Student Conduct Procedures
All student conduct regulations, procedures, and sanctions established by the University shall be administered by the Dean of Students, a designee, or a panel.
Any member of the University community may file charges under the Code of Conduct. Charges should be submitted in writing to the Dean of Students, Office of Public Safety, or Residence Life Office as soon as possible, but within two (2) weeks of the alleged misconduct. The Dean of Students has latitude to extend this deadline if deemed necessary.
The Student Conduct Procedures will be used to adjudicate disciplinary
cases involving alleged violations of the Code of Conduct. Minor
deviations in these procedures, including failure to meet stated
deadlines which do not significantly prejudice any party, shall not
invalidate the procedure. A student who has been charged with a Code of
Conduct violation, and thus alleged to be involved in an inappropriate
behavior, will be afforded the following to assure fundamental fairness
in the judicial process:
- Notice - to be informed in writing of the specific violation in
which the student was allegedly involved. Such notice will be given at
least three (3) days prior to the hearing, when appropriate and possible,
and will include the time and place of the hearing. The notice will
also include information regarding the student conduct process
The Hearing Officer may extend the scheduling of hearings based on good cause (i.e., illness or reasonable delays). The hearing officer may consult with the complainant or the respondent prior to the hearing to review the charges and the student conduct procedures. The Dean of Students, Vice President for Student Affairs, or a designee has the authority to immediately suspend, pending the hearing, any student from the residence halls and/or the University.
Students with disabilities who require accommodations for classroom activities may also qualify for accommodations during student conduct hearings. The student must notify the Dean of Students' Office two (2) business days in advance of the hearing if he/she qualifies for accommodations so that information can be confirmed and arrangements can be made through the Disability Services Coordinator in the Counseling Center.
- File Access/Review - the student has the right to review official documents in his/her student conduct file. Official documents consist of materials that would be considered “educational records” under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Personal notes of University staff members are not included. The student must make an appointment with the hearing officer and documents may be reviewed up to 24 hours before the hearing. No copies may be made from the file, the hearing officer or designee must be present, and the file may not be removed from the office.
- Investigation - Once a charge has been filed and investigated, the student will receive notice of the hearing to be conducted by the Dean of Students or designee(s), including, but not limited to, Residence Life staff, Student Affairs staff, and conduct panels composed of faculty and staff members. In cases of sexual misconduct, the school will conduct a full and timely investigation of the complaint. Typical investigation Should normally take 60 calendar days following receipt of the complaint and will include investigation as to whether any other students also may have been subjected to sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. Participants will be updated throughout this process and other policy violations may, at the option of the Dean of Students, be handled separately.
- Hearing - to have an opportunity to respond to the information/evidence, to present information, and to include relevant witnesses, during a fair and impartial hearing. The hearing shall be a private, internal review process that is informal, but thorough. Criminal law concepts do not apply to the student conduct process. Neither federal nor any state’s rules of evidence apply in student conduct proceedings. The standard of proof will be the preponderance of the evidence; which means that the information presented, as a whole, shows that the occurrence of the alleged behavior was more probable than not. Conduct panels are composed of one chief hearing officer, on faculty member, and one staff member. Any real or perceived conflicts of interest between the parties will be disclosed prior to proceedings. In cases of sexual misconduct a pre-hearing meeting is held for the complainant and the alleged respondent. The hearing shall be closed to everyone except the hearing officials (panel members, recorder, and chief student conduct officer), the complainant, respondent, supporters, and witnesses during the actual time of their testimony. Private attorneys and parents may not be present at the hearing. If the student respondent fails either to appear or to provide adequate prior notice of a reasonable excuse for not appearing, the hearing may proceed without the student respondent. The information in support of the charges will be presented and considered, and the case will be heard in a fair manner. Both the complainant and the respondent will be given the opportunity to indirectly question each other and all witnesses through the hearing officer(s) during the proceedings. Parents may be informed of charges if deemed necessary by the Dean of Students or a designee.
- Witnesses - to be able to have witnesses speak or present material relevant to the case. It is the responsi-bility of the student charged and/or the student bringing charges to notify the witnesses of the hearing and to provide a list of the witnesses to the hearing officer at least two (2) business days prior to the hearing. Exceptions to the deadline may be determined by the hearing officers/panel. The University may also call witnesses. The student may review possible witness names 24 hours prior to the hearing. Witnesses are to be on site for the duration of the hearing, and will be called to provide his/her information as needed throughout the hearing.
- Supporter - to have a Bellarmine University faculty, staff or student attend the hearing in the role of a supporter, but who is not permitted to speak in the hearing. The supporter cannot be one who is involved in the case or is related to any person charged. The person charged and the person making the charges may have a supporter present. The role of the supporter is simply to lend emotional and personal support to the student involved in the student conduct process.
- Written Decision - to have written notification of the findings of the hearing and the sanction(s), if applicable, within three (3) business days of the hearing. In instancesof crimes of violence, the University will disclose the results of student conduct proceedings upon receiving written request from the complainant in the Dean of Students' Office.
- Appeal - the student may make a written appeal within three (3) days of being informed of a disciplinary sanction, when the result of the hearing is suspension or dismissal from the University or residence halls. In cases involving sexual misconduct, regardless of the result of the hearing, either the complainant or the respondent may make a written appeal within three (3) days of being informed of a disciplinary sanction. Appeals must be based on one or more of the following reasons:
- Sanction proportionality – to determine whether the sanction was disproportionate to the offense committed, for which the student was found to be responsible.
- New evidence – to consider new information that was not known at the time of the original hearing that, if introduced, would substantially impact the finding or sanction.
- Procedural conformity – a claim that the hearing did not conform to the procedures outlined, and that substantially affected the outcome of the original hearing.
The written appeal must include the specific grounds for the appeal, supporting arguments and documentation, and any other relevant information the respondent wishes to include. Upon receipt of the written appeal, the other principal parties involved in the original hearing are notified and provided reasonable opportunity to respond in writing to the appeal. The principal parties include, but are not limited to, the Dean of Students, the chief student conduct officer, and any person(s) bringing charges against the student.
Validity of appeals for residence hall suspension or dismissal will be heard by the Dean of Students or a designee. Validity of appeals for University suspension or dismissal will be heard by the Committee on Student Appeals.
Appeals of residence hall suspension or dismissal will be heard by the VPSA or a designee. Appeals of University suspension or dismissal will be heard by the Committee on Student Appeals. This committee is composed of two students appointed by the Student Government Association, one faculty member and two administrators appointed by the VPSA. The Appeals Committee will examine witnesses not previously heard, new information, pertinent materials or information related to the original hearing, including, but not limited to previous hearing summary/minutes, sanction notification letter, incident report, letter of appeal, and appeal responses. The committee will render a recommendation to the VPSA or a designee, who will review the recommendation and issue a written decision in the matter. The VPSA will notify the appellant of the decision within three (3) working days of receipt of the recommendation from the Appeals Committee. In case of any crime of violence or sexual misconduct, both the complainant and the respondent will receive written notification of the outcome of the appeal. Students involved in an appeals process may be allowed to attend classes; participate in University activities, and use University facilities, unless their presence constitutes a clear and present danger to the University community or until the verdict is determined.
- Maintenance of Records - Documentation of all proceedings, which may include written findings of facts, transcripts or audio recordings will be kept in a secured location. In cases which do not involve suspension or expulsion, the records will be destroyed after seven years. Cases involving suspension or expulsion will be stored indefinitely. Conduct records are kept separate from other academic records and are protected under the Family Education Records Protection Act (FERPA).
Cases Referred to Residence Life
All minor violations occurring in residence halls (escort, keys, visitation, alcohol, noise, etc.). Minor incidents involving resident students occurring on-campus, but not in residence halls will be referred back to residence life.
Cases Referred to Dean of Students
Incidents involving drugs, sexual assault, assault, tampering with fire/safety equipment, and incidents occurring off-campus will be heard in the Dean of Students’ Office