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Student Discipline Process



Adjudication Process for Conduct Violations

I. INTRODUCTION

Applicability

The following applies to violations of the Code of Conduct. However, process statements under Belmont’s Academic Honor Code and Sexual Misconduct Policies may differ from statements in this section through alteration, omission, or addition. Those differences supersede information provided here.

Terms
  1. Administrative Hearing. An “Administrative Hearing” is conducted by the Director of Student Conduct & Academic Integrity or his/her designee in lieu of a Community Conduct Board hearing. The Dean of Students Office reserves that right to designate the Director of Student Conduct & Academic Integrity or his/her designee to adjudicate particular hearings.
  2. Adjudication Process. The “Adjudication Process” encompasses the rights afforded to a student by Belmont and stated procedures for resolving an Incident.
  3. Advisor. An "Advisor" is defined as a member of the university community (i.e. faculty, staff, or peer.) that accompanies a student to his or her hearing as an emotional support to the student. The Advisor may not speak or otherwise participate in a hearing. No representation by an attorney is permitted regardless of community membership.
  4. Authorized University Official. An “Authorized University Official” is a designee of the Associate Provost and Dean of Students who is authorized to give notice of an incident to a student. Such authorized university officials may include, but are not limited to, members Residence Life, members of the Office of Campus Security, or members of the Dean of Students.
  5. Community Conduct Board. The “Community Conduct Board” is comprised of students and at least one faculty and/or staff member that adjudicate student conduct incidents. The Dean of Students Office reserves that right to designate this body to adjudicate particular hearings. This board is overseen by the Director for Student Conduct & Academic Integrity.
  6. Community Conduct Form. The "Community Conduct Form" acts as official university notice for the student and begins the disciplinary process.
  7. Hearing Officer(s). The term "hearing officer(s)" means any person authorized by the Associate Provost & Dean of Students or his/her designee to conduct a hearing to determine whether a student has violated the Code of Conduct.
  8. Incident: The term "Incident" refers to student behavior(s) that a member of the Belmont community alleges to violate the Code of Conduct
  9. Information. Rather than providing evidence, “Information” is presented during a hearing for the purpose of clarifying details. Information can be presented in various forms, such as documentation, witness statements, or personal accounts.
  10. Information Session. An “Information Session” is conducted prior to a Community Conduct Board hearing or an Administrative Hearing. During an Information Session, a student may view currently available University Information related to the Incident, may receive instructions regarding the Adjudication Process, and may have any existing violation definition reviewed with him or her.
  11. Preponderance of the Evidence. "Preponderance of Evidence" means that the information, as a whole, shows that the fact(s) supports the conclusion that it is "more likely than not" that the student engaged in the alleged behavior.
  12. Responsible and Not Responsible. A student makes a declaration of “Responsible” or “Not Responsible” prior to a hearing on the Community Conduct Form. The student may make the declaration at the time the Community Conduct Form is received or at a time prior to the hearing. When a student declares he or she is Not Responsible, the Hearing Officer(s) will decide whether or not the student is responsible during a hearing by a Preponderance of the Evidence. Responsible or Not Responsible is used rather than guilty or not guilty.
  13. Sanctions. Students who accept or are found responsible for an incident are given “Sanctions” that focus on education, restitution, and punishment.
  14. Student Affairs Hold. A “Student Affairs Hold” is a mechanism used for compliance among the student population in regards to participation and completion of the disciplinary process. A Student Affairs Hold is an official stop on a student's university records, which may prevent a student from registering, dropping and/or adding classes, requesting transcripts, graduating etc.
  15. Student Conduct Outcome Letter. At the conclusion of a hearing, the student will receive a response from the hearing officer(s) in the form of a “Student Conduct Outcome Letter.” In this response, the hearing officer(s) will state any decisions regarding responsibility and any sanctions. The response will be provided electronically to the student within a reasonable amount of time.
  16. Suspension Hold. A suspension hold may be placed on a student’s account during his or her suspension period. A Suspension Hold is only removed after a student’s suspension period has run its course. Transcripts may be made available from the Registrar during the suspension period; however, the transcript will note the suspension. A Suspension Hold may prevent a student from re-enrolling, registering for classes, dropping or adding courses, graduating, and more.
  17. University Representative. A “University Representative” is empowered to schedule hearings and conduct Information Sessions. A University Representative may also serve as a Hearing Officer. A University Representative includes the Associate Provost and Dean of Students or his/her designee. The University Representative will most often be a staff member of either Residence Life or Student Conduct & Academic Integrity. The Community Conduct form should indicate the University Representative a student should first contact.
Philosophy

The Belmont University mission states that we enable "men and women of diverse backgrounds to engage and transform the world with disciplined intelligence, compassion, courage, and faith." In order to prepare students for this mission, the university upholds high ideals and expectations for each member of the campus community. These ideals are expressed in the university's Code of Conduct. Belmont University's disciplinary process is designed to be a part of the educational mission of the University, one that focuses on upholding the commitments inherent in the Belmont community. The disciplinary process teaches all members of the university appropriate and acceptable behavior within a community.

The university provides a disciplinary process in which members of the Belmont community may resolve violations of the Code of Conduct with mutual respect for one another while fostering relationships. These relationships help to create an environment of accountability holding members of the community responsible for their actions with the ultimate goal of encouraging and fostering the personal growth and development of each student.

Guiding Principles

When there are violations of the Code of Conduct, the disciplinary process will be governed by the following:

  • Fairness. The process should strive to be consistent, clear, comprehensive, and, when possible, efficient.
  • Education. The process, including potential consequences should strive to be educational. Students are encouraged to consider issues such as responsibility for actions and making wise choices.
  • Respect. The process should strive to be characterized by respect for all individuals as well as the community as a whole and the commitments outlined for our campus.
University Adjudication Standards

Belmont's disciplinary system is not equal to a criminal or civil court system. The two systems are independent, have different purposes, processes, and standards used to determine responsibility and sanctions; therefore, the procedural defense of double jeopardy does not apply. While some procedural elements may seem similar, Belmont's system is founded on educational philosophies and fundamental fairness rather than criminal or civil court systems.

As a private institution, Belmont University’s adjudication process seeks fundamental fairness by establishing these rights and procedures. Accordingly, Belmont does not adhere to the standards of Constitutional Due Process.

During a hearing, students present Information. Consequently, standard rules of evidence do not apply in the university's disciplinary process.

Also, in contrast to the prevailing evidentiary standard in criminal matters for determining guilt, "beyond a reasonable doubt" does not apply. To be consistent with comparable evidentiary standards used by other institutions of higher education, hearing officers use a Preponderance of the Evidence standard to determine responsibility. Due to the difference in standards, Belmont uses specific terminology in its disciplinary process, which is defined under Terms in this section.

II. ADJUDICATION PROCEDURES

Notice
  1. When an Incident has occurred, a student will be provided notice of the Incident via a Community Conduct Form. The Authorized University Official will submit a copy of the Community Conduct Form to the appropriate administrator for record keeping and a copy to the student as notice.
  2. A Community Conduct Form may only be given to a student by an Authorized University Official. Any member of the Belmont community may report an Incident (see Authority).
  3. A Community Conduct Form must include the following information to be considered effective notice: the alleged violation(s), date and location of the Incident, and instructions that information about the Adjudication Process can be found in The Bruin Guide. 
  4. A reasonable attempt to give a copy of Community Conduct Form at the time of the Incident will be made. If the situation does not reasonably allow for giving a Community Conduct Form at the time of the Incident, then the student should be given a Community Conduct Form no later than 14 business days after an Authorized University Official knows or reasonably should have known about the Incident.
  5. A Community Conduct Form delivered in person or sent to the student’s Belmont email address is considered to provide the student with notice of the Incident. When delivery is not in person, notice is complete upon sending the Community Conduct Form, not upon receipt. An Authorized University Official should first make a reasonable attempt to give a residential student a Community Conduct Form in person. If the reasonable attempt fails or if the student is a non-residential student, then the Authorized University Official may send the Community Conduct Form to the student’s Belmont email address. In accordance with university policy, students are expected to check their email daily.
  6. Failure or refusal to respond to notice of the Incident (i.e. not checking campus mail, avoiding attempted contact efforts by University officials, etc.) may result in a hearing being conducted in the student's absence and sanctions being assigned (see Pre-Hearing).
Pre-Hearing
  1. Once notice has been provided, a student should contact the University Representative indicated on the Community Conduct Form within the 2 business days following the issue date of the Community Conduct Form in order to schedule a hearing. University Representatives reserve the right to schedule a hearing time, date, and location at his/her sole discretion and may take under consideration such factors as student’s schedule, Hearing Officer(s) schedule, prejudice to the student of delaying the hearing date, the time necessary to collect information, nature of the alleged violation(s), and other factors.
  2. A student’s failure or refusal to meet with the appropriate University Representative within the allotted 2 business days will be treated as the student’s acceptance of responsibility for all alleged violations, will waive any privilege to an Information Session, and will result in a hearing being scheduled and conducted in the student’s absence.
  3. Prior to the commencement of a hearing, a student must indicate whether he/she accepts or denies responsibility for an alleged violation(s). If a student will have a Student Conduct Board hearing or an Administrative Hearing, the student should indicate whether he/she accepts or denies responsibility for an alleged violation(s) no later than the conclusion of the Information Session.
  4. An Information Session is conducted prior to a Community Conduct Board hearing or an Administrative Hearing. During an Information Session, a student may view currently available University Information related to the Incident, may receive instructions regarding the Adjudication Process, and may have any existing violation definition reviewed with him or her.
Hearing
  1. If a student attempts to cancel a scheduled hearing prior to its commencement, he or she must provide documentation to the appropriate University Representative supporting a valid reason. Granting a postponement is at the discretion of the University Representative.
  2. If a student fails to appear at a scheduled hearing he or she waives the privilege to participate in the hearing. The student will be accountable for the outcome of the hearing.
  3. If the Hearing Officer(s) or the University Representative needs to reschedule the hearing prior to its commencement, the University Representative will make a reasonable effort to notify the student of the new time, date, and location of the hearing  The University Representative will set a new hearing time, date, and location at his or her sole discretion and may take under consideration such factors as student’s schedule, Hearing Officer(s) schedule, prejudice to the student of delaying the hearing date, the time necessary to collect information, nature of the alleged violation(s), and other factors.
  4. A hearing is a closed meeting involving only those with a reasonable interest in the incident.
  5. During a hearing, the student will have the opportunity to challenge or clarify University Information related to the Incident and present his/her own information related to the Incident.
  6. The student will have the opportunity to question any person involved in the Incident who appears in person to provide information.
  7. The student may request permission to bring a person or persons who have Information related to the Incident to the hearing. The name of any person appearing on the student’s behalf must be submitted and approved by the University Representative 1 working day prior to the hearing. A student must complete a Witness Request Form (available from the University Representative).
  8. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer(s) will deliberate responsibility if a student has denied responsibility for an alleged violation. A preponderance of the evidences standard will be used by the Hearing Officer(s) to make decisions regarding responsibility.
  9. A student's prior disciplinary record will be considered only during the sanctioning phase of the hearing and will not be considered during the deliberation of responsibility.
  10. If a student is responsible for a violation(s)—either by the student’s own admission or the decision of the Hearing Officer(s)—the Hearing Officer(s) will assign sanctions. In some cases it may be necessary to schedule a second meeting in order to give the Hearing Officer(s) sufficient time to assign sanctions.
  11. The decision(s) by the Community Conduct Board will be based on a simple majority vote by the board.
Student Conduct Outcome Letter

Decisions regarding responsibility and sanctions, if any, will be delivered to the student in writing through the student’s Belmont email address or in person. When delivery is not in person, the student is considered to have received the Student Conduct Outcome Letter upon the letter being sent via email. 

Appeals
  1.  Hearing Officer(s) decisions related to responsibility or sanctions can be appealed, provided that one or more of the reasons for appeal (see paragraph 3 of this subsection) is relevant to the case. The appellate officer varies depending on the initial Hearing Officer(s). The Hearing Officer(s) or University Representative can direct a student to the appropriate appellate officer. All appellate responses are final; however, rulings of suspensions or expulsions from any university administrator or board are automatically subject to review by the Associate Provost & Dean of Students.
  2. Appeal Request
    a. A written request should be completed and submitted to the appropriate appellate officer, within 2 business day from the date the student receives the Student Conduct Outcome Letter. The appeal request form is available from the student’s Hearing Officer(s) or University Representative.
    b. The request should state the reason(s) for appeal (see paragraph 3 of this subsection) and the supporting facts. In order for an appeal to be considered valid, the request and supporting facts must be directly connected to one or more of the reason(s) for appeal
    c. An appellate officer will review the written request, appeal request form, and any accompanying information and can decide whether or not to grant an appellate review.
    d. After evaluating the appeal request form and any accompanying information, a student will be notified in writing sent via email to the student’s Belmont email address whether or not their request was granted.
    e. If the appellate officer finds no basis for an appeal review, then the original response and any sanctions will stand.
  3. Appeal considerations are limited to
    a. Evidence that appropriate procedures were not followed which may have a bearing on the initial response.
    b. New information that was not available at the time of the original hearing which may have a bearing on the initial decision(s).
    c. Evidence of Hearing Officer(s) bias that may have a bearing on the initial decision(s).
  4. Appellate Review
    a. If the appellate officer grants an appellate review, he or she will review the request within 14 business days of the appeal submission
    b. On appeal, the student bears the burden to clearly state on the appeal request form and any supporting materials that an error has occurred during the first level of the hearing process.
    c. The student is not required to be in attendance for the appellate review and will not be included in the review. The student may request to meet with the appellate officer. Requests are granted at the discretion of the appellate officer.
  5. Appellate Decisions
    a. If the Appellate Officer grants an appellant review, the Appellate Officer has the option of affirming the original decision(s) regarding responsibility and sanctions, affirming the original   decision(s) regarding responsibility and modifying the sanctions, or reversing the original decisions regarding responsibility and sanctions.
    b. Appellate responses are communicated in writing and delivered in person or sent to the student’s Belmont email address. When delivery is not in person, the student is considered to have received the appellate response upon the response being sent to the student’s Belmont email address.
    c. Suspensions, expulsions, and removal from campus housing sanctions will not take effect until the appellate process is complete, except in the case of an emergency action.
Disciplinary Process For Students Who Leave Belmont

Incomplete Sanctions

If a student completed the student conduct process and received sanctions but leaves Belmont without completing the sanctions, then the student’s disciplinary record will indicate that he or she has incomplete sanctions, and a Student Affairs hold will be placed on the student’s official university record/account. This hold will prevent a student from obtaining transcripts and reapplying to the university. Additionally, other institutions and groups requesting verification of student standing will receive a report of “not in good standing” and depending on the severity of the issue the incident may be reported to other institutions or groups.

Notice Provide

If a student has been given notice but leaves Belmont before the student conduct process has been completed, he or she is still accountable for his or her actions and the process will continue regardless of the student’s participation. The student will receive notice of the continued process, opportunity to participate, and documentation of the outcome. Should the student receive sanctions and fail to complete those sanctions, then the student’s disciplinary record will indicate that he or she has incomplete sanctions, and a hold will be placed on the student’s official university record/account. This hold will prevent a student from obtaining transcripts and reapplying to the university. Additionally, other institutions and groups requesting verification of student standing will receive a report of “not in good standing” and depending on the severity of the issue the incident may be reported to other institutions or groups.

Notice Not Provided

If a student leaves Belmont before he or she is given notice regarding his or her alleged incident, all documentation of the incident will be placed in the student’s disciplinary file, and a hold will be placed on the student’s account. This hold will prevent a student from obtaining transcripts and reapplying to the university. Additionally, other institutions and groups requesting verification of student standing will receive a report of “not in good standing” and depending on the severity of the issue the incident may be reported to other institutions or groups. If the student wished to obtain transcripts or reapply to the university, then the incident must be addressed through the student conduct process.

III. PROCESS STATEMENTS

Jurisdiction

Belmont University reserves the right to address student behavior or student organization activity on-campus, off-campus, and online when such behavior or activity is inconsistent with the Code of Conduct or has an adverse impact on the Belmont community, its members or the pursuit of its objectives. Any incident involving an individual student’s behavior or a student organization’s activity that is believed to be inconsistent with federal, state, and local laws may be addressed as well. The university also has the authority to address behavior that occurs during sponsored off-campus events and programs (including the university's international programs) when it is determined that the behavior conflicts with the university's policies and/or educational mission.

Scope

Belmont University’s Code of Conduct applies to student behavior occurring from the time of admission until the actual awarding of a degree or other separation from the institution completed without unresolved conduct violations. For entering students, a student’s violation of the Code of Conduct occurring prior to the opening of residence halls for the admitted semester may be addressed through reevaluation of the admission offer.  In such cases, the student will receive a written letter stating the decision of the reevaluation. After the opening of residence halls for the admitted semester, a student’s behavior will be addressed in accordance with the Bruin Guide’s Adjudication Process.  A student’s intention to live on or off campus does not alter this policy. Pursuant to the Bruin Guide, authority for student discipline ultimately rests with the Associate Provost and Dean of Students or his/her designee(s). For entering students, professional staff members from University Admissions may be responsible for implementing disciplinary decisions. 

Authority
  1. Authority for student discipline ultimately rests with the Associate Provost and Dean of Students or his/her designee(s). Under the direction of the Associate Provost & Dean of Students, professional staff members from the Division of Student Affairs are responsible for implementing the disciplinary process for students.
  2. Any member of the Belmont University community may report an Incident. The Associate Provost and Dean of Students or his/her designee reserves the right to determine the most appropriate method for responding to the alleged Incident (e.g. Issuing a Community Conduct Form, speaking informally with the student, etc.).
  3. The Associate Provost and Dean of Students or his/her designee(s) reserves the right to choose the appropriate Hearing Officer(s) to adjudicate Incidents. Considerations in selecting the appropriate Hearing Officer(s) includes, but is not limited to, the need for confidentiality, anonymity, community or individual safety, or expediency.
  4. All Hearing Officer(s) have the authority to consult with other appropriate university officials in order to effectively resolve an incident.
  5. The Associate Provost and Dean of Students or his/her designee(s) reserves the right to extend or reduce any deadlines associated with the Adjudication Process if the effect of the extension or reduction would benefit the student.
  6. The Associate Provost and Dean of Students or his/her designee(s) reserves the right to place a Student Affairs hold on a student’s account to bar withdrawal while an Incident is pending adjudication.
Confidentiality
  • Decisions regarding disciplinary matters are confidential and become a part of the student's educational record, and are, therefore, subject to federal regulations set forth in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1972. Those involved in hearings should not comment on any aspect of the case or outcome with anyone other than the student unless allowed to do so in accordance with FERPA, Title IX, Clery Act, or other federal provision related to student privacy.
  • Should anyone involved in the disciplinary process be asked for public comment, he or she should be aware of his or her duty to refuse comment and instead should refer the question to the Associate Provost and Dean of Students for an official statement.
  • Persons found to be in violation of this Confidentiality provision will be subject to university disciplinary action. Such disclosure of information is not only in violation of university policy but also of federal statutes.

Documentation of Disciplinary Record
  • All written documentation related to the incident will be placed in the student's disciplinary file. A student's disciplinary file(s) and record(s) will be maintained in the Dean of Students Office.
  • All disciplinary files and records will be retained for ten years.
Disruption of Adjudication Process
  1. No one will engage in conduct that disrupts a hearing, lessens the authority or dignity of a Hearing Officer or Hearing Administrator, or otherwise obstructs justice on campus.
  2. No one will cause, attempt to cause, or coerce a student to give false information in any hearing.
  3. Students will fully comply with instructions of a Hearing Officer.
  4. Behavior that disrupts the Adjudication Process will be treated as a violation of the Community Commitment of Critical Thinking.
Sanctioning

 The philosophy behind Belmont University's sanctioning process is developmental. We believe in an ongoing developmental process of individuals' assuming responsibility for the effect their behaviors have on themselves. Additionally, students are expected to engage in individual behavior that creates a mutually beneficial living and learning community for all. In determining appropriate sanctions for conduct incidents, the institution is guided by three considerations that foster the student’s development.

  1. Education
    a. What type of sanction will assist the student in understanding why the commitment and/or policy violated is important?
    b. What type of sanctions will either cause or reaffirm the student’s reflection on his or her behavior?
    c. What impact does the student's behavior have on him or her and the campus community?
  2. Restitution
    a. What sanction will make the student or community whole, as if the behavior had never happened?
  3. Punishment
    a. What sanction will serve as a deterrent to future behavior of the student and other members of the Belmont Community?
    b. What sanction is necessary, to communicate to the student the seriousness of the violation and signify to the Belmont community that this type of behavior is unacceptable?
Potential Sanctions

Examples of sanctions, includes, but are not limited to:

  1. Verbal Reprimand
  2. Written Reprimand
  3. Removal of University Housing. A student removed from Belmont housing for disciplinary reasons will be responsible for all housing charges assessed for the semester he/she is removed. Student will forfeit $100 housing deposit. Additionally, the student will be responsible for the complete payment of his/her current meal plan, unless he/she receive an exemption from University Housing.
  4. Work or Service Hours
  5. Restitution
  6. Health and Safety Fines
  7. Reflection Essays
  8. Counseling Sessions
  9. Drug Testing
  10. Loss of privilege to move off-campus
  11. Loss of participation in co-curricular activities
  12. Limited Probation. Limited Probation is defined as a period of time during which any further violation of the same nature within the Community Code of Conduct puts the student’s status with the University in jeopardy. If the student is found “responsible” for another violation of the same nature during the period of Limited Probation, serious consideration will be given to imposing a sanction of Institutional Probation, Suspension or Expulsion. Limited Probation could potentially affect your ability to represent the University in leadership positions or on athletic teams, participation in student activities or study abroad opportunities, your entrance into University residence halls or other areas of campus, or contact with another specific person(s). The University may choose to treat violations of a different nature either as separate from the limited probation or extend the limited probation to encompass that behavior. In those circumstances, the University will consider the totality of your conduct record when determining an appropriate sanction.
  13. Institutional Probation. Institutional Probation is defined as a period of time during which any further violation of the Community Code of Conduct puts the student's status with the University in jeopardy. If the student is found "responsible" for another violation during the period of Institutional Probation, serious consideration will be given to imposing a sanction of Suspension or Expulsion. Institutional Probation could potentially affect his/her ability to represent the University in leadership positions or on athletic teams, participation in student activities and study aboard opportunities, entrance into University residence halls or other areas of campus, or contact with another specific person(s).
  14. Suspension from Belmont University. Separation from the University for a specified period, which includes loss of all tuition, fees, coursework, and other privileges of an enrolled student.
  15. Expulsion from Belmont University. Separation from the University without the possibility of readmission. A student will lose all tuition, fees, coursework, and other privileges of an enrolled student.
Further Information and Contact Information
  1. Paperwork and Information: Forms and other guidelines necessary for administering the disciplinary process are available in the Dean of Students Office on the second floor of the Beaman Student Life Center.
  2. Contact: If you have any additional questions about the Community Code of Conduct, please contact the Director for Student Conduct & Academic Integrity at (615) 460-6407 or email studentconduct@belmont.edu.


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