Ursinus College enacts a Code of Conduct, located in the College's Student Handbook. The Code of Conduct is in place to secure the safety and prosperity of the academic community. Students who violate the code will be subject to the College's disciplinary procedure. The procedure itself is meant to serve as a form of obtaining resolutions to conflicts between students or College personnel. Students found responsible for violations will have sanctions imposed upon them by the College.
Ursinus College Informal Resolution
When a student has a complaint filed against them, the College will make an effort to resolve the conflict without disciplinary measures. This process is known as Informal Resolution. Mediation is most common solution granted by Informal Resolution, however, students may see other results depending on the case. The overall goal of the Informal Resolution process is to constructively resolve a conflict but still hold the student accountable for their actions. Informal Resolution is not normally offered for serious violations, such as those involving violence or Title IX violations, such as dating, relationship or sexual misconduct or violence
Ursinus College Formal Resolution Process
When a student faces more serious violations, the disciplinary procedure may escalate to a Formal Resolution Process. Throughout the Formal Resolution Process, students accused of violations will be known as "respondents." Formal Resolutions can come in two forms:
Administrative Hearing: An Administrative Hearing will take place in front of a single Hearing Officer who will manage and decide the hearing. A campus investigation will sometimes be done prior to the hearing. The student will also have the ability to either acknowledge or deny the violations. Most cases are resolved through Administrative Hearings. At the hearings, witnesses can be presented, and the student can respond to the charges with their own information. Students may also provide any information to be considered before sanctions are assigned.
Panel Hearing: For a Panel Hearing, the hearing panel will be assigned from members of a pool of volunteers. The panel itself will consist of 5 members: 3 faculty and 2 students. Any party can challenge members of the panel for bias, and one opportunity to challenge without reason.
At the hearing, introductions and hearing guidelines will be presented by the panel chair, along with a review of the complaint. The complainant presents their information first, with the respondent presenting their information after. After this, any witnesses will present their testimony. At any point during this process, panel members may question witnesses. Complainants and respondents can directly question each other and witnesses as well, provided that there has been no violence between the two parties. After the witnesses present their information, the panel will hear any closing comments from the complainant and the respondent. The panel will then conduct deliberations of determining responsibility and render a statement of decision. If necessary, the panel will also deliberate sanctions after presenting the decision. Additionally, the panel will deliver a statement of sanctions.
Students are welcome to the presence of an attorney at their side throughout hearings. Attorneys will advise students of their rights throughout the hearings process, as well as provide helpful insight on presentation and arguments for evidence. Students who have an attorney at their side will also feel much more confident in their case.
Ursinus College Sanctions
Ursinus College will impose disciplinary sanctions if a respondent student is found responsible for violating the College's Code of Conduct. The following factors can be considered when determining appropriate sanctions in a particular student's disciplinary case: (1) the nature of the offense/violation, (2) prior findings against the respondent student of responsibility and sanction(s), (3) mitigating circumstances surrounding the offense/violation, (4) the respondent student's motivation(s) for engaging in the behavior, (5) impacts of the respondent student's behavior, (6) sanctions which have been imposed by the College in similar disciplinary cases in the past; (7) the developmental and educational impact on the respondent student.
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. Possible "Standard Sanctions" include:
- Disciplinary Warning
- Disciplinary Probation
- Conditional Re-Enrollment
- Restriction of Access or Privileges
- Ban from Campus
Ursinus College may impose "Individualized Sanctions" in place of, or in addition to, the Standard Sanctions. Multiple Individualized Sanctions may be imposed, including, but not limited to, one or more of the following:
- Reflective Activity
- Counseling Assessment
- No Contact Order
- Community and/or College Service
- Meetings with College Resources
Regretfully, some Ursinus College students, despite their and their parents' best intentions, proceed with the College 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 Ursinus College 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.
(Ursinus College 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. Ursinus College 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.)
Ursinus College Appeals
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students have 7 days from the date that the notice of the hearing outcome was sent to make an appeal. Appeals must be on the grounds of the procedure not being properly followed, new evidence for consideration, the hearing evidence was unsupportive of findings, or the sanctions are inappropriate. Appeals are made to the Vice President of Student Affairs and decided upon by an Appeal Board. A second appeal is available which is decided directly by the Vice President of Student Affairs.
What Can You Do?
No college wants to unnecessarily expel, suspend, or punish any of its students; however, school policies can take very harsh stances on breaching their code of conduct. A violation of Ursinus College's Student Code of Conduct can have severe repercussions on a student's education and future employment prospects. Having an experienced attorney as an advocate can make a substantial difference in a disciplinary proceeding outcome. The earlier you obtain the assistance of counsel, the more effect your attorney can have over the hearing. If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from Ursinus College, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.