California University of Pennsylvania exhibits an overarching Student Code of Conduct in order to create a safe and secure learning environment for its students. The Code outlines a number of potential violations, including academic misconduct violations, as well as the sanctions which students found responsible for committing violations will be forced to endure. California University of Pennsylvania's disciplinary process begins with a referral of an alleged violation. This referral is then filed as a complaint with the Office of Student Conduct.
After an initial complaint is filed, a hearing officer will be assigned to the complaint and review the complaint and the events surrounding it. The hearing officer is responsible for making the determination as to whether or not charges for violations will be necessary. If possible, the hearing officer may suggest alternative dispute resolutions, such as mediation or restorative justice conferences, in order to avoid an escalation to a full hearing, or negative sanctions on a student's transcript record.
Official hearings can come in one of two forms: Administrative Hearings and Conduct Board Hearings. Students are normally given the option to choose between the two of them, however in some circumstances, the proceedings default to a Conduct Board Hearing. During the hearing process, students that are under suspicion of violations are known as "respondents."
California University of Pennsylvania Administrative Hearings take place between the respondent, the complainant and the designated hearing officer. The purpose of an Administrative Hearing is meant to encourage a non-adversarial method of reaching a solution, but at a higher level than that of mediation. The student can accept the responsibility and sanctions offered by the hearing officer, however, this also waives the student's right to a Conduct Board Hearing. Respondents may not always have this option, depending on the severity of their violations.
Conduct Board Hearing
California University of Pennsylvania Conduct Board Hearings are a more regulated and serious process. They are necessary when a respondent chooses to undergo these proceedings, or if a resolution cannot be reached at an Administrative Hearing. These hearings will be held in front of a designated University Conduct Board that consists of 8 members, plus a chairperson. The chairperson does not vote on decisions unless there is a tie. The Board itself must consist of at least member of the student body, the faculty, and University staff.
The hearings begin with introductions. The respondent, complainant, and charges will be introduced, and the respondent will be given a chance to enter a response. This can be likened to a plea in a criminal case. After the introductory phase has concluded, the presentation of information will begin. The complainant presents their evidence and witnesses first, then the respondent will be given the chance to present their own evidence and witnesses to support their side. Each party will be given the opportunity to respond and question the information that is presented. After the information presentation phase has concluded, the Board will go into private deliberation. The standard they deliberate upon is "more likely than not."
Students under suspicion of violations are welcome to the presence of an attorney. An attorney at a student's side in a hearing will be a source of confidence and reassurance while they are in front of an intimidating college hearing board. Legal counsel and preparation can sway the outcome in a student's favor when it comes down to a hearing.
California University of Pennsylvania will impose disciplinary sanctions if an accused student (or student campus organization) is found responsible for violating the University's Student Code of Conduct. Sanctions will be at the discretion of the Hearing Officer or Conduct Board, and more than one of the sanctions listed below may be imposed for a violation. Sanctions are imposed in an effort to: promote behavioral change; teach alternative behaviors; increase personal and social skills; increase a student's awareness of obligations to others; demonstrate implications of actions'; and explain rationale behind regulations. The full range of sanctions is available depending on the nature and severity of the violation. Possible sanctions include:
- Disciplinary Warning
- Disciplinary Probation (Residence Hall Probation; University Probation Level I; University Probation Level II)
- Behavior Contract
- Residence Hall Reassignment or Removal
- Restriction of Privileges
- No Contact Directive
- Suspension of Group Recognition (for student organizations)
- Revocation of Group Recognition (for student organizations)
- Restitution Service
- Educational Activity
- Conduct Referrals
- Registration Hold
- Interim Suspension
Regretfully, some California University of Pennsylvania 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 California University of Pennsylvania 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.
(California University of Pennsylvania 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. California University of Pennsylvania 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 California University of Pennsylvania Student
California University of Pennsylvania and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before Student Code of Conduct disciplinary 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 the University, the accused student, and other involved parties, in an effort to achieve a constructive resolution. Whether before or after Student Code of Conduct disciplinary 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 California University of Pennsylvania. 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 California University of Pennsylvania in matters involving Student Code of Conduct disciplinary charges and/or academic integrity charges should not be confused with 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 California University of Pennsylvania 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 California University of Pennsylvania.
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, a respondent is welcome to an appeals process. California University of Pennsylvania appeals must be made in writing within 5 business days of the notification of decision. They must also be made on the specific grounds of: procedural error, new and significant evidence, lack of substantial information for the finding, or overly severe sanctions. Appeals can result in denial, modification of sanctions, a new hearing, or a reversal or modification of the findings.
If you or your student is facing the disciplinary process of California University of Pennsylvania, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.