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  • Student Conduct & University Standards : Student Conduct Process

Decision Making Bodies

  1. Administrative Meeting

    Members of the RWU community may choose, with the consensus of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, to waive their right to a hearing and instead accept a sanction imposed by the Administrator.

    Although there is no formal appeal of an administrative meeting, cases that result in a temporary or permanent removal from the residence halls may be appealed to the Dean of Students or his or her designee. In order to secure an appeal, a written request must be submitted within two business days following the receipt of the notice of the decision.

    It is at the discretion of the Dean of Students, or his or her designee, whether a personal meeting is necessary prior to deciding whether an appeal should be granted. The Dean of Students may choose to stay with the present sanction, alter the sanction, or refer the case back for a new hearing. No more than one appeal will be granted for the same disciplinary referral. This appeal process is also applicable for an Administrative Hearing.

  2. Mediation

    In lieu of adjudication, members of the RWU community may choose, with the consensus of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, mediation. Mediation uses a neutral third party to help resolve disputes, leaving resolution in the hands of the disputing parties.

  3. Formal Hearings

    Any responding student for whom a formal complaint has been filed has the right to a fair Hearing. This Hearing allows the student the chance to respond to the charges filed. At Roger Williams University, these Hearings take three forms.

    Roger Williams University strives to assure fundamental fairness in the adjudication of all student conduct cases. However, University conduct procedures are not identical to the rights afforded the accused in a civil or criminal proceeding. Conduct procedures will be adhered to as faithfully as possible, but variations dictated by circumstances will not invalidate the process. Hearings are conducted according to the rules laid out in the Handbook.

    Any relevant matter upon which responsible persons customarily rely on in the conduct of serious affairs shall be considered, regardless of the existence of any common law or statutory rule which may make some evidence inadmissible in civil or criminal action. Information and evidence which is redundant or immaterial may be excluded from the conduct proceedings. Recordings of hearings are not permitted. The decision at any Hearing shall be based only upon information and testimony introduced at the Hearing.

    Formal or technical rules of evidence are not used as in civil and criminal proceedings; thus, a lower standard of proof is required to reach a conclusion. A decision shall be entered regarding the responding student only if a violation is proven by a preponderance of evidence; that is, the greater weight of the information which the deciding body finds credible and convincing warrants a finding of in violation.

    The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards is charged with the responsibility of advising and informing the deciding body with respect to procedures and sanctions imposed previously for similar offenses in order to provide consistency within the Conduct System.

    Upon determining that a student has violated the Conduct Code, the Hearing Officer may review the responding student's history and impose one or more of the sanctions as defined elsewhere in the Handbook, or may devise sanctions seeming more appropriate to the violation(s).

    The Hearing Officer may also recommend that the case be heard by the UDC, or a UH, in light of the seriousness of the issue. If the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards accepts the recommendation, the UDC or the UH will be treated as an original Hearing for procedural purposes.

    1. Administrative Hearing
    2. University Disciplinary Committee (UDC)
    3. University Hearing (UH)
    4. Administrative Hearing

      Cases serious enough to warrant action, but not expected to result in suspension or expulsion from the University, are assigned by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards to an Administrative Hearing. The decision of the administrator and the sanction imposed, if any, will be binding. Although there is no formal appeal of an Administrative Hearing, cases that result in a temporary or permanent removal from the residence halls may be appealed to the Dean of Students or his or her designee. Refer to the Administrative Meetings section of the Handbook for the appeal process. Administrative Hearing Officers are empowered to impose all sanctions except a suspension or expulsion from the University.

    5. University Disciplinary Committee (UDC)

      The UDC will adjudicate cases referred to it by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. The UDC will hear cases which could result in suspension or expulsion from Roger Williams University. The UDC shall adjudicate all cases at a time arranged by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

      The UDC shall be comprised of four members. One is a non-voting member from the Administrative constituency that serves as the Chairperson. There shall be one voting member from each of the following constituencies: Administration, Faculty and Students. One member from each constituency shall be selected from a pool of no more than ten constituent representatives. Members from each constituency shall be selected by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards based upon constituent representatives' availability at the time of the Hearing. One representative from each constituency must be present to hold a Hearing.

      For each UDC Hearing, a representative of the Administrative constituency shall be selected by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards to serve as the non-voting Chairperson of the UDC presiding and conducting the Hearing. This Chairperson shall not be the voting member of the UDC representing administration. This appointed Chairperson is charged with the responsibilities of conducting the meeting, and advising and informing members of the UDC with respect to procedures and sanctions imposed previously for similar violations in order to provide consistency for Hearings and sanctions.

      Any UDC member who was involved in the initial investigation, and who is expected to be a witness, or has a special bias or interest, is expected to disqualify him/herself. The responding student has the right to challenge any member for the above reasons or any other valid reason. In addition, the Chairperson may, for good reason, disqualify any member. If disqualification is sustained by a majority of the UDC members present and voting, another member of the UDC, of the same constituency as the disqualified member, shall serve on the UDC or, if such person is unable to serve, then the remaining members of the UDC shall appoint a disinterested person of the same constituency as the disqualified member to serve on the UDC.

      The UDC will deliberate in private and render decisions by majority vote. The UDC may continue its particular Hearing to another time at its discretion, but must give all parties concerned notice of its continuance. Except in extraordinary circumstances, a continuance shall extend no more than 72 hours. Written notice of the decision (including sanction) will be given to the responding student within three business days from the conclusion of the UDC hearing.

      Upon determining that a student has violated the Conduct Code, the UDC may impose one or more of the sanctions as defined elsewhere in the Handbook, or may devise sanctions seeming more appropriate to the violation(s) as determined by the Chairperson and the members of the UDC. The UDC is empowered to invoke suspension or expulsion.

      For information regarding the appointment process of members of the UDC, contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

      During vacation periods and/or when UDC members might generally be unavailable or during any vacancy that cannot be filled on the UDC, a University staff member, as selected by the Vice President of Student Life, or his or her designee, shall discharge all responsibilities and otherwise exercise all functions of the UDC.

    6. University Hearing (UH)

      The student may choose, with the consensus of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, to have a University staff member, as selected by the Vice President of Student Life, or his or her designee, accept all responsibilities and otherwise exercise all functions of the UDC as outlined above. At times the University may select not to give the student an option and send the case to either a UDC or UH.

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Hearing Agenda

Only information directly related to the incident is admissible during the Hearing. Recording, of any type, of the Hearing is prohibited.

Each party should meet with the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, or his/her designee, to have a review of their rights and responsibilities as outlined in the Handbook. During this meeting various issues can be clarified: the rights of the responding student or complainant, the agenda of the UDC or University Hearing, the appeal process or any other student concern related to their involvement during the Hearing and appeal process. If there is a finding of in violation by the UDC or UH, the responding student is encouraged to meet with the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards to receive guidance and clarity on questions pertaining to complying with the imposed sanctions (if any).

Only if the responding student is found in violation and sanctioned to a removal from housing or a suspension or expulsion from the University may an appeal request be submitted (See the Appeal section in the Handbook).

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Appealing a Conduct Decision

Cases that result in a temporary or permanent removal from the residence halls may be appealed to the Dean of Students or his or her designee. In order to secure an appeal, a written request must be submitted by the student within two business days following the receipt of the notice of the decision. It is at the discretion of the Dean of Students or his or her designee whether a personal meeting is necessary prior to deciding whether an appeal should be granted.

The Dean of Students or his or her designee may choose to stay with the present sanction, alter the sanctio, or refer the case back for a new hearing.

Cases that result in a suspension or expulsion from the University may be appealed by the student to the Vice President of Student Life or his or her designee.

Only the responding student has the right to appeal. The appeal must be written by the student. When a case is appealed, the following regulations and procedures shall apply and the following rights can be afforded:

  1. In order to secure an appeal, the aggrieved party must submit a written request to the Vice President of Student Life or his or her designee for cases originated by the UDC or UH within two full business days (Mon.-Fri.) following such aggrieved party's receipt of the notice of the decision. Failure to submit such a request in the manner prescribed will be deemed a waiver of the right to appeal.
  2. The written appeal must include demonstration of one or more of the following reasons for requesting an appeal:
    1. Specification of procedural errors alleged to have been committed during the original Hearing, which would have materially affected the outcome of the original Hearing;
    2. Specification of the claim of new evidence not previously available or known which would have materially affected the outcome of the original Hearing. A detailed account of the specific new evidence the accused wishes to bring forth must be clearly indicated;
    3. Imposed sanction (s) not appropriate for the violation (s) committed.

The Vice President of Student Life, or his or her designee, for the UAB, shall determine the sufficiency of any request for appeal. The appeal shall be remanded to the appropriate body for Hearing or shall be denied if the appeal procedures and/or criteria are not satisfactory. The Vice President of Student Life' determination not to hear an appeal is final and binding and conclusive of all parties. If an appeal is granted, it shall be heard at a meeting scheduled as soon as practical by the Vice President of Student Life. The UDC Chairperson or Hearing Officer who heard the case shall attend this meeting to answer any questions.

The sanction imposed by the UDC or UH will remain in effect until the decision of the UAB is rendered. Unless the UDC or UH, in its decision, expressly provides that the sanction imposed shall not take effect until after the expiration of the time within which an appeal may be taken and, if an appeal be taken and a Hearing therein allowed, until after the outcome of the appeal Hearing.

With respect to the UAB, the Vice President of Student Life, or his/her designee, shall notify the parties of the date, time and place of the appeal Hearing. An agenda will be provided at this time.

Both the accused student and the complainant have the right to be present and the opportunity to be heard at the appeal Hearing. Whether or not this right is exercised, the Appeal Hearing will be held and the parties bound by the decision rendered. The Vice President of Student Life will determine the appropriate format for the Appeal Hearing.

Should a student appeal a decision, the sanction imposed shall remain in effect through the appeal process, unless otherwise stipulated by the Hearing Body.

An aggrieved party is limited to one appeal and, in any event, any decision of the UAB or Vice President of Student Life is final.

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