Misericordia University's Office of Community Standards upholds and enforces the University's Code of Conduct. The University's Student Handbook holds the Code and also the Disciplinary Process used when a student is suspected of a violation of the Code.
Misericordia University Discipline Process
A complaint against a student for a Code violation can be filed by any member of the University Community. Violations are typically broken down into two categories: major and minor violations. "Major" are considered the most serious because they are actions that jeopardize the well-being of the University community. Once a student is charged with violating the Code, the hearing will take place in one of two forms: Informal or Formal.
A student charged with minor violations will receive the notice of charges, and within 5 business days, go to a meeting with an Administrative Hearing Officer. The Administrative Hearing Officer can be a Resident Director, Director of Residence Life, Assistant Director of Residence Life, or the Coordinator of Student Affairs. The Informal Hearing is an attempt to resolve any potential violations without escalation. The student can take responsibility for their alleged violations at the time of the meeting and will receive the appropriate sanction, or the Administrative Hearing Officer will make a finding using the standard of a preponderance of evidence.
Formal Hearings will take place in front of the University Student Conduct Board. Formal Hearings are typically reserved for adjudicating major violations. The University Student Conduct Board itself will consist of 3 members: one faculty member, one member of the Student Affairs staff, and one member of the student body.
At Formal Hearings, students will speak in front of the board. Students will have the chance to present evidence and witnesses in their own defense. If the student, for whatever reason, is considered a perceived threat to others, they may not be allowed on campus or in their classes until the hearing is resolved. The board will hear out the facts of the case and decide by vote using the standard of a "preponderance of evidence" to hold the student responsible for a violation. If the student is found "responsible," the board will make a recommendation of what sanctions to assign to the Dean of Students, who will finalize the decisions.
The University prefers to keep any hearings between University personnel, witnesses, and the students involved in the case. Students are entitled to an adviser, provided that the adviser is a member of the University community. A community adviser is not likely to have the skills and experience necessary to help put up a good defense, nor will they have the level of investment in the student's case that an attorney will. Students can receive help from an attorney from behind the scenes. A skilled and experienced attorney will be able to provide students with valuable insight into courtroom tactics and proper methods of interviewing witnesses and presenting evidence. This insight can strongly influence the outcome of a hearing.
Misericordia University Appeals
Should the student receive an unfavorable outcome, there is a chance for appeal. Appeals must be made within 5 business days. The grounds for appeal are procedural error or new evidence. Appeals are submitted online through the University's system. A letter of Appeal must reference the student's violation, the grounds of appeal, and a proposed outcome from the student.
If you or a loved one is currently facing disciplinary action from Misericordia University, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.