Rights and Responsibilities of Students

Depending on their role in the process, Rockford University holds that students are entitled to the following minimum rights throughout the process. Students also have the right to waive any or all of these rights verbally or in writing to the appropriate hearing officer.

Rights of Respondents

To have adequate notice of proceedings or reviews (interpreted by the University to be no less than 2 business days), and the procedures, prior to the date of such proceedings.

  1. To have knowledge of the charge(s).
  2. To have an advisor present at all reviews and conduct meetings. (This person may be legal counsel retained at the expense of the respondent, but such counsel may not act for the respondent in University proceedings).
  3. To have an opportunity to challenge the statements of reporting person(s) and witness(es).
  4. To have an opportunity to challenge witness(es) and evidence.
  5. To have the opportunity to present witness(es) and other evidence.
  6. To have written notification of the outcome (generally within 5 business days).
  7. To appeal any decision within five (5) days of receiving written notification of the outcome (see the Appeals section).
Rights of Reporting Person(s)
  1. To have adequate notice of proceedings or reviews (interpreted by the University to be no less than 2 business days) and procedures.
  2. To have knowledge of the charge(s).
  3. Upon request, to have reasonable accommodations to enhance safety and well-being. These may include but are not limited to changing rooms, changing class(es), and/or an escort on campus.
  4. To have an advisor present at all reviews and conduct meetings. (This person may be legal counsel retained at the expense of the reporting person, but such counsel may not represent the reporting person in University proceedings).
  5. To have an opportunity to challenge the statements of respondent(s) and witness(es).
  6. To have an opportunity to challenge witness(es) and evidence.
  7. To have the opportunity to present witness(es) and other evidence
  8. In cases of violations that fall under Title IX the reporting persons and victims will receive written notification of the outcome. This notification will be simultaneous to that received by the respondent. (Generally within 5 business days).
  9. To present a victim impact statement to the hearing officer, panel or board.
  10. To appeal any decision within five (5) business days of receiving written notification of the outcome

 

Additional rights of reporting persons in cases of sexual misconduct

The reporting person may not be questioned about past behaviors of a sexual nature that do not have a direct impact on determining the responsibility or consent of the incident in question.

Enforcement/Documentation

While all faculty, staff and students are encouraged to report any policy violations, the University employs staff to patrol and monitor campus property. Part of their role is to address and mitigate any perceived policy violations. Additionally, allegations of policy violations may be made by any student, faculty, or staff member by contacting Residence Life Office (815-226-4026), Rockford University Police & Department of Public Safety (815-226-4060), or submitting a written concern to these offices or to the Dean of Student’s office. The submission of a report does not automatically initiate conduct proceedings.

All reports, statements and letters are the sole property of Rockford University. Reports will only be released in compliance with properly served court orders and in compliance with the standards set forth in FERPA and the Clery Act. Redacted reports will also be made available at the reporting persons’ request to insurance companies and to respondents involved in the conduct review process. In cases where intimidation, violence, and/or coercion are likely and/or where redacted statements cannot be issued without jeopardizing the identity of the witness(es), a summary statement of pertinent facts may be substituted at the University’s discretion. In the case of potentially dangerous behavior the University reserves the right to release any and all information necessary to help preserve safety.

Notice to Student

The student will receive a Notice of Alleged Violation (NOAV) via email to the student’s Rockford University email account. Pursuant to University policy, students are to regularly check their Rockford University email for official communication from the University. The NOAV is not a finding of responsibility, nor is it a sanction; rather, its purpose is to inform a student that a violation of community standards is alleged to have occurred and is under investigation. A student who receives a NOAV must attend the scheduled meeting/hearing as instructed in the NOAV. If a student fails to attend the meeting/hearing, the hearing officer or hearing board may hear the case in the student’s absence, based on the information available at the time. Rescheduling a hearing for a student who is absent with cause or who is more than ten minutes late will be at the discretion of the hearing officer.

Investigation

The University employs staff to address concerns of policy violations. The institution will investigate all allegations of policy violations. The University reserves the right to utilize 1st person and 2nd person accounts as well as reports from 3rd parties and parents as sufficient evidence to begin an investigation. Using 2nd person accounts and statements from third parties may hinder the ability of the University to arrive at the substantive grounds needed in the resolution of incidents.

During the response and investigation process, the institution also reserves the right to search any property brought onto University grounds if there is a suspicion that the property contains material prohibited by University policy, or contains items that may be used to violate University policy. This includes but is not limited to, backpacks, purses, handbags, and vehicles.

An investigation will generally consist of interviewing known involved parties and gathering physical evidence. Whenever possible and practical, written or recorded narratives will be gathered from involved parties. Every effort will be made to complete this phase of the investigation as soon as possible, but gathering evidence and narratives can take several weeks or longer (University breaks and incidents involving non-students may increase the time needed). The investigator assigned will provide regular updates on the status and timeline to the Reporting person(s), victim(s) and respondent(s).

 

Once the allegation has been investigated the University will respond and attempt to resolve the situation. In cases where the reporting person requests to maintain their confidentiality from the respondent or where the reporting person requests that an investigation or process not be pursued the University staff will make every effort to comply with reporting persons requests where such actions do not reasonably place others in jeopardy or jeopardize safety of the campus community. The University will use the following questions to determine its ability to comply with such requests:

  • the reporting persons’ age
  • seriousness of the alleged incident

* whether there have been other similar complaints about the respondent(s)

• the respondents’ rights to receive information about the reporting person