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, and deviations from prescribed procedures shall not necessarily invalidate a decision, unless significant prejudice to a participant or the university may result.
Conference and Hearing Board Referrals
The Community Standards Officer 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 Community Standards Officer 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 ninety (90) days. Pending charges may be withdrawn thereafter, in the discretion of the Vice President for Student Life & Dean of Students or designee.
Types of Violations and Where They Are Referred
The hearing process will depend on student conduct history and severity of violation.
- Minor Alcohol
- Minor Drugs
- Disordering Conduct
- Residence Hall Policies
- Minor Violation of Student Expectations
University Conduct Board
- Significant Alcohol
- Significant Amounts/Drug Selling/ Trafficking
- Physical Violence
- Bias Incidents
- Academic Integrity
Outside Hearing Officer
- Title IX Sexual Harassment
- Community Standards
- Sexual Misconduct & Gender-Based Violence
Informal Resolution Process
Students confronted by staff or Campus 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 Community Standards Officer. 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 (3) 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 Community Standards Officer 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 Vice President for Student Life & 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.
- Community Standards Officer: if students accept responsibility for all charges, they may request to see the Vice President for Student Life & Dean for sanctioning.
Hearing Board Procedures
The following procedural guidelines shall be applicable in hearings conducted by the University Conduct Board:
- The Community Standards Officer 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 (5) 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 Community Standards Officer 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 for Student Life & Dean of Students 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 Vice President for Student Life & 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 Vice President for Student Life & 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 Community Standards Officer, 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 Community Standards office notifies complainants and respondents of their board members and conduct board chairperson prior to the hearing. Students should notify the Community Standards office of any personal bias or conflicts of interest in writing, including the grounds for disqualification, within forty-eight (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 Vice President for Student Life & Dean of Students.
- Both the findings and the sanctions determined by the University Conduct Board shall be regarded as recommendations to the Community Standards Officer. The Community Standards Officer will provide the respondents their official sanction through their Susquehanna e-mail address or, when deemed appropriate by the Community Standards Officer, in person.