Student Rights Related to Violations and Grievances
The grievance process for any student complaint involving a matter (e.g., inappropriate language, preferential treatment, misuse of funds) not covered by existing institutional policy is as follows:
1) The complainant communicates his or her grievance to the Dean of Students (or to the Vice President, if the complaint is about the Dean of Students).
2) The dean begins the process of mediation or, at his or her discretion, defers the process of mediation. In the latter case, the grievance may be referred directly to the Grievance Panel.
The process of mediation may take any of the following courses:
• The individuals involved meet and determine a resolution.
• The individuals meet, together with a mediator assigned by the dean. With the assistance of the mediator, they may determine a resolution. If a resolution is not achieved, the grievance may be resubmitted to the dean, with a mediation report from the mediator and a written response from the target of the grievance. From this point on, the grievance is referred to the Grievance Panel.
• The individuals refuse mediation and submit a written mediation refusal to the dean. The dean reviews the mediation refusal and either refers the grievance directly to the Grievance Panel, or refers the grievance back to a mediator assigned by the dean.
• When the grievance is referred to the Grievance Panel (composed of one administrator, one faculty member, and one student selected by the student government president), the panel conducts a hearing. It may conduct an investigation and interview the persons concerned. The Grievance Panel then renders a judgment, which may take the form of dismissal of the complaint or the imposition of disciplinary measures. In the case of disciplinary action, the person on whom it is imposed may appeal to the appropriate dean.
Disciplinary Proceedings: General Information
Students are expected to abide by the tenets of the Community Standards Violations of the Community standards are not limited to those that have been outlined in the Community Standards section of this handbook. Students should interpret the scope of community standards in the broadest sense.
Jurisdiction of the Institution
Disciplinary action may be taken if off-campus behavior adversely affects the institution in the pursuit of its objectives or violates existing local, state, or federal laws or ordinances.
If the activities of students result in violations of law, students are responsible for their actions and for any consequences imposed by authorities outside the institution. When student behavior is in violation of law and of the Community Standards, the institution reserves the right to take disciplinary action independent of, and in addition to, any action by civil or governmental agencies. The institution may elect to delay on-campus disciplinary action pending resolution of criminal charges.
Responsibility for administration of the disciplinary process rests with Dean of Students. Upon a complaint or allegation of student misconduct, a judicial body may be appointed by the Dean of Students or an authorized designee to investigate the charge and recommend sanctions if a violation has occurred.
The term “judicial body” shall be used to identify any person or persons authorized by the Dean of Students to determine whether a student has violated the Community Standards and to determine sanctions. In most cases, the judicial body used to hear a case shall be a Discipline Review Committee appointed by the Dean of Students consisting of a faculty member, an administrator and a student appointed by the president of the Student Government Association.
In cases where a violation is admitted, a clear precedent exists, and there are no complicating factors, a decision shall be issued by the Dean of Students or an authorized designee. Cases involving denial of responsibility or conflicting evidence will be heard by a Discipline Review Committee. In some cases, the individual accused may elect to have a hearing before a Discipline Review Committee, or an administrative hearing.
In all cases, the purpose of the judicial body is to determine whether a violation has occurred, and, if so, to assign responsibility and determine the nature of the sanction.
At the time a complaint is received, or at any time thereafter, during, or at the termination of the proceedings, the RGS may drop disciplinary proceedings and leave the complainant to pursue remedies through criminal or civil authorities.
Rights of the Accused
If the need for a hearing arises, accused students have the right:
• To have the hearing within a reasonable period of time after a charge is filed
• To receive notice of the time and place of the hearing and of specific charges
• To appear in person and present information on their own behalf, to call witnesses, and to ask questions of anyone present at the hearing. In determining responsibility for the alleged violation, the RGS will permit witnesses of fact, but not of character
• To elect not to attend a hearing; in such cases, the hearing shall be conducted solely on the basis of the evidence available
• To refuse to answer or make a statement; however, decisions will be based on the evidence available
• To have at the hearing a member of the faculty, administration or Student Government Association who may provide support but not participate in the hearing; individuals other than those listed above, such as family members and attorneys, will not be admitted
• To receive written documentation of the outcome of a hearing and any sanctions imposed
• To request an appeal of the outcome of a hearing
Rights of the Accuser
In a case involving one student bringing charges against another, the complainant also is afforded certain rights; these consist of the right
• To be treated with dignity and seriousness
• To be reasonably free of intimidation that may occur because of a case
• In a case of sexual assault, to be informed of the status and outcome of the case
• To have at the hearing a member of the faculty, administration or student body, who may provide support but not participate in the hearing; individuals other than those listed above, such as family members and attorneys, will not be admitted
• To receive or be referred to appropriate support services
Charges and Hearings
Any member of the RGS community may file charges against any student for misconduct. Charges shall be prepared in writing and forwarded to the Vice President, the Dean of Students or their designee. Any charge should be submitted as soon as possible after the event occurs.
The Dean of Students or designee shall determine the appropriate judicial body for hearing the case.
The hearing process shall include:
• Written or other appropriate notice of the hearing for the accused student
• Notice of the charges
• The opportunity for the person charged to defend against the charges and to present witnesses having direct testimony concerning the charges
• The opportunity for the person charged to be accompanied by a faculty, administrative or student member of the RGS community, who may support the accused student or accuser but not participate in the hearing
• A recorded version of the proceedings, if deemed appropriate
Deliberations and Decisions
A finding of responsibility for a violation must be supported by the majority of the members of a disciplinary panel or by the sole member of an administrative hearing. The criterion of “preponderance of the evidence” shall be used to determine responsibility when the evidence suggests that the alleged violation was more likely to have occurred than not.
Upon reaching a verdict of responsibility, a judicial body shall determine the sanction.
Students will receive written notification of any decision and the sanction to be imposed. Copies of disciplinary letters will be placed in the student’s file.
The RGS is required (as a result of the Higher Education Act of 2008), upon written request, to disclose to the alleged victim of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, or to the alleged victim’s next of kin (if the victim dies as a result of the crime or offense), the final results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding dealing with that crime or offense.
The following pages suggest the range of official actions that may be imposed for violation of RGS regulations or expectations. One or more sanctions may be imposed in any given case. A statement concerning suggested minimum sanctions for specific violations has been prepared by the RGS and is updated periodically.
It should be noted that the RGS refund policy directs that when a student has been suspended or expelled from the RGS for disciplinary reasons, refunds are not available. The definitions of terms are as follows:
• Warning: a notice in writing that a regulation has been violated.
• Restitution: compensation for loss, damage or injury, in the form of appropriate service, monetary or material replacement, or both.
• Developmental Sanctions: work assignments, service to the RGS, reflection papers, counseling sessions, etc.
• Suspension: separation of the student from the RGS for a specified period of time during which the student will not be allowed to participate in RGS-sponsored activity and will be barred from all RGS-owned property. Notification of suspension will not be maintained on the student’s transcript during the period of suspension.
• Interim Suspension: separation of the student from the RGS during which the student will not be allowed to participate in RGS-sponsored activity and will be barred from all RGS-owned property until a review hearing is conducted or a judicial board hearing is conducted for a case.
• Expulsion: permanent separation of the student from the RGS. Notice of expulsion shall not appear on the student’s transcript. The student will not be allowed to participate in any RGS-sponsored activity and will be barred from all RGS-owned property.
The student and the RGS have the right to request an appeal for a hearing decision. Students wishing to appeal must make their request in writing. Appeals must be received by the Dean of Students within five class days of receipt of the original hearing verdict. The Dean of Students shall evaluate the written appeal to determine whether grounds exist (as stated below).
Appeals of cases for which grounds have been recognized by the Dean of Students are generally heard by an Appeal Board appointed by the Dean of Students The Appeal Board can modify a sanction or call for a re-hearing of the case. The decision of the Board in these instances is final, except in cases involving suspension or expulsion from the RGS, in which case a final appeal may be made to the President of the RGS.
Appeals shall be limited to a review of the record of the hearing and its supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes:
• To determine whether the original hearing was fair in its proceedings,
• To determine if a decision was made contrary to the evidence presented
• To evaluate the appropriateness of the sanction
• To consider new evidence that may alter the outcome of the case; in this instance, only the new evidence may be heard by the Appeal Board
Procedures for Resolving Student Allegations of Discrimination
Student complaints that discrimination has occurred will be reviewed as follows:
• Students who believe that academic discrimination has occurred should discuss the matter with their advisor
• Students who believe that discrimination of a non-academic nature has occurred should discuss the matter with the Dean of Students.
It may be that discussion at this level, supplemented by the gathering of appropriate information, will result in a resolution of the matter to the students’ satisfaction
If the matter is not resolved within a reasonable period of time to the satisfaction of the student, formal procedures may be instituted.
• Cases of an academic nature should be submitted with documentation to the Dean of Academics for resolution by the Academic Standards Committee
• Cases of a non-academic nature should be submitted to the Dean of Students for resolution by one of the RGS adjudication forums