Processes & Sanctions
The disciplinary process at FHSU strives to provide all students with positive reinforcement for living within the guidelines for acceptable behavior. The standards of behavior are set forth in the Student Code of Conduct. The intent is to make discipline educational and not punitive. The encouragement and development of self-discipline is a primary goal of the educational process. The judicial system established hereby is designed to further this process and, therefore, is not comparable to or a substitute for jurisprudence under the criminal code. The standard of proof is by a preponderance of evidence, meaning that it is more likely than not that the event occurred. Only under extreme circumstances will the process be viewed as a method of terminating the student's relationship with FHSU.
All students involved in possible disciplinary action are assured that due process will be provided. This means they are told how the disciplinary process of the university functions, they will be made aware of the conduct alleged to have been in violation, they will have the opportunity to defend themselves by having witnesses appear on their behalf, they may have an advisor help them, and they may appeal the decision. Appealing a disciplinary action must be done within a defined span of time, but usually the disciplinary action will not go into effect until the appeal is heard. The exception to this practice occurs only when delaying action until after an appeal would significantly compromise the safety and well-being of the university community.
Procedurally, discipline is handled as close to the level of the problem as is possible and reasonable. In other words, residence hall behavior concerns are normally handled by the Residence Hall staff and/or Residence Hall Judicial Boards; Greek conduct questions are handled by the house of which the accused is a member, Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, Greek Standards Review Board, etc. Local law enforcement authorities generally handle off-campus law violations. The university reserves the right to make a case-by-case determination as to whether some conduct which occurs off of the premises of the university may be addressed under this policy.
Violations of the Student Code of Conduct that do not fall under the jurisdiction of the judicial bodies listed above are normally handled by the Office of Student Affairs. This office also serves as the appellate body for the Greek Standards Review Board. The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs is responsible for the coordination of administrative judicial programs and proceedings as described below. In extraordinary circumstances having a detrimental impact on the university community, the Vice President for Student Affairs or his/her designee may determine that summary administrative suspension or dismissal is appropriate. If such a determination is made, the student will be so informed and provided with the opportunity to meet with the Vice President or his/her designee.
After investigation and consideration of information presented by the student, if any, the Vice President or his/her designee will decide whether a sanction is warranted. This decision can be appealed to the Vice President for Student Affairs or President's designee, whose decision will be final.
Notice: Once a notice is received from any source (victim, RA, 3rd party, etc), the university may proceed with a preliminary investigation and/or may schedule an initial educational conference with the responding student(s) to explain the conduct process and gather information.
Incidents report describing the alleged violation should be sent or delivered to the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Administrative Officer, a designee of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The office is 208 Sheridan Hall and the telephone number is 785-628-5824.
The Administrative Officer will review the incident report. The Administrative Officer will review with the individual who has reported the incident and investigate the complaint in order to make a determination concerning whether the university will charge the student(s) with a violation of the Code of Conduct/University Policy. Students charged with a violation of the Code of Conduct/University Policy are required to attend a Student Conference.
There are three methods of reviewing incidents. The initial meeting, Educational Conference, explains the process and may serve as the informal administrative hearing. At the Educational Conference/Informal Administrative Hearing student(s) may choose to have a Hearing Panel or Administrative Hearing.
In sexual misconduct cases the Educational Conference/Informal Administrative Hearing is a private meeting with individuals at different times. Alleged victims and alleged perpetrators do not have to see each other during this meeting. These cases are heard at the Administrative Hearing level.
Educational Conference/Informal Administrative Hearing
If the student is charged with a Code of Conduct violation, he or she will be sent a notice (or called when necessary) to report to the Administrative Officer in order to discuss the charges and disciplinary procedures. If the Administrative Officer and the charged student can agree upon the facts and sanctions concerning the charges, the matter will be considered initially settled and the Administrative Officer will follow up the student conference with a letter to the student. The matter will be considered resolved once the terms of the sanctions have been completed. The terms of the sanctions may range from dropping all charges to suspension (see Sanctions).
In all cases where the facts and sanctions concerning the charges cannot be agreed upon, the Administrative Officer will determine whether the student(s) facing possible disciplinary action will have their case heard by a Student Hearing Panel or an Administrative Hearing.
Student Faculty Court
The Administrative Officer will assemble the Student/Faculty Court, which consists of five students, faculty, and staff and a Panel Chair. Members of the Student/Faculty Court and the Chair ares selected at the beginning of the Fall semester by a committee comprised of representatives from the Office of Student Affairs and the Student Faculty Court. The Administrative Officer will serve as an advisor to the panel. The hearing will consist of the following procedures:
- The hearing will be closed, and all proceedings will be confidential. An exception will be allowed if both of the charged student and the complainant agree to an open hearing.
- The student charged may bring an advisor or legal counsel for assistance but must speak for him or herself. The role of the advisor or legal counsel will be restricted solely to advising the student.
- The complainant and the charged student will have the opportunity to call and examine witnesses and to present and question other evidence. The student is responsible for having his or her witnesses at the hearing. The university can assist in obtaining the attendance of students and university personnel.
- The Panel Chair will exercise control over the hearing. Rules of evidence as used in courts will not be applied in this type of hearing. Any person who disrupts the hearing may be asked to leave the hearing. Repetitious or irrelevant evidence may be excluded. Witnesses (other than the accused) will be present only during the time they are testifying.
- The standard of proof that will be used is the preponderance of evidence standard. In other words, a student will be found in violation of the Code of Conduct only when the evidence demonstrates that it is more likely than not that student committed the violation. The weight and credibility of the evidence is considered.
- The Student Hearing Panel will deliberate in closed session in order to render a decision.
- The Panel Chair will be responsible for delivering the decision in writing to the accused student. The decision shall include a summary of the findings and the sanctions imposed.
- The decision of the Student Hearing Panel shall be final unless the student files an appeal.
- In sexual misconduct, cases are heard through the Educational Conference/Informal Administrative Hearing which is a private meeting with individuals at different times. Alleged victims and alleged perpetrators do not have to see each other during this meeting. These cases are heard at the Administrative Hearing level.
The Administrative Officer will be the hearing official and may invite student(s), faculty, staff or other experts whose knowledge may be beneficial to serve as the hearing panel, when appropriate. The hearing will consist of the following procedures:
- The hearing will be closed, and all proceedings will be confidential. An exception will be allowed if both the charged student and the complainant agree to an open hearing.
- Students may bring an advisor or legal counsel for assistance but must speak for him or herself. The role of the advisor or legal counsel will be restricted solely to advising the student.
- The university and student(s) will have the opportunity to call and examine witnesses and to present and question other evidence. The student(s) is/are responsible for having his or her witnesses at the hearing. The university can assist in obtaining the attendance of students and university personnel.
- The hearing official will exercise control over the hearing. Rules of evidence as used in courts will not be applied in this type of hearing. Any person who disrupts the hearing may be asked to leave the hearing. Repetitious or irrelevant evidence may be excluded.
- Witnesses (other than the accused) will be present only during the time they are addressing the panel.
- The standard of proof that will be used is the preponderance of evidence standard. In other words, a student will be found in violation of the Code of Conduct only when the evidence demonstrates that it is more likely than not that the student committed the violation The weight and credibility of the evidence is considered.
- The hearing panel will deliberate in closed session in order to render a decision.
- The Administrative Officer will be responsible for delivering the decision in writing to the accused student. The decision shall include a summary of the findings and if the student is found in violation, the sanctions imposed.
- The decision of the hearing official shall be final unless the student files an appeal.
- Sexual misconduct case exceptions:
- A team of investigators will conduct an investigation and make recommendation to the Administrative Officer/Title IX Officer in a hearing.
- The students will not be mandated to face each other.
When a student admits to being or is found to have been in violation of the Fort Hays State University Student Code of Conduct Regulations, the following responses and sanctions are possible:
- Reprimand - Official censure
- Restitution - Repayment of any monetary damages
- Specifically Defined Sanction - Specific conditions or assignments given to the student; examples include but are not limited to:
- community service
- research papers
- workshop attendance
- loss of privileges and exclusion from activities
- exclusion from specified areas of campus
- special projects or assignments
- Disciplinary probation - Period of review and observation during which the student is warned that the misconduct was very serious and that further violations of the code of conduct may result in more serious sanctions
- Deferred Suspension or Dismissal - Denial of enrollment, attendance and/or privileges for a specified period of time
- Permanent Suspension - Dismissal from the university
- Expulsion - Immediate and permanent removal from the institution (used only when it is believed that the presence of the student will have a detrimental impact on the university community)
All sanctions may be imposed singularly or in combination. Sanctions are designed to promote the educational mission of Fort Hays State University. The severity of the sanction(s) imposed is intended to correspond with the severity or frequency of violations, as well as the student's willingness to recommit him or herself to good citizenship through behaviors that fall within the conduct regulations of the institution.
Grounds for Appeal
If opting to appeal, student must submit a written statement outlining the specific grounds the review is sought. Requests for appeal will be entertained only when one or more of the following apply:
- Evidence not available at the hearing which, had it been available, would in all likelihood have produced a different finding (responsible v. not responsible).
- Substantial procedural irregularity.
- Perceived hearing officers bias resulting in a violation of the standards of fairness used in disciplinary hearings.
- An appeal must be submitted in writing.
- Appeal must be clearly written.
- date of original hearing
- date, time, and location of the alleged incident
- reason for the appeal with documentation (see grounds for appeal)
- An appeal must be submitted to the Vice President for Student Affairs within five working days, after receiving notification of the outcome of the hearing.
- Failure to appeal within the allotted time will render the original decision final and conclusive. Late appeals are not accepted.
- The appeals process is an administrative process.
- Appeals are decided upon the record of the original proceedings and upon written materials submitted by both parties. An appeal is not a rehearing of the case.
- Students are notified of the outcome of the appeal by letter.
- Appeal decision made by the Vice President for Student Affairs is considered final.