Any behavioral misconduct that violates the Student Code includes but is not limited to impermissible alcohol or drug usage, any threats of violence or violence, unruly and/or disruptive behavior, sexual misconduct, or misconduct in or out of the classroom. Issues involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct are first considered under PPM 3-32, the provisions which supersede these rules were inconsistent.
SUMMARY OF PETITION PROCESS
Level 1: Informal Level
- Violation of Student Code is alleged. Dean of Students may investigate and meet with student to inform student of allegations.
- Decision maker/Dean of Students provides student with a decision.
Level 2: Formal Level
- Student completes Petition Form within 10 working days.
- Student Code Review Committee reviews petition allowing parties an opportunity to respond to the evidence.
- Student Code Review Committee makes a decision.
Level 3: Due Process Level
- Either party requests Due Process review within 5 working days.
- Due Process Officer reviews whether the process was prejudicial.
- Due Process Officer makes final decision.
DETAILED BEHAVIORAL MISCONDUCT PETITION PROCESS AND STANDARDS
Jurisdiction: Unless jurisdiction resides elsewhere, the jurisdiction shall be all behavioral (non-academic) issues involving the alleged violation of the Student Code by students/student groups. Issues involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct are first considered under PPM 3-32, the provisions which supersede these rules were inconsistent.
Goal: The goal of the hearing process is to provide for the prompt and fair resolution of all grievances as they occur so that constructive, educational, and developmental relationships can be maintained at Weber State University. Procedures that foster dialogue and promote resolution between the immediate parties involved in a dispute are encouraged. Informal resolution of any dispute should be attempted. Whenever possible, grievances should be resolved at the lowest level.
Standard of Review: Preponderance of the evidence – meaning it was more likely than not that the student violated the standards in the Student Code.
Temporary Interim/Emergency Sanctions: Individuals may face sanctions prior to engaging in this process if deemed appropriate as described in PPM 6-22.
Any student who needs an accommodation for a disability to assist in any of these processes may reach out to Disability Services.
Level 1: Informal Level: A student attempts to resolve the issue by a direct appeal to the relevant decision-maker.
- An individual who believes a student has violated the Student Code may submit a complaint to the Dean of Students for review. Such complaints should be submitted as soon as possible but to be considered, complaints must be submitted by the last day of the semester following the semester in which the alleged misconduct occurred. This time limit may be waived by the Due Process Officer for good cause.
- The Dean of Students may conduct an informal investigation of the complaint. If it is determined that there is reason to believe a student has violated the Student Code, the Dean of Students will informally meet with the student. In this meeting, the student will be informed of the allegations and be allowed to provide his or her side of the story, including any relevant evidence. The parties may have an advisor present who may only advise the student and may not actively participate in the informal process. In instances where it is foreseeable that a sanction of expulsion or suspension for ten days or more may be applied, the student shall be notified of this right prior to being interviewed about allegations of misconduct.
- The Dean of Students will make a decision regarding whether the student has violated University standards, and if so, determine appropriate sanctions. The parties will be notified of the decision, the basis for the decision, and any proposed sanctions or other resolution, subject to applicable laws.
- Parties may appeal a decision by the Dean of Students at the formal level, described below.
- Allegations of discrimination and harassment are handled under PPM 3-32. See Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct tab.
Level 2: Formal Level: A student attempts to resolve the issue by submitting a formal petition that is reviewed and (if necessary) evaluated by a committee.
Decision Maker: Behavioral complaints shall be reviewed by the Student Code Review Committee (“Committee”), which Committee shall comprise of 5 individuals who can engage in independent judgment. At least one of these individuals must be a student. One member of the committee will be appointed Chair. Parties may submit objections to the Due Process Officer if there is good cause to believe the Committee members will not engage in independent judgment, who may appoint replacement members.
Time Limits: All formal level behavioral complaints must be sent to the Due Process Officer within 10 working days of receiving a decision from the Dean of Students.
- If the issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the parties at the informal level, either party may submit a petition for a hearing to the Due Process Officer. The Due Process Officer shall promptly send the petition request to the Chair of the Committee.
- The petition must be in writing and include the basis for the challenge and the remedy sought.
- The Chair may determine not to review the petition if it is frivolous, based on issues that are beyond the jurisdictional boundaries established by University policy, or contains no actionable facts. Such decision must be in writing and is may be reviewed by the Due Process Officer, as described in Level 3, below. The Chair may also recommend that the issue be reviewed further for resolution at an informal level, where appropriate.
- If the petition is accepted, the Chair shall give the Dean of Students a copy of the petition, notification of the process, and shall inform the Dean of Students of the opportunity to submit a written response to the Chair.
- The Chair shall schedule a hearing date within a reasonable time and notify the parties in writing of the date of the hearing, the names of the committee members, and the procedures for the hearing.
- Prior to the hearing, the parties shall make available to each other and to the Committee a list of witnesses and a list of documents or other evidence the parties would like the Committee to consider at the hearing. In exceptional circumstances, the Committee may allow a party to invite others not listed or submit additional evidence at the hearing, at their discretion.
- The Chair has the option of holding a pre-hearing conference with the parties, to discuss how the hearing will be held, set forth procedures, review witnesses lists and a summary of witnesses’ testimony, and lists and summaries of exhibits. A mediated solution may be attempted at the pre-hearing conference if desired by the parties.
- In the hearing, the parties may be accompanied by an advisor of their choice. In instances where it is foreseeable that the sanction may be expulsion or suspension for ten days or more, the advisor may actively participate in the formal hearing to the same extent that would be otherwise allowed by the party but may waive these rights. The parties must advise the Committee of their intent to bring the advisor no less than five (5) working days in advance of the hearing.
- A hearing is not to be an adversarial process. The hearing committee may determine the structure of the hearing and may require the parties to communicate their positions in accordance with reasonable rules of procedure, decorum, and respect, so long as the parties have an opportunity to be heard, including submission of testimony from witnesses and other relevant evidence, and the opportunity to respond to evidence submitted by the other party. This may include requiring the parties to submit questions to the Chair to be asked of any individuals testifying. At the discretion of the Chair, the Chair may ask the witness the question, ask the party to rephrase the question, disallow the question or ask the party to move on to another question or area of questioning. Parties are permitted to give opening and closing statements.
- The Committee may determine the relevance of any evidence received and may limit evidence, including scope, nature, duration, when in the discretion of the Hearing Committee it is deemed inappropriate, repetitious, disruptive, unreliable, or otherwise of little use. The Utah Rules of evidence or procedure and any other formal rules of legal evidence or procedure do not apply. The Committee may admit evidence such as written statements or some or all of a report prepared by an investigator; however, the Committee shall take appropriate care to review the reliability of the evidence submitted and should seek first-person accounts where possible.
- Hearings shall be closed to the public.
- Hearings shall be recorded. Deliberations and decision-making of the Committee are not recorded.
- Participants are not allowed to bring weapons to the hearing and appropriate security measures may be taken to ensure enforcement, in accordance with law and PPM 9-20. Hearings shall be held in a secure hearing room.
- The Committee shall be advised by University Legal Counsel to provide guidance on legal matters.
- The Committee may only rely on the evidence and testimony presented in the hearing. They may not rely on prior knowledge of the facts or conduct their own investigation of the facts.
- The Complainant shall bear the responsibility of showing, through a preponderance of the evidence, sufficient reason exists to find a violation of University policy.
- The Committee will make a decision based on the majority vote.
- After reviewing all evidence deemed relevant, the Committee will issue a written decision, including findings, grounds for the decision, sanctions or remedies, as appropriate, and any additional recommendations. Decisions shall be given simultaneously to the parties.
- The hearing committee is empowered to structure a resolution, which in its discretion satisfies the interests of justice. Such a resolution may not unduly burden a party where the party has not been found to have acted in violation of the policies of the institution.
- If any party fails to attend the hearing without good cause, the committee may proceed with the hearing and take testimony and evidence and report its decision on the basis of such testimony and evidence.
Level 3: Due Process Level: The decision of the Committee may be appealed on due process grounds.
- Either party may ask for a review of the decision or resolution by the Due Process Officer by submitting notice and reasons in writing, identifying the ground(s) and rationale for the requested review, to the Due Process Officer within five working days of notice of the decision.
- Except as may be required to clarify the issues and/or to explain the significance of new information, a review shall be limited to review of the evidence provided to the Committee and the record kept, for one or more of the following purposes:
- To determine whether the hearing was conducted fairly in light of the charge and information presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures;
- To determine whether the decision reached was based on substantial information; that is, whether the findings in the case were sufficient to establish a violation of the Student Code based on a preponderance of the evidence standard;
- To consider new information not submitted to the Committee because such information and/or facts were not known to the party at the time of the hearing.
- Any of the above grounds must be shown to have had a prejudicial impact on the decision.
- The Due Process Officer may take the following actions:
- Affirm the decision of the Committee;
- Direct the Committee to open the hearing again for a particular purpose;
- Remand the case for a new hearing.
- The decision shall be in writing and delivered to the parties and the Committee in a timely manner.
- The decision of the Due Process Officer is final.