Student Rights and Responsibilities: A Code of Student Behavior
7.0 Overview of the Conduct Process
This overview gives a general idea of how the University/College’s campus conduct proceedings work, but it should be noted that not all situations are of the same severity or complexity. Thus, these procedures are flexible, and are not exactly the same in every situation, though consistency in similar situations is a priority. The campus conduct process and all applicable timelines commence with notice to an administrator of a potential violation of University rules.
- 7.1 Purpose
- 7.2 Student Rights and Due Process in the Conduct Process
- 7.3 Sanctions, Restrictions, and Stipulations
- 7.4 Offenses Motivated by Bias
- 7.5 Appeals
- 7.6 Student Behavior Records
- 7.7 Student Behavior Record Retention and Destruction
This document establishes complaint resolution procedures in order to better serve students, faculty, and staff. The purposes of the complaint resolution procedures include:
- To provide for the education and personal growth of the student;
- To provide for fair inquiries concerning alleged violations of the Student Rights and Responsibilities;
- To determine through fair procedures whether or not any individual student has actually violated a regulation in the Student Rights and Responsibilities;
- To allow for consideration of extenuating or mitigating factors where a violation has been found to exist; and
- To determine a conflict resolution that will be appropriate and also will help the student involved make a positive contribution to the University community.
The focus of the complaint resolution procedures shall be to determine whether a student is responsible or not responsible for the violations of which the student is accused.
7.2.A. Violation of Policy
A student is considered to have violated the Student Rights and Responsibilities when the student:
- Admits to his/her responsibility for a violation; or
- Is found responsible for one or more provisions of the Student Rights and Responsibilities.
7.2.B. Conduct Process
Students alleged to have violated any University policy, including student organization and Housing and Residence Life policies, will be subject to the University Conduct Process.
In situations where an outcome is likely to yield sanctions of suspension or expulsion from the University, a pre-hearing will be scheduled to review the conduct process and review the applied charges.
Title IX Policy for Sexual Harassment, Including Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking
The University of Southern Indiana embraces and celebrates the many differences that exist among the members of a dynamic, intellectual, and inclusive community, and strives to maintain an environment that respects differences and provides a sense of belonging and inclusion for everyone. In accordance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 and its implementing regulations, the University prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including Sexual Harassment (policy), in its education programs or activities. This prohibition on sex discrimination includes, but is not limited to, admission and employment.
For discrimination or harassment that is not on the basis of sex, does not meet the definitions of Prohibited Conduct in this Title IX Policy, or does not meet the jurisdictional requirements for Title IX, the University will utilize the University Handbook, specifically the Equal Opportunity and Non-discrimination Policy or the Student Rights and Responsibilities, or other appropriate University policies.
7.2.C. Presentation of Information Relevant to the Complaint Resolution Process
Charged students and complainants will be given every reasonable opportunity to present their information, including questions and presentation of additional testimony, during the complaint resolution proceedings. Students have the right against self-incrimination.
7.2.D. Standard of Proof
The standard of proof will be “more likely than not” University policy has been violated. That proof need only show that the facts are more likely to be so than not so. Evidence, when considered and compared with that opposed to it, has the more convincing force and produces in the hearing body’s mind the belief that what is sought is more likely true than not true (Journal of College and University Law).
7.2.E. University Advisor
The student and the complainant each have the right to an advisor. The student’s advisor must be a member of the University community—student, faculty, administrator, staff, coach, recognized University affiliate, etc. The role of the advisor is to provide support and to assist in preparing for the hearing. Since the complaint resolution process is not a civil or criminal court hearing, the advisor’s role is not that of an attorney representing the student. This person may not address the hearing officer or hearing board or ask questions of any witnesses. For assistance in securing an advisor, contact the Dean of Students Office.
Witnesses, including the student accused of violating policy, are permitted in all complaint resolution proceedings. Witnesses may present information on behalf of the student or the complainant. It is the responsibility of the student or the complainant to secure their witnesses or witness statements. Witnesses may be questioned by the conduct officer or hearing board members, by the complainant and by the student. Witness(es) will be asked to provide information concerning only the violation(s) being adjudicated. Since the complaint resolution process does not have the authority to subpoena, witness statements may be submitted in place of having witness(es) present during the hearing.
7.2.G. Conduct Process Environment
All hearings are closed to the public. Only individuals involved in the situation may be present. Involved individuals may include:
- Conduct officers and/or hearing board members
- Student accused of violating University policy
*Witnesses will remain only for the duration of their own testimony.
7.2.H. Initiation, Investigation, and Disposition of Complaints
Documentation/Reporting Alleged Violations of University Policy
Any alleged violation should be reported as soon as possible following the discovery of the suspected inappropriate behavior. Any potential violations of University policy may be reported in the following manner:
- A report may be filed with USI Public Safety
- A report may be filed with USI Housing and Residence Life
- A report may be filed with the USI Dean of Students Office
Any student, faculty, staff member, or guest of the University of Southern Indiana may officially report an alleged violation of University policy as outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities.
Generally, within ten (10) working days of receipt of the complaint, the Dean of Students or their designee will notify the charged student. This notification will include:
- The nature of the alleged inappropriate behavior;
- The date, time, and place of the alleged inappropriate behavior;
- The source of the complaint;
- A summary of information to be presented;
- The date, time, and place of the hearing;
- The sanction(s) applicable if found responsible for a violation of the Student Rights and Responsibilities;
- A description of the preservation and the release of information from the conduct record; and
- A notice that a decision will be made in the student’s absence if the student chooses not to appear at the hearing, and failure to appear will be considered in reaching a decision whether or not the behavior code has been violated.
7.2.J. Student Behavior Resolution Procedures
Administrative Hearing Officers
The Dean of Students determines who will serve as conduct hearing officers. Typically, these include the Assistant Dean of Students, Assistant Director of Student Conduct and Outreach, Director of Housing and Residence Life (HRL), Associate Director of HRL, Assistant Director of Residence Education, and Area Coordinators.
7.2.K. University Hearing Board
This board is comprised of a pool of students, faculty and administrators who can fill the following positions when a hearing board is convened. Generally, there will be two students in good standing with USI, and a combination of one University faculty member, one University administrator. The Dean of Students or their designee to serve as the hearing board chair. These individuals are appointed and trained by the Dean of Students Office staff.
7.2.L. University Conduct Process
In cases involving potential suspension or expulsion from the University, the student may request a hearing before the University Hearing Board if the Board is available. The Dean of Students also may refer disciplinary cases to the Hearing Board at their discretion. Most complaints are resolved via the administrative hearing process. An administrative hearing involves the student, the administrative hearing officer, and any other individuals necessary to determine whether the student is responsible for a violation of University policy. Advantages of an administrative hearing include a more timely resolution of the conflict and the involvement of fewer individuals. An administrative hearing also may become necessary for those times when the full University hearing board is unable to meet. In such instances where the University hearing board would normally be convened, the Dean of Students or their designee will conduct the administrative hearing.
7.2.M. Administrative Hearing Process
- Students will meet with one of the individual professional staff members designated to conduct University student complaint resolution proceedings. Members of the University hearing board will not conduct administrative hearings.
- Student rights will be reviewed by the hearing officer with the student.
- Charges will be reviewed with the student. At this time, students can indicate whether they believe they are responsible for the policy violation(s) or not responsible for the policy violation(s).
- A student will be given the opportunity to present their version of events to the administrative hearing officer and respond to any of the materials associated with the violation.
- The administrative hearing officer may ask questions of the student and any witnesses. The administrative hearing officer will deliberate over the information and will make every attempt to reach a decision within five (5) business days from the date of the meeting as to whether or not the student is responsible or not responsible for the violation(s).
- The student will be notified of the outcome in writing. Any sanctions associated with the outcome will be included in the written notification.
- The appeals process will be outlined and included in the notification of outcome.
7.2.N. University Hearing Board Procedures
- A student will meet with the University hearing board.
- Charges will be reviewed with the student. At this time, the student can confirm whether they plead responsible for the policy violation(s) or not responsible for the policy violation(s).
- The University representative bringing charges against the student will present their testimony to the University hearing board.
- The student will be given the opportunity to respond to the charges and to present materials associated with the violation.
- The University representative and accused shall have the opportunity to present witnesses/witness statements to the University hearing board.
- The University representative and accused may ask questions of the witnesses through the chair of the University hearing board.
- The University hearing board members may ask questions of the witnesses, the student, and the University representative.
- The University representative and accused may summarize evidence and testimony through closing statements.
- The University hearing board will deliberate over the information and reach a decision generally within five (5) business days as to whether or not the student is responsible or not responsible for the violation(s).
- Students will be notified of the outcome in writing by the chairperson of the board. Any sanctions associated with the outcome will be included in the written notification. Additionally, the appeals process will be outlined and included in this notification.
7.2.O. Conflict of Interest
No member of the hearing board or no conduct officer who has a conflicting interest in a particular case may conduct a conduct hearing for said situation. Hearing board members and conduct officers with conflicting interests must recuse themselves from the proceedings. Either the student or the complainant may challenge a member of the hearing board or a conduct officer in writing with the Dean of Students. In cases where the Dean of Students’ involvement is questioned, the challenge would be forwarded to the Vice President for Student Affairs.
An administrative hearing officer or the University hearing board will reach one of the following findings at the conclusion of the hearing:
- Charges Dropped: If the alleged conflicts prove to be unfounded, no action will be taken against the student. All written materials will be retained for a minimum of seven years and then destroyed.
- Not Responsible: The finding of the facts of the case found that it was NOT “more likely than not” that the student was responsible for the violation(s). No action will be taken against the student. All written materials pertaining to that charge will be retained for one year and then destroyed.
Responsible: The finding of the facts of the case found that it was “more likely than not” that the student was responsible for the violation(s). Sanctions, restrictions, and/or stipulations can be imposed (see 4.6). All written materials will be retained for a minimum of seven years and then destroyed, except in the case of suspension or expulsion and/or at the discretion of the Dean of Students, which becomes a matter of permanent record.
Sanction(s) is/are a consequence(s) placed upon a student when responsibility for a violation(s) of specified University policy(ies) has been determined. In assigning a sanction(s) for inappropriate student behavior, the presiding entity will consider:
- Facts of the case as presented by the accuser(s) and the accused,
- Type and severity of offense,
- Degree of involvement by accused, extenuating circumstance, and
- Previous incidents of inappropriate behavior committed by the individual(s) accused.
The following is a list of possible sanctions:
- Warning (Written): A student may be given a written warning. A written warning is a letter that makes a matter of record any incident in violation of the code. Subsequent code violations will normally result in more severe sanctions.
- Probation: Probation is a specified period of review and observation during which the student must demonstrate the ability to comply with University policies, and any other sanctions as outlined above and/or conditions which have been imposed in writing. The specific terms of the probation will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Notification may be given to other University officials as necessary. Probation may be supervised or unsupervised. Further inappropriate behavior may result in additional sanctions to be assigned, including suspension or expulsion.
- Deferred Suspension: Deferred suspension is a designated period of time during which a student, while continuing to be enrolled, is given the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to abide by the Student Rights and Responsibilities. A student may be placed on deferred suspension for serious misconduct or repeated misconduct. Students who are placed on deferred suspension can also be given educational sanctions. While under deferred suspension, a student may not serve as an officer of a campus organization or member of a committee or council. Other stipulations can also be a part of the deferred suspension and can include limitations on activities or access to University facilities. If the student is found responsible for additional violation(s) of the Student Rights and Responsibilities while the student is on deferred suspension the minimum sanction that will be imposed through the conduct process for an in-violation finding is suspension.
- Emergency Suspension: A student may be temporarily and immediately suspended, pending a hearing, when the student’s actions or threats of action poses a threat to themselves or to others, or to the University’s educational mission or property or to the health or safety of University community members. No hearing will be required before the emergency suspension is imposed; however, a review of the emergency suspension will be held within five (5) working days following the notification. The adjudication process will proceed in a timely manner.
- Suspension: A written notification of the termination of student status and exclusion from further enrollment for a specific period of time not less than one academic semester and not to exceed two academic years.
- A student who has been suspended must vacate campus within the time frame established.
- The notice will include the conditions for readmission which must be met prior to application for readmission. An interview with the Dean of Students or their designee will be required prior to acceptance of the student’s application for readmission.
- The student’s eligibility for any refund of tuition/fees will be subject to the University’s normal withdrawal policy.
- The student must leave University residences and may not be on University-owned or -controlled property or attend University events.
Suspension is a matter of permanent record. A permanent record indicates that student behavior files may be retained indefinitely.
- Expulsion: A written notification that the student is permanently ineligible to return to the University. The student must leave University residences and may not be on University owned or -controlled property or attend University events. Petitions for re-enrollment will not be accepted. The expulsion will be recorded on the student’s transcript as “May Not Register” and is a matter of permanent record.
University Conduct Typical Range of Possible Sanctions
|Offense (Hearing Count)||Possible Sanctions (non-AOD/Alcohol or Other Drugs)||Possible Sanctions (Alcohol)||Possible Sanctions (Other Drugs)|
- This chart is applied to all USI students, regardless of their housing status.
- The severity of the offense(s) will influence what sanctions will be applied. For example, a student who is found in violation for using marijuana will most likely receive sanctions less severe than if the same student was found in violation for dealing marijuana.
- Educational stipulations can include but are not limited to the following: reflection paper, participation in an educational program or class, film/article/social media reviews, and follow-up meetings.
- Loss of privileges can include but are not limited to the following: visitation or guests in housing, recreation facilities use, and participation in University/student events/organizations.
- “Other” sanctions or educational stipulations can include but are not limited to the following: disciplinary or restitution fines, apology letters, and housing assignment relocation.
- A student may be asked to revise or add additional information if the expectations for the sanction or education stipulation are not met.
- Failure to complete a sanction(s) or educational stipulation(s) may result in a hold being placed on the student’s account until the sanction or educational stipulation is completed and submitted.
Title IX Policy for Sexual Harassment, Including Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking
The University of Southern Indiana embraces and celebrates the many differences that exist among the members of a dynamic, intellectual, and inclusive community, and strives to maintain an environment that respects differences and provides a sense of belonging and inclusion for everyone. In accordance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 and its implementing regulations, the University prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including Sexual Harassment (as defined in the policy linked here – https://handbook.usi.edu/sexual-harassment-policy), in its education programs or activities. This prohibition on sex discrimination includes, but is not limited to, admission and employment.
For discrimination or harassment that is not on the basis of sex, does not meet the definitions of Prohibited Conduct in this Title IX Policy, or does not meet the jurisdictional requirements for Title IX, the University will utilize the University Handbook, specifically the Equal Opportunity and Non-discrimination Policy or the Student Rights and Responsibilities or other appropriate University policies.
7.3.B. Interim Actions
The Dean of Students/designee may impose interim actions prior to adjudication. Interim actions may be imposed in the following circumstances:
- To ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University community or the preservation of University property,
- To ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety or well-being; or
- If a student poses a threat of disruption or interference with the normal operations of the University.
Interim actions can include but are not limited to any sanctions, restrictions, or stipulations listed in this document.
7.3.C. Restrictions and Stipulations
Restrictions and stipulations are concurrent actions that may be imposed by the administrative hearing officer or the University hearing board in addition to a sanction.
- Educational Requirements: A provision to complete a specific educational requirement designed to promote the education and development of the student while maintaining the integrity of the academic environment. The provision will be clearly defined. Such educational requirements may include but are not limited to meeting with University staff, completion of an alcohol education program, reflection paper, reports, behavioral agreements, etc.
- Community/University Service: A student may be assigned to complete a specified number of hours of community/University service.
- Restitution: A student may be required to repair or pay the cost for the repair or replacement of any property damaged by the student. This sanction can be imposed by itself or in addition to other sanctions.
- Confiscation: Goods used or possessed in conflict with USI policies, including but not limited to falsified information or identification, will be confiscated
- Restriction of Access/Removal from University Housing: A student or other person(s) may be removed from and/ or have access restricted to specified campus facilities, or portions of specified campus facilities, including relocation in, or removal from Housing and Residence Life facilities, for a specific period of time.
- Loss of privileges: A student may be denied certain privileges. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Be an active participant in and/or to be in attendance at any or all public events sponsored by USI or by student, and/or
- Represent USI in specified matters, and/or
- Hold office in any or all USI-registered organizations, and/or
- Visit with guests during regular Housing and Residence Life visitation periods, and/or
- Receive institutional financial aid, and/or
- Participation in extra or co-curricular activities, and/or
- Employment at the University.
- Participation in a Specific Program: A student may be required to participate in a specific program(s), such as public service, and alcohol and/or other drug education program, an educational class, or other program participation as assigned. Failure to participate as directed may result in the imposition of additional sanctions, including suspension or expulsion.
Any offense that is motivated by bias may result in stronger penalties. An offense motivated by bias is any offense wherein the accused intentionally selects the alleged victim because of the alleged victim’s race, creed, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, public assistance status or inclusion in any group protected by federal, state, and local law.
Students found responsible for a violation of the Student Rights and Responsibilities may appeal. An appeal from any decision, either administrative hearing or University hearing board, must be made in writing within two business days following the date the hearing record notification is assigned and notice is received by the student. The University Disciplinary Appeal Form. Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women’s Act the complainant may appeal in cases of sexual violence (Sexual Misconduct).
7.5.A. Format of Appeal
An appeal shall be written and contain the student’s name, the date of the decision or action, and the reason(s) for the appeal. The appeal form must specify in detail one or more of the following bases for appeal:
- Student’s/student organization’s rights were violated as a result of failure of due process (specify right believed to have been violated),
- Decision is arbitrary (no basis in University policy for decision) or capricious manner (the finding is against the substantial weight of the evidence),
- Significant new evidence is available that could change the outcome, and/or
- The appropriateness of the sanction is inconsistent with University community standards.
7.5.B. Suspension of Original Sanction Pending Appeal Review
A properly filed notice of appeal suspends the imposition of sanctions until the appeal is decided, unless, in the discretion of the dean of students, the continued presence of the student on the campus poses a serious threat to themselves or to others, property, or to the normal operation of the University.
7.5.C. Individuals Reviewing Appeals
The appeal will be reviewed by the Dean of Students or their designee.
7.5.D. Appeal Review Process
The appellate officer will review the written letter of appeal from the student and determine if one of the basis for appeal is present. If it is, a review of the appeal will be granted. The appellate officer shall review:
- The response from the hearing officer/body.
- Materials presented at the original hearing, and if available the recorded transcript of the hearing.
Appeals shall be decided upon the record of the original proceedings and upon the written briefs submitted by the parties. Decisions of the conduct bodies will be given great deference by the appellate decision maker. After reviewing these materials, the appellate officer may decide to do one of the following:
- Affirm the finding and the sanction imposed.
- If specified errors occurred, remand to the original decision makers to reverse the error, change the procedures, consider new evidence that could not have been discovered by a properly diligent accused before or during the original hearing, substitute new adjudicators, or otherwise repair the grounds that gave rise to the appeal.
- Affirm the finding and reduce, but not eliminate, or increase the sanction if found to be grossly disproportionate to the offense.
- Cases may only be dismissed if the finding is held to be arbitrary and capricious.
A crucial point in the appeals process is the shifting of the burden of proof. At the initial hearing, the burden of proof lies with the complainant. Once there is a finding of responsibility, the burden shifts to the petitioner. The decision on the appeal will generally be made within ten (10) business days of receipt of the appeal, but may take longer during University recesses or in the event of complex cases.
In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Public Law 93-380), conduct records are considered to be an “educational record” and all student behavior records are confidential and may not be disclosed in whole or in part except as provided by law or by the written authorization of the student. This disciplinary record will be separate from the student’s academic record but will be considered a part of the student’s educational record and will be retained in the Dean of Students and/or other offices as authorized by the dean of Students. Students have the right to inspect and review the materials contained in their conduct record subject to office procedures.
When a student is expelled from the University, the Dean of Students or their designee shall request of the Registrar or their designee the placement on the student’s permanent academic record the words “May Not Register.”
7.7.A. Sanctions Less than Suspension or Expulsion
In cases in which students are found responsible for a violation and receive a sanction of less than suspension or expulsion, records related to the hearing will be retained for a minimum period of seven (7) years from the date of the incident. Student disciplinary files may be retained indefinitely at the discretion of the dean of students or their designee. Release of information may be restricted by the dean of students for good cause, upon written petition.
Factors considered in review of such petition shall include:
- The present demeanor of the student;
- The conduct of the student subsequent to the violation;
- The nature of the violation and the severity of the damage, injury, or harm resulting from it.
7.7.B. Suspension or Expulsion
In cases where students are found responsible for a violation and receive a sanction of suspension or expulsion, students’ disciplinary files will be considered permanent records. A permanent record indicates that student disciplinary files may be retained indefinitely.
7.7.C. Student Organization Records
Student organizations are considered to have a continuing relationship with the University of Southern Indiana so long as the organization maintains its official recognition status with USI. Records of behavioral conflicts involving student organizations will be retained for a minimum of seven (7) years following the date of the incident with the Dean of Students or their designee.
This Student Rights and Responsibilities was approved on August 14, 2023, by Dean Laurie Berry, and implemented on August 15, 2023.