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:

  1. Dismisses the allegations based on the information available.
  2. Resolves the question of misconduct through alternative means, which may include but are not limited to conflict resolution, as described below.
  3. Convenes an administrative hearing.
  4. 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

Administrative Hearing

Most violations of the Code of Student Conduct that may result in sanctions other than suspension, expulsion, or revocation of degree will come before the disciplinary officer or their designee for 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:

  1. University Standards Hearing: Cases involving possible violations of the Code of Student Conduct that could result in 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.
  2. 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 and sororities, SGA-recognized organizations, and athletic teams. 

Amendments

Without limiting other available procedures for amendment of this system, proposed amendments may be approved by the Student Affairs Board and referred to the University President and the Board of Trustees.

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.

Review

This Code of Student Conduct, shall be reviewed at least every other year under the direction of the Vice President and Dean of the College or their designee. Any amendments to the code shall be put forth as described in the Amendments section.

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 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

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.

Interim Suspension

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 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.

Organizational structure and copy for this handbook was revised in the summer of 2020. The information contained in this publication applies to the academic years 2020–2021 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.

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