6.5.1 Preliminary Meeting
The preliminary meeting is an initial meeting with a designated Student Rights and Community Standards staff person (Director or a Graduate Assistant) at which time the accused student is made aware of University disciplinary procedures, the nature of the complaint and alleged violations, and the range of sanctions possible for that type of offense. The student is also given an opportunity to respond to the complaint. Based on the information available, the Director or designee, may; dismiss some or all of the alleged violations; continue an investigation into the complaint to determine if the allegations have merit; refer the complaint to an alternative resolution process with the mutual consent of the parties involved and if such referral is acceptable to the Director; or charge the student with one or more violations of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
If charged by the designated staff person with a violation(s) of the Code, the student is also informed of his/her options in adjudicating the violation(s), including one of the following:
a. To plead “responsible” for the violation, request an informal resolution in lieu of a hearing, and have the sanctions determined at that time by the staff person. The designated staff person conducting the preliminary meeting may choose to refer the determination of sanctions to a hearing board if the level of offense warrants more serious sanctions than that staff person is authorized to impose. As part of an informal resolution, the Director of Student Rights and Community Standards may impose sanctions, indicated in section 6.6.4 up to and including suspension from the University but not expulsion or revocation of admission or degree.
b. To plead “not responsible” for the violation and request a hearing. In the case of minor offenses, the designated staff person may choose to hear the case administratively or to refer the case to another administrative hearing officer. In cases that are complicated in nature and scope, or where the violations may result in more serious sanctions, the case may be referred to the Screening Committee of the University Review Board.
6.5.2 Screening Committee
After the Preliminary Meeting, and if the case meets the criteria noted in 6.5.1.b above, the Director or his/her designee shall convene the Screening Committee made up of the Director or his designee, the Vice President of Student Government Association, and a faculty or professional staff member from the University Review Board. The Screening Committee shall review all information available concerning the incident and make a decision on how to proceed, exercising one of the following options:
a. Refer the case on to the University Review Board.
b. Refer the case back to the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards for an Administrative Hearing.
c. Dismiss any or all charges. Any charges not dismissed will be referred as described in a. or b. above.
6.5.3 Administrative Hearing
The case is heard before a designated hearing officer who will determine if a student is in violation based on information provided and will determine sanctions rising to the level of disciplinary probation. The student will receive notification of the hearing at least three (3) business days in advance, shall have an opportunity at the hearing to call witnesses on his/her behalf, and shall be able to ask questions of witnesses.
6.5.4 Interim Suspension
Under certain circumstances, a student accused of a violation of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities may be subject to interim suspension from the University prior to a University Review Board hearing. During the interim suspension, the student is subject to trespass from University property and facilities and is denied access to all classes, activities and privileges for which the student might be eligible. Interim suspension shall be imposed only when:
a. A student is deemed to be a threat to the safety and well-being of the University community or property, or
b. It is determined that such action would be beneficial to the student’s own safety and well being, or
c. A student’s presence is deemed to pose a substantial threat of disruption to the University’s educational process.
The decision to suspend on an interim basis shall be made by the Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students or his/her designee. The student will be notified in writing of this action and the reasons for the interim suspension. The notice should include the time, date, and place of a subsequent hearing within three business days at which the student may show cause why his or her continued presence on the campus does not constitute a threat [and at which they may contest whether a violation of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities took place]. The interim suspension may continue until the entire disciplinary process including appeal, is completed. Every effort will be made to complete the disciplinary process in a timely manner so as to limit the interim suspension to the shortest time possible.
6.5.5 University Review Board
The University Review Board hears disciplinary cases referred to it by the Screening Committee. It is composed of twenty (20) members; ten (10) shall be students and ten (10) shall be University faculty members and/or professional staff members.
a. Student Membership. The student membership will include the Vice President of the Student Government Association, five (5) members of the Judicial Court of Student Government Association and four (4) additional students appointed by the Student Government Association President. The Judicial Court members shall be elected by students in the spring, assume their committee responsibilities on the first day of fall semester and shall hold office for one (1) calendar year. Other appointed students also assume responsibility at the start of the fall semester and serve for one (1) calendar year. A student member may serve an unlimited number of terms. If insufficient student members have been appointed by the Student Government Association when a hearing is required, the Director has the discretion to utilize non-appointed students in order to provide a timely process.
b. Faculty and Professional Staff Membership. The faculty and professional staff members shall be selected by the University Senate’s Governance Committee to assume their committee responsibility on the first day of fall semester and serve for one calendar year. A faculty or professional staff member may serve an unlimited number of terms. If insufficient faculty or professional staff members have been appointed by the appropriate governance committee when a hearing is required, the Director has the discretion to utilize non-appointed employees in order to provide a timely process.
c. Quorum. To conduct a hearing for a student disciplinary case, a Hearing Board composed of a minimum of four (4) members of the University Review Board, of whom at least two (2) must be students and two (2) must be faculty and/or professional staff, will be designated by the Director of Student Rights and Community Standards or his/her designee. A hearing may proceed with a minimum of three (3) members present.
d. Hearing Board Chairperson. The hearing shall be chaired by one (1) member of the Hearing Board designated in advance by the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards. The chairperson shall be a voting member of the Board. The Director of Student Rights and Community Standards or his/her designee will be present at all hearings as a non-voting consultant to the Hearing Board.
e. Hearings During Summer Session and Breaks. To insure the functioning of the Hearing Board during Summer Session and at other times when regular classes are not in session, the Director of Student Rights and Community Standards or his/her designee may convene a University Review Board hearing with a minimum of three (3) persons chosen from the pool of the University Review Board membership who are available. Should a minimum of three (3) be unavailable from the University Review Board pool, the Director may select additional faculty, staff or student members to participate in the hearing process.
6.5.6 Procedures for Disciplinary Hearings.
Procedures for disciplinary cases of the Hearing Board shall be as follows:
a. Written Notice of Hearing. The accused student(s) shall be notified by the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards in writing of the date, time, and place of the hearing at least three (3) school days before the hearing. This notice shall also include a statement of the allegations of policy violations, information about the hearing process and the range of sanctions available. In cases where there are multiple accused students, the Director of the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards may choose at his discretion to convene one (1) hearing or separate hearings for the accused students.
b. Absence of the Accused Student. The accused student may choose not to attend the hearing and may instead submit a written presentation of his/her case. The hearing may proceed in the absence of the accused. By such absence, the accused forfeits his/her right to question witnesses.
c. Witnesses. The accused student, the complainant and the Director of Student Rights and Community Standards or his/her designee may invite persons who have information relevant to the accusation to present testimony at the hearing; however, the chairperson of the Hearing Board may limit the number of witnesses to avoid repetition and cumulative testimony. The Board may also limit the testimony of character witnesses,whose testimony may be considered only for determining sanctions. The names of witnesses and written disclosure of the main points of their testimony must be provided to the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards a minimum of twenty-four (24) hours before the hearing. Each party shall be responsible for insuring the presence of his/her witnesses at the hearing or delivery of a written or recorded statement in lieu of personal testimony. Witnesses invited by either party shall be present only while they are testifying.
d. Student Assistance. The accused student and the complainant may be accompanied and assisted at the hearing by an advisor of their choice. The student must provide the name of his/her advisor to the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards at least one (1) business day before the hearing. At no time may the advisor or the attorney participate directly in the hearing proceedings. He/she may only consult with the student.
e. Disqualification, Challenges. Any Hearing Board member may disqualify himself/herself if he or she has a conflict of interest with the case, with the accused student, with the complainant or when the Board member believes a personal bias makes it impossible to render a fair decision. The accused student or complainant may challenge a Hearing Board member on the grounds of conflict of interest or personal bias. The decision whether to disqualify a challenged member shall be made by a majority vote of the remaining members present. If a challenge is upheld, the chairperson may, at his/her discretion, either appoint another person to fill the vacancy or direct that the vacancy not be filled. In the latter case, a quorum shall thereafter consist of the remaining members of the Hearing Board.
f. Conduct of the Hearing. The hearing shall be conducted in an informal manner and without reference to rules applicable to a court of law concerning the examination of witnesses and admissibility of evidence, but with a view toward providing the Hearing Board with a complete understanding of the facts involved. The chairperson may limit questioning deemed to be irrelevant, immaterial, and unduly repetitious. The hearing and the deliberations of the Hearing Board shall be private. Decisions of the Hearing Board shall be made by majority vote.
g. Record of the Hearing. There shall be a single verbatim record, such as an audio recording, of all University Review Board hearings (not including deliberations). Deliberations shall not be recorded. No other recording shall be made. The accused student may review the recording in the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards upon request. The recording shall be the property of Ball State University and shall be maintained by The Office of Student Rights and Community Standards until the conclusion of all appeal proceedings, until the appellate term has surpassed,or as required by law. There are no audio recordings of preliminary meetings or administrative hearings, unless otherwise deemed necessary by the hearing officer.
h. Continuances: The Hearing Board, by majority vote, may continue the hearing to a later time.
i. Additional Rules: Procedural rules not inconsistent with this process may be established by the Hearing Board from time to time to fulfill its functions in an orderly manner.
6.5.7 The Decision
The decision of the Hearing Board shall be submitted as a recommendation to the Director of Student Rights and Community Standards who may do one of the following:
a. Accept the recommendation and direct that the sanctions be implemented.
b. Lessen or otherwise modify the sanctions imposed by the Hearing Board.
c. Refer the case back to the Hearing Board for further consideration of sanctions.
6.5.8 Appeal Process
a. Students may appeal the result (finding and sanctions) of an Administrative Hearing decision to the next level administrator.
b. Decisions by the Hearing Board (including accepted sanctioning recommendations) may be appealed to the Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students or his/her designee.
c. In both levels of cases, the student has three (3) business days from receipt of the original decision in which to submit an appeal in writing.
d. Except as required to explain the basis of new information, an appeal shall be limited to a review of the verbatim record of the University Review Board hearing and supporting documents.
e. A student may appeal based on the following reasons:
1) A substantial procedural error that unreasonably impaired the student or the hearing body.
2) An unduly harsh sanction against the accused student.
3) New information of a substantive nature sufficient to alter a decision, because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original hearing.
4) Information of substantial bias on the part of the disciplinary body hearing the case
f. An appeal may be resolved in one of the following ways:
1) The original decision may be upheld.
2) Modified sanctions, either greater or lesser, may be imposed.
3) The case may be remanded to the Hearing Board reconstituted with new members to allow reconsideration of the original determination and/or sanctions.
g. The appellate decision shall be final and not subject to any further appeal.
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