Chatham University Honor Code and Policies
Honor is that principle by which we at Chatham form our code of living, working, and studying together. The standards of honor at Chatham require that all Chatham students residing on Chatham's campus act with intellectual independence, personal integrity, honesty in all relationships, and consideration for the rights and well-being of others. As citizens of the campus community focused on education, students must accept certain obligations that accrue by virtue of such citizenship. Individual rights are ensured to the degree that these rights require a respect for the rights of all within the community to the same extent. In accepting admission to Chatham University, undergraduate and graduate students automatically agree to be personally responsible in all matters pertaining to honor and pledge to abide by those rules, which are considered by the community, as part of its Honor Code. While the University articulates specific community standards, both academic and social, the Honor Code is maintained through the acceptance of personal responsibility by each community member in their on and off campus behavior. Upholding the tenets of the Honor Code is essential in promoting a safe and secure living and learning community for which students, faculty and staff share responsibility. The Chatham University Honor Code is reviewed every four academic years with student input.
The Honor Pledge
During Orientation, each new member of the Chatham student community will be required to sign the Honor Pledge. The pledge states: "Realizing the trust placed in me, I affirm my faith in the individual and in personal integrity and I assume the responsibility of maintaining the tenets of the Honor Code in all attendant matters." A copy of the pledge will be provided to each student.
Zero Tolerance for Violence
Chatham University supports all efforts to prevent violence on campus. Any violation of another person's rights, including but not limited to physical or verbal threats, mental abuse, intentional libel, slander, physical harm or the harassment of another person will result in the campus taking the necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and wellbeing of the campus community.
Further, any action that is harmful to oneself including significant/severe self-injurious behavior, suicide attempts and/or threats will result in the immediate removal of the student from the college setting and potential expulsion. Mental health conditions, the influence of drugs or the use of alcohol will not diminish or excuse a violation of the student code of conduct.
Presidential Interim Suspension
When the actions of a student threaten the order of the University, the president reserves the right to impose an interim suspension of the student, pursuant to the Chatham University Code of Conduct, pending a prompt hearing by the Student Conduct Board, criminal proceedings or medical evaluation.
The president also reserves the right to determine whether the student may or may not remain on campus property pending the completion of the hearing process. The interim suspension shall become immediately effective without prior notice whenever the continued presence of the student at the University poses a substantial and immediate threat to her/himself or to others or to the stability and continuance of normal University functions.
- The vice president for student affairs/dean of students initiates a presidential interim suspension by providing the president with information of: a) the events causing the threat to exist; b) the name of the student and actions allegedly violating the college code of conduct; and c) a statement of the colleges' code of conduct allegedly violated by the student.
- The vice president for student affairs /dean of students will immediately notify the student of the presidential interim suspension. The student conduct board advisor and president of the Student Conduct Board will subsequently notify the student of the need to schedule a preliminary conference and the regular student conduct process will proceed while the student is on interim suspension.
- The student has the right to appeal a Presidential Interim Suspension in accordance with the Chatham University Code of Conduct Appeals process.
Any students with an active conduct file through the Student Conduct Board is not in "good conduct standing." Students who have been charged with Honor Code violations and who have participated in a Conduct Board Hearing, and satisfactorily completed assigned sanctions will be in good conduct standing.
Students going through the Conduct Board process and in process of completing sanctions are not in good conduct standing. Students not in good conduct standing may be prohibited from participating in normal campus processes, such as future course registration, future housing selection, and applying for or running for a campus leadership position. Students who fail to meet with the Student Conduct Board after charges have been filed against her/him or who fail to complete sanctions by the designated deadline will have an indefinite conduct hold placed against their student account by the Office of Student Affairs. Such students will not be able to resume normal University processes until they complete their conduct process.
Chatham University Community Standards
In a community such as Chatham University it is important to have standards, which all members of the community are responsible for upholding. The Honor Code guides students' academic and social conduct on campus. Any action that violates the academic, social or residential standards shall be considered a violation of the Honor Code and shall be grounds for an inquiry and appropriate follow up. Students are expected to conduct themselves as responsible members of the University community by adhering to the academic, social, and residential standards in accordance with the Honor Code at Chatham University. A student or student organization found to have violated any of the following types of offenses will be subject to the full range of sanctions possible through University officials and the Student Conduct Board. Being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol does not diminish or excuse a violation of the Honor Code. In its entirety, all campus publications outlining rules and regulations are part of the Honor Code. The following actions shall be considered in violation of the Honor Code.
Academic Integrity Procedure
Violations of academic integrity may be categorized as minor or major offenses. Violations are considered to be major or minor based on several criteria including: the nature and importance of the work; the academic experience of the student; the extent of malicious intent and the degree of premeditation; and whether the violation is a first-time or repeat offense. The resolution of all major and repeat minor offenses will be resolved through the formation of the Academic Integrity Council and the procedures described below.
Minor offenses include improper citation without dishonest intent; plagiarism (submitting another’s work or ideas as one’s own) on a minor assignment or a very limited portion of a major assignment; citing a source that does not exist or that one hasn’t read on a minor assignment; submitting identical work to two classes without permission; collaborating with others to complete a project without permission; and unpremeditated cheating on a quiz or minor examination.
Major offenses include a second minor offense; substantial plagiarism on a major assignment, signing your name to a paper that is not your own; failure to receive IRB approval before starting research; making up or falsifying evidence, data, or other source materials for a major assignment, including falsification by selectively omitting or altering data that do not support one’s claims or conclusions; cheating during exams; intentionally destroying or obstructing another student’s work; copying or collaborating on a major exam; and any violation involving potentially criminal activity.
Three undergraduate and three graduate faculty members will be appointed by the Office of Academic Affairs to serve on the Academic Integrity Council. Student members will be nominated by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students and will be selected by the faculty serving on the committee. A maximum of 6 students, 3 undergraduate and 3 graduate, can be selected.
The judicial process will involve the formation of a subcommittee of the Academic Integrity Council, consisting of two faculty members and two students chosen by the appropriate academic dean’s office, and a representative from the dean’s office. Faculty and students chosen to serve on any given academic integrity case may not be members of the department in which the alleged infraction occurred. Undergraduate faculty and students will sit on the Council in cases dealing with undergraduate students. Graduate faculty and students will sit on the Council in cases dealing with graduate students.
When an alleged violation of the Academic Integrity Policy has been identified, all faculty must implement the following procedure:
- If the violation is classified as minor, the faculty, department chair/program director, and student may work together to achieve resolution. Resolution can be reached if the student accepts responsibility for the incident or the faculty member is convinced that a violation has not occurred. If it is determined that a violation has occurred and the student accepts responsibility for the incident, the faculty member and chair/program director will recommend appropriate course-based sanctions in writing to the appropriate academic dean.
- After receiving a copy of the incident report and the recommended course-based sanctions, the dean will determine if it is the student’s first offense. If it is the first offense, the dean will confirm the sanctions and inform the faculty member, department chair/program director, and student of the outcome in writing within ten (10) business days of receiving the report. A copy of the incident will be maintained in the student’s file. Appropriate sanctions for a minor offense include requiring the student to resubmit the assignment or take a new exam; failing the student on the assignment or exam; lowering the student’s grade in the course; failing the student for the course; requiring the student to participate in a noncredit workshop or seminar on ethics or academic integrity; or an assigned paper or research project related to ethics or academic integrity.
- If the offense is not the student’s first offense, an informal resolution is not reached, or the student or faculty member requests a judicial hearing, the dean’s representative will convene a meeting of the Academic Integrity Council subcommittee to review the case within 10 (ten) business days of receiving the faculty members report.
- If the violation is classified as major, the faculty member will file a report, including recommended course-based sanctions, with the appropriate academic dean’s office within 5 (five) business days of becoming aware of the violation. The dean’s representative will convene a meeting with the Academic Integrity Council to review the case within 10 (ten) business days of receiving the faculty members report.
- It is the responsibility of the both the student and the faculty member to present his or her case before the Council. Faculty members may ask the dean’s office to appoint a representative to present the case on their behalf. Both parties will have an opportunity to make a statement to the Academic Integrity Council, ask relevant witnesses to be available for questioning, and answer questions of the members of the Academic Integrity Council. All evidence must be presented and all witnesses must be present at the hearing. If one or more of the relevant parties or witnesses are unable to attend at the scheduled time, they must inform the dean’s representative five (5) days prior to the scheduled hearing. The dean’s representative will then work to reschedule the hearing within the next ten (10) days. Attorneys and other associates of the student or of the university are not permitted to participate in this hearing.
- After hearing the case, the Academic Integrity Council will recommend sanctions in writing to the appropriate academic dean. Appropriate sanctions for a major offense or two minor offenses include requiring the student to participate in a noncredit workshop or seminar on ethics or academic integrity; disciplinary probation; removal of graduate fellowship or assistantship support; suspension for one or more semesters; or expulsion from the University in addition to any course-based sanctions recommended by the faculty member. The dean will confirm the applicability of such sanctions and may reject any finding adverse to the student but may not make new findings adverse to the student or increase the severity of the sanction. Prior violations or informal resolutions of violations may be considered only in recommending sanctions, not in determining guilt or innocence. The dean will relay the decision in writing to the student and faculty member within five (5) business days of receiving the Council’s recommendation.
- The student has the right to file an appeal with the Vice President for Academic Affairs within three (3) business days of receiving the dean’s decision. The appeal must identify the issues or findings the student is challenging as well as documentation supporting their position. The VPAA’s decision will be final.
A student who chooses to withdraw from the University rather than participate in the judicial process will be classified as having been withdrawn for academic integrity reasons. A student who withdraws under these circumstances is not permitted to reenroll or participate in any class or program until the pending matter is resolved. A student cannot avoid consequences for violating the University’s Academic Integrity Policy by withdrawing from the course in which the violation occurred.
The first academic dishonesty form will be maintained in the student’s file by the appropriate academic dean’s office and destroyed upon graduation or separation from the University if no further incidents of academic dishonesty occur. If the student has committed two or more offenses, the academic dishonesty forms and their disposition become part of the student’s permanent academic record. A copy of all incident reports will also be sent to the Dean of Students.
Sanctions/Penalties for Cheating/Plagiarism
Faculty members may decide on the penalty for the first incident of academic dishonesty. Penalties should reflect the severity of the offense. Typical penalties include:
1. requiring the student to resubmit the assignment or take a new examination
2. failing the student on the assignment or examination
3. lowering the student's grade in the course
4. failing the student for the course
5. requiring the student to participate in a noncredit workshop or seminar on ethics or academic integrity
6. requiring the student to complete an assigned paper or research project related to ethics or academic integrity
Regardless of the penalty decided upon, the faculty member must report the incident to the Office of Student Affairs by filing an Academic Dishonesty Form (available on the Chatham University intranet).
For a second or subsequent incident, the student must also go before the Student Conduct Board which will determine the appropriate course of action over and above the course-specific actions decided on by the course instructor. In addition to the above penalties, sanctions may include academic probation, suspension or expulsion from the University.
The student may appeal the above decisions in writing to the Office of Academic Affairs within seven working days.
If the student has admitted to or been found responsible for academic dishonesty, the vice president for student affairs / dean of students will maintain the first Academic Dishonesty Form in the student's file. If no further incidents of academic dishonesty occur, the record will be destroyed upon graduation or separation from the University. If the student has committed two or more offenses, the Academic Dishonesty Forms and their disposition become part of the student's permanent University record.
Responsibilities of the Faculty
At the beginning of each course and in writing on the course syllabus, faculty should explain plagiarism and cheating and the penalties for such behavior. They should refer students to the Student Handbook for a more detailed outline of policies and procedures.
Responsibilities of Students
Students are responsible for knowing the policies regarding academic dishonesty and the penalties for such behavior. Failure of an individual faculty member to remind students of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism does not relieve the student of this responsibility. As required by the Honor Code, students should inform the faculty members of incidents of academic dishonesty taking place in their courses. If a student reports an honor code violation to a staff member, the staff member should direct the student to report the incident to the appropriate faculty.
Social Community Standards
- Dishonesty directed toward a University official. This includes but is limited to lying, cheating, or providing false information.
- Forgery, theft, misuse, or alteration or duplication without University permission, of any University property. This includes, but is not limited to documents, records, computer software, keys, or the students' illegal use of copyrighted materials over the internet, in which case additional legal action may be taken against a student by the Recording Industry Association of America or the Motion Picture Association of America. The University will not shield students from such action and will comply with proper subpoenas.
- Unauthorized entry into University facilities or use of University facilities/equipment without proper authorization. This includes entry into faculty or staff offices and other students' residences.
- Disruption or obstruction of the use of University facilities. This includes classrooms, offices and meeting areas or any intentional act to impair or prevent accomplishment of the mission, process, or function of the University.
- Mental or bodily harm to others. Violation of another person's rights including but not limited to the following:
- intentionally inflicting mental or bodily harm upon any person;
- attempting to inflict mental of bodily harm upon another person;
- taking any reckless, but not accidental, action from which mental or bodily harm could result to another person;
- causing a person to believe that the offender may cause mental or bodily harm;
- sexual misconduct, including but not limited to sexual assault;
- any act which demeans, degrades, disgraces any person;
- coercing another to engage in an act of membership in a student organization that causes or creates a risk of mental or bodily harm to any person (e.g. hazing).
This includes violations that occur via the internet, such as through instant messenger, on websites, via e-mail, or through online communities.
- Mental or bodily harm to self. This includes behavior that is harmful to oneself including danger of suicide, self-mutilation, intentionally inflicting mental or bodily harm on one's self, taking reckless, but not accidental, action from which mental or bodily harm could result to oneself (e.g., abuse of alcohol or other drugs) or behavior that suggests a disorder, such as an eating disorder, which is likely to deteriorate to the point of permanent disability, disfigurement, impairment, or dysfunction without assessment and treatment. When standard assessment is impossible because of the student's resistance, conduct review may proceed.
- Discrimination. Civilly, criminally, or administratively prohibited unequal treatment of a person on the basis of race, age, gender, creed, religion, national origin, ability, veteran status, or sexual orientation.
- The unauthorized use, or the abuse, destruction, or theft of property of the University or of any of its members. This includes property of external vendors, guests or neighbors of the University; or the "borrowing" of common property for personal use. This includes unauthorized use of the University computer server and University e-mail addresses when used in a manner that violates the Chatham University Honor Code. (See the "Computing Ethics Statement.").
- Civil disturbance. This includes conduct which involves disturbing the peace in conjunction with a civil disturbance in a lewd, indecent or disorderly manner on University property or at University sponsored or supervised activity.
- Creation of a fire, safety, or health hazard. This includes intentionally initiating or causing to be initiated any false report or warning of a fire or other emergency.
- Ejection of any objects from windows, roofs, or balconies of University buildings. This includes being present on the roofs of any University building.
- Embezzlement or procurement of any money, goods or services under false pretense.
- Duplicating or tampering with computer access codes, or other such devices without proper authorization.
- Unauthorized use of office long-distance phone lines, the computer system and/or computer access code.
- Failure to comply with the written and verbal directions of University officials. This includes directions of staff, faculty, public safety officers, and other law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties. This includes, but is not limited to, the failure to identify oneself to any such persons when requested to do so and repeat traffic violations. This also includes staff at studying abroad programs for which the student receives academic credit.
- Failure to comply with University regulations and/or local, commonwealth, and/or federal laws.
- Failure to comply with alcohol statutes.
- Failure to comply with drug statutes.
- Public arrest by a police department on or off campus.
- Possession of a device (drug paraphernalia) that has been used to ingest an illegal drug or narcotic.
- Possession of a weapon on campus, whether lawful or not.
- Misrepresenting oneself as a Chatham University affiliate at an on or off campus event to falsely solicit services. This includes but is not limited to obtaining funds for a service project or a student organization fundraiser and using the funds for personal use.
- Aiding and Abetting. Helping, procuring, or encouraging another person to engage in a violation of any offense.
- Abuse of the Student Conduct System, which includes:
- Failure to respond to a summons of the Student Conduct Board or an appropriate University official.
- Attempts to discourage an individual's participation in, or use of, the Student Conduct System by means of intimidation, coercion, or influence.
- Attempts to influence the impartiality of any person involved in a student conduct review of a matter prior to such student conduct review.
- Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before the Student Conduct Board or to any University official.
- Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of student conduct proceedings.
- Institution of student conduct proceeding knowingly without adequate cause.
- Violation of disciplinary probation resulting in the violation of the Honor Code while on disciplinary probation or the violation of the terms of one's probation.
- Failure to comply with the directives of the Student Conduct Board including failure to complete assigned sanctions.
The purpose of listing and publishing disciplinary regulations is to give students general notice of prohibited behavior. However this is not meant to be an inclusive list of Honor Code violations as it is a violation to fail to comply with any University regulation.
- The term "University" means Chatham University.
- The term "student" includes all persons taking courses at the University, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate or continuing studies and studying on-campus or off-campus through abroad programs. Persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the University are considered "students." Any persons not enrolled at Chatham University but residing in Chatham's residences are also considered "students" and must abide by the honor code.
- The term "University Official" includes any person employed by the University, performing assigned administrative or professional duties.
- The term "member of the University community" includes any person who is a Chatham student, or residing on campus, faculty member, University official or any other person employed by the University. The vice president for student affairs / dean of students shall determine a person's status in a particular situation.
- The term "Student Conduct Board" refers to the student conduct body responsible for overseeing and monitoring all student conduct proceedings within its jurisdiction. The Student Conduct Board shall conduct hearings, make findings of facts, recommend educational sanctions where appropriate, and provide process that protects the rights of all members of the University community. In addition to monitoring the student conduct proceedings within its jurisdiction, the Student Conduct Board is the body responsible for overseeing campus elections.
- The term "University premises" includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the University.
- The term "student organization" means any number of persons who have complied with the formal requirements of the University to become a recognized student organization.
- The terms "policy," "rules," and "regulations" refers to community standards defined within any current University publication and are synonymous.
- The term "preponderance of evidence" refers to evidence which is (even minimally) of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it. This is the standard by which a respondent must prove his/her position in relation of charges filed against him/her.
Authority for Student Discipline
The vice president for student affairs/dean of students is responsible for the overall coordination of the Student Conduct System on behalf of the University. The vice president authorizes the director of residence life or a graduate residence director working closely with and under the supervision of the director of residence life as the Student Conduct Board Advisor and directly manage the student conduct system. In this role the duties of the student conduct board advisor include:
- Oversight of the elected Student Conduct Board president and the annual establishment of the Student Conduct Board whether through election or by appointment of members. All previous members will hold over until new members are elected or appointed.
- Educating and advising members of the University community of the University's rules, regulations, and procedures including the policies and procedures which govern the University.
- Providing advice and assistance to the Student Conduct Board and other appropriate University officials regarding student conduct matters.
Students are asked to assume positions of significant responsibility in the Student Conduct System in order that they might contribute their skills and insights to the resolution of conduct cases. The hearing process outlined below requires significant student involvement in the form of class representatives, commuter and resident student representatives, Gateway student representatives, graduate student representatives, secretary/treasurer of the Student Conduct Board, and president of the Student Conduct Board. While most of these positions are filled during the campus-wide elections process in the spring semester, others are appointed by the appropriate student organization group.
Adjudicating Alleged Violations of the Honor Code
The University reserves the right to take necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the campus community. Such action may include pursuing disciplinary action for any violation of commonwealth or federal law - on or off campus - that affects the University's educational interests.
- Case Referrals:
- Any person may refer a student or a student group or organization suspected of violating the Honor Code to the student conduct board advisor by completing an Incident Report Form, a Conduct Complaint Form, or an Academic Dishonesty Form. In some cases, immediate conduct action will not commence against the accused if investigation into the charges are not found to be valid. In these cases, a copy of the referral will be kept on file.
- Those referring cases are normally expected to serve as the complainant, and to present relevant information in student conduct hearings or conferences. The complainant may request the assistance of an advocate/advisor as outlined in the hearing procedures.
- If the person making the complaint is not a member of the University community, an appropriate member of the University community will serve as the complainant.
- Student Conduct Conference and Hearing Board Referrals:
- The student conduct board advisor will refer valid complaints to the president of the Student Conduct Board for action.
- The president of the Student Conduct Board will notify the charged students of the alleged policy violation in writing and she will organize an initial student conduct conference with charged student and the student conduct board advisor (if scheduling permits). Students charged with the same policy violation as a result of the same incident will be invited to attend the same initial conference if they prefer.
- Electronic and campus mail are means through which the Student Conduct Board will communicate with students involved in the conduct process. Students are responsible for reading e-mails from the Conduct Board and receiving mail from the US post office in a timely manner. Students who ignore such correspondence will be placed on Conduct Hold.
- Students charged with a policy violation who are not registered for classes at the time the conduct complaint is filed will be given two options for resolution:
- Proceed with the conduct board process although the student is not currently registered for classes.
- Elect to postpone conduct board proceedings until they return to the University as a registered student, in which case their case files will be remain open and the registrar's office will be notified of a disciplinary hold on their University record.
- At the initial meeting, the respondent will be informed of the alleged charges against him/her, informed in detail about the student conduct process, and schedule a date/ time for a Student Conduct Board hearing. Students may elect to have their case resolved through a student conduct conference in their absence. Such an election must be in writing (electronic mail will constitute a written notice), affirming that the student is aware that she/he is waiving their opportunity for a Student Conduct Board hearing and that the full range of sanctions may be imposed, including suspension or expulsion from the University. If more than one student is involved, the student conduct board advisor will determine whether that matter will be resolved by conference after considering all involved students' input. Students charged with the same policy violation as a result of the same incident and without prior violations can elect to have a joint Conduct Board Hearing.
- The purpose of campus student conduct proceedings is to provide a fair evaluation of an accused student's (respondent's) responsibility for violating the Honor Code. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applied, nor shall deviations from prescribed procedures necessarily invalidate a decision, unless, in the judgment of the vice president for student affairs, significant prejudice to a student respondent or the University may result.
- All previous offenses for which a student has been found "responsible" before the Student Conduct Board during their time at the University will be taken into consideration. Previous charges for which a student has been found "not responsible" will not be taken into consideration.
- Pending Criminal Charges:
Students may be accountable to both civil authorities and the University for acts that constitute violations of law as well as the Honor Code. Disciplinary action at the University will normally proceed during the pendency of criminal proceedings, and will not be subject to challenge on the ground that criminal charges involving the same incident are pending, have been dismissed, or have been reduced.
On campus hearings are separate processes from off-campus criminal proceedings. Information about cases heard through the Student Conduct Board will only be shared via a court subpoena, in which case University legal counsel will be sought.
- Case Referrals:
Student Conduct Conferences
The following procedural guidelines shall apply to student conduct conferences.
- Written notice to the student of the alleged violation will occur within five working days of the first written report of the incident to the Conduct Board Advisor. Electronic mail shall constitute written notice.
- The respondent student will schedule an appointment as instructed by the deadline stated in the written notice. Failure to schedule an appointment as instructed may result in a resolution by the president of the Student Conduct Board and student conduct board advisor without the input of the respondent.
- The responding student will be given reasonable access to the case file during and after the initial meeting. The case file consists of materials which are "educational records" as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and do not include University staff members or complainants personal notes.
- The respondent will have an opportunity to respond to the information and to plead "not responsible" or "responsible" to the charges. A Student Conduct Board hearing will then be set up, at which time the respondent will have an opportunity to make a statement to the Student Conduct Board, ask relevant witnesses to be available for questioning, and answer questions of the members of the Student Conduct Board. When students plead "responsible" the hearing will be held to determine appropriate sanctions. When students plead "not responsible" the hearing will be held to determine responsibility and sanctions, if any.
- At the student conduct hearing, the responding student may be accompanied by an advisor or advocate who may be a University faculty or staff member, a student, or personal acquaintance. Legal counsel will not be permitted. The role of an advisor is limited to 1) providing confidential advice, 2) providing emotional support, 3) suggesting in writing or quietly to the respondent possible questions or statements.
- After all the information is obtained, the Student Conduct Board will deliberate and determine by majority vote if the respondent is "not responsible" or "responsible" for the charges. Members of the Conduct Board will make their decision based upon the preponderance of evidence they receive; that is, board members will decide if it's more likely than not that the Honor Code has been violated by the responding student. If found responsible, the Student Conduct Board will assign an appropriate sanction. The respondent will be verbally informed of the Student Conduct Board's decision and sanctions, if any, at the end of the hearing and will receive a written notice within 5 working days of the hearing date. Under extenuating conditions, the Student Conduct Board can elect to continue a hearing at a later date or postpone a final decision until more information can be obtained or due to time restrictions. In these circumstances, a new date will be set for completing the hearing.
- Appeals of student conduct conference outcomes and sanctions must be made in writing by the student within one week of the receipt of the written notice of the board's decision. Written appeals should be addressed to the vice president of student affairs for social community standard matters and the vice president for academic affairs for academic integrity matters of the honor code and a copy be sent to the president of the Conduct Board.
Student Conduct Review Appeals Committee
- The committee shall be the appellate body for student conduct conference cases. Upon receipt of a written appeal by a student the committee will:
- convene within 10 working days to consider the appeal
- review the case file and the written appeal by the student
- determine whether to uphold the decision, alter the decision, or overturn the decision
- The Student Conduct Review Appeals Committee will consist of the appropriate University vice president, a faculty member, and a CSG executive officer. Members of the Conduct Board do not participate in the appeals process. The committee may request all individuals involved in the original case including the respondent, the complainant or relevant witnesses to appear for questioning. Cases involving academic integrity will also include the vice president for academic affairs.
Student Conduct Board
The Student Conduct Board is the student conduct body responsible for overseeing and reviewing all cases involving alleged academic and social community standards violations of the Honor Code. Repeat or very serious first-time residential violations will also be referred to the Student Conduct Board by the responding residence life staff.
Student Conduct Board Composition
The Student Conduct Board will consist of the representatives listed below. The student conduct board advisor may suspend members of the Student Conduct Board who are charged with a violation of the Honor Code or with a criminal offense from their positions during the pending of the charges against them. Members found responsible of any such violation or offense may be disqualified from any further participation in the Student Conduct Board.
- The student elected president shall preside over all hearings and shall:
- review all student conduct complaints received by the Student Conduct Board through the Advisor
- notify the respondent student in writing of the charges brought against them
- conduct an initial meeting with the respondent at least one week prior to the hearing to review the process
- organize and convene hearings when the Secretary/Treasurer is unable to do so
- moderate Student Conduct Board hearings according to the outlined procedures.
- maintain records of all meetings and hearings
- notify the respondent of the outcome of the hearing including recommended sanctions
- provide the student conduct board advisor the written and recorded outcomes of all Student Conduct Board cases
- serve on the Student Conduct Review Appeals Committee as outlined above
- coordinate fall and spring student elections in cooperation with the Secretary/Treasurer. If either is running for a campus position, the student conduct board advisor will coordinate the election in their absence.
- The student elected secretary/treasurer shall provide administrative support to the president and shall:
- preside over hearings or meetings in the absence of the president
- manage the budget of the Student Conduct Board
- organize and convene members of the Conduct Board for Conduct Hearings
- ensure that all hearings are tape recorded, that tapes are locked in a secure location, and prepare hearing transcripts as is needed.
- file hearing documentation
- serve on the Student Conduct Review Appeals Committee as outlined above
- coordinate fall and spring student elections in cooperation with the president. If either is running for a campus position, the student conduct board advisor will coordinate the election in their absence.
- Two elected class representatives from each class, one commuting student elected by the Commuter Student Association, one Gateway student elected by the Gateway Student Association and one graduate student representative elected by the Graduate Student Council.
- Three faculty appointed representatives.
- The student conduct board advisor will serve as advisor to the Student Conduct Board and as such is not a voting member but may participate in Board discussions and deliberations.
- The student elected president shall preside over all hearings and shall:
The following procedural guidelines shall be applicable in hearings conducted by the Student conduct Board.
- The president of the Student Conduct Board shall moderate and preside over all hearings and may participate in Board deliberations and discussions but shall not vote. In the absence of the president, the secretary/treasurer shall serve in this role.
- Written notice to the student of the alleged violation will occur within five working days of the written receipt of report of the incident. Electronic mail shall constitute written notice.
- The respondent student will schedule an appointment as instructed in the written notice within three days of receipt of the notice. Failure to schedule an appointment as instructed constitutes a violation of the Honor Code and may result in additional charges.
- The president of the Student Conduct Board shall conduct an initial meeting with the respondent student(s). Charges and hearing procedures will be reviewed at this meeting and a hearing date will be set, no sooner than 7 days after the initial meeting. The respondent student shall be accorded reasonable access to the case file at the time of the initial meeting. Respondents will also be given an opportunity at this meeting to review the list of Student Conduct Board members and to state any concerns with potential bias. This meeting will be documented and may also be attended by Secretary/Treasurer and the student conduct board advisor.
- At least five voting members of the Student Conduct Board as well as the student conduct board advisor must be present to hear a case, with at least three of the five being students and at least one of the five being a faculty member.
- The complainant and respondent involved in a case may opt to have an advisor or advocate present throughout the Student Conduct Board hearing. Hearings do not require the presence of advisors and the un-availability of an advisor is not reason for the delay of a hearing. Detailed information about the role of an advisor is provided in the "Advisor/Advocate" section below.
- The respondent student will be afforded the opportunity to present relevant witnesses at the hearing. The respondent will be responsible for securing factual or character witnesses and the Student Conduct Board will determine witness relevance at the time of the hearing. The respondent will be afforded an opportunity to explain the relevance of individual witnesses. The Student Conduct Board is not required to hear testimony of witnesses that they have determined to be irrelevant or redundant.
- The Student Conduct Board president may also request the participation of students, faculty or staff as witnesses. Chatham community members are expected to comply with the request of the Student Conduct Board president to participate unless doing so would result in significant and unavoidable personal hardship or substantial interference with normal University activities, as determined by the vice president for student affairs/dean of students. In cases of witnesses being called in by the president, the respondent student may be asked to leave the room during the witness testimony if the respondent acts in an uncivil manner toward the witness, or if previous acts of hostility between the respondent and witness have taken place that may impact the witnesses' testimony if she were in they were in the same room. If the respondent is allowed to remain in the room during witness testimony, she may not question the witness, unless agreed upon prior to the hearing by the board president, in which case the respondent must provide the board president with a list of his/her questions for the board witness prior to the hearing. The questions need to be approved by the board advisor before being allowed.
- Witnesses shall be asked to affirm that their testimony is truthful, and may be subject to charges of violating the Honor Code by intentionally providing false information to a Student Conduct Board or University official.
- Prospective witnesses will typically not be present during the hearing and will only be invited in to the hearing upon the request of the Student Conduct Board and for the duration of their testimony.
- Formal rules of evidence, such as might apply in a civil or criminal court, shall not be applicable in these proceedings. The Student Conduct Board will determine the appropriateness or relevance of information presented.
- Respondent students who fail to appear after proper notice will be deemed to have pled "not responsible" to the charges pending against them. The Student Conduct Board may conduct a hearing in their absence as deemed appropriate.
- Hearings will be closed to the public except for the immediate members of the respondent student's family. Family members may attend the hearing as silent observers and may be permitted by the board to testify as witnesses if deemed relevant. The student conduct board advisor must be notified at least three working days prior to the hearing date if any family members plan to attend so that appropriate seating can be arranged. Family members will not be seated at the hearing table during the hearing but will be in the room.
- The Student Conduct Board president shall exercise control over the proceedings to avoid needless delay and to achieve orderly completion of the hearing. The Student Conduct Board president may exclude any person, including the respondent student, who disrupts a hearing, from the hearing.
- Hearings will generally follow a standard transcript and shall be tape recorded for the official record. Tape recordings or transcripts of the hearings are the property of the University and may only be used to aid the appropriate decision maker or decision making body in the event of appeal.
- The charges against the respondent must be established by a preponderance of evidence.
- Board deliberations and discussions of sanctions shall not be recorded or transcribed although a written record of the outcome of these discussions will be maintained.
- Prior violations will not be shared with the board members subsequent to a finding of "not responsible". Exceptions to this guideline will be made at the discretion of the student conduct board advisor. Examples of situations where prior violations may be relevant during the hearing include repeat academic integrity charges or cases involving patterns or alleged patterns of behavior.
- Prior violations may be shared with the board members subsequent to a finding of "responsible." As such, prior violations may be considered by the Board in assigning appropriate sanctions.
Complainants and respondents may be assisted by an advisor or advocate who may be a Chatham faculty or staff member or student or a member of the respondent's immediate family. Legal counsel will not be permitted for either the complainant or respondent. Each student may bring one person to the hearing to act as his or her advisor. The role of an advisor will be limited to:
- Providing confidential advice to the student
- Providing emotional support to the student
- Suggesting in writing or quietly, as not to disturb the hearing process, to the student possible questions or statements
The advisor will not be permitted to testify or speak on behalf of the student. Even if accompanied by an advisor, the respondent must respond to inquiries from the Student Conduct Board and Student Conduct Board president. In consideration of the limited role of the advisor and of the compelling interest of the University to handle student conduct cases expeditiously, the work of the Student Conduct Board will not - in general - be delayed due to the unavailability of an advisor.
The confidentiality expectations of Student Conduct Board hearings are of the highest degree. All participants are expected to maintain the confidentiality of the hearing proceedings and the students involved. Students who fail to uphold the confidentiality expectations may be charged with a violation of the Honor Code. Student Conduct Board members pledge in writing to uphold the stringent standards of confidentiality and will be excused from their responsibility as board members by the student conduct board advisor as well as face student conduct charges if found in violation of these expectations.
Waiver of Confidentiality
Membership on the executive board of the Chatham Student Government and participation in intercollegiate athletics are privileges. CSG executive board members and student athletes who engage in conduct that violates Chatham University policies or NCAA rules (if applicable) respectively may be suspended from their campus leadership positions and athletics participation. In order for the athletics department to investigate possible violations of the spirit or letter of NCAA rules and principles, student-athletes are required to waive their right to confidentiality before the Chatham University Conduct Board as a condition of participation. CSG Executive Board members are also asked to waive their rights as students in the highest leadership positions on campus. These waivers are limited in scope to any minor or major offenses of the Chatham University Community Standards and will be signed by student athletes prior to their participation in athletics and CSG executive board members prior to the start of their first semester in office.
Student Conduct Board Hearing Format
At the time, date, and location scheduled, the Student Conduct Board president in accordance with procedural fairness shall moderate the hearing. Each hearing follows a prescribed transcript and shall include:
- Introduction of all parties
- Review of confidentiality expectations
- Review of the charges
- Brief opening statement by the complainant (if applicable)
- Questions by the Board and respondent
- Brief opening statement by the respondent
- Questions by the Board and complainant
- Presentation of witnesses and/or information to the Board (if applicable)
- Questioning of witnesses by the Board, complainant, and respondent
- Closing statement by the complainant including recommendations for action (if applicable)
- Closing statement by the respondent including recommendations for action
- Private deliberation of the Student Conduct Board (not tape recorded)
- Review of the findings of "responsible" or "not responsible"
- Sharing of prior violations if the student is found responsible and priors exist
- Private deliberation, if necessary, to determine appropriate sanctions.
- Review of the Conduct Board findings and sanctions if applicable.
Communicating Student Conduct Board Outcomes
The written findings of the Student Conduct Board and recommended sanction(s), if any, will be documented in a formal letter from the president of Student Conduct Board to the respondent within 5 working days of the hearing. Records of the outcomes of hearings will be maintained in accordance with the guidelines printed in the "Files and Records" section.
Appealing a Student Conduct Board Decision
A decision reached or a sanction imposed by the Student Conduct Board may be appealed by the accused student(s) to the vice president for student affairs for non-academic matters and the vice president for academic affairs for academic matters. Such appeals shall be in writing and must be filed within seven days of written notification of the Student Conduct Board decision. A student shall have the right to appeal to the appropriate vice president of the University if she/he believes:
- Procedures of fairness were not complied with in the student conduct review.
- The sanction imposed was not in proportion to the seriousness of the offense.
- The demonstration of new information not available at the time of the hearing.
- The case involves suspension and/or expulsion from the University
In the students' appeal letter he/she should specify under which of the above conditions he/she is appealing and provide detailed information for his/her appeal.
The president of the University, the vice president for student affairs, or the vice president for academic affairs may also request an appeal for review. In addition, the president of the University reserves the right to grant a final appeal after all other appropriate administrative remedies have been utilized.
Student groups or organizations may be charged with violations of the Honor Code. A student organization and its officers may be held collectively and individually responsible when violations of the Honor Code occur. The president of a student organization or a designee appointed by the president will be responsible for representing the organization in any campus student conduct proceedings. A student being charged with violations of the Honor Code in connection with an organization will be responsible for representing her/himself.
Off Campus Activities
Off campus rights and freedoms of students involve the responsibility to display conduct and behavior that reflect favorably on them, the University, and the larger community. In the interest of protecting students from harm and when the University's interests as an academic community are clearly involved, the University will exercise its right to take appropriate action as it pertains to University rules violations that occur off-campus, including but not limited to study abroad programs.
In pending cases that could result in suspension or expulsion, the student conduct board advisor will normally place a temporary encumbrance on a student's records.
Final Exam and Break Periods
Alleged violations of the Honor Code which occur during the final exam period and all break periods defined by the academic calendar may be reviewed and adjudicated by the student conduct board advisor following the student conduct conference model of adjudication. Appeals of the outcome of these cases will be heard by the appropriate vice president and president of the University if requested. An appeal must be submitted in writing to the appropriate vice president within seven days of the written notification of the outcome of the student conduct conference. The student conduct board advisor may also refer the case to the Student Conduct Board for immediate review upon reconvening of the nearest academic semester.
Procedural Protections Afforded to Students
Students accused of Honor Code violations are entitled to the following procedural protections:
- To be informed of the charge and alleged misconduct upon which the charge is based
- To be informed of the hearing process and format prior to the hearing.
- To have the case resolved through a student conduct conference.
- To be allowed reasonable time to prepare a defense (minimally, within one week of the initial meeting).
- To be informed of the information upon which a charge is based and accorded an opportunity to offer a response.
- To call and question their witnesses.
- To be assured confidentiality in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Students with membership in certain groups (primarily student athletes and Chatham Student Government officers) may elect to waiver other's rights to notification of alleged conduct offenses.
- To request that individuals with potential personal bias be excused from participating in the hearing as part of the Student Conduct Board. Such requests must be made during the initial conduct conference and be reasonable given the small nature of the Chatham community and limited membership on the Student Conduct Board.
- To be considered innocent of the charges until proven responsible by a preponderance of evidence.
- To be advised by a person of their choice, as it outlined above.
- To appeal a decision as outlined in section 7 above.
- If the board recommends suspension, the student will automatically be granted a private meeting with the appropriate vice president before the recommendation for suspension is upheld.
Upon a final determination that a student or organization has violated the Honor Code, the Student Conduct Board and/or the appropriate University official may impose the following educational sanctions, either individually or in combination for any minor or major offense.
- Written warning: The appropriate institutional official issues written notification to a student that continuation or repetition of specified conduct may be cause for further disciplinary action.
- Probation: A written reprimand for violation of specified regulation(s). Probation is imposed for a designated period of time in cases of serious violations of the Honor Code and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student is found to be violating any institutional regulation(s) during the probationary period. Probation can be restriction from participation in an activity on campus and can lead to recommended suspension or expulsion from the University if violated.
- Loss of Privileges: The restriction of a student's or student organization's privileges for a specified period of time. This restriction may include, but is not limited to, denial of the ability to participate in campus events or traditions, denial of the use of facilities, denial of parking or visitation privileges, or denial of student organization privileges such as funding.
- Restitution: The compensation for loss, damage or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
- Monetary Fine: Fines may be assessed at times when appropriate with the fine amount being determined by the board or appropriate institutional official. Fines may also be assessed for failure to complete sanctions.
- Discretionary Sanctions: Work assignments, service to the University or other related discretionary assignments. Specific educational objectives are to be identified prior to imposing such a sanction.
- Attendance or Participation: this requires that an individual attend or participate in an educational endeavor such as a workshop, series of educational sessions, mediation or counseling.
- Residence Area Suspension: This requires a separation of the student from resident living for a specified period of time. This is imposed when it is determined that a student(s) has been disruptive or destructive to herself or the larger residential community. Conditions for readmission to residency may be specified.
- Residence Area Expulsion: This imposes permanent separation of the student from resident living at the University. Such a sanction should be utilized when it is determined that a student will continue to be disruptive to the residential community or when a violation is so severe that it merits permanent removal so as to offer a safe and secure living environment.
- Interim Residence Area Suspension: If at any time a residential student's presence in the residence halls or apartments is considered to present an issue of safety to the individual or the larger community, an immediate determination may be made by the vice president for student affairs to remove the student from residency pending a student conduct review.
- Suspension: This requires the separation of the student from the University for a specific period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified. The Student Conduct Board can recommend suspension to the appropriate vice president who will then meet individually with the student and make the final decision in the best interest of the University.
- Expulsion: This entails a permanent separation of the student from the University. The imposition of such a sanction must occur only in the most extreme situations, as this constitutes a permanent dismissal of a student. The Student Conduct Board can recommend expulsion to the appropriate vice president who will then meet individually with the student and make the final decision in the best interest of the University.
- Creative Sanction: The Student Conduct Board or University official may determine an alternate sanction as long as the severity of the sanction is, in its view, commensurate with the severity of the Honor Code violation.
- Behavioral Contract: This details a contractual agreement between the student and the Student Conduct Board that outlines conditions for his/her behavior while involved in a specific area of campus life. This can include mandatory professional assessments, restriction of use of University facilities and parental notification. Should a behavioral contract be broken, the board may recommend more severe sanctions.
Student Files and Records
Case referrals will result in the development of a disciplinary file in the name of the accused student, which shall be voided if the student is found not responsible for the charges. Voided files will be so marked and will normally be destroyed after one year. The files of students found responsible of any violation of the Honor Code will normally be retained as a disciplinary record for three years past their date of commencement or separation from the University. Files will be maintained in the Office of Student Affairs and will not be released to anyone other than appropriate University officials without the written consent of the student or otherwise in accordance with law.
The University considers it its right under the law, but not its obligation, to share certain information with parents of students who are "dependent", whenever a University official, in her/his professional capacity, considers this to be warranted. Disciplinary actions may be communicated to a dependent student's parents. The University considers all students to be "dependent" unless otherwise notified by an individual student of her/his status. The vice president for student affairs/Vice President for Student Affairs / Dean of Students is responsible for establishing a student's independence, in compliance with FERPA.
No degree shall be awarded to a student while a student conduct matter is pending, including sanctions not yet completed.
Revocation of Degrees
The University reserves the right to revoke an awarded degree for fraud in receipt of the degree, or for serious disciplinary violations committed by a student prior to the student's graduation. Such decisions shall be decided by the vice president for student affairs.
The Student Conduct Review Appeals Committee is responsible for ensuring consistency and fairness in the student conduct conference.