When the Office of Judicial Affairs becomes aware of a policy violation, the office will send a formal notification to the student. The notification will be in the form of a letter that is sent via email to the student's Eagle E-Mail, and the letter will contain information about the alleged incident and the alleged University charges. The student must respond to the notification letter within three business days from the day that it is emailed to the student. Students cannot use the claim that they didn't check their email, as an excuse for not contacting the Office of Judicial Affairs to schedule a time to meet.
Educational Conferences involve an alleged student meeting with a hearings officer to discuss a specific incident that occurred. The hearings officer will ask the alleged student questions related to the incident and will also present the evidence and information that the hearings officer was given in the initial complaint regarding the incident. The alleged student is given a fair and reasonable opportunity to answer, explain, and defend against the charges. After meeting with the alleged student, the hearings officer may choose to do one of the following: not pursue the alleged charges, resolve the case informally by issuing findings and sanctions for all alleged charges or referring the case for a formal resolution.
University Conduct Board hearings are the highest level of hearing possible at the University. A case may go to a University Conduct Board hearing for any of the following reasons:
- A student rejects the finding(s) that was issued from their educational conference
- A student accepts the finding(s) from their educational conference, but rejects the sanctions that were issued
- The case is of a higher level in nature, and must go to a University Conduct Board Hearing for adjudication.
A panel of faculty, staff and students serve on University Conduct Boards to review case information and issue findings and sanctions. All conduct boards, with the exception of conduct boards reviewing a case related to sexual misconduct, will have a board chair who is a faculty or staff member, along with three faculty/staff voting members and two student voting members. Conduct boards that are reviewing a case related to sexual misconduct will be composed of a board chair who is a faculty or staff member and three faculty/staff voting members.
The voting members of a conduct board are the individuals responsible for determining whether a student is responsible or not responsible for each alleged charge, and if a student is responsible for at least one alleged charge, what is the appropriate sanction. The board chair is responsible for facilitating the conduct board hearing.
University Conduct Board hearings are facilitated by the board chair, who is a faculty or staff member at the University. The hearing will start with the board chair introducing the board members as well as asking non-board members in the hearing room to introduce themselves. The chairperson will explain the procedures of the hearing and will then read the alleged charges. The chairperson will then ask the Coordinator of Judicial Affairs to present information about the alleged incident. This will involve the Coordinator reading the incident report and calling upon eye witnesses that were present for the alleged incident. The Coordinator may also call expert witnesses, if deemed necessary. Throughout the presentation of information by the Coordinator, the board members and the alleged student may ask questions.
Once the Coordinator has finished the presentation of information on behalf of the University, the board chair will ask the alleged student to present their information. At this point, the alleged student may make an opening statement to address the charges, and then may call upon eye witnesses and/or character witnesses to give testimony. The alleged student's presentation of information will conclude with any closing remarks that they choose to make. During the alleged student's presentation of information, the board members and the Coordinator of Judicial Affairs may ask questions.
The hearing will conclude with the board chair asking the alleged student to make remarks about their academic record and involvement on campus. The board chair will then explain the deliberation process that the board will use to determine whether or not the alleged student is responsible or not responsible for the charges, and when the alleged student can expect to be notified of the outcome. At this time, the Coordinator, the alleged student and any other non-board members will leave the hearing room, and the board members will enter deliberation. This concludes the conduct board hearing.
For an student to be found responsible for an alleged charge, the hearings officer in an educational conference or the members of a University Conduct Board must use a preponderance of the evidence presented. This means that the hearings officer or board members must be at least 51% sure that the alleged student violated policy based on the information that was presented. It can also be thought of as "was it more likely than not that a policy violation occurred". This is the same weight of evidence that is used in a civil (non-criminal) court.
The legal dictionary definition of "preponderance of evidence" from law.com is that "preponderance is based on the more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy, and not on the amount of evidence".
It is important to remember that hearings held through the Office of Judicial Affairs are not bound by formal rules of evidence; however, all evidence must be inherently reliable. Hearsay evidence shall not be used as the sole evidence to establish any fact necessary to establish a violation has occurred or not.
Additionally, a student's previous disciplinary record shall not be used to establish whether or not they have violated a university policy in a current case; however it may be used when determining disciplinary sanctions if the student is found responsible for an alleged charge. A student's failure to function as a student, irregular class attendance, failure to take tests or exams, or failure to complete assignments or requirements, may be considered in determining disciplinary sanctions.
It is important to remember that the burden of proof in all cases falls on the University.
After a student has a hearing, whether it is an educational conference or a University Conduct Board hearing, a decision letter will be emailed to the student's Eagle E-mail account. The decision letter will normally be emailed to the student within 7-10 business days after the hearing, but it may take up to 30 business days.
The decision letter will include information about whether the student was found responsible or not responsible for each alleged charge, and if there was a determination of responsibility for at least one charge, then the letter will include information about what the sanctions are for the violation. The letter will also include information about how the student can appeal the decision and/or sanctions.
A student may appeal any decision from an educational conference or University Conduct Board hearing. If a student wishes to appeal a decision, then they must submit an Appeal Form, which can be found at www.clarion.edu/judicial. Appeals of a hearing decision must be submitted within three (3) business days after the decision letter was emailed to the student. Students may not use the excuse of not checking their email to request extra time to submit an appeal.
Once an appeal is submitted, it will be reviewed by an appeals officer. The appeals officer will normally issue a decision on the appeal within 7-10 business days after the appeal was submitted, but does have up to 30 business days to review the appeal and make a decision. It is important to remember that all appeal decisions are final, and there is no opportunity for a second hearing.
In cases involving sexual misconduct, the reporting party and the responding party both have an opportunity to appeal the decision of the University Conduct Board.
All appeals that are submitted must be based on at least one of the following reasons:
- A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.);
- To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included;
- The sanctions imposed are substantially outside the parameters or guidelines set by the University for this type of offense or the cumulative conduct record of the responding student.
A student may waive their rights to a hearing by submitting a Hearing Waiver Form that is found online at www.clarion.edu/judicial. When a student waives their right to a hearing, the case will be reviewed using the evidence that is available.
University Conduct Board hearings may not be waived; however, an alleged student may not be compelled to speak at a hearing. A hearing will be held in the absence of a student choosing not to attend. This applies to both informal educational conferences and University Conduct Board hearings.
Students who fail to check Eagle E-Mail to find a notice of a hearing, or, who fail to contact the Office of Judicial and Mediation Services prior to missing a hearing will not be able to reschedule a hearing held in their absence. Hearings will be held in the absence of students who do not attend a hearing. It is the responsibility of students to request a hearing date/time be changed prior to the date/time of the hearing. Requests to change the date/time are not guaranteed as University Conduct Board hearings are based on academic schedules as well as the schedules of witnesses, victims/survivors, as well as the schedules of members of the board.
When a student is found responsible for a policy violation, they are issued a disciplinary sanction. Disciplinary sanctions can range from a disciplinary warning up through expulsion from the University, and these disciplinary sanctions can be issued along with educational sanctions. Some of the disciplinary sanctions that can be used are listed below, with details about each one. Information about additional disciplinary and educational sanctions can be found in the Student Code of Conduct and the Clarion University Community Standards, both of which, can be found at www.clarion.edu/judicial.
UNIVERSITY EXPULSION (DISMISSAL)
Permanent separation from the University. The student is banned from university property and the student's presence at any University-sponsored activity or event is prohibited. This action may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary. This sanction will be noted as a Conduct Expulsion on the student's official academic transcript.
Separation from the University for a specified minimum period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Eligibility may be contingent upon satisfaction of specific conditions noted at the time of suspension. The student is required to vacate campus within 24 hours of notification of the action, though this deadline may be extended upon application to, and at the discretion of, the Director of Judicial Affairs. During the suspension period, the student is banned from university property, functions, events and activities without prior written approval from the Director of Judicial Affairs. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary. This sanction will be noted as a Conduct Suspension on the student's official academic transcript.
The student is put on official notice that, should further violations of University policies occur during a specified probationary period, the student may face suspension or expulsion. Regular probationary meetings may also be imposed.
An official written notice that the student has violated University Policies and/or rules and that more severe conduct action will result should the student be involved in other violations while the student is enrolled at the University.
The diagram below provides an overview of the process that is used by the Office of Judicial Affairs from the time that a report of an alleged violation is received until the case is closed.
Clarion University of Pennsylvania recognizes that students, parents, guardians, and the university are in a partnership in which each has the responsibility to promote a healthy and productive educational experience.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)/Buckley Amendment it is permissible for Clarion University to notify the parent or guardian of dependent students when those students have been found responsible for alcohol and drug related offenses and the student is under 21.
If a student wishes for additional information about their student conduct record to be disclosed to a third party, the student must complete the Request for Release of Student Conduct Information form found at www.clarion.edu/judicial.
Disciplinary sanctions are implemented by emailing the student a letter explaining the decision. A letter may be defined as an official university e-mail. It is the responsibility of students to check their Clarion e-mail. It is not the fault of the university if a student fails to check their e-mail, has exceeded their mailbox capacity and did not receive student conduct e-mail, deleted e-mail without reading, or if the student viewed but did not fully read their official e-mail.
Appropriate university offices and personnel will be notified when necessary for sanction implementation. The president reserves the right to amend sanctions or grant appeals at any time for a violation of the student conduct policy.