RUL 11.31.01 - University Housing Disciplinary Procedures

Authority:  Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Academic and Student Affairs (DASA)

History:  First Issued: September 6, 2011. Last Revised: June 28, 2013

Contact Info: University Housing (919-515-2440)


1.  INTRODUCTION

1.1  University Housing may take disciplinary action to protect the safety and well being of the campus community.  These Disciplinary Procedures (“Procedures) are designed to ensure due process and protection of students' rights in cases involving the review of charges for violation of the Code of Student Conduct (“Code”) relating to housing or University Housing Community Standards (“Community Standards”).  The goal of disciplinary action is not punishment, but rather the teaching of responsibility and resumption of a safe, secure and reasonably quiet environment, within the residential living communities.

2.  DEFINITIONS

When used in these Procedures:

2.1  “Advisor” means the person who is selected by University Housing to monitor hearings and observe deliberations, inform University Housing Conduct Board members of applicable University Housing polices and Community Standards, as well as the range of sanctions that can be implemented, who is responsible for summoning witnesses upon a parties’ request, and decides challenges against Conduct Board members.

2.2  The terms “Vice Provost for Campus Life,” “Associate Director, University Housing,” “Assistant Director, University Housing,” and “Director, University Housing” include their designees or appointees.

2.3  “Complainant” means an individual(s) who submits a formal accusation against a student alleging a violation of the Code or Community Standards.  At hearings, the complainant may offer information or documentary information to present a case of misconduct and/or call other witnesses to do so, and may be someone other than the individual who submitted the formal accusation against a student.

2.4  The terms “institution” and “University” mean NC State and all of its undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, colleges, and administrative units.

2.5  “Chair” means the member of the University Housing Conduct Board responsible for maintaining order, determining the admissibility of information, facilitating deliberations, and announcing Conduct Board decisions to the respondent.  The Advisor to the University Housing Conduct Board will designate one of the Board members to serve as chair of a hearing panel.

2.6  “Respondent” means a student(s) who must respond to allegations against them.

2.7  “Student” means any person from the time they accept admission to NC State through the date of their graduation.

3.  RESPONDENT’S RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Students whose conduct is under review by University Housing have the following rights:

3.1  Written notice of the charges as described in these Procedures.  Written notice of the charges must be provided to the student at least five (5) days before any disciplinary process.  The constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy in criminal cases does not apply to student disciplinary proceedings.  Thus, for example, the University may impose disciplinary sanctions even where there has been a criminal proceeding disposing of the same matter.  The University may pursue charges for violation of the Code or Community Standards where corresponding criminal charges have been reduced, declined, or dismissed.

3.2  Reasonable access to the respondent’s case file in University Housing, which includes all information, to the extent permitted by confidentiality laws.

3.3  To be presumed not responsible until proven otherwise for violating the Code or Community Standards.

3.4  To respond to the information presented and to question witnesses, through a hearing board or decision-maker.  Respondents in disciplinary proceedings are expected to truthfully answer questions concerning their conduct.  Disciplinary proceedings are investigatory in nature and the person or body reviewing the case needs to engage the respondent in discussion and dialogue in order to reach a result.  If the respondent refuses to answer questions, a decision will be made based upon the information presented.  Students whose alleged misconduct may subject them to criminal proceedings should consult with their own legal counsel regarding their rights prior to their hearing.

3.5  To deny responsibility without being charged for lying in relation to that denial if proven responsible.  However, a student may be charged, or be subjected to increased sanctions, for lying about the facts of the case, as opposed to just denying responsibility.

3.6  To appeal an adverse decision as described below in section 7.

3.7  To review the Code, Community Standards, and these Procedures.

3.8  To waive any of the above rights, provided that the waiver is made freely and in writing.

4.  REPORTING AND CASE REFERRALS

4.1  Reporting and Notice of Charges

4.1.1  To report an alleged violation of the Code or Community Standards, any NC State student, employee or aggrieved person may submit a written statement to the appropriate University Housing personnel (usually a Resident Adviser) or contact University Police.

4.1.2  A written notice of the charge(s) will be provided to the student within five (5) University business days of the charge being reported, unless extenuating circumstances support a longer time period.  A student who is charged with a policy violation will be deemed to have received notice of the charge when University Housing staff hand delivers written notice to the student, or sends notice through a means where delivery can be verified.  An attempted delivery by any of these methods will be treated as a completed delivery.

4.2  Case Referrals

4.2.1  University Housing will decide whether alleged Code or Community Standards violations may be addressed through either a Disciplinary Conference, University Housing Conduct Board, or referred to the Office of Student Conduct.  Repeat alcohol violations and all illegal drug cases are heard exclusively by the Office of Student Conduct.  Law enforcement agencies may be notified for criminal offenses.

5.  DISCIPLINARY PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES

5.1  Disciplinary Conference

5.1.1  Disciplinary Conferences are appropriate in cases where the student respondent has no record of prior violations at the University and where the charges do not include the possibility of eviction.  A Disciplinary Conference is an informal meeting between the respondent and either the Residence Director, Community Director, or Assistant Director.  Formal rules of evidence do not apply in Disciplinary Conferences.  The appropriate University Housing staff member will meet with the student(s) accused of violating the Code or Community Standards; the complainant(s) may also be present.  The following procedural rights pertain to Disciplinary Conferences:

(a)  Respondents shall receive written notice of the specific charge(s) at least five (5) University business days prior to the scheduled Disciplinary Conference.  This written notification is generated from University Housing and is typically sent to the student via his or her University email account.  Respondents who wish to expedite their conference and waive the five-day notice may do so by requesting to schedule the conference earlier and confirming the waiver of their notice in writing.

(b)  Respondents shall have reasonable access to their case file maintained in University Housing prior to and during the Disciplinary Conference.  The case file consists of materials received or generated by University Housing and that are considered relevant to the misconduct charge.

(c)  Respondents may accept responsibility to the charges against them.  The University Housing decision-maker who meets with the respondent will assess the information provided from the respondent and other sources relevant to sanctioning, and then determine a sanction.

(d)  Where a respondent denies responsibility, the respondent shall have an opportunity to respond to the information presented and call relevant witnesses.  Respondents are expected to answer questions concerning their conduct.  If the respondent refuses to answer questions, a decision will be made based upon the information available.

(e)  Respondents shall have an opportunity to be accompanied by an observer, who cannot participate in the Disciplinary Conference unless requested to do so by the decision-maker.

(f)  The decision to find a respondent responsible for the charges will be based on whether the respondent, in the opinion of the person conducting the Conference, “more likely than not” engaged in the alleged misconduct.

(g)  The decision and sanctions, if any, issued by the person conducting the Disciplinary Conference shall be given to the respondent in writing and shall include a brief summary of the information on which the decision is based.  The written decision shall be provided to the student no later than ten (10) calendar days from the date the decision is made.

(h)  If the respondent fails to appear for the Disciplinary Conference after proper notice, the conference will proceed without the respondent and a decision will be made based upon the information available.

(i)  Charges against multiple students involved in the same incident may be heard in a single Disciplinary Conference only if each respondent consents to such a proceeding.

(j)  If the respondent is found responsible for a violation of the Code or Community Standards, information on appeal procedures will be provided to the student with the decision letter.

5.2  University Housing Conduct Board

5.2.1 Hearing panels chosen from the University Housing Conduct Board (“Conduct Board”) will hear those cases where the Residence or Community Director is unavailable or unable to hear or where the charges include the possibility of eviction.  Repeat alcohol violations are heard exclusively by the Office of Student Conduct.  Cases involving alleged violations of the Code or Community Standards may be heard by University Housing under this procedure or may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct, at the discretion of University Housing.  The following procedures apply in all cases reviewed by the Conduct Board:

5.2.2  The Conduct Board will consist of student representatives who reside in University-Housing residence halls or apartments.  Board members will be trained in educational approaches to student conduct issues and in hearing procedures.  The Conduct Board will also have an Advisor who is selected by University Housing.  Prior to each hearing, five members from the Conduct Board will be selected by the Advisor to serve on the hearing panel.  For conflict of interest or other good cause, the Advisor may disqualify any Conduct Board member from sitting on panel in a particular case.  Any Conduct Board member may disqualify herself/himself with reason.  The Advisor will designate a chair to preside over the hearing.

5.2.3  Respondents shall be given notice of the hearing date and the specific charges against them at least five (5) University business days in advance and shall be accorded reasonable access to the case file, including a list of potential witnesses.  The case file will be retained at University Housing and a copy of the file will be provided to the student. Respondents who wish to expedite their hearing and waive the five-day notice may do so in writing.  Respondents will be given an opportunity to meet with the Advisor prior to their hearing to review the hearing procedures and their rights and responsibilities.

5.2.4  Respondents may submit a written request for a continuance of the hearing, clearly stating reasons which justify the delay, at least 48 hours before the scheduled hearing.  The Advisor will rule on the request and notify all parties at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.

5.2.5  The information supporting the charge shall be presented by the complainant.  The complainant may be a University Housing administrator or other staff member.  At hearings, the complainant may be someone other than the original individual who submitted the formal accusation against the respondent, but will present the information supporting the charge on behalf of the accuser.  Where the complainant is a student or someone else who is not a University employee, that person may serve as a witness but the case will be presented by a University employee designated by University Housing.

5.2.6  The Advisor may require attendance of witnesses at the request of either party.  The parties’ witness lists must be presented to the Advisor at least 48 hours prior to the hearing.  University students and employees must comply with the notice, unless excused by the Advisor for good cause.

5.2.7  If a respondent fails to appear at the hearing after proper notice, the complainant will still be required to present his or her information regarding the alleged violation.  The case will be decided on the basis of the information presented.

5.2.8  The chair shall exercise control over the proceedings to avoid needless consumption of time and to achieve orderly completion of the hearing.  The chair may recess the hearing if the panel determines that the presence of additional persons is critical to the decision making process (with consultation of the Advisor).  Any person, including the respondent, who disrupts a hearing may be excluded by the chair or by the Advisor.

5.2.9  Hearings will be closed to the public.  The respondent may bring an observer to the hearing.  An observer may be a parent, friend, or other person of the respondent’s choice.  Observers may confer with the respondent during the hearing so long as the observer does not address the chair or panel members.  However, observers may not provide representation at the hearing, otherwise actively participate in the hearing, or disrupt or delay it.

5.2.10  Hearings shall be recorded.  The recording will reside with the respondent's file and will be available to the student as part of his/her student record, with appropriate redaction of information related to other students unless such information is a necessary part of an appeal.

5.2.11  The names of the panel members will be provided to each party prior to the hearing.  The respondent can challenge a panel member for reason of bias, and the Advisor will decide on the challenge.  Panel members need not be disqualified because they have superficial knowledge of the case or because they know the participants.  The basic test for disqualification is whether the panel member can adjudicate the case fairly, based on the evidence presented.  The respondent and complainant, or anyone acting on their behalf, may not speak to or contact a panel member prior to the hearing.

5.2.12  Witnesses shall be asked to affirm or swear that their testimony is truthful.  Witnesses who intentionally provide false information may be subject to University disciplinary action.

5.2.13  Prospective witnesses, other than the complainant and respondent, will be sequestered at the beginning of the hearing and excluded from the hearing during the testimony of other witnesses.  In addition, all parties and witnesses shall be excluded during panel deliberations.  The Advisor will observe deliberations, and may inform panel members of applicable University Housing polices and Community Standards , as well as the range of sanctions that can be implemented, but will not participate in discussions or attempt to influence the outcome.

5.2.14  The panel’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether the complainant has shown that it is “more likely than not” that the respondent violated the Code or Community Standards.  The respondent’s past disciplinary record will be available during the sanctions portion of the hearing.

5.2.15  Formal rules of evidence shall not apply in disciplinary proceedings.  Unduly repetitious or irrelevant information or witnesses may be excluded by the chair.  Hearsay information may be presented unless the chair determines it is too unreliable, provided that the respondent shall have an opportunity to rebut any hearsay information.

5.3.16  Panel members may take notice of commonly known information within the general experience of University students, provided that the respondent is informed of any such information and given an opportunity to address it at the hearing.

5.3.17  Written witness statements may be admitted into evidence only if the statements are signed by the witnesses as observed by a staff member in University Housing.  Exceptions to the observed requirement may be approved by the Advisor for good cause.  Statements from others regarding insight into the respondent’s decision-making and character introduced at the sanctioning portion of the hearing need not be witnessed.

5.3.18  Charges against multiple students involved in the same incident may be heard in a single hearing only if each respondent consents to such a proceeding.

5.3.19  The sequence of a Hearing shall be as follows:

(a)  The chair shall read statements regarding the expectations for truthfulness and confidentiality, then sequester the witnesses in the case, except as provided in these Procedures.

(b)  The chair shall read the charge(s) and accept whether the respondent admits or denies responsibility for the charge(s).

(c)  The complainant shall present his or her case, including any witnesses.  The panel and respondent may question the complainant and witnesses during the presentation.

(d)  The respondent shall present his or her case including any witnesses.  The panel and complainant may question the respondent and witnesses during the presentation.

(e)  Questions from the parties shall be directed through the panel.  The chair may limit questioning that is redundant, irrelevant, or abusive.

(f)  The complainant and respondent may make a closing statement.  A closing statement is a short summary of the information previously presented, and conclusions the speaker wishes the panel to draw from the information.

(g)  The panel will enter into a period of deliberation.  A decision will be made by majority vote.  Only the panel members and the Advisor may be present at deliberations.  Deliberations are not recorded.

(h)  The panel will announce its decision on each charge.  Decisions of the panel may be “responsible” or “not responsible.”

(i)  A determination of responsibility shall be followed immediately by a sanctions portion of the hearing in which either party may submit information or make statements concerning the appropriate sanction to be imposed.

(j)  The panel will enter into a period of deliberation for sanctioning.  A decision will be made by majority vote.  Procedures for this deliberation are the same as for deliberation of responsibility on the charge(s).

(k)  If the panel determines that eviction is the appropriate sanction, the panel will forward a recommendation of the respondent’s eviction to the Director, University Housing, who will then issue a decision on the sanction of eviction.

(l)  Any determination of responsibility and sanctions will be provided verbally to the respondent at the conclusion of the hearing.  A more detailed, written explanation of the findings and reasoning supporting the panel's decision will be drafted by the Advisor and delivered to the respondent via his/her University email account.  The time limit for filing an appeal begins upon delivery or attempted delivery of the written notification of the outcome.

6.  SANCTIONS

All findings of responsibility will result in the creation of a file that becomes part of the student's record.  Students are required to comply with all sanctions issued by any decision-maker or hearing body.  Failure to comply with sanctions constitutes a new violation and will result in further disciplinary action.  One or more of the sanctions listed below may be imposed for violations of the Code or Community Standards:

6.1  Written Warning

A Written Warning is a statement that a violation occurred and that future violations of the Code or Community Standards will result in more serious sanctions.

6.2  Residence Hall Probation

Residence Hall probation is a specified period of observation where review will be initiated.  The student may continue to reside on campus but is notified in writing that his/her behavior was unacceptable.  Future violations of the Code or Community Standards are likely to result in eviction from housing.

6.3  Administrative Room Change

In an Administrative Room Change the respondent is reassigned to a new room and/or residence hall and the privilege of moving at the student's discretion is revoked.  The student is then trespassed from the building/room from which he or she was removed.  Notification of the new room assignment will be made in writing and the respondent granted at least 48 hours to complete the move.

6.4  Eviction From Housing

Eviction is the removal of the student from any University housing.  Eviction may be for a period no less than the remainder of the current semester up to the remainder of the student’s academic career, at the discretion of the Director, University Housing.  All costs incidental to eviction are the responsibility of the student.  Students subject to eviction will be trespassed from entering all University housing.  Notification will be made in writing and the respondent will normally be granted at least 48 hours to complete the move.  Should the respondent's continued presence in the halls pose a serious and substantial threat to the hall community, the student may be required to vacate sooner.

6.5  Behavioral Contracts

As a condition of continued residency, students may be required to sign and abide by a contract outlining specific behavioral expectations for that student.

6.6  Community Service

The respondent may be required to perform community service specified in terms of work hours or a specified project, service, or presentation.

6.7  Conference, Consultation or Referral

Respondents may be required to meet or consult with an appropriate official or medical professional, or to attend a program or seminar for educational purposes (including diagnostic referrals, drug assessments, alcohol class attendance, etc.).

6.8  Restriction of Privileges

The respondent may be restricted or prohibited from participating in particular residence hall activities or using particular residence hall facilities for a specified period of time.

6.9  Restitution for Loss, Damage or Service Costs

The student may be required to pay reimbursement for the damage to or destruction of property, including costs of service incurred.

7.  APPEALS

Each student who has received a disciplinary sanction shall be notified in writing of his or her appeal rights.  This notice must be given no later than the date the written decision is delivered to the student (or the date delivery is properly attempted, in the event delivery is not successful).  Only the student who has been found responsible for a violation may appeal.

7.1  Appeal Routes

7.1.1  A decision resulting from a Disciplinary Conference may be appealed to the next level of University Housing staff, whose decision shall be final, and no further appeal of the decision is permitted.  If the Residence Director or Community Director is the conference officer, the appeal should be directed to the Assistant Director, University Housing.  If the Assistant Director is the conference officer, the appeal should be submitted to the Associate Director, University Housing.

7.1.2  Conduct Board decisions, other than eviction, may be appealed to the Director, University Housing, whose decision shall be final, and no further appeal of the decision is permitted.

7.1.3  Eviction decisions may be appealed to the Vice Provost for Campus Life.

7.2  Grounds for Appeal

7.2.1  Under the appeal rights set by the UNC Board of Governors and applicable at NC State, an appeal of an University Housing disciplinary decision is limited to allegations that the decision violates due process rights, meaning there has been a material deviation from the procedural and/or substantive due process standards adopted by the UNC Board of Governors.  Therefore the appeal must allege violation of:

(a)  Procedural Standards; and/or

(b)  Substantive Standards

7.2.2  On appeal, a respondent has the burden of showing that the disciplinary decision violates Procedural and/or Substantive Standards.

(a)  Violation of Procedural Standards means that the respondent was not provided the required notice or an opportunity for a fair hearing due to specified procedural errors, or errors in interpretation of University policies, regulations, or rules that were so substantial as to effectively deny the respondent a fair hearing.  Reasonable deviations from the procedures set out in these Procedures will not invalidate a decision or proceeding unless the respondent can show that, but for the deviation or error, there likely would have been a different outcome in the case.

(b)  Violation of Substantive Standards means there is a lack of information in the record that could support the decision or sanction(s).  This last ground for appeal does not mean the information presented at the hearing can be re-argued on appeal; rather, it requires a showing that no reasonable person could have determined the respondent was responsible or could have imposed the sanction that was issued.

7.3  Record on Appeal

7.3.1  In all cases resulting in an appeal, the decision, the complete record of the proceeding (including documentary evidence and any recording or transcript of testimony), the appeal materials filed by the student, and any other relevant information, will be compiled by the person(s) who made the original decision and delivered to the person designated to review the appeal.

7.4  Deadline and Place for Delivery of Notice of Appeal

7.4.1  Student appeals must be received within ten (10) calendar days from the date that the written decision or sanctions is provided, or attempted to be delivered, to the student through any delivery method where receipt can be verified.  If the tenth (10th) calendar day falls on a weekend or University holiday, the deadline for filing the appeal will be extended to the next University business day.  Failure to submit the written notice of appeal within this time limit will render the original decision final and conclusive.  An extension of time may be requested in writing within the ten-day limit, but it is within the discretion of the person deciding the appeal to grant or deny such requests.  The written notice of appeal must be delivered to University Housing.

7.4.2  The notice of appeal must contain the following:

(a)  A copy of the decision being appealed;

(b)  A statement of the grounds for appeal, which at a minimum should contain a list of alleged errors in the decision or procedure and statement of why the decision or sanctions are in error;

(c)  A requested remedy; and

(d)  The signature of the appellant and date the appeal is being submitted.

7.5  Appeal Review

7.5.1  The imposition of sanctions may be deferred during the pendency of appellate proceedings, at the discretion of the person(s) reviewing the appeal, upon written request of the respondent.

7.5.2  Appeals will be decided on the record of the original proceedings.  New hearings will not be conducted on appeal.  However, the person(s) reviewing the appeal may choose to ask the parties to submit written statements of their positions on appeal, beyond the information in the appeal notice.  If the hearing body is alleged to have violated these Procedures, a written response may be solicited from the hearing body or the Advisor on its behalf.  Any such written statements from the parties or Advisor must be drawn on information in the record; they cannot include new information or facts bearing on responsibility that were not presented at the hearing.  These written statements become part of the record.  Any decision to allow new information in the appeals process will be made by the person(s) reviewing the appeal.

7.6  Appeal Decisions

7.6.1  Following their review, the person(s) reviewing the appeal may decide:

(a)  To affirm the findings and sanction(s) imposed by the original panel/decision-maker.

(b)  To reverse or modify the decision and/or sanction(s) of the panel/decision-maker.  Such reversal or modification shall take place only upon a showing by the respondent of clear and material error on the part of the panel/decision-maker and which error affected the outcome of the case.

(c)  To remand the case to the initial level of decision-maker for a supplemental hearing or for a new hearing.  Cases will only be remanded based on:

(i)  specified procedural errors or errors in interpretation of University policies or regulations that were so substantial as to effectively deny the respondent a fair hearing; or

(ii)  new and significant material information that has become available and was not available previously to a person exercising reasonable diligence, which information could have affected the outcome of the proceeding.

(d)  To dismiss the entire case.  Dismissal will occur only if there is insufficient information to support a finding of responsibility.

7.6.2  All appeal decisions will be delivered in writing to the student's University e-mail account.