Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not answered here, please contact conduct@pugetsound.edu.

 

Why did I receive a hearing notification?

The Director of Rights and Responsibilities received and reviewed a formal incident report or complaint and determined that a potential violation of the Student Integrity Code has occurred.

 

Do I need an attorney?

An attorney is not permitted to participate in student conduct hearings related to the Student Integrity Code held at the University of Puget Sound, unless they are serving as a Support Person.

 

What if I didn’t do anything wrong?

If you are notified of a scheduled hearing and believe that there was a mistake or that you have been assigned alleged violations that do not accurately reflect your responsibility in an incident, please attend the meeting. There are a number of reasons that the meeting is beneficial for further information gathering and if there was a mistake, your attendance will help us correct it quickly.

 

Can someone come with me to the hearing or meeting?

Yes, you may have a support person.

Support person(s) must adhere to the following:

●      Support person(s) may not advocate for, represent, or speak on behalf of a complainant or respondent.

●      Support person(s) may not address any other person throughout the process, including, but not limited to, interviews and hearings, other than the student whom they support.

●      Support person(s) may not provide any information or documentation, or serve as witness(s) in any part of the process.

●      The complainant/respondent must initiate authorization with the Office of Rights and Responsibilities for a support person’s ability to review the case file.

●      All communication will be between the Director of Rights and Responsibilities or their designee and the complainant/respondent. A student may request a support person to be copied on correspondence, however, it will be the student’s responsibility to communicate with university staff members directly.

 

Why did I receive a witness letter notification?

Receiving a witness letter notification does not mean you are in trouble.  Whenever the Office of Rights & Responsibilities receives a report about an incident, the Director of Rights & Responsibilities decides if there needs to be further investigation into the incident.  You may have been named as a witness or someone who may have information related to an incident.  When you meet with the investigator, you will hear about your rights and responsibilities in an investigation and the investigator will ask you questions about the event. 

 

Will I get to explain my side of the story?

Yes. During all hearings, a portion of the process is dedicated to you sharing your perspectives, reflections, and additional details. The hearing officer will engage in a conversation with you thoroughly about what happened and ask you questions in order to gain the best understanding possible.

 

Who will be at the hearing?

In addition to you and the hearing officer, you may designate a support person to attend the meeting with you. A support person may not speak or advocate for you during the meeting, but they are allowed to be present in the room with you to provide support, guidance, and advice.

In an Integrity Board Hearing, there will be 3 members of the University of Puget Sound community (faculty, staff, student) and the Director of Rights & Responsibilities.

 

Where did you get the information that you used for the alleged violations?

Formal incident reports or informal complaints can come from a variety of sources, including the Office of Residential Experience, Security Services, staff/faculty members, students, community members, the general public, and/or law enforcement officers.

 

Who receives the report that was written about me?

The Office of Rights and Responsibilities receives the report and shares the report if it needs to be forwarded to another for office for review, investigation, or another reason deemed necessary. A student’s conduct record is considered educational and may not be disclosed by the university without the written consent of the student to whom the requested information pertains, unless otherwise permitted or required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

 

What happens during a hearing?

Most hearings are a conversation between a Respondent and a Hearing Officer.  Some hearings may be Integrity Board hearings which include at least 3 members of the University of Puget Sound community serving on the board.  If you are scheduled to participate in a hearing, you can expect the following to occur in a 30-minute meeting:

  • Your hearing officer will outline the conduct process and your rights throughout the process and invite you to ask any questions you have about the process.
  • You will have an opportunity to review documentation related to the alleged violation(s).
  • You will be asked to share any information relevant to the incident or supplement the documentation with additional details.
  • Your hearing officer may ask you more specific questions about the incident or your responsibility in the incident.
  • The hearing officer will make a determination of responsible/not responsible for any alleged violations based on the preponderance of the evidence standard and share that decision if possible

 

Can I reschedule a hearing?

Hearing Officers will schedule your hearing around your class/lab schedule.  Hearings will only be rescheduled for exigent circumstances, such as illness or a job.  To request a rescheduled hearing, please contact your Hearing Officer or Rights & Responsibilities by email at least 48 hours (or as soon as possible in an emergency) before the hearing time to explain the reason for the request. 

 

What if I don’t show up to my conduct meeting or I missed it?

If a student does not attend the meeting or hearing, the Hearing Officer or Director of Rights & Responsibilities will attempt to reschedule the meeting once.  If you fail to appear a second time, then the Hearing Officer will make a decision of responsibility based on the information available at the time of the hearing. 

 

Am I going to be suspended or expelled from the university?

It is only in very rare cases that a Hearing Board or Hearing Officer makes the decision to permanently separate the student from the university (expulsion) or to temporarily separate the student from the university (suspension).

 

How should I prepare for my conduct meeting?

Read your letter thoroughly. Look at the alleged violations and familiarize yourself with the code.  Identify a support person if you need one.  Come with your questions. Don’t be afraid of the meeting.

In situations where a case will be seen in a more formal setting (Integrity Board Hearing), your letter will include a time to meet with the Director of Rights & Responsibilities for Hearing Prep.  At this meeting, the Director will ensure you understand your rights and the procedures of the hearing, and work with you to develop your case.

 

What are sanctions and how are they determined?

Sanctions are educational or restorative activities, statuses, or limitations of privileges that must be completed or complied with by a due date or within a specified time frame.  Our philosophy in issuing sanctions is to help our students reflect on the impact of their decisions, to repair harm, rebuild trust and better align their values and behaviors. 

Some examples of Sanctions:

Letter of apology; Alcohol/drug education or professional assessment; Disciplinary Warning or Probation for a specific period of time; Suspension or Expulsion from the University

 

How do I appeal my sanctions?

When you receive your decision letter from the Office of Rights and Responsibilities, you will find a link at the end of the letter that takes you to a page to submit your appeal.  Appeals must be submitted within 7 business days. 

Appeals are reviewed only under the following conditions. Grounds for appeal include:

  1. new evidence that would impact or alter a decision or sanction that was not available at the time of the hearing;
  2. sanction(s) assigned that were disproportionate compared to the violation or the student’s conduct record;
  3. procedural error that impacted the outcome and prevented the respondent from having a reasonable opportunity to address the allegations; or
  4. action taken that is arbitrary, unreasonable, or unsupported by information and/or documentation.

 

If I’m found responsible, will I lose my scholarships or financial aid?

No, you will not lose your scholarship or financial aid.  Your conduct record is private unless you are expelled.  Then there will be a notation on your transcript.

 

What if I get a notification that I have a conduct hold on my account?  What does it mean?

The Office of Rights & Responsibilities will contact you if you do not complete your sanctions by the assigned due date.  If you do not complete your sanction by the updated due date after the warning, Rights & Responsibilities will place a Conduct Hold on your account.  A hold will prevent you from registering for classes for future terms until the sanctions have been completed.

 

How long does the University of Puget Sound keep my Conduct Records?

Seven years in most cases. After about seven years, records will be deleted. Cases involving suspension, dismissal, and sexual misconduct are kept permanently. See Records Retention for more information (Link).

 

I’m a parent and my student is going through the student conduct process. How do I support them?

While we know it may be difficult to know your student is going through our conduct process, we want to ensure you the process is meant to be educational and we encourage students to engage as fully as possible.  A student’s conduct record is considered educational and may not be disclosed by the university without the written consent of the student to whom the requested information pertains, unless otherwise permitted or required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Your student can fill out a release that allows us to disclose information regarding their case. 

 

What if I have a bad experience during a Conduct Meeting or want to give feedback about the conduct process?

If you have a bad experience during a Conduct Meeting or Hearing, please contact Rights & Responsibilities at conduct@pugetsound.edu.  If your meeting was with the Director of Rights & Responsibilities, please contact Debbie Chee the Associate Dean of Residence Life at dchee@pugetsound.edu.  You will receive a survey from the Office of Rights & Responsibilities that allows you to give feedback on the process.  You may also submit feedback to conduct@pugetsound.edu.

 

Where can I file a report?

You may contact conduct@pugetsound.edu or use the online reporting tool.

 

Can I get involved with the Office of Rights and Responsibilities?

Yes! If you have a particular interest in participating in the adjudication process as a student, there is an opportunity for you to assist in integrity board hearings.