office of citizenship education

Conduct System Guidelines

The following policies apply to all conduct system activities unless otherwise specified.

Administrative Removal of Persons Endangering Self or Others or Disrupting the College Community

Colby-Sawyer College reserves the right to remove persons from the college or from college programs or activities when that person actually harms or threatens harm to self or others. Disruptive behavior, a significant disruption or pattern of disruptive behavior, may also warrant administrative removal.

Situations may arise which require an immediate response, but which fall outside the normal purview of the college's conduct system. Students whose behaviors endanger themselves or the health, safety, or rights of other members of the community or are disruptive to the educational process or mission of the college shall be reported to the vice president for student development and dean of students. These behaviors and situations may necessitate immediate removal from the college and residence halls by the vice president for student development and dean of students or his designee until such time as an appropriate intervention can be determined. In addition, parents and/or law enforcement authorities may be notified of the situation. Reinstatements to residence halls and/or the college shall be contingent upon appropriate conditions which may include but are not limited to evaluation and recommendations by medical and/or psychological professionals as well as a behavioral contract.

Appeals

The purpose of the appeal process is to ensure that all students are treated fairly in regards to the Conduct System throughout Colby-Sawyer College's conduct process. In cases involving physical assault, sexual misconduct, or bias related incidents both the Respondent(s) and Complainant(s) may file an appeal.

A student who has participated in the conduct process may file an appeal based on a decision reached and/or a sanction imposed by a Community Council Board, an Administrative Hearing Panel or a Student Conduct Administrator.

All appeals must demonstrate one or more of the following criteria for an appeal and the student must explain in detail the support for each basis of appeal:

  1. New information that was not available and/or known at the time of the hearing. This information had it been available and known, would likely have had a significant effect on the outcome of the hearing. This new information will be considered only if it is clear that the evidence could not have been known by the student(s) appealing at the time of the original hearing;
  2. Procedural irregularity occurred meaning, the hearing was not conducted in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the Colby-Sawyer College Conduct System and/or the procedural irregularity must have impaired a student's right to a fair opportunity to be heard or a violation of the Students Rights; and/or
  3. The severity of the sanction is not appropriate for the violation(s) committed, and the past student conduct history of the student (if applicable).

Information that is not considered sufficient criteria for an appeal or a reasonable claim of an appeal is:

  1. Disagreement with the finding and/or sanction of a hearing body;
  2. Failure to appear at an appropriately scheduled hearing; and/or
  3. Failure to comply with a sanction.

Petitions for appeals will be reviewed by an Appellate Board that is comprised of at least two (2) Faculty/Staff members and one (1) student that were not original participants of the board or hearing. All members of the Appellate Board have been trained in the Conduct and Hearing Process and are actively involved in the hearing process as a Community Council Board Member, an Administrative Hearing Panel Member and/or Student Conduct Administrator.

The review of the petition for the appeals is limited to an analysis of the written appeal document, the written record of the incident in question, any other documentation that was present at the time of the hearing, and/or an interview with the original Student Conduct Administrator or the Advisor of the hearing board or panel.

If the petition for an appeal meets one or all of the appropriate criteria of an appeal, the petition for appeal will be accepted and the Appellate Board can take one of the following actions:

  1. If the appeal is based on the appropriateness of the sanction(s) issued and/or findings of the board, the Appellate Board will return the matter to the Community Council Board, the Administrative Hearing Panel or the Student Conduct Administrator who originally heard the case to allow reconsideration of the original determination and/or sanction(s). In these instances a complete review of the student(s) conduct history, including previous sanction(s), will take place.
  2. If the appeal is based on new information that was not available at the time of the hearing the Appellate Board will return the matter to the Community Council Board, the Administrative Hearing Panel or the Student Conduct Administrator that originally heard the case to allow for consideration of new information.
  3. If the appeal indicates procedural irregularity, the matter will be referred to a new Community Council Board, an Administrative Hearing Panel or a Student Conduct Administrator to allow for reconsideration of the original finding.

If the petition for an appeal meets one or all of the appropriate criteria of an appeal the student will receive written notification from the Advisor of the Board or the administrator that originally heard the case that the petition for an appeal was accepted and it will either be returned to the original Community Council Board, the Administrative Hearing Panel or the Student Conduct Administrator who heard the case or the petitioning student will have a new hearing with a new Board, Panel, or Administrator. The new hearing will be scheduled as soon as possible.

If the petition for an appeal does not meet one or all of the appropriate criteria of an appeal the petition for appeal will be denied. The Advisor of the Board or Panel or the Administrator that originally heard the case will be notified that the petition for an appeal has been denied. The Advisor of the Board or Panel or the Administrator that originally heard the case will write and inform the appellant (or student who appealed) of this decision and the original sanction remains in effect.

Any and all decisions resulting from this appeal process shall be final; no further institutional recourse is available.

Instructions for submitting a Petition for appeal:

  1. The appeal of a finding and/or sanction imposed by a Community Council Board, an Administrative Hearing Panel or a Student Conduct Administrator must be submitted in via electronic submission within five (5) business days of written delivery of the decision of the hearing body.

  2. If you wish to appeal a decision and/or a sanction, you may do so by e-mailing Maureen Connelly (mconnell@colby-sawyer.edu), the Administrative Assistant for the Office of Citizenship Education, informing her of your intentions to appeal. She will then e-mail you instructions on how to properly appeal (*this is not your appeal, this is only requesting instructions on how to properly appeal).

  3. Once you have received the instructions and you have reviewed the Appeal Process outlined in this document, your appeal must be submitted within five (5) business days of written delivery of the decision of the hearing body via e-mail to the appeals email address: studentconduct@colby-sawyer.edu where it will be forwarded and reviewed by an Appellate Board.

  4. Action on the appeal and notice of the action to the petitioner should normally occur within five (5) – ten (10) business days of the receipt of the petition of the appeal.

Burden of Proof

Formal rules of evidence do not apply; however, evidence must conform to basic standards of fairness. A respondent is presumed not responsible, and the complainant must present sufficient information to demonstrate a breach of the Code of Community Responsibility to a reasonable person – a preponderance of evidence standard, in other words the person deciding the case or, in the event of a hearing panel, a majority of the persons deciding the case must believe it is “more likely than not” that the student violated the Code.

Evidentiary Standards

The hearing body shall not consider written statements against a student unless the student has been advised of their content, the identity of those who made them, and has been given an opportunity to rebut unfavorable inferences which might be drawn from them. For Community Council or Administrative Hearing Panel, a simple majority is required for a valid finding and for sanctioning. Prior disciplinary activity may not be introduced as evidence with regard to the facts of a case, but may be used for considering an appropriate sanction once the facts have been determined.

Interim Restrictions

In certain circumstances, the Vice President for Student Development/Dean of Students, or his/her designee, may impose an interim restriction such as, but not limited to, an interim non-contact order, interim restrictions for clubs/organizations/ sponsored activities or events, or sporting teams, interim suspension or interim residence hall removal or relocation prior to a conduct hearing. Interim restrictions are effective immediately without prior notice. It is important to point out that interim restrictions are not formal student conduct sanctions. Interim restrictions may be in effect until a conduct hearing for the alleged policy violation occurs and a final outcome is rendered.

Notice (timing and specificity)

The respondent in a disciplinary proceeding shall receive written notice via college email, campus mail, or United States Postal Service of the following at least 48 hours before the time of the proceeding:

  1. a description of the behavior alleged to constitute a violation of the Code of Community Responsibility that is sufficiently specific to allow for the preparation of a response;
  2. the time and place of the alleged behavior;
  3. the name(s) of the person(s) reporting the alleged behavior;
  4. the time and place of the hearing; and
  5. referral to the conduct system process description.

Hearings shall not be convened to conflict with scheduled classes of a complainant or respondent. Hearings take priority over all other college activities. Failure to attend a scheduled hearing is not basis for appeal.

Parental Notification: Colby-Sawyer College reserves the right to contact parents when the incident involves:

  1. underage students who are involved in alcohol or drug violations;
  2. dependent students whose conduct may result in temporary or permanent removal from the residence halls or separation from the institution;
  3. legal proceedings separate from the college.

Police Notification

As per the Memorandum of Understanding between Colby-Sawyer College and the New London Police Department, there are times when the college must notify NLPD of alleged conduct violations. Please contact Campus Safety for more specific information.

Publicity

In accordance with Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act, commonly known as the Clery Act and Public Law 101-542, The Campus Security Act of 1990, as amended, Colby-Sawyer College reserves the right to publish, or otherwise communicate information about alleged violations of the Code of Community Responsibility, as well as alleged violations of public laws, including investigations in progress as specified by, but not limited to the provisions of the aforementioned law. All conduct system hearings are closed; however, conduct system activity may be made public so that students, faculty, and staff are aware of how the Code of Community Responsibility is being upheld. Victims of violent crimes will be notified of the outcome of their hearings.

Records

For all disciplinary proceedings, there shall be a record containing, in writing, a statement of facts and actions taken. In some cases, a recording of the hearing, excluding deliberations, may be made when a written summary is not feasible and kept until the appeal process is complete. Students may request a copy of their conduct records, but copying costs are the student's responsibility.

Generally, access to these records is limited to directly concerned persons and offices, however, disciplinary information may be sent to the student's faculty advisor, organization/activity advisor, coach, or parents (if the student's parents are financially responsible for the student's financial obligations to the college or if the student is under 21 years of age and the offense is a violation of alcohol and other drug laws) at the discretion of the vice president for student development and dean of students or his/her designee. Student disciplinary records shall not be released to parties outside the college unless there is written consent from the student, except as specified in Section 438 (b) of the 1975 Federal Provision Act, the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (see the “FERPA” section of the Code for information about accessing student conduct records). If required to release records in compliance with a judicial order or subpoena, the college will show due diligence in attempting to notify the student prior to complying as permitted by said order.

The Office of Citizenship Education retains disciplinary records in accordance with the following.

  1. Records of minor disciplinary action (e.g., warning letter, fines $50 and under) are kept on file until the student withdraws or graduates.
  2. Records of general disciplinary action (e.g., behavioral agreement, disciplinary probation, housing contract probation, and removal from housing) are kept on file for seven years.
  3. Records of major disciplinary action (i.e., suspension, dismissal) are maintained permanently in the Office of Citizenship Education and the Office of the Registrar.

To comply with the Campus Security Act, we must keep alcohol, drug, violence, and harassment, etc. records for seven years. Fire safety violations can be destroyed after the student leaves the institution.

Refund policy for disciplinary cases

No refunds for tuition, fees, or housing are given for disciplinary action that results in the loss of housing, suspension, or dismissal of a student.

Retaliation

Students are prohibited from retaliating against anyone who files a complaint, serves as a witness for or serves on a hearing panel.

Summons to appear/sanction compliance

Failure on the part of anyone associated with a case to cooperate with an investigation, or to be present in response to a timely hearing notice, or to comply with all or part of a sanction will result in disposition of the case, including sanctioning, and may also result in additional administrative sanctioning for failure to appear and/or to comply. Failure to appear or comply shall not constitute reasonable grounds for an appeal.

Withholding Grades

The college reserves the right to withhold grades, diplomas or transcripts until restitution or fines have been made.

Witnesses

Witnesses may be asked to testify to a dispute, or summoned by the hearing coordinator/advisor. The chair of an Administrative Hearing Panel, in consultation with the hearing coordinator/advisor, has the authority to determine the appropriateness and number of witnesses who may be called. Witnesses must submit their testimony 24 hours in advance of the hearing and be present at the hearing to answer any questions from the board. Witnesses summoned are required to appear, and refusal or failure to appear may result in being formally charged with “failure to comply” and could result in conduct system sanctioning. Witnesses who withhold information or intentionally mislead the board are subject to disciplinary action. As a student's character is not in question rather that student's behavior, so called character references are not necessary.