following guidelines:
- Hearing Panel Appointments
The Executive Director of Student Affairs or Director of Title IX Compliance will be responsible for assembling and training the hearing panel annually. The Hearing panel will consist of full-time faculty members, full-time staff members, and full-time students. This pool will be made up of three (3) full-time faculty and staff members from each division on campus along with three (3) full-time students, and a pool of Administrative Hearing Officers. Panel appointments will be made as follows:
- Student Recommendations:
The President of the Student Government Association is invited to make recommendations for full-time student Panel members. Upon recommendation and review, three (3) full-time student members will be appointed by the Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee. To be eligible for appointment, students must be considered full-time students, be in academic and disciplinary good standing, and have completed at least 15 hours of academic credit with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.
- Faculty and Staff Recommendations:
The Vice President of each division (Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Academic Affairs, and Finance and Administration) and the President are invited to make recommendations for full-time faculty and/or staff Panel members. Upon recommendation and review, three (3) full-time faculty and/or full-time staff members from each division will be appointed by the Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee.
- Administrative Hearing Officer Appointments:
Administrative Hearing Officers are appointed by the Executive Director of Student Affairs, Director of Title IX Compliance or designee and are selected from a group of trained University staff members designated as Administrative Hearing Officers. Administrative Hearing Officers who served as Investigators in the case may not serve on the Hearing Panel as a voting participant and will participate only as the Investigator in the Panel Hearing.
- Student Recommendations:
- Hearing Panel Terms
Each member will be appointed for a single one-year term . Panel members may be re-appointed for consecutive one-year terms but must complete Hearing Panel training annually.
- Hearing Panel Composition
For each Panel hearing, a panel will consist of three (3) members chosen from the available pool by the Executive Director of Student Affairs, Director of Title IX Compliance, or designee. Typically, the Hearing Panel will be comprised of one student, one faculty member, and one staff member. Availability may determine a different composition for the Panel. In cases involving Part I, Section B.1 (For allegations of Academic Misconduct), the Hearing Panel will be comprised of only students and faculty. For cases involving Part I, Section B.2 (Actions Against Members of the University Community and Others) or other sensitive issues, the Director of Title IX Compliance will appoint three (3) Administrative Hearing Officers for the Hearing Panel.
- Removal of Hearing Panel Member
The Executive Director of Student Affairs, Director of Title IX Compliance, or designee may remove a member from this Panel when, in his/her judgment, the member has failed or refused to effectively serve and perform the duties and functions of this Panel. Additionally, the Reporting Party or Responding Party may request the removal of a Panel Member whose ability to be impartial is in question. The Executive Director of Student Affairs, Director of Title IX Compliance, or designee will review and approve or deny student requests for removal of a Panel Member.
- Resource Person
The Director of Title IX Compliance or designee will appoint a Resource Person. The Resource Person is to serve as a non-voting member of the Hearing Panel and assures that University procedures are followed throughout each Panel Hearing. The Resource Person is responsible for composing the Panel’s decision, rationale, and appropriate sanctions.
- Panel Hearings
The Executive Director of Student Affairs, Director of Title IX Compliance or designee will establish hearing dates and times during which cases will be heard. Panel Hearings will be conducted by a subgroup of the Hearing Panel Members pool.
- Panel Quorum
A quorum for the Panel Hearing consists of three (3) members.
- Panel Deliberation
When deliberating a case, the Panel will meet in closed session with only voting members and the Resource Person present.
- Additional Panel Members
The Executive Director of Student Affairs, Director of Title IX Compliance, or designee may appoint additional members of the Hearing Panel to expedite the orderly disposition of cases and/or to aid in the administration of the conduct process within the University. The additional members of the Hearing Panel will complete the same training, have the same composition of membership, the same duties, and the same authority as the original Hearing Panel member(s).
- Panel Orientation & Training
Prior to serving on a Hearing Panel, members of the Hearing Panel will be required to participate in an orientation and training program facilitated by the Director of Title IX Compliance, or designee. Members are encouraged to attend additional trainings throughout their service on the Hearing Panel.
- Hearing Panel Appointments
- The Code of Student Conduct Review Committee
The Code of Student Conduct is reviewed every year by the Code of Student Conduct Review Committee. The Code of Student Conduct Review Committee will conduct an annual review of the Code of Student Conduct and make recommendations to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management regarding omissions, clarifications, constructive changes, and other matters relevant to the proper interpretation and operation of the Code of Student Conduct. The Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management or designee will then present the Code of Student Conduct to the University President for review and consideration by the Board of Regents.
- Committee Appointment
The Code of Student Conduct Review Committee members are appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management or designee who will invite recommendations by the Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, and the Student Government Association.
- Committee Composition
The Code of Student Conduct Review Committee will include a member from the following classes of Angelo State University community members:
- Full-time faculty
- Full-time staff
- Full-time undergraduate student(s)
- Full-time graduate student(s)
- Committee Removals
The Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management or designee may remove a member from this committee when, in his/her judgment, the member has failed or refused to serve and perform the duties and functions of this committee.
- Committee Meetings
The Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management or designee will establish meeting dates and times during which the Code of Student Conduct will be reviewed and will provide for scheduling special meetings as needed.
- Committee Quorum
A quorum for the committee is five (5) members.
- Additional Committee Members
The Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management or designee may appoint additional members of the Code of Student Conduct Review Committee to expedite the review process of the code.
- Committee Appointment
- Student Conduct Officer/Investigator
Students at the University are provided an electronic copy of the Code of Student Conduct annually in the form of a link on the Student Affairs and Enrollment Management website. Students are responsible for having read and abiding by the provisions of the Code of Student Conduct.
The University community has developed standards of behavior pertaining to students and to student organizations. Students and registered student organizations are subject to conduct action according to the provisions of the Code of Student Conduct. The University respects the rights and responsibilities of students and will consider each violation of University policy and each violation of federal, state and/or local law on a “case-by-case” basis and will further attempt to initially use educational options and subsequent intervention and/or prevention options to assist students.
The Code of Student Conduct and the student conduct process apply to the conduct of individual students, both undergraduate and graduate, and all registered student organizations. For the purposes of student conduct, the University considers an individual to be a student when an offer of admission has been extended and thereafter as long as the student has a continuing educational interest in the University.
The Code of Student Conduct applies to behaviors which occur on University premises, at University-sponsored activities and events, and may apply to off-campus behavior when the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management or designee determines that the off-campus conduct affects a substantial University interest, such as situations where a student’s conduct may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of him/herself or others; situations that infringe on the rights of other students; situations causing significant disruption to the educational community or are detrimental to the educational mission of the University. Proceedings under the Code of Student Conduct may be carried out prior to, independent of, concurrent with or following civil or criminal proceedings.
The University retains conduct jurisdiction over students who choose to take a leave of absence, withdraw or have graduated for any misconduct that occurred prior to the leave, withdrawal or graduation. If sanctioned, a hold may be placed on the student’s ability to re-enroll, obtain official transcripts, and/or graduate. All sanctions must be satisfied prior to re-enrollment eligibility. In the event of serious misconduct committed while still enrolled, but reported after the accused student has graduated, the University may invoke these procedures and should the former student be found responsible, the University may revoke that student’s degree.
The Code of Student Conduct may be applied to behavior conducted online, via email, or other electronic medium. Students should also be aware that online postings such as blogs, web postings, chats and social networking sites are in the public sphere and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations if evidence of policy violations is posted online. The University does not regularly search for this information, but may take action if and when such information is brought to the attention of University officials.
The Code of Student Conduct applies to guests of community members whose hosts may be held accountable for the misconduct of their guests. The Code may also be applied to resident non-students, campers and high school bridge/extension/partner/dual-credit programs by contractual agreements. Visitors to and guests of the University may seek resolution of violations of the Code of Student Conduct committed against them by members of the University community.
Notice is deemed to have been properly provided when written notification is sent to the student’s official assigned Angelo State University email address, delivered via Certified Mail to the student’s last known address, or personally delivered to the student. University email is the University’s primary means of communication with students. Students are responsible for all communication delivered to their University email address. Students will be given a reasonable amount of time to respond to requests to meet with University officials. Prescheduled meetings are scheduled around a student’s published academic schedule and include the opportunity to reschedule in the event of unavoidable conflicts. Should a student wish to reschedule an appointment, he/she should contact the sender of the message in a timely manner. The University will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate student scheduling conflicts, but will not permit unreasonable delays in the Conduct Process. After proper notice has been given to the student, the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator or designee may proceed with the conduct process. Should a student fail to comply with the requests of a Student Conduct Officer/Investigator or designee, the Executive Director of Student Affairs, the Director of Title IX Compliance or designee may issue a ‘Failure to Comply’ Code of Student Conduct allegation to the student. Students are advised to keep their most current local address, permanent address, and primary telephone number updated in the student records system at http://ramport.angelo.edu.
It is recommended that reports of alleged violations of the Code of Student Conduct should be reported as soon as possible after the alleged incident to initiate conduct procedures. There is no time limit on reporting violations; however, the longer someone waits to report an offense, the more difficult it becomes to obtain information and evidence regarding the incidents.
Incidents should be resolved within 60 days of notice regarding the incident, not including appeal. This timeline may vary depending on the availability of individuals participating in the process, availability of evidence, delays for concurrent criminal investigations, breaks between academic semesters, and other delays.
5. Standards of Evidence
The proceedings are not restricted by the rules of evidence governing criminal and civil proceedings. The standard of proof used in Code of Student Conduct proceedings is the preponderance of evidence, or more likely than not.
6. Reporting Allegations of Misconduct
To file allegation(s) of misconduct against student(s) or student organization(s), individuals should complete an online Incident Reporting Form. Individuals may also file a report in person at the Office of the Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee, located in suite 112 of the Houston Harte University Center. The Executive Director of Student Affairs, Director of Title IX Compliance, or designee regularly review reports submitted from the Angelo State University community, Housing and Residential Programs, University Police Department, and and non-University community members.
To submit a concern regarding a student organization or to file an allegation of misconduct against a student organization or its members, individuals (faculty, staff, students, organization members, parents, community members or other parties) may complete the online form at https://www.angelo.edu/incident-form. Individuals may also file a report in person with the Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee.
Student organization leaders may self-report organization or member behavior that may be considered a violation(s) of Angelo State University policy. When an organization is able to quickly identify a concern, address it, and report it, it is less likely that the organization would be held responsible for behavior that may be a policy violation. The self-report allows the University, in conjunction with the student organization to collect information, begin individual student conduct processes, and ensure that behavior has ceased and does not reoccur. When incidents are unreported by organizations and instead come to the attention of the University via a Reporting Party, the options for resolution are more limited. Self-reporting allows the University to work collaboratively with the organization to address the situation and can allow for lower-levels of sanctioning for misconduct.Sometimes organization leaders may become aware of organization or member activities that may result in violations of policy but have not occurred yet. In these cases, the organization leadership is encouraged to work directly with the Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee to intervene and address the concern. This type of pre-report has the highest likelihood of lowering the risk of potential conduct violations and sanctions for the organization. Organization leaders may self-report misconduct or potential misconduct by utilizing the online form at https://www.angelo.edu/incident-form.
If after an initial report has been made a student experiences a subsequent concern or continued incident(s) of alleged misconduct, a student may file an additional report pursuant to the procedures in this section (Part I, section A.6).
Angelo State University is committed to ensuring confidentiality during all stages of the student conduct process. The confidentiality of both the Reporting Party and the Responding Party will be honored by the University to the extent possible without compromising the University’s commitment and obligation to investigate allegations of misconduct, to protect the University community, and to the extent allowed by law. However, because the University also has an obligation to maintain an environment free of Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct, many University employees have mandatory reporting and response obligations and may not be able to honor a Reporting Party’s request for confidentiality. The Director of Title IX Compliance or designee will evaluate requests for confidentiality. The willful and unnecessary disclosure of confidential information by anyone, including the Reporting Party or Responding Party, may affect the integrity of the investigation.
In some exceptional circumstances, where the incident in question presents a continuing threat to the University Community, the University may be required to investigate irrespective of the Reporting Party’s desire to pursue allegations of student misconduct, and may be required to issue a “timely warning” to the campus community, as required by the Clery Act. Timely warnings do not include personally identifiable information of involved parties.
All reports of misconduct will be maintained with the highest possible level of confidentiality. Information provided by the student will only be shared with essential staff members and only as is necessary for the effective investigation and adjudication of the case. Where reports of misconduct involve other students, either as the Responding Student or witnesses in the case, some information may need to be shared with those involved parties in order to complete a thorough investigation.
Students may make confidential reports to the University Counseling Center. All Reporting Parties may also make confidential reports to local rape crisis centers, clergy, or to other licensed clinical and/or mental health professionals acting in their professional role of providing those services.
Angelo State University understands the sensitive nature of some incidents of alleged misconduct. Further, the University is mindful of the Reporting Party’s desire, in some cases, to report an incident without disclosing their name or other identifying information. Angelo State University will always attempt to protect a student’s anonymity if that is the student’s request. Providing anonymity, however, can often make it more difficult to thoroughly and effectively investigate an alleged incident. The University will work with each student on a case-by-case basis to find the approach that best fits the student’s wants and needs.
9. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
FERPA protects the privacy of student education records, including personally identifiable information derived from student conduct records. Generally, schools must have written permission from a student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. FERPA allows schools to disclose student records, without consent, in situations including, but not limited to:
- School officials with legitimate educational interest.
- Other schools to which a student is transferring.
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
- To parents when there is a health or safety emergency involving the student, to parents when the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance and the student is under 21 years of age at the time of the disclosure.
- To the victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non- forcible sex offense concerning the final results of a disciplinary hearing.
10. Student Organizations
Information gathered during an investigation of student organization misconduct, as well as any conduct findings and decisions, may be shared with the inter/national or regional headquarters of organizations as appropriate. This otherwise confidential information will not be shared with other students or the Greek community.
Student organization records do not impact the content of individual student records for members of those student organizations. A finding of responsibility for misconduct for a student organization does not indicate a finding of responsibility for individual students. Individual students may be subject to their own conduct processes separate from the student organization process.
All records concerning a student organization related to conduct processes will remain on file with the University for a minimum of seven (7) years from the date of the completion of the case via Informal Resolution, Administrative or Panel Hearing, and/or conduct appeal processes.
11. Reporting Criminally
Some instances of student misconduct may also constitute a violation of state, federal, and/or local law. Students have the option to report misconduct to the University, to local law enforcement, or to both. Angelo State University administrators are happy to assist students in making a report to law enforcement, and will even accompany the student if he or she wishes.
The University will provide educational options in lieu of conduct proceedings in certain situations. Examples of the amnesty provision include, but are not limited to:
- Victims of misconduct who were engaging in policy violations, such as underage drinking or drug use, at the time of the incident.
- Students who offer assistance to others by calling medical personnel or law enforcement.
- Students who bring their own use, addiction, or dependency to alcohol, drugs, or other addictions to the attention of the University prior to any conduct incidents or reports.
Abuse of amnesty provisions can result in a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Amnesty does not preclude students from being charged with allegations of misconduct related to Part I, section B.2 (Actions against Members of the University Community and Others). The Code of Student Conduct amnesty provisions do not impact criminal proceedings or charges. Amnesty does not preclude students from being required to meet with University staff and to participate in conditions such as counseling and alcohol assessments. The Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee can assist with questions related to amnesty provisions.
A responding student facing an alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct may not be permitted to withdraw from the University until all allegations are resolved.