Chatham University governs its student body through the use of its Honor Code. The Honor Code is meant to serve as a means of promoting a safe and astute academic and living environment for students. Actions that do not adhere to the Honor Code are considered violations. Students charged with violations will undergo the University's Student Conduct System, overseen by the Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students. The Honor Code also covers academic dishonesty violations. Lower-level violations, and violations related to residence halls will be handled by the Office of Residence Life by a separate, less formal process.
Chatham University The Student Conduct System
Any person can refer a student for disciplinary action by using an Incident Report Form, a Conduct Complaint Form, or an Academic Dishonesty Form and filing it with the appropriate party. An investigation will follow to see if the charges are valid. Action will not be taken if the charges are not valid. If the charges are valid, the Student Conduct Advisor will notify the student in writing. Once the Student Conduct System process begins, the person who initiated the complaint will be known as "the complainant," while the other individual will be known as "the respondent." The Student Conduct Advisor will have a brief Initial Meeting with the respondent to inform them of the charges and the overall conduct process.
Student Conduct Conference
Student Conduct Conferences will be held and decided upon by the Student Conduct Board. The Student Conduct Board consists of a pool of students and faculty volunteers. At least 5 members of the Student Conduct Board must be present for a hearing, and the hearing board will have a combination of students and faculty.
The respondent will have access to the case file during and after the initial meeting to prepare. The student conduct conference will be set up, and the parties will be notified of the time and date. At the conference, the process will begin with the parties being introduced, and the charges being reviewed. After this, the complainant will make an opening statement. Next, the board and the respondent will question the complainant. After this, the respondent's phase begins with an opening statement, followed by questions from the board and complainant. The next step in the matter is a phase dedicated solely to witness testimony. After testifying, witnesses will be questioned by the respondent, the complainant and the board. The complainant and respondent will make closing statements afterwards. Finally the board will go into private deliberation and return with an outcome. If a student is found "responsible," there will be a separate deliberation for determining sanctions.
The University does not typically allow outside members into Student Conduct Conferences. However, students are given the opportunity to select an advisor from the University community, or a close relationship, such as a friend or a parent. However, these parties may not have the experience and knowledge necessary to bolster a strong defense for the student. Outside assistance from an attorney behind the scenes will provide students with knowledge of courtroom tactics such as methods for evidence presentation and witness questions. These methods can be incredibly effective when employed in a Student Conduct Hearing.
Chatham University Appeals
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students have 7 days from the written notification date to make an appeal. Letters of appeal must be submitted to the Vice President for Student Affairs or the Vice President for Academic Affairs, depending on the offense. The grounds for appeal are non-compliance with procedures of fairness in the Honor Code, a sanction not in proportion to the seriousness of the offense, new information for consideration, or sanctions of suspension or expulsion.
If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from Chatham University, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.