The University of Scranton governs its student body through an overarching Student Code of Conduct. The Code itself includes but is not limited to the University's written Standards of Conduct, as well as the policies, rules, and regulations available in the Student Handbook. Students who commit violations of the Code will be under the jurisdiction of the Student Conduct Process, a multi-step disciplinary process designed to hold students accountable for the alleged violations. The process begins when a complaint is filed against a student. From this point, preliminary investigations will be conducted. If deemed appropriate, charges will be determined after an assigned Conduct Officer speaks with the initial complainant.
The University of Scranton Informal Conferences
The University offers both informal and formal options for resolving a case. Informal resolutions come in two forms:
Educational Conference: An Educational Conference is a meeting with the Conduct Officer and the accused student, where the student can share their side of the story. Depending on the nature of the case, the complainant may or may not be in attendance. After hearing out the information, the Conduct Officer will propose resolutions to settle the case. If the student does not accept the charges, sanctions or provisions proposed, the case will move forward to a Formal Hearing.
Deferred Suspension Review: If a student is placed on Deferred Suspension for serious and dangerous violations, they may be given an informal hearing with the Vice Provost for Student Formation & Campus Life. The Vice Provost will make a final decision on the violations and sanctions. Deferred Suspension students do not have the right to a Formal Hearing and as such, cannot appeal.
The University of Scranton Formal Conduct Hearings
Administrative Hearing: Administrative Hearings are used for less serious violations that cannot be resolved informally. A Conduct Officer that was not involved in the educational conference phase will be selected as the Administrative Hearing Officer, and will preside over the hearing.
University Review Board Hearing: University Review Board hears cases of a more serious nature. The board consists of faculty, staff, and students that are selected from a pool of volunteers. Each hearing Board will be led by an appointed, non-voting chairperson.
Hearings will follow the same process regardless of which hearing authority presides over them. Prior to each hearing, both sides will be sent any and all relevant evidence and information that will come up in the hearing. Each hearing opens with the hearing authority reading the charges to the accused student. Next, the complainant and the accused student present their information and witnesses. Each party can question one another's witnesses. However, questions must be suggested to the hearing authority who will then direct the question to the witness. After the presentation phase ends, both the complainant and the accused student can make summary statements for their case. Finally, deliberations will begin, and a decision will be made using the standard of "more likely than not."
The University of Scranton strives to keep attendance to hearings between the University personnel involved and the affected and relevant parties. If a student desires an advisor, the advisor selected must be a member of the University community, who may lack the experience or interest necessary to help put up a good defense. Because of these rules, attorneys are not able to attend the hearings, however, students are able to receive outside counsel. An attorney helping from behind the scenes will provide the student with valuable insight into courtroom-proven methods of evidence presentation, witness questioning, and argument construction.
An Experienced Attorney's Role When Representing a University of Scranton Student
The University of Scranton and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before non-academic disciplinary charges 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 the University of Scranton, the accused student, and other involved parties, in an effort to achieve a constructive resolution. Whether before or after non-academic disciplinary charges and/or academic misconduct charges are filed, the extent of an attorney's involvement will be at the discretion of the University of Scranton.
A student attorney's involvement at the University of Scranton in matters involving non-academic disciplinary charges and/or academic misconduct charges should not be confused with University of Scranton 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 the University of Scranton as well as behind the scenes to defend against sexual misconduct / sexual assault allegations.
The University of Scranton Appeals
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students are able to make an appeal. Appeals must be made within 5 business days or 5 class days, whichever is applicable, from the results of the hearing. Administrative Hearing decisions are not subject to appeals. The grounds for appeal are either a substantial procedural error or new evidence for consideration.
If you or your student is undergoing disciplinary action from the University of Scranton, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.