Section 18. Procedural Standards in the Student Conduct Process
The Student Conduct Process (SCP)
The Student Conduct Process is the formal conduct process that utilizes a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard to adjudicate most allegations related to “Rights and Responsibilities” that describe student behavioral expectations. Issues of discrimination, harassment and sexual violence as discussed in Section 3 will be addressed by the OEO Resolution Process which can be found on the website for the Office of Equal Opportunity in the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Violence (that process is incorporated herein by reference). The DOS Office, pursuant to Section 21 typically adjudicates off-campus behavior.
If you have a disability and feel you will need an accommodation during this process, please immediately contact the office of Student Accessibility Support at 781-736-3470 or email@example.com. All requests for accommodations must be made in writing via email. Please notify your hearing officer in writing of any approved accommodations regarding this process within two (2) business days in advance of any meetings.
Brandeis University students have the right:
- To have access to a statement of the most recent regulations (“Rights and Responsibilities”) published by the University and to receive a copy of those regulations upon request. The University will make reasonable efforts to make its policies known to students, faculty, and staff.
- To be presumed not responsible until decided otherwise.
- To admit responsibility for any or all of the alleged policy violations.
- Participate in a Resolution Process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard as outlined in University policies and procedures.
- To request a reasonable delay of a hearing due to academic or extenuating circumstances.
- To be advised in writing of all alleged policy violations, as initiated in a notification of University proceedings letter that may be emailed via campus email.
- To submit a written account relating to the alleged policy violations.
- To request an administrative agreement option to resolve the matter, when appropriate in the Student Conduct Process.
- To speak on one’s own behalf, including written and oral statements and physical exhibits, and to have material witnesses speak at a hearing.
- To decline to provide information at a hearing
- To be accompanied by an Advisor at all phases of a hearing. See OEO Policy for additional details pertaining to OEO Resolution Process.
- To receive a timely notification in writing of the outcome via campus email.
- To an appeal of the outcome, as outlined in the appeals process.
- To be assured of confidentiality, whenever possible, in accordance with the terms of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
- After a final decision has been made, and all appeals have been exhausted, to be free from subsequent hearings and/or sanctions for the same specific incident of alleged misconduct (except in cases where alleged policy violations of intentional omission or ambiguity of information or dishonesty, related to the initial hearing, are being reviewed).
- Have disclosures of discrimination, harassment and sexual violence, including sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, and relationship violence treated seriously by the University
- Seek support services such as housing changes, academic support, or counseling services as applicable.
- Notify law enforcement of the incident and seek their involvement if applicable. They also have the option to decline to involve law enforcement.
Procedures for Resolving Allegations
A student will be notified of allegations via campus email. Such notification will list the alleged policy violations in an official notification of University proceeding letter. The letter will also include instructions on how to schedule a meeting with the Hearing Officer. A responding party will also receive a copy of their rights as well as a copy of the flow chart describing the process, which is found in Appendix E of this document.
In accordance with Rights & Responsibilities and related University policies, individual students as well as University sponsored groups/organizations (including but not limited to recognized undergraduate and graduate student organizations, clubs, teams, societies, etc.), and their officers/leadership, may be held collectively responsible when violations of University policies occur. Officers, leaders and members of University sponsored groups/organizations are expected to know and abide by all University policies specific to that sponsored group/organization and students in general. The conduct process for University sponsored groups/organizations mirrors the process for individual students, with some nuances. Notification of process will be sent to the group’s President and/or leadership. Representatives of the group (no more than two) will progress through the Student Conduct Process as detailed below. If group leadership is not able to be identified, all identifiable members of the group will receive the notification and be responsible for working with that sponsored group to identify the student representative(s) who will participate in the Student Conduct Process and communicate that information to Student Rights and Community Standards. For the purposes of Section 18, all references to “student” may be utilized in reference to the group representative(s). Note: This would not preclude the University from moving forward with a formal process for individuals involved in the group process.
During this meeting, a student will be provided the opportunity to discuss the allegations, review their options for resolution, and select one of those options using the Choice of Action Form. Alternative options for resolution may be offered and explored at the discretion of the Hearing Officer. Students can waive the right to this meeting and move forward to one of the options for resolution via email.
Any student who does not respond to a request to meet will have their case forwarded to an administrative hearing. Any student who does not complete the Choice of Action Form within the specified timeline may have their case forwarded to an administrative hearing.
Options for Resolution
During the Conduct Conference, a student and their Hearing Officer may engage in a conversation to discuss responsibility and appropriate sanctions for the alleged violations. During this meeting, the Hearing Officer may withdraw any alleged policy violation deemed to be without basis.
A student can choose to engage in this option via email, rather than at an in-person meeting.
In cases where a student does not accept responsibility, the alleged policy violation will proceed to an administrative hearing.
This option provides the opportunity to have a single person determine responsibility and sanctions for all allegations.
If a student fails to attend their Administrative Hearing, the hearing officer may render a decision based on the information available. The responding party will then forfeit their right to appeal the decision and/or sanctions imposed by the hearing officer.
Procedures for Administrative Hearings
As soon as reasonably possible, the responding party shall meet with the Hearing Officer to discuss the full circumstances of the alleged policy violation(s); under the Administrative Hearing option, this is the only opportunity to present information. During an administrative hearing process, the Hearing Officer may meet with witnesses, including the person who wrote the Community Standards Report, without the presence of the responding party. The Department of Student Rights and Community Standards (DSRCS) shall notify the responding party in writing of the decision, conﬁrming the action taken and the reasons for the decision.
Student Conduct Board (SCB) Hearing
This option provides the opportunity for a student to have their case heard before a panel of students, faculty, and staff. The hearing will determine both responsibility and sanctions, if deemed necessary.
Procedures for SCP Hearings before the Student Conduct Board (SCB)
A hearing shall be held as soon as practicable from the date the responding party chooses an SCB hearing. All hearings will be closed, meaning that only official participants may be present in the hearing room. Notice of the hearing date shall be delivered to the responding party in person, or to the responding party’s Brandeis email account or the responding party’s home address, at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing.
The Hearing Administrator: An administrator from the DSRCS or another Student Affairs professional shall serve as the Hearing Administrator. The non-voting role of the Hearing Administrator is to ensure appropriate execution of the hearing as prescribed in Section 18. Responsibilities of the Hearing Administrator also include: (a) advising the Board regarding the requirements and provisions of the Student Conduct Process (SCP); (b) providing information relevant to procedures or sanctions; (c) providing continuity in Board operations and procedures; (d) facilitating the implementation of conduct procedures at all levels of the SCP; (e) acting as a liaison between Boards and the University community; and (f) assisting the Board in fulﬁlling its educational responsibilities. The Hearing Administrator shall be available prior to the hearing at the request of the initiating party and responding party to provide information regarding the alleged violation and relevant procedural matters. To provide adequate notice to all parties, names of any Advisors and/or witnesses will be submitted by the initiating party and the responding party to the DSRCS at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. The Hearing Administrator may share the names of witnesses and Advisors with the responding party and initiating party prior to the hearing.
Outside Contact: The responding party and initiating party and their Advisors are prohibited from confronting or questioning witnesses or any other parties regarding the case prior to the hearing.
Conflicts of Interest: Student Conduct Board members may be informed of the initiating party’s and responding party’s names and of all alleged policy violation(s) prior to a hearing so as to avoid conﬂicts of interest. Any SCB members may accordingly recuse themselves, and either party to the case may request the Board to disqualify a member if the party can satisfy the remaining members of the SCB that there is sufficient cause for disqualification. An alternate member may take the place of the disqualified member, or the responding party and initiating party may agree to proceed without the prescribed minimum voting composition of the Board.
Advisors: The University recognizes that going through the SCP can be stressful for all involved. To help support the involved parties, both the initiating party and the responding party are permitted to have one advisor of their choice present for related meetings prior to, and after the hearing. An advisor must be a Brandeis community member who may provide passive assistance. A support person/advisor does not join in any of the conversations that are the subject of that meeting, but instead provides support to the initiating party/responding party solely through their presence. A support person/advisor is not allowed to speak on behalf of a party or communicate with the initiating party/responding party during those meetings, other than to offer emotional support. If at any point a support person/advisor becomes disruptive or is otherwise unable to comport themselves within the parameters of the support person/advisor role, they will be asked to leave the meeting. Witnesses are not allowed an advisor nor can they act as an advisor within the SCP. In exceptional circumstances, the Hearing Administrator, in consultation with the SCB chairperson, may allow active participation by an Advisor during a hearing. The lack of availability of any particular Advisor will not be considered a legitimate reason to reschedule or delay a hearing. To avoid even the appearance of undue influence, the administrator who advises the boards, members of the SCB, and members of the University Appeals Board is not eligible to serve as Advisors for the responding party or reporting party. An Advisor may not also serve as a witness.
Neither party shall be permitted to employ professional legal counsel or other persons from outside the University community to present a case before the SCB or to advise the student during a hearing or related meeting. However, an attorney may serve as a passive advisor when coexisting criminal charges are pending resulting from the same incident being adjudicated by the SCB. (See DSRCS staff for details.)
Attendance: The responding party and the initiating party must be present at the hearing. In the event that a hearing is being conducted via live video or audio, the participants must be available via the agreed-on means at the time designated.
Witnesses: The responding party and initiating party may present information and introduce witnesses during the hearing, with the passive assistance of the student’s Advisor. Witnesses are those who were present during the incident in question and/or have information directly related to the incident in question or that is relevant to the resolution of this process. Please note that character witnesses are not considered relevant to this process. It is the responsibility of the initiating party and the responding party to notify their witnesses and Advisor regarding the time, date, and location of the hearing. Additional (unlisted) witnesses may be considered at the discretion of the chairperson of the Board during the Full Hearing. Witnesses must be available when called by the chairperson, or their statement may be disallowed. Any expenses incurred by a witness in order to participate will be the responsibility of the witness. Note: Any records or other evidence retained by the University may be subject to production by court order.
Truth and Admissibility: All persons giving information or statements are obligated to be truthful. The SCB shall rule on the admissibility of information and of any witness statements. Unduly repetitious or irrelevant information or witness statements may be excluded. Rules of procedure and evidence applicable in civil or criminal cases in court do not apply.
Information: The responding party and the initiating party shall have the right to view and question all information and reports presented to the Board during the hearing. The Hearing Administrator retains the discretion not to share certain records due to confidentiality concerns, in accordance with applicable law. The responding party and the initiating party shall have the right to question all witnesses appearing before the Board, but only at the hearing. Note: Any records or other information retained by the University may be subject to production by court order.
Written Statement: Written statements from absentee witnesses may be received by the SCB. Proof of authorship of such statements must be provided via certification by a notary public. Inaccessibility of a notary public must be brought to the attention of the Hearing Officer prior to the hearing. Written statement(s) sent from the author’s Brandeis UNET account will be considered authentic with respect to authorship and, therefore, is not subject to certification by a notary public. Note: Any records or other evidence retained by the University may be subject to production by court order.
Standard of Evaluation: Preponderance of the evidence standard - whether the facts presented support a finding that it is more likely than not that Brandeis University policy was violated.
Findings: The SCB shall make one of the following decisions upon completion of a Full Hearing: (a) a finding of “not responsible”; (b) a finding of “responsible” (based on preponderance of the evidence) and, in the case of a finding of responsibility in a Full Hearing or at the conclusion of a Sanction Hearing, the recommendation of a sanction; or (c) continuance of the case to obtain additional information or for further consideration. Decisions shall be based solely upon information and statements introduced at the hearing. All decisions shall be made by majority vote. The chairperson shall vote only to break a tie.
Hearing Report: A written Hearing Report, comprised of a summary of evidence presented at the hearing and the decision rendered by the SCB, shall be made by the Hearing Administrator. Hearing Reports will be retained by the DSRCS for seven years from the date on which this record was written, after which it will be destroyed, unless the student is involved in further conduct action. When there are multiple incidents and associated conduct records, all records will be maintained for seven years from the date on which the most recent incident is closed by the SCP, after which the records will be destroyed (except in extraordinary cases as deﬁned by the DOS Office). Access to such records is governed by the University Records Policy (see Section 16.4.). Brandeis is required by law to provide statistics and narrative information about certain confidential information. Personally identifiable information will be removed from such communications whenever possible. Note: Any records or other evidence retained by the University may be subject to production by court order.
Rescheduled Hearing: The responding party and initiating party shall each have the right to a rescheduled hearing if either fails to attend the originally scheduled hearing through no fault of their own, as determined by the Hearing Administrator. If the Hearing Administrator concludes that the failure to attend was the fault of the responding party, the responding party shall be deemed to have accepted responsibility, and the case will be referred for Administrative Action. If a hearing is rescheduled, it will take place after proper notiﬁcation. If the responding party fails to attend the rescheduled hearing, the responding party shall be deemed to have accepted responsibility, and the case will be referred for Administrative Action.
Failure to Attend
If the responding party fails to attend a scheduled meeting with the DSRCS after having chosen Administrative Action, the administrator may complete the process in the responding party’s absence and send notification in writing of the decision. The responding party shall have the right to one rescheduled meeting if they fail to attend the originally scheduled meeting through no fault of their own, as determined by the DSRCS. If a responding party fails to attend a rescheduled meeting, they will forfeit their right to an appeal. The Hearing Officer may defer (place on hold) conduct action at any stage of the process for a period not to exceed 90 class days if the responding party is unable to participate owing to their withdrawal, leave of absence, documented illness, or incapacity, or if deferral is agreed upon with the consent of the initiating party and/or with the consent of the DSRCS and the responding party. Pending alleged violations may be discontinued thereafter depending upon the conduct of the responding party. Note: When students withdraw or transfer from the University during an active conduct proceeding, the Dean’s Certification will note that the student withdrew during a pending conduct process. The decision to withdraw from the University is one that any student should make in consultation with advisors, family, guardians, Academic Services, or other trusted administrators or faculty.
A record of the conduct process (Administrative Agreement, Student Conduct Board Hearing, or Administrative Hearing), comprised of a summary of the evidence presented and the decision rendered, shall be made by the administrator. Such records are conﬁdential and shall be retained by the DSRCS for 7 years from the date on which this record was written, after which it will be destroyed, unless the student is involved in further conduct action. When there are multiple incidents and associated conduct records, all records will be maintained for seven years from the date on which the most recent incident is closed by the SCP, after which the records will be destroyed (except in extraordinary cases as deﬁned by the DOS). Conduct records apply to policy violations that occur either inside or outside of the residence halls. Conduct process outcomes will vary based on findings of responsibility and severity of violation. Access to such records is governed by the University Records Policy (see Section 16.4.). Brandeis is required by law to provide statistics and narrative information about certain confidential information. Personally identifiable information will be removed from such communications whenever possible. Note: Any records or other evidence retained by the University may be subject to production by court order.
Appeals Procedures for Conduct Processes
Following approval or modification of the sanction(s) by the DOS Office or the DSRCS, the responding party shall have the right to submit an appeals request to the DSRCS or designee concerning the decision of a board or Hearing Officer. Such appeals requests shall be based only on specific evidence, presented in writing, of:
- Procedural Error: The responding party alleges that
- the procedural requirements of SCP were not followed and
- that deviation from the process had an adverse impact on the outcome of the complaint against the responding party.
- New Information: The responding party alleges that, subsequent to the issuing of the final outcome, new information became available which could have impacted the outcome of the complaint. The responding party must:
- present the new information;
- show why it was unavailable prior to the final outcome; and
- show that the new information could have altered the outcome of the complaint.
Appeals are not a new fact-finding process. Appeals shall not be based upon, or granted due to, dissatisfaction with an imposed sanction. Appeals requests must be filed within five business days of delivery of the conduct action to the student in person, or to the student’s home address or Brandeis email address. Factual disputes are not a basis for appeal. Instead, the appeal must set forth under which of the two grounds the appeal is filed. Appeals that do not comply with these requirements, including failing to state a proper grounds for appeal or for not meeting required submission timelines, may not be considered, as determined by the Dean of Students (or their designee).
When the Dean of Students (or designee) identifies that the submitted appeals request meets the stated grounds for appeal, the University Appeals Board shall be convened to review the submission. Upon review, the Appeals Board may uphold the original decision and sanction(s) imposed, re-engage the original hearing body for additional process, and/or identify any additional process requirements. If new information is presented, the UAB has the option to ask DSRCS to re-engage the Student Conduct Process.
Note: Appeals procedures will be addressed in the final outcome letter to the responding party.
Responding party students who obtain information at their SCP Full Hearing that might lead to new evidence shall ask for a continuance of the case at that time, rather than wait to raise the matter for the first time as the basis for an appeals request.