Implementation of Student Integrity Code

Procedures for Implementation of the Student Integrity Code

Introduction
The Principle and Standards of the Student Integrity Code are implemented in accordance with the following procedures, which serve as guidelines, not legal requirements, in the processing of conduct cases. Flexibility of implementation is essential in order to respond to the unique circumstances of each case. Reasonable and fair processes are also important and assured by Student Rights of the Student Integrity Code.

I. General Matters

A. The Student Integrity Code applies to all students enrolled at the University of Puget Sound and to all student activities sponsored by the university or by any registered university organization on university property or elsewhere, or in vehicles owned or leased by the university.
B. Student designation: The term “student” includes all persons registered for a course or courses at the university, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies, and/or taking classes in an auditing or non-matriculant capacity. In addition, persons who have accepted an offer of admission (i.e., submitted a deposit) but have not yet registered for classes, persons residing on campus prior to attending classes or while completing a withdrawal or departure process, persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term (i.e., on a leave of absence, studying abroad, on suspension, etc.) but who have a continuing relationship with the college, and persons who withdraw after allegedly violating the Student Integrity Code, all are considered students related to allegations of Student Integrity Code violations. A person pursuing studies at Puget Sound is considered a student until such time that all necessary coursework has been completed, final grades have posted, and, for degree-seeking students, the degree has been conferred.
C. A member of the Dean of Students staff shall decide whether the Student Integrity Code shall be applied to conduct occurring off campus, on a case by case basis, at the member of the Dean of Students staff’s sole discretion.
D. These procedures shall be followed in all cases where a student or a student group has been charged with any violation of the Student Integrity Code and is faced with the possible imposition of any of the sanctions described in it. Nothing contained in the Student Integrity Code prohibits the university, or any member of the university community, from bringing civil or criminal charges against any person(s).
E. These fact-finding, hearing, decision-making and appeal procedures are based upon the assumption that reason will prevail, that reasonable and fair processes will be utilized, that confidentiality and privacy for both complainants and respondents will be honored to the maximum possible extent, and that timely resolution of cases will be sought.
F. The Dean of Students bears Primary responsibility for the enforcement of the Student Integrity Code, and a member of the Dean of Students staff bears primary responsibility for implementation of these procedures.
Changes in these procedures may be adopted following approval by the usual administrative procedures used by the university, so long as such changes conform to the Principle and Standards of the Student Integrity Code.
G. A finding of a violation of this policy requires proof that the allegations are more likely true than not true (preponderance of the evidence).

II. Categories of Violations

A. Minor violations include those that pose no significant threat to property or individuals, but that indicate a lack of regard for the rights, property, or personal privileges of individuals or groups within the university and neighboring community.
B. Major violations include any acts that pose a significant threat to personal or university-owned property or to the physical safety or psychological security of individuals and/or groups within the university and neighboring community. Examples of major violations include causing physical harm or reasonable apprehension of harm to another individual or group, theft of individual or university-owned property, or substantial interference with the university’s responsibilities of protecting the health and safety of individuals and groups or ensuring the opportunity of all members to attain their educational goals.

1. Multiple minor violations may result in a student’s case being processed as a major violation.

III. Procedures
The primary purpose of these procedures is to provide a just, timely and effective mechanism for responding to alleged violations of the Student Integrity Code. Allegations of violations are addressed as follows:

A. Filing of Complaint
Any member of the university community may file a complaint alleging a violation of the Student Integrity Code with a member of the Dean of Students staff or with Security Services. A particular form for this complaint is not necessary, but the complaint must be in writing. In instances of a neighbor complaint about seriously offensive or chronically offensive student behavior, a complaint alleging a violation of the Student Integrity Code may be initiated on the complainant’s behalf by a member of the Dean of Students staff.
B. Investigation of Complaint
A member of the Dean of Students staff will conduct an initial review of the complaint. If the complaint appears to involve a minor violation of the Student Integrity Code the student will be sent a letter, requesting a hearing with a member of the Dean of Students staff or designee. A student may also be sent a letter requesting an investigation meeting with a member of the Dean of Students staff or designee. If, after the initial investigation at the meeting and all other evidence is considered, it is determined that there is sufficient evidence of a major violation of a specific Standard, the student will be informed and scheduled for a major hearing. A member of the Dean of Students staff may determine that a major violation be reduced to a minor violation, and vice versa.
C. Written Notice of a Conduct Hearing or Investigation

1. The student receives written notice of a hearing in a timely manner. This notice is sent electronically and includes (to the extent possible at the time of the notice):

a. a scheduled date, time, and venue for a hearing. If the student wishes to request a change of venue or a change in the scheduled date and time for the hearing, the student may do so in a response outlined below (see section III.D).
b. in the case of a major violation, a statement of the charged violations, citing the specific Standard(s) s allegedly violated;
c. in the case of a major violation, the possible option(s) of conditional suspension or voluntary withdrawal (see sectionIII.F.6 below) will be included in the student’s letter.

2. The length of time between notice of the charges and the hearing must be sufficient to allow the student a reasonable opportunity to prepare to respond to the charges but no more than 10 working days.

D. Student Response:
If the student does not respond within at least one working day before the scheduled hearing or investigation, this indicates agreement with the hearing or investigation as scheduled in the notice. The student may request a change in the meeting date or time. This request must be received at least one working day before the scheduled hearing or investigation begins. A member of the Dean of Students staff responds to such requests and makes appropriate notification of a change and the reasons for the change. When selecting a change in venue or requesting a change in hearing or investigation schedule, students should be aware that pending conduct cases may restrict their abilities to obtain transcripts, complete registration for classes, apply for study abroad, or be eligible for certain university honors.
E. Conduct Process for Minor Charges:
Minor Violations may move forward in one of the following ways:

1. Administrative Hearing with a member of the Dean of Students staff or designee (typically a Resident Director) is the primary hearing venue for minor violations
2. A Peer Board is an alternate hearing venue for minor violations
3. Informal resolution, including mediation, may also be available as an option if there is mutual consent from the parties involved and the informal resolution is acceptable to the Dean of Students staff or designee

F. Conduct Process for Major Charges:
Major Violations may be processed in one of the following ways:

1. The Integrity Code Board is the primary hearing venue for major violations. When the student accepts full responsibility or when neither the Honor Court nor the Integrity Code Board is available, a member of the Dean of Students staff has the option of referring cases directly to an administrative hearing. The Integrity Code Board does not ordinarily meet when classes are not in session, or over the summer months.
2. Administrative Hearing with a member of the Dean of Students staff is available as an alternate venue and is the primary hearing venue for major violations that are heard when classes are not in session, or over the summer months.
3. Honor Court is available as an alternate venue. The Honor Court does not ordinarily meet when classes are not in session, or over the summer months. When the student accepts full responsibility or when neither the Honor Court nor the Integrity Code Board is available, a member of the Dean of Students staff has the option of referring cases directly to an administrative hearing.
4. Informal resolution may also be available as an option if there is mutual consent from the parties involved and the informal resolution is acceptable to the Dean of Students. Mediation is not an option to address allegations of sexual assault.
5. The Sexual Misconduct Board is the venue for a formal resolution of sexual misconduct allegations.
6. Other Options: The student may also exercise one of the following options:

a. Voluntary Withdrawal: A request for a permanent voluntary withdrawal from the university, if exercised, must be made in writing before any disciplinary hearing is begun. Voluntary withdrawal may be approved by the Dean of Students.
b. Conditional Suspension: If a student who is charged with a violation of the Student Integrity Code reasonably believes that either civil or criminal charges may be or have been filed concerning the alleged violation, the student may make a written request before any disciplinary hearing is begun that the student be granted a sanction of suspension as set out in the Student Integrity Code. Conditional suspension may be allowed by the Dean of Students.

G. Determination:
Following a hearing for a major or minor violation, and when all relevant information has been collected and reviewed, a determination of responsibility for any violations of the Student Integrity Code is made and, if the student is found responsible, appropriate sanctions are imposed. The student is notified, in writing, in a decision letter.

IV. Student Rights
A member of the Puget Sound community shall become informed about the rights and responsibilities inherent in the Student Integrity Code. The Student Integrity Code outlines certain rights in resolving any complaint brought against a student:

  • The right to specific information about an alleged violation of the Standards, so that a student may prepare a defense.
  • The right to receive written notice about both the alleged violation and a description of the process by which it will be processed, as well as sufficient time to prepare for such process.
  • The right to choose options for the hearing of an alleged major violation depending on the availability of the desired forum, including a hearing by the Honor Court, by the Integrity Code Board, or by an Administrative Hearing. Formal resolution of alleged sexual misconduct is heard by the Sexual Misconduct Board.
  • The right to reasonable and fair enforcement of the policies and procedures which accompany the Principles and Standards, including the right to timely resolution of a process and, where appropriate, confidentiality as an important consideration governing a student’s return to full participation in the university community.

Any interference with the exercise of these rights can erode students’ access to a reasonable and fair process.
Each year students are informed of the Student Integrity Code, and it is available online on the Puget Sound website.

V. Review/Appeals
A decision of responsibility for violations of the Student Integrity Code may only be reviewed by the Dean of Students, or designee, on request of any party to the hearing, or on the Dean's initiative, subject to the following guidelines:

A. The appeal for review must be in writing and must be filed with the Dean within seven working days after the date shown on the sanction letter. An appeal for review filed later than seven working days will not be considered unless it is based on new evidence unobtainable at the time of the original hearing. Time for appeal may be increased at the discretion of the Dean if such request is made within the seven day period. There is not a required format for the appeal.
B. The only grounds for consideration of appeal for review are:

1. procedural error that unfairly and/or materially affected the outcome of the case;
2. action has been taken that is arbitrary, unreasonable, or unsupported by substantial evidence;
3. newly discovered evidence emerges that was not obtainable at the time of the original hearing; or
4. severity of the sanction is disproportionate to the sanctions given for comparable offenses.

C. The Dean may, at their discretion, hold an informal review conference. The Dean determines the form or procedure for such a review conference. The review process is not a new hearing. It is limited to a review of the record and decision, and new evidence is considered only if it is relevant and only if it was unobtainable at the time of the original hearing.
D. If, in the Dean’s judgment, the grounds of the appeal are warranted, then the appeal is sustained.
E. In cases where the appeal for review is sustained, the Dean may:

1. dismiss the charges.
2. reduce or modify, but not increase the severity of the sanction.
3. return the case to the Integrity Code Board, the Honor Court, or a member of the Dean of Students staff for further directed consideration.

F. The Dean will notify the outcome of the appeal to all persons who heard the case.