Westminster College Student Conduct
Student Code of Conduct
Westminster College affirms that its educational purposes require an atmosphere characterized by rational inquiry, discussion and standards of acceptable behavior. These regulations, which reflect the values to which the College is committed, are designed to help ensure order in the College community, to protect the rights of community members, and to create an environment which can enhance the opportunity for personal growth and development.
The College reserves the right to take disciplinary action against students or student organizations that violate these regulations. The College also reserves the right to supersede the authority of the Greek Judicial Board as it deems necessary and appropriate and to initiate disciplinary action against fraternities and sororities through the College Judicial System. To that end, the College judicial system has been established to address alleged violations of College policies. The judicial system’s membership, comprised of students, faculty and administrators, is committed to conducting fair hearings which observe and respect students’ procedural and substantive rights. The judicial process is designed to be a means by which each student can learn the value of his or her rights and to realize the importance of his or her responsibilities as a citizen in the campus community.
The College reserves the right to substitute reasonable alternate procedural formats when warranted, as determined by the appropriate administrator; or, alternate procedures, when warranted by time constraints, staffing limitation, or the absence of hearing officers, may be utilized as necessary without jeopardizing the rights of students.
The following behavior by student(s) or student organization(s), whether on- or off-campus, is subject to disciplinary action:
- Conduct which may also be a violation of local, state, or federal laws, whether on or off-campus (no criminal conviction is necessary for the conduct listed below to be subject to disciplinary action by the College);
- Possession, distribution, use or sale of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia;
- Possession, furnishing, sale or use of alcohol to or by persons under 21 years of age;
- Use of fireworks or any other explosive or combustible material;
- Unauthorized taking or possessing of College property or services or the property or services of others;
- Behavior that may, or in fact does, cause physical or emotional harm to another person or cause reasonable apprehension of such harm. Such behavior may be intentional (a conscious decision to engage in the conduct; intoxication is not a defense to a charge of intentional misconduct) and/or reckless conduct which could reasonably be expected to create substantial risk of harm to another person). Examples of behavior which constitute a violation of this regulation include, but are not limited to:
- Actions, explicit or implied threats, or gestures, which place a person in reasonable fear of unwelcome physical contact or harm;
- Attempts to cause or intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person;
- Striking, shoving, kicking or otherwise subjecting another person to unwelcome physical contact or attempting or threatening to do so, with the intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person;
- Communicating by voice or graphic means or making a telephone call, whether or not a conversation takes place, or via any other information resource, for the purpose or which has the effect of harassing and/or alarming another person;
Engaging in sexual contact or behavior with another person (sexual intercourse, touching the sexual or other intimate parts of another person, inappropriate disrobing, or any other physical contact or touching of a sexual nature) without the consent of that person and/or by compulsion through physical force or fear. The term “consent” is defined as clear, unambiguous, knowing, informed, and voluntary agreement between all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive. Silence or lack of resistance cannot be interpreted as consent. Seeking and having consent accepted is the responsibility of the person(s) initiating each specific sexual act regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not constitute consent to any other sexual act. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time. When consent is withdrawn or cannot be given, sexual activity must stop. Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated. Incapacitation occurs when an individual lacks the ability to fully, knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity.
Incapacitation includes impairment due to drugs or alcohol (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary), the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, if any of the parties are under the age of 17, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.
Consent to sexual activity can be communicated in a variety of ways, but one should presume that consent has not been given in the absence of clear, positive agreement. While verbal consent is not an absolute requirement for consensual sexual activity, verbal communication prior to engaging in sex helps to clarify consent. Communicating verbally before engaging in sexual activity is imperative. However potentially awkward it may seem, talking about your own and your partner’s sexual desires, needs, and limitations provide a basis for a positive experience. Consent must be clear and unambiguous for each participant at every stage of a sexual encounter. The absence of “no” should not be understood to mean there is consent.
A prior relationship does not indicate consent to future activity.
Note: A sexual assault victim violating the College’s alcohol or drug policy at the time of the assault will not face judicial action by the College for that infraction;
- Intentional or reckless behavior which may, or in fact does, deface or cause damage to College property or the property of others. This would also include violations of the College’s Skateboard and Hoverboard policy;
- Disorderly conduct — Students shall not engage in acts of disorderly conduct. A student commits disorderly conduct if, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, s/he on Westminster College property: (1) is intoxicated as a result of the use of alcohol or controlled substances; (2) engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior; (3) makes unreasonable noise; (4) uses obscene language, or makes an obscene gesture; or (5) creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the student.
- Intentional or reckless interference with normal College activities and functions (examples of such activities/ functions include but are not limited to studying, teaching, public speaking, research, administration of the College, or emergency (Public Safety, fire or police) operations;
- Intentional interference with the freedom of expression of others;
- Reckless driving which may, or in fact does, endanger individuals or damage property;
- Setting off false fire alarms in any building;
- Initiation or circulation of a report or warning of an impending bombing, fire, or other crime, emergency, or catastrophe, knowing that the report is false;
- Possession, storage, furnishing, sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages on campus. Additionally, items used specifically for the mass consumption of alcoholic beverages (e.g., beer bongs, kegs, party balls, etc.) whether empty or not, are not permitted on campus;
- The use of organizational funds for the purchase of alcoholic beverages by officially recognized student organizations;
- Pennsylvania law and/or Westminster College policy prohibit the possession, use or storage of weapons or dangerous materials of any type or description anywhere on Westminster College property. This includes, but is not limited to, firearms, compressed-air or gas-operated guns, pellet guns, BB guns, illegal knives, swords, explosive devices, fireworks, ammunition, or any other dangerous or offensive weapon as defined in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Section 908c. Additionally, the College prohibits the possession of any non-folding knife designed to be carried in a sheath, and any folding knife commonly referred to as a “pocket knife” unless it has a blade of less than three (3) inches in length;
- Unauthorized use or transfer of College I.D. cards, meal tickets, or vehicle registration decals;
- Unauthorized possession, duplication or use of keys to any College premises or unauthorized entry to or use of College premises;
- Violations of the Housing Requirements and housing regulations outlined in the Handbook for Students;
- Violation of residence hall visitation hours;
- Use of any tobacco products in any campus building or violation of the College’s Smoking and Tobacco Use Policy;
- Tampering with fire safety or fire fighting equipment in College buildings;
- Knowingly making a false statement, either orally or in writing, to any College employee or agent on a College-related matter;
- Intentionally obstructing or failing to comply with the request of a College official or employee in the lawful performance of his/her duties;
- Violations of rules listed in Westminster College Regulations Governing Fraternities committed by individual students whether or not they are members of fraternities;
- Failure to appear before a College Judicial Board or College official for a disciplinary hearing when charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and when duly notified of the hearing;
- Failure to abide by any disciplinary sanction imposed under the Student Code of Conduct (e.g., failure to honor a monetary fine, terms of probation, behavioral sanction, etc.);
- The College reserves the right to take disciplinary action against a student who is knowingly and willingly in the presence of a violation of a part of the Student Code of Conduct;
- The College reserves the right to take disciplinary action against students whose guest on campus violates the Student Code of Conduct;
- Violations of rules listed in Policy for Responsible Use of Information Resources;
- Other items as amended by the President of the College and/or the College Board of Trustees.
- Failure to adhere to the COVID-19 related health & safety policies, including but not limited to mitigation strategies, safety protocols, and adjustments to student engagement activities.
- Actions not committed on College property may also be subject to College disciplinary action, provided that the offense, in the sole judgment of the Vice President for Student Affairs, is related to the security of the College community or the integrity of the educational process (e.g., rape, arson, acts of violence, fraud, etc.).
- College disciplinary procedures may proceed even though the same conduct is also the subject of a pending criminal charge.
- Borough Park
- The park closes daily at 11 p.m. It is unlawful to drive any vehicle in the park or for any person to enter the park, except to walk through from New Castle Street to S. Market Street and vice versa, after this time.
- It is unlawful for any person to transport, possess, or consume any alcoholic beverages whatsoever in the park. Most person(s) detained for the above two ordinances are also in violation of similar State statutes and are cited for violations of the Pennsylvania Crime Code.
- Parking Violations
It is unlawful to park a vehicle or to allow the same to remain parked on any Borough street, alley, or public parking lot at any time between 3 and 6 a.m.
- Restrictions on Use of Firearms
No person shall, except in necessary defense of person or property, fire or discharge any gun or other firearm at any place within the Borough of New Wilmington.
- Restrictions on Throwing Missiles
It shall be unlawful for any person to throw any snowball, or any ball or stone or other missile of any kind upon or onto any of the public streets, alleys, squares, or sidewalks in the Borough of New Wilmington.
- Tampering with Public Property
It is unlawful to tamper with public property and fixtures in streets, alleys, sidewalks, and public grounds.
- Disorderly House
It is unlawful for the tenants of an in-town apartment or house, including a campus apartment or residence hall, to permit or participate in illegal, unruly, or unsafe behavior at their place of residence. Any behavior that disrupts the peace and well-being of the community including excessive noise, furnishing alcohol to, or possession of alcohol by minors, fighting, or failure to disperse upon the directives of the police, “at any place in the Borough where persons gather or abide” falls into this category. Tenant-hosts that permit this conduct shall also be held responsible for the behavior of their guests.
State Statutes (Crime Codes)
- Minors — (under the age of 21) — it is unlawful to:
- Misrepresent age to secure liquor;
- Purchase, consume, possess, or transport intoxicating beverages;
- Represent to liquor dealers that a minor is of age;
- Induce minors to liquor.
- Scattering Rubbish — Citations may be issued to any person found violating this littering statute;
- Public Nuisance (Noise, unkempt house, etc.).
Charges may be filed under this statute in locations that are the sources of frequent complaints.
- Offenses Against Property
- Criminal Mischief — Citations issued or charges filed citing this statute when a person damages public or private property;
- Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition — Taking traffic, parking, and/or street signs to decorate one’s room can result in arrest under this statute.
- Offenses Against the Public Order and Decency — This statute gives a police officer broad discretionary powers to regulate conduct in the Borough.
Reporting a College Policy Violation
Any College student, faculty or staff member wishing to file an Incident Report of a College policy violation should do so, in writing, as soon as possible after the event takes place, preferably within 48 hours. Reports of alleged violations should be made to the Office of Student Affairs and include the name(s) of the student(s) and/or student organization(s) accused together with the specific details of the violation. Westminster College Student Code of Conduct Incident Report Form will be available online.
PROCEDURAL RIGHTS OF STUDENTS
Each student accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct will have the following rights while his/her case is processed through the College judicial system:
- A student may decline to answer questions about possible violations of the Student Code of Conduct. The refusal to answer those questions will not be considered a separate violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
- A student may present witnesses in his/her behalf. In that a college hearing is not to be construed as either a criminal or civil trial, character witnesses (i.e., individuals who were not present at the alleged violation of College policy and provide information on behalf of a person only as to that person’s ethical qualities and morality both by the personal knowledge of the witness and the person’s reputation in the community) are not permitted at a judicial hearing.
- A student may hear and question the testimony of all witnesses who testify orally and may review all written evidence submitted.
- A student will have the opportunity to question the testimony of all witnesses.
- A student may select an adviser of his or her choice. Attorneys may not serve as advisers; attorneys may be present to observe only if a student is charged with a serious crime and is charged off campus with the same offense. Advisers are not permitted to address any participants in the hearing other than the person whom they are advising in the presentation of his/her case. Any fees charged by an adviser would be borne by the student. The Vice President for Student Affairs shall be notified by the accused student (or complainant) at least 24 hours prior to the hearing that the student plans to have an adviser present.
- A student accused of violating the College’s Student Code of Conduct is presumed innocent until it is proven that it is more likely than not that the student(s) violated the Student Code of Conduct.
- A student shall have the right not to testify against him/herself unless he/she chooses. However, any voluntary information or statements the student makes during an investigation of a charge or during a hearing may be used as evidence or for the filing of additional charges.
- A student shall be found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct only if it is proven that it is more likely than not that such a violation occurred.
- A student will be given decisions made by the hearing officer, College Judicial Board, Appeals Board or President in a timely fashion.
- A student’s disciplinary records will be kept confidential to the extent required by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. The College reserves the right to notify the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of students who are under the age of 21 and who have been found by the College to have violated its alcohol and/or controlled substance policies.
- A student may pursue appeals of decisions as provided in the section of Handbook for Students titled “Rights and Responsibilities.”
- The same procedures followed in hearing judicial cases involving individual students are followed in cases involving student organizations. It will be the responsibility of the organization’s president and faculty adviser to attend the judicial hearing. The Vice President for Student Affairs or the College Judicial Board may also require some of the organization members, if necessary, to attend the judicial hearing. The notification of charges and hearing and the judicial decision will be given to the organization’s president and faculty adviser.
ADMINISTRATIVE ROLES: RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE VICE PRESIDENT FOR STUDENT AFFAIRS
(Note: The term “Vice President” refers to the Vice President for Student Affairs and may include as a substitute an Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, or other designee of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The term “student” also refers to student organizations, if the charges are directed to an organization). It will be the responsibility of the Vice President to investigate violations that are reported to him/her, to gather additional information and witnesses, if necessary and appropriate, and to determine whether or not there are sufficient grounds to charge a student with a violation of College policy.
Notification of an Alleged Violation
- The judicial process shall be initiated by the Vice President sending a notice to the student who has been accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct.
- The notice shall be sent by campus mail to the student’s address on campus or shall be delivered personally to the student. The notice shall require the student to schedule an appointment with the Vice President to discuss the alleged violations in a pre-hearing conference.
- The notice shall inform the student of the following:
- The offense the student was alleged to have committed;
- The date, time, and location of the alleged commission; and such other relevant circumstances as the Vice President may determine is necessary to include in the notice so that the student is on general notice of the nature of the alleged offense;
- The section of the Student Code of Conduct upon which the charges are based;
- Reference to students’ procedural rights in disciplinary matters as outlined in the Handbook for Students.
- If the student fails to appear for the conference by a specified date, the Vice President may:
- reschedule the conference;
- dismiss the charges; or
- if the Vice President reasonably believes the failure to be inexcusable, impose any of the disciplinary penalties described in this document.
THE JUDICIAL PROCESS – AN OVERVIEW
Students charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct have several opportunities to present their case to the College. The first step in the adjudication process is called the Pre-Hearing Conference. This is not a hearing per se, but a chance for the student and College hearing officer to discuss procedural issues related to the case and to clarify the judicial process with the student. The next step is a formal hearing with the student or president of the recognized student organization and either a hearing officer (Administrative Hearing) or the College’s Judicial Board, which has students and faculty as its members. The hearing officer or Judicial Board would ultimately make a sanction recommendation to the Vice President for his or her final decision.
The College’s Appeals Board is set up to hear appeals from students or recognized student organizations who are not satisfied with the decision of the hearing officer or Judicial Board. The Appeals Board, comprised of students and faculty members, would hear the case based upon the information they receive from the student and the transcripts of the hearing officer or Judicial Board.
Students or recognized student organizations may appeal the decision of the Appeals Board to the President of the College. The President is the final level of appeal.
A pre-hearing conference is initiated between the hearing officer and the student(s) following the receipt of a report of an alleged violation(s). The purpose of the conference is: (a) to explain the judicial process to the student; (b) to provide the student with an opportunity to hear the allegations against him/her; (c) to review the facts as stated in the report(s); and (d) to allow the student to discuss the case with the hearing officer in an informal context. No decision(s) is rendered at this time.
During the pre-hearing conference, the hearing officer shall assume responsibility for informing the student of the following:
- The offense the student or recognized student organization was alleged to have committed as stated in the written notice;
- The date, time, and location of the alleged commission and other relevant circumstances as the Vice President may determine are appropriate to discuss;
- The section of the Student Code of Conduct upon which the charges are based;
- The student’s procedural rights in disciplinary matters as outlined in the Handbook for Students;
- The sanctions which may possibly be imposed.
The student will have 48 hours from the conclusion of the pre-hearing conference to indicate whether s/he prefers an administrative or Judicial Board hearing. The Vice President or his/her designee may (1) hear and make a decision whether the individual(s) charged in the case has violated the College’s Student Code of Conduct; or (2) refer the case to the College Judicial Board. If the student prefers a Board hearing, the Vice President will refer the case to the College Judicial Board. If the student prefers an administrative hearing, the Vice President will decide whether or not to honor the request or refer the case to the College Judicial Board.
- The Vice President will try to schedule judicial hearings so that they are held within two (2) weeks of the date of the pre- hearing conference between the student and the Vice President. (Official College vacation days and no class days are not included within this two-week period.)
- A student desiring to change his/her original statement as to whether he/she violated the Student Code of Conduct may do so by meeting with the Vice President no later than 24 hours prior to the scheduled hearing.
The College Judicial Board is a joint student-faculty Board whose responsibility is to hear judicial cases referred to it by the Vice President for Student Affairs.
Charter of the College Judicial Board
The name of this body shall be the College Judicial Board
The College Judicial Board shall include eight (8) members: four (4) of the faculty members (one of whom shall serve as Chair) of the Student Life and Athletic Council, and four (4) students appointed by the Student Government Association. Two (2) student alternates also shall be named by the Student Government Association. The quorum necessary to conduct business shall be at least five (5) voting members of whom at least two (2) are students and two (2) are faculty members. Faculty members who serve on the College Judicial Board may not serve on the College Appeals Board either in the same academic year, or during the two academic years following service on the College Judicial Board.
- THE STATUS AND RELATIONSHIP OF THE BOARD
The Board may hear cases of individual students or recognized student organizations. The jurisdiction of the Board extends only to violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Cases are to come to the Board only through the channel of the Office of Student Affairs. The Board will determine if the alleged violation(s) of the Student Code of Conduct occurred. The Board also will recommend to the Vice President sanctions to be imposed. The Vice President reserves the right to alter a recommended sanction(s) as s/he deems necessary.
- Methods for Securing Members
Student members and alternates shall serve one-year terms and will be appointed by the Student Government Association. Faculty members shall be selected by the faculty for a two-year term. Faculty members may not serve consecutive terms.
- Chair of the Board(a) Disciplinary Suspension — The temporary loss of student status for a specified period of time, with resultant loss of all student rights and privileges. Re-enrollment is contingent upon completion of suspension, the fulfillment of its terms, and upon approval of the Vice President. A copy of the letter outlining these terms is placed in the student’s file in the Office of Student Affairs.
- Responsibilities of the Chair
- The Chair shall be a faculty member who will be the presiding officer. The Chair, in consultation with other members, shall maintain necessary order and shall make all rulings necessary for the fair, orderly, and expeditious conduct of the hearing.
- At the beginning of the Board hearings, the Chair shall inform Board members, the accused student, the student’s adviser and witnesses of the procedures that will be followed by the Board in conducting the hearing. The adviser’s role is simply to advise the student. The student, not the adviser, will testify and have the right to ask questions of witnesses.
- If the required number of students is not obtained, the Chair shall select the replacements needed from the student alternates. At the discretion of the Chair, the student alternates may sit as voting members of the Board at any hearing.
- If a quorum cannot be obtained for a scheduled hearing, the Chair may reschedule the hearing for another date or time.
- The Chair does not vote on Board decisions except in cases of tie votes.
- The Chair will submit to the Vice President a written report of the Board’s decision(s).
- Selection of the Chair
Each spring the outgoing members of the College Judicial Board together with the newly-selected members shall elect one of the four faculty members on the Judicial Board as Chair. Preferably the Chair-elect should have had one year’s experience on the Board.
- Voting on a Decision
- Voting shall be by secret ballot.
- A decision shall be made by a simple majority vote of the voting members present at the hearing. The Chair will vote on the Board’s decisions in order to break a tie.
- Any deliberating members have the right to submit a dissenting minority report to the Vice President.
- The Judicial Board within 48 hours of the hearing will present in writing to the Vice President its findings determination and sanction recommendation(s).
Reporting procedures for the Vice President for Student Affairs and the College Judicial Board
- The Vice President shall make arrangements for the hearing. Notice about the hearing will be sent by campus email to the student and may be delivered to the student via campus mail four (4) school days in advance of the hearing. The notice shall inform the student of the following:
- the violation of College policy alleged to have been committed, by citing the relevant section of these regulations;
- the date, time, and place of alleged commission, the names of those who may be presented as witnesses and/or whose statements would be offered as evidence at the hearing;
- the date, time, and place of the hearing, which shall not be earlier than four (4) days after the date of the notice;
- that the student is entitled to bring to the hearing one adviser of her/his choice (the adviser may not be an attorney);
- that the student shall have the opportunity to call witnesses, to confront and to question witnesses during the hearing, to hear statements from witnesses, and to hear all evidence submitted;
- only members of the Judicial Board, the Vice President, the accused student(s), his/her adviser, the person(s) who filed the report(s) of the alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct, and witnesses (only while testifying) as called, shall attend judicial hearings;
- that sanctions may be imposed if it is determined that it is more likely than not that the student(s) violated the Student Code of Conduct;
- that the Judicial Board may make a determination in the case if the student does not appear at the hearing and the Board finds such failure to be inexcusable. Additionally, failure to appear at the hearing will be action for which the Board could determine to be an additional violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
- The Vice President shall give written notice at least two (2) calendar days in advance of a hearing to student witnesses stating the date, time, and the place of the hearing and stating that their presence is requested.
- The Vice President shall send notices to all student and faculty members of the Judicial Board stating the date, time, and place of the scheduled hearing.
- The Vice President shall present all relevant information to Judicial Board members at the Judicial Board hearing. S/he shall also participate in Judicial Board discussions concerning procedural issues and sanction determination. However, only the Judicial Board shall determine whether or not a student has violated the Student Code of Conduct as charged. If the Judicial Board determines that it is more likely than not that the student(s) violated the Student Code of Conduct, the Judicial Board shall recommend to the Vice President sanctions to be imposed. The Vice President reserves the right to alter a recommended sanction(s) as s/he deems necessary.
- The oral proceedings of the Judicial Board hearing (but not the deliberations of the Judicial Board) shall be taped and kept as confidential information by the Vice President in case of appeal.
- In cases heard by the Judicial Board or the Vice President, the student charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and person(s) who filed the report(s) of the alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct, shall receive written notice of the disciplinary decision and subsequent sanction(s) within seven (7) calendar days of the hearing. The notice shall be written and sent by the Vice President.
- The student has the right to appeal the decisions made by the Judicial Board or the Vice President within seven (7) calendar days after receiving written notification of the Board’s or Vice President’s determination;
College Appeals Board
The College Appeals Board is a joint student-faculty committee responsible for considering appeals of judicial decisions made by the Vice President for Student Affairs or the College Judicial Board. The College Appeals Board shall include six (6) members: three (3) of the faculty members (one of whom shall serve as Chair) appointed by the faculty, and three (3) students appointed by the Student Government Association. Two (2) student alternates also shall be elected by the student body in accordance with Student Government Association election procedures. Two (2) faculty alternates also shall be appointed by the faculty. A quorum will consist of two (2) students and two (2) faculty members. Members of the College Appeals Board may not serve concurrently as members of the College Judicial Board nor during the two academic years following service on the College Judicial Board.
- A student whose disciplinary case has been heard by the Vice President or the College Judicial Board may appeal the results of his/her case. The student appealing shall file a written notice of appeal with the Vice President. The notice shall include a statement indicating the basis of appeal and the appealing student’s signature. Appeals must be based upon at least one of the following: (1) student’s belief that violation of proper procedures occurred in the original hearing; (2) student’s claim that he/she did not violate the Student Code of Conduct; (3) student’s belief that the sanction(s) imposed is unjust.
In cases involving violations of VAWA and/or Title IX, both the complainant and accused are entitled to equal due process rights including, but not limited to, the right to appeal a disciplinary sanction(s) issued by the College’s judicial hearing officer(s) or board(s).
- The notice of appeal must be filed with the Vice President by the appealing student within seven (7) calendar days of the date of the written decision of the Judicial Board or Vice President for Student Affairs.
- The Chair of the College Appeals Board will try to convene the Board and conduct a hearing on the appeal not later than three weeks after the notice of appeal is filed.
Note: The Appeals Board will meet only during the fall and spring semesters when classes are ordinarily in session and prior to final exams. Students may select to have the President of the College (or his/her designee) hear their appeal during extended holidays and summer school, or defer an appeal hearing until the following semester when classes are ordinarily in session.
- The Vice President shall notify the appealing student, in writing, a date, time, and place of the appeals hearing. A copy of the student’s appeal will be provided to the Chair of the College Appeals Board by the Vice President.
- At the appeal hearing, the basis of appeal, as stated in the notice of appeal, shall be discussed in the presence of the student found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct, his/her adviser, any person(s) who filed report(s) of the alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct, and the members of the Board. Arguments and questions may be directed to Board members by all persons identified above with the exception of the student’s adviser. Also, review of the Judicial Board or hearing officer’s hearing records (written report and/or electronic recording) will be permitted. The Appeals Board will not accept additional evidence, but will consider only the records of the previous hearing. The Board can request the Chair of the College Judicial Board and/or the Vice President to come to the appeal hearing. The Chair does not vote on Board decisions except in cases of tie votes.
- The oral proceedings of the Appeals Board hearing (but not the deliberations) shall be electronically recorded and kept as confidential information by the Vice President.
- At the conclusion of the portion of the appeal meeting at which other persons attend, the Board shall deliberate in private to determine its course of action. The Appeals Board may:
- affirm the original determination and sanction(s) which shall be effective as of the date specified by the Judicial Board or Vice President;
- affirm the original determination and reduce the sanction(s) which shall be effective as of the date specified by the Judicial Board or Vice President;
- reverse the determination and conclude that no violation of the Student Code of Conduct occurred; or
- disallow the determination and order a new hearing by either the College Judicial Board or Vice President.
- The Chair of the Board within 48 hours of the hearing will present in writing to the Vice President its findings determination and sanctions. This written notice will also be sent by the Chair within seven (7) calendar days of the hearing to the appealing student and person(s) who filed the Incident Report. The Chair, at his/her discretion, may verbally inform the above individuals of the Board’s decision and sanctions at the conclusion of the hearing. The decision and sanctions will be immediately in effect regardless of the student’s or organization’s desire to submit an appeal, and will remain in effect pending the outcome of that appeal.
- A decision shall be made by a simple majority vote of the voting members present at the hearing. The Chair will vote on the Board’s decisions only in order to break a tie.
- Only the members of the College Appeals Board, the appealing student(s), his/her adviser, any person(s) who filed a report(s) of the alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct, and those other persons deemed necessary by the Board may be present at the appeals hearing.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF MEMBERS OF THE COLLEGE JUDICIAL BOARD, GREEK JUDICIAL BOARD, AND COLLEGE APPEALS BOARD
- If a member of these Boards has been involved in any way in a case to be heard by the Board or if he/she feels unable to render a fair decision, he/she must disqualify him/herself from the hearing. If it is determined by the Chair that a member of the Board is unable to render a fair decision, the Chair may disqualify the Board member from the hearing. Moreover, a student(s) may request that a Board member be disqualified if he/she feels that the member is unable to render a fair decision. The Chair (or Vice President if the Board member is serving as Chair) reserves the right to approve or deny the student’s request.
- All information discussed in any judicial proceedings is considered confidential.
- Deliberations shall not be conducted via campus email or other forms of electronic communication.
- All members of these Boards are responsible for making objective judgments in cases based on the facts as they are presented in each judicial hearing.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF WITNESSES
- Witnesses at all judicial hearings have the responsibility for providing accurate information to the questions asked by members of the Judicial Board, Appeals Board, or by the Vice President.
- Any information or statements made by a student during an investigation of a charge or during a hearing may be used as evidence for the filing of additional disciplinary charges against the student.
APPEALS TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE COLLEGE
- A student or recognized student organization whose disciplinary case has been heard by the College Appeals Board may request that his/her case be reviewed by the President of the College. The request must be based upon at least one of the following reasons: (1) the student believes that violation of proper procedures occurred in the appeal hearing; (2) the student claims that s/he did not violate the Student Code of Conduct; or (3) the student believes that the sanction(s) imposed is unjust.
- The notice of appeal must be filed with the President of the College by the appealing student within seven (7) calendar days of the date of the written decision of the Appeals Board.
- The President will review the hearing records of the College Appeals Board and will make a final determination. The President reserves the right to alter any decisions made or sanction(s) imposed. S/he will provide to the appealing student, person(s) who filed a report of the alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct, and the Vice President, a written statement of his/her decision within seven (7) calendar days after the review of the Appeals Board hearing record.
The scope of disciplinary sanction that may be imposed on students is as follows:
- Disciplinary Warning — A warning is a verbal notice to a student, to be followed, in writing, that continuation of policy violations will be cause for more serious disciplinary action. A copy of the letter of warning is placed in the student’s file in the Office of Student Affairs.
- Disciplinary Probation — The student is permitted to remain enrolled in the College only upon condition that he/she comply with all College rules or regulations and/or with other standards of conduct which the student is directed to observe for the duration of the period of the probation. This may include loss of student privileges except those required for the necessary completion of academic course work.
Probation may not exceed one calendar year in duration for any given misconduct, except that violation of probationary conditions shall be cause for extension of the probation for more than two additional terms or for suspension or expulsion. A copy of the letter of probation is placed in the student’s file in the Office of Student Affairs.
(b) Temporary Suspension — A student may be temporarily suspended from the College by the Vice President pending final action on the charges against him/her if, in the judgment of the Vice President, the student’s continued presence on campus would constitute a potential for serious harm to him/herself or to the safety of any member of the College community or of College property.
- Disciplinary Expulsion — This sanction is one of involuntary departure of the student from the College with resultant loss of all student rights and privileges. Separation is permanent and makes no provision for the student to re-enroll at Westminster College at any time in the future.
The following sanctions may be imposed independently of or in combination with any of the disciplinary sanctions outlined above:
- Fines – The dollar amount of fines assessed to students and student organizations will be determined by the Vice President or designee.
- Restitution — Payment equal to replacement or repair costs, including labor, for damaged or stolen property, reimbursement of other losses, such as medical bills; payment to the College for services including, but not limited to, room and board charges.
- Restrictions and Conditions of Student Behavior — Examples include denial of visitation privileges to residence halls, termination or denial of residence in College housing, denial of use of specific College facilities and services, and restrictions from participation in extracurricular activities.
- Referral for Counseling — The Vice President or the College Judicial Board may require a student to establish a counseling relationship with a member of the College counseling staff, any qualified faculty member, or a professional counselor off-campus and may require that the counselor report that the student has reported for counseling as required.
- Developmental/Educational Assignments — Examples include, but are not limited to, developing and presenting residence hall programs on behavioral or health-related issues; writing an essay on topical concerns such as drug and alcohol abuse, alcohol legislation, etc.; interviewing members of support groups such as AA or Alanon and submitting a written report on one’s findings; reporting on the status of fire extinguishers in the residence halls; attending College lectures/seminars on issues relevant to one’s disciplinary case.
- Sanctions that may be imposed upon student organizations found responsible for violating College policies include warnings and probation. In addition, fines, restitution, and restrictions may be imposed independently of or in combination with warnings or probation. Finally, the Vice President or the College Judicial Board may determine that an organization found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct will lose its recognition as an official College organization and the privileges associated with this recognition. If a student organization loses its recognition from the College, the period of time during which it will not be recognized must be specified by the Vice President or College Judicial Board.
- The College, upon written request to the Vice President for Student Affairs, will disclose to the alleged victim of a crime of violence or a nonforcible 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.
PROCEDURES FOR TEMPORARY DISCIPLINARY SUSPENSION
- Before a temporary suspension may be imposed, the Vice President for Student Affairs shall make an initial evaluation of the reliability of the information received and make such further investigation as circumstances permit. If it is concluded that the alleged conduct warrants temporary suspension, the Vice President shall notify the student of his/her intention to suspend him/her temporarily and, at the earliest practicable opportunity, provide the student with an opportunity to meet with the Vice President.
- The Vice President shall maintain records of all attempts to notify the student and, if all reasonable efforts to notify the student are unsuccessful, the Vice President may impose the temporary suspension without a meeting with the student, provided, however, attempts to notify the student continue, and the student is afforded a pre-hearing conference at the earliest practicable opportunity.
- At the meeting with the Vice President, the student shall be given a statement of charges and an oral summary of the reason(s) for concluding that the alleged conduct warrants temporary suspension.
- The issues at the meeting with the Vice President shall be limited to consideration of the reliability of the evidence against the student and whether the alleged conduct warrants temporary suspension.
- The Vice President’s decision may be rendered orally but shall be confirmed in writing, as soon as practicable. The decision must be supported by credible evidence which is sufficient, in the opinion of the Vice President, to indicate that the student engaged in the alleged conduct and that such conduct warrants temporary suspension.
- The hearing on the charges shall be commenced not later than seven (7) days after the imposition of the temporary suspension unless the student requests a delay of the hearing and continuation of the temporary suspension until a later date.