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Section 3 Student Conduct Procedures

The University conduct process is designed to serve and protect the rights of all students and the institution through an educational process. This process is designed to ensure that students accused of violating University policies or regulations will receive due process and the benefits of the procedures described in the Student Code.  Conduct reviews are facilitated by impartial members of the University community and hold administrative hearings, which allow flexibility and are not courts of law. The University conduct process is separate and independent of any civil or criminal action and may proceed even if a related matter is anticipated or pending in other forums.

Any question regarding the interpretation or application of the Student Code will be answered by the Dean of Students. All students and the institution will be bound by the Dean’s answer.

For a visual overview of the Conduct Process, please click here.

3.1 Conduct Process for Student Code and other University Policy Allegations

3.1.1 Reported Misconduct: A misconduct report may be made to the Dean of Students Office by any member of the University community (or may be brought by a member of the Dean of Students Office) on one’s own initiative alleging that a student violated a specific regulation in the Student Code of Conduct.

3.1.1.1 Student: For purposes of these procedures, the term “student” shall mean a person who is currently enrolled or who has been previously enrolled (“student” shall also mean groups of “students” or Registered Student Organizations).  The term shall also mean any person who enters upon University owned, leased, or controlled property or engages in a University sponsored activity or program. 

3.1.1.2 Registered Student Organizations: For the purposes of these procedures, the term “Registered Student Organization” (RSO) shall mean any group whose membership consists of students currently enrolled at GVSU, that is properly registered with the Office of Student Life.  RSOs and their individual members are subject to these procedures and may be subject to other University processes.  Actions of individual RSO members arising from the same circumstances may be subject to these procedures. 

3.1.2 Conduct Coordinator: One or more Conduct Coordinators shall be appointed by the Dean of Students or designee. The Conduct Coordinator will make, or cause to be made, an investigation of the charge.

3.1.3 Notification and Request for Educational Conference: If, from the investigation, the Conduct Coordinator determines the matter may be reason for discipline under the Student Code of Conduct regulations, the Conduct Coordinator will notify the student and will offer the student an opportunity to discuss the matter through an Educational Conference.  The notice will include the alleged misconduct, date of alleged misconduct, and a link to the student conduct procedures.

The notice will be sent through university email and will be deemed received immediately upon delivery.  

The student will have three (3) business days from the date of receipt in which to respond to the notice. If the student has not responded at the end of this three-day period, the Conduct Coordinator will follow procedures set forth in section 3.1.5.

3.1.4 Educational Conference: If the student chooses to discuss the matter, the Conduct Coordinator will, at the discussion, inform the student of the charge(s) and the regulation(s) which are alleged to have been violated and will explain to the student the procedures outlined in this document. 

3.1.5 Student is Nonresponsive/Noncompliant: The student chooses not to respond to the Coordinator’s request for an educational conference, chooses not to attend the educational conference, or chooses not to participate in these conduct procedures, the Conduct Coordinator will schedule a hearing and the student will be notified of the date and time of the hearing and/or a hold may be placed on the student’s account until the matter is resolved.

3.1.6 Student Record: A record of any misconduct report will be kept in the Dean of Students office containing information about the reported incident, the violation (if any), and the sanction (if any).  In cases where there is a violation of the Student Code and/or other University policies, this record will become part of that student’s conduct record with the University.

3.1.7 Student Admits Responsibility for the Violation

3.1.7.1 If the student admits responsibility the violation, they are waiving their right to a hearing and other University process protections.  The Conduct Coordinator may then, considering the cumulative conduct history of the student charged, choose to:

  • a) Issue a sanction,
  • b) Order that the sanction be recommended by a Hearing Officer, and/or
  • c) Enter into a written, mutually acceptable, disruptive behavior agreement with the student.

3.1.7.2 Accepting Sanctions: A student may choose to accept in writing the sanctions issued by the Conduct Coordinator. This agreement ends the conduct process and is not appealable. 

3.1.7.3 Limited Appeal: The student charged or the person or group who first brought the charge, or the university, may appeal the sanction (except the terms of a disruptive behavior agreement), in writing to the Conduct Coordinator within two (2) business days after the Conduct Coordinator has assigned the sanction. Since admission of the violation by the student is a prerequisite to the Conduct Coordinator acting under this section, such an appeal will only be as to the appropriateness of the sanction.

3.1.7.4 Failure to complete or adhere to the terms of any sanction may result in additional sanctions, a hold on the student’s account and/or suspension as determined by the Conduct Coordinator.  Under this section, a decision to suspend a student will be made in consultation with the Dean of Students (or designee).

3.1.8 Student Denies Responsibility for the Violation

After discussion with the student, the Conduct Coordinator may determine that the matter requires no further action. The Conduct Coordinator will refer the matter to a hearing if:

3.1.8.1 Student Denies Responsibility: The student denies the charge and the Conduct Coordinator determines the matter may be reason for discipline.

3.1.9 Disruptive Behavior Agreement: In lieu of, or in addition to, a sanction or referral to a hearing, the Conduct Coordinator may arrange a disruptive behavior agreement with the student. A disruptive behavior agreement is a mutually acceptable agreement between the University and a student that specifies certain behavior with which the student must comply, and specifies automatic sanctions that will be imposed if the contract is broken. As this is a mutual agreement, it is not appealable.  If the contract is broken, as determined by a finding of fact under procedures set forth in Section 4 herein, the student may be suspended from the University as determined by the Conduct Coordinator. 

3.2 Hearings

There are two bodies before which a hearing will be held: Hearing Officer and the Hearing Board.  The Conduct Coordinator will assign a case to one of these bodies, except that in cases where there is potential for a sanction of suspension or dismissal, the student may choose which body will hear the case (the student will have two (2) business days from the date of the meeting with the Conduct Coordinator to make a hearing body choice).  If no such timely choice is made, the Conduct Coordinator will designate which body will hear the case.  The student will be notified of the time and date of the hearing.

3.2.1 Conduct Pool Obligations

3.2.1.1 Hearing bodies will decide the outcome based solely on information presented at the hearing (Hearing Boards by a majority vote).

3.2.1.2 Each individual selected to serve as a member of a hearing body will promise to administer the rules and regulations of the University in a fair and impartial manner.  Each 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 their duties.

3.2.1.3 If a member of the hearing body feels they cannot render an impartial decision in a case for any reason, the individual shall disqualify themselves.

3.2.1.4 A person may not serve as a member of a hearing body if they are a witness who may testify at the hearing, if they have a personal interest in the outcome of the hearing, or if there is other sufficient reason to believe that they could not serve in a fair and impartial manner.

3.2.2 Hearing Officer: Members of the Administrative/Professional staff and Faculty pools are eligible to serve as Hearing Officers and must participate in annual training sessions regarding the Student Code of Conduct.  The Hearing Officer will be assigned by the Dean of Students (or designee) to hear the case.

3.2.2.1 Administrative/Professional Staff: All Administrative/Professional staff members are eligible for appointment to the conduct pool.  The Provost (or designee) will make at least ten (10) appointments to the pool by beginning of Fall Semester and may make appointments to fill vacancies as needed.

3.2.2.2 Faculty Members: Faculty from each academic college/division will appoint one person to the conduct pool.  If appointments are not made by the beginning of Fall Semester, the Provost (or designee) is authorized to fill appointments from the faculty at large.  In addition to appointments made by each college/division, the Provost (or designee) will appoint not less than four (4) members to the pool from the faculty at large.

3.2.3 Hearing Board: The Hearing Board consists of two (2) Hearing Officers and one (1) student from the conduct pool.  The Hearing Board members will be assigned by the Dean of Students (or designee) to hear the case.  A minimum of three (3) Hearing Board members must be present for a hearing.

3.2.3.1 Student Members: The students appointed to the conduct pool will be selected and approved by the Dean of Students (or designee) in consultation with Student Senate and must participate in annual training sessions regarding the Student Code of Conduct.  

3.2.3.2 Unavailable Conduct Pool Members: At times when a hearing body cannot be assembled, such as when students are not in attendance at regular sessions, final exam week, summer sessions, etc., the Conduct Coordinator may assign the case to be heard by a Hearing Officer.

3.2.4 Hearing Decisions: The hearing body, based upon the information presented at the hearing, determines whether the student charged violated student conduct regulations, and recommends sanctions, if any, to the Conduct Coordinator.

3.2.4.1 Failure to complete or adhere to the terms of any sanction may result in additional sanctions, a hold on the student’s account and/or suspension as determined by the Conduct Coordinator.  Under this section, a decision to suspend a student will be made in consultation with the Dean of Students (or designee).

3.2.5 Hearing Procedures

3.2.5.1 Burden of Proof: In all conduct hearings, the burden of proof rests with the Conduct Coordinator, who must demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence, whether it is more likely than not, that a violation has occurred.

3.2.5.2 Record of the Hearing: A single verbatim record, such as an audio recording, will be made of the hearing.  This record will remain the property of the University and will be kept by the Conduct Coordinator.  No other recording device is allowed.

3.2.5.3 A Hearing Officer presides at all hearings. 

3.2.5.4 Hearing Officers, members of the Hearing Board, and the Conduct Coordinator may ask questions of any witnesses called on at the hearing.

3.2.5.5 Removal from Hearing: The hearing body may remove any individual from the hearing who is disruptive.  The hearing may proceed without the presence of the removed individual or be adjourned to reconvene at a later time.  If the disruption is caused by a student, the hearing body, in consultation with the Dean of Students or designee, may determine that a misconduct report be submitted.

3.2.5.6 Hearing notifications and procedures will be communicated to the charged student at least two (2) business days before the hearing.

3.2.5.7 Hearing Outcome: The hearing body will issue a written decision within three (3) business days to the Conduct Coordinator including whether a violation has been found, a rationale for the decision, and sanction recommendation, if applicable.  Within three (3) business days from the date the decision is received by the Conduct Coordinator, the student charged and the person or group who first brought the charge will be notified of the decision, the rationale, and any assigned sanctions.

3.3 Student Rights in Regards to the Conduct Process

The student charged and the person or group who first brought the charge have the following rights:

3.3.1 To a fair and prompt hearing before an impartial hearing body.

3.3.1.1 To appear in person, and testify at a hearing. 

3.3.1.2 To not attend the hearing, which will be held in their absence, providing that proper notice of the hearing has been given.  The failure of a student charged to appear will not be taken as an admission of a violation.

3.3.1.3 The student charged has the right to refuse to answer questions.

3.3.2 To be accompanied by an advisor of the student's choice at any meeting and/or hearing under these procedures. If the student's advisor is an attorney, the student must notify the Conduct Coordinator of this in writing at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the meeting.  The advisor's role is limited to providing advice to the student. The advisor is not permitted to ask or answer questions or make oral arguments. Any case presented must be made by the student.

3.3.3 To call on witnesses whose testimony is directly related to the alleged incident, not to general character.

3.3.3.1 Names of any witnesses to be called on at the hearing must be submitted in writing to the Conduct Coordinator at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the hearing. 

3.3.4 To provide any evidence that may support their testimony.  Additionally, both parties have the right to request to review any evidence submitted by the other party prior to the hearing.

3.3.4.1 For purposes of these conduct procedures, the term “evidence” shall mean anything outside of first-person, personal testimony that will be used, referenced, or shared with the hearing body by either party at the hearing (some examples include photos, emails, screenshots, documents, reports, audio/video recordings, etc).

3.3.4.2 Any evidence to be used at the hearing must be submitted in advance to the Conduct Coordinator at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the hearing.

3.3.5 To ask questions of the other party and of any witnesses called on at the hearing.  The Hearing Officer, however, has the right to determine the method of questioning (direct confrontation, submission of written questions, or any other method that, in the Hearing Officer’s opinion, will elicit the desired testimony).

3.3.6 To a copy of the hearing decision, rationale, and assigned sanction (if any).

3.3.7 To appeal the decision, process and/or sanction, if grounds are met.

3.3.8 In a hearing, the Conduct Coordinator, representing the University, is given the same rights as the student charged and the person or group who first brought the charge under procedures set forth in Section 3.3.

3.4 Appeals

3.4.1 Grounds for Appeal: The student charged, the person or group who first brought the charge, or the University has the right to appeal the decision of the hearing body, the sanction decision of the Conduct Coordinator, or the decision of the appeal body if grounds for appeal are met.  The party requesting the appeal must show clear error as the original finding/or compelling justification to modify a sanction, as both finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately.  The grounds for appeal are:

3.4.1.1 New Evidence: To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original investigation/hearing, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction.  A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included.

3.4.1.2 Procedural Error: To address a procedural error that significantly impacted the finding.

3.4.1.3 Sanction Severity: The sanctions assigned fall outside the range of sanctions designated for this offense and the cumulative conduct history of the charged student.

3.4.2 Appeal Window: An appeal is timely only if received within two (2) business days from the date of receiving the written decision appealed.  An appeal not made within the time limit will not be heard unless the Dean of Students (or designee) makes an exception.

3.4.3 Appeal Bodies: There are two bodies by which an appeal can be reviewed: Appeal Officer and the Appeal Board. When a timely appeal is received, the Conduct Coordinator will assign the appeal to one of these appeal bodies, except that in cases where there is, or is potential for, a sanction of suspension or dismissal, the student may choose which body will review the appeal (the student will include this information in the appeal request).  If no choice is made, the Conduct Coordinator will request the Appeal Body choice from the student and they will have two (2) business days to respond).  If no such timely choice is made, the Conduct Coordinator will designate which appeal body will review the appeal. 

3.4.3.1 Appeal Officer: Members of the Administrative/Professional staff and Faculty pools are eligible to serve as Appeal Officers and must participate in annual training sessions regarding the Student Code of Conduct.  The Appeal Officer will be assigned by the Dean of Students (or designee) to review the appeal.

3.4.3.2 Appeal Board: The Appeal Board consists of two (2) Appeal Officers and one (1) student from the conduct pool.  The Appeal Board members will be assigned by the Dean of Students (or designee) to review the appeal.  A minimum of two (2) Appeal Board members must be present for an appeal review.

3.4.3.3 A person may not serve as a member of an appeal body if they are a witness who testified at the hearing, if they have a personal interest in the outcome of the hearing, or if there is other sufficient reason to believe that they could not serve in a fair and impartial manner.

3.4.4 Requesting an Appeal: An appeal is made by eligible parties submitting a written statement to the Conduct Coordinator during the appeal window.  The written statement of appeal must include: the grounds for appeal and the remedy that the person appealing is requesting from the appeal body.

3.4.5 The Conduct Coordinator is responsible for assembling an appeal body from the conduct pool and for setting the time and place for holding the appeal review. 

3.4.6 Appeal Review: The appeal body will meet to review the appeal.  If grounds for appeal are met, the appeal body will review the materials used in the hearing, the record made of the hearing, the administrative contact history made in connection with the matter, and if the appeal is regarding severity of sanctions assigned, the appeal body will review the cumulative conduct history of the student charged. 

3.4.6.1 Purpose: The purpose of the appeal review is to decide if the grounds for appeal have been met, and to determine whether the findings of the hearing body or the sanctions imposed by the Conduct Coordinator were so incorrect, or that a procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the findings or sanctions, that the decision should be changed. 

  • It is not the purpose of the appeal body to substitute its judgment for that of the original hearing body. 
  • It is not the purpose of the appeal body to decide if it would have reached the same decision had it been the hearing body. 
  • The appeal review is not a rehearing of the charges against the student; it is a limited review of the findings and/or sanction of the hearing body only as requested by the person or persons making the appeal. 

3.4.6.2 In its discretion, the appeal body may invite a person submitting an appeal (or other person having information relating to the appeal) to appear to explain orally the basis for the appeal, although this is not ordinarily expected.

3.4.6.3 Appeal Body Decision: After review of the appeal, the appeal body may (by a majority vote on appeal boards):

  • a) Dismiss the appeal as untimely or substantively ineligible, upholding the original decision.
  • b) Grant the appeal and remand the case back to the original hearing body or Conduct Coordinator for its reconsideration, citing the findings of the appeal body.
  • c) Grant the appeal and remand for a new hearing, citing the findings of the appeal body.
  • d) When the appeal is submitted only as to the appropriateness of the sanction, the appeal body may grant the appeal and modify the sanction.

3.4.6.4 Appeal Outcome: The appeal body will issue a written decision to the Conduct Coordinator within three (3) business days of the appeal review including the decision of the appeal body and a rationale for the decision.  Within three (3) business days from the date the decision is received by the Conduct Coordinator, the student charged and the person or group who first brought the charge will be notified of the decision and the rationale.

3.4.6.5 The decision of the appeal body is final unless appealed to the Dean of Students (or designee).  Appeals submitted to the Dean of Students (or designee) shall follow the procedures set forth in Section 3.4, whereas the Dean of Students (or designee) serves as the appeal body. 

3.4.6.6 In the sole discretion of the Dean of Students (or designee), they shall decide whether to review a written appeal.  In the event that the Dean of Students (or designee) reviews a written appeal, the Dean may:

  • a) Affirm the decision of the original appeal body
  • b) Reverse the decision of the original appeal body
  • c) Modify the sanction
  • d) Uphold the sanction

3.4.6.7 The decision of the Dean of Students (or designee) will be final and binding.

3.5 Sanctions

When a student admits responsibility or is found responsible through a hearing for violating the Student Code regulations or University policy, sanctions may be imposed.  Disciplinary action may be conditional or final, and it may include one or more of the following:

  1. Warning: an official, written reprimand with the stipulation that further violations will result in more severe disciplinary action.
  2. Educational Meeting/Workshop: a meeting or workshop designed to educate the student and/or provide an opportunity for the student to reflect on the situation.
  3. Restitution: payment for damages or loss incurred.
  4. Work Assignment/Community Service: perform assigned task(s) that enhances the community.
  5. Probation: a specific period of time during which a student is required to report to a designated person on a regular basis in order to assess current behavior.
  6. Loss of course credit or reduction in grade points (for academic offenses).
  7. Loss of Privileges: including the loss of any or all of the following privileges:
    1. operating an automobile on campus;
    2. holding an office in a campus organization;
    3. representing the University in any official capacity;
    4. temporary removal from a designated University facility or function.
  8. Removal from University Housing: loss of the right to live in University housing.
  9. Resource/Counseling Referral.
  10. Denial of a University honor, scholarship, or degree or revocation of an honor, scholarship or degree previously awarded, in an appropriate situation.
  11. Suspension: to suspend from the institution for a definite or indefinite period of time until certain conditions are met, including but not limited to suspension from housing, one or more classes, or University sponsored activities or programs
  12. Dismissal: to dismiss from the institution for an indefinite period of time including, if appropriate, dismissal without the possibility of re-admission.
  13. Trespass from University: an order, typically in connection to a suspension or dismissal, prohibiting a student from attending and/or entering upon any property owned or controlled by the University or engaging in University sponsored activities or programs.
  14. Any other such action the University deems appropriate

 

As outlined in sections 3.1.7.4 and 3.2.4.1, failure to complete or adhere to the terms of any sanction may result in additional sanctions, a hold on the student’s account and/or suspension as determined by the Conduct Coordinator.  Under the aforementioned sections, a decision to suspend a student will be made in consultation with the Dean of Students (or designee).

3.5.1 Depending on the nature and severity of the violation found, sanctions may be imposed immediately and remain in effect during the pendency of any appeal. 

3.6 Emergency Cases

If, in the opinion of the Dean of Students (or designee), a student constitutes a continuing danger to persons or property and/or is an immediate or ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process and/or administrative operations at the University, the Dean of Students (or designee) may immediately suspend, as set forth in Section 3 of the Conduct Process, the student for up to ten business days. The student will be given written notice of the suspension. This notice will initiate the conduct process, which can be carried out during the suspension. In appropriate circumstances as determined by the Dean of Students (or designee), the suspension may be extended.

3.6.1 University Process for Emergency Suspensions

  1. A suspension hearing shall be scheduled within three days of the suspension.
  2. Written notification of the time and place of the suspension hearing will be delivered to the suspended student at least one business day prior to the suspension hearing date.
  3. Written notice of the charges and an explanation of the evidence the University has shall be given to the student charged.
  4. If the student attends the hearing, they shall be given an opportunity to present their version of the events.
  5. The Dean of Students (or designee) who suspended the student shall conduct the suspension hearing and decide whether or not to cancel or continue the suspension for the balance of the ten days.
  6. The suspended student shall not have the right to confront or question witnesses, or call their own witnesses.
  7. The suspended student is entitled to be accompanied at the Hearing by one advisor. The advisor shall have no role at the hearing other than to advise the student and shall not be permitted to ask or to answer questions or to make oral arguments.
  8. Disciplinary proceedings may be initiated through the normal University conduct process whether or not the emergency suspension has been canceled. If disciplinary proceedings are initiated, the Hearing will be held before a Hearing Officer.

3.7 Charges Involving Student Organizations

All notices referred to in these procedures, when involving a Registered Student Organization, shall be sent to the president of the organization, at the president of the organization’s University email account, unless another representative of the organization is designated by the organization to receive such notices.  When a Registered Student Organization is charged with a violation, the president of the organization shall represent the organization in the conduct process as outlined in Section 3, unless the Registered Student Organization designates some other representative.  The representative of the student organization must be a registered student at Grand Valley State University, and must be a regular member of that organization.

3.8 Unavailable Administrators or Officials

Should the Conduct Coordinator, the Dean of Students, or other officials required for the functioning of this Conduct Process be unavailable to act hereunder, if their replacement is not otherwise provided for herein, the Provost or their designee, may appoint a replacement for such official.

3.9 Severability

If any portion of these Conduct Process Provisions or the application thereof to any person or circumstance shall be found to be invalid by a court, such invalidity shall not affect the remaining portions or applications of these Conduct Provisions which can be given effect without the invalid portion or application.