Bucknell University governs its student body using its Student Code of Conduct, set forth in the Bucknell Student Handbook. The Code itself outlines a number of behaviors students can exhibit that is classified as Prohibited Conduct. Students who are found responsible for acts of Prohibited Conduct will be subject to harsh sanctions imposed by the University.
When a complaint is filed against a student, they are assigned a Student Conduct Administrator who will investigate and seek out potential resolution methods with the student. Once a student is accused of an act of Prohibited Conduct, they are known throughout the disciplinary process as the "respondent," while the student who initiated the complaint will be known as the "complainant."
Bucknell University Pre-Hearing Resolution
Before a case goes to a hearing, there is a brief Pre-Hearing Process. Respondents will be notified of a pre-hearing meeting with the Student Conduct Administrator to discuss possible methods of resolving the conflict, as well as the facts of the case. Respondents will be offered a chance to resolve the conflict without moving to a Formal Hearing, however, no appeal is permitted from arriving at a Pre-Hearing Resolution. In order to reach a resolution at this stage, the facts of the Prohibited Conduct charges cannot be in dispute, and both parties must be in agreement with one another.
Formal Resolutions can come in one of two forms: Administrative Hearings and Community Conduct Board Hearings. The hearing type used depends on the nature and severity of the offense.
Administrative Hearings: Administrative Hearings are adjudicated and decided upon by an Administrative Hearing Officer. Complaints involving drugs and alcohol, or ones that could not be resolved in the Pre-Hearing stage will likely be resolved at this level.
Community Conduct Board Hearings: The full Community Conduct Board is a volunteer pool of 15 students, 15 faculty, and 15 staff. Panels for hearings will be comprised of one (1) student and two (2) University personnel. These hearings will typically resolve cases involving multiple respondents and multiple or serious violations.
Regardless of the hearing authority, all hearings will generally follow the same process. The hearing authority decides how the hearing should be conducted. In most cases, the University goes first in all presentations. The complainant, the University, and the respondent can all present evidence and witnesses. No character witnesses will be permitted. The hearing authority will ask questions throughout the meeting for clarification. The respondent can also question any witnesses that appear from any party. After all of the information has been heard, the hearing authority will deliberate. Decisions will be made using the standard of a "preponderance of evidence."
Hearings are typically kept between the students, witnesses, and University personnel that are relevant to the events being discussed. Students are permitted to have a University community member with them to serve as an adviser; however, a member of the University community who simply acts as an adviser may not necessarily have the same level of expertise and dedication as an attorney will. Even if the attorney does not accompany a student to the hearing, an attorney will provide insight into valuable courtroom tactics that can be used to strongly influence the outcome of a hearing. Students armed with methods of witness questioning, evidence presentation, and argument construction will feel more confident at hearings, and may have a better chance of securing a favorable outcome.
Bucknell University Appeals
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students have an opportunity to make an appeal. The grounds for appeal are previously unavailable evidence, procedural error, or disproportionate sanctions. Appeals must be made within five (5) business days. Successful appeals will always result in hearings to discuss the matter of the appeal.
A Presidential Appeal can be used only for sanctions of expulsion, and it must be made five (5) business days from the initial appeal decision.
If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from Bucknell University, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.