4.3 Student Conduct Process and Procedures
Students are responsible for their 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 law 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/social media sites. 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. College policies apply to the individual student both on and beyond campus. Individual students who are found responsible for violating campus policies are subject to suitable disciplinary action, which may result in a variety of educational outcomes up to suspension or expulsion. Such activities or conduct include, but may not be limited to:
- Intentionally or recklessly causing physical or mental harm to any person, or intentionally or recklessly causing reasonable apprehension of such harm.
- Illegal or unauthorized use, possession or storage of firearms, explosives, illegal fireworks or other weapons in violation of the College's policy on weapons and fireworks.
- Unauthorized entry into College-owned property or College-leased property.
- Intentionally or recklessly destroying, misusing, damaging or stealing personal or College property.
- Use, possession, manufacturing or distribution of illegal drugs or controlled substances.
- Use, possession, manufacturing or distribution of alcoholic beverages in violation of college policy and/or federal, state, or local law.
- Engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct on College premises at College sponsored activities, or off campus in a manner that creates disturbance or distress or which interfere with the activities of others, including studying, teaching, research, and college administration.
- Failure to comply with the directions of College officials and staff acting in performance of their duties.
- Intentionally furnishing false information or reports to the College.
- Making, possessing, or using any forged, altered, or falsified instrument of identification or College document.
- Knowingly violating the terms of any educational outcomes imposed in accordance with this handbook.
- Violations of college policies, regulations, or rules.
- Violations of applicable federal, state, or local laws.
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 assault, stalking, or intimate partner violence should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator as they are not adjudicated through the student conduct 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 Dean of Students 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 may file a complaint with the Student Conduct process by contacting the Dean of Students.
- 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. Adjudicating 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. If students believe 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 Dean of Students 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 Dean of Students or designee 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 other College staff trained in these procedures at the discretion 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 one student and one 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, that student 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 respondent are notified of these rules prior to the hearing. Any individual who attends a conduct board hearing may not disclose any information presented there.
E. Conduct Hearing Process
All hearings or appeal cases shall be heard during the academic school year as soon as reasonably possible. Hearings allow for the referred student to present their view of the facts, as well as information from witnesses or other credible sources. The referred student is permitted to hear all information that will be utilized in making a decision of responsibility. Referred students are responsible for presenting their 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 respondent must be provided to the board chair 24 hours prior to the hearing. The respondent 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/sanctions. 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 purpose of the hearing is to hear and establish the facts of the case, determine responsibility for alleged violations, and recommend educational outcomes/sanctions, if appropriate. A decision letter shall be written within 48 hours after the decision has been reached. Decisions may be reached after 48 hours if additional information is gathered or additional deliberation time is needed. A copy of the decision letter shall be given to the referred student and a copy filed in the Office of Student Affairs.
Any student found responsible for a violation and given an educational outcome/sanction has the right to request an appeal. Appeals of decisions should be directed to the Dean of Students at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. 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 emerged that was not obtainable at the time of the original hearing.
It is the discretion of the appeal officer to 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 their 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.
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.
Probation is a formal notice to the student that their behavior is unacceptable and continued misconduct could result in further disciplinary action, effectively placing the individual's future as a student at the College in jeopardy. 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 they are willing and able to act in ways that do not violate College policies and procedures. If living on campus, 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 the student 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 their 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 residence hall keys 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 their 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 they are 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.
Suspension from the college involves the 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 designee. The persons notified may include parents, academic deans, security, or other appropriate personnel at the discretion of the Dean of Students.
A student who has been suspended from the College must submit an application for readmission. Conduct files do not become a part of the student's academic record but a student's disciplinary file is considered part of the student's educational record.
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 is provided to the student, the student's academic department, and the student's 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 designee.
M. Emergency Action
In such cases where the continued presence of the respondent 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 respondent's access or remove the respondent 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.