The University of the Sciences governs its student body through the use of its Student Conduct Policy, located in the University's Student Handbook. The Student Conduct Policy is enacted and enforced by the Office of Student Conduct, who also serves as the disciplinary authority. Should a student violate the Student Conduct Policy, they will be subject to the Student Conduct Process, the University's judicial system. If a student is found to be responsible for a violation, the University will impose sanctions on them for their behavior.
The process begins when a complaint is filed against a student. Anyone in the University community can file charges against a student for a violation. Once the charges are reviewed by the Office of Student Conduct, and they are deemed to have merit, the student will be informed of the charges. Throughout the Student Conduct Process, students who are accused of committing violations will be known as the "respondent" while the student who initiated the complaint will be known as the "complainant."
Disposition Prior to Hearing
The "Disposition Prior to Hearing" phase will allow respondents the chance to accept both responsibility and sanctions without a hearing. A notification of charges will be sent to the respondent and the respondent has 5 business days to accept charges. If the Office of Student Conduct does not receive a response, the case will move forward to a hearing.
The University of the Sciences Hearings
There are two forms of hearings that can take place:
An Administrative Hearing will take place in front of a single Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer mediates a discussion between the complainant and the respondent to resolve the matter. Witnesses can be brought to Administrative Hearings to help either side. If the matter cannot be resolved, or if either party does not agree with the resolution, they can move the case forward to a Conduct Hearing. Conduct Hearings must be requested in writing within 5 business days of the Administrative Hearing.
Before the full hearing can begin, a prehearing meeting will be held. During this, the Hearing Officer will review the process and answer any questions from the complainant or respondent. Both parties will also receive a list of members of the potential Student Conduct Committee who will hear the case. For the hearing, the Student Conduct Committee will consist of at least one faculty member, one staff member, and one student. The Committee will also be led by a Chair. The complainant and the respondent can challenge any member's impartiality and request new members.
At the hearing, both the complainant and the respondent can bring forth witnesses to the incident. Depending on the nature of the case, witness testimony can either be submitted live or through writing. Respondents can have 2 character witnesses as well, provided that they are members of the University community. After all of the evidence has been heard out, the Committee will deliberate on the case using the standard of "more likely than not."
Students are given the opportunity to select a Conduct Advisor, however, the advisor must be a member of the University community. A University community member may be a friendly advisor, however, they will not have the same level of experience, nor will they carry the same level of interest in the students case as an attorney. An attorney can help students from behind the scenes, providing counsel and insight into courtroom tactics that students can bring to their hearings to help secure a more favorable verdict.
The University of the Sciences Appeals
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students have 10 business days to make an appeal to the Director of Student Conduct. Appeals must be made on the grounds of a question of new evidence, a question of procedure, a question of sanctions, or a question of findings.
If you or your student is involved in the University of the Science's disciplinary process, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.