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Discipline & Penalties

Discipline Hearing Procedure

Filing a Report for Alleged Misconduct

Any member of the College District community or law enforcement agency may file a report alleging violation of College District policies, including the rules for student conduct [see FLB], committed by a student to the vice president of student services or designee within a reasonable time following an alleged incident. Complainants are encouraged to file as soon as possible after the date of the alleged violation. Failure to do so may impact the investigation.

For nonacademic incidents, which may result in nonacademic sanctions, the allegations must be submitted to the vice president of student services or designee through:

  • The College District Campus Police Department
  • A written and signed statement
  • A Student Incident Report form
  • A verifiable electronic source
  • Another law enforcement agency

For academic dishonesty cases, the incident must be submitted in writing on the College District's Academic Dishonesty Report form.

Investigation of Alleged Violations

Within ten College District business days from receipt of the written report of the allegations, the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services or designee shall investigate the matter, as necessary, and determine whether the allegations warrant disciplinary action.

If an allegation is insufficient for formal charges, the vice president of student services or designee shall dismiss the allegation and shall provide the appropriate parties with written notice that the allegation of misconduct made against the student was unsubstantiated and the reason for this determination.

If the allegation is deemed to have merit, the vice president of student services or designee may take disciplinary action by providing a notice of the charges to the accused student.

Notice of Charge

If the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services or designee determines the allegation warrants disciplinary action, he or she shall provide the accused student a written charge notice. The notice shall include:

  • The alleged violation or violations
  • The source of the information for the alleged violation
  • A summary of the alleged incident
  • A specific charge from the College District's Student Conduct Code
  • An invitation to an information session

Information Session

The information session shall be held within five College District business days following the date of the charge notice. If the accused student fails to attend the information session, a hearing may be scheduled in the student's absence.

At the information session, the vice president of student services or designee shall provide the student with his or her rights and responsibilities under the Student Conduct Code, and if applicable, schedule a time for a hearing no sooner than five College District business days after completion of the information session.

The rights and responsibilities of a student include the following:0.

  • Accept responsibility for the alleged violations as is, waive the right to a formal hearing, and opt for an informal hearing (summary resolution) and immediate decision at the time of the information session
  • Not accept responsibility, and thus, choose a formal hearing.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof in determining whether the accused student is responsible or not responsible for violation of the Student Conduct Code rests with the College District in proving such violation occurred by the accused student.

The standard of proof used in determining responsibility is a preponderance of the evidence. Thus, for a student to be found responsible for a violation, the evidence must indicate it is more likely than not that the violation occurred.

Informal Hearing (Summary Resolution)

If the student chooses an informal hearing, the hearing body may dispose of the matter through a summary resolution of mutual consent of the parties involved, if applicable, and issue the appropriate sanctions as outlined in the student code of conduct. Informal hearings shall not be recorded, and the written decision of the hearing body stands as the official record of the hearing. In this circumstance, the accused student can only appeal in cases where it is believed the sanctions are disproportionate to the violation.

Formal Hearing

If the student chooses a formal hearing, the Vice President of Instruction or Student Services or designee shall:

  • Schedule a formal hearing with the accused student no sooner than five College District business days after completion of the information session. The student may waive this right, and submit a written request to have an earlier hearing date
  • Provide the accused student notice of the hearing date at least five College District business days prior to the date of the hearing. Failure of the accused student to be present at the hearing without prior notification shall result in the hearing being held in the accused student's absence

Formal hearings shall be audio recorded, and the recording shall serve as the official record of the hearing.

When possible, the formal hearing shall be presented in the following order:

  1. Hearing body presents the formal charges, alleged violations, and summary of the incident resulting in the charges.
  2. Opening statement by the hearing body.
  3. Opening statement by the accused student. This may be waived by the accused student.
  4. Questions directed to the accused student by the hearing body.
  5. Hearing body presents evidence and witnesses (separately), followed by questioning of those witnesses by the hearing body and accused student. Witnesses shall be dismissed. The hearing body reserves the right to determine the process for witness cross-examination to ensure efficacy of the hearing.
  6. Accused student presents evidence and witnesses (separately), followed by questioning of those witnesses by the accused student and hearing body. Witnesses shall be dismissed. The hearing body reserves the right to determine the process for witness cross-examination to ensure efficacy of the hearing.
  7. Follow-up questions directed to the accused student by the hearing body.
  8. Hearing body provides closing statement.
  9. Accused student provides closing statement. This may be waived by the accused student.
  10. Hearing body closes hearing.
  11. Accused student and any parties except the hearing body shall be dismissed.
  12. Hearing body deliberates and makes decision. In cases involving academic misconduct, the hearing body shall consult with the appropriate faculty member or academic official during the sanctioning phase to determine the appropriate sanctions for the student.

The hearing body shall provide the student with a final decision, in writing, within five College District business days from the date of the hearing. The hearing body reserves the right to extend the deadline if further deliberation is necessary due to the complexity of the case or other factors which unavoidably delay the decision. The accused student must be notified of the extension.

Student Rights

A student charged with an alleged violation of the Student Conduct Code shall have the right to the following:

  • Receive written notice of the specific charges, violations, and the allegations upon which the charges are being filed by the hearing body
  • Receive a fair and impartial hearing
  • Seek assistance and support from an adviser at one's own choice and expense. The adviser shall be permitted to accompany the accused to the hearing, but shall not speak for or on behalf of the accused
  • Review all relevant information regarding the charges against the accused student
  • Present supporting evidence and witnesses on his or her own behalf. A witness shall only be allowed to speak to the incident in question. The accused student shall be responsible for arranging for any witnesses to speak on his or her behalf
  • Question witnesses in accordance with the formal hearing procedures
  • Refrain from providing self-incriminating testimony. This right shall not be afforded to a student organization;
  • If found responsible, request a copy of the impact statement submitted by the victim or complainant, as applicable;
  • Receive a copy of the final decision in writing
  • Appeal the decision within the specified criteria for appeal.

Victim or Complainant Rights

Alleged victim or complainant rights apply to cases of violence or harassment, including, but not limited to, sexual misconduct, harassment, endangerment, stalking, or hazing. The victim or complainant shall have the right to the following:

  • Attend an information session to review the charges against the accused student, relevant information related to the case, and obtain information regarding the conduct process
  • Request that his or her name not be disclosed to the accused student or that no investigation or disciplinary action be pursued to address sexual violence. The vice president of student services or designee may move forward with an investigation and hearing if it is determined that doing so meets the College District's Title IX obligation
  • Be informed of the available hearing options under the Student Conduct Code
  • Seek assistance and support from an adviser at one's own choice and expense. The adviser shall be permitted to accompany the victim or complainant, but shall not be permitted to speak for or on behalf of the victim or complainant
  • Have his or her unrelated past behavior excluded from the hearing as determined by the hearing body so long as fundamental due process rights of the accused student are upheld
  • Request to testify in a separate room from the accused student so long as fundamental due process rights of the accused student are upheld
  • Request to be present throughout the entirety of the hearing, or portions thereof. The hearing body reserves the right to make the final decision on this request
  • Question the accused student and witnesses through the process of posing the questions through the hearing body as intermediate
  • Submit a written impact statement to the hearing body, which shall only be used during the sanctioning phase, if applicable. The accused student has the right to request a copy of the impact statement, if found responsible;
  • Receive notification of the hearing outcome and final decision so long as the notification does not violate the rights of the accused student
  • Appeal the decision of the hearing body under the same criteria as the accused student

The Vice President of Instruction and Student Services or designee may take immediate disciplinary action, including suspension pending a hearing, against a student for policy violations if the continuing presence of the student poses a danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disrupting the educational environment.

An information session and hearing must be scheduled and conducted in accordance with the normal hearing procedures.

Appeals

The accused student and victim or complainant (if applicable) shall have the right to file a request for an appeal of the first-level decision to the vice president of student services or designee. In cases where the vice president of student services presided over the first level hearing, the appeal request may be filed with the College District President or designee.

An appeal shall not be a rehearing of the case, but rather a review of the official record, evidence, and documents used by the first-level hearing body, except in cases where new evidence is made available.

The burden of proof rests with the accused to prove that an appeal is warranted.

The request for appeal must be filed within ten College District business days from the date of the decision letter. Failure to submit an appeal request by the deadline shall result in forfeiture of the right to appeal, and the first-level decision shall stand as the final decision.

Once an appeal request has been filed, the sanctions, except in the case of an interim suspension, shall be temporarily postponed pending the final outcome of the appeal process.

Grounds for Appeal

The grounds for filing an appeal shall be limited to the following:

  • Due process rights were violated, which substantially impacted the decision of the first-level hearing body
  • New evidence not available at the time of the hearing has been discovered that could have altered the decision by the first-level hearing body
  • The decision reached was NOT based on a preponderance of the evidence that it was more likely than not that there was violation of the Student Conduct Code
  • The sanctions imposed were disproportionate or not appropriate for the violation

Appeal Request Review

Upon receipt of an appeal request, the vice president of student services or designee shall determine whether there is sufficient cause to grant the appeal solely based on the written appeal request and official record of the first-level hearing.

If the appellate body determines that there are insufficient grounds for an appeal, it shall deny the appeal request, thus upholding the first-level decision and sanctions. The final written decision must be sent to the accused within ten College District business days of receipt of the appeal request.

If the appellate body determines that there is sufficient cause for an appeal, it shall grant an appeal, and, if applicable, schedule an appeal hearing with the accused student and witnesses within seven College District business days of receipt of the written appeal request. If a hearing is scheduled, the appeal hearing shall be conducted in a fair and impartial manner and audio recorded. The accused student and victim or complainant (if applicable) shall have the opportunity to bring an adviser.

Appellate Decision

If the appellate body determines that there are sufficient grounds for an appeal, it may decide, with rationale, one of the following:

  • Modify the first-level decision or sanctions, including, but not limited to, the reduction, removal, or reversal of specific violations, charges, or sanctions
  • Reverse the first-level decision
  • In cases where new evidence has become available or due process rights were substantially violated, remand the decision back to the original hearing body for review, given the new evidence or due process violation correction

The appellate body must provide a copy of the final appeal decision in writing to the accused student within ten College District business days of its decision.

In cases involving suspension, the vice president of student services or designee shall provide the College District President with a notice of the suspension or expulsion. This decision shall be final.

Expulsion Review by College District Administration

Within ten College District business days of receiving notice from the appellate body, a student expelled from the College District shall have the right to submit a written petition for the College President to review the decision. The student's petition shall state with particularity why the decision is believed to be incorrect. After receiving notice of the appeal, the appellate body shall forward all evidence considered during the hearing, the audio recording of the hearing, and the digest of the hearing, if applicable, to the College President.

The College President may hold a conference within ten College District business days after the expulsion review request is filed if he or she determines that there is sufficient cause for review.

At the conference, if applicable, the student may provide information concerning any documents or information relied on by the appellate body. The College President may set reasonable time limits for the conference. The conference shall be audio recorded.

The College President shall provide the student a written response, stating the basis of the decision, within ten College District business days following the conference. In reaching a decision, the College President may consider the evidence included in the student's petition, provided during the conference, and forwarded by the appellate body's chairperson. The College President may act to affirm, modify, remand, or reverse the decision of the appellate body.

The College President reserves the right to extend the time frame for any portion of the expulsion review process due to the complexity of the case or other factors that unavoidably delay the decision.

The decision of the College President shall be final.