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: September 16, 2019.

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 The terms “Executive Director, University Housing,” “Associate Director, University Housing,” and “Assistant Director, University Housing,” include University Housing designees or appointees of the Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs.

2.2 “Complainant” means any person who submits a report alleging that a student and/or a student group/organization engaged in conduct that violates the Code or Community Standards.

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

2.4 “Respondent” means a student or student group/organization alleged to have engaged in conduct that violates the Code or Community Standards.

2.5 “Student” means any person from the time they accept admission to NC State up through the date of graduation.  This includes, but is not limited to, new students at orientation, persons not currently enrolled but who are still seeking a degree from NC State, persons not currently enrolled but who were enrolled at the time of the conduct at issue, and any other person enrolled in a credit earning course offered by NC State. For purposes of this Rule, Student may also include Student Organizations and Student Groups.

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 law.

3.3 To be presumed not responsible unless proven by a preponderance of the evidence to have violated the Code or Community Standards.

3.4 To respond to the information presented and to question witnesses through a decision-maker.  Respondents in disciplinary proceedings are expected to truthfully answer questions concerning their conduct.  Disciplinary proceedings are administrative in nature and the person or body reviewing the case needs to have all relevant information available in order to reach a fair result.  If the respondent refuses to answer a question, a decision will be made based upon the information in the record.  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 violation will be deemed to have received notice of the charge when University Housing staff provides written notice to the student via hand delivery, electronic mail, or other reasonable means where University Housing may verify delivery of the notice.

4.2 Case Referrals

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

5.  UNIVERSITY HOUSING DISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE PROCESS AND PROCEDURES

5.1  University Housing 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 removal from University housing facilities.  A University Housing 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 University Housing 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 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 to call relevant witnesses.  Respondents are expected to answer questions concerning their conduct.  If the respondent refuses to answer a question, a decision will be made based upon the information in the record.

(e)  Respondents shall have an opportunity to be accompanied by an observer. An observer may be a parent, friend, or other person of the respondent’s choice. Observers may confer with the respondent during the conference, but may not provide representation in the conference or otherwise actively participate in the conference or disrupt or delay it.

(f)  The decision-maker will base any responsibility determination on a preponderance of the evidence standard, that is, whether the respondent was “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) University business 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 in the record.

(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.

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 disciplinary reprimand that serves as notice that continuing or repeating the prohibited conduct may be cause for additional and more serious disciplinary actions.

6.2 Residence Hall Probation

Residence Hall probation is a specified period of observation by University Housing.  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 may result in removal from housing.

6.3 Administrative Room Change

In an Administrative Room Change, the respondent is reassigned to a new room in the residence hall or apartment community and/or to a different residential community and the privilege of moving at the student’s discretion is revoked.  The student may be trespassed from the building/room from which they were 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 Behavioral Agreements

As a condition of continued residency in University Housing, students may be required to sign and abide by an agreement outlining specific behavioral expectations. Violations of any Behavioral Agreements may result in removal from University Housing facilities.

6.5 Community Service

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

6.6 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.).

6.7 Restriction of Privileges

The respondent may be restricted or prohibited from participating in particular residential community’s activities or using particular facilities for a specified period of time.

6.8 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.

6.9 Any other sanction authorized by the Code.

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 an Assistant Director, whose decision shall be final, and no further appeal of the decision is permitted.

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 that the decision and/or sanction imposed was so lacking in record support that no reasonable person could have reached the conclusion on responsibility and/or could have imposed the issued sanction. 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 reached the same outcome.

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 detailed written statement specifying the grounds for appeal, which at a minimum should contain a list of alleged errors in the decision or procedure, a statement of why the decision or sanctions are in error, and the complete factual basis for the appeal;

(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 University Housing decision-maker is alleged to have violated these Procedures, a written response may be solicited from the University Housing decision-maker.  Any such written statements from the parties or decision-maker 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 decision-maker.

(b)  To reverse or modify the decision and/or sanction(s) of the 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 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.  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.