Student Conduct Procedures

46.

Any member of the College community may file charges against a student or student organization for alleged misconduct.  A non-member of the SUNY Oswego community may submit a complaint of suspected misconduct by a student to the Assistant Dean of Students for determination.  The College will undertake, where feasible, an investigation.  In instances where it is determined that charges should be brought against the student or student organization, certain procedures and standards will apply. 

Students, as citizens, must abide by local, state, and federal laws.  Consequently, a student who violates the law, whether on or off-campus, is subject to legal prosecution.  In addition, a violation of the Code, whether on campus or off, will subject the student involved to College disciplinary action.  Whether College disciplinary action precedes, is concurrent with, or follows legal prosecution depends upon whether the legal prosecution coincides with the process outlined in the Code.  It has been well established by Student Conduct rulings that the concurrence of legal prosecution and College disciplinary action does not constitute double jeopardy.

  A. Filing complaints

The complainant(s) shall submit in writing to the Assistant Dean of Students, 501 Culkin Hall, a statement of the alleged violation(s), including the facts supporting such allegations and the provision(s) of the Code allegedly violated.  In general, complaints shall be submitted within twenty (20) class days of the date of the incident(s) or within twenty (20) class days of the identification of a respondent to an administrative officer of the College, excluding days when the College is not in session.  There is no time limitation on filing complaints regarding incidents that are alleged violations of 43.D.

  B. Notice of charges

The Assistant Dean of Students or designee shall then provide written notice to the accused student or student organization (respondent) of the complaint and charges presented (Statement of Charges).  Failure to respond to the notice of the charges by the time designated in the notice letter shall result in the Assistant Dean of Students scheduling a hearing without the benefit of the respondent’s choice of hearing option.

  C. Election of Hearing Forum

The following hearing forum options are available for College level hearings when not on disciplinary probation or deferred suspension: 

  1. Hearing before the Student Conduct Committee, or a hearing before the Dean of Students or designee, when the Student Conduct Committee is not available.
  2. Written waiver to the Assistant Dean of Students of the right to any hearing.  In the event that the respondent elects to waive the right to a hearing, evidence in support of the charges shall be presented to the Dean of Students or designee, and a decision will be made based upon a preponderance of evidence.
  3. Written waiver to the Assistant Dean of Students admitting to a violation of the Code as written in the Statement of Charges and requesting a hearing with the Dean of Students.  In the event that the respondent elects to meet with the Dean of Students or designee, and accepting responsibility for violating the Code, the Dean of Students or designee will consider the nature and severity of the incident and determine an appropriate sanction.  The Dean of Students or designee will discuss the incident with the complainant(s).  The Assistant Dean of Students or designee will convene a hearing with the respondent(s) and respondent(s)’ advisor to provide an opportunity for the respondent(s) to address the incident.

  D. Notification of a Hearing Date

  The purpose of this section is to insure a prompt hearing of disciplinary charges which is in the best interest of the respondent and the College.  The College retains the right to establish a hearing date and to alter the hearing calendar for cause, with notice.

If the respondent requests a hearing, a time shall be set for that hearing as soon as practicable, but not less than five (5) class days nor, whenever possible, more than twenty (20) class days after the respondent’s selection of a hearing option.  The respondent will be notified in writing of the hearing time and place at least four (4) class days prior to the date of the hearing.

Alteration of the time limits may occur at the discretion of the Assistant Dean of Students only when the parties can demonstrate good cause.

  E. Conduct of Hearings

  1. Hearings shall be closed and open only to members of the College community that is students, faculty, and staff. A member of the staff of the Dean of Students may be present during all hearings.
  2. Hearings shall be conducted in such a manner as to do substantial justice according to the hearing agenda provided by the Assistant Dean of Students.  Evidence in support of the charges, including statements of witnesses and documents, shall be presented by the complainant.  Evidence which is relevant and material may be introduced by either party.  Hearings shall proceed in a manner which permits the respondent and complainant to present evidence, witnesses and statements on their own behalf.   Witnesses are subject to cross questioning by the other party and the student conduct body/officer.  The technical requirements of court procedure, especially as they relate to the admissibility of evidence, need not be followed.  Student conduct bodies may hear or receive any testimony or evidence which is relevant and material to the issues presented in the Statement of Charges.  Questions concerning the appropriateness of evidence shall be addressed to the Assistant Dean of Students or designee who will decide whether the evidence is admissible.
  3. The respondent and complainant may be assisted by an advisor of their choice who is a faculty member, member of the administration or a current student.   The respondent and complainant may present witnesses and may produce other evidence for consideration by the student conduct body.  The respondent and complainant are responsible for presenting evidence on their own behalf.  Advisors may speak privately to their advisee, respondent or complainant, during the proceeding.  Either party may request a brief recess to consult with their advisor which will be granted at the discretion of the Assistant Dean of Students or designee.  Advisors for the respondent and complainant may not present evidence or cross-question witnesses. 
  4. Student conduct hearing bodies/officer(s) shall determine that a preponderance of evidence exists - whether it is "more likely than not" that the violation occurred. If the evidence presented meets this standard, then the respondent must be found responsible.  No recommendation for the imposition of sanctions may be based solely upon the failure of the respondent to answer the charges or to appear at the hearing.  In such a case, the evidence in support of the charges shall be presented and considered.
  5. Normally, five (5) members (three students, one faculty, and one administrator) of the Student Conduct Committee will comprise the student conduct body for any hearing.  Three (3) members (one student, one faculty, one administrator) of the Committee will constitute a quorum for the hearing of charges and the transaction of business.  A simple majority of the Student Conduct Committee members present for a hearing shall be sufficient for a finding of fault and the imposition of a sanction. In the case of an individual hearing officer, the hearing officer will determine fault and impose a sanction.

         6.  Following the presentation of information and witnesses, the student conduct body will deliberate and make a recommended finding on the charges. No recommendation  for the imposition of sanctions may be  based solely upon the failure of the respondent to answer the charges or to appear at the hearing.  In such a case, the evidence in support of the charges shall be presented and considered.

            If the recommendation is that the respondent be found in violation of one or more charges, the conduct body will also recommend appropriate sanctions to be imposed,       may seek and hear additional information, including the respondent’s prior conduct record, if any, and any further comments from the respondent before doing so.

            The conduct body engages in its deliberations in closed session.

            The Assistant Dean of Students will forward the conduct body’s recommendations to the Dean of Students for review and final determination.

       7. The Dean of Students may, on the basis of the record, accept, modify, or reject the conduct body’s recommendations

           Notification of final determination will be made by letter sent to the respondent’s SUNY Oswego e-mail account.

       8. The Assistant Dean of Students may adopt additional procedures for the conduct of hearings which do not contravene these procedures.

  F. Notification of Findings

Within five (5) class days after the adjournment of the hearing, the Assistant Dean of Students shall submit written findings of the fact, conclusions regarding the charge(s), and imposition of a sanction, if any, to the respondent and any College official who is determined to have a legitimate interest in the result, notification of the final determination will be made by letter sent to the respondent’s SUNY Oswego e-mail account. 

In the case of violations involving physical violence, notice of findings and sanctions imposed directly related to the complainant/reporting party shall be received by the complainant/reporting party.

In the case of sexual assault (Section 43.D.), notice of findings and sanctions imposed shall also be received by the complainant/reporting party. For sexual harassment cases, the notice of outcome and only sanctions that directly relate to the complainant/survivor of record will be shared.

Documentation concerning any prior violation(s) of the Code by the respondent may be presented by the Assistant Dean of Students to the student conduct body/officer only after a finding of responsibility has been reached.

  G. Appeals

                          Appeals for Sexual Misconduct cases, refer to Section 48, Appeal process for cases involving sexual and interpersonal violence.

  1. Appeals may be taken from the final determinations of the Dean of Students on charges heard and determined by a Conduct Body or Officer only if suspension or expulsion has been imposed as a sanction and not deferred, and only if the charges were not initially heard and determined in a disciplinary conference.

            Any such appeal may be made only on one or more of the following grounds:
              a) There was significant procedural error of a nature sufficient to have materially and detrimentally affected the outcome.
              b) There is significant new evidence of which the appellant was not previously aware, that the appellant could not have discovered through the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the absence of which was sufficient to have materially and detrimentally affected the outcome.
             c) The sanction(s) imposed are grossly disproportionate to the charges found to have occurred. 

        2. Appeals from the decision of a College level student conduct body/officer (i.e., Student Conduct Committee or Dean's level hearing) shall be directed in writing to the Assistant Dean of Students by respondent within five (5) class days of the respondent’s receipt of the written decision. The Appellate Hearing Committee shall review the decision on the basis of consideration of procedural error, significant new evidence, and or grossly disproportionate sanction, and shall provide the Assistant Dean of Students with written explanation of any modification of the decision. In the absence of a timely appeal, the Dean of Students’ determination will be final and conclusive.

Upon receipt of an appeal that complies with these requirements, the Appellate Hearing Committee may decide it on the basis of the statement of appeal and the record, consult with Dean of Students, Student Conduct Committee, or other persons deemed appropriate; and/or grant the appellant a conference to explain appeal in person. The Appellate Hearing Committee may accept, modify, or reject the Dean of Students’ determination and/or may hear the case for further or new proceedings.

Notification of the Appellate Hearing Committee’s resolution of the appeal will be made by letter sent to the appellant’s SUNY Oswego email account by the Assistant Dean of Students. The respondent may request a review of the case by the President by submitting a request in writing to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. However, whether or not the case will be reviewed is the prerogative of the President. This appeal is final within the campus Student Conduct system.

      3. The submission of an appeal does not by itself prevent or defer implementation of the sanctions imposed by the Dean of Students. However, at the request of the appellant, the Dean of Students, in discretion and for good cause, may defer implementation of some or all of those sanctions during the pendency of the appeal.