The Judical Process

AA. DUE PROCESS

Georgia Southwestern State University students whose activities may subject them to disciplinary action shall be afforded due process in accordance with constitutional requirements and with the principles and procedures outlined below:

  1. The student shall be notified in writing that they are accused of a violation. Notice may be emailed to the student’s radar email account, delivered in person, sent to the campus mailing address, sent to the home/permanent address (address on file with the Registrar’s Office) , and/or sent to any class for which the student is enrolled. The notice shall detail the charges made and the rights of the accused student.
  2. The student has the right to attend classes and required University functions until the hearing is held and a decision is rendered. Exceptions will be made (1) when a student's physical or emotional safety and well-being are endangered; (2) when the general safety of students, faculty or University property is endangered; or (3) when the orderly progression of the educational objectives of the institution may be disrupted.
    In each case involving possible suspension or expulsion from the University, the hearing shall be conducted by the designated Student Conduct Officer or by the Faculty-Student Conduct Board.  Infractions of the Student Conduct Code that do not involve possible suspension or expulsion shall be addressed by appropriate Student Life staff or the appropriate Student Conduct Board.  All cases involving academic integrity will be heard by the Faculty-Student Conduct Board.   In the case of minor violations of the Student Conduct Code occurring in the residence hall or a violation of the residence hall policies (i.e. visitation violation, noise violation, etc.), a Residence Life staff member may be the hearing officer for a case. 
  3. The hearing officer or group shall, at least forty-eight hours in advance of the hearing, notify the student in writing concerning the following:
    • a. The date, time, and place of the hearing, and the person or group to conduct the hearing.
    • b. Specific charges for violations of the Student Code of Conduct.
    • c. The names of the witnesses scheduled to testify.
  4. The student is encouraged to notify parents or guardians as to the seriousness of the matter; the University reserves the right to notify the student's parents or guardians of serious or repeated disciplinary actions.
  5. The student has the right to waive a hearing and consent to sanctions.
  6. The student shall be entitled to appear in person at the hearing and to present his or her information, including relevant witnesses approved by the University official or conduct board hearing the case at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. Witnesses must be able to present relevant information to the specific case.  The student also may elect not to appear before the University official or conduct body. Should one elect not to appear, the hearing shall be held in his or her absence.
  7. The student shall be entitled to select an advisor (who must be a student, staff or faculty member of the University). The advisor, upon request of the student, may:
    • a. Advise the student/organization's representative in the preparation and presentation of a defense,
    • b. Accompany the student/organization's representative to all discipline hearings
    • c. Advise the student/organization's representative in the preparation of appeals, if needed.
    • d. The advisor shall not assume responsibility for conducting the defense of the accused student/organization; the advisor may assist the student/organization's representative in addressing the hearing body, but may not cross-examine witnesses or answer questions directed to the student.
  8. The student shall be entitled to ask relevant questions of the University official, of the conduct board, or of any witnesses.
  9. The decision reached at the hearing shall be communicated in writing to the student or organization's representative within five business days after the conclusion of the hearing and summary of the evidence.
  10. A tape recording or summary transcript of the proceedings shall be kept and made assessable to the student upon request should the case involve possible suspension or expulsion for the sole purpose of appealing a decision of suspension or expulsion.
  11. The deliberations phase of student conduct hearings are confidential and not tape recorded.
  12. The student shall be notified in writing of the right to appeal a decision of suspension or expulsion. Should a student appeal to the President of the University, any action assessed by another university official or conduct body shall be withheld pending disposition of the appeal. Student organizations, however, are not able to appeal any decision relative to outcomes from any level of campus judiciaries.
  13. While firmly committed to the concept of due process, the University recognizes the fact that the student may be accused of on-campus or off-campus offenses that, by their nature, would present a clear and present danger of serious physical or mental harm to the students or to another member of the University community or to University property. In such case, the Vice President for Student Affairs or his or her appointee may impose the necessary temporary sanctions, pending a hearing. Further, the Vice President for Student Affairs, or his or her appointee, shall have power to impose such temporary sanctions, pending the outcome of a hearing, when a student or student group engages in conduct that presents a clear and present danger to the freedoms and rights of other members of the University community in any manner whatsoever, or which may otherwise interfere with in the operation of the University.

BB. STUDENT CONDUCT PROCESSES

  1. The conduct boards of the University are the Faculty-Student Conduct Board and the Student Conduct Board. Composition of the conduct boards shall be as follows:
    • a. The Faculty-Student Conduct Board of Georgia Southwestern State University shall consist of seven members, of whom four shall be faculty members appointed by the President of the University and three shall be regularly-enrolled students appointed by the President of the University upon recommendation of the President of the Student Government Association and the Student Conduct Officer of the University. All appointments shall be for one-year terms, but members shall be eligible for reappointment provided that no faculty member shall serve longer than five consecutive years. None of the committee members shall be officers or members of any institutional governing council. These committee members shall be selected as early as possible each Fall Semester and shall serve until the appointments for the succeeding year become effective. Members of the Faculty-Student judiciary shall select one of their own members to act as the Presiding Officer. The Presiding Officer shall set the time and place for hearings referred to the Faculty-Student Judiciary by the Student Conduct Officer and shall notify involved conduct board members. The Student Conduct Officer will notify accused individuals, witnesses, or organizations as outlined in AA. Decisions by the Faculty-Student Conduct Board shall be made by majority vote.
    • b. The Student Conduct Board of Georgia Southwestern State University shall consist of nine members, the Chief Justice, who is the Vice President of Academic Affairs of The Student Government Association, and eight students nominated by the Student Government Association and appointed by the President of Georgia Southwestern State University. The Student Conduct Board may be utilized at the discretion of the Student Conduct Officer in hearing non-suspendable matters. Decisions by the Student Conduct Board shall be made by majority vote.
    • c. In addition to the two conduct boards, there is also a Faculty Subcommittee on Student Discipline.  This subcommittee shall consist of three faculty members and two students. The members of this Committee shall not be members of either of the Conduct Boards. The President shall appoint the members of this Subcommittee at the beginning of the Fall semester, with the assistance of the Student Conduct Officer, if desired. The purpose of this subcommittee is to review and handle appeal cases submitted to the President’s Office. The appeals process is outlined in section DD.
  2. Each conduct board shall formulate its rules and policies of procedure within the guidelines specified within this document.
    • a. Preliminary investigations of charges against students shall be conducted by the University hearing Student Conduct Officer or his/her designee who will render a decision as to whether the alleged infraction is of a serious enough nature to warrant possible suspension or expulsion.
    • b. Any member of a conduct board shall disqualify himself/herself if his/her personal involvement in the case is of such a nature as to prevent a fair and impartial hearing.
  3. Appeals involving traffic fines must be entered at the Public Safety Office within three days (excluding weekends and holidays) of issuance of citation and shall be heard by the Student Conduct Board when in session. If the Student Conduct Board is not in session, the appeal will be heard by the Student Conduct Officer. Decisions in traffic appeals shall be final.

CC. DISCIPLINARY MEASURES

Upon finding that a student or student organization has violated a code of conduct, the appropriate University official or judiciary body may apply one or more disciplinary measures within the restrictions provided in stated rules and procedures. The severity of the sanction shall be consistent with the nature of the offense. For students:

  1. Expulsion--permanent disciplinary removal of the student from the University. During an expulsion period, a student may not visit the campus for reasons other than clarification of academic or behavior record.
  2. Probated Expulsion--notice that further major violation(s) of University policy shall result in expulsion.
  3. Suspension--mandatory disciplinary removal of the student from the University for a specified period of time. During a suspension period, a student may not visit the campus for reason other than clarification of academic or behavior record. No transfer credit from another institution which is earned during the suspension period will be accepted as credit toward a degree at Georgia Southwestern State University.
  4. Probated Suspension--notice that further violation(s) of University policy shall result in suspension or expulsion. This sanction may be accompanied by the restrictions and restitutions as defined below.
  5. Disciplinary Probation--notice to the student that further disciplinary violations(s) may result in suspension or expulsion.  This sanction is assigned a specified period of time. This disciplinary measure also may include one or more of the following: 
    • a. Restriction--exclusion from participation in social and recreational activities, relocation of privileges available to Georgia Southwestern State University students, exclusion from representing the University in any official capacity, or from holding office in student organizations.
    • b. Restitution--reimbursement for damage or destruction of property, as determined and stipulated by the University.
    • c. Community Service--assignment to work a specific number of hours on a university program or project within a specific time frame. The assignment must be related to the nature of the violation.
    • d. Referral for professional assessment to the Counseling Center or off-campus professionals or organizations.
  6. Disciplinary Warning--a written reprimand regarding behavior that violates the Student Conduct Code or University policy, which can include restriction, restitution or community service as defined above. This sanction is assigned a specified period of time.
  7. Fine— in addition to the preceding disciplinary measures, appropriate fines may be imposed by the proper authority based on the severity of the infraction.
  8. Mandatory withdrawal from the course and/or department within which the offense occurred.  Credit for the course may or may not be recorded.
  9. Residence Hall Suspension--separation of the student from the residence halls for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified.
  10. Residence Hall Expulsion--permanent separation of the student from the residence halls.

For Student Organizations

  1. Revocation of Recognition--permanent severance of the student organization's relationship with the University.
  2. Probated Revocation of Recognition--notice that further major violation(s) of University policy shall result in revocation of recognition. This sanction may be accompanied by restriction, restitution, and/or community service
  3. Suspension of Recognition--severance of the student organization's recognition by  the University for a specific period of time. This sanction may be accompanied by restriction, restitution, and/or community service.
  4. Probated Suspension--notice that further violation(s) of University policy shall result in suspension. This sanction may be accompanied by restriction, restitution, and/or community service.
  5. Disciplinary Probation--notice to the student organization that further disciplinary violation(s) may result in suspension.  This sanction may be accompanied by restriction, restitution, and/or community service.
  6. Disciplinary Warning--a written reprimand regarding behavior that violates the Student Conduct Code or University policy, which can include restriction, restitution or community service.
  7. Notification of regional or national officers of the action taken by the University and entry into the record of the student organization.
  8. Fine--in addition to the preceding disciplinary measures, appropriate fines may be imposed by the proper authority based on the severity of the infraction.

DD. APPEALS

1.  There is no appeal for a sanction less than suspension or expulsion.  The only exception to this policy is in the case of sexual misconduct cases.  (See Policy EE.)

2.  Each appeal from decisions in hearings before the Faculty-Student Conduct Board or any university official (who assesses either suspension or expulsion sanctions only) shall be directed in writing to the President of the University within five class days after notification of the hearing out come. The President shall refer the facts and circumstances of the case to the Faculty Subcommittee on Student Discipline, who will hear the appeal and transmit an advisory opinion. The President shall schedule the review within five class days following receipt of the student's written appeal, and a final decision must be rendered in writing within five class days after the conclusion of the review by the Faculty Subcommittee on Student Discipline.

4. The student may appeal on grounds that the evidence was not sufficient to prove guilt or on other specified relevant grounds that the sanction was too severe. In either case the student shall submit, in clearly written statements to the President, his or her reasons for appeal.

5. The President of the University shall be given all documents pertaining to the proceedings in the hearing by the Student Conduct Officer or appropriate university personnel.

6. When the President of the University has rendered in writing an adverse decision on any appeal, the student will be considered to have exhausted all recourse at the local level. Any expulsion or suspension shall become effective at this time even though an appeal may be taken to the Board of Regents.  If the Regents should uphold the student, he or she will be restored to enrollment without prejudice.

This is in adherence with the Bylaws of the Policy Manual of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, which states:

APPEALS

Any student or employee in the University System aggrieved by a final decision of the president of an institution may apply to the Board of Regents for a review of the decision. The Board’s review shall be limited to the record from the institutional appeal process. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to extend to any employee or student substantive or procedural rights not required by federal or state law. This policy shall not be construed to extend to employees or students any expectation of employment, admission, or additional due process rights.

Each application for review shall be submitted in writing to the Board’s Office of Legal Affairs within a period of twenty days following the decision of the president. It shall state the decision complained of and the redress desired. A hearing before the Board (or a Committee of or appointed by the Board) is not a matter of right but is within the sound discretion of the Board.

Appeals brought by students shall be governed by Policy 4.7.1 of The Policy Manual of the Board of Regents. Appeals brought by employees shall be governed by Policy 8.2.21 of The Policy Manual of The Board of Regents.

The Board may at its discretion refer a matter for mediation, arbitration, or evaluation of settlement options. If an application for review is granted, the Board, a Committee of the Board, a Committee appointed by the Board, or a hearing officer appointed by the Board shall investigate the matter thoroughly and report its findings and recommendations to the Board. The decision of the Board shall be final and binding for all purposes

7. Findings and sanctions for student organizations are final; there is no process for appeals.

EE. SEXUAL MISCONDUCT CASES

  1. For all cases involving sexual misconduct (as defined in Section F.), the student making the accusations will be notified of the outcome of the conduct hearing for the student that has been accused of the violations.
  2. For all cases involving sexual misconduct, the student making accusations will have the right to appeal the outcome of the hearing through the outlined appeal procedures.