Student Conduct Code - Section 7. Student Conduct System
The purpose of the student conduct process is to determine whether a student is responsible or not responsible for violating the student conduct code. As such, the university does not make an assumption either way but rather reviews all of the evidence available to make a fair and just determination. As a Jesuit institution, the University of San Francisco is committed to being a community that facilitates the holistic development of its members.
In keeping with this commitment, the student conduct code, process and related policies and procedures have been created to guarantee each student’s freedom to learn and to protect the fundamental rights of the campus community. The University has created these policies and procedures to achieve its objectives as a Catholic, Jesuit University. The policies and procedures are inclusive of the laws of the nation, the state of California, and the local community.
This commitment encourages the freedom for individual choice and expression with the expectation that individual members of the community will be honest, demonstrate respect for self, others, the law, and University policies and procedures.
The student conduct process is different from civil or criminal processes. The procedures and rights of the student conduct process are not identical to the rights afforded the accused in a civil or criminal proceeding; however, they are conducted with fairness to all involved. Formal rules of evidence will not apply, and deviations from the prescribed procedures, or errors in their application, will not in themselves invalidate a decision or proceeding, or constitute grounds to withhold conduct action unless significant prejudice to the alleged may result, or the errors were such as to have prevented a fair and just determination of the issues. All time limits imposed or recommended within these procedures may be changed for good cause or reason as determined by the Director or designee.
Upon receiving a report or complaint of alleged misconduct, the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) may review relevant evidence and consult with applicable parties regarding the incident in question. If the evidence warrants action, the Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibilities will forward the matter to the appropriate resolution staff member for investigation.
In exceptional circumstances, the Vice President for Student Life may suspend the regular structure of the University conduct process and establish an appropriate procedure for the particular needs of the pending matter.
In certain circumstances, prior to the informational or conduct meeting, the University may impose interim action(s) upon a student when there is reason to believe, based upon available information, that the student:
- has information about a serious violation of the Student Conduct Code; or
- has been involved in a serious violation of the Student Conduct Code; or
- poses an immediate threat to the safety, health or welfare of persons, property or the orderly operation of the University.
Interim action includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Interim Suspension: This action requires a student to leave the University immediately, and not return during the suspension period, and/or comply with other stated conditions for the specified period.
- Interim Housing Relocation or Removal: This action will require a student to either be relocated to a different living community or be removed from campus housing until the pending alleged policy violations are resolved through the conduct process. If relocated, the student will only be able to enter the residence hall to which they are relocated. If removed, the student will not be able to enter any residential facility during the specified period.
- Ineligibility for Graduation: A graduating student involved with alleged Code violations prior to graduation may not graduate, participate in graduation ceremonies, or receive a diploma until the matter has been processed and assigned outcomes completed.
- Withholding Degree: The University may withhold the diploma of students who have been alleged with a violation of University policy even though they have completed all academic requirements. In circumstances where expulsion is a possibility for conduct violations, the diploma may be withheld until the conduct allegations have been resolved and/or assigned outcomes completed.
The student will receive written notification of interim action that will indicate the Student Conduct Code section(s) alleged to have been violated and specify the terms and conditions of the interim action. The terms and conditions may a) exclude the respondent from entering campus or particular areas of the campus, including classes and University-operated housing facilities; b) restrict the respondent from participating in specific activities; c) prohibit the respondent from contacting or communicating with certain individuals; and/or d) other related conditions for the period of suspension. Under the terms and conditions of the suspension, the respondent shall be restricted only to the minimum extent necessary.
Any student who violates any interim action or conditions during the interim period shall be subject to further conduct action and may be treated as a trespasser. Permission to be on campus for a specific purpose must be requested and obtained in writing from the Vice President for Student Life or designee.
Following the imposition of interim action, the regular conduct process will proceed as described within this handbook.
Once an investigation has been initiated, a respondent will be provided notification to attend an informational meeting with a resolution staff member. This notification will include:
- date, time and location of the meeting
- the conduct code provision(s) alleged to have been violated
- a summary of the student conduct process
The primary purpose of the Informational Meeting is to confirm that the student respondent understands all components of the conduct process. As such, the resolution staff member will:
- ensure the student has received and reviewed all necessary information (notification, student conduct code, student rights and responsibilities);
- explain the conduct process and resolution options;
- answer any questions or address any concerns the student may have.
If the student chooses to seek an informal resolution, the resolution staff member will:
- listen to the student's statement about the incident;
- engage in a non-adversarial, candid, and developmental conversation of the incident;
- review the Incident Report or complaint with the student to reaffirm areas of agreement or address discrepancies;
- come to an agreement with the student regarding responsibility or non-responsibility for the alleged violation(s).
If the student acknowledges their behavior was in violation of the code, the staff member will provide the student with recommended outcome(s) that will a) hold the student accountable for their violation and b) promote learning and development to assist the student’s growth and understanding of personal responsibility within the community.
If the student and staff member cannot come to an agreement about responsibility, or if the student chooses not to seek an informal resolution, the incident will be assigned to another staff member, who will initiate a conduct meeting.
If a student does not attend the Informational Meeting after being provided with the notification and does not respond to a request to reschedule the meeting, the incident will be turned into a conduct meeting.
In situations that are not resolved via informal resolutions during the Information Meeting or in instances of serious or repeated alleged violations, a conduct meeting will be scheduled with the respondent to determine the outcome of the alleged violation(s).
Group conduct meetings: When an incident involves allegations against more than one student or a student organization, the resolution staff member shall have the option of meeting with all students at one time. Any alleged student/student organization will have the right to have separate time during the conduct meeting to discuss their particular case with the resolution staff member without the other students being present.
The following procedures apply to conduct meetings:
Notice of Conduct Meeting
The respondent shall be provided notification via email at least three (3) business days prior to the conduct meeting and is required to attend. The notification will include the date, time and location for the meeting as well as the conduct code provisions alleged to have been violated. The resolution staff member may reschedule the meeting when the respondent is able to demonstrate an appropriate cause for rescheduling. When a prompt review is necessary (including but not limited to the end of the semester, graduation, or where there is a substantial concern for the health, safety, or welfare of any person), the resolution staff member may require that the student attend a meeting sooner than the standard three (3) business day timeframe.
If a student does not attend their scheduled conduct meeting, a decision will be made based on the available information. Outcome(s) in accordance with Section 8 will be assigned and a disciplinary hold will be placed on the student’s account until the outcome(s) are completed. Additionally, as a result of non-attendance, the student will forfeit their right to appeal the outcome.
Privacy of Conduct Meetings
The conduct meeting is closed to the public and only the respondent and the resolution staff member shall be present.
Witnesses may be identified in the Incident Report or complaint, by the respondent or by other individuals involved in the investigation. Witnesses will be expected to participate in the investigation and shall provide information relevant to the incident in question. If a respondent or complainant identifies a witness(es), it is their responsibility to ensure the witness attends their meeting.
During the conduct meeting, the respondent will be asked to provide their summary of the incident. The resolution staff member and respondent will engage in a non-adversarial, candid, and developmental conversation of the incident based upon the respondent's statement and the details of the Incident Report(s) or complaint(s) filed. If applicable, information gathered from witnesses may also be used as part of the discussion.
The resolution staff member will consider pertinent reports, documents, images, copies of electronic communications and written and/or verbal statements as information for consideration.
Notification of Decision
The resolution staff member will communicate their decision of responsibility including outcomes via email within five (5) business days of the conduct meeting. The notification will also include information about the student’s right to appeal (see section 9 for more information).
The University will use a preponderance of the evidence when making determinations about responsibility. This means that a violation of the Code was more likely than not to have occurred.