Student Handbook 2020-2021

Conduct Hearing Process

Conduct Hearing Process

This section outlines the student conduct hearing process at Keuka College.

Please be advised that all official communications between the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards and students is through a student's Keuka email account. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards may use others methods (text messages, traditional letters, etc.) to supplement communication. Students are responsible for the consequences of ignoring or not reading communications sent to their Keuka email account in a timely manner.

The student conduct process at Keuka College is an administrative process, and not a legal process. In making determinations of responsibility for alleged violations and behavior, the standard of proof that is used is a preponderance of evidence (i.e. what is more probable than not). Information obtained through a search of a student's person, effects, or room without their consent or appropriate notification shall not be admissible, unless obtained through a warrant or conditions stated in Keuka College policies. An alleged student’s refusal to consent to a search or to give information concerning the alleged facts, if a criminal prosecution relating to the same violation is pending, independent of the conduct hearing. The hearing officer or panel will notify the student in advance of the right to remain silent and will draw no inference from the student’s refusal to give information. 

Findings

  • Not Responsible - If a student is found Not Responsible for a violation, then the alleged violation(s) shall not be on a student's disciplinary record, will not be accompanied by any sanction, and will not be used as information/evidence for sanctioning purposes of a violation is alleged at a later date.
  • Responsible - If a student is found Responsible for a violation, then this violation shall be on a student's disciplinary record, will be accompanied by an appropriate sanction, and may be used for sanctioning purposes if a violation is alleged at a later date, with the exception of a policy violation reviewed under the Good Friend Policy.

The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards may address any alleged violations brought to its attention by Keuka College officials, employees, students, or members of the general public. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards may then: 

  • Dismiss the referral, if upon careful review, it is determined that no violation of the Student Code of Conduct has occurred, or that the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards has no standing to hear the referral.
  • The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards may ban a non-student from the college and all college-sponsored events, if upon careful review, they determine that the non-student’s behavior is a detriment to the safety or well-being of the college community.
  • The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards may request that on-campus or off-campus partners reach out to a student or group of students to support, guide, or mediate between students in cases where the referral does not violate the Student Code of Conduct.
  • The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards may, at their discretion, forgo formal charges and instead send a student a warning and notification of policy for certain policy violations.
  • The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards may directly apply alleged charges and hold initial disciplinary hearings for students who have allegedly violated the Student Code of Conduct.
  • The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards may, after careful review, request immediate interim measures, including but not limited to Interim removals from the Residence Halls or the Campus to the Associate Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students. Please see the Student Development policy on Interim Measures for more details.

Initial Disciplinary Meeting

  • If the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards directly applies alleged charges against a student, it must notify them by sending an "Appointment letter" to their Keuka College email. This appointment letter will provide the students with instructions and deadlines for arranging an initial disciplinary meeting, it will also include the alleged charges and a brief description of the alleged behavior. 
  • If an accused student fails to schedule a meeting with the Initial Disciplinary Meeting officer, or if an accused student schedules a meeting and fails to attend, they may be found 'Responsible in Absentia'. In this case, the information/evidence in the report is considered to be accurate, true, and unchallenged, and the disciplinary case may be resolved without input from the accused student. A fine shall be placed on the student's account for contempt. A student may appeal this outcome based on the grounds listed in the 'Conduct Appeals' section of the Student Handbook.
  • At the Initial Disciplinary Meeting, the accused student shall be presented with all available and relevant evidence/information concerning the behavioral accusations. The accused student will then be asked to respond to the alleged charges with a response of "Responsible" or "Not Responsible" for each alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The accused student will then be asked to provide their own account, evidence, and/or information concerning the alleged incident. Any finding issued by the Initial Disciplinary Meeting Officer will be determined on the basis of all information/evidence available in the Initial Disciplinary Meeting using the aforementioned preponderance of evidence standard. Disciplinary outcomes as a result of this meeting will be sent to the student in question via their Keuka College email. The following outcomes may result from this meeting.
    • The accused student is found Not Responsible by the Initial Disciplinary Meeting Officer, deeming the reported information insufficient or unsubstantiated. The case is considered closed. 
    • The accused student is found Responsible by the Initial Disciplinary Meeting Officer. The student is informed of this finding and all applicable sanctions via the Outcome letter sent to their Keuka College email. After receiving the outcome letter, the accused student has two (2) business days to challenge the outcome issued by the Initial Disciplinary Meeting Officer in the form of a request for a formal Disciplinary Hearing. Instructions for requesting a Disciplinary Hearing will be included in all outcome letters that involve a finding of Responsible for any violation. If an outcome is challenged, the findings of the Initial Disciplinary Meeting Officer are considered to be void a Disciplinary Hearing will be scheduled. If no challenged to the outcome has been received after two (2) business days, the case is considered to be resolved and the findings and sanctions applied are final. No disciplinary hearing or appeal will be heard after this point.

Disciplinary Hearing

A student requested a formal disciplinary hearing may request an Administrative Hearing or a Committee Hearing. 

  • Administrative Hearing - An Administrative Hearing may be conducted by one faculty or staff member. In cases involving violations C.1, C.3, C.4, C.5, E.3, E.4, G.4, or H.3, the Administrative Hearing will be conducted by a three member panel, made up of faculty/staff members. In these expanded cases, a non-voting, procedural officer will be present to ensure that the established procedures are followed and to maintain records of the hearing.
  • Committee Hearing - A Committee Hearing may be conducted by a three member panel, consisting of trained students, faculty, and staff. The composition of a Committee Hearing must include at least one student and at least one faculty or staff member. A non-voting, procedural officer will be present to ensure that the established procedures are followed and to maintain records of the hearing. Committee Hearings are not available during final exams, or outside the Spring/Fall semesters. 

If a student fails to attend a scheduled hearing, the accused student may be found 'Responsible in Absentia.' The information/evidence in the report is considered to be accurate, true, and unchallenged, and the disciplinary case is resolved without the accused student's input. A fine shall be placed on the student's account for contempt. A student may appeal this outcome based on the grounds listed in the 'Conduct Appeals' section of the Student Handbook. 

Rules of Procedure:

  1. Full hearing body: Each hearing body must achieve the above requirements, depending on the student’s selection, before any case may be heard. However, the accused has the right to waive this requirement and proceed with a smaller hearing body if members are not in attendance. If the accused waives this requirement, this reduced hearing body shall not be grounds for an appeal. If the requirement is not waived by the accused the hearing must be rescheduled.
  2. Voting: A simple majority vote of those hearing committee members present at any hearing is necessary and sufficient for any action and decision.
  3. Standard of proof: Decisions regarding alleged violations will be considered on the preponderance of evidence standard of proof.
  4. Procedural Advisor: Keuka College’s Chief Discipline Officer or a trained designee from the professional staff or faculty of Keuka College will serve as the non-voting procedural advisor. The advisor may participate in the fact-finding portion of the hearing and is present to ensure that established procedures are followed and to maintain records of the hearing. Following the hearing process, the procedural advisor may provide pertinent information during sanction assignment review. This information may include: past violations of campus regulations of the accused; and/or extenuating circumstances or conditions. The procedural advisor may recommend a penalty or special condition to the Hearing Committee reflecting on the standards of conduct and values of the College before a final decision is rendered. The procedural advisor may also:
    1.  Postpone hearings.
    2. Call recesses.
    3. Take appropriate steps to maintain order.
    4. Make determinations regarding the relevancy of questions to the matter at hand and stop any questions or lines of questioning that are not relevant.
  5. Witnesses: Witnesses shall remain outside the room in which the hearing is being conducted and will be summoned in at the discretion of the Hearing Committee/Officer. If possible, witnesses should be kept in separate locations from one another.  After presenting their testimony, witnesses are dismissed and shall not return. Witnesses may be summoned by either the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards or the accused student.
    1. A witness is an individual who knows direct information about the incident and can provide additional understanding of the alleged incident.
    2. If necessary, a witness can provide a statement via telephone or submit a written statement to the procedural advisor or administrative hearing officer. Please note that witnesses that provide a written statement will not be questioned in the hearing. Witnesses that prefer to present their information over the telephone must provide a number at which they wish to be contacted. Only three attempts will be made to the provided number. Failure to answer the telephone after three attempts will result in the hearing proceeding without the input of the witness.
  6. Once all of the relevant information has been heard, the Hearing Officer or Panel will deliberate in private to determine the responsibility of the accused as it relates to each individual alleged violation. The decision is made only on the basis of the information provided during the hearing. 
  7. Once the assessment of responsibility for each for the alleged violations have been determined, the student’s disciplinary record, if applicable, shall be reviewed and an appropriate sanction will be assigned.
  8. The disciplinary hearing outcome letter will be sent to the accused student with three (3) business days of the disciplinary hearing. Notification of the appeals process will be included in any disciplinary hearing outcome letter with a finding of 'Responsible.'

Hearing Rights

A student requesting a disciplinary hearing has the right to a fair and equitable hearing to determine the validity of the alleged violations of Keuka College regulations. A student accused of violating the Keuka College Student Code of Conduct has the right to:

  1. A hearing as provided in this Student Handbook.
  2. Be present throughout the hearing and to hear all information presented against them. (Note: If an accused student elects not to appear, it will be assumed that the student is waiving their right to be present and the disciplinary hearing will proceed as scheduled in their absence).
  3. Formal notice via email in writing of the time, date, and place of the hearing no less than two (2) days in advance of the hearing, and a list of specific policies that have allegedly been violated. A copy of any written report that will be used at the hearing is available upon request at the Initial Disciplinary Meeting.
  4. Select a support person of their choice. Support persons may not represent and/or interact with the Hearing Committee/Officer(s) or any other individual in the hearing process. A person who is a witness or is directly involved in the conduct case may not be a support person.
  5. Present their case through statements, questions, witnesses, and other forms of evidence, and to have questions asked of any individual participant in the hearing through the Hearing Panel/Officer.
  6. A determination of the findings of the Hearing Panel/Officer solely on the basis of the information presented at the hearing.
  7. Receive the discipline hearing outcome letter outlining the findings and reasoning of the Hearing Panel/Officer(s) within three (3) working days of the disciplinary hearing.
  8. Access to a digital copy of the college’s hearing audio record in order to prepare an appeal.
  9. Notification of the appeals process.