Student Conduct Process


Scope: Who is covered by this Policy?

Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students and Student Organizations 


Policy

The University is committed to a full and fair conduct process for every student and student organization. The University’s conduct process generally takes 30-90 days depending upon the complexity of the matter. The Office of Community Standards conducts prompt and thorough investigations, typically within 30 days of receipt of the report; cases are typically heard within 30 days and any available appeals are typically resolved within 30 days. On occasion, a conduct case may be delayed for reasons including the absence of parties or witnesses or the need to accommodate a student’s disability. The timeline may also be affected by the winter or spring break periods and summer or winter terms.

The following processes apply to those involved in matters being addressed by the conduct process. The conduct process is initiated upon receipt of a report alleging that a student or student organization has engaged in conduct prohibited by this Code. Reports can be received from members of the Miami University community or external entities, including law enforcement and members of the general public. The Office of Community Standards, after reviewing a report, may initiate the conduct process outlined in this Code.

Notice of Complaint

If information is presented in a report received by the Office of Community Standards that suggests a violation occurred, an investigation will be conducted as appropriate/required and a conduct hearing held as appropriate. Any student or student organization (hereinafter referred to as the respondent) who has been charged with an alleged violation of this Code will receive written notice of any investigation, any disciplinary hearing and notice of the hearing authority that will hear the matter (see section “Hearings”).

Written notification of an investigation or hearing, if no investigation is conducted, will include:

  • A copy of the signed report received by the Office of Community Standards upon which the charges are based;
  • A copy of the Code of Student Conduct;
  • The specific sections of this Code allegedly violated and the date and location of the alleged incident, if known;
  • A statement that the respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility has been made at the conclusion of the conduct process;
  • A statement that the student may be accompanied by an advisor and support person of their choice throughout any investigation and the conduct process;
  • A statement that the complainant and respondents may request to inspect and review evidence;
  • A statement informing the parties that it is a violation of the "Dishonesty" section of the Code to knowingly make false statements or knowingly submitting false information during any investigation or disciplinary process under this Code;
  • The potential sanction(s) - if it involves suspension or dismissal;
  • The hearing option(s) available to the respondent and, if appropriate, instructions regarding selection of the hearing option; and
  • The date, time, and location of the investigatory interview or hearing as appropriate.

Investigation and Review

When a report is received by the Office of Community Standards that alleges a Title IX violation(s) or a violation of this Code on the part of a student organization, an investigation will be initiated. The Office of Community Standards reserves the right to appoint an external investigator. The Office of Community Standards reserves the right to initiate an investigation as a result of any report received.

The investigation is designed to provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation of the report. Investigations will consist of interviews with the complainant, respondent, and relevant witnesses. Witness names may be suggested by the complainant and respondent. The investigator may interview additional witnesses or acquire documentation/evidence on their own initiative. Absent extraordinary circumstances, the parties will receive the written notice at least five (5) business days before they are interviewed by the investigator.

The complainant and the respondent have the right to be accompanied by one advisor and one support person, including an attorney or advocate, to any interview, meeting or proceeding. The role of the advisor and support person is only to be present to advise or support; they will not be provided documentation or permitted to interject during the meeting. If the advisor or support person is determined to be unreasonably interfering with the investigation, they may be asked to leave.

Credibility determinations will not be made based on a person’s status as a complainant, respondent or witness.

The complainant will not be required to discuss issues directly with the respondent. The investigator will contact all parties and witnesses to establish interview times and locations. Contact between the parties will be limited to necessity.

During any stage of the investigation, if the investigator reasonably suspects that either party poses an imminent threat of harm or disruption to the campus community, the investigator will notify the Miami University Police and/or the Dean of Students, who may initiate the summary suspension process under the Code of Student Conduct to immediately remove the party from campus and/or impose other restrictions.

The complainant and respondent are entitled to the same opportunity to file a written statement, to submit information, and to identify relevant witnesses. Either party may request additional or different interim supportive measures as the investigation progresses.

At the conclusion of an investigation, the investigator will prepare a preliminary report based on the information gathered during the investigation. Each party will have five business days to review the preliminary report and provide any comment or response. Thereafter, the investigator will finalize the report and include a determination as to whether or not reasonable cause exists to believe a violation occurred, and what responses need to occur.

As part of the final investigation report, the investigator will make a recommendation regarding how to proceed with the case. The investigator will come to one of three conclusions:

  1. Reasonable cause exists to believe that a violation has occurred and the case will move forward to a Procedural Review and then to a Community Standards Board hearing.
  2. There is an inability to conclude that the information obtained establishes a reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred. The case will not move forward automatically to a hearing, but the complainant may initiate a complaint against the respondent independently.
  3. No reasonable cause exists to believe that a violation has occurred. The case will not move forward to a hearing.

The parties will  be provided with a copy of the investigative report and notice regarding the hearing. The parties will be given timely and equal access to information that will be used during disciplinary hearings.

No Contact Directives

The Dean of Students or designee may direct a student to have no contact with another individual for a specified period.  No Contact Directives are issued when, in the judgment of the Dean of Students or designee, there is reason to believe that a directive would be in the best interest of the parties and/or the community for maintaining safety. Such situations include, but are not limited to: harassment, threats, physical assault, stalking, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual misconduct, retaliation or other behaviors as indicated in the Code of Student Conduct. No Contact Directives will typically be issued as mutual and time-limited, meaning both parties involved are subject to the same restrictions for a specified period of time.  No Contact Directives prohibit all forms of communication between designated students; direct or indirect, written, electronic, through a third party, or social media.  Should a student fail to comply with a No Contact Directive, the student may be subject to disciplinary action for violating the Code of Student Conduct.

No Contact Directives are distinct and different from court-imposed restraining orders or protective orders as they only apply to enrolled students.  A No Contact Directive is a University action and is not recognized by city, county or state law as a legal action. If a student wishes to pursue a civil protection order, they must make the request through an appropriate court.

A No Contact Directive may be requested at any time through the Office of the Dean of Students; however, it will only be issued after a formal request is filed through the Office of the Dean of Students, Office of Community Standards, or Title IX.  Modification requests will be considered when submitted through the Office of the Dean of Students and accompanied by evidence to support the request.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (This process is not available in Title IX Matters)

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process is designed to assist students in resolving conflict. This process can be used for a variety of types of conflict, including interpersonal disputes or disagreements as well as incidents in which a student has caused harm in their community and seeks to repair that harm. The Office of Community Standards will assess reports that are received to determine whether the matter is appropriate for ADR. The assessment will include consideration of the willingness of the involved students to participate in the process; the nature of the alleged misconduct, including whether there was alleged violence or threat of violence; and the prior conduct history, if any, of the involved students.

If the Office of Community Standards determines the matter may appropriately be resolved through alternative dispute resolution, it will attempt to resolve the matter through an agreed upon resolution process. At a minimum, the components of the ADR process will be:

  1. An acceptance of responsibility for the harm done to the complainant and/or community;
  2. An agreement to fulfill any conditions/agreements that are developed as part of the process, including any minimum mandatory sanctions required by the Code;
  3. The complainant and respondent being permitted to consult advisors with the understanding that the advisors may not be present during the mediated dispute resolution process;
  4. If a mediated resolution is reached, it will be agreed to in writing by the respondent, the complainant and the Office of Community Standards and may not be appealed;
  5. Failure to fulfill the resolution agreement may result in conduct charges for violation of sanctions;
  6. If after beginning the process, the Office of Community Standards determines the process is no longer appropriate or no resolution agreement is likely to be reached, the Office of Community Standards may terminate the process and return the matter to the conduct process;
  7. The provision that all matters discussed as part of the resolution process are confidential and nothing communicated as part of the process can be used in any subsequent disciplinary action arising from the disciplinary charge that was the subject of the terminated mediation. Confidentiality however, does not extend to threats of physical harm or incidents of actual violence that occur during the process.
  8. An agreement not to subpoena any documents created as part of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Process in any pending or future administrative or judicial proceeding.

Hearings

Hearings are designed to provide a prompt, fair, and impartial resolution. The respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility has been made at the conclusion of the conduct process.

All hearings are closed to the public. The respondent and complainant have the right to be accompanied by one advisor and one support person to any student conduct hearing. The role of the advisor and the support person is only to be present; they will not be provided documentation or permitted to speak on behalf of the student during the interview, meeting or hearing. If an advisor or support person is determined to be unreasonably interfering with the interview, meeting, or proceeding, they may be asked to leave.

The complainant and respondent are expected to attend the hearing. If the respondent fails to appear for the hearing and the absence is not excused, the hearing may proceed in their absence. Alternatively, at the election of the Office of Community Standards, a registration hold may be placed on the respondent’s account until such time as the student conduct process is complete.

The respondent or complainant may request a postponement of the hearing for reasonable cause. Any request for postponement must be made in writing, include the supporting rationale, and be received by the Office of Community Standards at least three University working days before the scheduled hearing. Examples of reasonable cause include: a death in the family, serious illness, academic conflict, or any other reason deemed appropriate by the Office of Community Standards.

  1. Types of Hearings
    1. Administrative Hearing: Administrative Hearings are conducted by a single hearing officer. The hearing shall take place no sooner than five University working days after the receipt of the written notice of complaint.
    2. Community Standards Board Hearing: Community Standards Board hearings are conducted by a panel made up of faculty members, staff members, and students (when applicable). If the respondent(s) elected a Community Standards Board hearing, the panel will be made up of two members who are faculty or staff at Miami University and one member who is currently enrolled as a Miami University student. If a Community Standards Board hearing resulted from a Title IX investigation conducted by the Office of Community Standards, the panel will be made up of three members who are either faculty or staff at Miami University. The hearing will take place no sooner than five University working days after receipt of the written notice of complaint.
  2. Hearing Procedure
    1. The hearing will allow for the following:
      • Respondent(s) and the complainant(s) to give an opening statement.
      • Respondent(s) and, the complainant(s) to bring an advisor of their choice. 
      • Respondent(s), and the complainant(s) to bring factual witnesses, and allow the respondent(s), complainant and hearing authority to question all witnesses. 
      • Witnesses other than the complainant and the respondent shall be present only when they are giving testimony.
      • The hearing authority has the authority to determine the acceptability of testimony and other information during the hearing and may place time limitations on testimony and on opening and closing statements.
      • Character evidence and witnesses are not permitted.
      • Credibility determinations will not be made based on a person’s status as a complainant, respondent or witness.
      • The Office of Community Standards to have a representative present to ensure the student conduct process is adhered to and to answer any procedural questions posed during the hearing.
      • Respondent(s) and the complainant(s) to give a closing statement regarding the facts of the case.
      • The Office of Community Standards to share the student’s prior disciplinary history after a determination of responsibility has been reached.
    2. The University may accommodate concerns for personal safety, well-being and/or concerns regarding confrontation among the complainant, the respondent, and other witnesses by providing separate facilities, by using a visual screen or permitting participation by closed circuit TV, video conferencing, or other means.
  3. Criteria for Type of Hearing Assignment
    1. All Title IX cases will be heard before a trained Community Standards Board (faculty and/or staff members) or a specially appointed external hearing officer.
    2. All cases in which a student organization is the respondent will be heard before an Administrative Hearing Officer.
    3. All cases in which the possible outcome is suspension or dismissal may be heard by either an Administrative Hearing Officer or a Community Standards Board at the election of the respondent. The University reserves the right to appoint an External Hearing Officer
    4. All cases in which the possible outcome does not include suspension or dismissal will be heard by an Administrative Hearing Officer.
    5. In the event of any conflict (e.g. a student organization charged with a Title IX violation) the Office of Community Standards will determine the appropriate hearing authority. The Office of Community Standards reserves the right to require consolidation of cases for any hearing.

Standard of Review

The standard of review used to determine responsibility is a “preponderance” standard. This determination is based on the greater weight of the information and does not require a standard beyond a reasonable doubt.

Notification of Hearing Outcome

The Office of Community Standards will notify the student(s) or student organization of the decision, in writing, of the outcome of the hearing and will also notify the student(s) or student organization if responsible, of the sanction(s) imposed within 10 working days of the hearing. In cases of an alleged Title IX violation, the parties will be simultaneously notified, in writing, of the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings including the result of any initial, interim and final decision, the institution’s procedures for appeal and any change to the results. The notification includes whether the respondent was found responsible, and if so, the sanction(s) imposed,and the rationale. Upon request, the complainant(s) and the respondent(s) of an alleged crime of violence will be advised of the final results (whether the respondent was found responsible and if so the sanction[s] imposed) of the hearing.

 


Related Form(s)

Not Applicable.


Additional Resources and Procedures

Not Applicable.


FAQ

Not Applicable.


Policy Administration

Next Review Date

7/1/2023

Responsible Officer

Director, Office of Community Standards

Legal Authority

Not Applicable.

Compliance Policy

Yes

Revision History

Amended July 2018; Amended July 2019

Reference ID

Student Handbook 2.3

Reviewing Bodies:

 Student Life Counsel