Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services

Discipline process - individuals

Here are the steps in the discipline process. Click each heading for more information.

Charges

The discipline process begins when Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services receives a written account of the incident: police reports; residence hall incident reports; or reports from faculty, administrative staff, students, other members of the University community, or from outside the University community. Anonymous reports are not sufficient to begin the disciplinary process.  In some instances, additional investigation may be warranted in response to an anonymous report and lead to documentation from an identifiable source that warrants charges of a Student Conduct Code violation.

The Hearing Officer may decide the incident warrants a University disciplinary hearing and charges the student with one or more Student Conduct Code violations. The Hearing Officer may also seek or conduct an additional investigation.

In some cases, the Hearing Officer may offer alternative dispute resolution such as Restorative Justice or mediation, if all parties involved are willing.  All parties receive a written summary of the resulting agreements, which are binding and not subject to appeal. If the student violates these agreements, s/he may face additional disciplinary action.

Responsible Action Exemption

Background

The health and safety of members of the Colorado State community is a primary concern. Students are encouraged to make responsible decisions in emergency situations that result from alcohol and other drug abuse (to include alcohol poisoning, overdose, serious injury, and victims of sexual assault) and to seek medical attention for someone who is in danger because of intoxication. Colorado State University seeks to remove the barriers that prevent students from seeking the medical attention they need. Therefore, students should alert Residence or Apartment Life staff, the Colorado State University Police Department, Fort Collins Police Department (when off campus) or other university personnel when they or another person are in danger.

Students Seeking Help for Self or Others – Exemption from Discipline

Students, both on and off campus, who seek medical attention for themselves or on behalf of another student related to consumption of drugs or alcohol will not be charged with violations from the Student Conduct Code relating to that incident, provided that the student completes an assessment and any recommended treatment by the Hearing Officer.  Failure to complete an assessment may result in charges filed with the Office of Conflict Resolution & Student Conduct Services.  Parental notification may occur for students that are under the age 21 who have been transported to the hospital in need of medical assistance.

How to Receive Exemption

If a student believes he or she qualifies for a disciplinary exemption, he or she must complete the following steps:

  1. The student who contacts an appropriate resource (i.e. law enforcement or University staff) on behalf of an intoxicated student must remain with the intoxicated student.
  2. The student seeking assistance for an intoxicated student must provide law enforcement or staff his/her name when they call.
  3. The student who calls, or needed assistance, must contact the Office of Conflict Resolution & Student Conduct Services within three (3) business days of the incident.
  4. The students seeking an exemption must submit confirmation to Conflict Resolution & Student Conduct Services an assessment was completed and he or she has complied with any additional educational or treatment requirements of the Hearing Officer.

Limitations to Exemption

The disciplinary exemption does not apply to students or student organizations experiencing an alcohol or drug-related medical emergency that are found by university staff (i.e. Residence or Apartment Life staff, Colorado State University Police Department, Fort Collins Police Department, Faculty, or Administrative Staff). The help must be sought by, or on behalf of, the student.  In cases of repeated violations of the Student Conduct Code, the University reserves the right to take judicial action on a case-by-case basis regardless of the manner in which the incident was reported.  The University reserves the right to adjudicate any case in which the violations are egregious. Individual students that make calls to assist other students in medical need will not have a limit on opportunities to receive the disciplinary exemption.  Students in need of medical assistance shall receive only one exemption, regardless of who calls for assistance.

Records

All proceedings and records directly related to a Responsible Action Exemption will be considered educational and will not be maintained as discipline records. If a student is under 21 years of age, parents may be notified.

Hearing notification

The student (respondent) is notified of the charges in writing, along with the date, time, and location of the hearing. A report of the incident may be included with the notice letter or may be available from the responding law enforcement agency. The student has no less than three (3) business days to prepare for the hearing (unless the student and Hearing Officer agree otherwise) nor typically more than fifteen (15) business days after the student has been notified of the charges (maximum time may be extended at the discretion of the Hearing Officer taking into consideration scheduled breaks, etc.).

The letter of notice may contain specific requirements or restrictions, until the matter is resolved through the student conduct process. These requirements could include, but are not limited to, temporary relocation in campus housing, restriction from specific campus locations, or orders prohibiting contact with Complainants or witnesses.  The notice letter is sent to the student’s current email address on record with the University. The letter may also be served to the student by the University police.

Options for resolution of disciplinary charges

After reviewing the letter of notice and incident report, the Respondent may either accept responsibility or dispute the charges. If disputing, the Respondent should notify the Hearing Officer before the hearing.

If the Respondent disputes the charges, the case may require additional investigation or preparation time. The student or the Hearing Officer may ask to reschedule the hearing to allow more time to prepare. Student requests to reschedule will be considered by the Hearing Officer, based on the totality of circumstances, and may be granted or denied at the Hearing Officer’s discretion.

Hearings

University Hearing Officers conduct Disciplinary Hearings using these guidelines:

  1. The Complainant and the Respondent may bring an advisor or support person to the hearing, at their own expense. Such advisor may be an attorney. The advisor is limited to counseling the student; s/he may not represent the student, speak on the student's behalf, or participate directly in the hearing. Advisors may not serve in a dual role as a witness in the hearing.  University Hearing Officers may also consult with or include University Counsel as an advisor at the hearing.
  2. University disciplinary hearings are considered private educational interactions between the student(s) and the University. The Complainant, Respondent and their advisors, if any, may attend the entire hearing (excluding deliberations). Others may attend at the discretion of the Hearing Officer.
  3. The Hearing Officer may consider records, exhibits, and written statements. The Complainant and the Respondent shall have the opportunity to review and respond to any reports or statements the Hearing Officer considers, but copies must be requested in writing.  Student requests for copies will be considered by the Hearing Officer, based on the totality of circumstances including the sensitive nature of the allegations or information, and may be granted or denied at the Hearing Officer’s discretion. If the request for copies is denied, the information may be reviewed at the Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services Office.
  4. The Complainant and the Respondent may present their own versions of the incident to the Hearing Officer. They may include written statements and witnesses.
  5. If the Respondent misses the scheduled hearing, the Hearing Officer may make a decision with the information available.
  6. If the Respondent disputes the charges, the hearing may be recorded. The recording is the property of the University. If a student wishes to obtain a copy of the hearing record, a request must be submitted in writing to the Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services Office. This may be done via FAX, mail, or in person.   If the student wishes to have a copy, the recording of the hearing must be reduced to a written transcript at the student’s expense. This must be done by a certified reporter and prepaid by the student. Alternatively, the recording may be made available for the Complainant or Respondent to listen to within the Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services Office.
  7. In disputed cases, the Complainant, the Respondent, and the Hearing Officer may bring or request relevant witnesses. If the Complainant or Respondent requests witnesses identified in the report at least two business days before the hearing, the Hearing Officer will make reasonable efforts to arrange for the attendance of the requested witnesses. Witnesses may be present only when they are giving information. Only the Hearing Officer may ask questions; the Respondent and/or Complainant may suggest questions for each other or witnesses. The Hearing Officer guides all questioning and limits repetition/statements.  All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Hearing Officer.
  8. The Hearing Officer may reschedule the hearing if the case requires further investigation or to accommodate irresolvable scheduling conflicts.
  9. If a case involves more than one Respondent, the Hearing Officer may permit the students to have combined or separate hearings.
  10. The Hearing Officer may accommodate witnesses through conference phone calls or other alternate means. Accommodations may also be made related to concern for their personal safety or fear of confrontation with the Complainant, Respondent, or other witnesses. Possible accommodations include separate facilities, a visual screen, participation by telephone, videophone, closed circuit television, video conferencing, videotape, audio tape, written statement, or other means.
  11. The formal rules of process, procedure, or evidence used by the justice system do not apply to the discipline process.

Decisions

After the hearing, the Hearing Officer decides the outcome of each charge based on the ‘preponderance of evidence’ standard - whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the Student Conduct Code.

The Hearing Officer determines appropriate disciplinary action based on the incident’s severity, impact on others, and the student’s past record of conduct violations.  Possible actions include limits or conditions, relocation in campus housing, restitution, community service, and/or educational programs and interventions related to alcohol or drug use, ethical decision making, personal counseling, community issues, and restorative justice.

The Respondent receives the Hearing Officer’s decision in writing within ten (10) business days of the hearing. The decision includes: determination of responsibility, level of discipline imposed, and a complete description of any sanctions or requirements. In sex offense cases, both the accuser and the accused receive the Hearing Officer’s decision. A copy of the decision may also be sent to other appropriate University offices. Compliance with this paragraph does not violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For the purpose of this paragraph, the outcome of a disciplinary proceeding means only the institution’s final determination with respect to the alleged sex offense and any sanction that is imposed against the accused. The notification shall consist of the determination of responsibility, level of discipline imposed, and a complete description of any sanctions or requirements. In disputed cases, when the Respondent is found responsible for the charges, the notification will also include a summary of the basis for the determination. (Recommended via Title IX)

The Respondent may not release decision letters that include victim’s information to unauthorized third parties. If s/he does, s/he may face additional disciplinary charges.

Sanctions

Due to the educational and assessment based nature of the conduct process, the Hearing Officer considers the totality of information provided in determining the appropriate outcomes and sanctions following hearings. The Hearing Officer may impose one or more of these sanctions as appropriate for the student’s personal development and the well-being of the campus community. The following sanctions may be applied when appropriate to individual students. More than one of the sanctions listed below may be imposed for any single violation. If the student fails to complete disciplinary sanctions by the stated deadline, a “hold” is placed on the student’s registration status.

1. No Action No disciplinary action is taken.
2. Warning or Written Reprimand A student is formally warned or reprimanded for minor infractions.
3. General Disciplinary Probation Probation is for a designated period of time during which the student is required to show appropriate changes in attitude and behavior. Specific sanctions or restrictions may be imposed as a part of this discipline but do not result in loss of good standing with the University. A violation of the terms of General Disciplinary Probation, or subsequent misconduct after discipline, is grounds for further disciplinary action, including loss of good standing, suspension, or expulsion.
4. Disciplinary Probation/Loss of Good Standing

Probation for a designated period of time in which appropriate changes in attitude and behavior are expected to occur.  Specific sanctions or restrictions may be imposed as a part of this probation.  The student on disciplinary probation is not in good standing with the University. Loss of good standing prohibits the student from:

  1. representing the University through official events
  2. serving on a University committee
  3. participating in intercollegiate or Sports Club athletics
  4. holding office in a student organization

A student who commits a conduct violation while on probation may face further disciplinary action, suspension or expulsion.

5. Discretionary Sanctions

The Hearing Officer offers or requires educational programs or assignments, Restorative Justice, mediation, community service, individual assessment, counseling, substance abuse education, intervention or treatment, or other discretionary sanctions.

6. Restitution Compensation for loss, damages, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service or monetary or material replacement.
7. Grading Penalty

The instructor imposes a grading penalty such as a zero on the assignment, a grade reduction or failure in the class, or loss of the repeat/delete option. This action will be recorded in the student’s discipline file. For serious or repeated academic misconduct offenses with reduced course grade, the student’s transcript may be marked with “AM” indicating a “reduction of letter grade for Academic Misconduct.”

8. Residential Reassignment A student may be reassigned to another residence hall room or building for disrupting the residential community or to appropriately separate persons.
9. Residential Expulsion The student is banned from the residence halls permanently. Since first-year students are required to live in University Residence Halls and manage their behavior to comply with community standards, the Director of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services decides if the student is exempted from that requirement.
10. Disciplinary Suspension

Suspension for a distinct period of time. While suspended the student may not attend classes, use University facilities, participate in University activities, or be employed by the University for a certain time. In some instances, the student must fulfill specified requirements before the University will consider re-admission or re-instatement. Special conditions may be stipulated for reinstatement at the conclusion of the period of suspension.

Disciplinary suspension is noted on the transcript during the period of suspension and/or until the conditions for re-admission have been met. When the conditions for re-admission have been met, the student may petition for admissions clearance and/or removal of the notation whether or not the student intends to return to Colorado State University. If the petition is denied the student may appeal the decision to the University Discipline Panel.

11. Deferred Suspension Suspension is deferred while the student participates in a designated program, remaining in school under a strict probationary status.
12. Disciplinary Expulsion The student is permanently separated from the University and may not return. The expulsion is permanently noted on the student’s transcript and will not be removed.
13. Revocation of Admission or Degree The University may revoke admission or a degree for fraud, misrepresentation, or for other serious violations committed by the student prior to matriculation or graduation. Only the Board of Governors may revoke a degree.
14. Withholding Degree The University may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in this Student Conduct Code, including the completion of sanctions imposed.
15. Parental Notification The University notifies parents when a student under age 21 is found responsible for infraction(s) involving alcohol, drugs, or violence, and is placed on disciplinary probation, suspended, or expelled from the residence hall or University.

Discipline appeals

Appeal of a Disciplinary Decision

1. A Hearing Officer’s decision may be appealed to the University Discipline Panel by either the Respondent(s) or Complainant(s). The student must submit a written request to the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services within seven (7) business days after the student is notified of the Hearing Officer’s decision. The appeal request must include the reasons for the request and be addressed to the Chair of the University Discipline Panel. Administrative support for the Discipline Panel is provided through Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services. Failure to submit a request for appeal in writing within the specified time will render the Hearing Officer’s decision as final.

The University Discipline Panel consists of ten (10) academic faculty members and ten (10) students. Faculty is nominated by the Faculty Council Committee on Faculty Governance each year in February. Members are elected by Faculty Council in April. Faculty members serve three-year terms, staggered so that approximately one-third are elected each year. Terms of office begin July 1 after each election. All full-time academic faculty above the rank of instructor are eligible for membership, unless they have administrative appointments of more than half time. A member who has served two consecutive terms is ineligible for reappointment for a period of two years. Vacancies are filled in the same manner as the initial selection of the resigning member.

Student members are nominated by the President of the Associated Students of Colorado State University and ratified by the ASCSU Senate. Student members serve a one-year academic term. Any vacancies will be filled as quickly as possible using the same process of nomination by the President and ratification by the ASCSU Senate. ASCSU leaders or their designees, who have received appropriate training, may serve on the panel, as needed, over winter or summer breaks or if selected members are not available. All full-fee paying students in good standing with the University are eligible to serve on the University Discipline Panel.

The Chair of the Discipline Panel is an administrative nomination made by the Vice President of Student Affairs and is approved by the Faculty Council. The Chair must be re-approved by the Faculty Council every three years but is otherwise not subject to specific term limits.

Except as necessary to explain the basis of new information not available at the time of the original hearing, an appeal shall be limited to a review of the record of the hearing and supporting documents. The Chair of the University Discipline Panel shall consider the appeal request based on one or more of the following:

a. Whether the hearing was conducted fairly, giving both the Respondent and Complainant the opportunity to present relevant information. Minor deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless there is an adverse effect on the outcome of the hearing.

b. Whether the decision was based on substantial and sufficient information. That is, whether there was information presented in the case that, if believed by the Hearing Officer, was sufficient to establish that a violation of the Student Conduct Code occurred.

c. Whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate for the violation.

d. Whether the decision separates the student from the University through disciplinary suspension or expulsion.

e. Whether there is new information not available at the time of the original hearing that may be relevant to the final decision.

f. To petition for removal of a disciplinary transcript notation or for eligibility to re-apply to the University after completing the terms of a disciplinary suspension. Appeals are directed to the panel only when the Hearing Officer determines the original terms were not satisfactorily completed.

2. The Chair of the Discipline Panel will review the written request for appeal to determine if an appeal should be granted. After reviewing the request, which may include a review of the record and/or meeting with the parties involved and/or the Hearing Officer, the Chair of the Discipline Panel shall take one of the following actions:

a. Deny the appeal.

b. Return the case to the Hearing Officer or Director of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services for further consideration. The student must abide by the original conditions while the case is under review.

c. Convene an Appeals Committee to review the record of the original case.

d. Grant a hearing with an Appeals Committee to consider new information not available at the time of the original hearing.

3. When an appeal is granted, the Appeal Committee reviews the record, or schedules a hearing to address new information not available at the time of the original hearing, if necessary. In the meantime, the Respondent must comply with all restrictions from the Hearing Officer’s original decision, including separation from University housing, no contact orders, restrictions from specific facilities, suspensions or other conditions. Unless otherwise specified, a student may continue to attend classes while the appeal is pending.

4. When questions of law arise, the Chair may consult with University Legal Counsel.

5. A list of University Discipline Panel members is provided to the Respondent and/or the Complainant(s). The Hearing Officer, Respondent or Complainant may request, to the Chair, the removal of a member of the panel with cause. The Chair decides whether sufficient cause exists to remove members. Members of the panel shall excuse themselves if they have a conflict of interest. The Chair of the University Discipline Panel either chairs the Appeals Committee or selects a Chair from among the faculty members of the University Discipline Panel. The two faculty and two students are selected from the remaining names.

In all cases involving sexual misconduct or harassment, the Director of Equal Opportunity (or qualified designee) shall participate, as a non-voting member, in all deliberations of the Appeal Committee.

6. If a hearing is granted to consider new information that was not available at the time of the original hearing, it follows the hearing process set forth in Article IV, Section D.

7. The Appeal Committee, upon conclusion of its review, shall do one of the following:

a. Affirm the decision, if the Appeal Committee agrees that the information supports the decision of the Hearing Officer. Decisions affirmed by the Appeal Committee are final.

b. Return the case to the Hearing Officer for further consideration, which may include recommendations for increasing or decreasing the penalty or addressing additional issues. While the case is being reconsidered, the student must continue to abide by any stated conditions.

c. Recommend reversal of the decision, if the Appeal Committee disagrees with the Hearing Officer’s evaluation of evidence and does not believe sufficient evidence exists to support a violation of the Student Conduct Code. If the Appeal Committee recommends a reversal, the Chair shall submit a recommendation in writing, as follows:

i. In all cases involving suspension or expulsion from the University (whether imposed by the original Hearing Officer or recommended by the Appeal Committee after review), the Chair of the Appeal Committee shall make a recommendation in writing to the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and the Vice President of Student Affairs for final review.

ii. In all cases involving any form of sexual misconduct or harassment, the Chair of the Appeal Committee shall make a recommendation in writing to the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Vice President of Student Affairs for final review, who may also consult with the Director of Equal Opportunity.

iii. In all other cases involving individual student violations of the Conduct Code, the Chair of the Appeal Committee shall make a recommendation in writing to the Dean of Students for final review.

The Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, as applicable, after review of the recommendations of the Appeal Committee and consultation with others as deemed appropriate or necessary, shall do one of the following:

a. Affirm the recommendation of the Appeal Committee;

b. Affirm the decision of the original Hearing Officer;

c. Return the case to the Director of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct services for additional review or to impose alternate sanctions.

If the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Vice President of Student Affairs are unable to agree on the action to be taken, it may be referred to the Executive Vice President/Provost for final action.

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Other appeals

1. Housing re-assignments or cancelation of the residence hall contract

Residential move appeals are made directly to the Director of Residence Life whether or not an appeal of the entire disciplinary decision is filed with the Discipline Panel.

2. Grading penalty

If the student disputes a finding of academic misconduct and an associated grading penalty, the student may request a disciplinary hearing through Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services. The request must be submitted (or postmarked, if mailed) no later than within thirty (30) calendar days after  the next semester’s first day of classes of the next regular semester following the date the grade for the course was initially recorded or subsequently revised. If the Hearing Officer clears the charges, the instructor revises the grade, considering only academic performance and disregards the academic misconduct charge. If the Hearing Officer finds the student responsible for academic misconduct, the grading penalty stands and additional sanctions may be imposed.

 

 


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