Gettysburg College governs its student body using its Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct and its procedures are located in the Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Students who are suspected of behavior that is contrary to what is outlined in the Code will be charged with violations. Students suspected of violations will undergo the Code of Conduct Process. If a student is found to be responsible for a violation, they will have sanctions imposed on them by the College.
A complaint against a student can be filed by any member of the College. Once a complaint is filed, the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities determines whether or not Code of Conduct charges are appropriate for the matter. The Director will also choose the hearing body when appropriate. The hearing body will be either the Student Conduct Administrator or the Student Conduct Review Board. The Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities may also conduct an investigation for merit before making any determinations.
Cases that are assigned to a Student Conduct Administrator follow a much more informal process than those assigned to the Student Conduct Review Board. The Student Conduct Administrator will decide both the outcome of the case and the sanctions. The student can also admit to the violations they are charged with. If the violations are accepted but not the sanctions assigned, the appeal is limited to the scope of sanction appropriateness.
Gettysburg College Student Conduct Hearing Process
Student Conduct Review Board hearings are meant to resolve the situation between the "complainant" (the person who initiated the complaint) and the "respondent" (the student facing charges). Prior to the hearing both parties can request the removal of board members based on suspicions of a member's bias. Hearings will follow procedure as determined by the board presiding over them. In general, the complainant and the respondent will each have the opportunity to present written and physical evidence. Both parties can also present supporting witnesses for themselves, who the board will question following testimony. Witnesses cannot be questioned by the complainant or respondent directly. Instead, both parties must question the witnesses through the board, by suggesting questions that the board will ask. After all the information has been heard and all questioning has concluded, the board will deliberate. Decisions will be made using a majority vote. Deliberations are to use standard of "more likely than not."
Students are entitled to the assistance of an advisor, however, there is one unfortunate caveat: the advisor must be a member of the College community. While this may seem helpful, a member of the College community is unlikely the have the same level of student defense experience and dedication to a student's case as an attorney will. Even without attending a hearing, an attorney's help from behind the scenes can be a great resource for students facing a hearing. Attorneys will be able to offer students keen insight into courtroom tactics that, when applied to a college disciplinary hearing, can be incredibly effective at securing a more favorable outcome.
Gettysburg College Appeals
Should a hearing result in an unfavorable outcome for any reason, students are able to make an appeal. Students have 5 calendar days from the date of the decision to make an appeal to the Vice President for College Life & Dean of Students. Appeals must be on the grounds of unreasonable sanctions, procedural error, or new information.
If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from Gettysburg College, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.