Student Handbook

Student Conduct Process and Procedures

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct. Conduct which is harmful to or infringes on the rights of others, which disturbs the orderly functioning of the College, undermines the standards of the College, or which is in violation of College policies and regulations is not acceptable.

Students should be aware of state and local laws. Students who violate state and local laws may be subject to College disciplinary actions.

Also, the College reserves the right to discipline students for behavior occurring off campus if the behavior violates College policies, interferes with the relationship of the College to others or harms the reputation of the College.

Students should be aware that, as students, their presence on or off the College campus does not excuse them from the responsibility to abide by the laws or Campus policies. These policies not only apply on-campus and off-campus but also online, including venues such as email, blogs, wikis, and social networking sites such as Facebook.  The policies and procedures in this section are designed in conjunction with the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities in the Student Handbook.

Expectations for Behavior of Individuals and Groups

The following expectations apply to all Macalester College students. Students living in the residence halls are also expected to follow the policies outlined in the Residential Life section of the Student Handbook. Individual students who encourage or become involved in disruptive activities will be subject to suitable disciplinary action, which may result in a variety of sanctions up to suspension or expulsion. Such activities or conduct include, but may not be limited to:

  1. Interference with or obstruction of instruction, activities, research, conduct proceedings, or college administration; failure to observe established closing hours of a building; obstruction of authorized access to, use of, or egress from college facilities.
  2. Unauthorized access to, presence in, or use of college facilities or grounds. (See Campus Policies - Facilities Use)
  3. Unauthorized use of or attempt to use college or community members property, or the college name or credit in a manner inconsistent with its designated educational objectives. (See Campus Policies - Macalester Logo)
  4. The duplication or unauthorized possession of a key card or key to college property.
  5. Falsification of information (written or oral) submitted to any college office, department, college proceeding or individuals acting in their official capacity, or failure to comply with the reasonable request of a college official. (See Campus Policies - Forgery Policy)
  6. Engaging in disruptive behaviors on or off campus that result in disturbance or distress to others or that cause damage or destruction to property are prohibited. (See Neighbor Relations, Disruptive Conduct)
  7. Engaging in illegal and/or unethical activities. (See Campus Policies - Alcohol and Illegal Drugs)
  8. Gambling in any non-legal form or sponsoring illegal lotteries or raffles on college property.
  9. Use, possession, manufacturing or distribution of illegal drugs or controlled substances. (See Campus Policies - Alcohol and Illegal Drug Policy)
  10. Use, possession, manufacturing or distribution of alcoholic beverages in violation of college policy and/or federal, state or local law. (See Campus Policies - Alcohol and Illegal Drug Policy)
  11. Violation of college computer/network use policies. (See Campus Policies - Computer Use Policy)
  12. Violations of college policies, regulations or rules, or applicable federal, state or local laws.

Conduct Process

The student conduct process is implemented in accordance with the following procedures, which serve as guidelines, not legal requirements, in the adjudication of violations. Flexibility of implementation is essential in order to respond to the unique circumstances of each case. Fundamental fairness and a firm intention to be educational are also important aspects of the process.

I. General Matters

  • College policy applies to all students enrolled at Macalester and to all student activities sponsored by the College or by any registered College organization on College property or elsewhere, or in vehicles owned or leased by the College.
  • These procedures shall be followed in cases where a student or a student group has been charged with a violation of College policy and is faced with the possible imposition of any of the sanctions described in it. Nothing contained in College policy prohibits the College, or any member of the College community, from bringing civil or criminal charges against any person(s). Situations involving harassment, sexual harassment/assault and/or racial harassment are governed by specific policies outline in the Dispute Resolution Process.
  • These fact-finding, hearing, decision-making and appeal procedures are based upon the assumption that reason will prevail, that fundamental fairness will be honored, that confidentiality for both complainants and accused student will be honored to the maximum possible extent, and that timely resolution of cases will be sought.
  • The Office of Student Affairs is responsible for the oversight of the student conduct process.  The Director of Campus Life bears primary responsibility for implementation of these procedures.
  • Changes in these procedures may be adopted following approval by the usual administrative procedures used by the College.
  • A finding of a violation of college policy is based on the determination that the allegations are more likely true than not true (preponderance of the evidence), a standard recommended by courts for college and university conduct processes.
  • Educational outcomes or sanctions are intended to be educational in nature, and designed to fit the specific nature of the situation and student involved.
  • Any member of the campus community, student, faculty or staff, may file a complaint with the Student Conduct process by submitting an incident report to the Director of Campus Life.
  • A student referred to the conduct process after being charged with violating policies will receive a written notice of charges in a timely manner, including a statement of the alleged violations, as well as the date, time and location of any scheduled meeting.
  • Should the referred student fail to respond as directed in the charge letter or fail to appear at a scheduled meeting without prior approval, the decision maker(s) will make a determination on the case based upon information available to them at that time.

Through all its disciplinary procedures, the College makes every effort to enforce policies and regulations in a fair and non-arbitrary manner. The College makes no promise, and specifically disclaims that such enforcement, and the proceedings which are conducted, contain the procedural or evidentiary safeguards contained in court or criminal proceedings.

II. Adjudication of Complaints

Once a complaint is received, it will be recorded in College records for statistical purposes. All complaints are considered confidential. Complaints may be adjudicated by a Conduct Hearing Officer or by the Conduct Hearing Board.

A. Letters of Warning

First time or minor complaints will be referred to a Conduct Hearing Officer (typically a Residence Hall Director) who will notify the referred student in writing via a Letter of Warning that a complaint has occurred, offer to meet with the referred student to clarify campus policy, and affirm that the behavior in question not be repeated. Copies of such notification will be included in the student’s file. Should a student feel the report has been filed in error, they may request a meeting with the Conduct Hearing Officer and/or a Conduct Hearing Board.

B. Referring a Violation for Adjudication

Repeated or more significant violations will be forwarded to a Conduct Hearing Officer or Conduct Hearing Board for a hearing. The referred student will be notified of the alleged violation, and provided information on the conduct process and their rights and responsibilities. The referred student has the option of accepting responsibility for the action in question and requesting a meeting with the Conduct Hearing Officer to determine an appropriate educational outcome, or to request a hearing. Hearings are typically conducted by a Conduct Hearing Officer, although a referred student may request a hearing with the Conduct Hearing Board. The Director of Campus Life or designee reserves the right to assign a case directly to a Conduct Hearing Board or a Conduct Hearing Officer should the unique situation of the case make one or the other preferable for all involved. The Director of Campus Life may conduct an initial investigation prior to assignment of a case in order to determine fair and appropriate assignment.

C. Conduct Hearing Officer

Conduct Hearing Officers are most often Residence Hall Directors, but may also include Associate Director of Residential Life, Associate Director for Campus Programs, or other College staff trained in these procedures at the direction of the Dean of Students.

D. Conduct Hearing Board

The Conduct Hearing Board is authorized to make decisions of responsibility in cases of alleged violation of College policy. A Conduct Hearing Board will consist of two students and two staff/faculty, selected from a pool of members and a chair designated by the Dean of Students. The student pool shall consist of no fewer than five members nominated by the Dean of Students and approved by the Macalester College Student Government. The staff/faculty pool shall consist of no fewer than five College faculty or staff members selected by the Dean of Students. When a case is forwarded to the Conduct Hearing Board, the chair will convene members of the pool to compose a Conduct Hearing Board. If any member of the board is a student upon whom disciplinary educational outcomes have been imposed in the case, or is a witness in the case, he/she shall be ineligible to serve on the board while the case is being heard. The board may adopt other operating rules, so long as the complainant and accused are notified of these rules prior to the hearing. Any individual who attends a conduct board hearing may not disclose any information presented there. Minor deviations of time are acceptable as long as they are not prejudicial to either the College or any of the students involved.

E. Conduct Hearing Process

All hearings or appeal cases shall be heard during the academic school year as soon as reasonably possible. Hearings follow a general informal process, which allows for the referred student to present her or his view of the facts, as well as accept information from witnesses or other credible sources to be presented. The referred student is permitted to hear all information that will be utilized in making a decision of responsibility. The referred student is responsible for presenting his or her case. An advisor may be present during the hearing with the referred student, but is not permitted to interact as a representative of the referred student. Witnesses and supporting information are permitted, provided they pertain to the case at hand. Witness lists supplied by the accused must be provided to the board chair 24 hours prior to the hearing. The accused student should receive a list of additional witnesses and be allowed to see written information which will be presented during the case 24 hours prior to the hearing. The Conduct Hearing Officer or Conduct Board Chair has final decision on the appropriateness of witnesses and information presented during the hearing. The Conduct Hearing Officer or Conduct Board will make decisions of responsibility and educational outcomes. The Conduct Hearing Officer or Conduct Board Chair is responsible for maintaining sufficient order and flow of the proceedings, striving for all parties involved to feel they are heard in a fair manner. The Conduct Hearing Officer or Board Chair may conduct an initial investigation to ensure that all relevant information is available at the hearing.

The hearing provides an informal setting to hear and establish the facts of the case, determine responsibility for alleged violations, and recommend educational outcomes, if appropriate. A decision letter shall be written within 48 hours after the decision has been reached. Decisions may be reached after the initial hearing as additional information is gathered or additional deliberation time may be needed. A copy shall be given to the referred student and a copy filed in the Student Affairs Office.

D. Appeals

Any student found responsible for a violation and given a educational outcome has the right to request an appeal. Appeals of decisions made by Hearing Officers should be directed to the Director of Campus Life. Appeals of decisions made by the Conduct Hearing Board should be directed to the Associate Dean of Students. Alternate appeal officers may be designated in advance by the Dean of Students if appropriate for a particular case. Appeals should be in writing and be received within seven calendar days of the date on the decision letter. Appeals will only be accepted after seven days if they are based on new information previously unavailable. Time for appeal may be increased at the discretion of the appeal officer. Appeals will be considered on the basis of procedural error that unfairly and/or materially affected the outcome of the case; action has been taken that is arbitrary, unreasonable or unsupported by substantial evidence; or newly discovered evidence emerges that was not obtainable at the time of the original hearing.

The appeal officer may, at his or her discretion, hold an informal conference limited to a review of the process and decision. New evidence is considered only if it is relevant and only if it was unobtainable at the time of the original hearing. The appeal officer may: dismiss the charges; reduce or modify, but not increase the severity of the outcome; or return the case to the original or another decision maker(s) for further directed consideration. The decision of the appeal officer is final.

III. Educational Outcomes/Sanctions

Educational outcomes or sanctions take effect at the time in which they are determined, unless otherwise specifically noted as suspended outcomes with a given date when they become effective. Should a student provide an intention to appeal, the implementation of educational outcomes may be delayed until such time as the appeal is decided or the time given for submission of appeal expires. Possible educational outcomes may include the following:

A. Letter of Warning

A Letter of Warning is an official statement to the student that his/her behavior is inappropriate and violates the policies and procedures of the college. A copy of the Letter of Warning is placed in the student's file and serves as a notification to the student that further misconduct could result in additional disciplinary action.

B. Educational Assignment

An Educational Assignment is a required activity intended to involve the student in a positive learning experience related to the student's unacceptable behavior. Educational Assignments allow students to reflect upon their inappropriate behavior, to understand why their behavior was inappropriate and to educate other students so they do not find themselves in similar circumstances. This type of disciplinary action may include but is not limited to: engaging in a campus or community service project, attending or presenting a program related to the implications of the student's conduct, writing a reflection paper, interviewing someone, or engaging in some type of personal assessment.

C. Restitution

Restitution is compensation required of students who engaged in theft or misuse, damage, or destruction of institutional, group or private property. The hearing officer will determine the amount, form and method of payment for restitution.

D. Guest Privileges

This action would restrict or remove guest privileges in the residence halls, in campus facilities or on campus grounds for a specified period of time.

E. Residence Hall Probation

Residence Hall Probation is a formal notice to the student that his/her behavior is unacceptable in the residence halls and continued misconduct could result in further disciplinary action, effectively placing the student’s future ability to live in the residence halls in jeopardy. Residence Hall Probation is for a specified period of time, which normally will include not less than one year or its equivalent up until graduation. During the probationary period, the student must demonstrate that he/she is willing and able to act in accordance with acceptable standards of residence hall life. The student may be required to resign any residence hall office or committee appointment, or may be subject to restricted participation in Residential Life programs.

F. Administrative Move

Resident students will be required to move to another room or hall within the residence hall system. This action means that he/she is not being successful living in the current residence hall environment and that another space will hopefully enable the student to have a fresh start. This outcome is a last step measure before suspending the student from the residence hall completely.

G. Suspension from the Residence Hall

The student will be required to vacate his/her residence hall room for a given time with the understanding that the student may move back in at the conclusion of that period. The student must surrender his/her key for the time of the suspension of residency. The student is not permitted to enter any residence hall during the suspension. Because such behavior is also a violation of the housing contract, the student will remain financially responsible for the remainder of the housing contract.

H. Termination of Housing Contract

Serious disruption of the residence hall community can lead to the removal of the student from the residence hall. Termination of the housing contract will result in the immediate removal of the student from the halls. In addition, this action could affect a student's future housing contract status with Residential Life. A signed contract for future terms could be rescinded or a refusal to accept any future housing contract for a designated time period could be imposed. There is no refund of any fees upon termination of a contract. Students are responsible for paying the full term of the contract.

I. Disciplinary Probation

Disciplinary Probation is a formal notice affecting the non-academic status of the student stating that his/her behavior is unacceptable within the college community. Disciplinary Probation effectively places the individuals future status as a student of the College in jeopardy and requires that the student demonstrate during the probation period that he/she is capable of functioning in a way that does not violate the College's policies and procedures. Disciplinary Probation is for a specified period of time that normally will include not less than one year or its equivalent until graduation. Any further violation, even of a minor nature, could warrant a more severe form of probation that carries a prohibition from representing the College in any official capacity. Students placed on disciplinary probation are expected to seriously consider their role as a community member and their responsibilities to the college. Notification of Disciplinary Probation may include parents, academic deans, security or other appropriate personnel at the discretion of the Dean of Students.

J. Strict Disciplinary Probation

Strict Disciplinary Probation is formal notice similar to Disciplinary Probation, but includes limitations on college activities and access for a specified period of time and may include but are not limited to: ineligibility for service as an officer or member of any college organization or committee; restricted participation in any intercollegiate activity; ineligibility to receive or maintain any award from the college; prohibition from attendance at social events; restricted entrance into various college buildings; and restricted contact or total disassociation from members of the Macalester community.

K. Suspension

Suspension from the college involves the temporary removal of the student from the college for a specified period of time with the understanding that the student may be returned to good standing at the completion of the suspension period. Suspension from the college further involves the following: the action of suspension will be noted on the student's disciplinary record; the student will be withdrawn from all enrolled courses; the student shall forfeit fees; the student must refrain from visiting the college premises except when engaged in official business approved in writing from the Dean of Students or his/her designee. The persons notified may include parents, academic deans, security, or other appropriate personnel at the discretion of the Dean of Students. Reinstatement: When a student has concluded the Suspension period and completed any conditions accompanying the Suspension, he/she must submit a letter to the Dean of Students requesting reinstatement and provide evidence that he/she has satisfied the terms of the Suspension. The student may return to the college only after the Dean of Students has made an affirmative decision.

A student who has been suspended from the College must submit an application for readmission to the Dean of Students. Conduct files do not become a part of the student's academic record but a student's disciplinary file is considered part of his/her educational record.

L. Expulsion

Expulsion is the most serious college disciplinary action and involves the permanent exclusion of the student from the college. Expulsion involves the following: forfeiture of all rights and degrees not actually conferred at the time of expulsion; notification of the Expulsion provided to the student, the student's department, and his/her parents or guardian if the student is a dependent; permanent notation of the Expulsion on the student's academic and disciplinary records; withdrawal from all courses; and forfeiture of tuition and fees. Any student expelled from the college must refrain from visiting the college premises except when engaged in official business approved in writing by the Dean of Students or his/her designee.

M. Emergency Action

In such cases where the continued presence of the accused student creates undue distress or threat to the campus community, the Dean of Students, in concurrence with the Vice President for Student Affairs may take some emergency action. Such action could restrict the accused student’s access or remove him or her from campus or campus facilities. In the event emergency action is instituted, it is incumbent that a conduct hearing be held at the soonest reasonable date.