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Student Code of Conduct

Preface

Article I

Article II

Article III

Article IV

Article V

Article VI

The Student Code of Conduct and Judicial Process

Article IV: Conduct Policies and Administrative Procedures

A. Informal Action and Hearings
B. Charges
C. Hearing Guidelines
D. Sanctions
E. Appeals
F. Interim Suspension
G. Rights of All Parties in the Conduct Process

 

A. Informal Action and Hearings

In some cases of student misconduct a disciplinary hearing may not be necessary. This is most often true when the student admits responsibil­ity and the violation typically results in a sanction up to probation, rather than a separation sanction. 

1. In this case, the student might receive a Violation Form from a Hall Director, the University Police, or other faculty or staff member. The Violation Form will contain information about the alleged viola­tion; including date, location, and nature of the incident. The student may choose to resolve the matter at this level by accepting responsibil­ity and prescribed sanctions. If the student wishes to discuss the incident and prescribed sanctions with the person who prepared the notice of conduct violation, s/he must contact that person within 48 hours of receiving the Violation Form. A meeting will then be held to finalize facts around the incident and sanctions. Following that meeting, the person who prepared the Violation Form will decide the ap­propriate resolution of the complaint.  Decisions made in the meeting are final if the sanction is less than probation.  In the event that the complain­ant is the first hand observer of the incident, and a meeting is requested, then an alternate staff member will conduct the meeting. A summary of the resolution will be filed in the Office of Conduct and Mediation and becomes part of the respondent student’s disciplinary file.

2.  If one of the sanctions includes probation, the respondent may request a review.  The scope of the review is limited to a) affirm or reduce the sanction, and b) determine if a preponderance of the evidence supported the finding of responsibility.  The respondent is eligible for a review only after s/he meets with the complainant.  A written request for review must be delivered to the Office of Conduct and Mediation within two (2) work days after the Violation Form is finalized between the complainant and respondent.  In the event the student chooses not to return the completed form within 48 hours, then resolution of the case becomes final.   

3.  If a student is charged with a second violation which does not rise to the level of a separation sanction then the complainant and respondent can meet informally to resolve the case.  This meeting is an opportunity for the respondent to discuss the allegations of misconduct with the complainant, which may be a Residence Hall Director, UNH Police Officer, or other Uni­versity professional staff member, or University student. During the Informal Meeting, the respondent will be invited to discuss and review information contained in the incident report, and will be encouraged to ask questions concerning all charges against him or her, as well as the available options for resolution within the UNH student conduct system.

If an agreement is reached at the Informal Meeting, it will be sum­marized in a written formal agree­ment containing the violation(s) of the Student Code of Conduct for which the respondent has accepted responsibility, and the agreed upon sanctions. This writ­ten agreement becomes part of the student’s disciplinary file that is maintained in the Office of Conduct and Mediation.

4.  Hearings. In cases involving serious violations of the Student Code of Conduct, or in the event that the new violation could result in a separation sanction the respondent shall have the right to a hearing to determine responsi­bility for the charges and impose the appropriate sanctions. For potential eviction cases responsibility and sanc­tions shall be decided by a hearing officer only. For violations that could result in suspension or dismissal the student may ask for a hearing before a hearing officer or hearing board. A serious violation is defined as miscon­duct containing one or more of the following conditions:

a. Misconduct that caused physical harm to others

b. Misconduct that jeopardized the safety and/or well being of others

c. Misconduct that caused an ad­verse impact to the residential or University community

d. Misconduct that caused serious damage to University property or the property of others

e. Misconduct that violates condi­tions of probation or indicates repeated violations

f. Misconduct that involves hosting a gathering where prohibited drink­ing has occurred/common sources

g. Misconduct that is a violation of the University Drug Policy

h. Misconduct that harms others because of their particular race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

B. Charges

1. Any member of the University com­munity may file charges against any student for misconduct. Charges shall be prepared in writing and directed to the Director of the Office of Conduct and Media­tion who is responsible for the administration of the University conduct system. Any charge shall be submitted no later than twelve (12) months after the occurrence of the alleged incident and the discovery of the identity of the student(s) involved. Complainants are encouraged to file charges as soon as possible after the alleged incident to ensure witness and evidence availability. If a student has withdrawn or withdraws after the fil­ing of such charges, either (1) a “hold” will be placed on the student’s aca­demic record and the student notified that disciplinary action may be initi­ated upon the student’s application for readmission, or (2) the University may proceed to resolve the disciplinary action.

2. The Director of the Office of Conduct and Mediation may conduct an investiga­tion to determine if the charges have merit and/or if they can be disposed of administratively by mutual consent of the parties involved on a basis ac­ceptable to the Director of the Office of Conduct and Mediation. Such dis­position shall be final and there shall be no subsequent proceedings. If the charges cannot be disposed of by mu­tual consent, a formal judicial hearing shall be scheduled and the Director of the Office of Conduct and Mediation may later serve in the role of procedural advisor at the judicial hearing. The respondent may elect to have the case heard by a Hearing Board if a sanction of suspension or dismissal is a possibility. All other cases will be heard before a Hearing Officer.

3. Pending Student Disciplinary Charge: A student ineligible to register for or attend classes at any one USNH insti­tution because of a pending student disciplinary charge shall be ineligible to register for or attend classes at any other USNH institution for as long as the charge remains pending.

4. Members of a recognized student organization may be charged as an organization and/or individually with violation(s) of the Student Code of Conduct. Guidelines for Charging Student Organizations:

a. One or more officers or autho­rized representatives acting in the scope of their capacities, commit the violation.

b. One or more members commit the violation after the action that constitutes the violation was approved by a vote of the organiza­tion or was part of a committee assignment of the organization.

c. The violation is committed at an activity funded by the organization.

d. The violation occurs as a result of an event sponsored by the organi­zation.

e. One or more members of an or­ganization or its officers permit, encourage, aid or assist in com­mitting a violation.

f. Members of an organization fail to report to appropriate University authorities knowledge or informa­tion about a violation.

C. Hearing Guidelines

1. The Office of Conduct and Mediation shall present all charges to the respondent in written form and the notice shall include the hearing date, time, and place. The respondent and complainant (if a student) may re­quest in writing the names of Hearing Board members, or Hearing Officer. A time shall be set for a hearing, not less than (3) nor more than fifteen (15) calendar days after the respon­dent has been notified of the hearing date by the Office of Conduct and Mediation. The respondent may waive the 3-day notice. Maximum time limits for scheduling of hearings may be extended at the discretion of the Director of the Office of Conduct and Mediation.

2. Adjudicatory Standard – The Hearing Officer/ Hearing Board will determine whether the respondent is “respon­sible” or “not responsible” for the al­leged violation(s). The respondent will be presumed “not responsible” until determined otherwise by a preponder­ance of evidence. A preponderance of evidence is reached when the Hearing Officer/Hearing Board determines that it is more likely than not that the re­spondent violated the Student Code of Conduct as alleged in the charges.

3. Hearings shall be conducted by a Hearing Officer or Hearing Board ac­cording to the following guidelines:

a. Hearings normally shall be con­ducted in private. At the written request of either the respondent or the complainant, if s/he is a student, and subject to the discre­tion of the Hearing Board, Hear­ing Officer, or Procedural Advisor, specified others may be present.

b. Admission of any person to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the Hearing Board, Hearing Officer, or Procedural Advisor.

c. In hearings involving more than one respondent, the Hearing Board Chairperson, or Hearing Officer, at his or her discretion, may permit the hearings concern­ing each student to be conducted separately.

d. When the complainant and/or the respondent are students, they have the right to be assisted by a student advisor. The complain­ant and/or the respondent are responsible for presenting their own cases. The primary role of a student advisor who is a volunteer trained by the Office of Conduct and Media­tion is to offer guidance to respondents (and complainants if they are students) before, during, and after a hear­ing. The student advisor does not represent a respondent at any point during the student judicial process. When criminal charges are pending or have the potential to be pending, the respondent may have an attorney present. The attorney may not participate in the hearing.

e. The complainant, the respondent and/or the Hearing Board or Hearing Officer shall have the privilege of presenting witnesses, subject to the right of cross exami­nation by the Hearing Officer or Hearing Board

f. Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accept­ed as evidence for consideration at the discretion of the Hearing Officer or Hearing Board Chair­person.

g. All procedural questions are sub­ject to the final decision of the Hearing Officer or Hearing Board Chairperson

h. If a student chooses not to attend a hearing he/she will held ac­countable for any decision made by the hearing officer or hearing board, if applicable, who will de­termine responsibility and assign sanctions.

i. The Hearing Board shall deter­mine, by majority vote if the Hear­ing Board consists of more than one person, whether the student has violated each section of the Student Code of Conduct with which the student is charged. A tie vote results in a finding of “not responsible” for the charge(s) in question. The Hearing Board may also recommend sanctions accord­ing to the procedures discussed in section D.

j. In cases where a separation sanc­tion of suspension or dismissal from the University may be a likely outcome, students have the right to choose a Hearing Board to resolve the charges. In all other cases, students will have a Hear­ing Officer determine responsibil­ity and sanctions for the charges.

k. Hearings occurring at the end of an academic semester, including, but not limited to reading days and final exams, and during the summer, and over winter break, shall be assigned to a Hearing Of­ficer.

l. The hearing body that the student originally selects on the Summary of Informal Meeting Form will remain the same type of hearing body should a new hearing be scheduled.

4. There shall be a single verbatim re­cord, such as a tape recording, of all hearings before a Hearing Board or Hearing Officer. The record shall be the property of the University.

5. Except in the case of a student charged with failing to obey the direc­tions of a Hearing Board, Hearing Of­ficer, or University official, no respon­dent may be found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct solely because the student failed to appear before a judicial body. In all cases, the evidence in support of the charges shall be presented and considered.

6. If a respondent is found not respon­sible for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, and the finding is upheld by the Appellate Board or Ap­pellate Officer, the student may not be charged again for the same violation arising from the same incident unless there is new evidence.

7. If the respondent is a graduate stu­dent, the Hearing Board or Hearing Officer and/or Appellate Board or Ap­pellate Officer will include a student from the Graduate School.

D. Sanctions

In recommending and determining sanctions, a Hearing Board or Hearing Officer may consider the student’s present demeanor and past disciplinary record, the nature of the offense, the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting therefrom, and other factors. The Univer­sity has special concern for incidents in which persons are subject to harassment because of their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. More severe sanctions are appropriate for such conduct.

1. The following sanctions may be im­posed upon any student found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct:

a. Warning – A notice in writing to the student that the student is vio­lating or has violated institutional regulations.

b. Disciplinary Probation – A written reprimand for violation of speci­fied regulations. Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student is found to be violat­ing any institutional regulations(s) during the probationary period.

c. Loss of Privileges – Denial of specified privileges for a desig­nated period of time, including but not limited to, participation in University athletics, membership in recognized student organiza­tions, and use of specified Univer­sity facilities.

1) Banned from Entry – Prohib­ited presence in specific build­ings or group of buildings on campus (including residence halls) for a definite period of time. Time period must be specified.

2) Prohibition Against Personal Contact – Prohibited contact or presence near a specific person for a definite period of time. Time period must be specified.

d. Fines – Previously established and published fines may be imposed. For more information on fines, please visit the Office of Conduct and Mediation website: www.unh.edu/ocm

e. Restitution – Compensation for loss, damage or injury. This may take the form of appropriate ser­vice and/or monetary or material replacement.

f. Discretionary Sanctions – Re­flection papers, Ethics, Anger Management, or Alcohol/Drug Awareness Classes, service to the University, or other related discretionary assignments (such assignments must have the prior approval of the Director of the Office of Conduct and Mediation).

g. Residence Hall Eviction – Separa­tion of the student from the resi­dence halls for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified.

h. Residence Hall Expulsion – Permanent separation of the student from the residence halls.

i. University Suspension – Separation of the student from the University for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified. Stu­dents are banned from campus for the duration of their suspension. Readmission to the University re­quires application and acceptance through the Office of Admissions. A student ineligible to register for or attend classes at any one USNH institution because of suspension entered upon a finding(s) of re­sponsibility for violation(s) of the institution’s Student Code of Con­duct shall be ineligible to register for or attend classes at any other USNH institution during the entire period of suspension.

j. University Dismissal – Permanent separation of the student from the University. Students may conduct administrative business on cam­pus with prior notice to University Police. A student ineligible to register for or attend classes at any one USNH institution because of permanent dismissal entered upon a finding(s) of responsibility for violation(s) of the institution’s student code of conduct shall be ineligible to register for or attend classes at any other USNH institu­tion for a period of two (2) years following the date on which the student was permanently dis­missed.

2. More than one of the sanctions listed above may be imposed for any single violation.

3. The minimum sanction for those found responsible for sexual miscon­duct that includes sexual penetra­tion as defined by RSA 632-A:1,V is suspension for one year or until the survivor graduates or otherwise leaves the University for an indefinite period of time, whichever is longer.

4. Other than University dismissal, dis­ciplinary sanctions shall not be made part of the student’s permanent aca­demic record, but shall become part of the student’s confidential record. Disciplinary records may be voided by the Director of the Office of Conduct and Mediation for good cause, upon writ­ten petition of respondents. Factors to include: a. the present demeanor of the petitioner, b. the conduct sub­sequent to the violations, c. nature of the violation and the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from it. Cases involving the imposition of sanctions other than residence-hall expulsion, University suspension or University dismissal shall be expunged from the student’s confidential record three years after final disposition of the case.

5. The following sanctions may be imposed upon organizations:

a. Those sanctions listed above in Section D 1. a. c. d. e. and f.

b. Disciplinary Probation – a written reprimand for violation of specific regulations. Specific terms of the probation may include loss of privileges, or other discretionary sanctions as described in Article IV.D.1.f. Probation is for a desig­nated period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the orga­nization is found to be violating any institutional regulation(s) dur­ing the probationary period.

c. Organization Suspension – loss of privileges which may include loss of University recognition, for a specific period of time. Or­ganization Suspension may also include other discretionary sanc­tions which are imposed for the purpose of assisting the organiza­tion in bettering itself, and with expectation that the organization completes these sanctions by the imposed timelines, regardless of University recognition status.

d. Organization Dismissal – perma­nent loss of all privileges includ­ing University recognition.

e. Members of a recognized student organization may be charged col­lectively as an organization and/ or individually with violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

6. When a Hearing Board determines that the evidence and testimony of a case violate the Student Code of Con­duct and warrant a penalty, it shall recommend a sanction(s) to a Hearing Officer.

The Hearing Board shall include a written summary of testimony, findings of fact, recommended sanction(s), and reasons therefore, which shall be included in the record. The entire record shall be forwarded if possible within one work day, to a Hearing Officer.

The Hearing Officer shall, within three work days after receiving the Hearing Board’s recommended sanction(s), render a written decision and reasons therefore, which shall be included in the record. The Office of Conduct and Mediation shall send a copy of the decision to the respondent(s). Within the seven work days period, the Hearing Officer may request the Hearing Board to clarify its recommendation and, upon re­ceipt of clarification, may proceed to decide the matter. Any decision shall be based solely on the record of the Hearing Board, as may be clarified.

When a Hearing Officer is selected by a respondent to hear a case and when that Hearing Officer determines that the evidence and testimony of a case violate the Student Code of Con­duct and warrant a penalty, the Hear­ing Officer shall impose an appropri­ate sanction(s). The Hearing Officer shall include a written summary of testimony, finding of fact, sanction(s), and the reasons therefore, which shall be included in the record.

7. In order to consider imposing one of the following maximum sanctions:
a. Residential Eviction
b. Residential Expulsion
c. University Suspension
d. University Dismissal
e. Organization Suspension

One or more of the following conditions must be present:
a. Misconduct that caused physical harm to others.
b. Misconduct that jeopardized the safety and/or well being of others.
c. Misconduct that caused an ad­verse impact to the residential or University community.
d. Misconduct that caused serious damage to University property or to the property of others.
e. Misconduct that violates condi­tions of probation or indicates repeated violations.
f. Misconduct that harms others because of their particular race, religion, gender, or sexual orienta­tion.
g. Misconduct that involves host­ing a gathering where prohibited drinking has occurred/common sources.
h. Misconduct that is a violation of the University drug policy.

8. If a student or organization fails to comply with sanctions imposed in a University judicial case, the student or organization may be sanctioned with University suspension.

E. Appeals

1. A decision reached by the Hearing Board, or a sanction imposed by a Hearing Officer, may be appealed by the respondent(s) or complainant(s) to an Appellate Board or Appellate Officer within two (2) work days after the written hearing decision is ready for distribution. Such appeals shall be in writing and shall be delivered to the Office of Conduct and Mediation.

2. Except as required to explain the ba­sis of new evidence, an appeal shall be limited to review of the verbatim record of the initial hearing and sup­porting documents for one or more of the following purposes:

a. To determine whether the original hearing was conducted fairly in light of the charges and evidence presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures giving the complaining party a reasonable opportunity to prepare and pres­ent evidence that the Student Code of Conduct was violated, and giving the respondent a rea­sonable opportunity to prepare and to present a rebuttal of those allegations.

b. To determine whether the de­cision reached regarding the respondent was based on substan­tial evidence, that is, whether the facts in the case were sufficient to establish that a violation of the Student Code of Conduct occurred.

c. To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed was appro­priate for those cases that resulted in eviction, residential expulsion, suspension and/or dismissal. The Appellate Board or Appel­late Officer shall not increase the sanction(s) imposed by a Hearing Officer.

d. To consider new evidence, suf­ficient to alter a decision, or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, because such evidence and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original hearing.

3. If an appeal is upheld by the Appel­late Board or Appellate Officer based on new evidence or procedural er­ror, the case shall be remanded to the original Hearing Board or Hear­ing Officer for re-opening of the hearing. If an appeal is upheld based on inappropriate sanction or lack of substantial evidence, the Appel­late Board or Appellate Officer shall render the appropriate determination and/or sanction.

F. Interim Suspension

In certain circumstances, the Vice President for Student and Academic Services, or a designee, may impose interim restrictions such as University suspension or residence-hall eviction or relocation prior to the hearing before a judicial body. Interim restrictions are effective immediately without prior notice. Interim restrictions for organizations include, but are not limited to, ceasing all activities, meetings, and/or events.

1. Interim restrictions may be imposed only:
a) to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University community or preservation of University property;
b) to ensure the student’s own physi­cal or emotional safety and well-being; or
c) if the student poses a definite threat of disruption of or interfer­ence with the normal operations of the University.

2. During the interim restrictions, students shall be denied access to the residence halls and/or to the campus (including classes) and/or all other University activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the Vice President for Student and Academic Services or designee may determine to be appropriate.

3. A student suspended on an interim basis shall be given an opportunity to appear personally before a Hear­ing Officer as soon as practicable, but within ten (10) work days from the ef­fective date of the interim suspension, to discuss the following issues only:

a. the reliability of the information concerning the student’s conduct, and

b. whether the conduct and sur­rounding circumstances reason­ably indicate that the continued presence of the student on Uni­versity premises poses a threat to the safety and well-being of mem­bers of the University community.

G. Rights of All Parties in the Conduct Process

1. Respondent’s Rights. Students and organizations who are charged with alleged violations of any University rules have the right to the following:

a. Fair notice of charges, including time and place of the alleged vio­lation so that he/she understands the charges being made against him/her.

b. At least three (3) calendar days notice before a hearing.

c. Knowledge of the name(s) of the person(s) bringing charges and the time and place of the hearing.

d. A formal hearing, if the situation is not resolved in an informal meet­ing, which includes an opportu­nity to respond to charges.

e. The opportunity to have the as­sistance of a trained student advi­sor in preparing for a hearing and during a hearing as defined by conduct system policies. Only students selected, trained, and supervised through the Office of Conduct and Mediation may serve as a Student Advisor.

f. Request an appeal of a decision of the Hearing Board/Hearing Officer by an Appellate Board or Appellate Officer.

g. Notice of the results of formal hearings and appeals.

h. Resolution of charges in accor­dance with conduct system policies.

i. To be assumed not responsible until complainant has demon­strated, through evidence, that the respondent more likely than not violated the rule(s) of conduct.

j. Right to remain silent: A student or student organization against whom charges have been made may choose not to testify in his/her own defense. This choice shall neither preclude the right to present and cross-examine witnesses and consider other evi­dence, nor shall it be regarded as an admission of responsibility.

k. The right to an attorney’s counsel if criminal charges are pending or likely.

2. Complainant’s Rights. The person reporting a violation of University rules has the right to the following:

a. A formal hearing, if the situation is not resolved in an informal meeting.

b. At least three (3) calendar days notice of the time and place of a formal hearing in order to prepare for that hearing.

c. The advice in preparing for a hearing of a student advisor cho­sen from the pool of trained student advisors (available through the Office of Conduct and Mediation) when the complain­ant is a student.

d. Request an appeal of a decision of a hearing body.

e. Notice of results of formal hear­ings and appeals.

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