Bloomsburg University employs a Student Code of Conduct that is outlined in The Pilot, the University's student handbook. This Code sets forward a number of community standards that students must follow in order to maintain a helpful, safe, and healthy learning environment. When a student does not comply with these standards, they may be held responsible for committing a violation.
The disciplinary process begins when a member of the university community reports an allegation of a violation to the Dean of Students. From here, the Office of the Dean of Students will launch an investigation into the incidents. After the initial investigation has concluded, the Office will investigate further, dismiss the allegations, or file charges based on their initial investigation.
If a student is going to face charges, they will be given a choice on how to proceed. Students can choose if they would like to proceed with an Informal Hearing or a Formal Hearing.
A Bloomsburg University Informal Hearing is designed to take less time than a full Formal Hearing, and reach a resolution quicker. Students will only be given the opportunity to review the charges, and then respond to them for further consideration. The overall decision will be made just based off the initial investigation and the accused student's response.
Bloomsburg University Formal Hearings can be likened to a jury trial; however, the overall process is not as strict or formal as the criminal justice system. Hearings are led by a Hearing Chairperson, who is appointed by the Dean of Students. The Hearing Chairperson will be acting somewhat like a judge or a moderator throughout the hearing; they are in charge of keeping order and ensuring that proper procedure is followed.
During the hearing, the accused student is able to call forth witnesses to help their case. Accused students may also question any opposing witnesses, and are not required to answer if they choose not to. Accused students are also welcome to have an attorney accompany them into the hearing, and can enlist the attorney's help in making an opening statement. Having legal counsel available at this hearing will be a great confidence booster to an accused student at the hearing. Many times students at disciplinary hearings feel as though no one is willing to hear out their side of the story, and an attorney's presence will help to ease any anxieties. Additionally, an attorney can provide helpful advice as far as which witnesses should be called during the hearing, and what evidence should be presented and emphasized.
After the evidence is heard, the board will make a decision as to whether or not the accused student can be held responsible for the code violation. Students will receive notice of the outcome within ten days.
Bloomsburg University will impose disciplinary sanctions if an accused student (or student campus organization) is found responsible for violating the University's Student Code of Conduct outlined in The Pilot. When a violation of policy occurred and was proven, the Board or Hearing Chairperson may impose one or more of the sanctions listed below, and the full range of sanctions is available depending on the nature and severity of the violation. Possible sanctions include:
- Written Warning
- Disciplinary Warning
- Disciplinary Probation
- Disciplinary Probation/Suspension in Abeyance
- Interim Suspension
Disciplinary probation can include conditions such as: restriction from participating in extracurricular activities; restriction from joining a campus organization; restriction from running for or holding office in a campus organization; volunteer service; counseling referral; participation in an educational program; community service; restitution; and removal or transfer from residence hall. In addition to any of the above sanctions deemed appropriate, Bloomsburg University will impose mandatory minimum sanctions for alcohol and drug violations which can include disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion depending on the specific circumstances of the accused student's case.
Regretfully, some Bloomsburg University students, despite their and their parents' best intentions, proceed with the University disciplinary process without a full understanding of the possible consequences, both immediate and long-term. Those unfamiliar with the realities of the disciplinary process often do not realize until it may be too late that Bloomsburg University imposes suspensions and expulsions as a sanction more often than would be expected; even in disciplinary matters that may seem to be less serious. The stakes are very high, and some consequences are unforeseen; even sanctions lesser than suspension or expulsion can greatly jeopardize a student's academic and professional goals.
(Bloomsburg University sanctions for Title IX sexual misconduct violations, which include sexual harassment and sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence, will always be severe, and Title IX sexual misconduct violations can have lifetime consequences. Bloomsburg University will also promptly impose interim measures as deemed necessary to protect the complainant before the final outcome of a Title IX investigation and disciplinary proceeding involving Dating, Relationship or Sexual Misconduct or Violence.)
An Experienced Attorney's Role When Representing a Bloomsburg University Student
Bloomsburg University and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before Student Code of Conduct charges and/or academic integrity charges are filed in certain instances. If charges have already been filed against a student, the accused student's attorney, also in certain instances, will be able to serve as an a advocate between Bloomsburg University, the accused student, and other involved parties, in an effort to achieve a constructive resolution. Whether before or after Student Code of Conduct charges and/or academic integrity charges are filed, in working towards the prospect of an agreeable resolution, the extent of an attorney's involvement will be at the discretion of Bloomsburg University. Every student's case is unique; an experienced attorney will understand what the University may be receptive to, and will approach the matter accordingly.
An attorney's involvement at Bloomsburg University in matters involving Student Code of Conduct charges and/or academic integrity charges should not be confused with Bloomsburg University disciplinary cases involving Title IX sexual misconduct allegations. In Title IX student disciplinary proceedings, an experienced attorney must work both as the point of contact between the accused student and Bloomsburg University as well as behind the scenes to defend against sexual misconduct / sexual assault allegations.
An experienced student discipline defense attorney will understand and use the most effective strategies when handling a student's case at Bloomsburg University.
If the hearing results in an unfavorable outcome for the student, they are given one chance for an appeal. Bloomsburg University appeals must be made in writing within three business days of receiving the official notice of sanction. Lower level violations and sanctions are handled by the Dean of Students. For violations that resulted in suspension or expulsion, the appeals will be heard by the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs for an initial review, then a full review by an appeals board. Appeals must be made on the grounds of new evidence, disproportionate sanctions or disciplinary measures, or a denial of due process.
If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from Bloomsburg University, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.