Stockton University enforces a Campus Code of Conduct, located within the student handbook, to take care of its students. Their code regulates actions of both students and faculty, in addition to any visitors. The code of conduct is exemplified by five governing principles: integrity, community, social justice, respect and responsibility. Together, these five principles embody the values that Stockton University wishes to promote in its own community. Violating the rule sand regulations set by these principles will result in disciplinary action. Infractions can lead to severe consequences, and punishments in the form of sanctions.
Campus Hearing Board
The Campus Hearing Board is made up of students, faculty and administration. There are three divisions to address grievances: the Student Hearing panel, the Administrative Hearing panel and the Executive Committee. These multiple branches are separated to that student grievances are heard separately from faculty and staff grievances. The Student Hearing panel and the Administrative Hearing panel primarily deal with students, while the Executive Committee deals with faculty and staff.
- Administrative Hearing Panel: This panel consists of typically three to five faculty or administrative staff, with one acting as a Moderator, designated by Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities. This panel will typically handle the more serious violations.
- Student Hearing Panel: This panel consists of typically three to five students, with one acting as Moderator. At times, faculty or staff members may assist this panel. This panel will typically hear general code violations.
Code Violation Procedures
Code Violation procedures are structured on a "complainant" vs "respondent" dynamic. The overall process begins with a complaint being filed against a student, accusing them of a violation. The person who files the complaint becomes the complainant while the accused student becomes known as the respondent. After the complaint is filed, it is reviewed by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Complainants also have the opportunity to withdraw charges against the respondent for a 24 hour period. At times, if the violation is not serious, complainants and respondents may be assigned to conflict resolution instead of the Code Violation process. Conflict Resolution will not be used for serious accusations such as violence or sexual violence.
If a hearing is conducted, it will proceed in one of two ways:
- Informal Resolution: An Informal Resolution can be reached if the Respondent accepts responsibility for code violations and offered sanctions. A Respondent can submit explanation for their actions when accepting responsibility. The Respondent can accept responsibility for the charges, but not accept the sanctions. The parties have 7 days to resolve before hearing process begins. This can be likened to "plea bargaining" in the court of law, although the respondent has significantly less time and options.
- Hearings: If the parties cannot reach a resolution, a hearing will be held for the charges. The charges will be presented to the parties along with the date and time of the hearing. A Stockton University hearing will be conducted by a Moderator or Chair who will act somewhat like a judge. Moderators can exclude evidence if they deem it repetitive or unnecessary. All parties can present evidence and witnesses, and anything presented is subject to cross-examination from the other party. Attorneys are welcome to accompany students into these hearings as well.
Stockton University will impose disciplinary sanctions if a respondent student is found responsible for violating the University's Campus Code of Conduct. 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. Student misconduct motivated by discriminatory intent may result in more serious sanctions. Additional sanctions to address specific needs such as awareness/rehabilitation programs, etc., may also be imposed. Possible sanctions include:
- Community Service
- University Probation
- Loss of Housing or Housing Visitation
- Loss of Extracurricular Participation
- Loss of Campus Visitation
In addition to any of the above, Stockton University will impose additional sanctions for academic dishonesty and academic integrity violations as deemed appropriate. Although the range of disciplinary sanctions imposed for academic integrity violations is contingent on several factors, such violations are punishable by severe sanctions including suspension and expulsion.
Regretfully, some Stockton 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 Stockton 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.
Stockton 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. Stockton 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 Stockton University Student
Stockton University and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before Campus 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 Stockton University, the accused student, and other involved parties, in an effort to achieve a constructive resolution. Whether before or after Campus 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 Stockton 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.
A attorney's involvement at Stockton University in matters involving Campus Code of Conduct disciplinary charges and/or academic disciplinary charges should not be confused with Stockton 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 Stockton 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 Stockton University.
Should a hearing reach its conclusion and a respondent is left with unfavorable sanctions or an unfavorable outcome, there is an opportunity for appeal. Stockton University appeals must be sent to the Vice President for Student Affairs within seven business days of the decision. Letters of appeal must document either procedural errors that affected the outcome, or call to evaluate new evidence that would affect the outcome. From here, the Vice President will sustain the judgment, order changes to the sanctions or charges, call for a new hearing, or dismiss the case altogether. If a respondent has completed the appellate process, with no further options available, they may apply for leniency after completing one semester of their assigned sanctions.
What Can You Do?
Stockton University's process for enforcing code violations can be confusing and unfamiliar to students. Students may not know the consequences they are really facing. Having an attorney can help. If you or your student are currently facing disciplinary action from Stockton University, contact university student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento today.