Overview of the Disciplinary Process
Possible violations of the University Code of Student Conduct are brought to the attention of the disciplinary officer. The disciplinary officer assesses the nature of the violation, investigates allegations, and then does one of the following:
- Dismisses the allegations based on the information available.
- Resolves the question of misconduct through alternative means, which may include but are not limited to conflict resolution, as described below.
- Convenes an administrative hearing.
- Refers the incident to the University Student Conduct Board or Non-discrimination/Title IX Procedures.
While the types of cases they hear vary, all University hearing bodies function similarly, in that they give the student or organization the opportunity to respond to the allegations, determine whether the implicated student or organization should be held responsible for the alleged violation, and, when appropriate, assess appropriate sanctions (and/or points, if the Policy on Alcohol and Drugs has been violated). To maintain standards of consistency and equity in the application of University standards, the disciplinary officer oversees the University Student Conduct Board. The disciplinary officer assembles the materials and information presented to the board, prepares the students subject to hearings before the board, and maintains records of every hearing.
Alleged violations of the University's Student Nondiscrimination, Anti-Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy (equal opportunity, nondiscrimination, sexual harassment, and other forms of harassment) are addressed through the Non-discrimination/Title IX Procedures set forth in that policy. In addition (and to the extent set forth in the policy), the Non-discrimination/Title IX Procedures may be used to address collateral violations of the Code of Student Conduct and/or other University policies occurring as part of the same set of circumstances as a violation of that policy.
Overview of University Hearing Bodies
Students will be contacted regarding a possible violation and will be required to meet with the disciplinary officer by a specified date. The disciplinary officer will then provide the student with an opportunity to meet with the disciplinary officer to respond to the alleged violation. If the student admits to the violation, the disciplinary officer will assign a sanction (and/or points, if the Policy on Alcohol and Drugs has been violated). Any sanctions (or points) that could be imposed by the University Student Conduct Board (see below), other than administrative withdrawal from a course, suspension, expulsion, or revocation of degree, may be imposed in an administrative hearing. When a student admits responsibility, there is no option for an appeal of sanctions or points issued through an administrative hearing. When a student does not accept responsibility, the disciplinary officer may refer the student to another administrator to consider the finding or may also refer any matter to the University Student Conduct Board (“the Board”) for adjudication. The Board will have the full range of sanctions available, including suspension or expulsion, should the student be found responsible for the behavior in question. When appropriate, the disciplinary officer can designate another member of the staff of the Vice President and Dean of the College to conduct an administrative hearing.
University Student Conduct Board
The Disciplinary Officer shall refer to the University Student Conduct Board cases that require one of two types of hearing:
- University Standards Hearing: Cases involving possible violations of the Code of Student Conduct that could result in a administrative withdrawal from a class, a sanction of suspension or expulsion; cases in which the student involved does not accept responsibility for the violation with the understanding that the full range of sanctions including suspension or expulsion are available should the student be found responsible for the behavior in question; cases of academic dishonesty other than plagiarism, and cases of plagiarism that are not to be resolved by the faculty member or in which the student involved does not agree with the faculty member’s proposed resolution.
- Organization Misconduct Hearing: Cases involving possible violations of the Code of Student Conduct by recognized student organizations on campus, including, but not limited to, fraternities, sororities, and SGA-recognized organizations.*
*Note:As SGA-recognized organizations, club sports teams are subject to the System of University Standards and Student Conduct, and may be referred for an Organization Misconduct Hearing or other appropriate proceedings under the System. Intercollegiate athletic teams are operated by, and exist at the discretion of, the Division of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics (PERA). In the event of suspected violations of Colgate University policy by an intercollegiate athletic team, the Vice President and Director of Athletics or their designee, in consultation with the Vice President and Dean of the College or their designee, may impose consequences on the team as an entity without necessity of proceedings under the System of University Standards and Student Conduct. Such action does not preclude disciplinary action against individual team members under the System of University Standards and Student Conduct.
Withdrawal While Charges Pending
A student choosing to withdraw from the University while facing disciplinary charges must have the charges resolved through this System of University Standards and Student Conduct (in addition to fulfilling any other applicable conditions) prior to readmission to the University.
The University reserves the right to not permit a student to withdraw if they have pending an investigation or charges against them for violation of the Student Nondiscrimination, Anti-Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or for charges under the Code of Student Conduct. Should a student decide to leave and not participate in the investigation and/or hearing, the University may opt to proceed in absentia to a reasonable resolution, and that student will not be permitted to return to Colgate unless all sanctions have been satisfied.
Withholding of Diplomas
The University may withhold a student’s diploma for a specified period of time and/or deny a student’s participation in commencement activities if the student has disciplinary charges pending.
Action in Courts
Disciplinary proceedings may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus, at the discretion of the Disciplinary Officer. Because of the different standards applicable in civil or criminal proceedings and University disciplinary proceedings, disciplinary action will not be altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or reduced.
Review of Alleged Violations When College Is Not in Session (Where a Sanction Will Not Exceed Disciplinary Probation)
If a student is alleged to have committed a violation of the Code of Student Conduct near or after the end of a semester for which an administrative hearing would otherwise be appropriate, the Disciplinary Officer or their designee may issue a letter of resolution to the student that includes a proposed finding and sanctions (or points, if the Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs was violated) based on the information then available. If the student accepts the proposed resolution, the proposed finding and sanctions (or applicable points) will be applied. If the student prefers to review the case with the Disciplinary Officer or their designee, an administrative hearing will be scheduled in order to review the case. The administrative hearing, and any subsequent proceedings, will be subject to the otherwise applicable terms of this System of University Standards and Student Conduct.
Conflict Resolution is encouraged as an alternative means to resolve conflicts. The Disciplinary Officer will determine if conflict resolution is appropriate. The Disciplinary Officer, at their discretion, may decline to process a complaint until parties in a non-academic misconduct case make a reasonable attempt to achieve a mediated settlement. To be binding in a disciplinary case, any mediated settlement must be approved by the disciplinary officer. If mediation fails, the case will be forwarded for an administrative hearing or hearing before the University Student Conduct Board, as applicable.
If, in the judgment of the disciplinary officer, the safety or well-being of the accused student or any other person(s) may be jeopardized by the presence on campus of the student or the ongoing activity of a student organization whose behavior is in question, the disciplinary officer may suspend the student or student organization pending the conduct of disciplinary proceedings. The disciplinary officer may also suspend a student or organization pending disposition of a civil or criminal court action. Conduct involving acts of violence, physical abuse, use of weapons, or behavior covered by Colgate’s Policy on Public Order, the Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs, and/or the Policy on Hazing are examples of situations for which an interim suspension may be expected. In all cases in which an interim suspension is imposed, the student or student organization will be given the opportunity to meet with the disciplinary officer prior to such suspension being imposed, or as soon thereafter as is reasonably possible.
Referral to Hearing Body
Most violations that could result in sanctions no more severe than probation are resolved in an Administrative Hearing with the Disciplinary Officer or their designee. Any violation that could result in a sanction of suspension or expulsion must be referred to the University Student Conduct Board. As such, violations of a more serious nature, including, but not limited to, cases of academic dishonesty, assault, group misconduct, or violations by students with significant disciplinary records, will likely require a hearing before the University Student Conduct Board.
Policy on Retaliation
Colgate University strictly prohibits retaliation against any person or organization for seeking supportive measures (including No Contact Orders), good faith reporting of conduct violations, or for cooperating with, or participating in, any investigation, adjudication or resolution of potential conduct violations (whether as a reporting party, respondent or witness).
The information contained in this publication applies to the academic years 2023–2024, but this handbook is not to be regarded as a contract between the student and the University. The University reserves the right to change requirements, policies, rules, and regulations without prior notice in accordance with established procedures.