Saint Peter's University has established a Student Code of Conduct based upon five values that are promoted by the University. These values are: respect for oneself, respect for others, respect for property, respect for authority, and honesty. The Code of Conduct itself outlines behaviors that break these values; however, it states that these are only examples and does encompass every possible violation. This means that code violates are up to the interpretation of the authorities on the matter: the Student Conduct and Judicial System.
Student Conduct and Judicial System
When a student is charged with a violation, the University will begin the judicial process. The process begins when a complaint is filed against a student through the Student Life Office. Students under investigation are considered to be "in jeopardy" by the university. This term basically means that they have investigations or matters pending for allegations of a violation being committed. But it also means that the student could potentially face academic and career-altering circumstances, should these allegations be sought out to their maximum consequence.
The Conduct and Judicial System is a unified system for both academic and behavioral violations, but academic violations will be overseen by a different, more academically focused authority.
Hearings can come in many forms. Saint Peter's University focuses on trying to emphasize conflict resolution, mediation, and preventing the case from going to a higher authority than necessary. Likewise, lower-level authorities may also provide more lenient or less harsh sanctioning, depending on the nature of the violation itself. The University's judicial procedures actually offer several means of resolving the issue before a full judicial hearing is warranted. However, this will not always mean the best outcome.
Student Conduct Meeting: This is the first step in the process. The Saint Peter's University Student Conduct Meeting is a preliminary review of the facts to determine best possible procedure. This meeting takes place with an assigned judicial officer who will discuss the matters of the case with the student in jeopardy. The student can respond to any allegations, and these will be considered by the judicial officer when determining how to move forward. This hearing also allows for resolutions to be reached without any further steps taking place, provided that the student and the judicial officer are able to reach an agreement.
Facilitated Discussion: Facilitated Discussion is a form of supervised mediation involving a neutral third party outside of the case. This is an option students have, but to do so they must contact the Chief Judicial Officer and request this option. This is not normally an option for more serious violations.
Judicial Hearing: A Saint Peter's University Judicial Hearing is a formal administrative hearing in front of a conduct board. The Conduct Board will hear cases that are considered to be considered serious violations. The board itself will be chaired by the Chief Judicial Officer or an appointed chair and three other members. The chairperson does not vote, but instead oversees the hearing process. Students are also assigned a specific staff member to assist them as the process continues. Hearings are typically limited to jeopardized students and University personnel; however an attorney's counsel outside of the hearings will be a great source of both confidence and guidance for the student while they are preparing for the hearing.
Saint Peter's University will impose disciplinary sanctions if an accused student is found responsible for violating the University's Student Code of Conduct. The University considers sanctions to be a developmental and educational tool to redirect the accused student's behavior to fit the mission and values of the University. 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. An accused student's behavioral/disciplinary history is cumulative and will be considered by the University in determining appropriate sanctions for violations. Possible sanctions include:
- Administrative Hold
- Apology Letter
- Community Service
- Conduct Probation
- Contributed Service
- Course Removal
- Disciplinary Probation
- Dismissal from Residence
- Educational Activity
- Follow-Up Meeting
- Leadership Restriction
- Loss of Privileges
- No Contact Order
- Notation on Transcript
- Parental Notification
- Written Warning
In addition to any of the above, Saint Peter's University will impose additional sanctions for academic integrity violations as deemed appropriate.
Regretfully, some Saint Peter's 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 Saint Peter's 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.
Saint Peter's 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. Saint Peter's 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.
Experience Matters - An Experienced Attorney's Role When Representing a Saint Peter's University Student
Saint Peter's University and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before Student Code of Conduct disciplinary violations and/or academic misconduct charges are filed in certain instances. If charges have already been filed against a student, the accused student's attorney, also in certain instances, may be able to serve as an a liaison between Saint Peter's University, the accused student, and other involved parties, in an effort to achieve a constructive resolution. Whether before or after Student Code of Conduct 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 Saint Peter's 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 Saint Peter's University in matters involving Student Code of Conduct disciplinary charges and/or academic disciplinary charges should not be confused with Saint Peter's 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 Saint Peter's University as well as behind the scenes to defend against sexual misconduct and sexual assault allegations.
An experienced student discipline defense attorney will understand and use the most effective strategies when handling a student's case at Saint Peter's University.
In the event that a hearing or the judicial process itself has left the student with an unfavorable outcome, the student is welcome to an appellate process. Students have only three business days from the date of the of the notification of the outcome of their case to file an appeal. Saint Peter's University appeals must be made to the judicial officer that handled the case, and the officer will decide whether to consider the appeal. Appeals can be made on the grounds of new information, procedural error, insubstantial information, or incongruent sanctions.
If you or your student is facing disciplinary action from Saint Peters University, contact university student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento today.