The Student Conduct program provides the college with a process to report and resolve questions about a student’s conduct in relation to written policy. Any member of the Housatonic community may request that the Student Conduct system handle a claim of policy violation. Any student who is charged with violating a policy is granted the right to an Administrative Meeting or a Board Hearing, depending on the sanctions involved.
Members of the HCC community are encouraged to file an incident report with the Office of Student Life for any conduct violation. Doing so allows us to document incidents, and assess student behavior on a systems level. Individuals filing incident reports may indicate whether they are making a referral for an Administrative Meeting, seeking consultation, or simply documenting the incident.
Once a referral is made, the student(s) involved will meet with the Director of Student Life/Student Conduct to review the incident and express their thinking and the level of responsibility they take for the incident—this is an Administrative Conduct Meeting.
Administrative Conduct Meeting
In this meeting the student and the hearing officer will discuss the incident and the alleged violations to determine if the student is responsible or not. If the student is found responsible, the hearing officer will issue a sanction(s) congruent with the violation.
The student should schedule a time with the Office of Student Life as soon as possible after the incident.
The administrator hears the case and decides if the student is responsible or not responsible. The accused student and the individual(s) reporting the incident may present witnesses. This will typically be accomplished by the administrator making contact with the witnesses.
The administrator will inform the student of the decision by letter. If the decision is to recommend suspension or expulsion, the student may then elect for a Conduct Board Hearing instead.
Conduct Board Hearing
The Conduct Board Hearing is composed of an odd number (typically three) of students, faculty, and/or staff. Conduct Board members are selected through a volunteer and review process coordinated by the Director of Student Life/Student Conduct. Students who are on probation or have had college privileges removed may not serve on the Board. The Director of Student Life/Student Conduct will serve as a resource to the Board, but without voting power.
Conduct hearings are only open to Board members, the Board’s Advisor, the accused and his/her advisor, and the accuser(s). The Board has the right to separate witnesses. A simple majority vote of the members present at the hearing is required for a decision.
The student will have scheduled a hearing with the Conduct Board within five (5) working days of the meeting with the Dean or Director of Student Life/Student Conduct, or as soon as possible.
The accused student and the person who authored the incident report or the Director will be present. Each may present witnesses to the Board. There may be instances when the Board finds it necessary to meet with a witness or accuser without the accused present.
The Board will make a decision as to the student’s responsibility for the charges and determine appropriate sanctions. If the decision is to recommend suspension, the recommendation is forwarded to the Director or the Dean of Students, since the Conduct Board does not have the authority to impose such a sanction.
The Board will inform the student of the decision by letter.
A “sanction” may be any action affecting the status of an individual as a student taken by the College in response to a violation of this Policy, including but not limited to the following:
- Expulsion - Permanent separation from the College that involves denial of all student privileges, including entrance to College premises;
- Suspension - Temporary separation from the College that involves denial of all student privileges, including entrance to college premises for the duration of the suspension, and may include conditions for reinstatement;
- Removal of College Privileges - Involves restrictions on student access to certain locations, functions, and/or activities, but does not preclude the student from continuing to pursue his/her academic program;
- Probation - Status that indicates either: a) serious misconduct not warranting expulsion, suspension, or removal of College privileges; or b) repetition of misconduct after a warning has been imposed;
- Warning - Written notice to the student indicating that he or she has engaged in conduct that is in violation of Section 3 of this Policy and that any repetition of such conduct or other conduct that violates this Policy is likely to result in more serious sanctions;
- Community Restitution - Requires a student to perform a number of hours of service on the campus or in the community at large.