Initial Review Officer
Prior to most judicial hearings, students will be given the opportunity to meet with an initial review officer appointed by the director of student conduct for student affairs. The officer will explain the charges, and the student will be provided the following options:
- Acknowledge responsibility and request an administrative recommendation of sanction
- Plead "not responsible" and be referred to a College judicial body for hearing
Student Code of Conduct Board
The jurisdiction of the Student Code of Conduct Board is in areas of alleged student violations of College policies, procedures, rules and regulations as defined under the Student Code of Conduct and Campus Policies.
The Student Code of Conduct Board is composed of eight student board members. While board members are normally appointed for a one-year term, they may serve for more than one term upon reapplication. The students on the Student Code of Conduct Board are full-time, enrolled students. Board member candidates must submit an application that is reviewed by the vice president for student affairs. One or more advisors, appointed by the vice president for student affairs, serve in a non-voting advisory capacity to this body. The chairperson and assistant chairperson are chosen from among the appointed student members by majority vote of all members of the Student Code of Conduct Board at the conclusion of their training period in September. The assistant chairperson presides in the absence of the chairperson. Four board members (including the chairperson or assistant chairperson) and one advisor must be present for the Student Code of Conduct Board to proceed with a hearing.
All members of the Student Code of Conduct Board are expected at all times to abide by the Student Code of Conduct and Campus Policies. Any violation of these rules by a member while being a member of the Student Code of Conduct Board can result in dismissal from the Student Code of Conduct Board. Should a board member be found responsible for a violation of College policy, a separate hearing will be conducted by the vice president for student affairs or his/her designee to determine whether to remove that member from the Student Code of Conduct Board. Any board member (including the chairperson) may be censured or dismissed for a valid reason by a majority vote of the remaining board members or by the vice president for student affairs. A timely replacement will be made following the procedure above.
A hearing will be scheduled not sooner than three class days after the charge form has been delivered to the accused, unless the accused has waived in writing the right of notification. The accused has the right of a procedural advisor of not more than one person to be chosen from the Hartwick College community to help prepare information to present at the hearing. This advisor may be present at the hearing, but only to answer questions that the accused might have during the course of the proceedings. The advisor may not speak at the hearing unless specifically requested to do so by the chairperson. Other than the accused and the advisor, only those people who have information for the Student Code of Conduct Board relating to the case, and are requested to appear by the chairperson, will be allowed in the hearing room. All judgments in this regard will be made by the chairperson. Students may not electronically record the proceedings.
The hearing proceeds as follows:
- The chairperson calls the board to order.
- The chairperson introduces him/herself and the rest of the board members introduce themselves.
- The chairperson asks the accused if he/she challenges any member of the board. If a challenge is made, the chairperson will hear the reasons for the challenge. The accused is excused from the room for deliberation. The chairperson is responsible for rendering an immediate decision in support of or against the challenge, unless the challenged member is the chairperson. In such a case, a majority vote of the board members present (excluding the chairperson) is needed to support the challenge.
- The chairperson asks the board if anyone is not going to sit the case for any reason. If any board member elects to not sit the case (including the chairperson) that member leaves the room.
- The hearing procedure is explained to the accused.
- The chairperson reads the charges and asks the accused if he/she is responsible or not responsible as charged.
- The chairperson will present or have presented the record supporting the charges against the student that may include, but is not limited to, investigation reports, witnesses, and/or written statements.
- The accused will present evidence he/she wants the board to consider in his/her support, which may include, but is not limited to, investigation reports, witnesses, and/or written statements. The board may establish reasonable limits on the volume and nature of evidence to be presented.
- Board members may direct questions to the accused or any witnesses only for matters of clarification regarding evidence presented to the board.
- The accused and the chairperson may present final summations regarding the charges and evidence presented. In order to reach a finding of responsible, the board, based on the information and evidence provided, must determine that it is more likely than not that the accused violated policy.
- Following the dismissal of the accused and all witnesses, the board members deliberate on the case and arrive at a decision by vote. The chairperson votes only in the event the votes of the members are equally divided. All voting is done by secret ballot. A simple majority of those board members present is required for all judicial decisions and actions. Votes are counted by the chairperson who announces the result.
- If the accused is found not responsible for the charge, the case is dismissed. If the Student Code of Conduct Board has reason, based on evidence, not to accept the responsible plea of the accused, the charge against the accused can be dismissed.
- If the Student Code of Conduct Board accepts the responsible plea of the accused, if the accused is found responsible, or if the accused is found responsible of a lesser charge, records of prior formal or informal sanctions, if any, are presented. Appropriate disciplinary sanctions are discussed and a vote taken as to the sanction to be assigned.
- In most cases the student will be informed in writing within five class days of the hearing. All recommendations are subject to review by the director of student conduct.
- All are dismissed.
Within five class days of the hearing, the chairperson or board representative prepares and delivers a copy of the written judicial decision and rationale to the director of student conduct. All aspects of the deliberation are retained in the confidence of the Student Code of Conduct Board and Office of Student Affairs. The decision is delivered to the accused subsequent to review by the vice president for student affairs.
Director of Judicial Affairs
The director of judicial affairs is responsible for ensuring the fair and equitable treatment of both the accused and the victim, and determining the appropriate campus judicial official or body to exercise jurisdiction over alleged violations. The office of student conduct will normally handle cases in which an individual has had a significant record of violations of College policies and will also have jurisdiction over alleged violations considered threatening to the welfare, safety and security of the campus community or the individual. In an effort to provide a prompt judicial response to alleged violations, the vice president for student affairs or his/her designee may divide the hearing of cases between the judicial bodies and the Office of Student Affairs.
During the months of June, July, and August, and during those parts of September and May during which the student judicial bodies are non-functioning or officially adjourned, the director of judicial affairs fulfills the official capacity for the adjudication of cases. At the director of judicial affairs' discretion, cases may be assigned to College hearing officers for disposition, and appeals for those cases may be heard by the vice president for student affairs or his/her designee.
A student may petition the vice president for student affairs to have his/her case heard by one or more hearing officers; such a decision is solely at the discretion of the director of student conduct. Hearing officers are trained staff and administrators who have agreed to hear cases of alleged infractions of the College's General Rules of Conduct. Hearing officers follow the rules of procedure applicable to the Student Code of Conduct Board to the extent applicable. The vice president for student affairs reserves the right to assign cases to hearing officers.
Special Hearing Board
All cases of alleged sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or rape/sodomy that involve members of the Hartwick College community will be adjudicated by a Special Hearing Board consisting of no less than three members selected on a rotating basis from a pool of trained individuals. The pool shall consist of individuals drawn from College faculty and staff.
The Office of Student Conduct, in consultation with the vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, director of human resources and the Hartwick College Counseling Center, will coordinate the management of the pool of individuals for the Special Hearing Board. This includes periodic recruitment and training of the individuals. An attempt will be made to maintain gender-balanced representation for all areas of the campus community.
Training of all Special Hearing Board members will be the responsibility of the Office of Student Conduct. The director of student conduct and each member of the pool will come to agreement as to his/her readiness to hear a case.
Every reasonable effort will be made to select members who are not closely associated with the victim or the alleged offender.
One member of the board will be appointed as chairperson for the case by the College officials convening the board.
Current Special Hearing Board Members
Procedures for Handling Cases of Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct and Rape/Sodomy
Persons who believe they have been sexually assaulted or harassed may choose to pursue any or all of the following options:
- Make use of campus and community resources
- Report the incident
- File a formal complaint
Please review the section of the student handbook which addresses the support available for victims of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or rape/sodomy.
The jurisdiction of the Appellate Board is limited to the appeal of decisions by the Student Code of Conduct Board. Appeals of decisions by hearing officers are heard by the vice president for student affairs or his/her designee.
The Appellate Board is composed of four to five students. One or more advisors, appointed by the vice president for student affairs, serve in a non-voting advisory capacity to this body. The board members elect a chairperson from the membership. Board members are appointed in the same manner as outlined above for the Student Code of Conduct Board. Three board members (including the chairperson) and one advisor must be present for the Appellate Board to proceed with a hearing.
All members of the Appellate Board are expected to abide at all times by the Student Code of Conduct and Campus Policies. Any violation of these rules by a board member while being a member of the Appellate Board can result in dismissal from the Appellate Board. Should a board member be found responsible for a violation of College policy, a separate hearing will be conducted by the vice president for student affairs or his/her designee to determine whether to remove that member from the Appellate Board. Any board member (including the chairperson) may be censured or dismissed for a valid reason by a majority vote of the remaining board members or by the vice president for student affairs. A timely replacement will be made following the procedure above.
Procedures for Granting an Appeal
The chairperson of the Appellate Board and at least one other board member must review the written appeal request and make a decision as to whether or not sufficient cause has been given for a hearing to be granted. A recommendation of acceptance or rejection of request for an appeal is normally forwarded to the vice president for student affairs within four class days after the request is received by the chairperson.
If the request is denied, and after review by the vice president for student affairs, the chairperson notifies the student requesting the appeal and specifies the reasons the hearing was denied.
If an appeal hearing is granted, the hearing is normally scheduled within ten class days following the acceptance of the appeal request. In a situation deemed an emergency by the vice president for student affairs in which a sanction of suspension or expulsion is pending, the entire appeal process, including the hearing, is normally conducted by Appellate Board within two class days.
The action available to the Appellate Board depends upon the grounds upon which the appeal was granted.
In cases of procedural error, if no mistake has been found, the board must uphold the original decision and sanction. If a mistake is found, the board may dismiss the original charge, modify the sanction, or order a new hearing by the judicial body or officer having original jurisdiction over the case.
In cases in which new evidence is introduced, if the evidence has no direct bearing upon the responsibility of the person appealing (or if the person fails to produce any new evidence), the board must uphold the original decision and sanction. If the evidence presented has a direct bearing on the responsibility of the person appealing, the board shall remand the case back to the Student Code of Conduct Board for reconsideration.
In cases in which the disciplinary sanction is believed to be inappropriate for responsibility in the specific case and circumstances, the board may modify or uphold the original sanction. In such a case, there may be no contest as to the responsibility of the person appealing.
All recommendations are subject to review by the vice president for student affairs.
Vice President for Student Affairs
The vice president for student affairs or his/her designee hears appeals of decisions by hearing officers.