What is the difference between an information session, an informal conduct meeting and a University Judicial Board?
An Information session is a meeting between a student and the Director of Judicial Affairs or another Office of Student Life staff member to gather the student s perspective on a reported misconduct incident. Students who have been charged with University Rules violations can also use this meeting to learn more about their rights in the St. Mary’s University judicial process, how long it takes to resolve student misconduct charges, the range of possible outcomes and appeal options, and get answers to other related questions.
Administrative Conduct Meeting
An administrative conduct meeting between the student and Director of Judicial Affairs allows for an informal presentation and review of a student misconduct incident. During this meeting a student may choose to accept responsibility for his/her actions as described in their charge letter, contest one or more of the charges through an informal judicial process, or ask for their reported misconduct to be reviewed by a University Student Judicial Board. Students who accept full responsibility for their actions and students who participate in the informal judicial process usually receive verbal notice of their case outcome and of their assigned sanctions by the end of this meeting.
University Student Judicial Board
A University Student Judicial Board is a formal meeting in front of a panel of St. Mary’s University faculty and staff who have been trained to review potentially serious student conduct issues. During this meeting Board members will examine incident reports and other information about the specific conduct incident, including testimony from the alleged actor, victim and witnesses, and then reach a majority consensus on whether the accused student was responsible for committing University misconduct. The Board provides their finding of responsibility and recommended sanctions to the Dean of Students for approval and presentation to the student, usually on the following University business day.
Do I get to choose the type of University conduct meeting I will have?
Any St. Mary’s University student accused of violating the Code of Student Conduct may choose to accept responsibility for their actions and eliminate the need for a structured University judicial process to resolve their issue. A student who chooses to respond to their campus misconduct in this way would still need to meet with the Director of Judicial Affairs or Dean of Students to receive their University sanctions (including sanction completion requirements and due dates) and other important information.
A student may also ask to have their reported misconduct formally reviewed by the University Student Judicial Board instead of the Director of Judicial Affairs. A request for Board review must be made by the student in writing to the Dean of Students and must contain substantial and convincing information that a Judicial Board review is appropriate for their situation for this request to be considered. A student who is assigned to have their misconduct reviewed by a University Judicial Board is not eligible to have their issue resolved through an informal administrative conduct meeting. A student in this situation may still schedule an information session with Student Life, and can also choose to accept responsibility for their actions and eliminate the need for a formal Judicial Board review.
How can I prepare for a University conduct meeting?
The Office of Student Life will help a student set a date and time for a conduct meeting that does not conflict with their class schedule. If this accommodation is not possible, Student Life will inform the student s instructors that any related class absences should be excused.
A student preparing for his/her conduct meeting should spend some significant time thinking about how to best present their side of the story. Anticipating which questions may be asked about the incident and preparing answers to these questions can be an effective preparation technique. Students may share relevant personal statements, pictures, receipts or other printed information during their meetings, but they are solely responsible for preparing these documents for review and providing sufficient handout copies of any item(s) they wish to share.
Can I bring an advisor such as a parent or lawyer with me to any of my conduct meetings?
An accused student may have an advisor within the St. Mary’s community or have a non-St. Mary’s advisor accompany him/her to any meeting called by the Dean of Students or judicial adviser to discuss their reported misconduct. The advisor a student selects may accompany him/her to any related student conduct meeting(s), but cannot directly represent a student in any way during these proceedings.
Can I present witnesses as part of my defense?
A student who plans to present witnesses should contact these individuals as soon as possible to let them know about the conduct meeting date and time. Students are only allowed to present witnesses who have firsthand knowledge of the incident under review; character witnesses are not permitted. Students are solely responsible for contacting and scheduling their own witnesses for any judicial presentation.
Students are also responsible for ensuring their witnesses are present and on time. Witnesses will be allowed to make their statements at an appropriate time as determined by the judicial adviser, answer questions and then be dismissed from the conduct meeting. Witnesses are not permitted to be present for the full conduct meeting.
Can I be suspended from St. Mary’s University on an interim basis before I have my conduct meeting?
Yes. In certain circumstances, the vice president for Student Development and/or the Dean of Students may impose University or residence hall suspension prior to a student s administrative hearing before a judicial body.
Interim suspension may be imposed only:
- To ensure the safety and well being of members of the St. Mary’s University community or preservation of St. Mary’s University;
- To ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being; or
- If the student poses a definite threat of disruption or interference with the normal operations of St. Mary’s University.
During the interim suspension, a student shall be denied access to the residence halls and/or to the campus (including all currently enrolled classes).