Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania governs its student body through behavioral expectations set by its Student Code of Conduct. The Student Code of Conduct is put in place to both guarantee rights to Slippery Rock University's students, while also putting in place a number of rules for students to follow. Violating these rules results in students being subject to the University's disciplinary process. If a student is held responsible for a violation, they will be assigned sanctions for their behavior.
The process begins when allegations of violations are reported to the Director of the Office of Student Conduct. The Director or a designated officer will investigate and determine facts and decide whether or not to move forward.
Slippery Rock University Adjudication Procedures
A designated Conduct Officer will be assigned the task of questioning any witnesses and gathering enough information to see if there is reason to believe a student has committed a violation. If there is enough information gathered to pursue a case against a student, the Conduct Officer will inform the student and offer an opportunity for an early resolution without bringing the case to a hearing.
After the investigation has concluded, the Conduct Officer will offer the student a chance to resolve the situation early. The Conduct Officer will inform the student of their charges, and any sanctions that they will be held responsible for. If the student disagrees with the charges or sanctions specified, then the Conduct Officer may direct it to a hearing authority. The Conduct Officer may choose to apply sanctions anyway, and if the student is in disagreement, they are entitled to an appeal.
When the hearing process begins, the case can be referred to one of two Hearing Authorities: a Hearing Board or an Administrative Hearing Officer. A Slippery Rock University Hearing Board will consist of a Chairperson, one student, and one faculty or staff member. The board both hears and decides upon cases. An Administrative Hearing Officer is a designated officer who will decide and hear the case alone.
At the hearing, the Conduct Officer will present the opposing case to the Hearing Authority. This includes any relevant witnesses and evidence. The Hearing Authority will determine what is relevant to the case. Hearsay evidence will not be taken into account as fact-establishing evidence. Students will then have an opportunity to question the information and witnesses presented.
Afterwards, students can present witnesses and evidence of their own. Students can also remain silent for any questions, but the Hearing Authority is allowed to make negative inferences from their silence. After all of the information is presented, the Hearing Authority will discuss the case and make a decision based on a preponderance of evidence.
Students are welcome to the presence of an attorney at hearings. An attorney's presence at a student's side will help them feel more confident and secure when facing the intimidating disciplinary procedures. Advice and counsel from an attorney will also help students gain perspective on what evidence to present, and what questions to ask.
Slippery Rock University will impose disciplinary sanctions if an accused student (or student campus organization) is found responsible for violating the University's Student Code of Conduct. Each University conduct referral is processed and decided based upon the unique circumstances of that particular referral. Although there will be usual and customary sanctions administered for similar violations of University regulations, there may be aggravating or mitigating circumstances that could alter the response. Aggravating factors may include, but are not limited to, the extent of harm or injury caused as a result of the incident and actions targeted toward a person based upon that person's sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, or any legally protected class. More than one of the sanctions listed below may be imposed for a disciplinary violation, and the full range of sanctions is available depending on the nature and severity of the violation. Possible sanctions include:
- Censure (Written Warning)
- Disciplinary Probation
- Permanent Disciplinary Probation
- Loss of Privilege
- Social Activities Probation
- Separation from the University:
- Deferred Suspension
- Interim Suspension
- Disciplinary Suspension
- Permanent Dismissal
- Revocation of Degree
- Residence Hall Relocation
- Residence Hall Removal
- Educational Programs
- Withhold Official Records
- No-Trespass Order
- No-Communication/Contact Order
If the University President, or designee, determines that the presence of a student allegedly in violation constitutes an immediate threat of harm to the student, other students, University personnel, or University property, the President, or designee, may immediately suspend that student. Slippery Rock University will impose additional discipline/sanctions for academic dishonesty and academic integrity violations as deemed appropriate.
Trying to Mitigate the Damage After an Adverse Finding and Sanctions is a Mistake
Regretfully, some Slippery Rock 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 Slippery Rock 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.
(Slippery Rock 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. Slippery Rock 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 Slippery Rock University Student
Slippery Rock University and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before Student Code of Conduct 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 advocate between Slippery Rock University, the accused student, and other involved parties, in an effort to achieve a constructive resolution. Whether before or after Student Code of Conduct 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 Slippery Rock 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 Slippery Rock University in matters involving Student Code of Conduct disciplinary charges and/or academic integrity charges should not be confused with Slippery Rock 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 Slippery Rock University as well as behind the scenes to defend against sexual misconduct/sexual assault allegations. An experienced attorney will know how to defend against Title IX charges and can advise accordingly.
An experienced student discipline defense attorney will understand and use the most effective strategies when handling a student's case at Slippery Rock University.
In the event of unfavorable outcomes, or overly severe sanctions, students can make an appeal. Appeals for early resolution sanctions must be made within 5 days of the notification of sanctions to Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs. Slippery Rock University appeals on decisions made from hearings must be made within 5 days to the Director of the Office of Student Conduct.
If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from Slippery Rock University, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.