Kutztown University of Pennsylvania houses their Student Conduct Code inside the University's Student Handbook, The Key. The Student Code of Conduct governs the student body and serves as a community standards system to outline and enforce behavioral expectations of students. Students who are found responsible for a code violation will suffer sanctions imposed on them by the authority who holds them responsible.
The process begins when an Incident Report is filed to the Dean of Students Office. At first, the Office may try to resolve the matter through mediation or other non-disciplinary options. However, charges of violations may still occur if there is sufficient evidence to make accusations.
Kutztown University Hearings
Students will be notified of any charges against them via their University email. From this point, they are assigned a preliminary briefing to inform them of their charges, and allow them to enter in a response to these charges. At the preliminary briefing, students can also waive their right to a hearing altogether and accept any sanctions that will follow.
If the student does not accept responsibility for the charges, the hearing process will begin. Students accused of violations are known as "respondents" in hearings while the individual or entity who is presenting the charges will be known as the "complainant." Complainants can be faculty, staff, the University community, or even other students. Hearings are most often held in front of the University Conduct Board, but may also be held in front of the Student-Faculty Review Board. The hearing will be led by a hearing authority, also known as a Process Advisor.
At the hearing, the complainant will be the first to present a case, including witness testimony and evidence. Following this, the respondent will be able to examine and question any witnesses and evidence. The respondent will then have the opportunity to present their own case, including any witness testimony and evidence. Anything presented is subject to examination by the complainant. Respondents are not required to testify, but the board may question them after their presentation. The Process Advisor may allow for further discussion and rebuttal before concluding the hearing.
The board will render a decision of "responsible" or "not responsible" based upon the standard of a "majority of credible evidence" pointing to the allegations. If the evidence on both sides is equal, the decision will be "not responsible." Prior disciplinary records will not be included unless the respondent introduces them during their presentation.
Respondents are welcome to the presence of an attorney. Students with an attorney at their side will feel more confident in their case, and will also feel that someone is on their side throughout the proceedings. Attorneys can also work with the student to select and present strong evidence to support their case.
Kutztown University Sanctions
Kutztown University will impose disciplinary sanctions if an accused student (or student campus organization) is found responsible for violating the University's Student Conduct Code. More than one of the sanctions listed below may be imposed for a violation, and the full range of sanctions is available depending on the nature and severity of the violation. Possible sanctions include:
- Disciplinary Reprimand
- Review Period
- Educational Activities
- Social Restriction
- Disciplinary Probation
- Residence Hall Suspension
- Deferred Suspension
Regretfully, some Kutztown 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 Kutztown 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.
(Kutztown 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. Kutztown 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.)
An Experienced Attorney's Role When Representing a Kutztown University Student
Kutztown University and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before Student Conduct Code disciplinary charges and/or academic integrity charges are filed in certain instances. If charges have already been filed against a student, the accused student's attorney, also in certain instances, will be able to serve as an a advocate between Kutztown University, the accused student, and other involved parties, in an effort to achieve a constructive resolution. Whether before or after Student Conduct Code disciplinary charges and/or academic integrity charges are filed, in working towards the prospect of an agreeable resolution, the extent of an attorney's involvement will be at the discretion of Kutztown University. Every student's case is unique; an experienced attorney will understand what the University may be receptive to, and will approach the matter accordingly.
An attorney's involvement at Kutztown University in matters involving Code of Conduct charges and/or academic integrity charges should not be confused with Kutztown University disciplinary cases involving Title IX sexual misconduct allegations. In Title IX student disciplinary proceedings, an experienced attorney must work both as the point of contact between the accused student and Kutztown University as well as behind the scenes to defend against sexual misconduct / sexual assault allegations.
An experienced student discipline defense attorney will understand and use the most effective strategies when representing a student at Kutztown University.
In the event of an unfavorable outcome of a hearing, students may file for an appeal. Kutztown University appeals must be made within 5 calendar days of the date of the outcome. Appeals must be submitted to the Student-Faculty Review Board via the Dean of Students Office. The basis for appeals must be one of the following: an error in the procedural due process, new evidence, or a claim of insufficient evidence at the original hearing.
If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.