Dean of Students  
   

Aquinas College Judicial Process

 
>The Appeal Process

>General Points of Due Process For Student Conduct Review Protocol

 

All Aquinas College students are expected to uphold the standards of academic and personal conduct defined in the Student Conduct Code. When alleged violations of these standards are reported, they are addressed by the Office of the Dean of Students.  The Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, the Director of Residence Life or the Director of Campus Life will assign a classification (level 1,2 or 3) based on the severity of the offense as well as on the student’s previous conduct history.  Level one and level two residential offenses are addressed through the Residence Life Office or Campus Life.  Level three offenses are adjudicated by the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs.   The formal steps that follow to resolve disciplinary matters are called the judicial process. 

 

The judicial process exists to ensure that basic due process is granted to all Aquinas College students who find themselves in conflict with the community standards. Students, faculty, and staff may report possible infractions.  Reports received from individuals outside the College community may also result in campus judicial action.

 

When a report of possible infraction is received by the Residence Life Office or the Office of the Dean of Students, the following process is implemented:

 

  1. The report of alleged misconduct is reviewed by any of the following: The Associate Vice President of Student Affairs or designee, Director of Campus Life or the Director of Residence Life, or when the Director is unavailable, an Area Coordinator acting as an Administrative Hearing Officer. This review will determine suitable address of the matter, including whether judicial action should be initiated and may include contacting the student reportedly involved in the incident and/or other witness(es) to seek additional, clarifying information.  Review of a reported incident does not, in itself, constitute judicial action.
  2. Certain infractions (level one) may be resolved with an informal hearing. The Hearing Officer may administer sanctions which go beyond discussion and counseling, but which may not include expulsion. Such disposition shall be final, and there shall be no subsequent proceedings. A student found guilty by the Hearing Officer may appeal that decision in writing to the Director of Residence Life within five class days of the decision for a final determination. If the Director of Residence Life or Director of Campus Life was the adjudicating officer, appeals should be sent to the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs.  Records of the charges, dispositions and penalties against students will retained in the Judicial Board files in the offices Residence Life or the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and will be available for reference in future judicial proceedings.
  3. .If it is determined that judicial action should be initiated to resolve a more serious infraction (level two), a hearing is conducted by the Director of Residence Life, the Director of Campus Life or  the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs.  If a Judicial Board hearing is chosen by the adjudicator, the Office of the Dean of Students will determine who adjudicates the case. All disciplinary cases involving academic integrity will be addressed by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs.
  4. Uncontested cases, in which a student admits guilt may be resolved and sanctions imposed by the adjudicating officer. The Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, the Director of Residence Life, the Director of Campus Life and the Hearing Officers reserve the right to refuse to hear a case and refer it to another judicial officer or to the Judicial Board. When timeliness is a factor, (i.e. the end of the semester) the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs may amend judicial procedures and/or timelines in any way to resolve alleged infractions.
  5. Written notice of judicial charges and sanctions is sent to the student’s local address listed in College records.  For full-time undergraduate students, the address used is the permanent address listed by the student in the Registrar's office. Failure or refusal to pick up or accept a letter does not remove the student’s obligation to adhere to any instructions, sanctions, or deadlines issued in the letter.  The student’s college email address is considered an official address and it is up to the student to check their official Aquinas email account.
  6. A student may not avoid adjudication of an alleged policy infraction by withdrawing from the College. Should a student withdraw or depart from the College before investigation and/or adjudication of an alleged infraction is completed, the judicial process may proceed, and appropriate sanctions for confirmed charges may be issued. Pending resolution of a disciplinary matter, a hold will be placed on the absent student’s transcript.
 

The Appeal Process

A student found responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code may submit a written appeal of decisions made through administrative or judicial board hearings in accordance with the deadline specified by the adjudicating body. The deadline shall not exceed five business days. All appeal requests must be addressed to the individual specified in the sanction letter and must be based on one or more of the following grounds: new evidence; incorrect determination of responsibility; undue penalty; and/or incorrect procedure which substantially impacted the fairness of a judicial hearing. 

 

All appeals must:

  1. Be submitted in writing no later than one week (5 class days) after the student has been notified of a decision.
  2. Specify the grounds for the appeal
  3. Provide the necessary detailed information to support their position.

 

The Director of Residence Life, (or the  Associate Vice President of Student Affairs if the Director of Residence Life or Director of Campus Life is the adjudicating officer) will decide if an appeal is warranted. (In cases heard by the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, the appeal goes to the Provost for final action.)

 

Based on this final review, the appeals officer may (1) confirm the original decision; (2) return the case to the adjudicating officer or committee for a new hearing, or (3) change the charges and/or sanction(s) originally imposed.

 

The College reserves the right for the Director of Residence Life, the Director of Campus Life, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and/or the Provost to suspend the normal judicial process in: cases in which a student may present a threat of harm to self, or others, or to property, or are disruptive to the campus living and learning community or in cases in which an incident might be considered a felony.

 

General Points of Due Process For Student Conduct Review Protocol

  1. More than one sanction may be imposed for any single violation.
  2. The College reserves the right for the Provost or Associate Vice President of Student Affairs to suspend the normal student conduct review process in the case of any incident which might be considered a felony offense if charges were brought in the criminal system, or when the student’s safety and well-being, that of another individual, or that of the College community, is judged to be in jeopardy.
  3. The college judicial officer will assign a classification (level 1, 2 or 3) based on the severity of the offense as well as on the previous student conduct history.
  4. A hearing may be conducted in the absence of a student who failed to appear after adequate notification was given.
  5. Hearings are closed meetings. 
  6. Hearings need not be delayed until after concurrent criminal charges.
  7. The "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard of proof need not be adopted.  "Clear and convincing" or a "preponderance of the evidence" is sufficient depending on the severity of the outcome.
  8. Circumstantial evidence may be used in student conduct review. The College is not required to exclude hearsay evidence.
  9. Students have no due process right to representation by legal counsel, as long as the institution does not proceed through counsel.  Students may have as counsel any current full-time faculty, staff, or student at Aquinas College. Counsel will be interpreted to include advisement, but not representation. Students are expected to represent themselves.
  10. Due process does not require that the decision of the hearing board be unanimous, but only that it be a simple majority.
  11. Failure to comply with and/or successfully complete any assigned sanction(s) by the time specified may result in a fine or registration hold applied to the student's account (with prior notification) or be subject to additional disciplinary action.