Rockford University makes every effort to resolve concerns through administrative means. A Hearing Officer(s) will contact a student believed to be responsible for a violation and select a review option. All conduct review or related meetings may be recorded to assist the process and protect the persons involved. All such tapes and documents are the sole property of the University. Conduct review and resolution may occur through the following:
The administrative hearing includes only the student and a hearing officer. At the administrative hearing, the hearing officer and the student jointly review all reports, discuss the incident in question, and the hearing officer will then determine responsibility, if possible. If necessary, the hearing officer may take additional time to determine whether or not the student was responsible for the violation(s) and assign sanction(s). If the hearing officer is able to determine, based upon the information presented during the hearing, that the student “more likely than not” violated University policy of the Student Code of Conduct, he/she will find the student responsible and assign a sanction. This decision may be appealed following the procedure listed below.
Conduct Hearing Board
A Conduct Hearing Board will make a decision regarding responsibility of an alleged policy violation and resolution of a finding of a violation, with disciplinary consequences. A Conduct Hearing Board may be convened if a student and Hearing Officer disagree with responsibility or outcome of an alleged policy violation, when there is conflicting evidence regarding whether a violation occurred, or if a student can articulate that additional information exists to indicate they are not responsible or that such information which has not been properly weighed by the assigned hearing officer. A conduct hearing board is an administrative process that seeks to gather information, make determinations, and render a decision in a manner consistent with University policy and procedure. The Conduct Hearing Board will consist of 1 specially trained faculty or staff member serving as a non-voting chair who will be the Hearing Officer, along with 1 faculty member and 2 students properly appointed by the student affairs division. The voting members of the Conduct Hearing Board may not contain anyone serving as an investigator of the incident in question. This process does not seek to approximate civil or criminal proceedings and may be appealed by the process listed below. The chairperson will follow the general procedures outline of a Conduct Hearing Board below. This option is not available for any alleged violations that would constitute violations involving sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual harassment, or other acts that are biases motivated or involve equity issues.
Conduct Hearing Board Procedures
- After introductions are made, the chair reads the alleged violation to the respondent and asks the respondent whether he or she understands the charges.
- The respondent describes the incident and answers questions from the Board.
- The University witnesses describe the incident and answer questions from the Board and the respondent.
- The respondent’s witnesses describe the incident and answer questions from the Board and the respondent.
- If necessary, witnesses may be recalled so that final questions can be asked by the Board.
- The respondent is given the opportunity to make a summary statement.
- If there is an identifiable victim other than the University, he or she will be given an opportunity to make a victim impact statement.
- The hearing is concluded and the Board begins closed deliberations. The standard of proof is determining responsibility is preponderance of evidence, which means that it is more likely than not that the alleged conduct occurred.
- Deliberations conclude and if the respondent is found not responsible, the hearing is concluded. If the respondent is found responsible the Board reviews the previous conduct of the student and decides on the sanctions to be applied.
- The Board meets with the respondent and advisor (if applicable) to inform them of the outcome of the hearing.
- The respondent will receive an outcome letter detailing the findings of the Board via his/her Rockford University e-mail account.
A student group or organization and its officers and membership may be held collectively and individually responsible when violations of this code by the organization or its member(s):
- Take place at organization-sponsored or co-sponsored events, whether sponsorship is formal or tacit;
- Have received the consent or encouragement of the organization or of the organization’s leaders or officers; or
- Were known or should have been known to the membership or its officers.
Hearings for student groups or organizations follow the same general student conduct procedures. In any such action, individual determinations as to responsibility will be made and sanctions may be assigned collectively and individually and will be proportionate to the involvement of each individual and the organization.
- For Victims
The University provides amnesty to victims who may be hesitant to report to University officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of minor policy violations, such as underage drinking, at the time of the incident. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.
- For Those Who Offer Assistance
To encourage students to offer help and assistance to others, University pursues a policy of amnesty for minor violations when students offer help to others in need. At the discretion of the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students (or designee), amnesty may also be extended on a case-by-case basis to the person receiving assistance. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.
- For Those Who Report Serious Violations
Students who are engaged in minor violations but who choose to bring related serious violations by others to the attention of the University are offered amnesty for their minor violations. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or record will result.
Abuse of amnesty requests can result in a decision by the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students not to extend amnesty to the same person repeatedly.
The University has a Safe Harbor rule for students. The University believes that students who have a drug and/or addiction problem deserve help. If any University student brings their own use, addiction, or dependency to the attention of University officials outside the threat of drug tests or conduct sanctions and seeks assistance, a conduct complaint will not be pursued. A written action plan may be used to track cooperation with the Safe Harbor program by the student. Failure to follow the action plan will nullify the Safe Harbor protection and campus conduct processes will be initiated.
Interim Campus Action - Interim Suspension
The Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, or designee, may initiate an administrative interim suspension from the University or residence halls of any student for the following reasons:
- Behavior that poses a threat to the health and safety of the student or others.
- Completion of a mandated evaluation, on the basis of behavior that continues to pose a threat to the health and safety of the student and/or others.
- Behavior continues to be disruptive to the community and/or a concern to campus constituents.
In addition, the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, or designee, may reassign a student to alternate housing and/or limit a student’s access to designated residence halls or campus buildings on an interim basis. An interim campus action begins immediate upon notification by the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students or his/her designee. A student on interim suspension may not return to the University or residence halls until the student conduct process has been completed.
Every attempt will be made to resolve the matter as soon as possible. Interim campus actions are not subject to appeal prior to the required conduct hearing. Summary actions may also be employed during any appeal process.
At times, a student may be called upon to meet with the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students or designee to resolve issues related to concerning behavior or an interim suspension. Failure to comply with this request may be considered a violation of the student code of conduct and could result in disciplinary action.
Campus No Contact Order
A campus no-contact order is a directive issued by a campus authority that prevents contact between persons or from one person to another. This may apply to communications in-person, online, and other forms of contact, both on- and off-campus. It is important to note that this is different than a civil order, which is issued by a court. A campus no-contact order may be issued as a sanction or outcome, and may also be issued on an interim basis while an incident is under investigation or resolution/adjudication. It is important to note that the burden of proof for a campus no-contact order is often less than that required for a court issued order, and the consequences for violating it are also limited to action that can be taken by the University, such as an additional student conduct charge of failure to comply with a University official.
Sanctions are designed to promote the University’s educational mission and to promote safety or to deter students from behavior that harms, harasses, or threatens people or property. Some behavior may be so harmful or disruptive to the University community or to the educational process that it may require more serious sanctions, such as removal from specific courses or activities, suspension from the University, or expulsion. More than one sanction may be imposed upon any student for any single violation of the Code of Student Conduct. The following factors are generally considered when determining sanctions for a particular case:
- The nature of the violation(s)
- Prior findings of responsibility and sanction(s)
- Mitigating circumstances surrounding the violation
- The student’s motivation(s) for engaging in the behavior
- Impacts of the behavior
- Sanctions which have been imposed in similar cases in the past
- The developmental and educational impact on the student
- Warning: An official written notice that the student has violated University policies and/or rules and that more severe conduct action will result should the student be involved in other violations while the student is enrolled at the University.
- Restitution: Compensation for damage caused to the University or any person’s property. This could also include situations such as failure to return a reserved space to proper condition – labor costs and expenses. This is not a fine but, rather, a repayment for labor costs and/or the value of property destroyed, damaged, consumed, or stolen.
- Fines: Reasonable fines may be imposed. Fines are specified to include:
- Community Service Requirements: For a student or organization to complete a specific supervised University service.
- Loss of Privileges: The student will be denied specified privileges for a designated period of time.
- Confiscation of Prohibited Property: Items whose presence is in violation of University policy will be confiscated and will become the property of the University. Prohibited items may be returned to the owner at the discretion of the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students and/or Rockford University Police & Department of Public Safety.
- Behavioral Requirement: This includes required activities including, but not limited to, seeking academic counseling or substance abuse screening, writing a letter of apology, etc.
- Educational Program: Requirement to attend, present and/or participate in a program related to the violation. It may also be a requirement to sponsor or assist with a program for others on campus to aid them in learning about a specific topic or issue related to the violation for which the student or organization was found responsible. Audience may be restricted.
- Restriction of Visitation Privileges: May be imposed on a resident or non-resident student. The parameters of the restriction will be specified.
- Restriction of Parking Privileges: May be imposed on a resident or non-resident student. The parameters of the restriction will be specified.
- Orders of No Contact: Specific behavior contracts limiting contact with specific individuals or groups or limiting ability to be in certain places on campus. This restriction typically includes having no verbal, written, electronic, or physical contact. It extends to phone, email, instant messaging, or any other forms of communication. It also views any contact from another person “on behalf” of the offender as a violation of the restriction.
- University Housing Probation: Official notice that, should further violations of Residence Life or University policies occur during a specified probationary period, the student may immediately be removed from University housing. Regular probationary meetings may also be imposed.
- University Housing Reassignment: Reassignment to another University housing facility. Residential Life personnel will decide on the reassignment details.
- University Housing Suspension: Removal from University housing for a specified period of time after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for re-admission to University housing may be specified. Under this sanction, a student is required to vacate University housing within 24 hours of notification of the action, though this deadline may be extended upon application to, and at the discretion of, the Director of Residence Life. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action if deemed necessary. Prior to reapplication for University housing, the student must gain permission from the Director of Residence Life (or designee). This sanction may include restrictions on visitation to specified buildings or all University housing during the suspension.
- University Housing Expulsion: The student’s privilege to live in, or visit, any University housing structure is revoked indefinitely. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action if deemed necessary.
- University Probation: The student is put on official notice that, should further violations of University policies occur during a specified probationary period, the student may face suspension or expulsion. Regular probationary meetings may also be imposed.
- Eligibility Restriction: The student is deemed “not in good standing” with the University for a specified period of time. Specific limitations or exceptions may be granted by the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students and terms of this conduct sanction may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Ineligibility to hold any office in any student organization recognized by the University or hold an elected or appointed office at the University; or
- Ineligibility to represent the University to anyone outside the University community in any way including: participating in the study abroad program, attending conferences, or representing the University at an official function, event or intercollegiate competition as a player, manager or student coach, etc.
- University Suspension: Separation from the University for a specified minimum period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Eligibility may be contingent upon satisfaction of specific conditions noted at the time of suspension. The student is required to vacate the campus within 24 hours of notification of the action, though this deadline may be extended upon application to, and at the discretion of, the Director of Student Conduct. During the suspension period, the student is banned from University property, functions, events and activities without prior written approval from the Director of Student Conduct. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary.
- University Expulsion: Permanent separation from the University. The student is banned from university property and the student’s presence at any University-sponsored activity or event is prohibited. This action may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary.
- Other Sanctions: Additional or alternate sanctions may be created and designed as deemed appropriate to the offense with the approval of the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students or designee.
The following sanctions may be imposed upon groups or organizations found to have violated the Code of Student Conduct:
- One or more of the sanctions listed above, specifically a) through i) and o) through q); and/or
- Deactivation, de-recognition, loss of all privileges (including status as a University/College registered group/organization), for a specified period of time.