Disciplinary Proceedings

Student discipline at the College utilizes two general processes: (1) the Committee on Student Conduct, as engaged by the Office of the Dean of the College or member of the College Community; or (2) Administrative Review by the Office of the Dean of the College.  The procedures for each are described below.

1. Investigation of Student Misconduct

a.  Student Rights

          When the Office of the Dean of the College or its designee conducts an investigation of allegations of student misconduct, the student or students who are questioned will be informed of procedural safeguards afforded to them under the Student Code, namely:

          •    that this is an official investigation and notes will be taken by the investigative officers assigned by the College;

          •    what alleged incident the College is investigating;

          •    that all the investigative meeting and its contents are confidential, and that any breach of that confidentiality by a student can result in disciplinary action being taken against him or her;

          •    that as a result of the investigation, they or other students might be charged with violation(s) of the Student Code;

          •    that as a result of the investigation, they may be required to appear as a charge or a witness at a Committee on Student Conduct Hearing.

          Students involved in any investigation are reminded that the Student Code requires that they be truthful at all times, and that failure to do so may result in disciplinary sanctions.

b.  Investigative Meetings

Investigative meetings are closed meetings and, absent extraordinary circumstances, only the investigating officers and the involved student(s) can be present.

c.  Investigative Officers

            Investigative officers do not make decisions regarding the disciplinary outcomes; those decisions are made by the Office of the Dean of the College based on the investigative officers’ report and other relevant information.

d.   Searches

                   1. Search by Civil Authorities. College premises* occupied by students and the personal possessions of students will not be searched by civil authorities without the authorization of a judicial authority unless the student consents to the search. While civil authorities may ask College officials to be present during a search authorized by appropriate court order, the College may have no authority to contest such a search.

          2.  Search by College Authorities. For College premises*, application must be made to the Dean of the College before a search is conducted. This application must specify the reasons for the search and the particular objects or information sought. The student should be present, if possible, during the search. Normally, the College may not remove a student’s personal property from the student’s room, but this provision shall not be interpreted to permit or excuse the use or storage in the student’s room of equipment, property, or materials disallowed in the Room and Food Service Contract or policy statements of the College.

* College Premises shall include all College owned properties as well as College Row Apartments, College Hill Apartments, JSP Houses and College Approved Landlord properties in which Franklin & Marshall students reside.

e.  Responsibilities of Residents

                   The obligations of students with respect to residence in College facilities are described below under “Residential and Dining Programs” and are set out in detail in the Room and Food Service Contract signed by each student resident before taking occupancy of a room. The Contract provides for the right of entry of College officers, agents and employees “for the purpose of examining the condition (of the room), making such repairs as the College may see fit to make, inspection for health or safety reasons, or enforcement of this contract.”

f.  Greek Housing

                   In order to be assured that the students are living and congregating in safe surroundings, the College reserves the right to request and be granted permission to inspect Greek Houses. The College will also require annual reports from Greek organizations establishing that they are satisfying state and local government codes.

2. Committee on Student Conduct Hearing Procedures

a. Process

Any member of the College community (student, faculty, or professional staff) may seek to have a case heard by the Committee on Student Conduct by referral of the case to the Office of the Dean of the College. Designated administrators within the Office of the Dean of the College shall make a determination of whether the matter warrants a referral to the Committee. Should the Office of the Dean of the College decide that the alleged misconduct does not warrant or is not appropriate for Committee consideration, then the person initiating the charges may petition the Office of the Provost to refer the matter to the Committee. Such petition must be filed in writing within ten days of the decision of the Office of the Dean of the College unless additional time to prepare the petition is granted by that office. The decision of the Office of the Provost on whether the matter should be referred to the Committee shall be final.

The Dean of the College and the Senior Associate Dean of the College are also authorized to refer any matter to the Committee without regard to whether the matter was raised by a source outside the Office of the Dean of the College.

When misconduct may result in serious penalties (suspension or expulsion), the Dean of the College or the Senior Associate Dean of the College will normally refer the case to the Committee on Student Conduct. However, the Dean of the College or the Senior Associate Dean of the College may impose discipline without referral to the Committee.

A student accused of academic misconduct may not drop the course in question until the student has been cleared of any academic misconduct.

b. Procedures

The object of these procedures is to provide a fair process that enables the College to have a reasonable opportunity to obtain facts and evaluate evidence. A hearing is not a trial, and these procedures should not be followed mechanically without consideration of the circumstances. No failure to follow these procedures will be the basis to change a disciplinary decision unless it has resulted in prejudice to the individual or individuals involved. In unusual circumstances, the Dean of the College and the Senior Associate Dean of the College have the authority to specify alternative procedures for deciding matters of student discipline.

The Committee on Student Conduct has jurisdiction in cases of academic and non-academic misconduct of individuals and recognized student organizations. The Committee observes the following procedures:

     1.  The Senior Associate Dean of the College or designee will meet with the accused student to discuss the alleged misconduct prior to the hearing. At the pre-hearing interview the student will be advised of the charges against him or her, the procedures followed by the Committee, the Student Code and the student’s responsibilities in the hearing process.

     2.  The student will be informed in writing of the charges against him or her and that it is the student’s responsibility to present his or her case before the Committee.  This notice will be provided at least five (5) working days before the scheduled hearing date to insure adequate opportunity to prepare. The specific time and location of the meeting will normally be stated in this notice.

     3.  Statements written by those who referred the matter to the Office of the Dean of the College or the Committee on Student Conduct will be shared with the accused student prior to the hearing.

     4.  The student will be informed of the right to choose and be assisted in the hearing by an adviser who must be a member of the College community. The adviser may be present at the hearing and will be given copies of pre-hearing documents that were given to the student. The adviser may not address the Chair, the Senior Associate Dean of the College or designee, the Committee, or other persons at the hearing unless granted permission to do so by the Chair or the Senior Associate Dean of the College or designee, or unless the student asks the adviser to make either the opening or closing statement on behalf of the student. The roles of the adviser will be to assist the student in preparing for the hearing, to assist the student in preparation of a written statement should one be appropriate, and to consult with the accused during the questioning of the accused student. It is highly recommended that the adviser meet with the Senior Associate Dean of the College or designee prior to the hearing. The Committee may elect to authorize other advisers for the hearing participants at its discretion.

     5.  No member of the Committee on Student Conduct who feels he or she cannot be impartial or who has an immediate interest in a particular case may participate or be present during the proceedings.

     6.  Students may question the impartiality of a member of the Committee prior to the hearing and request their withdrawal from the hearing. To do so, they must state their concerns in writing to the Chair. The Chair will then consult with the member in question. The final decision rests with the Chair.

     7.  All hearings are closed.  However, the Chair of the Committee may authorize the attendance of any person it believes may serve a legitimate purpose in the hearing process.

     8.  The Committee will attempt to conduct the hearing in one session.

     9.  The Committee will not consider written or oral statements against the student unless the student has been made fully aware of their content and of the names of those who made them, and unless the student has been given the opportunity to rebut unfavorable inferences which might otherwise be drawn. At the hearing, witnesses may be called by the Committee, by those who referred the matter to the Committee, and by the accused student(s). The Committee has the discretion to determine which witnesses and what evidence it will hear to provide the charged student with a fair hearing. The student’s list of requested witnesses and any written information being submitted by the student for the Committee’s review must be submitted to the Senior Associate Dean of the College or designee at least two (2) working days prior to the hearing.

    10.  At the hearing, witnesses are heard. The student then gives an accounting of the circumstances leading to the allegations. The Committee queries witnesses and then the student, who has the right to question the witnesses after the Committee.

    11.  The Committee deliberates in private after hearing the witnesses and evaluating evidence. In making its final decision, the Committee will review all of the information and determine whether it is “more likely than not” that the accused student is in violation of any part of the Student Code. The Committee must first determine if the accused is in violation of any part of the Student Code. If the student is found to be in violation, the Committee will make a recommendation to the Office of the Dean of the College for an appropriate sanction. At this time, background information may be brought to the Committee’s attention to assist it in determining an appropriate sanction. In determining the appropriate sanction, the student’s entire conduct record may be considered.  The Office of the Dean of the College typically gives substantial weight to the recommendation of the Committee, but reserves the right to revise the sanction that Committee recommends, or to impose one if deemed necessary.

    12.  Once the Office of the Dean of the College has concurred with or revised the sanction recommended by the Committee, or imposed a sanction even if the Committee does not find sanctionable conduct, the student is informed as soon as possible of the decision. Written notification of the decision by the Committee and/or the Office of the Dean of the College will be mailed to the accused, with such notification typically sent within four working days of the hearing. The letter will also refer the student to information about the procedures involved in the decision. The person who brings the charge will be informed of the outcome of the hearing, unless the Office of the Dean of the College decides otherwise. In sexual assault cases, the person bringing the charges will be informed of the outcome of the hearing.

    13.  The sanction goes into effect as determined by the Office of the Dean of the College and ordinarily remains in effect during the appeal process. The student may request that the sanction be postponed during the period of the appeal. If an appeal is submitted, the Dean can give this permission after consulting with the Chair.

    14.  Copies of sanction letters are placed in the Student File, but there is no notation to the academic transcript, except for sanctions of Probation, Suspension and Expulsion. Information in the Student File is confidential, but it may be used for legitimate educational purposes, including conferring prizes and awards, providing recommendations and imposing disciplinary sanctions.

3. Appeals of Committee on Student Conduct Decisions

The purpose of an appeal is not to initiate a review of substantive issues of fact or for a new determination of whether a violation of college rules has occurred. A review may follow from a finding that new evidence not available at the original disposition exists but only upon remand for additional consideration by the Committee on Student Conduct or administrative review.

 A student (either the student charged or the student initiating the charge) may appeal a Committee on Student Conduct decision in his or her case to the Office of the Provost (or designee), described hereinafter as the appeal officer. The student must file this appeal in writing, with the grounds noted, with the appropriate officer, within five (5) working days after the Office of the Dean of the College issues its written notification of its decision. Appeals can be sought on the following two grounds:

          a.   On a claim of error in the hearing procedure that affected the outcome of the hearing; and/or

          b. On a claim of new evidence, information or material that was not available at the time of the hearing and is relevant to the case.

The decision regarding whether there are grounds for an appeal is at the sole and final discretion of the appeal officer.  If there are grounds for appeal, the appeal officer meets with the Chair and the Adviser to the Committee on Student Conduct to review the procedures that the Committee followed and the evidence that it considered. If the appeal officer considers it necessary, he or she may meet with a number of Committee members or the Committee as a whole.

If the appeal officer finds no grounds to hear an appeal, the student will be informed in writing. The appeal officer need not give detailed reasons for the decision reached.

If the appeal officer decides to hear an appeal, the student has the choice of requesting that the Committee on Student Conduct rehear the case or that the appeal officer hear the appeal.

If the Committee agrees to rehear the case, it will then decide whether to rehear the case in its entirety or to rehear portions thereof. Following the rehearing, whether in part or in full, the Committee will make a recommendation to the appeal officer, who will follow the decision-making process including determining the appropriate sanction and notification as described above. When rehearing a case, it is possible that the appeal officer may issue a sanction more severe than the original sanction if the evidence and situation so warrant or may otherwise adjust the recommendation of the Committee. The decision of the appeal officer is final.

If the Committee refuses to rehear the case, then the case will automatically be referred back to the appeal officer to hear the appeal.

In hearing the student’s appeal, the appeal officer will observe the following procedural safeguards:

     1.  Discussing the circumstances of the matter and the appeal with the student.

     2.  Further discussing the matter and the appeal with the Chair of the Committee on Student Conduct, where appropriate, a number of Committee members, or the Committee as a whole.

     3.  Rendering a decision on the appeal within 30 working days from the time that the student files it, unless extraordinary circumstances require delay in the appeal process.

     4.  Including in the decision the findings on which the decision is based. The appeal officer, however, need not give detailed reasons for the decision reached or the sanction imposed.

     5.  The decisions of the appeal officer or designee are final.

4. Administrative Disciplinary Procedures

The Office of the Dean of the College or designee (hereafter referred to as the Administrative Officer) conducts Administrative Reviews in cases of minor misconduct, when there is a college need, or when there is no substantial question of fact.  Most Administrative Reviews are held with administrators within the Office of the Dean of the College. The objective of the Administrative Review is to review the alleged behavior with the student(s) and to determine whether there has been a violation of the Student Code, the Housing and Food Service Contract or the expectations of the College.  If a violation has occurred, the student and the Administrative Officer will discuss the behavior(s) and possible consequences. A student who fails to attend an Administrative Review session risks a decision based upon the information available to the Administrative Officer.

These procedures or guidelines allow for consideration of the circumstances. Deviation from these procedures will not be a basis to change a disciplinary decision, unless it has resulted in prejudice to the individual or individuals involved.

Upon receiving information alleging misconduct, which is typically in the form of an Incident Report submitted by Public Safety, a College House Administration staff member, or a student, the Administrative Officer will follow these procedures:

     1.  The student will receive a request in written form, by e-mail, or by telephone to meet or have an appointment scheduled to meet with an Administrative Officer.

     2.  At the meeting with the Administrative Officer, the student will be informed of the reason for the meeting.

     3.  The student will be asked for his or her account of the incident(s).

     4.  The student may request to review the Incident Report and be informed of his/her option to write an Incident Report describing events in her/his own words.

     5.  If a violation of the Student Code or the Housing and Food Service Contract has occurred, the Administrative Officer will discuss with the student what is inappropriate about the behavior(s).

     6.  Students are not presumed to be in violation of the Student Code or the Housing and Food Service Contract; however, Administrative Officers are empowered to make decisions whether or not a violation of the Student Code or Housing and Food Service Contract has occurred.

     7.  At the conclusion of the meeting, if a decision has been reached by the Administrative Officer, the student will be informed of that decision and the sanction, if any. The student will also receive written verification of that decision in a timely fashion. If the Administrative Officer is not able to arrive at a decision at the conclusion of the meeting, the student will be informed of the outcome in written form in a timely fashion. A copy of this letter will be placed in the Student File.

     8.  Information in the Student File is confidential, but it may be used for legitimate educational purposes, including conferring prizes and awards, providing recommendations and imposing disciplinary actions.

5. Appeal of Administrative Discipline Decisions

The purpose of an appeal is not to initiate a review of substantive issues of fact or for a new determination of whether a violation of college rules has occurred. A review may follow from a finding that new evidence not available at the original disposition exists but only upon remand for additional consideration by the Committee on Student Conduct or administrative review.

Administrative sanctions may be appealed as follows. All academic misconduct decisions and social disciplinary decisions may be appealed to the Office of the Dean of the College. The student must file his/her appeal in writing with the grounds noted with the appropriate administrator, who now for the purposes of this process becomes known as the appeal officer, within five (5) working days after the administrator issues written notification of the decision.

Appeals can be sought on the following two grounds:

      a.  On a claim of error in the procedures that affected the outcome; and/or

     b.  On a claim of new evidence, information, or material that was not available at the time of the disposition and is relevant to the case.  The decision of whether there are grounds for appeal is at the sole discretion of the appeal officer.

If there are grounds for appeal, the appeal officer will observe the following procedural safeguards:

      a.  Discussing the circumstances of the case and the appeal with the student.

     b.  Further discussing the case and the appeal with the Administrative Officer who issued the original sanction.

      c.  Rendering a decision on the appeal within 30 working days from the time that the student files it, unless extraordinary circumstances require delay in the appeal process.

     d.  Including in the decision the findings of fact on which the decision is based. The appeal officer, however, need not give detailed reasons for the decision reached or the sanction imposed.

      e.  The decisions of the appeal officer are final.

6. General Provisions

            a.  Pending investigation of the alleged misconduct by the Office of the Dean of the College or pending a hearing before the Committee on Student Conduct when the Dean of the College or designee has not yet imposed a penalty, the academic status of the student is not normally altered, nor is his or her right to be present on campus to attend classes normally suspended, except for reasons relating to the safety and well-being of College property or the physical, academic, or emotional safety or well-being of members of the College community. The decision as to whether to suspend any of the student’s rights during the pendency of any proceedings or appeals rests with the Office of the Dean of the College. Where that office determines that it is necessary or advisable to temporarily suspend the rights of a student pending investigation or a Committee hearing, efforts will normally be made to expedite the investigation and/or hearing.

     b.  Lawyers/advocates who are not College employees are not permitted at any Committee hearing, informal or formal.

      c.  Involved students are expected to attend the Committee hearing and cooperate in the Committee procedures. A student who fails to cooperate in the Committee proceedings may be excluded from the hearing at the discretion of the Committee, and the Committee may proceed to hear the case and make a decision.

     d.  An accused student who fails to attend the Committee proceeding risks a recommendation of the Committee based upon the evidence it hears.

      e.  When a student accused of serious misconduct has left the College before the case can be heard by the Committee on Student Conduct or the Dean of the College or the Senior Associate Dean of the College or designee, the following procedures are invoked:

  •          The student will be notified in writing of the charges being brought against him or her and of the time, date and location of his or her hearing before the Committee on Student Conduct.
  •         The student will also be notified in this same communication that the hearing can and will be held without him or her being present.
  •          The hearing will be conducted following normal procedures including the rendering of a decision and the student’s access to the appeal process.

      f.  All information about student disciplinary matters, including names, details of the incident and outcomes, is confidential unless otherwise specified within the Student Code. Students found to be in violation of this stipulation will be subjected to discipline as outlined in the Student Code.

     g.  Students who are suspended or expelled from the College or who are removed from College-owned residential facilities due to disciplinary action are normally not given refunds for fees/tuition paid.

     h.  An alleger of sexual misconduct and/or rape can appear at Disciplinary Hearings as either a witness or as the sole presenter of the case. Specific details regarding these two options can be discussed with the Title IX Coordinator, the Dean of the College, the Senior Associate Dean of the College, or designees.