Gwynedd Mercy University makes use of a Code of Student Conduct to govern its student body. The Code of Student Conduct lists a number of behaviors a student can exhibit that are prohibited. Failure to uphold the Code of Student Conduct will result in a student becoming the subject of the University's disciplinary process. If a student is found to be responsible for a violation of the Code, they will have sanctions imposed upon them by the University's disciplinary process. The University uses the same hearing procedures for both academic and behavioral violations.
When a student has a complaint filed against them through University channels, the hearing process begins. Throughout the hearing process, the student facing charges will be known simply as the "accused student," while the person who is bringing the complaint will be known as the "complainant." Hearings come in one of two forms: Administrative Hearings and Campus Hearing Board Hearings. The type of hearing students face depends on the nature of the case.
Gwynedd Mercy University Administrative Hearing
Administrative Hearings are normally used for alleged offenses that do not result in sanctions of suspension or expulsion. A Hearing Officer will be selected based on what type of offense is being heard. The Office of Academic Affairs chooses the Hearing Officer for academic integrity violations, while other violations are handled by the Dean of Students or the Associate Director of Residence Life. At the hearing, the Administrative Hearing Officer will review information and hear out info from the accused student, the complainant, and any witnesses. This may be done separately or together depending on the case. After all information has been heard, the Hearing Officer will arrive at a decision.
Campus Hearing Board Hearing
The Campus Hearing Board is a pool of faculty, staff, and students. Hearings have a board of a minimum of 6 members of the pool. Hearing boards must include the Dean of Students, who does not vote, but instead is there to retain procedural integrity, the Student Arbitrator, who acts as the leader of the board and has a vote, 1 voting faculty member, and 2 other voting students.
Throughout hearings, the accused student and complainant cannot directly cross-examine one another so questions each party has for one another are submitted in writing to the board, who will then ask the question to the student.
The Dean of Students will first call the hearing to order. The charges will then be read to the accused student by the Student Arbitrator. The Student Arbitrator will call in witnesses to testify against the accused student. These witnesses will then be questioned by the members of the board. The accused student will then be able to question these witnesses unless the witness is the complainant. After this, the accused student and supporting witness will testify. The accused student and their supporting witnesses will then be questioned by both the board and the complainant, provided that the complainant does not directly question the accused student. After this, the accused student can present a closing argument. Finally, the board will go into private deliberation. Decisions will be made using a majority vote and the standard of a preponderance of the evidence.
Students are permitted to have a personal advisor at their side throughout hearings, and this personal advisor can also be an attorney. Students with an attorney at their side will feel more confident and secure in their case. Attorneys can also provide students with a wealth of knowledge of courtroom techniques, including witness questioning and argument construction, as well as how to properly apply these techniques to the rules of the hearing.
Gwynedd Mercy University Appeal
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students have the opportunity to make an appeal. Appeals must be made within 3 business days of the decision. Letters of appeal must be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students. The grounds for appeal are either the discovery of new evidence, or a gross abuse of discretion throughout the hearing process. Appeals are reviewed by the closest level of conduct officer above the authority used at the initial hearing.
If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from Gwynedd Mercy University, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.