Keystone College governs its student body through its Code of Conduct, located in the College's student handbook. The Code of Conduct is upheld and enforced by the Office of Student Conduct in order to maintain a safe and secure learning environment for all students. Students who violate the Code of Conduct will face potential sanctions imposed on them by the College.
The process begins when a complaint is filed against a student. A preliminary investigation will occur to determine if enough evidence for violation. Once the Office of Student Conduct deems it necessary to pursue violation charges, the situation can be resolved in one of several ways.
Keystone College Mediation
At times, cases can go through a mediation process. The benefits of this method are that no disciplinary record will be made, and the outcomes do not seriously jeopardize the student. Mediation is a discussion based process to help students work together for a solution. Serious violations, such as those involving violence or crime cannot go through the mediation process.
Informal Resolution Meeting
Informal Resolution can be used for lesser violations, and can potentially have an impact on a student's disciplinary record. The meeting will take place with a Student Life staff member. The overall goal is to resolve issues through dialogue and allowing the student to explain themselves. Decisions made and sanctions assigned through an Informal Resolution Meeting will be reviewed by the Coordinator of Student Conduct, and are final.
Formal Resolution Meeting
A Formal Resolution Meeting is a brief meeting with the Coordinator of Student Conduct. The purpose of this meeting is to inform the student of the student conduct procedures. The student will also be given a chance to explain their side, refute evidence, and offer supporting evidence and witnesses. The student will then be given the chance to admit or deny responsibility. Admitting the responsibility will accept sanctions, but offer a chance at an appeal. Denying will bring the case to a Student Conduct Board Hearing, or will result in the charges being dropped at the discretion of the Coordinator of Student Conduct.
Student Conduct Board Hearing
When the hearing process begins, the accused student will be known as the respondent, while the individual bringing charges against the student will be known as the complainant. The Coordinator of Student Conduct may represent the College as the complainant, if necessary.
Hearings are conducted and decided upon by the All-College Student Conduct Board. The Coordinator of Student Conduct will act somewhat as a prosecutor and judge hybrid, ensuring that procedure is followed, but also presenting charges against the respondent. At the hearing, the Coordinator of Student Conduct will make an opening statement and present the alleged violations. After this, opposing witnesses will be presented by the Coordinator or the complainant, and then cross-examined by the Board. Next, the respondent will make an opening statement. Following this, the respondent's supporting witnesses will be presented and cross-examined by the Board. After this phase, the complainant will make their closing statement followed by the respondent making their closing statement. After this, the coordinator will close the hearing, and the Board will deliberate. Deliberations will be done using the standard of a "preponderance of evidence."
Students are entitled to an advisor of their choosing at these hearings. There is no reason why this advisor should not be an attorney. An attorney at a student's side will inspire confidence and students will be self-assured when facing the intimidating hearing board. Attorneys will be able to advise a student on methods of evidence presentation and argument construction that can strongly influence the outcome of a hearing.
Keystone College Appeals
Should the hearing result in an unfavorable outcome, students will have 5 business days from receiving the initial hearing decision to make an appeal. Appeals must be on the grounds of a claim of errors in process or violation of rights, new evidence, or a claim of the severity of the sanction not being proportional to offense.
If you or your student is facing disciplinary action from Keystone College, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.