The Susquehanna University Student Handbook is published by the Division of Student Life as the University’s official notification of regulations that concern student life at Susquehanna. Students are subject to the rules and regulations contained in the Handbook. Susquehanna makes every effort to provide accurate, current, and comprehensive information in this Handbook. The University reserves the right to change the rules governing admission, tuition, fees, courses, the granting of degrees, or any other regulations affecting its students. The Division of Student Life website contains the most current version of the Student Handbook.
1. GENERAL INFORMATION
Purpose of the Student Conduct System
As an educational institution, Susquehanna University seeks to encourage the intellectual and personal growth of its students as scholars and citizens.
Therefore, Susquehanna is committed to student engagement in achievement, leadership and service both in and out of the classroom. Choosing to join the Susquehanna University community requires each member to recognize and adhere to a Code of Student Conduct emphasizing personal responsibility, awareness of how one’s actions affect the community, and one’s personal growth both inside and outside the classroom. As positive community relations and personal responsibility continue to be valued off-campus, the university campus should not be viewed as a sanctuary where its citizens avoid responsibility to observe civil law.
This Code of Student Conduct seeks to promote these qualities, both as a means to individual fulfillment and to guide Susquehanna students in productive, creative, and reflective lives of achievement, leadership, and service in a diverse and interconnected world. Thus, students are expected to exhibit high standards of behavior and concern for others. The university has established a Code of Student Conduct, as well as other rules and regulations, which individuals, groups of students, and student teams or organizations are expected to observe.
Student conduct standards at Susquehanna University should not be equated to state or federal criminal Codes. Even in cases involving suspension or expulsion, our aims include education and student development as well as a just consequence. Our processes are focused on disciplined and courteous truth- seeking, not adversarial procedures. We conduct investigatory proceedings, conferences and hearings, not trials.
Students accused of Code of Student Conduct violations are entitled to the following:
- to be informed of the charge and alleged misconduct upon which the charge is based;
- an opportunity to offer a relevant response;
- an opportunity to call and pose questions for relevant witnesses;
- privacy, to the extent permitted by, and consistent with, applicable federal and state law;
- to request that any person conducting a conduct conference or serving as a hearing board member or conduct officer be disqualified on the ground of personal conflict;
- to be considered not responsible of the charge(s) until determined responsible by a preponderance of the evidence; and
- to be supported throughout the Code of Student Conduct process.
Authority for Student Conduct
Ultimate authority for the administration of student conduct policies is vested in the Board of Trustees of Susquehanna University. Conduct authority may be delegated to University administrators, faculty members, committees and organizations as set forth in this Code of Student Conduct, or in other appropriate policies, rules or regulations adopted by the board.
How to Report
Any person may report a student or a group of students, student team, or an organization suspected of violating this Code of Student Conduct to the Dean of Students & Campus Life or a designee. The university utilizes a secure online reporting system that all campus community members can access via mySU. Reporting links can be found on the Dean of Students & Campus Life mySU site. Students may also report in person to a student or professional Residence Life staff member or to Public Safety.
Those reporting cases are generally expected to serve as the complainant and to present relevant evidence in hearings or conferences. In cases that involve sexual misconduct or other egregious behavior that threatens safety of the community, the University may pursue the conduct process as the complainant.
If You Need to Report
Resources for Conduct Processes
The complainant and the respondent in a University Conduct Board may utilize resources such as pre-hearing meetings with a case manager; an advisor of their choice; or limited printed copies of the handbook. The Conduct Conference process and the Medical Amnesty Policy process do not necessarily utilize advisor roles.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Reasonable accommodations will be provided to students with disabilities in accordance with the applicable law. Students with disabilities who desire an accommodation in order to fully participate in the conduct process should contact the Director of Disabilities Services.
Interpretation of Regulations
The purpose of publishing student conduct regulations is to give students general notice of prohibited behavior. This Code of Student Conduct is not written with the specificity of a criminal statute.
The University reserves the right to take necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety, educational objectives and well-being of the campus community and its individual community members. Information that leads the Vice President for Student Life, hereafter referred to as the Vice President, or the Vice President’s designee to the determination that a student is a risk to harm others will be considered when determining future action. Such action may include pursuing disciplinary action through the Student Conduct System for any student, student organization, student team, or group of students’ violation of local, state or federal law— on- or off-campus, including university-sponsored activities or study away opportunities—that affects the university's educational interests. These include upholding the University’s initiatives to maintain positive town/gown relations and educate students on the importance of assuming the consequences of one’s own actions. This can include taking action after a student has graduated or withdrawn from the University based on actions committed while the individual was a student at the University.
Disciplinary Action while Criminal Charges Are Pending
Students may be accountable in criminal, civil, and university jurisdictions for acts that constitute violations of the law and of the Code of Student Conduct. Disciplinary action at the University will normally proceed during the pendency of criminal proceedings and will not be subject to challenge on the ground that criminal charges involving the same incident are ongoing, have been dismissed, or have been reduced.
In consultation with university officials, the Dean of Students & Campus Life, hereafter referred to as the Dean of Students, or designee may suspend a student from the university for an interim period or restrict participation in academic activities or other specific events. The interim measures shall become immediately effective without prior notice whenever there is evidence that the continued presence of the student at the university poses a substantial and immediate threat to self, to others or to the stability and continuance of normal university functions. Behavior that is egregious enough to negatively impact the larger community may also result in Interim Measures. Examples of Interim Measures include but are limited to Interim Suspension from campus; relocation within or removal from the residential community; No Contact Orders; restriction from participation in events or activities; or restriction from attending courses. The university is not responsible for providing off-campus housing arrangements for students who are removed from campus.
Appeal of an Interim Measure
A student suspended on an interim basis may request that the interim measure be lifted by addressing the Vice President or designee within 48 business hours from the effective date of suspension in writing. In cases where a student is charged with violating the Sexual Misconduct and Gender-Based Violence Policy, the complainant shall be informed of, and have an opportunity to respond to, any such request by the respondent. Every effort will be made to expedite the process to minimize any possible negative impacts on all involved parties. To lift an interim measure based upon a student’s request, the Vice President must determine either that:
- there is a legitimate concern with the reliability of the information concerning the student's conduct, including the matter of his or her identity; or
- the conduct and surrounding circumstances reasonably indicate that the continued presence of the student on university premises does not pose a substantial threat to others or the stability and continuance of normal university functions.
Standards of Classroom Behavior
The primary responsibility for managing the classroom environment rests with the faculty. Students who engage in any prohibited or unlawful acts that result in disruption of a class may be directed by the faculty member to leave the class for the remainder of the class period. Longer suspensions from a class or dismissal on disciplinary grounds must be proceeded by a University Conduct Board hearing.
Advisor of Choice: Both complainants and respondents may be assisted during the conduct process by an Advisor of Choice. The choice whether to or not to invite an advisor of choice is the student’s decision. An Advisor of Choice can be any member of the university community (faculty, staff, students). Advisors of Choice cannot be an attorney, a parent, or legal guardian. An Advisor of Choice can help in preparation before the hearing. Additionally, advisors are able to communicate quietly and through written notes during the hearing; however, they are not permitted to speak formally during the hearing. Even if accompanied by an advisor of choice, the parties, and not the advisor of choice, must respond to inquiries from the presiding conduct officer and the hearing board. The University may remove or dismiss an advisor of choice who becomes disruptive or who does not abide by the restrictions on their participation, as determined by the university official conducting the hearing.
Case Manager: The professional staff member assigned to hold pre-hearing meetings with participants in a University Conduct Board hearing (complainant/respondent/ witness) and who may be a resource for procedural questions to the participants prior to the hearing. The case manager does not advise the participants in decisions but provides information regarding procedures and helps the participants understand the process.
Conduct Conference: The process in which the allegations regarding a purported violation of the Code of Student Conduct are presented to the conduct officer (typically a designee of the Dean of Students) to determine if a violation(s) took place, the student accepts responsibility or is found responsible or not responsible for the violation, and, if responsible, what sanctions are appropriate. This meeting is between the conduct officer and the charged student(s).
Conduct officer: The individual conducting a Conduct Conference or chairing/facilitating a University Conduct Board hearing.
Complainant: The person(s) affected by a policy violation. There may be circumstances when the University will act as the complainant or in conjunction with another person as a co-complainant.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): Federal law passed in 1974 that defines education records and indicates who, and under what circumstances, an individual may have access to educational records.
Group of Students: A number of persons who are associated with each other, but who have not complied with University requirements for registration as an organization nor have a specific membership or team identity.
No Contact Order: A directive issued to a student and signed by a university official restricting specified contact with another student or a member of the faculty or staff. The terms of the order are provided in writing and served on the student either electronically or in-person. It does not directly represent a finding of fault by any specific party rather is issued due to a concern for safety or a need to stop on-going or prevent future concerning behavior. It may be expanded, extended or rescinded by the Dean of Students.
Organization/Team: A number of persons who have complied with university requirements for registration or participate in a recognized university team or organization.
Personal property: An individual’s physical property or electronic property including electronic data or storage devices.
Pre-hearing Meeting: The meeting scheduled by the case manager with the respondent and/or complainant prior to the University Conduct Board hearing. The goal of this meeting is to review the University Conduct Board hearing process, the case file, the charges, and ensure that the respondent/ complainant is fully informed of the procedures leading up to the hearing; during the hearing; and appeal process.
Preponderance of evidence: The level of proof used to determine the outcome of an Informal Resolution Conference, Conduct Conference, or a University Conduct Board Hearing. This standard indicates that the evidence presented is 50.1% likely to be true. (This standard is lower than “beyond a reasonable doubt.”)
Respondent: The student charged with violating one or more of the University’s policies or state, federal or local law.
Sanction: An outcome imposed for accepting responsibility or being found responsible for one or more violations of the Code of Student Conduct.
Student: Any person enrolled or auditing classes at the university (on- or off-campus) or is matriculated in any university program, even if on break or off-campus at the time.
University: Susquehanna University and all of its schools, divisions and programs (including programs for study away).
University Conduct Board Hearing: More structured process in which allegations of violations of the Code of Student Conduct are presented to a University Conduct Board to determine if violation(s) took place; a student accepts responsibility or is found responsible or not responsible for the violation; and, if responsible, what sanctions are appropriate. The Board determines responsibility and makes sanction recommendation to the Dean of Students who makes a final decision. The Board members may be faculty, staff or when appropriate students.
University Official: Any individual who is employed by Susquehanna University as a professional administrator, faculty member or staff member, which may include designated student employees.
University premises: Buildings or grounds owned, leased, operated, controlled or supervised by the university.
University sponsored activity: Any activity on or off university premises that is initiated or supervised by the university.
Witness: Either party may present witnesses who have relevant information to the outcome of the hearing. The investigator may meet with these witnesses to gather information and statements. Witnesses will only be present in the hearing at the beginning of the process and during their own statements.
2. EXPECTATIONS OF STUDENT CONDUCT
The following misconduct would constitute a violation in which a student, group of students, student team, or student organization could be found responsible and held accountable through the university conduct system.
Susquehanna University expects that all students will act in a manner that reflects personal and intellectual honesty.
A. Engaging in conduct that involves cheating, plagiarism, academic negligence or dishonesty.
B. Audio and video recording of class lectures, discussions, or presentations without prior written permission.
Respect for Self
Susquehanna University expects that all students will act in a manner that respects their own health and well-being, especially the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs.
- Engaging in conduct that threatens the health and safety of oneself.
- Engaging in irresponsible, unsafe or otherwise improper conduct involving illegal drugs or controlled substances on or off campus, including by the:
- Use, possession or distribution of illegal drugs or controlled substances or drug paraphernalia.
- Unauthorized possession, misuse, manufacturing, adulteration or redistribution of prescription or other legal drugs, synthetic drugs or household products.
- Operation of a vehicle or machinery while under the influence of illegal drugs or controlled substances.
- Engaging in irresponsible, unsafe or otherwise improper conduct involving alcohol on or off campus, including by:
- Purchasing, possessing, consuming or being under the influence of alcoholic beverages under 21 years of age.
- Serving, distributing, furnishing or otherwise providing alcohol to individuals under 21 years of age.
- Hosting, facilitating or otherwise participating in drinking games.
- Using devices or engaging in physical activities/actions designed for the rapid consumption of alcohol (e.g. funnels, beer bongs, etc.).
- Attempting to force or induce others to drink against their expressed desire.
- Serving or consuming alcohol from common-source containers (e.g. kegs, barrels, pails, punch bowls, etc.), except when expressly authorized by the University.
- Possessing alcoholic beverages in areas on campus other than where expressly permitted by University policy, including in the room of an underage student, in the public or similar common areas of residence halls and other university buildings, and outdoors on campus.
- Hosting, facilitating or otherwise participating in on-campus events or parties involving alcohol that have not received required University authorization.
- Level of intoxication representing a danger to personal health or safety.
- Public drunkenness.
- Open alcohol containers in non-controlled public areas.
- Possessing or consuming beverages containing grain alcohol.
- Operating a vehicle or machinery while under the influence of alcohol.
Respect for Others
Susquehanna University expects that all students will act in a civil manner that reflects maturity, social responsibility, and respect for others, the Selinsgrove community and the Susquehanna Community.
- Engaging in behavior that threatens or is perceived to threaten the health and safety of others.
- Violating the Anti-Hazing Policy outlined in this Student Handbook.
- Making, distributing, or publishing a media recording of any person without that person’s consent and/ or prior knowledge (e.g. audio, pictures, video, Google Glass), including through social media or electronic means, the attempt of a student, group of students or student organization to create an intimidating or hostile situation that interferes with the person’s ability to function in the academic or residential setting. This includes direct or indirect contact through social media, or other electronic means.
- Possession of a weapon or use of an object as a weapon. A weapon is defined as any object or substance used to threaten harm, inflict a wound or cause injury. Prohibited items include, but are not limited to any type of gun, daggers, knives with blades over 5” long, or any other similar object or substance prohibited by law. This definition can also apply to any common object or substance if used to threaten harm, wound or cause injury even if the object is allowed on campus.
Respect for Others-Sexual Misconduct
- Violating the Sexual Misconduct & Gender-Based Violence Policy as outlined in this Student Handbook.
Respect for Others-Bias-related Incidents
- Violating the Anti-Harassment and Nondiscrimination Policy as outlined in this Student Handbook.
- In accordance with Susquehanna University’s Statement on Diversity and Inclusiveness, any action that seeks to "marginalize individuals and groups because of such differences as gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, social class, marital and parental status, disability, age, religion, geography, and national origin."
Respect for Community
Susquehanna University expects that all students will act in accordance to university policies as well as federal/state/local laws and to demonstrate citizenship and respect for the greater community at all times.
- Intentionally or recklessly interfering with normal university or university-sponsored activities, including, but not limited to, studying, teaching, research and university administration, and fire, police and emergency services.
- Knowingly violating the terms of any sanction imposed in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct or any interim measures, an interim suspension or suspension from campus as set forth in the interim measures letter or in the case of an immediate interim suspension, as instructed verbally by the Dean of Students or designee.
- Intentionally furnishing false information to the university, university official, or local/state/federal agency. This includes but is not limited to:
- Providing a false statement or report during a university investigation or knowingly withholding pertinent information.
- Forgery, unauthorized alteration or unauthorized use of any university document or university or government-issued instrument of identification.
- Intentionally initiating or causing to be initiated any false report, including a threat of fire, explosion or other emergency.
- Willfully disrespecting or failing to comply with the reasonable directions of law enforcement or university officials, including Public Safety officers, professional and student staff, who are acting in performance of their duties.
- Violations of other published university regulations or policies filed with the Dean of Students & Campus Life. Such regulations or policies may include but are not limited to the Information Technology policy, Dining Service regulations, Garret Sports and Fitness Complex rules, Residence Life policies or policies from the Office of Global Programs, the Department of Public Safety’s parking policy, as well as those regulations relating to entry and use of university facilities and regulations governing student organizations.
- Violating federal, state, or local laws.
Respect for Property
Susquehanna University expects all students to demonstrate respect for personal property, community property and university property.
- Theft and/or unauthorized access to or use of personal property, university property or services; knowingly possessing stolen property.
- Intentionally or recklessly destroying or damaging university property, including tampering with fire safety equipment, or the personal property of others.
3. UNIVERSITY CONDUCT PROCESS
Susquehanna has a three-level conduct system. Depending on the alleged violation, number of violations, and student conduct history, a student may have an Informal Resolution, a Conduct Conference or a University Conduct Board Hearing.
The purpose of campus conduct proceedings is to provide an evaluation of a respondent’s responsibility for violating university regulations. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applied, nor shall deviations from prescribed procedures necessarily invalidate a decision, unless significant prejudice to a participant or the university may result.
Conference and Hearing Board Referrals
The Dean of Students or designee will conduct a preliminary review to determine whether the alleged violation might result in expulsion or suspension from the university. On a case-by-case basis, student(s) who are charged with non-academic offenses will receive a charge letter outlining the violation, then be referred to a professional staff member for a Conduct Conference or to a University Conduct Board hearing. Students who, based on alleged violations, may be subject to suspension or expulsion will in all cases be entitled to a hearing before the University Conduct Board.
The Dean of Students or designee may defer proceedings for alleged non-academic violations of the Code of Student Conduct that may result in penalties less than expulsion or suspension for a period not to exceed 90 days. Pending charges may be withdrawn thereafter, in the discretion of the Dean of Students or designee.
Informal Resolution Process
Students confronted by staff or Public Safety for minor Code of Student Conduct violations and who comply with requests to stop behavior will receive an Informal Resolution Process letter from the Dean of Students. The Informal Resolution Process can also be utilized for violations found during building safety and security inspections. Examples of such minor violations include, but are not limited to, minor noise, hall sports, tapestries on ceilings or candles. Documentation and outcome letters will be placed in student files in the online, secure conduct management system.
Students charged with non-academic offenses that may result in penalties less than expulsion or suspension are subject to a Conduct Conference with a professional staff member. Students who fail to attend their Conduct Conference may have the outcome of their meeting decided without the benefit of their input.
Conduct Conference Procedures
- The respondent will receive written notice via their Susquehanna email account of the specific charges at least three business days prior to the scheduled conference.
- The respondent, complainant, and the conduct conference officers will have reasonable access to the case file, redacted as appropriate, prior to and during the conference. Note that students may not make copies of their case file or record the file in part or whole in any method. The case file consists of materials which would be considered “education records,” pursuant to FERPA therefore review is limited to the above-named conduct process participants; personal notes of university staff members or complainants are not included.
- The respondent will meet with the conduct conference officer to discuss the charges, engage in a dialogue about the event and decisions that lead to the event, review all possible sanctions and discuss the conduct file. This is meant to be a meaningful conversation between the professional staff member and the respondent but also about decision-making.
- The conduct conference officer will render a decision at the conference of Responsible or Not Responsible or the respondent can accept responsibility for their actions. Once this has been determined, the officer will issue sanctions and discuss any timelines for which sanctions may need to be completed as well as the implications of any Primary Sanction issued. It is important that if there is a Restriction or Revocation of Privileges that the student has a clear explanation prior to the end of the conference.
- • The respondent will receive a written statement with the sanctions at the time of the conference as well as a formal letter outlining the decision, the sanctions and the appeal process via email within 24 to 48 hours after the conference. Students are encouraged to seek clarification or ask for extensions for sanctions as needed.
University Conduct Board
The university conduct boards will be trained and convened by the Dean of Students or designee. The university conduct board reviews alleged violations in an effort to determine if violations took place and what appropriate sanctions should be assigned. Students who are subject to suspension or expulsion will be entitled to a hearing before the appropriate University Conduct Board.
- University Conduct Board: The board shall consist of a group of five trained members (two students, two faculty or staff members, and a Board Chairperson). A quorum shall consist of three members, with at least one student present.
- Ad Hoc Hearing Board: An ad hoc hearing board may be established by the Dean of Students or designee whenever the University Conduct Board is not constituted, is unable to obtain a quorum or is otherwise unable to hear a case. An ad hoc hearing board shall be composed of three members, including at least one student. In cases where a student is charged with violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the ad hoc hearing board shall be composed of three faculty and/ or staff
- Dean of Students: if students accept responsibility for all charges, they may request to see the Dean for sanctioning.
Hearing Board Procedures
The following procedural guidelines shall be applicable in hearings conducted by the University Conduct Board:
- The Dean of Students or designee shall give respondents and complainants (if applicable) notice of the hearing date and the specific charges against the respondent a minimum of five business days in advance for a university conduct board. Notice shall be sent through the student’s Susquehanna University e-mail address. Respondents and complainants shall be accorded reasonable access to the case file, which will be retained in the Office of Student Life. Respondents, complainants, and the board members/chairs shall have reasonable access to the case file, redacted as appropriate, prior to the university conduct board hearing.
- The Dean of Students or designee may require the appearance of relevant witnesses. Such requirements will be sent through the individuals’ Susquehanna University e-mail address. University students and employees are expected to comply with such requirements, unless compliance would result in significant and unavoidable personal hardship or substantial interference with normal university activities, as determined by the Vice President or designee.
- Professional staff will perform in the capacity of a conduct board chairperson. The conduct board chairperson shall conduct the hearing, may participate in board deliberations and participates as a full member of the board.
- Respondents who fail to appear after proper notice will be deemed to have pled “not responsible” to the charge(s) pending against them. A hearing may be conducted in their absence.
- There may be occasions where respondents withdraw from the university prior to the resolution of disciplinary proceedings. The university reserves the right to proceed with referrals and proceedings as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct, notwithstanding such withdrawals. Moreover, no respondents who have withdrawn from the university while disciplinary proceedings were pending against them may be readmitted to the university without a resolution of all disciplinary matters that were pending at the time of the respondents’ withdrawal, including, where appropriate, a hearing.
- In board proceedings where the respondent “Accepts Responsibility” for violating prohibited conduct or other campus policies, respondents take responsibility for violating the entirety of the policy as outlined in the hearing notification provided by the Dean of Students or designee. The board members allow for closing statements and any clarifying questions the board members have before moving to deliberations about sanction recommendations. The Dean of Students will issue the final sanction letter to the respondent’s SU email account or, when appropriate, in person.
- Hearings will be closed to the public including family members of the complainant or the respondent.
- The conduct board chairperson shall exercise control over the proceedings to avoid needless consumption of time and to achieve orderly completion of the hearing. Any person, including the respondent, complainant, witness, or advisor of choice, who disrupts a hearing may be excluded by the conduct board chairperson and the hearing will continue as scheduled.
- Hearings shall be recorded by the university only. Recordings will be made available to respondents and, if applicable, complainants upon written request to the Dean of Students, but may not be copied or stored outside of the Office of Student Life. When requested, hearing recordings can be transcribed.
- Any party may challenge a hearing board member or conduct board chairperson on the ground of personal bias or conflict of interest. The Dean’s office notifies complainants and respondents of their board members and conduct board chairperson prior to the hearing. Students should notify the Dean’s office of any personal bias or conflicts of interest in writing, including the grounds for disqualification, within 48 hours of receiving the board member notification.
- Complainants, respondents, and witnesses shall be asked to affirm that their testimony is truthful and may be subject to charges of violating this Code by intentionally providing false information to the university.
- Witnesses, unlike the complainant and the respondent, may be excluded from the hearing except during opening remarks by the Chair and when they are giving their statements. All parties, including the respondent, complainant, witnesses and advisor of choice shall be excluded during board deliberations, which shall not be recorded or transcribed.
- Statements deemed unduly repetitious or irrelevant by the conduct board chairperson will be excluded.
- Complainants and respondents (not their advisor of choice) will be accorded an opportunity to ask relevant questions of those witnesses who testify at the hearing.
- Board members may ask questions of the parties and all witnesses. Board members will ask questions that will help them gain useful information, a deeper understanding of the case and to help clarify vague issues.
- Disciplinary record of the respondent will only be supplied to the board during deliberations following the respondent accepting responsibility or after a determination of “responsible” is decided upon by the board.
- Any determination of responsibility will be supported by brief written findings that will be placed in the case file and made available to the respondent, if requested, after the final decision is rendered by the Dean of Students.
- Both the findings and the sanctions determined by the University Conduct Board shall be regarded as recommendations to the Dean of Students. The Dean will provide the respondents their official sanction through their Susquehanna e-mail address or, when deemed appropriate by the Dean, in person.
4. APPEAL PROCESS
A decision made by a university conduct board may be appealed to the Vice President for Student Life or designee. Decisions for a Conduct Conference may be appealed to the Dean of Students & Campus Life or designee. The implementation of sanctions will be deferred during the pendency of the review, unless the sanction of suspension or expulsion is imposed. In cases of suspension or expulsion, the student is immediately removed from campus pending the completion of the appeal process. Appeals may be based only on the following grounds:
- material procedural error that likely would have significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing;
- new relevant evidence to present that was previously unavailable and likely would have significantly impacted the outcome of a hearing; or
- sanctions imposed were substantially disproportionate to the findings.
- Within five business days from the date the conduct decision is issued, the respondent shall submit a written statement to the Vice President or Dean of Students requesting review of the decision or sanction and detailing the grounds for appeal.
- The Vice President or Dean of Students may request additional information from the conduct board/officer or others, if deemed necessary in reviewing the appeal request and making a determination.
- The Vice President or Dean of Students will typically decide the appeal within ten business days.
- If the Vice President or Dean of Students determines there was procedural error that likely would have significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing, the Vice President or Dean of Students will order a new hearing before a new Conduct Board/Officer.
- If the Vice President or Dean of Students determines that previously unavailable relevant information is presented that likely would have significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing, the Vice President or Dean of Students will ask the original Conduct Board/Officer to consider the information and render a determination after considering the new information.
- If the Vice President or Dean of Students determines the sanction substantially disproportionate to the findings, the Vice President or Dean of Students may revise the sanction or order a new hearing before a new Conduct Board/Officer solely for the purpose of sanctioning.
- The Vice President or Dean of Students will provide written notification (which may include by email) of the result of the appeal to the Respondent. The complainant, if any, will be notified to the extent consistent with law. All appeal decisions are final.
There are six primary conduct sanctions (Disciplinary Warning, Disciplinary Reprimand, Disciplinary Probation, Disciplinary Suspension, Disciplinary Deferred Suspension, and Expulsion) that are accumulative and kept in the student’s conduct file while a student and seven years post departure with the exception of expulsion which is reflected on the student’s record permanently. Sanctions imposed in accordance with this Code of Student Conduct are applied to individual students, group of students, student teams, or student organizations for one to two semesters.
Failure to complete sanctions by their assigned due date and/or according to instruction may result in additional conduct proceedings; fines and/or the Dean of Students placing a Hold on the student’s University record which affects their ability to register for classes with the Registrar. The Dean of Students will lift the Hold once sanctions are completed as originally instructed. Violations of the Code of Student Conduct may result in appropriate sanctions from the university, unless specific and significant mitigating factors are present. Attempts to commit acts prohibited by this code may be sanctioned to the same extent as completed violations.
- Primary Sanctions
- Disciplinary Warning: Notice, orally or in writing, that continuation or repetition of prohibited conduct may be cause for additional disciplinary action.
- Disciplinary Reprimand: A written reprimand for violation of specified regulations, including a warning that continuation or repetition of prohibited conduct may be cause for additional disciplinary action, including disciplinary probation.
- Disciplinary Probation: A trial period during which a student must behave in a manner acceptable to the University. This period can include exclusion from participation in privileged or co-curricular institutional activities for a specified period of time. Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed. Violations of the terms of disciplinary probation, or any other violation of this Code of Student Conduct during the period of probation, may result in additional sanctions including suspension or expulsion from the university. Under the status of disciplinary probation, a student is encouraged to seek advice and counsel from appropriate university officials. Disciplinary probation status may also affect qualifications for some awards, prizes or financial aid, particularly those stipulating conduct acceptable to the university. Disciplinary Probation can affect a student’s ability to apply for or participate in GO Programs.
- Disciplinary Suspension: Temporary separation from university premises, and other privileges or activities, as set forth in the suspension notice. Students who are suspended are not permitted to participate in any University activities, academic or non-academic, during the suspension timeframe. They may not take part in any official exercise, including commencement. Suspended students are not allowed on Susquehanna University’s premises during their suspension unless prior approval has been granted by the Dean of Students. Any request for the privilege of visiting Susquehanna during the suspension must be received in writing at least seven business days prior to the requested date by the Dean of Students. Is should be understood that the submission of a request does not guarantee approval. The Dean may require the student requesting the privilege meet prior to the date. Decisions regarding the request will be communicated to the student and appropriate university staff.
- Disciplinary Deferred Suspension: The sanction of disciplinary suspension may be placed in deferred status for a limited period of time. During this period of time, the student is on notice that any further violations of the Code of Student Conduct will result in the suspension that was originally defined becoming effective immediately without further review. Disciplinary Deferred Suspension may not be imposed for longer than one regular semester. If this sanction is imposed during a semester, it may be imposed for the remainder of that semester and one additional semester.
- Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status and exclusion from university premises, privileges and activities including, but not limited to: receipt of Susquehanna University degree, registration, class attendance, residence in university-owned housing and use of university facilities. A student who has been expelled is not eligible for readmission. Students expelled from Susquehanna University are not allowed on Susquehanna University’s premises and will receive a No Trespass Order from Public Safety. Expulsion will be kept on file in the Student Life Office, will remain in the student’s conduct record permanently, and will be reflected on transcripts.
- Secondary Sanctions
in addition to a primary sanction, students may also receive one or more of the following:
- Restriction or Revocation of Privileges: The recommendation to withdraw a privilege, use of a service, participation in a program, event or activity for a specific period of time. The loss of privilege may prohibit participation in off-campus study (GO Program). Restrictions include, but are not limited to, registering or taking part in organizational or university social activities, the use of a particular university facility, guest privileges or parking privileges.
- Restitution: Repayment to the university or to an affected party for damages resulting from a violation of this code. Restitution can occur at any level.
- Parental Notification: A letter or phone call notifying a parent or guardian of a dependent student (at the time notification is made) that he or she has committed a violation of law or university policy pertaining to drugs or alcohol or any violation that may result in suspension or expulsion from the University.
- Educational Sanctions: Additional sanctions may be imposed instead of or in addition to those specified in sections (a) through (i) of this part. Service, research projects or educational programs or activities, including but not limited to, an educational seminar, a treatment program for alcohol or drug abuse or psychological assessments may also be assigned.
- Fines: Fines or administrative fees may be imposed separately or in addition to any other sanction(s). The conduct officer or conduct board shall determine the amount of the fine. A fine requires a student or student organization to pay a sum of money. The fines listed below may be assessed at the discretion of the Dean of Students or their designee and are subject to change.
- Sanctions for organizations only
- Termination of Recognition: an order terminating university recognition of a registered student organization for a specific or indefinite period of time
- Organization Accountability Plan: Organizations who accept responsibility or are found responsible may also be given an Organizational Accountability Plan, which is designed to educate the members of the organization and encourage their reflection on the organization’s campus community role. An accountability plan could include but is not limited the following items:
- National/ International office and/ or Advisor notification
- Fines, fees or restitution for loss, damages, or actual expenses incurred as a result of the organization’s behavior
- Letter of apology to an individual, an entity, or organization impacted by the organization’s behavior
- Social event restrictions which may include organizational events and processes
- Removal of specific members or officers
- Mandatory educational programming or workshops
- Loss of privileges for a designated time, including housing, university space reservations, new member recruitment, activity participation and event attendance
Alcohol Violations Sanctioning Guidelines
The sanctions below are guidelines and may be altered at the discretion of the conduct officer or conduct board or combined with sanctions listed elsewhere in the Code of Student Conduct. Harm to others or property are considered an aggravated violation and may increase a sanction level if found responsible. Sanctions may be modified based on the severity of the incident, the impact on the community and the student’s Student Conduct history.
Level 1A (significant)
Level 2A (serious)
Level 3A (dangerous)
Disciplinary warning/reprimand, parent notification, educational sanctions
Disciplinary reprimand/ probation, parent notification, educational sanctions, alcohol assessment, fine
Disciplinary probation/suspension, parent notification, educational sanctions, alcohol assessment
Disciplinary reprimand, parent notification, educational sanctions
Disciplinary probation, parent notification, alcohol assessment, fine
Suspension, parent notification
Disciplinary probation, parent notification, alcohol assessment
Suspension, parent notification, fine
Examples of behavior that falls into the above categories
- Significant: alcohol possession, actions under the influence.
- Serious: medical attention or hospital visit for alcohol reasons, arrest, behavior that negatively impacts the community.
- Dangerous: serious medical attention required, arrest, vehicular accident while under the influence of alcohol.
Drug Violations Sanction Guidelines
The sanctions below are guidelines and may be altered at the discretion of the conduct officer or conduct board or combined with sanctions listed elsewhere in the Code of Student Conduct. Harm to others or property are considered an aggravated violation and may increase a sanction level if found responsible. Sanctions may be modified based on the severity of the incident, the impact on the community and the student’s Student Conduct history.
Level 1D (significant)
Level 2D (serious)
Level 3D (dangerous)
Disciplinary warning/reprimand, parent notification, online educational module, other educational sanctions
Disciplinary reprimand/ probation, parent notification, educational sanctions, fines, assessment by a professional therapist
Interim suspension, suspension, expulsion, parent notification
Examples of behavior that falls into the above categories
- Significant: possession of drug paraphernalia without residue/evidence of drugs, misuse of prescription drug or over the counter medication or household products.
- Serious: possession of, use of, or under the influence of a controlled substance.
- Dangerous: repeated use of a controlled substance, irresponsible or unsafe behavior while under the influence of a controlled substance, sale or distribution of a controlled substance.
5. ALTERNATE PROCESSES
In some instances, interpersonal conflicts may arise where mediation may prove to be an alternative to disciplinary action. The purpose of the mediation process is to promote reconciliation or bring together parties who have a conflict for the purpose of resolving that conflict and effecting an agreement. This process also affords the opportunity for discussion of varying points of view and encourages individuals to come forward to seek resolution. Any written agreement resulting from the conflict mediation process can be enforced through the conduct system of the university. Parties to the agreement are responsible for upholding the terms of that agreement.
The following applies to the conflict mediation process:
- The mediation process is not intended to replace the judicial system. Rather, it affords an alternative for the resolution of interpersonal student or student organization conflicts.
- Students or student organizations may bring to mediation any conflict that materially and negatively impacts their own status or that of other members of the university community. Any member of the university community may, likewise, refer students for mediation.
- Conflict mediators include members of the Student Life Division. Students or student organizations should contact the Dean of Students for an up-to-date listing of mediators.
- If mediation is to be implemented, all parties in conflict must agree to the process as an option to resolving their dispute. Mediation, when chosen as a means to settle conflict, must precede the judicial process. The judicial process, however, remains an option should mediation prove unsuccessful or if all parties do not agree to mediation.
- If a settlement is reached which is agreeable to all parties in conflict, the terms will be drafted by the mediator. The document will be signed by all parties, witnessed by the mediator and kept on file in the Student Life Office for as long as the students are enrolled as students or the student organization continues to be recognized. Each party receives a copy of the agreement.
- Details of the process are kept confidential except for a brief report from the mediator to any referring party and the appropriate administrator(s) that an agreement has been signed by the parties. The mediator will also report to the above parties if an impasse is reached and no agreement is forthcoming. This permits further exploration of other options for resolution of the conflict. If, however, a threat to the health, safety or security of any member of the university community becomes a concern to the mediator, he or she will inform the parties that appropriate authorities must be notified.
- Once an agreement has been finalized and signed, the option of bringing a charge through the judicial process is open to either party who becomes convinced that a term of the agreement has been breached by a participant in that agreement. In order to proceed, however, individuals must be continuing students. A mediator must affirm that the violation has occurred and will then share the terms of the agreement with the appropriate conduct officer or judicial board. Another option for the resolution of a breach of a mediated agreement is to resubmit the conflict for a second mediation intervention. One party may request this, but all parties must agree. The revision or the redrafting of the agreement may be handled by the original mediator or may be referred to another mediator.
MEDICAL AMNESTY POLICY
When it comes to alcohol or drug-related medical emergencies, Susquehanna University recognizes the possibility that some students may be reluctant to seek assistance out of fear that they may face sanctions through the student conduct process. The University seeks to remove barriers that prevent students from seeking the medical attention they need.
When someone is in need of medical assistance due to alcohol and/or other drug use, individuals should always call 911 to contact trained medical emergency personnel.
- Students who seek emergency medical assistance for themselves for potential health risks related to the use of alcohol and/or drugs will not be charged with violations of the Student Code of Conduct related to consumption of alcohol or other drugs.
- Students who seek emergency medical assistance for someone else for potential health risks related to the use of alcohol and/or drugs will not be charged with violations of the Student Code of Conduct related to consumption of alcohol or other drugs, so long as the student remains with the other student until help arrives and fully cooperates with University and emergency officials. In this situation, the student for whom the call was made will not be charged with violations of the Student Code of Conduct related to consumption of alcohol or other drugs.
- Student Organizations are required to seek immediate medical assistance for their members or guests when any potential health risk is observed, including medical emergencies related to the use of alcohol and/or drugs. If leadership of a recognized student organization seeks emergency medical assistance for someone attending the organization’s function because of potential health risks related to the attendee’s use of alcohol and/or drugs, then the organization will not be charged with violations of the Student Code of Conduct related to registered events or consumption of alcohol. A student organization that fails to seek assistance for a member or guest in need may be charged with violations of the Code Student of Conduct. It is paramount that organizations seek assistance in any emergency situation. In this situation, the attendee for whom the call was made will not be charged with violations of the Student Code of Conduct related to consumption of alcohol or other drugs.
Importantly, in the situations described above, while not resulting in official charges or sanctions, all students seeking or receiving amnesty from disciplinary action under this Policy must meet with a university official within the Division of Student Life. This meeting may result in required educational outcomes related to the health and wellness of involved students. Failure to complete the educational outcomes may result in disciplinary action.
Additional Amnesty Information:
- This policy does not apply to students experiencing an alcohol or drug-related medical emergency who are found by University officials, including student staff, law enforcement officials, or individuals not associated with the University.
- A student organization that fails to seek assistance for a member or guest in need may be charged with violations of the Student Code of Conduct. It is paramount that organizations seek assistance in any emergency situation.
- Students are not limited to one use of this policy, as the expectation is students should always feel empowered to help those in need.
- This policy is subject to the discretion of the Vice President for Student Life who may decide to overturn amnesty based on the health and safety of the student(s) involved.
- This policy does not preclude the University from taking disciplinary action for other Prohibited Conduct that may be associated with the incident and outlined in the Student Handbook, including but not limited to damage to property, supplying alcohol or other drugs, sexual misconduct, theft, harassment, or assault.
- Students should be aware that the University does not control action taken by local or state law enforcement officials.
Notification of Conduct Outcomes and Sanctions to individuals other than Respondent
The outcome and sanctions of a conduct process are considered part of the educational records of the respondent(s) and is protected under FERPA, except under certain conditions.
Complainant’s Right to Receive Notification of Conduct Outcomes and Sanctions
As allowed by FERPA, when a student accepts responsibility for or is found responsible of a violation of the Code of Student Conduct that would constitute a crime of violence or forcible or non-forcible sex offense, Susquehanna University will inform the victim or party serving as complainant in the process in writing of the outcome of the conduct process.
FERPA defines “crimes of violence” to include:
- Assault offenses (including stalking)
- Criminal Homicide-manslaughter by negligence
- Criminal Homicide-murder and non-negligent manslaughter
- Destruction/ damage/ vandalism of property
- Kidnapping/ abduction
- Forcible sex offenses
- Non-forcible sex offenses
Maintenance of Conduct Records
Student conduct records are maintained in a secure online file management system by the Office of the Dean of Students. In order to verify compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, all student conduct records are retained for seven (7) years after student’s last enrollment. These records are only released to the authorities to which information must be made available under federal and/or state law or as otherwise required or permitted by law. Generally, sanctions of disciplinary warning and reprimand are not reported unless specifically requested by the student.
Student Files and Degrees, Student File Encumbrances
In pending cases that could result in suspension or expulsion, a temporary encumbrance may be placed on a student's records by the Dean of Students or designee.
Revocation of degrees
The university reserves the right to revoke an awarded degree for fraud in receipt of the degree or for serious conduct violations committed by a student prior to the student's graduation.