Standard of Review
All hearings under the Student Code of Conduct will be determined using the preponderance of evidence standard, which is established when all supporting documents of an incident provide information that a Student more likely than not violated the Code of Conduct.
A Student Conduct hearing is an opportunity for a Student to have a conversation with a Conduct Officer and provide perspective regarding a report alleging a policy violation. The Student has the right to not attend the hearing, or to attend and stay silent, but active engagement in the student conduct process is encouraged. At the end of the hearing a determination of a finding and an outcome will be decided. The student will be notified of the decision. The procedures governing the student conduct process can be found here.
Any substantive changes to Student Rights or the Procedures of the Student Conduct Process must be shared with all governance groups 60 days in advance. The director of the Center for Student Conduct, or designee, will determine which hearing type is most appropriate for the incident. There are three hearing types, including:
- A hearing with a Center for Residence Life staff member. Center for Residence Life staff are authorized to issue the full range of statuses and conditions up to, but not including, removal from campus housing and separation from the university.
- A hearing with a Conduct Officer. Conduct Officers have the authority to impose a full range of statuses and conditions including suspension and expulsion.
- A D19.0 - Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy - Title IX hearing. These hearings are for cases involving possible policy violations of D19.0 and held in accordance with the provisions of this Policy. Conduct Officers have the authority to impose a full range of statuses and conditions including suspension and expulsion.
Recording of Hearing
All conduct hearings with Conduct Officers are audio recorded. Recordings will be retained in accordance with the C22.0 - RIT Records Management Policy. The recording of the conduct hearing is a university business record and the property of the university. Hearings can be video recorded upon request. A request for video recording must be made in writing twenty-four (24) hours prior to the scheduled hearing. Video recording requests made with less than twenty-four (24) hours' notice may be denied at the discretion of the Student Conduct Officer. All participants in the conduct hearing will give their consent to video recording. Any participant in the conduct hearing that chooses to not be video recorded will be audio recorded only.
Students requesting accommodations for the conduct process must make the request in writing. This written request will state the specific accommodations to be provided and the reason for the accommodations. A current Disabilities Services Agreement from the Disabilities Services Office is sufficient to meet this requirement.
Hearing Procedures for Resolving Violations of the Student Code of Conduct
- All Student conduct hearings will be conducted in private.
- The Student Conduct Officer will facilitate introductions of everyone in the hearing. For guidance on Hearing Participants, see below.
- The Student Conduct Officer will inform the Student that the conduct hearing is being recorded (when applicable).
- The Student Conduct Officer will provide the Student with a copy of their student rights and ask them to acknowledge that it has been reviewed and understood.
- The Student Conduct Officer will review all of the materials and information that has been submitted. The materials may consist of, but are not limited to, a summary of the case as written by Public Safety, statements from witnesses or others involved in the situation.
- After the submitted information has been reviewed, the Accused will have an opportunity to share their perspective and add information. The Student Conduct Officer and other university officials present may ask the Student questions and discuss the case. The Student may choose to remain silent (not answer any questions or make statements), or the Student (and their Advocate) may participate in the discussion.
- The Accused, the Complainant in cases where there is a charge of a D.19 (Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy – Title IX) standard, and the Student Conduct Officer are permitted to bring witnesses and question the witnesses of others. Witnesses from the Accused and Complainant need to be approved by the Student Conduct Officer.
- The RIT Student Conduct Process is not a court of law and legal rules of evidence and procedure do not apply. The Student Conduct Officer will determine in the officer's sole discretion the range of information permitted by witnesses which may be considered.
- If the Student Conduct Officer determines that a witness may be emotionally harmed by giving evidence in the presence of the Accused, the Student Conduct Officer may make other arrangements (such as use of a wall partition or video conferencing) to allow the statements while not depriving the Accused of access to the information.
- All questions will be decided in the sole discretion of the Student Conduct Officer.
- Once all evidence has been submitted and discussed, and within the sole discretion of the Student Conduct Officer, the hearing will conclude and the Student Conduct Officer will deliberate. During this deliberation, the Accused and the Advocate will be excused.
- The Student Conduct Officer will deliberate and determine the appropriate resolution of the case, which could include finding the Accused not responsible, or could include a status of Warning, Probation, Suspension, or Expulsion if the Accused is found responsible. The outcome might also include educational conditions required of the Accused. The Student Conduct Officer could consult with other university staff if appropriate.
- At the conclusion of the hearing, the Student Conduct Officer will determine if an outcome could be delivered to the Accused that same day or if more time is needed to prepare the appropriate outcome.
- If the outcome can be determined that day, the Student Conduct Officer will reconvene the Accused and Advocate after the break for deliberation and share the outcome in person. In these cases, the written outcome letter will be sent within three (3) business days.
- If more time for deliberation is needed, the Accused and Advocate will be released for the day and arrangements will be made to reconvene to share the outcome and/or provide the written outcome within three (3) business days.
- The conduct hearing is concluded when the Student Conduct Officer provides their determination, either in person or in writing.
- If, in the sole discretion of the Student Conduct Officer, it is deemed appropriate, interim suspension or restrictions may be imposed during the time of an appeal or until the time to appeal has passed. (See D18, VIII. 4).
- The hearing outcome might fall within the guidelines of the Appeals Policy (D18.2).
- Once the outcome is final (i.e., if the Student cannot appeal, after the three (3)-day time to appeal has passed, or after the decision of an appeal), the Student is required to complete all of the required conditions.
- There will be a single record of the conduct hearing and this record will be the property of the university. The record will be maintained in accordance with the provisions of C22.0 - RIT Records Management Policy.
- In cases where the Accused fails to appear at the conduct hearing, the hearing may still take place. A determination will be made and an outcome decided on the information available at the conduct hearing. The Accused's failure to answer charges or appear at the conduct hearing cannot be the sole basis for a responsible finding under this policy. In addition, the Accused may be put on a conduct status for refusing to comply after receiving a notice to appear at the hearing.
Hearings intend to provide students opportunities to engage in educational conversations around reported behavior. In pursuit of this objective, hearings may only have a Hearing Officer and student present, or may involve others to represent impacted parties. Hearings held under the D18 process typically consist of the student, Hearing Officer, Trained RIT Advocate, and other appropriate university administrators. Hearings held under the D19 process typically consist of students, two Hearing Officers, a Public Safety staff member and Trained RIT Advocates or Advisors of Choice. The Hearing Officer will ultimately have discretion on hearing participants.
Accused students in D18 hearings and both Accused students/Respondents and student Complainants in D19 hearings can have one (1) RIT Trained Advocate or Advisor of Choice during a hearing, described below. Exceptions are described below. As the goal of the conduct process is student-centered, RIT Trained Advocates and Advisors of Choice serve as supportive assistants and do not serve as representatives of the student.
- Advisors of Choice. The Accused/Respondent and Complainant in D19 hearings have the right to bring an Advisor of Choice instead of an RIT Trained Advocate. Advisor of Choice means a person who can provide quiet support to a student throughout the RIT Student Conduct Process. Faculty and staff members who are not RIT Trained Advocates will be given an Advisor of Choice status.
- RIT Trained Advocates. The Accused/Respondent has the right to bring an RIT Advocate from a list of trained Advocates. The Center for Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution can connect students with these RIT Trained Advocates. RIT Trained Advocate means a faculty or staff person trained by the Center for Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution to provide assistance to the Accused/Respondent throughout the RIT Student Conduct Process. The Center for Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution maintains a list of RIT Trained Advocates. An RIT Trained Advocate may fully participate in the conduct hearing acting in accordance with the provisions of the RIT Advocacy Program.
- Attorneys. For D18 hearings, Attorneys are not permitted to participate in or be present during any student conduct hearing, unless the same incident has resulted in an arrest and is being heard in a court of law, and upon the permission of the Hearing Officer. In those cases and for D19 hearings, Attorneys serve as Advisors of Choice. Guidance for attorneys is as follows:
- The attorney may be present with the student during the hearing
- The role of the attorney is to provide the student with quiet support during the student conduct process
- The attorney may not speak for the student, or address any hearing participants
- If the attorney behaves in a manner that is determined to be disruptive by the Hearing Officers, the attorney may be asked to leave the hearing
- Parents/Guardians. Parents/guardians are not permitted to participate in or be present during any student conduct hearing, unless the Accused/Respondent or Complainant is under the age of eighteen (18). In those instances, the Accused/Respondent or Complainant can bring one parent/guardian, in addition to an RIT Trained Advocate, to the conduct hearing to serve as an advisor who provides quiet support. Parents/guardians can provide quiet support to a student throughout the RIT Student Conduct Process.
- Witnesses. The Hearing Officer reviews and approves witnesses. Witnesses must be members of the RIT Community as students, faculty, or staff members in order to be present for the hearing. Other witnesses can make written statements to be available at the discretion of the Hearing Officer(s). Witnesses must have direct information regarding the incident; character witnesses are not allowed.
- University Liaisons. The Hearing Officer determines university representatives who may be present at the hearing include members from Public Safety, NTID, Center for Residence Life, Athletics, International Student Services, Fraternity and Sorority Life or other appropriate university administrators.
- Access Service Providers. Sign language interpreters, deaf interpreters, captionists or other access service providers may be present if any participant in the hearing is deaf, hard of hearing, or requests an approved accommodation.