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Part I: Code of Student Conduct

C. Procedures from the Office of Student Conduct for Student Organizations

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  • Introduction

    Upon notice of an alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct by a student organization, the Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee will appoint a Student Conduct Officer/Investigator to review allegations of misconduct. The Student Conduct Officer/Investigator will inquire, gather and review information about the reported student organization misconduct and will evaluate the accuracy, credibility, and sufficiency of the information.

    Incidents will be forwarded for investigation when there is reasonable cause to believe a policy 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 Complaining Party’s statement. If it is determined that the information reported does not warrant an allegation, a Policy Clarification letter may be issued to clarify the policy in question.

  • 1. Initial Inquiry

    An initial inquiry would occur to review information about the alleged misconduct and to evaluate the accuracy, credibility, and sufficiency of the information. When an initial report does not identify victims of misconduct or victims are not available, it can limit the ability to investigate the incident. When the Complaining Party is identified but is reluctant to participate in the investigation process or student conduct process, the University will make every attempt to follow the wishes of the Complaining Party while weighing the interests of the campus community and the possibility of continuing inappropriate behavior and threat to the community. If the Complaining Party does not want to participate in the investigative process but has no aversion to the University pursuing the conduct process, the University will proceed to the extent of the information available.

  • 2. Decision to Document the Incident without Further Investigation

    If it is determined that the information reported and available does not warrant an allegation of a conduct violation, a Policy Clarification letter may be issued to clarify the policy in question. This may happen in situations where reports received are from anonymous sources with no ability to validate the credibility of the concern and the initial inquiry identifies little to no other information to support the report. 

     

  • 3. Remedies & Resources to Complaining Parties/Responding Parties

    1. The University will take immediate action to eliminate hostile environments, prevent recurrence and address any effects on the Complaining Party and community prior to the initiation of formal investigation and/or formal conduct processes. These immediate steps will be taken to minimize the burden on the Complaining Party while respecting due process rights of the Responding Party. Remedies for students may include, but are not limited to, counseling services, modifications to on-campus housing, modifications to parking permission, and modification to academic schedule. Remedies will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
    2. Assistance and resources are provided to the Complaining Party in order to help them understand the options available to them when making a report, to determine what resolution the Complaining Party is seeking, to identify university and community resources to support the Complaining Party, and to stop any current inappropriate behavior. Resources include, but are not limited to, assistance in reporting criminal behavior to the University Police Department or San Angelo Police Department, counseling services, medical assistance, academic support referrals, and other support services. This is handled by the Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee taking the initial report. This staff member may or may not be the person to investigate the complaint.

  • 4. Interim Actions

    Under the Code of Student Conduct, the Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee may impose restrictions and/or temporarily suspend the registration of a student organization pending the scheduling of a campus Hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct when the student organization represents a threat of serious harm to others, that is deemed a continuous threat, is facing allegations of serious criminal activity, to preserve the integrity of an investigation, to preserve University property and/or to prevent disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the University. Examples of conduct or incidents that may result in interim suspension are hazing; conduct or incidents at organization events and activities resulting in allegations of sexual misconduct; behavior that results in criminal felony charges, severe disruption, and/or retaliatory harassment; alcohol/drug policy violations occurring during recruitment or social events; and cease and desists directives from inter/national or regional organizations. A student organization who receives an interim suspension may request a meeting with the Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee to demonstrate why an interim suspension is not merited. Regardless of the outcome of the meetings, the University may still proceed with the scheduling of a campus Hearing. During an interim suspension, the student organization is not able to access the benefits of being a registered student organization during this time period, and organization activities should cease in order to prevent additional misconduct. Student organizations are informed of interim actions by the official notice procedures outlined in Part I, Section A.3. of the Code of Student Conduct. Interim action is not a sanction. It is taken in an effort to protect the safety and well-being of the Complaining Party, Responding Party, and other members of the University Community, the University, and/or property. Interim action is preliminary in nature; it is in effect only until the conduct process has been completed. However, violations of interim actions may result in additional allegations of violations of the Code of Student Conduct.

  • 5. Notice of Investigation/Notice of Involvement

    A student organization will be given notice of the organization’s investigation in an alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct by receipt of a “Notice of Investigation/Notice of Involvement” letter or direct contact by the Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee.

  • 6. Initial Contact to the Student Organization Leadership and Advisor

    In most cases, the appropriate Student Organization or Greek Life, Student Affairs, or staff will ask the student organization President and Faculty/Staff Advisor or Alumni Advisor for an initial response to the information received within a prompt time frame. At this time, student organization officers and members accused of conduct violations will also receive information about resources that can assist them during the investigation process. Organization leaders are expected to be prompt, cooperative, and forthcoming with information for review by the Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee. Organizations should be aware that information gathered during this initial contact is documented for use during the investigation process. Organizations that fail to comply with or respond to a notice issued as part of investigation process and/or fail to appear at a Hearing will not prevent the continuation of the conduct process. Likewise, a student organization that ignores requests for information, misrepresents information, or conceals information can face additional allegations of misconduct and increased sanctions.

  • 7. Notification of the International or Regional Headquarters (if relevant)

    In most cases (with the exception of low-level concerns), Greek Life staff will notify representatives of the international or regional headquarters of the complaint received and of the process for reviewing the complaint. Angelo State University believes in an active partnership with international and regional organization staff to resolve concerns. These international and regional staff and volunteers are often better able to identify opportunities to address concerns and may be conducting their own investigation and conduct process. Angelo State University staff will specifically contact international and regional organizations when recurring concern indicates a climate issue for the organization, when the response of the organization is not compliant or timely, when there is an immediate threat to member or other’s safety, or when the organization has already participated in conduct processes for concerns.

  • 8. Rights & Responsibilities

    Prior to the formal investigation process, a student organization will be provided a Students Rights & Responsibilities document to review and sign prior to an interview with the appointed Student Conduct Officer/Investigator. The Rights & Responsibilities document informs the student organization of rights to be exercised before and during the conduct process. Those rights include the right to:

    1. A prompt, fair, and equitable process;
    2. Be accompanied by an advisor at any meeting or Hearing. An advisor can be any one of the following: a member of the Angelo State University Community (faculty, staff, or student not otherwise involved in the case), a parent or legal guardian, a relative, or an attorney. An advisor’s role is that of support – he or she may not speak on behalf of the student organization and does not have an active, participatory role in the conduct process. If an advisor for the student organization is an attorney, an attorney from the Texas Tech University System Office of General Counsel and/or General Counsel for Angelo State University may attend any meeting or Hearing on behalf of the University. Student organizations are responsible for presenting their own information; therefore, advisors are not permitted to speak or participate directly in any meeting or Hearing unless authorized by a Student Conduct Officer/Investigator. The Student Conduct Officer/Investigator will not accept investigative materials, statements, evidence, etc. directly from an advisor and will not communicate with the advisor on behalf of the student organization. The Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee has the discretion to remove an advisor at any point during the conduct process. A witness, anyone who may have a conflict of interest, or anyone who may have any participatory role in the process may not be allowed to serve as an Advisor. Students who have been suspended may not serve as an Advisor during their suspension, and students who have been suspended may not serve as an advisor during their suspension, and students who have been expelled may not serve as an advisor. Student organizations should select an advisor whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled date and time for meetings and the Hearing, as delays will not be allowed due to the scheduling conflicts of an advisor, except at the discretion of a Student Conduct Officer/Investigator.
    3. Refrain from making any statement relevant to the investigation.
      If a student organization chooses not to provide information or provides only limited information during the investigation, they will not be allowed to provide new information during the Hearing.  The student organization will only be permitted to speak to the information that they provided with no additional commentary.  The rationale for this policy is to prevent either party from presenting new evidence at the Hearing that was available during the investigation process which could disadvantage the other party.  A student’s choice not to participate in the investigation process will not stop the investigation or hearing process.
      NOTE: See Pre-Hearing Process, below, for details on inclusion of new, previously unavailable information after conclusion of the investigative process.
    4. The opportunity to provide information and evidence in support of the case;
    5. Know if they have been issued any allegations of misconduct;
    6. Know the range of sanctions that may be imposed for a conduct violation, if one is alleged and found to have occurred;
    7. Know the Angelo State University conduct policies and procedures and where to find them;
    8. Know that any information provided by the student organization may be used in a conduct proceeding:
      • Any information provided by a student during an investigation may be used in formal conduct processes related to allegations against the student organization, the student, or other students.
      • Student and student organization records are subject to the Federal Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA). Information collected during an investigation will be compiled into an investigation report and is considered student or student organization records. The investigation report may be shared with the assigned student conduct hearing panel members or administrative officers assigned to adjudicate concerns as officials with legitimate educational interest and without written consent for release. Student and student organization records can be subpoenaed in accordance with criminal processes which could include the release of the investigation report to law enforcement officials. The investigation report may also be shared with the international or regional organization headquarters staff to assist with collaborative investigations.
    9. Know that if a student makes any false or misleading statements during the student conduct process, that student could be subject to further disciplinary action.

    Student organization responsibilities include:

    1. Be responsive to all communications from the University;
    2. Provide information relevant to the incident or situation;
    3. Be honest and provide true and accurate information during the investigation;
    4. If a student or student organization needs additional time to gather information, please inform your Student Conduct Officer/Investigator;
    5. Review the Code of Student Conduct in order to fully understand all aspects of the student conduct process.

  • 9. Investigation

    1. The Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee will appoint a Student Conduct Officer/Investigator to conduct a prompt, thorough, reliable, and impartial investigation of the reported allegation.
    2. Reported allegations of misconduct under the Code of Student Conduct have varying degrees of complexity and severity. Therefore, the investigation procedures described below may vary. In student organization incidents there is potential for three or more separate investigations to be occurring in a similar time frame:
      • Angelo State University Student Organization Conduct Investigation.
      • Angelo State University Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Office Investigation
      • Criminal Investigation by the University, San Angelo, or Other Police Departments.
      • International or Regional Headquarter Investigation.
      • Local Student Organization Advisory Board Investigation.
    3. When initial inquiry indicates that another concurrent investigation is occurring alongside the Angelo State University student conduct investigation, the appointed investigator(s) will, where possible, collaborate with the other entities conducting investigations. Elements of a collaborative investigation may include coordinated or joint interviews, evidence sharing, and investigation report sharing within the limits of student records policies.
    4. Investigations of student organization conduct may include the requirement for student organization members to attend an investigation meeting as a group or as individuals. Students may be asked to complete written questionnaires related to the investigation. Regardless of the nature of the investigation, students and student organizations should be aware of their rights and responsibilities in the conduct process and recognize that any information shared during the course of the student conduct investigation may be used in formal conduct processes against the student organization or the individual student. Students can always decline to participate in a collaborative investigation meeting and meet only with the student conduct investigator instead of meeting together with other investigators.
    5. During the investigation process, student organization representatives are responsible for providing all information or evidence that they believe should be considered. Once the investigative process is complete, the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator will compile the relevant information and evidence into an Investigation Report, which will include the allegations of the Code of Student Conduct and may include a timeline of the event(s), statements from the interviews, physical and electronic evidence, a breakdown of the discrepancies in the various interviews, and credibility considerations. The Investigator will document any physical or electronic evidence in a manner that is conducive and unobstructed to concurrent or forthcoming police investigations.
    6. Student organizations will be asked to provide information about any actions occurring voluntarily by the organization and/or to address concerns or actions occurring related to other conduct processes (international or regional actions, local alumni board actions). This information is used to afford the opportunity for an organization to be eligible for informal resolution processes or the sanctioning portion of a formal hearing if an organization is found responsible for a policy violation.
    7. A student organization will have access to a completed Investigation Report and/or investigative materials relevant to the allegation(s) after the investigative process has concluded.

  • 10. Investigation Report is Completed by Conduct Officer/Investigator and Pre-Hearing Scheduled

    1. Once the investigation report is completed, the President and his/her advisors for the student organization will be given notice of a Pre-Hearing Meeting. During this meeting, the representatives will be given an opportunity to review the Investigation Report and other documents or evidence that would be used in a formal hearing. If new or previously unavailable information is now available, the Investigator will make a determination about the inclusion of the information in the report.
      • If there is not sufficient evidence to proceed to a hearing, a Policy Clarification will be issued to the organization and the file will be closed.
      • If there is sufficient evidence to proceed to a hearing, the investigation report will outline the formal allegations against the student organization.
      • A discussion will occur around the opportunity for an informal resolution or a formal hearing.
    2. In cases proceeding to a formal hearing, the President and his/her Advisor(s) for the student organization will review the formal hearing script and the pool of faculty, staff, and students trained for the Hearing Panel.

  • 11. Informal Resolution

    1. Upon review of the investigation report and the investigation process, the organization may have the opportunity to resolve the issue informally. The Conduct Officer/Investigator would provide an Informal Resolution in writing to the organization representatives for their consideration. The organization would agree to the outlined findings of responsibility for misconduct and the outlined sanctions. If there is a complaint, the Reporting Party must also agree to the informal resolution. To participate in the Informal Resolution process, the President and his/her Advisor(s) for the student organization must accept both the finding and the sanction. There is no appeal of signed informal resolutions. Once completed, the informal resolution completes the conduct process. The case will only be reopened if new materials, previously unavailable, are presented.

  • 12. Pre-Hearing Process

    1. In cases involving an Administrative Hearing or Hearing Panel, the Pre-Hearing Process will be followed. Once the investigative process is complete, the student organization will be given notice of a Pre-Hearing Meeting. Should student organizations not participate in the Pre-Hearing, the conduct process may continue without their participation, including the assignment of allegations and the completion of an Administrative Hearing or Hearing Panel. During this meeting, student organizations will be given the opportunity to review the Investigation Report, relevant evidence, and/or other documents/material to be used in the Administrative Hearing or Hearing Panel. Other documents may include notification of Responding Party’s allegations, Panel composition, and Hearing Script. Following the Pre-Hearing, the President and his/her Advisor for the student organization will be notified, via the notification procedures outlined in Part I, Section A.3. (Notice) of a date, time, and location for the Hearing.
    2. While students may identify errors in their own statements during the Pre-Hearing, they are not able to add additional information to the Investigation Report unless that information, in the judgment of the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator, was unavailable during the investigative process and is pertinent to the consideration of the case. If a student discovers new, previously unavailable information during the time after the Pre-Hearing but before the Administrative Hearing or Hearing Panel, the student should inform the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator immediately. If the new information is pertinent to the consideration of the case, the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator will determine whether the new information should be included in the Investigation Report or presented verbally during the Administrative or Panel Hearing. If there is new evidence introduced, other involved parties would also be given the opportunity to provide a response to any new evidence that will be presented in the Administrative Hearing or Hearing Panel.
    3. The conduct process is designed to be non-adversarial. Student organization representatives will be permitted to question the statements and evidence presented by the other involved parties, but may not do so directly. After reviewing the Investigation Report, during the Pre-Hearing, the Complaining Party and Responding Party will have the opportunity to question the statements and evidence presented by the other involved parties, via the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator, who will pose the questions and supplement the Investigation Report.
      NOTE: Questions that are deemed objectionable, inappropriate, and/or irrelevant by the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator may be rejected.
    4. Student organizations may indicate whether an Administrative Hearing, Hearing Panel, or Sanction Only Hearing is preferred. However, the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator has the sole discretion in all cases to designate whether an Administrative Hearing, Panel Hearing, or Sanction Only Hearing will be held notwithstanding the student’s preference.

    5. In cases requiring a Hearing Panel, the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator will share the list of faculty, staff, and students trained for Hearing Panels. Student organization representatives will be given the opportunity to request to strike any member of the Hearing Panel whose impartiality may be in question. In order to strike a member of the Hearing Panel, the student organization representative must provide the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator with a reasonable and substantiated rationale for the request. Once the composition of the Hearing Panel is set, the Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee will schedule the Panel Hearing.

    6. At the discretion of the Executive Director of Student Affairs or designee, a review of the conduct case may occur at any point during the investigation or conduct process for clarification of procedural processes and may remand to investigation or adjudication if deemed necessary.

  • 13. Hearings

    Upon completion of the initial inquiry/investigation, after the allegation(s) have been assigned, and proper notice has been given to the student organization, the University may proceed to conduct either an Administrative Hearing or Hearing Panel and issue a finding and accompanying sanctions, if applicable. The Administrative Hearing or Hearing Panel may be held and a decision made, regardless of whether the student organization responds, fails to respond, attends the Hearing, or fails to attend the Hearing. Should the student organization fail to attend the Administrative Hearing or Hearing Panel, the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator or the Hearing Panel may consider the information contained in the Investigation Report, relevant evidence, and/or other documents/materials and render a decision. Student organization conduct processes are typically adjudicated by a Panel Hearing. If the student organization accepts responsibility for the allegations issued in the Investigation Report, the student organization may request a Sanction Only Hearing.

    Hearings are closed to the public. In cases involving another student (a Complaining Party) and/or a violation of Part I, Section B.2. (Actions Against Members of the University Community and Others) of the Code of Student Conduct, both the Complaining Party and Responding Party have the right to be present at the formal hearing; however, they do not have the right to be present during deliberations. Arrangements will be made so that the Complaining Party and Responding Party do not physically have to be in the Hearing room at the same time. To request changes in the scheduled Hearing time, students should contact the Office of Student Affairs.

    The University will attempt to facilitate reasonable questioning of involved parties throughout the investigation and conduct process.

    An In Absentia decision may be rendered by the appointed hearing body after proper notice has been given to the student organization, and the student organization has failed to respond within the allotted timeframe to meet with an investigator.

    Student organizations are typically represented by the current President and an advisor.

    In situations where the organization no longer has a current student representing the organization, the conduct process will continue with the information available at the time. Organizations with international regional, or local advisory staff or volunteers with a long-term interest in the organization’s recognition at the University may be allowed to participate in the resolution of conduct processes when a current student is no longer able to represent the organization.

    • Administrative Hearing
      An Administrative Hearing is the process of adjudicating allegations of violations of the Code of Student Conduct by an Administrative Hearing Officer. The Administrative Hearing Officer in an Administrative Hearing may be the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator that completed the Investigation Report, or an Administrative Hearing Officer assigned by the Executive Director of Student Affairs, Director of Title IX Compliance, or designee. The Administrative Hearing Officer makes the decision of responsibility and assigns a sanction, as appropriate.

      Written notification of the outcomes of the Administrative Hearing should be provided to the student within five (5) University business days of the conclusion of the Administrative Hearing. Decisions made through the Administrative Hearing may be appealed by students by utilizing the Disciplinary Appeal Procedures outlined in Part I, Section C.
    • Panel Hearing
      For each Panel Hearing a panel of three (3) Hearing Panel members will be chosen from the available pool by the Executive Director of Student Affairs, the Director of Title IX Compliance, or designee. Typically, the Hearing Panel will be comprised of one student, one faculty member, and one staff member. (*Note students are not utilized in a Title IX Hearing Panel). Availability may determine a different composition for the Hearing Panel. For allegations involving Part I, Section B.1. (Academic Misconduct), the Panel will be comprised of only students and faculty members. 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 or designee will appoint three (3) Administrative Hearing Officers from the pool of available members for the Hearing Panel.
      Administrative Hearing Officers who served as Investigators for the case being heard by a Hearing Panel may not serve as either a voting members of the Hearing Panel or as the non-voting Resource Person and will only participate as the Investigator in the Panel Hearing.
      All Hearing proceedings, excluding deliberations of the Hearing Panel, will be recorded by the University.
      During the Panel Hearing, a designated Resource Person will facilitate the Hearing process.
      The Executive Director of Student Affairs, Director of Title IX Compliance, or designee will appoint a Panel Resource Person to serve as non-voting participant in the Panel Hearing. The Panel Resource Person will be a trained University staff member who may:
      The Student Conduct Officer/Investigator presents the Investigation Report, evidence, witnesses, allegation(s), and questions for deliberation. Both the Complaining Party and Responding Party have the right to add or make additional comments about the facts of the case. The Hearing Panel may question the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator, Complaining Party, Responding Party, and any witnesses. The Complaining Party and Responding Party may not question each other or witnesses directly, but may pose questions through the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator. Should new evidence be presented without prior discussion with the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator, the Hearing may be halted to consider the inclusion of this information. Impact statements will also be halted if they are shared prior to the sanctioning phase of the Hearing. In the event the Resource Person of the Hearing Panel removes a student due to misconduct (Complaining Party, Responding Party, or witnesses), the alleged misconduct will be forwarded to the Executive Director of Student Affairsor designee for additional processing as appropriate.
      Following the Hearing, the Hearing Panel will deliberate and will render a decision in regard to the alleged misconduct as well as decide any sanctions, if applicable. The Investigator will provide information during sanctioning related to any previous conduct history, self-sanctioning occurring with the organization, and general information about the organization’s activities and participation at Angelo State University to help the panel determine appropriate sanctioning.
      Should the Hearing Panel have any questions for the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator, the Complaining Party, and/or the Responding Party, the Hearing Panel will reconvene so that all parties have the opportunity to respond and be present for other parties’ responses.

     

    Outcomes of the Hearing Panel will be provided simultaneously to the student(s) in writing within five (5) University business days of the conclusion of the Panel Hearing. Decisions made through the Hearing Panel may be appealed by students by utilizing the Disciplinary Appeal Procedures outlined in Part I, Section C.5.

     

    1. Sanction Only Hearing

    If the student organization accepts responsibility for the allegations issued in the Investigation Report, the student organization may request a Sanction Only Hearing, by either a Hearing Officer or a Hearing Panel. During a Sanction Only Hearing, the Investigation Report and finding are presented to the Hearing body by the Student Conduct Officer/Investigator. During presentation of the Investigation Report and finding, the Complaining Party and Responding Party are not allowed to dispute the facts or details of the case. Both the Complaining Party and Responding Party may provide impact statements prior to sanctioning. Mitigating factors as well as character statements may be presented by the student organization spokesperson and may be considered by the Hearing body.  Written notification of the Sanction Only Hearing will be provided to the student organization within five (5) University working days of the conclusion of the Sanction Only Hearing. Decisions made through the Sanction Only Hearing may be appealed by the student organizations by utilizing the Disciplinary Appeal Procedures outlined in Part II, section C. 5.  In Sanction Only Hearings, students may appeal the sanction(s), and can only appeal on the following grounds, “the sanction imposed substantially varies from the range of sanctions normally imposed for similar infractions.” A student organization may choose a Hearing Panel for Sanction Only Hearing for potentially separable offenses.

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