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Organization of Student Conduct System and Procedures

Vassar endeavors to address cases of alleged student misconduct in a fair, educational, reflective, and timely manner, and is committed to treating all students with equal care, concern, fairness, and dignity. The interpretation and enforcement of the regulations of the college are responsibilities shared among several administrative offices and constituent committees in the college. The offices, committees, and processes discussed in this section (with the exception of the nondiscrimination and non-harassment regulations involving members of the faculty, administration, or staff) are those responsible for regulations governing student conduct.

I. Definition of Terms

For the purpose of the Vassar College Regulations the following definitions shall apply:

The term “college” means Vassar College.

The term “student” includes all persons taking courses at the college. Each student shall be responsible for her or his conduct from time of enrollment through the actual awarding of a degree, even though conduct may occur before classes begin or after classes end, as well as during the academic year and during periods between terms of actual enrollment. College regulations shall apply to a student’s conduct even if the student withdraws from the college while a disciplinary matter is pending.

The term “faculty member” means any person hired by the college to conduct classroom or teaching activities or who is otherwise considered by the college to be a member of its faculty.

The term “administrator” means any person hired by the college to conduct official college business or activities, or who is otherwise considered by the college to be a member of its administration.

The term “staff” means any person hired by the college who is a member of a unit party to a collective bargaining agreement with the college, or who is otherwise considered by the college to be a member of its staff.

The term “member of the college community” includes any person who is a current student, faculty member, administrator, or staff member of Vassar College. The appropriate senior officer shall determine a person’s status in a particular situation.

The term “business day” ordinarily refers to a weekday (Monday through Friday) during those weeks in which the college is in session and/or doing normal business.

The term “Vassar College premises” includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of, owned, used, or controlled by Vassar College.

“Reporting individual” shall encompass the terms victim, survivor, complainant, claimant, witness with victim status, and any other term used to reference an individual who brings forth a report of a violation.

“Respondent” shall mean a person accused of a violation that has entered a student conduct process.

“Accused” shall mean a person accused of a violation who has not yet entered a student conduct process.

The term “grievant” means any person who submits a complaint under Vassar’s nondiscrimination and non-harassment policy.

The term “victim” means any person who is harmed, killed, or suffers as a result of an accidental or intentional act or situation. The victim may experience varied degrees of suffering, loss, and/or deprivation to individual well-being and/or rights she/he is rightfully entitled to, e.g., physical, psychological, emotional, financial, social, educational, medical, and others. There are three categories of victims:

Primary (those directly involved in the critical event, e.g., the injured, assaulted, etc.)

Secondary (those who are in some way observers of the immediate traumatic effects on primary victims, e.g., eyewitnesses, responders, etc.)

Tertiary (those removed from the critical event but who are impacted through encountering a primary or secondary victim, e.g., community members, former victims, etc.) Please Note: For the purposes of this policy, rights and any pursuit of student conduct charges are only afforded to “primary victims.”

14.  “Bystander” shall mean a person who observes a crime, impending crime, conflict, potentially violent or violent behavior, or conduct that is in violation of rules or policies of the college.”

15.  The term “student conduct administrator” means a college official authorized by the associate dean of the college to determine whether a student has violated the rules and regulations of the college, and to identify and impose sanctions upon a student found to have violated the college regulations.

16. The term “College Regulations Panel” refers to the group of individuals authorized by the college to determine whether a student has violated the rules and regulations of the college and to recommend sanctions.

17. The term “Grievance Hearing Panel” means the group of individuals authorized by the college to determine whether a faculty member, administrator, or staff member has violated Vassar’s nondiscrimination and non-harassment policy, and to recommend sanctions that may be imposed when a violation has been committed.

18. The term “College Regulations Appeal Committee” means persons authorized by the dean of the college to consider an appeal from the College Regulations Panel.

19. The term “shall” is used in the imperative sense.

20. The term “may” is used in the permissive sense.

21. The term “policy” means the written regulations of the college as found in, but not limited to, the Governance of Vassar College, the Faculty Handbook, the Administrative Handbook, the Vassar College Regulations, or as published on the Vassar College website (https://www.vassar.edu).

II. The Student Conduct System

A. The Dean of the College

The dean of the college is the senior officer presiding over the student conduct system. The dean of the college, or her or his designee, has the following responsibilities:

Oversee the policies and procedural rules for the administration of the student conduct system.

Hear alleged student violations of college regulations that occur when the College Regulations Panel is not in session, and alleged violations that create emergency situations. In such cases, the ruling of the dean of the college or designee establishes whether the student is responsible for violating the regulations, and determines the appropriate sanction or intervention.

Take summary action when a student poses an ongoing threat to, disruption of, or interference with the normal operations of the college, or to ensure a student’s own physical or emotional safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of members of the college community. Such actions may include, but are not restricted to, removing a student from the residence system, moving a student from one residence to another residence, removing a student from an academic class, or banning a student from campus. Such actions do not replace the regular student conduct process.

Receive appeals of decisions of the College Regulations Panel, the Title IX Hearings, the Intersession Regulations Panel, and convene the College Regulations Appeal Committee.

B. The Committee on College Life

The Committee on College Life is a student/faculty/administrative committee established by the president which has as one of its responsibilities the review of college regulations and recommendation of substantial changes in them. The Committee on College Life is also empowered to establish emergency regulations for the college community to comply with local, state, and federal laws.

C. The Office of the Associate Dean of the College

The Office of the Associate Dean of the College, reporting to the dean of the college, is responsible for the administration of the student conduct system. Within the student conduct system, there are a variety of individuals and offices that have responsibility for addressing alleged violations of the college regulations. The associate dean of the college or her or his designee is responsible for:

Receiving formal complaints and incident reports for alleged student violations of college regulations.

Depending on the violation, assigning an administrator to carry out a student conduct meeting with the accused student, or referring the matter to the College Regulations Panel, Student Conduct Panel, or Intersession Regulations Panel.

Implementing sanctions and monitoring completion of all sanction requirements.

Maintaining the student disciplinary record database, and forwarding all permanent disciplinary files to the Dean of Studies Office.

Issuing “No Contact Orders.” The associate dean of the college or their designee is authorized to issue a No Contact Order (NCO) prohibiting contact between students when there exists a reasonable concern that physical or psychological harm may result from such contact.

The College will consider all facts and circumstances that may be relevant to whether an NCO should be issued, including, but not limited to, the following factors:

a.        When there are allegations, threats, or evidence of physical violence by one student against another;

b.        When there are allegations, threats, or evidence of emotional abuse against or harassment of one student against another;

c.        When there is a substantial risk of emotional harm from continued contact between students;

d.        When continued contact between students may have a material impact on-campus disciplinary proceedings;

e.        When requested or agreed to in good faith by both students involved; and

f.         When there are of allegations of serious College policy violations.

All NCOs shall provide that neither student may have contact with the other. “Contact” includes, but is not necessarily limited to, in-person contact, telephone calls, email, texts and other forms of electronic communication, social media-based messages or postings, and third party communications including through proxies.

NCOs may include additional protective measures or other terms specific to the safety, well-being, or other needs of either or both students subject to the NCO, when deemed necessary by the College. Any additional terms shall be expressly stated in the NCO. Additional protective measures or other terms need not be reciprocal. They may include, but are not limited to, the following:

a.        Restricting a student’s access to certain campus locations, including the other student’s residence hall;

b.        Restricting the times a student may be present in on-campus dining facilities or athletic facilities;

c.        Requiring that the students not be enrolled in the same academic course(s); and

d.        Requiring that the students not participate in the same co-curricular or extracurricular activities.

NCOs may be issued by the following administrators:

a.        For matters pertaining to the College Regulations: associate dean of the college or their designee;

b.        For matters pertaining to the Sexual Misconduct and Discrimination and Harassment Policy: the Title IX Coordinator/Director of EOAA, or their designee;

c.        For emergency situations involving personal safety: the Administrator on Call (AOC) will issue temporary NCO which shall be confirmed, modified, or rescinded by the associate dean of the college or Title IX Coordinator/Director of EOAA once all relevant information is reviewed.

The College will review all NCOs annually. Each NCO will remain in effect until the graduation or withdrawal of at least one of the parties, unless the NCO expressly provides otherwise or is modified or rescinded by the College. A student seeking the modification or rescission of an NCO shall so request the administrator who issued the NCO. The issuing administrator shall consult with both parties before determining whether or not to modify or rescind the NCO.

Violations of No Contact Orders are subject to discipline under the College Regulations or the Retaliation provisions of the Sexual Misconduct and Discrimination and Harassment Policy, as appropriate.

Students who have interpersonal conflicts that do not raise concerns for individual health and safety will not be granted NCOs. These individuals should pursue other forms of conflict resolution, such as mediation or restorative justice, offered through the Office of the Associate Dean of the College, Residential Life and Wellness.

D. Student Conduct Meetings

For possible violations that do not warrant hearing by the College Regulations Panel, the Intersession Regulations Panel, or the Title IX Hearing/Administrative Resolution, a student may have a student conduct meeting either with the Student Conduct Panel (composed of three student members of the Student Conduct Board) or with an administrator designated by the director of student conduct who will serve in this role as the designee of the associate dean of the college. Upon receipt of an incident report or written complaint, the following procedures will be initiated:

The student will be contacted to discuss the alleged violation.

The student will be given an opportunity to respond.

The panel or administrator will then determine if the complaint has merit or will be dismissed, whether the student is responsible or not responsible for violating the college regulations, whether sanctions and/or educational interventions will be imposed, and if so, which interventions or sanctions are appropriate.

The student conduct administrator or associate dean of the college designee will communicate all findings and decisions in writing to the student.

E. Requests for Appeals of Student Conduct Meeting Decisions

Students may request an appeal to the outcome of their student conduct meeting. Appeal request forms are available from the Office of Residential Life, and must be submitted within three business days of receipt of the student conduct administrator’s written decision. Requests for appeals are not intended to be a rehearing of the complaint. In most cases, appeals will be confined to a review of written documentation or record of the original hearing, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal. Appeal decisions shall be deferential to the original hearing body, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if there is compelling justification to do so.

Grounds for Appeal: Appeals may be requested on the following grounds:

a.    Alleged procedural error, which impaired the ability of the student to adequately present her or his case.

b.    Existence of new and relevant information or facts not brought out in the original student conduct meeting, because such information or facts were not known.

c.    Excessive penalty imposed by the student conduct administrator.

d.    Outcome of the case was not supported by the preponderance of the evidence.

        If one or more of the above criteria for being granted an appeal is met, the resulting appeal will be heard by the Student Conduct Panel or the designee of the associate dean of the college.

If an appeal request results in an appeal, the individual(s) hearing the appeal will make one of the following rulings in all cases:

a.    Uphold the administrator’s finding, and also uphold the sanction imposed.

b.    Uphold the administrator’s finding, but revise the sanction imposed.

c.     Overturn the administrator’s finding, and dismiss the complaint.

d.    Remand the case to an alternate administrator or panel for a new student conduct meeting.

Decisions made by the appellate administrator or panel are final.

F. College Regulations Panel

The College Regulations Panel is a committee established by the president and composed of four students, two appointed administrators/faculty members, and one administrator/faculty member who serves as chair. The College Regulations Panel is in session from the first day of classes each academic term until the last day of classes each academic term.

1.   Responsibilities of the College Regulations Panel:

a.   Hear complaints of alleged violations of the college regulations. However, in cases of alleged minor infractions, alleged violations creating emergency situations, or alleged violations occurring when the College Regulations Panel is not in session, administrative action may be taken by the dean of the college, or her or his designee (See Section II. A: The Dean of the College and Section II. C: The Office of the Associate Dean of the College).

b.   Hear appeals of administrative actions taken by the dean of the college in accordance with Section II. A. Decisions made by the College Regulations Panel on appeal are final.

2.   The Procedures of the College Regulations Panel.

a.   The College will proceed to the adjudication phase if, after an investigation, there is sufficient evidence to support an allegation and the matter is not resolved administratively. The respondent and reporting individual (if applicable) may suggest names of witnesses whose statements might be useful in the investigation. The investigator will interview pertinent witnesses and then include a summary of these discussions in her/his investigator’s report.

b.   The adjudication phase consists of a hearing before a trained a committee established by the president and composed of four students, two appointed faculty members, and one faculty member or administrator who serves as chair. The chair oversees the College Regulations Panel hearing process and does not vote. Whenever possible, the full Panel will meet; however, at times, a panel may consist of as few as 4 panelists, as long as there is at least one student and one faculty/administrator.

c.    The respondent and reporting individual (if applicable) will be given notification of the charges filed, a notice of when and where the hearing will take place, and a copy of the Rules and Procedures at least three college business days prior to the scheduled meeting time.

d.   In the event that either the respondent or reporting individual (if applicable) does not appear for the hearing, the panel will review the available evidence and testimony and reach a decision in the absence of the respondent. If, in the opinion of the associate dean of the college or associate dean of the college designee, there is a valid reason for delaying the hearing, a second date and time will be established. 

e.   The respondent and reporting individual (if applicable) may review the College’s investigation file in hardcopy at the Associate Dean of the College Office at least two days prior to the hearing. All parties have the right to review the following information contained in the case file:

1.   the letter outlining the alleged violations

2.   the investigator’s Investigation Report

3.   relevant Security Reports

4.   any written statements by witnesses to the incident

5.   the number of witnesses attending the hearing

6.   the names of participating panel members

       Separate copies of the file will not be emailed or sent to either party. Material may not be removed from the office or photocopied, but personal notes may be taken while reviewing the file. The panel and both parties will have access to the investigative file for review during the hearing.

f.    The investigator will read the Investigation Report to the panel which will include a review of available evidence from a summary of interviews with involved parties and pertinent witnesses.

g.   The respondent and reporting individual (if applicable) may suggest names of witnesses whose statements might be useful in the investigation. The investigator will interview pertinent witnesses and then include a summary of information related to any allegations that resulted from these discussions in the investigator’s report. Efforts will be made to convey pertinent witness information to respondents and reporting individuals prior to the creation of final investigation notes to allow for an opportunity for reaction and/or questions. Generally, since pertinent witness statements are included in the investigator’s report, witnesses do not attend the hearing. If--after reviewing the investigation notes--the respondent or reporting individual have any remaining questions related to information submitted by witnesses, said questions should be immediately submitted to the investigator so that an effort can be made to identify if it would be beneficial to invite the witness to participate in the panel meeting to receive questions in person. If the investigator believes that it would be helpful to the panel for a witness to be present, such individuals must be identified to the associate dean of the college at least two business days before the date of the hearing. Both parties will be notified of the names of all witnesses that will be present at the hearing.

h.   The respondent and reporting individual (if applicable) may make a statement to add any factual information that might be missing from the investigator’s report. These additions should be factual and related to the incidents in question, and not related to the impact. In cases where there is a respondent and reporting individual, neither party is required to make a statement in the physical presence of the other party. Each party will have the option of attending all or part of the hearing by live video or audio conference call so that a party does not have to be in the same physical space as the other party during the hearing.

i.     The respondent and reporting individual (if applicable) may ask questions of each other, witnesses, and/or the investigator during the hearing by submitting questions to the chair. All reasonable questions will be asked by the chair on behalf of the parties. The panel may also ask questions of the parties, witnesses, and the investigator.

j.     A support person may accompany the respondent and reporting individual (if applicable) at all phases of the investigation and at a College Regulations Panel hearing. This support person must be a member of the college community. Except as directed by the investigator or chair, a support person shall limit their role in a hearing to that of a support person. A request may be made to the associate dean of the college for special consideration to bring a support person who is not a member of the college community in extraordinary circumstances, but the presumptive stance of the college is that support persons must be members of the college community. Support persons may not make comments or gestures at the hearing, may not take notes, and may not communicate with the person they are accompanying in any way, including whispers, gestures, notes, etc. Any support person who does not adhere to these guidelines will be asked to leave by the panel chair.

k.   The respondent and reporting individual (if applicable) may object to the assignment of a member of the panel; however, the College will only replace a member upon demonstrated bias or conflict of interest.

l.     When necessary or appropriate, witnesses, parties, and/or support persons may participate by live video or audio conference call if they are not able to be present on campus.

m.  The College Regulations Panel will determine by a two-thirds majority vote based on the preponderance of the evidence whether the respondent is responsible for each charge. If less than two-thirds of the panelists vote for a responsible finding, the respondent shall be considered “not responsible.” 

n.   The respondent and reporting individual (if applicable) may submit a written Impact Statement to the associate dean of the college one college business day before the hearing. This statement would address the impact on the submitter of the incident being discussed at the hearing. Impact Statements will be provided to the panel after decisions have been made regarding responsibility for violations, but before the panelists discuss possible sanctions if the respondent is found responsible.

o.   If the respondent is found responsible for any of the charges the panel will consider sanctions. The chair will provide the panel with the following additional information: Impact Statements, information about any prior violations and sanctions related to the respondent, the results of any previous College Regulations Panel hearings involving very similar violations, and the list of suggested parameters for all violations of College Regulations. The panel will, by consensus, determine an appropriate package of sanctions for the violations.

p.   The respondent and reporting individual (if applicable) will receive a notice of the hearing outcome and the imposed sanction(s) generally within 3 business days after the date of the hearing.

q.   The respondent and reporting individual (if applicable) may appeal the findings of the hearing body and/or final determination and sanction(s) within 5 business days in accordance with the standards and procedures for appeal in the Student Handbook.

r.    A summary of the findings and sanctions (if applicable), with names omitted, will be posted on the associate dean of the college bulletin board and the Presidents’ bulletin board.

s.    Retaliation, intimidation, or reprisal of any kind following a hearing, or during or after any phase of the investigative or adjudicative process, will not be tolerated. Both parties are encouraged to report such incidents promptly to the associate dean of the college.

G. Title IX Hearing

At the conclusion of a Title IX investigation the matter can be resolved administratively at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator and with the consent of both the reporting individual and the respondent. The College will proceed to the adjudication phase if, after an investigation, there is sufficient evidence to support reasonable cause and the matter is not resolved administratively. The adjudication phase consists of a hearing before a trained external neutral adjudicator and college liaison. The adjudicator will hear allegations of violations of college regulations involving sexual misconduct, stalking, dating/domestic violence and other similar incidents of gender-based harassment or violence and will have received specialized training with respect to these issues. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for this hearing process. At the conclusion of either the administrative resolution or hearing, written notice will be provided to both parties to communicate the findings and sanction(s), if applicable.

Hearing Procedures:

1.   The reporting individual and respondent may review the College’s investigation file in hardcopy at the College at least two days prior to the hearing. Separate copies of the file will not be emailed or sent to either party. The hearing body and both parties will have access to the investigative file for review during the hearing.

2.   The reporting individual and respondent may make a statement, present evidence and witnesses, and/or submit relevant information at the hearing. The College may also present witnesses and/or information. All witnesses must be identified to the Title IX Coordinator at least two business days before the date of the hearing. Both parties will be notified of the names of all witnesses that will be present at the hearing.

3.   Neither party is required to make a statement in the physical presence of the other party. Each party will have the option of presenting evidence and attending all or part of the hearing by live video or audio conference call so that a party does not have to be in the same physical space as the other party during the hearing.

4.   The reporting individual and respondent may ask questions of each other, witnesses or other individuals during the hearing by submitting questions to the hearing body. All reasonable questions will be asked by the hearing body on behalf of the reporting individual and respondent. The hearing body may also ask questions of the parties.

5.   The reporting individual and respondent may be accompanied by an advisor/support person of his/her choice during the hearing. The advisor/support person may assist the reporting individual or respondent, but may not participate in the hearing. Advisors/support persons must be identified to the Title IX Coordinator at least two business days before the date of the hearing.

6.   When necessary or appropriate, witnesses, parties, and/or advisors/support persons may participate by video or conference call if they are not able to be present on campus.

7.   The hearing body will provide a written finding on the charges to the Dean of the College or his designee and may recommend sanctions. The parties may submit an impact statement to the hearing body after it has made a determination as to responsibility so that the hearing body may consider such written statements before it recommends a sanction, if any, to the Dean. It may be necessary to provide the hearing body an extension of time to submit its report depending on the circumstances of a case, such as if the parties submit an impact statement. In all cases the hearing body will submit its report to the Dean of the College or his designee as soon as possible. The Dean of the College or his designee will make a final judgment on the findings and assign an appropriate sanction, if any, after reviewing the findings and consulting with the hearing body.

8.   The reporting individual and respondent will receive a notice of the hearing outcome and the imposed sanction(s) generally within 3 business days after the date of the hearing.

9.   The reporting individual and respondent may appeal the findings of the hearing body and/or final determination and sanction(s) within 5 business days in accordance with the standards and procedures for appeal in the Student Handbook.

10. Retaliation, intimidation, or reprisal of any kind following a hearing, or during or after any phase of the Title IX investigative process, will not be tolerated. Both parties are encouraged to report such incidents promptly to the Title IX Coordinator.

H. Intersession Regulations Panel

The Intersession Regulations Panel, a special subset of the College Regulations Panel is composed of three members, at least two of which are members of the faculty or administration. A student panelist will be included if, in the opinion of the associate dean of the college and the chairperson of the Student Conduct Board, there is a member of the Student Conduct Board available. This panel is in session when the College Regulations Panel is not in session, that is, when classes are not in session. This panel hears allegations of violations of college regulations that would be handled by the College Regulations Panel if it was in session. Panelists will have received the same training as that received by College Regulations Panel panelists. The procedures of this panel are identical to those of the College Regulations Panel, and appeals of decisions will be directed to the College Regulations Appeals Committee.

I. College Regulations, Intersession Regulations, and Title IX Hearing Appeals Committee

Following a College Regulations, Intersession Regulations Panel, or Title IX hearing, any party (alleged victim or accused student) may request an appeal of the findings and/or sanctions only under the grounds described below.

General dissatisfaction with the outcome of the hearing is not grounds for appeal. When a violation of college regulations is established and a penalty determined, sanctions will take effect immediately, even pending an appeal.

1.   Procedures: The following procedures will be used for reviewing requests for appeals:

a.   The decision of the College Regulations Panel may be appealed by petitioning the College Regulations Appeals Committee chaired by the dean of the college, or her or his designee, within five business days of receiving the written decision for a review of the decision or the sanctions imposed. The signed and dated request for appeal must be hand-delivered or sent by certified mail to the Office of the Dean of the College, or sent by certified mail to the Dean of the College, Vassar College, Box 3, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604-0003.

b.   A request may be made to the dean of the college for special consideration in exigent circumstances, but the presumptive stance of the college is that the sanctions will stand. In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the institution or of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the individual to her or his prior status, recognizing that some opportunities may be irretrievable in the short term.

c.    The chair will review the request for appeal to determine if the appeal meets the limited grounds and is timely. The chair will then share the appeal with the other party (e.g., if the accused individual appeals, the appeal is shared with the victim, who may also wish to file a response), and to the investigator who presented the case to the panel who will then draft a response memorandum (also shared with all parties).

d.   The original finding and sanction will stand if the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, and the decision is final. If the appeal has standing, the documentation is forwarded to the College Regulations Appeals Committee for consideration. The party requesting appeal must show error as the original finding and sanctions are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately.

e.   The chair’s decision to deny appeal requests is final.

2.   Principles: The following principles will govern the hearing of all appeals:

a.   All parties will be informed of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration, and the results of the appeal decision in a timely manner.

b.   Every opportunity to return the appeal to the original hearing body for reconsideration (remand) shall be pursued.

c.    Appeals are not intended to be a rehearing of the complaint (de novo). In most cases, appeals will be confined to a review of written documentation or record of the original hearing, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal.

d.   Appeal decisions shall be deferential to the original hearing body, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if there is compelling justification to do so.

3.   Grounds for Appeal: The only grounds for appeal are as follows:

a.   A procedural error that substantially affected the outcome of the hearing (e.g., substantiated bias, material deviations from established procedures). Deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant prejudice resulted.

b.   To consider new evidence, unavailable at the time of the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included; and alter the outcome of the hearing.

c.    The sanction(s) imposed are disproportionate to the severity of the violation and substantially outside the parameters set by the college.

4.   Possible Outcomes: The College Regulations Appeals Committee will make one of the following decisions:

a.   If the College Regulations Appeals Committee determines that new evidence should be considered, it will return the complaint to the original hearing body to reconsider in light of the new evidence only. The reconsideration of the hearing body is not appealable. 


b.   If the College Regulations Appeals Committee determines that material procedural (or substantive) error occurred, it may return the complaint to the original hearing body with instructions to reconvene to cure the error. In rare cases, where the procedural (or substantive) error cannot be cured by the original hearing body (as in cases of bias), the College Regulations Appeals Committee may order a new hearing on the complaint with a new body of hearing panel members. The results of a reconvened hearing can- not be appealed. The results of a new hearing can be appealed, once, on the three applicable grounds for appeal. 


c.    If the College Regulations Appeals Committee determines that the sanctions imposed are disproportionate to the severity of the violation and substantially outside the parameters set by the college, the College Regulations Appeals Committee will return the complaint to the​ sanctioning body (i.e. College Regulations Panel​, ​Dean of the College or his designee), who may then increase, decrease, or otherwise modify the sanctions, in consultation with the associate dean of the college. This decision is final. 


5.   Notification: The chair will render a written decision ordinarily within seven college business days from the hearing of the appeal, and will notify all relevant parties. The decision of the College Regulations Appeals Committee is final and binding upon all involved

 

J. Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Participating in the Student Conduct Process

A student requesting an accommodation on the basis of a disability in regard to a student conduct meeting, college regulations panel hearing, or VSA judicial board hearing must follow the appropriate process for requesting an accommodation through the Office for Accessibility and Educational Opportunity (AEO). The AEO office will make a determination regarding the request and notify the appropriate parties.

K. Academic Panel

The responsibilities of the students and members of the faculty elected to the Academic Panel are described in Vassar College Regulations, Part J, Academic and Library Regulations for Students, particularly Section V.

L. VSA Judicial Board

The VSA Judicial Board considers alleged violations of the constitution and bylaws of the VSA. The VSA adjudicates disputes arising from the enforcement of the VSA constitution and bylaws. A copy of that document is available from the VSA. These bodies protect the rights and privileges of the members of the VSA, and any student may bring alleged violations to their attention. A list of the specific rights, privileges, and regulations can be found in the Vassar College Regulations, the Constitution of the Vassar Student Association, and the Bylaws of the Vassar Student Association.

M. Interim Measures and Sanctions

Prior to the processing of an incident, when the situation recommends such action, the associate dean of the college, student living and wellness, in consultation with Campus Safety and the director of student conduct, may implement appropriate action to maintain the safety of the campus community (or specific persons within the campus community) until the investigation and/or conduct process is complete. Such action may include No Contact Orders, removal from campus residential facilities, removing a student from a class or classes, and/or interim suspension from the College. A student subject to such interim measures may appeal the decision to impose them to the Dean of College within three business days after being notified of the decision.

After determining that a violation has occurred, the appropriate panel or student conduct administrator hearing the case shall recommend a sanction in accordance with factors such as the nature and seriousness of the offense, the motivation underlying the offense, the impact upon the campus community, precedent in similar cases, and/or the student’s disciplinary record. In all cases in which a student is found responsible for violating a college regulation, the sanction(s) assessed for the offense will ordinarily go into immediate effect. A list of sanctioning parameters is available at the Office of the associate dean of the college. Sanctions for violations of college regulations include but are not limited to:

Educational interventions: These include, but are not limited to, a letter of apology, assignment of a reflective paper, attendance at an on or off-campus course, or participation in a college-sponsored drug and alcohol workshop for violations of the college’s drug and alcohol policy.

Warning: A written warning or censure is an official statement from the student conduct administrator, Student Conduct Panel, or College Regulations Panel. This sanction officially advises the student of a violation of a college regulation and warns that further violations may result in more severe disciplinary action.

Mandated service: A student found in violation of a college policy or college regulation may be required to perform a specific number of hours of mandated service to the campus community.

Restitution: Monetary restitution is applied to cover the cost of damage or loss of property or services.

Loss of privileges: The withdrawal of one or more campus privileges, including but not limited to use of services, participation in a program, event, or activity for a specified period of time, or removal from an appointed position of authority.

Ban: A student who is banned will be prohibited from entering certain campus locations or other college-owned, operated, or leased facilities; initiating contact with certain individuals; or participating in a program, event or activity for a specified period of time.

Reassignment: A student who is reassigned will be required to move from one assigned space to another; most often in a different house. It will often include a ban from the previous house.

Probation: A trial period during which the student must demonstrate conduct that conforms to college regulations and standards of community behavior. Probationary status will be automatically revoked and any pending penalties implemented, effective immediately, if the student is found guilty of violating a college regulation while on probation, unless the student conduct administrator, Student Conduct Panel, or College Regulations Panel deems the subsequent violation as trivial or irrelevant to the offense for which the probation was granted. In severe cases or when the student has been involved in previous disciplinary action, the period of probation assigned may extend through graduation.

Removal from campus housing: Removal from campus housing may be permanent or temporary. A student barred from the residences may not enter any college student housing without written authorization from the associate dean of the college or her/his designee.

Deferred suspension from the college: Deferred suspension from the college is an official notice that continued enrollment at the college is conditioned upon adherence to college regulations and requirements established by the College Regulations Panel. The duration of the probationary period, and conditions imposed, shall be in proportion to the seriousness of the misconduct. During the probationary period, violations of college regulations or of the conditions of the deferred suspension will result in further action. This action may include, but is not limited to, extension of the probationary period, the addition of other restrictions or conditions to the deferred suspension agreement, or suspension or expulsion from the college.

Suspension from the college: Suspension from the college is a temporary dismissal from the college for a specified period of time. All rights and privileges of student status are suspended during this time, including but not limited to the right to attend classes; use of library facilities or other facilities of the college; obtain credit for academic work; engage in any college programs or activities; hold any position on any college committee or student organization, whether appointive or elective; or be on college property without written authorization from the associate dean of the college or her or his designee. Financial reimbursement is made according to the tuition refund schedule listed in the college catalogue.

Expulsion from the college: Expulsion is permanent dismissal from the college with termination of all rights and privileges. Expelled students are restricted from entering any part of campus or other college-owned, operated, or leased facilities. Financial reimbursement is made according to the tuition refund schedule listed in the college catalogue.

N. Students’ Bill of Rights[1]

All students have the right to:

1.   Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police;

2.   Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault treated seriously;

3.   Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the student conduct process and/or criminal justice process free from pressure by the institution;

4.   Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard;

5.   Be treated with dignity and to receive from the institution courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available;

6.   Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations;

7.   Describe the incident to as few institution representatives as practicable and not be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident;

8.   Be protected from retaliation by the institution, any student, the accused and/or the respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the institution;

9.   Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination;

10. Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual, accused, or respondent throughout the student conduct process including during all meetings and hearings related to such process; and

11. Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or judicial or conduct process of the institution.

O. Retention and Reporting of Disciplinary Records

Student conduct records, including related documents, are confidential to the extent allowed by college policy and the law and in accordance with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended). Access to disciplinary records is also provided in accordance with FERPA.

Student conduct records (incidents with findings of violations resulting in probation) shall be maintained for a minimum of seven years from the academic year in which the case was resolved except in cases as described below, as required by law, or in matters that may result in future litigation.

Disciplinary records (incidents with findings of violations, incidents with only findings of lack of responsibility for violations, and related case files), wherein the sanction imposed is not probation, deferred suspension, suspension or expulsion will be purged at the conclusion of each academic year (denoted by Commencement) except in cases as described below, as required by law, or in matters that may result in future litigation.

Disciplinary matters that result in suspension, expulsion, other prohibition from future enrollment, or other withdrawal for disciplinary reasons are kept indefinitely.

Academic Panel Records are permanent records, except in extraordinary circumstances when by vote of the Panel and by recommendation of the President they are expunged.

In cases where the student does not graduate, the record will be maintained as long as the student remains eligible to re-enroll. Records of pending matters are kept indefinitely; once resolved, they are kept and maintained according to the policy stated above.

5.   When a student is suspended or expelled because of a responsible finding for a violent offense[2], Vassar will make a notation on the student’s transcript that they were “suspended after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation” or “expelled after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation.” Individuals who withdraw from the college while such conduct charges are pending will have “withdrew with conduct charges pending” on their transcript until the case is resolved. If a finding of responsibility is vacated for any reason, any such transcript notation shall be removed. Students may submit a written request to the Dean of Studies Office that the suspension notation be removed from the transcript. Notation for suspensions is not eligible for removal until one year after the suspension has been completed. In considering a student’s request, the College will look at whether there has been any further conduct violations in the year following conclusion of the suspension. The college will keep a confidential, internal record of the suspension. Notation for expulsions shall not be removed.

Generally, information from the files is not released without the written consent of the student. When presented with a signed release by the student, the dean of studies will write a narrative disclosing student conduct information to third parties designated by the student. Certain information may be provided to individuals within or outside the college who have a legitimate legal or educational interest in obtaining it. Student disciplinary records may also be subject to subpoena or court order. The college will make a reasonable effort to notify a student prior to releasing her or his records in response to a judicial order, subpoena, or as required by law.

P. Interpretation and Revision

Any question of interpretation or application of the Vassar College Regulations shall be referred to the dean of the college or her or his designee for final determination.

The Vassar College Regulations shall be reviewed at least every three years under the direction of the dean of the college.

       Changes to the policies and procedures may occur at any time in response to legal and/or regulatory developments. Any such revisions will be published electronically and posted online.



[1] The “Students’ Bill of Rights” is a statewide uniform list of rights as prescribed by Article 129-B of the New York Education Law which was signed into effect on July 7, 2015.

[2] Article 129-B of the New York Education Law requires transcript notations for “violent crimes” which include murder, sexual offenses (forcible and non-forcible), robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, manslaughter, and arson, as defined by the Jeanne Clery Act.