Drexel University governs its student body through its Code of Conduct, located in the Student Handbook. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards holds the jurisdiction over any potential violations of the Code of Conduct. Students accused of violations will be subject to Drexel's disciplinary process. The process will begin once a formal complaint is filed and the accused student receives a notice of their charges.
Drexel University Pre-Hearing Conference
When a student receives a notice of charges, there will be an assigned date for a Pre-Hearing Conference. The purpose of a Pre-Hearing Conference is to inform students of the charges they will face, explain the conduct process, and provide the student with an early opportunity to respond to the charges. Accepting the charges will also accept any sanctions that accompany the charge, although, the severity of the sanctions may be appealed. Students who contest the charges have the right to a formal hearing before the Conduct Board appropriate to their situation. When a student proceeds to a hearing level, they will be known as "the respondent," and the person who is bringing the charges against them will be known as "the complainant."
Hearings will take place in front of one of two hearing boards:
University Conduct Board: The University Conduct board consists of students, faculty and staff who volunteer for involvement in the disciplinary process. This is the primary hearing board for most cases.
Fraternity/Sorority Conduct Board: The Fraternity/Sorority Conduct board is used when members or entire organizations from the University's Greek Life community are involved in the disciplinary process. The members of the board will consist entirely of Greek Life community members.
Hearings will proceed in the same fashion regardless of which board is presiding over the hearing. The hearing begins with a reading of the charges. Next, the complainant will have the opportunity to present their case, evidence, and witness testimony against the respondent first. Following the complainant's presentation, the respondent and board will have the opportunity to question the complainant and witnesses. The respondent will then present their case, evidence, and witness testimony. After this, the complainant and board will question the respondent and their witnesses. No character witnesses will be permitted. The Chair can then allow for any rebuttals, and may also give an opportunity for both sides to make closing arguments. Following the hearing's conclusion, the Board will go into their deliberations phase. Deliberations will be done using the standard of "more likely than not" to reach a decision. Only after reaching a decision of "in violation," can the board take into account the respondent's previous disciplinary record and academic standing.
Hearings are kept between the relevant parties, any witnesses, and University personnel. However, students are entitled to the presence of an adviser, with some restrictions. Unfortunately, the adviser must be a member of the University community, and is likely to either lack the necessary experience to properly aid a student or will not necessarily have the student's best interest in mind. Even though the adviser in the hearing must be a member of the University community, students can receive advice from a professional and experienced attorney from behind the scenes. An attorney will be knowledgeable in evidence presentation and argument, and will help students to understand how to properly use these tactics to their advantage in a Conduct Hearing. Additionally, receiving counsel from an attorney will inspire confidence in the student as they move through their case.
Drexel University Sanctions
Drexel University will impose disciplinary sanctions if an accused student is found to have violated University policies, rules, regulations or standards of conduct. The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards has discretion to impose a range of disciplinary actions, and more than one disciplinary sanction may be imposed for a single violation. Penalties and sanctions that may be imposed include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Withdrawal of (Rescind) Degree
- Withholding of a Degree
- Deferred Suspension
- Loss of Housing
- Deferred Loss of Housing
- Ban from University Housing/Ban from Residence Halls
- Housing Reassignment
- Restricted Access
- Disciplinary Probation
- Assignment of a Constructive/ Educational Task
- Hold on Records
- Notification of Parent or Legal Guardian
- Disciplinary Reprimand
- Interim Suspension
In addition to any of the above sanctions, Drexel University will impose additional sanctions for academic integrity violations as deemed appropriate.
Regretfully, some Drexel 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 Drexel 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.
(Drexel 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. Drexel 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.)
Drexel University Appeals
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students have the chance to make an appeal. Appeals must be made to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, and will be heard in a private session by the University Appellate Board. Appeals must be on the grounds of inappropriately severe sanctions, insufficient information for a decision, improper procedure, or new evidence or information to be considered. The due date for submitting appeals is 7 days from the date of written notice of the hearing decision, or, in the case of new evidence or information, 7 days from the discovery or availability of the new evidence or information.
If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from Drexel University, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.