Students With an Incident
The following frequently asked questions were compiled based on input from Residence Staff on what students going through an incident would like to know. They are not statements of policy; rather they are written in a way to help a student better understand the adjudication process. The Bruin Guide, Residential Guide to Living, and Student Organization Handbook state official policies and processes and supersede this information. Additionally, staff in Residence Life and Student Conduct & Academic Integrity is available to resolve any other questions a student may have. Students who have a hearing with Student Conduct & Academic Integrity will first go through a formal information session where a student’s questions can be resolved.
1. Should I accept or deny responsibility?
The goal of our process is to be educational. Consequently, there is no benefit to accepting responsibility and no detriment to denying it. This allows you to reflect on your behavior and how it may or may not have violated the expectations of our community without any outside influence. If your self-reflection leads you to feel responsible, then you should accept responsibility. If it does not, you should deny. In either case, a hearing will provide you with the opportunity to explain why you accepted or denied.
As you make a decision, you should keep in mind that during a hearing you will be asked to not engage in deceptive behavior. If the Board finds it more likely than not you engaged in deceptive behavior during a hearing, it may escalate sanctions. Accordingly, please be honest when deciding if you feel you are responsible or not.
2. When will my hearing be?
Belmont provides you with 3 business days following the “form issued on” date to contact your Resident Director (resident students) or Student Conduct & Academic Integrity (non-resident student). Occasionally, Resident Directors will refer resident students to an Assistant Director of Residence Life or to Student Conduct & Academic Integrity. This decision is case-by-case based on the alleged behavior and the student’s conduct history. Once you have contacted your Resident Director or met with Student Conduct & Academic Integrity, a hearing will be scheduled. We will work to find a hearing time that is both convenient for you and the hearing officer(s) and resolves the incident in a reasonable amount of time. These are our goals, but please note that we will not rush our decision-making simply to expedite the process for you.
3. What happens in a hearing?
After an incident you are encouraged to participate in a hearing. Think of it as a time to share your version of the incident. Your hearing officer(s) will represent our community. If you deny responsibility, your hearing officer(s) will determine if you are, in fact, responsible. If it is determined you are responsible for a violation, either through a hearing or your own admission, your hearing officer(s) will assign sanctions. We hope you take advantage of the opportunity afforded to students by Belmont to participate in the adjudication process.
4. What behaviors do the Substance-Free Campus Policy – Alcohol and the Substance-Free Campus Policy – Drugs violations include?
Violations of our Substance-free Campus Policy, both for Alcohol and for Drugs, include six behaviors: consumption, intoxication, possession, paraphernalia, distribution, and complicity. If you accept responsibility for violating our Substance-free Campus Policy – Alcohol or our Substance-free Campus Policy –Drugs, you are affirming you engaged in at least one of these behaviors. Accepting responsibility does NOT automatically mean you engaged in all these behaviors. Your hearing officer(s) will determine the exact behaviors you are responsible for based upon the information in your case file and information you may provide at your hearing. Refer to the Bruin Guide online for descriptions of the different types of behaviors listed.
5. What will my sanctions be?
It is hard to say what your sanctions will be as the response to a violation depends upon the facts of the incident. Further, in an effort to be fair, we attempt to look at sanctions other students in similar situations received in the past. This allows us to be consistent when responding to your violation. Note, though, Belmont is deliberately assertive in responding to alcohol and drugs as substance use has a profoundly negative effect on college student development as well as our living and learning community. Accordingly, drug violations typically involve separation from the institution with loss of tuition, fees, grades, and other privileges of an enrolled student. First-time alcohol violations typically do not result in a separation; however, sanctioning may progress quickly to separation if a student has multiple violations, distributes alcohol, or otherwise shows disregard for the Substance-Free Campus Policy. A student who is found only to be complicit with another’s use, possession, paraphernalia, or intoxication typically receives a less assertive response, both for alcohol and drugs.
6. Will you tell my parents/guardians about my violation?
In most cases we do not contact parents/guardians. We view you as an adult; consequently, we will work directly with you in resolving your incident. However, keep two things in mind. First, you are free to contact your parents/guardians and discuss the incident at any time. We encourage you to do so. Though you may be an adult, your parents/guardians can help provide support and guidance. Second, we will contact parents/guardians about violations of our Substance-free Campus Policy for both Alcohol and Drugs after your hearing if you are found or accept responsibility and are under 21 years of age, which is in accordance with Federal privacy law. We believe alcohol and drugs negatively impact your development; therefore, your parents have a right to discuss these choices with you. In those cases, we simply state to parents you were found responsible for an alcohol or drug violation and encourage them to speak with you about it.
7. How do I appeal a decision?
Once decisions on responsibility and sanctions are finalized by your hearing officer(s), you may appeal if you so choose. Your hearing officer(s) can provide you with the appropriate paperwork and instructions for filing an appeal. Appeals must be filed within 1 business day after receipt of your hearing’s Outcome Letter.
8. Will this incident stay on my record?
If you are found responsible for a violation, it will become part of your conduct record. Except in certain circumstances, Federal law requires you to first complete a waiver before your conduct record may be shared externally. Graduate school and job applications will sometimes require you to complete a waiver to be considered. Note, though, your conduct record will not be the sole criteria for determining your suitability as a candidate. Suspensions and expulsions are noted on transcripts; however, unless certain exceptions apply, incident details are not shared without a waiver. Your conduct record may be shared within the university in certain situations (e.g. you have applied for a leadership position, applied to study abroad, applied for a campus representative job, etc). The advisor or supervisor for a particular organization, program, or job position will ultimately make the decision about your participation or selection; a conduct record does not automatically bar you. If you are already a member of an organization, program, or job position, it is your responsibility to inform your advisor or supervisor if you are placed on probation, suspended, or expelled.