Misconduct Review Process
Misconduct Review - Purpose and Scope
In order to facilitate student development, student organizations are expected to maintain high academic and behavioral standards within the Grand Valley State University community. It is incumbent upon students, student groups, and guests of students to conduct themselves within the framework of reasonable rules and regulations designed to prevent interference with or obstruction of the orderly operation of the university. Conduct contrary to these standards of behavior which adversely affects the ability of others to pursue their educational goals may result in campus disciplinary action.
It is expected that members of Registered Student Organizations (RSO's) respect the rules and regulations of Grand Valley State University as well as the rights of individual students, faculty, and staff. The Misconduct Review process is in place to evaluate the behavior of RSO's and decide if any disciplinary action is needed to correct behavior. The Misconduct Review process is separate and independent from any civil, criminal or university judicial (individual student) action and may proceed even if a related matter is anticipated or pending in other forums.
The purpose and scope of the Misconduct Review process is to serve both the institution and the RSO by establishing a fair, efficient, and educational process for adjudicating complaints concerning alleged non-academic misconduct involving violation of Grand Valley State University policies, procedures, regulations, or ordinances. Individual student misconduct is reviewed using separate procedures set forth in the Grand Valley State University Student Code.
Misconduct Referral Process
When a RSO is accused of violating a rule or regulation, a Student Organization Referral may be filed with the Student Organization Review Board (SORB) Chair. Please click HERE to file a Student Organization Referral. Any member of the university community may file a Student Organization Referral Form. Upon receiving a Student Organization Referral Form, the SORB Chair will review the referral and determine if a violation of university rules and regulations has occurred.
If a violation is found by the SORB Chair, the organization's president and the organization's advisor will receive a notification letter within ten (10) business days. The SORB Chair will include the following information in the written notification:
- Description of the incident
- Identification of the specific rule violation(s)
- Procedural options available to the RSO for reviewing this claim
- Name of complainant (at the discretion of the SORB chair)
- Letter could include potential sanctions
If no violation of rules is found by the SORB Chair, the complainant is notified in writing and the review process stops. If a violation is found by the SORB Chair, then the process continues as outlined below.
In the case of a violation...
The SORB Chair will then act as a liaison between the misconduct review process, the complainant, and the student organization. Assistance with the misconduct review process will be provided upon request. It is within the discretion of SORB, the SORB Chair, or the Associate Director of Student Life to extend time frames identified in the misconduct review process.
The RSO will have three business days in which to respond in writing to the SORB Chair indicating how the organization plans to reply to the claim. Student organizations have two options on how to proceed with their response to the misconduct review process.
Option One - Admit Responsibility
Provides the opportunity for the RSO to admit responsibility for the violation(s) identified in the Misconduct Referral Form. The president and the advisor of the RSO contacts the SORB Chair in writing and admits responsibility to the violation(s) identified. The RSO waives the right to a SORB misconduct review hearing and requests that the SORB Chair make the sanction decision. The SORB Chair will review the information provided with the Associate Director of Student Life to determine the appropriate action(s) or sanction(s). The SORB Chair has up to ten business days following notification of responsibility to gather information and provide written notification of any sanctions.
If the RSO does not admit responsibility for the violation it can request a misconduct review hearing (option two). This hearing will be scheduled as soon as possible. The organization will be given at least five business days written notice prior to the date of the hearing.
If the student organization does not respond within three business days, then a misconduct review hearing is automatically scheduled.
Option Two - Misconduct Review Hearing:
The misconduct review hearing will be conducted by the Misconduct Hearing Coordinator (generally the SORB Chair) and three (3) members of the Student Organization Review Board, who will serve as the Hearing Panel. The SORB Chair will select the three Hearing Panel members. Hearing Panel members will include one student, one graduate assistant, and one staff member. The goal of the Misconduct Review Hearing is to provide a fair and impartial review of the evidence to make a decision of responsibility on any alleged charge(s).
The SORB Chair will be present during the entire presentation of a case. The SORB Chair, who makes the sanction decision, will have heard the explanation of the organization charged. The Hearing Panel and the SORB Chair may ask questions of any witnesses. The SORB Chair may request witnesses to be a part of the misconduct review hearing. The SORB Chair may remove any individual who is disruptive in a hearing from the room. The misconduct review hearing may proceed without the presence of the removed individual or be adjourned to reconvene at a later time. Unless the law requires, misconduct review hearings are not open to public.
Misconduct Review Hearing Rights & Responsibilities - RSOs
Registered Student Organizations and students involved in the Misconduct Review Hearing have the following rights:
- If written evidence is to be used at the Misconduct Review Hearing, the person who wishes to use it must submit it to the SORB Chair at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. All such written evidence may be reviewed by all parties prior to the hearing. Evidence may only be reviewed in person, by scheduling a meeting with the SORB Chair. Pictures or copies of the evidence are not permitted to be taken at any time once in the possession of the SORB Chair.
- An RSO has the right to appear in person, to testify at the Misconduct Review Hearing and may call witnesses on their behalf. The RSO also has the right not to appear at the Misconduct Review Hearing, which shall be held in the group's absence provided that proper notice of the Misconduct Review Hearing has been given. The failure of an accused RSO to appear should not be taken as an admission of a violation and must be noted without prejudice.
- The RSO is entitled to be accompanied by one advisor in addition to the registered on-campus advisor. The advisor may be any individual of the groups choice. The RSO may choose to have an attorney as their advisor, however, it shall be at the group's expense, and provided that at least 24 hours written notification is delivered to the SORB Chair by the group's attorney. The advisor shall have no role at the Misconduct Review Hearing other than to advise the group. The advisor shall not be permitted to ask nor answer questions or to make oral arguments.
- Questions from all parties to witnesses will be directed to the SORB Chair.
- The RSO accused of a violation has the right to refuse to answer questions.
- An RSO is entitled to a fair and prompt Misconduct Review Hearing before the Hearing Panel.
- The RSO is entitled to a copy of the written decision and sanction rendered in a matter in which they are either the alleged victim or the accused group.
- The alleged victim, the accused group, or the complaining party may appeal the decision and/or sanction to the Associate Dean of Student Life.
Misconduct Review Hearing Regulations & Responsibilities - Hearing Panel
- Those who hear the case will decide the outcome of the case based only on evidence presented at the Misconduct Review Hearing.
- Each individual selected to serve as a member of the SORB Misconduct Review Hearing Panel will be required to administer the proceedings in a fair and impartial manner. Each individual will treat this appointment as a public trust, not allowing other influences or private interest to interfere with the prompt, proper and impartial discharge of the judicial duties.
- A person may not serve on the Hearing Panel if he/she is a witness who may testify during the hearing, if he/she has personal interest in the outcome, or if there are other sufficient reasons to believe that he/she could not serve in a fair and impartial manner. If this is the case, the individual shall disqualify himself/herself before the hearing convenes.
Misconduct Review Board Decision of Responsibility - Hearing Panel
After completing the Misconduct Review Hearing, the SORB Hearing Panel (by majority vote) will decide whether a group is to be held responsible or not on each charge/allegation.
Decision: Not Responsible - No violation of a rule or regulation has been proven.
Decision: Responsible - A violation of a rule or regulation has been proven by evidence presented at the hearing.
Following the determination of responsibility, the SORB Chair shall deliver a written statement outlining the decision(s) within ten (10) working days to the accused organization and the complaining party. If the organization is found responsible, a brief statement of why a violation was found will be included in the decision. The SORB Chair will determine whether any sanction(s) are warranted and will identify any sanctions and conditions. A written record of the decision (and sanctions if applicable) will be kept in the organization's file in the Office of Student Life.
When a Registered Student Organization is found responsible for violating a rule or regulation, the SORB Chair will determine the sanction. In determining a sanction, the SORB Chair may consider sanctions that have previously been imposed against the organization for other violations or rules or regulations. Possible sanctioning may include:
- Warning: an official, written reprimand with the stipulation that further violations will result in more severe disciplinary actions
- Restitution: payment for damages or loss incurred
- Work Assignment: perform assigned tasks that enhance the campus community
- Loss of Privileges: may include loss of any or all of the following:
- Hosting or participating in campus events
- Participating or receiving funding through the Student Life Fund appropriations process
- Use of space and privileges in the Kirkhof Center, Student Organization Center, and other on-campus facilities
- Sponsoring any fundraising or other activities
- Representing the university in an official capacity
- Recognition as a registered student organization
- Probation: a specific period of time during which an organization is required to report to the SORB Chair on a regular basis in order to assess current behavior.
- Social Probation: a specific period of time during which an organization is required to not hold specific types of social activities as identified.
- Suspension: Denial of rights and privileges of registered student organizations. Any organization whose registration is suspended or revoked must cease all organizational activities upon receipt of the notice of revocation or suspension. Any member of a suspended organization may not hold an appointed or elected office with that organization's governing body for the duration of the organization's period of suspension.
- Permanent Revocation of Organization's Registration: Revocation without leave to apply for a new registration. Any organization whose registration is permanently revoked must cease all organizational activities upon receipt of the notice of permanent revocation. Any member of an organization whose registration has been permanently revoked shall relinquish any appointed or elected office held with that organization's governing body.
The accused organization, the alleged victim(s), or the complaining party has the right to appeal the decision of the SORB Misconduct Review Hearing Panel or the sanction(s) imposed by the SORB Chair to the Associate Dean of Student Life. An appeal provides a limited review of the original decision. It is not an opportunity to present the evidence again or to re-evaluate credibility. If an error has been made, in most cases the matter will be returned to the original Misconduct Review Hearing Panel or the SORB Chair so that the error may be corrected.
One of the following three conditions must be used as a basis for appeal:
- Discovery of new evidence that was not available at the time of the original hearing
- The judicial process was not followed
- Sanctions imposed were not appropriate to the violations found
The Associate Dean of Student Life (or an official designee) will act as the Appeal Administrator.
Filing an Appeal
The following conditions apply to the appeal process.
- A written appeal must be filed with the SORB Chair within five working days of receipt of the decision being appealed. The written appeal must state the grounds for appeal, and the SORB Chair will forward the appeal to the Appeal Administrator for review. The Appeal Administrator will review the grounds for appeal, the materials submitted to the SORB Chair and the decision/sanction letter. At his/her discretion, the Appeal Administrator may require the organization submitting the appeal to appear to explain orally the basis for filing the appeal, although this is not ordinarily expected.
- The Appeal Administrator will decide one of the following:
- Uphold the original decision
- Remand the case back to the original SORB Misconduct Review Hearing Panel for its reconsideration consistent with the findings of the Appeal Administrator
- Remand for a new Misconduct Review Hearing
- When the appeal is regarding the sanction imposed, the Appeal Administrator may modify the sanction.
- The Appeal Administrator will provide a written decision to the SORB Chair within five working days of the appeal review.
- The decision of the Appeal Administrator is final unless appealed to the Associate Dean of Student Life. A written appeal must be filed with the SORB Chair within five working days of receipt of the decision of the Appeal Administrator. The written appeal must state the grounds for appeal.
- It is the sole discretion of the Associate Dean of Student Life (or designee), to decide whether to review a written appeal. In the event the Associate Dean (or designee) reviews a written appeal, the Associate Dean may:
- Affirm the decision of the Appeal Administrator
- Reverse the decision of the Appeal Administrator
- Modify the sanction
- Uphold the sanction
- The Associate Dean of Student Life will provide a written decision to the person filing the appeal and the SORB Chair.
- The decision of the Associate Dean will be final and binding.
The Associate Director of Student Life or Associate Dean of Student Life may suspend a registered student organization for an interim period when there is reasonable cause to believe that the continued activities of the organization and its members may cause an immediate threat and/or undue concern within the university community. During the interim suspension, the organization is required to cease any organizational activities noted in the suspension immediately upon receipt of the written notice from the the Associate Director of Student Life or Associate Dean of Student Life.
When a student organization is temporarily suspended, the organization's acting president shall be given notice concerning the reasons for the suspension, the duration and any special conditions that apply. A representative of the suspended organization shall be given the opportunity to meet with the Student Life staff member who issued the notice within five working days from the effective date of the temporary suspension. The meeting shall be held on the following issues as related to the temporary suspension:
- The reliability of the information alleging the student organization's misconduct.
- Whether the conduct and surrounding circumstances reasonably indicate that the continued activities of the organization would pose an immediate threat to the safety, health, or welfare, or interrupt the normal functions of the university community.
It is not the purpose of the meeting with the Student Life representative to hear evidence concerning responsibility of the pending charges against the organization.
Changes in the Misconduct Review Process Provision
The Associate Dean of Student Life reserves the right to change or add to the process or procedures regarding the Misconduct Review Hearing Process at any time, provided that such changes and additions will be published in a manner reasonably calculated to give adequate notice.