Overview of Conduct Resolution Process

OVERVIEW OF CONDUCT RESOLUTION PROCESS

An individual may report concerns about alleged violation(s) of the Student Code of Conduct by contacting Campus Safety, College Life, Residential Education, Title IX Office, or the online Community Concern Form. Reports can usually be addressed most effectively if they are submitted promptly, but reports can be submitted at any time. The Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities will determine what policy violations are alleged and, if applicable, whether an information resolution or a formal resolution process will be followed. If the Complainant wants to participate in the resolution process, they may meet with the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities to discuss the process for resolution and their options for participation. 

Students with outstanding or pending student conduct alleged violations may, at the discretion of the College, not be approved for withdrawal or a leave of absence, request or receive a transcript, or graduate/receive a degree from Gettysburg College until Student Conduct alleged violations are resolved.

As a part of the resolution process, students are permitted to be accompanied by an advisor of their choice to any resolution proceedings (please see Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Policy for advisor guidelines in such cases). The student is responsible for presenting their own information, and therefore, advisors are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any resolution process. A student should select as an advisor a person whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled date and time of the resolution.

RESOLUTION OPTIONS

Informal Resolution

The Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities may meet with individuals involved in an incident to determine if the alleged violation(s) have merit and/or if they can be resolved through an informal resolution. Informal resolution could include mediation, restorative conference, mutual agreement, negotiated resolution or another form of conflict resolution. If the Complainant is anyone other than the College or College’s administration, the complainant can be involved in the resolution process. Both the complainant and respondent must agree to participation in the informal resolution process. Informal resolution is reserved for cases where the parties have agreed to participate and the responding student has accepted responsibility for a violation of the Community Standards. If an agreement cannot be made between parties involved the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities will send the alleged policy violation to a conference or an administrative hearing. During the informal resolution process, parties agree to the violations of policy and come to an agreement about the actions necessary due to the violation. Informal resolution outcomes are final and there are no appeal or other proceedings. An informal resolution outcome will not be reported as part of the formal conduct record. If an agreement cannot be reached during an informal resolution, none of the information provided during the informal resolution will be provided to an administrator and a negative inference will not be made during any subsequent conferences or administrative hearings. Informal resolution may not be used in cases of violence, hazing, bullying, bias and harassment. Assignment of informal resolution is at the discretion of the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Formal Resolution

In the formal resolution process, a Student Conduct Administrator, who may be an employee of the College or other party authorized by the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities, will resolve alleged violations of the Community Standards. The Student Conduct Administrator decides if a student is responsible for any alleged violations of policy and assigns sanctions upon any student or organization found to have violated the Community Standards. Student Conduct Administrators receive training on policy and process for resolution, the College’s educational programs and activities, how to conduct a conference and hearing, and how to serve impartially.

In formal resolution processes, the administrator decides if a policy has been violated by a preponderance of the information. This means the evidence is sufficient to persuade the administrator of fact that the proposition is more likely true than not. The evidence includes all investigative documents and the information provided in the conference or administrative hearing. Character references are not used in deciding if a policy has been violated. 

Processes that are resolved formally have the ability for an appeal. The student may appeal the decision of the administrator within five (5) days. More information on the appeal process is available in the appeal section of this policy.

Conferences

When the conduct allegation is not resolved through an informal resolution or when the Respondent has experienced multiple violations, a potential violation may be resolved through a conference. A conference will not be used when the violation, if determined to have occurred, may result in suspension or expulsion. A conference is a one-on-one meeting with an administrator where the outcome cannot result in suspension or expulsion. During the conference, the student will be given the opportunity to respond to the alleged policy violation and dispute the facts included in the report. If the administrator determines that the student violated the Community Standards, the administrator will assign sanctions according to the sanctioning guidelines.

Administrative Hearings

Incidents that could result in suspension or expulsion will be assigned to a Student Conduct Administrator for an administrative hearing. Violations of violence, hazing, bullying, bias and harassment are all cases that could result in suspension or expulsion. Students have an opportunity to submit statements, provide information, and identify any witnesses as part of the investigation into the reported incident. Following the investigation, the student(s) will have an opportunity for a pre-hearing meeting with the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities. During the pre-hearing meeting, the student will be provided all alleged violations of policy in written form, a redacted copy of all investigative materials, and an overview of the conduct process including the student’s rights as outlined in Community Standards. Students will have the opportunity to review all materials and provide any additional information to the investigator within three days. Absent unusual circumstances, administrative hearings will be scheduled not less than three nor more than ten calendar days after the pre-hearing meeting. Students may request the removal of the Student Conduct Administrator if the student feels that the administrator may not be fair or impartial. This request, including rationale, must be submitted to the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities within three days of the pre-hearing meeting. The final decision to change the Student Conduct Administrator is at the discretion of the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities. 

During the hearing, the Student Conduct Administrator will meet with the individuals involved and review the information obtained during the investigation to determine if a violation of policy has occurred. In cases involving both a Complainant and Respondent, those individuals may agree to meet individually with the administrator due to the nature of the violation (bias, harassment, harm to other, harmful conduct, hazing, violence). If a student is found responsible for a violation, the Student Conduct Administrator will impose sanctions according to the sanctioning guidelines. 

ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING PROCEDURES

A Student Conduct Administrator assigned to resolve an alleged violation will conduct an administrative hearing according to the following guidelines:

  • Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or rules of evidence that are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in student conduct resolutions.
  • Hearings will be conducted in private and in accordance with FERPA.
  • A student may have an advisor of their choosing present during the hearing. The advisor is not an active participant in the proceeding but can assist the student in preparing for the hearing, be present at all pre-hearing meetings, and consult with and be a support to the student during hearing recesses. The College will be unable to provide any information to a student’s advisor, unless the student provides consent in writing for the College to share information with the advisor.
  • Student(s) and their advisor(s) will be allowed to attend the hearing at which information is received. This includes presentation of witness information and all questioning.
  • The student and the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities or Student Conduct Administrator may arrange for witnesses to present pertinent information in the administrative hearing. The Respondent and Complainant must submit a list of witnesses to participate in the process within two days of the pre-hearing meeting. The College will try to arrange the attendance of possible witnesses who are members of the College community if reasonably possible. Witnesses will provide information to and answer questions relevant to the incident from the administrator. Questions may be suggested by the Complainant or Respondent. The Student Conduct Administrator has sole discretion to determine which questions will be asked during the hearing. A list of all witnesses will be made available to the Respondent and Complainant at least 24 hours prior to the administrative hearing. 
  • Relevant information may be submitted for consideration by the Student Conduct Administrator. Character statements will not be accepted. Complainants may submit a student impact statement to be used in the determination of sanctions.
  • After the portion of the hearing concludes in which all pertinent information has been received, the administrator will determine whether the respondent has violated each provision of Community Standards which the student is alleged to have violated.
  • Generally, the respondent will be notified verbally of the administrative hearing outcome at the conclusion of the hearing by the Student Conduct Administrator or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and will be notified of the decision via Gettysburg College email within two (2) business days.
  • If a Respondent does not appear for an administrative hearing for which they have received notification, the information in support of the alleged violations, and any information that tends to dispute the alleged violations, if known, will be presented and considered even if the Respondent is not present.
  • The Student Conduct Administrator may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the Complainant, Respondent, and/or witnesses during the hearing by providing separate facilities, by using a visual screen, and/or by permitting participation by telephone, videophone, closed circuit television, video conferencing, videotape, audio tape, written statements, or other means, where and as determined in the sole judgement of the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities to be appropriate.
  • All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Student Conduct Administrator.