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Student Code of Conduct

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West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383


Phone: 610-436-1000

Student Code of Conduct

II. Procedures

  1. Incident Report Filed - Charges of violations of the Student Code of Conduct may be lodged against any student or student group by any employee, student, or student organization of West Chester University. The Director of Student Conduct should be consulted with regard to the proper form and language of a complaint.
  2. Letter of Notice to student of alleged violation - Students shall receive written notice of charges, including, as nearly as possible, the date of occurrence, and the rules of conduct allegedly violated by the student. This notice will include a reasonable sufficient interval to allow the student to prepare a response to the allegation(s). Offenses occurring at the end of any semester will be adjudicated within a time deemed appropriate and reasonable by the Director of Student Conduct.
    All charges of violations of the Code of Conduct shall heard by a University hearing officer or board under the supervision of the director. The scheduling of conferences and hearings by an officer or board is at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct or designee. The process for selection of board members and the procedure for requesting a hearing board are available in the Office of Student Conduct.
  3. Informal Conference -The informal conference provides the opportunity to review reported details, ask questions about process and determine personal level of responsibility. 
    At a conference, students or student groups will be given the opportunity to (1) waive their right to a hearing and admit responsibility for the violations, or (2) to request a formal hearing. Any student or student group representative who fails to appear at an initial conference will be automatically scheduled for a second judicial conference and may be subject to additional disciplinary action (See Section I., Violation 20). Any student or student group representative who fails to appear at the second scheduled judicial conference consents to the conducting of said conference in their absence.  Should the student be suspended or expelled as a result, they may request a de novo hearing during the time of the appeal period as noted in the outcome letter.
  4. Potential Formal Hearing - Students and student groups are entitled to a formal University hearing. The purpose of a hearing is to hear the facts and circumstances of the alleged incident and to accept all evidence and statements offered during the hearing in order to determine the student's or student organization's level of responsibility. In determining whether a violation has occurred, a "preponderance of evidence" standard is applied. This means the Hearing Officer or Board must determine if the testimony and evidence presented suggests it is "more likely than not" that a violation occurred. There are two types of hearings - an administrative hearing and a University board hearing. A University Board Hearing is conducted by a University Board comprised of two students and one faculty or staff member who have an equal vote in the outcome of the proceeding. All University Board Members receive specialized training in the areas of due process, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual misconduct. Each University Board is pre-screened on a case by case basis to eliminate familiarity with the involved parties.
    Involved students may want to include witnesses on their behalf.  These names and contact information must be provided to the Office of Student Conduct no later than two days after receipt of the Notification of Hearing, so the parties can receive timely notification about the hearing.  Additionally, witness information will be shared with the opposing party.
    Students shall have the right to be assisted by one adviser, who may be an attorney, and may be present at hearings. The adviser may only consult and interact privately with the student.
    In the event of a sexual misconduct charge (Violation #23), the complainant and accused will also have the right to have a support person accompany them. A support person does not participate in the hearing nor provide advice on hearing points, but is present to provide support.  A support person could be a family member, friend, counselor, etc.  A witness cannot serve as a support person.
    The University Hearing Convener is responsible for maintaining order and room decorum. They have the right to impose rules that are reasonable and necessary for an orderly and efficient hearing to take place. Any person who commits an action that interrupts the proceedings or refuses to comply with rules regarding behavior will be removed from the hearing.  The University Hearing Board has the power to direct the time of entrance and exit of witnesses for all parties in the hearing. All hearings are closed proceedings.
  5. Hearing Procedure - At a formal hearing that is initially scheduled or that is requested by a student or student group, the following procedure will be followed:
    1. Hearings shall proceed to the extent possible according to the following form:
      1. The hearing officer/board shall open the proceedings by reading the statement of charges.
      2. Before presenting any testimony, each witness must submit to an oath where they swear and affirm the truth of statements to be made.
      3. The charging party or complaintant shall then present its case against the accused party. This shall be done by the submission of written, physical, and testimonial evidence.
        In cases involving a sexual misconduct charge (Violation #23): By prior request by either party, a screen may be used to separate the complainant and the accused. The accused, complainant, and the University Board all have the right to conduct reasonable questioning. All questions between the complainant and the accused will be submitted in writing to the Chairperson who will then relay the question to the appropriate party.
      4. At the conclusion of the charging party/complaintant's presentation, the accused party shall present a response to the charges. This shall be done by the submission of written, physical, and testimonial evidence.
      5. At the close of the hearing, the hearing officer/board may allow closing statements by the parties, which may include rebuttal comments.
    2. Any person who commits an action that interrupts the proceedings or refuses to comply with a reasonable order of the hearing officer/board shall be subject to removal from the hearing.
    3. All matters upon which the decision will be based must be introduced into evidence at the hearing. Adjudication will be based upon presented evidence sufficient to make a reasonable person believe that a fact sought to be proved is more likely true than not;
    4. All hearings will be recorded. Maintenance of a written or audiotape record of the hearing will be done at the University's expense, but students may be required to pay the cost of copies of requested records. If such records contain sensitive or confidential information, a request for a copy will be denied.
    5. The outcome of the hearing will be based upon presented evidence sufficient to make a reasonable person believe that the facts sought to be proven are more likely true than not. All matters upon which the decision will be based must be introduced into evidence at the hearing.
    6. In addition to testimony and evidence presented at a conference or hearing, a hearing officer/board may consider the following elements before rendering a sanction:
      1. Academic records and class year;
      2. The nature and severity of previous discipline records including that which is public record;
      3. Attitude of the accused during the conference and/or hearing.
      4. Whether the sanction will (a) bring an end to the violation in question, (b) reasonably prevent a recurrence of a similar violation, and (c) remedy the effects of the violation on the complainant and the University community.
  6. Sanctions - Sanctions include Disciplinary Reprimand, Disciplinary Probation, Deferred Suspension, Campus Restrictions, Suspension or Expulsion.  The sanction may also include an educational task that is designed to benefit the individual, campus, or community (see Section III. Sanctions).
    The Panel is required to consider suspending or expelling any student found responsible for sexual misconduct; however the panel may impose any sanction that it finds to be fair and proportionate to the violation.
  7. Outcome - The Office of Student Conduct will issue a written statement of the findings of fact and reasons for the decision (referred to as an “Outcome Letter”) to the accused within 30 business days after the close of the hearing.
    In cases of sexual misconduct (Violation #23), the Office of Student Conduct will also send the Outcome Letter to the complainant and the Title IX Coordinator.  Both parties have the right to appeal, notification of a pending appeal from the opposing party, and the opportunity to provide an impact statement to the appeal board. See Appeal section.
  8. The hearing officer/board shall be responsible for ensuring that each student is afforded due process during all conferences and hearings, whether or not the student is present.
  9. A written adjudication in which the facts and reasons for the decision are set forth with reasonable specificity shall be issued within 30 University business days after the close of the proceedings.
  10. Pending action on the charges, the student's status shall not be altered nor shall the student's right to be present on campus or to attend classes be suspended, except for reasons relating to their physical or emotional safety and well-being or for reasons relating to the safety of students, employees, personnel, or University property (See Sanction A.6 Interim Disciplinary Suspension).
  11. The University retains the right to continue a hearing whenever necessary and appropriate.
  12. Outcome Letter -This letter provides the official outcome of finding for the charges and includes the disciplinary sanction and requirements.
  13. Appeal - The Appeal process will be detailed at the bottom of the outcome letter.
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