Conduct Policies and Procedures
Through enrollment at Marywood University, students accept the responsibility to meet all academic requirements and to act in accordance with the University’s mission, core values and policies. The University accepts a corresponding responsibility to make decisions that promote the community’s well-being and provide appropriate process to its members. All members of the community are responsible for reporting and/or responding to potential policy violations.
Philosophy of Conduct
A vital part of a college education for students is the opportunity to develop and strengthen values and attitudes that guide responsible behavior in all areas of life. The conduct program challenges and supports students to learn about the consequences of their actions and to enhance their growth and development as mature adults.
The Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students is the reference document for the establishment of the conduct program (“Program”). To that end, the program strives to provide a fundamentally fair process in which behavior that infringes on others’ rights, the common good and/or the University’s rights as a corporate entity is addressed. The conduct process values community rights over those of the individual and promotes an educational atmosphere for students to learn and behave within the context of a University guided by a distinct mission and values.
Through involvement in the conduct program, students will have the opportunity to learn to appropriately self-advocate, reflect on their choice of behaviors and live responsibly in a diverse and interdependent community.
The Dean of Students is authorized to define and interpret the conduct policies and to manage the conduct program. Academic policy violations normally are adjudicated by an academic dean or designee. All correspondence with students related to the conduct program is through University email, which students are responsible for checking regularly. The standard of evidence in the conduct program is that of a preponderance of evidence, more than 50% certainty that the student is or is not responsible.
The conduct process is separate from and independent of the system of criminal and civil law, regulations and ordinances. The University will cooperate appropriately with civil authorities in the enforcement of the law. The University may bring conduct charges concurrent with civil and criminal charges. If a student faces concurrent charges, the Dean of Students may decide that the University should postpone its conduct hearing until law enforcement has completed the fact finding phase. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as semester breaks, all investigations should be completed within 60 days following the receipt of the report of possible policy violation or following the accuser’s decision to pursue charges. Additionally, students may, and are encouraged to, file complaints with local law enforcement officials at any time consistent with federal, state and local law.
Rules and Regulations
The conduct process usually is limited to behavior that negatively affects the pursuit of educational objectives and support of the University’s core values. No specific policy statement can apply to every situation, and the following are examples of behavior that are subject to the conduct process:
- Dishonesty: All forms of dishonesty including lying, cheating, plagiarism, providing false or misleading information, forgery, alteration, or fraudulent use of documents or identification. (See also Academic Honesty Policy)
- Disruptive Conduct: Disruption or obstruction of University activities or operations.
- Abuse: Harassment, stalking, bullying, physical harm, risk of physical harm, verbal abuse, or similar actions of intimidation or coercion including sexual misconduct and hazing. (See also Anti-Discrimination and Hazing Policies)
- Endangering Conduct: Any self-inflicted action or inaction that is a danger to a student’s health, safety, or welfare or that inhibits the student’s success at the University.
- Weapons: Illegal or unauthorized possession of firearms, other weapons or dangerous chemicals or use of any such item, even if legally possessed, in a manner that harms, threatens or causes fear to others. (See also Deadly Weapons and Fireworks Policy)
- Fireworks and Explosives: Unauthorized use, possession or storage of fireworks, explosives or hazardous materials on University property. (See also Deadly Weapons and Fireworks Policy)
- Theft: Unauthorized possession or use of University property or the property of another.
- Damage/Vandalism: Damaging, making unusable or vandalizing University property or the property of another.
- Failure to Comply: Failure to comply with the direction of University officials in the performance of their duties.
- Unauthorized Entry: Entry into any University building, office or other facility (roof, ledge, window, stairwell, closet, etc.), room or container (file cabinet, desk drawer, computer etc.) without proper authorization. Remaining without authorization in any building after the building is locked for the evening. (Also see Safety Procedures and Campus Safety)
- Alcohol: Regardless of the person’s age, the possession, use or distribution of alcoholic beverages, being in the presence of such violation (constructive possession), possession of empty alcohol containers or being intoxicated on campus. (See also Alcohol & Controlled Substances Policy and Medical Amnesty Policy)
- Drugs: Possession, use, manufacture, solicitation or distribution of illegal or controlled substances except as expressly permitted by law; being in the presence of such violation; possessing paraphernalia to assist in the possession, use, manufacture, solicitation or distribution of such substances; or use, solicitation, or distribution of non-controlled substances for intoxicating purposes or effects. (See also Alcohol & Controlled Substances Policy)
- Indecent Conduct: Indecent, profane or obscene conduct.
- Failure to Act: In the presence of a violation, failure to intervene/confront, notify University staff or leave the area.
- Failure to Respect Each Person: Demonstrated lack of civility in resolving disputes and disagreements.
- University Regulations: Violation of any published University regulations.
- Laws: Violations of any federal, state or local laws.
This policy assures the community that when a student’s health and safety are in danger due to intoxication, alcohol poisoning or other drug-related emergencies, students who seek help for themselves or others will not be subject to conduct action for a violation of the University Alcohol and/or Other Drug regulations. Further, students should, and are encouraged to, report all known and suspected incidents relating to sexual discrimination, including harassment, assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking (referred to as Title IX cases), when drugs and alcohol are involved. No student will be penalized for violating the University’s Alcohol and/or Other Drug policies when reporting such incidents. In such cases, student(s) will be required to meet with the Dean of Students or designee shortly thereafter to address the issues that caused the risk to the student’s well-being. To assist students in learning from the experience, the student(s) may be required to complete an alcohol/other drug assessment and/or to participate in counseling. A repeated pattern of similar incidents or failure to cooperate with the Dean of Students will be responded to on an individual basis and could result in conduct action. If additional or egregious policy violations occur during the same incident, the Dean of Students reserves the right to adjudicate the non-alcohol related violations.
Enrollment at Marywood University is a voluntary decision, which includes a student’s acceptance of the responsibility to meet academic requirements and to behave consistently with the University’s policies, purposes and objectives at all times, on campus, off campus and in cyberspace. The University reserves the right to alert civil authorities to problems on or off campus.
Students as Neighbors: Most students who live in the local community make positive contributions, but all must understand the behavior expected of them as residents of these communities. Students should demonstrate respect and concern for all members of both communities and behave as responsible citizens. Students should understand that conduct investigation and charges will be initiated when the University’s interest, reputation and/or capacity to function as an academic community is involved.
Conduct cases will be handled in accordance with the University conduct policy of appropriate process. If any member of the University community believes s/he has been the victim of or a witness to, or otherwise has reason to believe or become aware of, a violation of University policies by a student or student organization, s/he may file an incident report against that student(s) or student organization as soon as possible to the Dean of Students, Director of Housing and Residence Life, Title IX Coordinator (in the case of a Title IX related incident) or the Chief of Campus Safety. In cases where a student organization is charged, the organization will be represented by two members, preferably the president and vice president, and will follow Marywood’s student conduct procedures.
- No one should assume that the University knows, or has reason to know, about a particular situation involving misconduct. The University encourages all students to report the incident as soon as possible, but preferably not later than 30 working days, except in unusual circumstances, after the alleged incident(s) occurs, to the Dean of Students, Director of Housing and Residence Life, Title IX Coordinator or the Chief of Campus Safety. In non-Title IX cases, when the accuser is a student, the accuser will have the choice to act in a role similar to a plaintiff or in a role as a witness. Except for Title IX related cases, when the accuser is not a Marywood student, then the accuser’s role within the hearing process will be as a witness.
- In Title IX related cases, during the initial discussion between the accuser and the University administrator, the accuser will be informed of his/her right to confidentiality and the choice to pursue the complaint. If the accuser requests confidentiality or will not consent to a complaint being pursued, the University will take all steps reasonable and necessary to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the accuser’s requests. However, in situations involving sexual harassment and/or sexual violence, the University has an obligation to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment. Therefore, should the accuser elect to not pursue the complaint or request confidentiality, depending on various factors, including the seriousness of the complaint and number of victims, the University may nonetheless undertake the investigation on its own. The University cannot guarantee confidentiality; however, it will take reasonable steps to ensure confidentiality in accordance with its obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment. In the case where there is no victim and the accuser is a Housing and Residence Life or Campus Safety staff member, skip to item 5. See Silent Witness Form on Campus Safety webpage.
- In Title IX related cases, during the initial discussion, the accuser will also be informed of his/her right to proceed formally or informally. In situations when the accuser elects to proceed informally, the University administrator will determine the steps to take to resolve the issue. The parties may elect to resolve the matter through mediation, unless the situation involves sexual assault and/or sexual violence. Should the accuser elect to proceed informally, s/he may elect to stop the informal process at any time and proceed through the formal process.
- In Title IX related cases, if the accuser, after the initial meeting with the University administrator or after opting out of the informal process, decides to proceed formally, the Dean of Students will assign a Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator and the accuser should submit a formal complaint, in writing, preferably within ten (10) working days of the initial report, to the appropriate University Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator. The accuser should provide the following in writing:
- Date of the incident,
- Name and address of the student(s) involved,
- A statement of the circumstances and
- Names/contact information for witnesses.
- Within five (5) working days after receipt of a formal complaint, the University will commence a thorough investigation. Investigations will be conducted as expeditiously as possible and are usually completed within 30-60 days after the formal complaint is filed. This timeframe may vary, however, depending on confidentiality requests, availability of witnesses, the scope of the investigation and any unforeseen circumstances. The Dean of Students or designee will appoint a staff member to conduct an investigation of the charges and conduct a Preliminary Hearing. The Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator will review the charges and consult with all parties to determine if adjudication is warranted.
- Within five (5) working days after receipt of a formal complaint (more time may be required if a calendar break is involved), the accused student will receive a notice by email of the charges and be notified by email to report for a Preliminary Hearing. Attendees at the Preliminary Hearing include the accused and the Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator only. Requests for additional attendees as a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability or requests for any other reasonable accommodations throughout the hearing process because of a disability will be considered on an individual basis. The Dean of Students and the Office of Disability Services will partner with the student to explore possible accommodations. In the case of an alleged violation of the Endangering Conduct policy, a Counseling Center staff member may also be present. At the Preliminary Hearing the charges and the conduct procedures will be explained and discussed. During the Preliminary Hearing, and at any stage of the investigation or adjudication of conduct charges, an accused student may refuse to answer any question(s) without the decision being held against him/her. If a student fails to meet with the Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator, the Preliminary Hearing may take place in his/her absence and a decision may be made based on information available at the time.
- Should the Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator determine further investigation is not justified based on a preponderance of the evidence, he/she will find the student not responsible or will assign another form of resolution. This item (item #7) does not apply in Title IX cases (cases of sexual discrimination, including harassment, sexual misconduct, assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking).
- Should the Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator determine the accused is responsible, or the accused admits responsibility, the Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator may take conduct action up to and including Probation. When circumstances warrant Suspension or Dismissal, these actions are recommended to the Dean of Students.
- After the conclusion of the Preliminary Hearing, an accused student may request further adjudication only when she/he disagrees with the finding of responsible, and in Title IX cases the accuser, may request further adjudication only when she/he disagrees with the finding of not responsible. When either the accused or accuser requests further adjudication or the Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator determines that further investigation and conduct consideration is warranted, the following steps are initiated:
- If either student requests further adjudication, he/she must request a Formal Hearing in a letter to the Dean of Students within three (3) days after the Preliminary Hearing determination and any sanction has been communicated. The letter should indicate the preferred means of further adjudication through either the Conduct Board or an Administrative Hearing and the reason for requesting a Formal Hearing.
- If the Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator determines that further consideration is warranted, he/she will inform the Dean of Students who will begin arrangements to convene the Formal Hearing with the Conduct Board or an Administrative Hearing Officer.
- A copy of the written charges is then forwarded to the Conduct Board or Administrative Hearing Officer.
- The Dean of Students notifies the Conduct Board or the Administrative Hearing Officer, the accused, and the accuser of the date, time, and location of the hearing.
- The student will have no less than five (5) days to prepare for the Formal Hearing.
- Should the Conduct Board be inoperative, the Dean of Students or designee reserves the right to adjudicate the case.
- To request that the sanction imposed during a Preliminary Hearing be reconsidered, the accused student, or in Title IX cases the accuser, must send a letter to the Dean of Students within three (3) days after the Preliminary Hearing sanction has been communicated. The letter should indicate:
- The policy that was violated and the sanction that was imposed;
- The reason(s) why the student believes the sanction should be revised;
- What sanction the student believes should be imposed and what the student will learn from the sanction or believes the accused student will learn from the sanction;
- A statement of how the accused student’s conduct history, if any, relates to the sanction; and,
- What the student has learned during the process.
The outcome of the case is considered to be part of a student’s educational record and disclosure of information must follow FERPA guidelines. In accordance with federal law and the Title IX 4/4/11 Dear Colleague Letter, the victim will be notified of the outcome of the case (finding of responsible or not responsible) in Title IX related cases and cases of violence. Victims will be notified of any sanctions assigned to the accused that impact the victim. Additionally, in cases of crimes of violence or non-forcible sex offenses, anyone may be informed of the outcome of the case if the accused is found responsible.
Administrative Hearing Officers: The Dean of Students or his/her designee will be the Administrative Hearing Officer unless he/she served as the Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator or circumstances clearly suggest it would be in the student’s best interest for another person to act as the Administrative Hearing Officer. With the student’s approval, the Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator may be appointed as the Administrative Hearing Officer. Administrative Hearing Officers are empowered to take conduct action up to and including Probation. Administrative Hearing Officers recommend Suspension or Dismissal to the Dean of Students.
Conduct Board: The Conduct Board is composed of 15 members: six (6) faculty members, six (6) full-time undergraduate students, and three graduate students. The graduate and undergraduate student governments appoint the student members of the Board. The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate appoints the faculty members. A panel of two (2) faculty members and three (3) students is drawn. Two (2) faculty members and two (2) students constitute a quorum. A student will be selected as Chair for each hearing. The Board decides responsibility for alleged violations, interprets rules and regulations as they relate to individual incidents and community values, and determines sanctions when appropriate. The Dean of Students is the Conduct Board Chair and acts as an advisor during hearings.
Formal Hearing Procedures
- The Formal Hearing will be private, unless the accuser or accused requests an open hearing and all parties agree. Requests for an open hearing must be made in writing to the Dean of Students at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. If an open hearing is granted, only current Marywood staff, faculty, administration, and students may observe the hearing, with the exception of the Board’s deliberation. The hearing is not to be interrupted by observers and the Chair or the Dean of Students may require observers to leave if determined necessary.
- A recording or a written record will be made.
- The charges and evidence will be presented by the Dean of Students or his/her designee, the Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator or by the individual pursuing the charges.
- The accused, the student accuser, and in Title IX cases the accuser, may be accompanied by a Marywood employee or Marywood student whose role will be advisory in nature. No one outside of the University community may attend a conduct hearing. Requests for additional attendees as a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability or requests for any other reasonable accommodations throughout the hearing process because of a disability will be considered on an individual basis. The Dean of Students and the Office of Disability Services will partner with the student to explore possible accommodations. The Advisors’ names must be submitted to the Dean of Students at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.
- A Formal Hearing guideline agenda will be provided to all parties. Any party may present witnesses subject to the Chair’s/Administrative Hearing Officer’s or Dean of Students’ determination of the witnesses’ relevance to the case. The accused, in Title IX cases the accuser, members of the Board or the Administrative Hearing Officer may ask questions of anyone involved in the proceedings with the exception of questions between the victim and accused in sexual misconduct/Title IX cases. The parties involved are responsible for contacting appropriate witnesses and informing them of the date, time, and location of the hearing. Names of witnesses, and the relevance of their testimony, must be submitted to the Dean of Students at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing. Witnesses normally are not present throughout the hearing. Exceptions based on the judgment of the Chair/Administrative Hearing Officer or the Dean of Students may be made. Requests for exceptions to this procedure must be made in advance to the Dean of Students or his/her designee.
- If an accused student fails to appear at the Formal Hearing, the Chair or Administrative Hearing Officer will decide if the Formal Hearing will take place without the presence of the accused. If the absence is unexcused, the accused will forfeit any right to appeal. No recommendation or imposition of sanction will be based solely upon the failure of the accused to appear at the hearing.
- The Chair or Administrative Hearing Officer, if not the Dean of Students, will make known the decision to the Dean of Students and submit the record of the Formal Hearing and a written statement of the reasons for the decision. The Dean of Students will notify the accused student in writing/email of the decision. The outcome of the case is considered a student’s educational record and disclosure of information must follow FERPA guidelines. In accordance with federal law and the Title IX 4/4/11 Dear Colleague Letter, the victim will be notified of the outcome of the case (finding of responsible or not responsible) in Title IX related cases and cases of violence. Victims will be notified of any sanctions assigned to the accused that impact the victim. Additionally, in cases of crimes of violence or non-forcible sex offenses, anyone may be informed of the outcome of the case if the accused is found responsible.
- Standards of appropriate behavior will be maintained by all in attendance. Failure to do so may result in the forfeiture of the remainder of the hearing. The Chair/Administrative Hearing Officer or the Dean of Students will make the determination.
Procedures for Appeal
The accused student, or in Title IX related cases the accuser, may appeal the decision of the Board or Administrative Hearing Officer by stating so in a letter to the Vice President for Student Life within five (5) days after the decision has been communicated orally or in writing/email. The accused student, and in Title IX related cases the accuser, must demonstrate in the letter one or more of the following:
- that s/he did not receive a hearing consistent with the principles of appropriate process;
- that the sanction was arbitrary or capricious;
- that certain relevant evidence was not reviewed; or,
- that new evidence is available.
- For an appeal to be heard, the Vice President must agree that the accused student, or in Title IX related cases the accuser, has demonstrated one or more of the reasons listed in #1.
- Normally, an appeal will be limited to a review of the report of the Board or the Administrative Hearing Officer. Such a review, when granted, is the final appeal step in the University conduct process.
- When grounds for an appeal have been established, one of the following procedures will be followed:
- The Vice President for Student Life may 1) accept the report as presented; 2) accept the report with a specific reduction or increase in the sanction; 3) return the case to the Conduct Board or Administrative Hearing Officer for further proceedings; or 4) dismiss one or more of the charges entirely.
- The Vice President for Student Life may establish an Appeal Board including an administrator and two (2) representatives from the Conduct Board. The Vice President or designee will sit as Chair (ex-officio) of the Appeal Board. Board decisions in all cases are advisory to the Vice President. The Appeal Board will determine the procedure to follow after consideration of the specific case. The Appeal Board will adhere to the principles of appropriate process as stated in the University’s conduct procedures.
- Notification of the result of the appeal will be sent in writing/email to the accused student. The outcome of the case is considered a student’s educational record and disclosure of information must follow FERPA guidelines. In accordance with federal law and the Title IX 4/4/11 Dear Colleague Letter, the victim will be notified of the outcome of the case (finding of responsible or not responsible) in Title IX related cases and cases of violence. Victims will be notified of any sanctions assigned to the accused that impact the victim. Additionally, in cases of crimes of violence or non-forcible sex offenses, anyone may be informed of the outcome of the case if the accused is found responsible.
Conduct action is based on the seriousness of the offense, individual circumstances, the best interest of the University community and the student’s education and growth. As such, the University reserves the right to impose different sanctions based on various factors in the case. Sanctions will be stated in writing and maintained as a formal record in the Dean of Students Office. A combination of sanctions may be invoked when appropriate. Students who repeatedly violate University policy will be assigned progressively more serious sanctions. If sanctions are not completed, a Conduct Hold will be placed on the student’s account. The sanction, or combination of sanctions, which may be imposed upon individuals or organizations, includes the following:
A Policy Reminder is a written notice that the student’s behavior required conduct proceedings. The nature and circumstances of the conduct does not deserve further action, but the reminder is recorded in the Office of the Dean of Students for future reference for the duration of the student’s enrollment.
Restitution is the reimbursement for damage, destruction or misappropriation of property on University premises. When imposed, restitution to the University or a member of the University community will be made in addition to a previously defined sanction.
Fines are penalty fees payable to the University depending on the degree of infraction. The amount is determined by the Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator, Conduct Board or Administrative Hearing Officer.
Projects or programs that promote the education of the student through experiences are designed to enhance personal growth, improve understanding of the community and/or contribute to the larger community outside of the University.
Restricted Access/Loss of Privileges
Loss of Privileges may include visitation, parking, attending University functions or representing the University in extracurricular activities. Restricted Access is official notification that an individual is not welcome to visit campus facilities or a specific community member(s). This may be administered for a specific building or general areas of the campus with or without a termination date. In some cases, it is known as a No Trespassing Notice or No Contact Order. The University may request intervention of civil authorities if an individual violates this restriction.
Removal from University Housing
A student may be dismissed from living in University Housing and/or banned from visiting University residence facilities. Students with board contracts receive a pro-rated refund as described in the Housing Contract; no reimbursement is provided for the balance of a housing agreement. Since the majority of undergraduates are legal dependents of their parents/guardians, the University reserves the right to contact parents and/or guardians when sanctions of Removal from the University Housing or Suspension/Dismissal from the University are imposed. Independent students should notify the Dean of Students of their independence and verify that status if requested.
A Conduct Hold is a restriction placed on a student’s academic records for failure to complete a sanction. A Conduct Hold prevents the student from registering for classes and receiving grades, and/or other services normally provided by the Registrar’s Office.
Probation is a sanction that includes a specified period of time during which the student must demonstrate the ability to comply with University rules, regulations, and/or other conditions imposed. Students who are recipients of University scholarships and are placed on Probation may be subject to gradation or removal of that scholarship during the term of probation. Since the majority of undergraduates are legal dependents of their parents/guardians, the University reserves the right to contact parents and/or guardians when the sanction of Probation has been imposed. Any additional violation of University policy, however minor, may result in Suspension or Dismissal. Probation may be administered in two forms.
- Specific Probation: with or without conditions, is imposed for a specific period of time. Conditions may include any combination of the sanctions listed above.
- General Probation: imposed for the student’s tenure at the University.
Interim Suspension is the temporary suspension of a student’s enrollment, housing, or other University privileges, pending full consideration of a conduct case. The Dean of Students or his/her designee will determine if there is a reasonable cause to believe a student has violated any of the University’s rules and regulations and that danger or disruption will be present if the student is permitted to remain on campus or in University housing.
Suspension is the termination of student status for a specified period of time. Conditions of reinstatement are included in the Preliminary/Formal Hearing Results notice. A suspended student is charged fees for the semester in which the suspension occurs in accordance with the published University Withdrawal and Refund Policy Statement. A grade of “W” is assigned for the same semester courses remaining on the student’s transcript. A statement of the student’s status is sent to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Enrollment Management, and the Registrar and the record of the sanction is maintained for seven years in the Dean of Students Office. Since the majority of undergraduates are legal dependents of their parents/guardians, the University reserves the right to contact parents and/or guardians when sanctions of Removal from the University Housing or Suspension/Dismissal from the University are imposed. Independent students should notify the Dean of Students of their independence and verify that status if requested.
Dismissal is the permanent termination of student status and separation from the University. A dismissed student is charged full fees for the semester in which the dismissal occurs in accordance with the published University Withdrawal and Refund Policy Statement. A grade of “W’ is assigned for the same semester courses remaining on the student transcript. A statement of the student’s status is sent to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Enrollment Management and the Registrar and recorded permanently in the Dean of Students Office. Since the majority of undergraduates are legal dependents of their parents/guardians, the University reserves the right to contact parents and/or guardians when sanctions of Removal from University Housing or Suspension/Dismissal from the University are imposed. Independent students should notify the Dean of Students of their independence and verify that status if requested.