Conduct Process


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set of justice scales sitting on a table
Hearing: an educational conversation about an incident or complaint.
Procedures
Informal Hearing
Formal Hearing
Appeals Process
Student Rights
Outcome
Sanctions

Conduct Language Guide

Complainant: the individual(s) or organization which brought forward the alleged charge. The University may also act as the complainant.
Respondent: the individual(s) or organization that is facing charges for allegedly violating the Student Conduct Code.
Charge: a portion of the Student Conduct Code allegedly violated.
Hearing: an educational conversation about an incident or complaint.
Sanction: the outcome of a determination of responsibility.

Procedures

The Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution will facilitate a prompt, fair, and impartial process from the initial report/referral to the final result. The process is conducted by officials who do not have a conflict of interest or bias against the parties involved. The student conduct process is comprised of the following three levels:

Informal Hearing
Formal Hearing
Appeals Process

A visual process flow chart of the student conduct process as described below the image.

Student conduct flow chart over fogged in Duluth lift bridge photo.

Informal Hearing:

During the administrative meeting, the incident report and the rights and responsibilities of the respondent are reviewed. Questions regarding the conduct process are answered. A respondent may then:

Accept informal resolution and request the hearing officer take appropriate action.
Reject informal resolution and invoke their right to a formal hearing with the Student Hearing Panel.

If during the administrating hearing, the hearing officer finds that no violation of the Student Conduct Code occurred, no further action will be taken and the case will be closed.

NOTE: A student may take up to five calendar days to accept or reject the informal resolution offered in the administrative meeting. At the expiration of five calendar days, any lack of response will be deemed an acceptance of the resolution.

NOTE: Failure to attend an administrative meeting may result in (1) a hold being placed on the respondent’s account, and/or (2) a decision rendered in the respondent's absence.

Formal Hearing:

The Student Hearing Panel (SHP) is the formal hearing body at UMD. SHP assists in implementing the Board of Regents Student Conduct Code and University Policy. SHP is comprised of trained students, staff, and faculty. Members are appointed by OSCCR. This is done through referrals and selection with appointments made for a semester or longer, as well as ad-hoc. The hearing panel is chosen for each hearing based on its availability in scheduling. The chairperson may be a student, staff, or faculty. The Director for The Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution, or designee, serves as advisor to SHP in order to provide procedural clarity and direction, but is not a participating member in the deliberations.

If a student invokes their right to a formal hearing, the case will be referred to SHP. The accused student has the right to:

  • Hear a summary of the allegations
  • Present their own response, including calling witnesses;
  • Be accompanied by an advisor in a non-participatory role;
  • Question participants and information presented;
  • Receive written notice of the hearing committee’s decision;
  • Appeal, if responsibility is determined,and if there are grounds for an appeal. 

A notice of hearing will be provided to the complainant and respondent in advance of the hearing. The hearing is closed. Parties may have one support person present but the support person cannot actively participate in the hearing process.

In order to acquire the best information upon which to base decisions, it is important that both the respondent and the complainant to fully participate in the hearing. The respondent may choose not to appear at the hearing, but the hearing will be held in the respondent’s absence. In contrast, should the complainant fail to appear at the hearing, the hearing body may postpone or dismiss the case.

The respondent is expected to provide the hearing panel with the following at least 24 hours prior to the hearing: any material, the names of the witnesses and/or support person, if any, as well as the parties intentions relative to appearing/participating in the hearing.

The panel determines a finding of not responsible or responsible with appropriate sanctions. The Student Hearing Panel has autonomy in their decisions, through expulsion.

Appeals Process:

After a decision is made by the hearing officer or Student Hearing Panel, the respondent has the right to file an appeal. In cases of sexual assault and sexual harassment, both the complainant and respondent have the right to an appeal. Appellate review generally is a review of the record to determine whether a serious error occurred in the original proceeding that resulted in unfairness. Appellate review respects the credibility judgments of the hearing body, and respects the hearing body's determinations as long as there is any evidence to reasonably support them. The Student Appeals Panel (SAP) is responsible for making a deliberative judgment regarding the specific grounds appealed - not to rehear the complaint. The hearing panel may uphold, reduce, or increase the sanctions imposed by the prior hearing party.

Appeals must be made in writing within 5 week days of the date of the outcome letter using the appeal petition. Appeals may be based on the following grounds:

  • New information became available that was not known at the time of the hearing;
  • A major procedural error was made, or;
  • The sanction assigned was inconsistent with current sanctioning.

Once an appeal has been received by OSCCR, the Student Appeals Panel (SAP) will convene to review the appeal. The role of SAP is to deliberate judgment regarding the specific grounds appealed and not to rehear the complaint. To decide an appeal, the appellate body reviews the written appeal submitted by the appellant and may review any or all portions of the record as appropriate to decide the appeal. The panel may uphold, reduce or increase sanctions imposed by the prior hearing party or remand the case to be heard by a new hearing body. SAP has autonomy through suspension, with expulsions made in the form of a recommendation to the Vice Chancellor for Student Life. The Student Educational Experience Committee administers the appeals process and the Committee has the authority to appoint additional appellate body members from the campus community to serve on SAP per UMD Shared Governance Bylaws.


Student Rights:

The University will protect the rights of all parties involved to the best of its ability. The rights of parties involved include, but are not limited to, the following:

Shared Rights. All parties have the right to:

  • have the incident taken seriously and be treated with dignity,
  • have an advocate or support person in a non-participatory role with you during all meetings or hearings,
  • receive referrals for confidential medical and counseling services and other support systems,
  • have the report investigated and responded to in a timely manner, and
  • an opportunity to tell your side of the story (share your perspective).

Respondents have the right to:

  • know the name of the complainant–but you do not have the right to confront your accuser by any method (e.g., in person, phone, text message, e-mail, etc.),
  • be informed that you may appeal a sanction imposed by the hearing party, and
  • have their case reviewed by the Appeals Panel.

Complainants have the right to:

  • not be coerced into filing a formal police report,
  • be informed of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding against the respondent (sex, gender, or violence situations only),
  • receive information on victim/survivor advocate support,
  • be notified of options/accomodations for changing academic and living situations, and
  • appeal the decision of the hearing party (sex or gender situations only).

Outcome of charges

In cases that involve policy violation(s) in which the outcome is subject to disclosure under The Clery Act (1990, as amended) or the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, The Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution shall notify the Respondent and/or Complainant of the outcome of the proceedings.

Sanctions

A sanction is the outcome of a determination of responsibility. In most cases, two sanctions are issued. First, a status-based sanction is decided upon. This could include a warning, probation, suspension, expulsion, or others. Then, an educational sanction is imposed. Educational sanctions are unique to each case and attempt to best suit each individual's needs.