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XVII. Conduct Hearings

Administrative Residential Hearing

The Office of Conduct and Integrity reserves the right to administratively hear minor violations of residential policies and other violations as deemed appropriate by the Assistant Provost for Residential & Student Life and the Chair of the Student Conduct Board. Students will be afforded the same basic rights of notice as with Student Conduct Board hearings. The administrative hearing officer shall be assigned by the Assistant Provost for Residential & Student Life. Decisions by the administrative hearing officer may be appealed to the Assistant Provost of Residential & Student Life. Decisions at that level are final. Violations of the Code of Conduct that involve drugs, weapons, or fighting are required to follow the Student Conduct Board hearing process.

The Student Conduct Board

The Student Conduct Board (“Board”) upholds the College’s “Code of Conduct” and Honor Code to provide an environment conducive to the mission, vision, and values of the institution through the resolution of student conduct incidents and education.

  1. Student Conduct Board Composition: The Student Conduct Board shall be comprised of seven members determined as follows: Three RBC students approved by majority vote of the Student Assembly, two faculty members approved by majority vote of the Faculty Assembly, and two administrators reviewed and recommended by the President’s Council. All seven members chosen must also be approved by the RBC President. There must be at least three members of the Board present at a hearing, and of those three, one member must be a faculty member, one must be a student, and one must be an administrator. The Chair of the Student Conduct Board, a non-voting member, will be designated by the RBC President. To help ensure neutrality, the Chair of the Student Conduct Board shall conduct regular training to maintain a current listing of eligible board members. Board members cannot be approved without having received the Student Conduct Board Training.
  2. Chair responsibilities: the Chair is responsible for the overall performance and flow of the Student Conduct Board, which includes the following: 
    1. Review alleged misconduct and determine if a hearing is needed.
    2. Write the respondent a notification letter.
    3. Inform Board members about the date, time, and location of the hearing.
    4. Serve as spokesperson for the Student Conduct Board.
    5. Ensure all procedures are followed by the Board.
    6. Write the decision letter.
    7. Follow-up on the completion of sanctions.
  3. Student Conduct Board Member Duties and Responsibilities: All Board members are responsible for following hearing procedures and ensuring that all parties involved are treated fairly and provided due process. The following are to occur:
    1. Arrive on time and be present during the entire hearing.
    2. Review all materials thoroughly.
    3. Ask open-ended questions.
    4. Be open-minded and willing to consider all the information being presented.
    5. Listen carefully to each person and withhold all judgment until all facts and information have been presented and considered.
    6. Allow for thorough discussion before an additional question is asked.
    7. Before making a decision, review hearing information and compare to the Code of Conduct, or Honor Code for alleged Honor Code violations, to verify a violation occurred.
    8. Be open, creative, and thorough when determining sanctions.
    9. Refrain from discussing individual decisions with other board members prior to submission of comment sheet.

Student Conduct Board Procedures

Student Conduct Board Process and Procedures for On-Campus Misconduct

When determining if a Code of Conduct or Honor Code violation has occurred, the “preponderance of the evidence” standard will be used. This standard requires a majority of the Board members to decide that the greater weight of the evidence indicates that the Responding Party is responsible regarding the allegations. This preponderance is based on the more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy, and not on the amount of evidence.

A. Rights and Duties of the Respondent

  1. Right to Freedom from Harassment and Retaliation. The right to be free from harassment, intimidation, and coercion, including attempts to change testimony. Any violations of this right may be considered a serious violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
  2. Right to Pre-hearing Notice.
    1. The right to preliminary written notice of the nature of the allegations received from the Reporting Party as soon as practical and not less than 72 hours in advance of a hearing.
    2. The right to subsequent written notice of the formal charges and of the date, time, and location of any hearing no fewer than 72 hours in advance of the hearing.
    3. If a student does not appear after being properly notified of the date, time, and location of the hearing, the Student Conduct Board may proceed with the hearing in the absence of the student.
  3. Right to Know the Evidence to be Presented. The Respondent will have the opportunity to inspect, review, and request copies of all evidence to be considered by the hearing panel at least 48 hours prior to the hearing. The Respondent may be required to sign an agreement that he/she will not make copies of or disseminate the work product of an instructor or other materials containing information about other students that are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and must return the materials immediately after the hearing. The Respondent will be instructed that failure to abide by the agreement may be considered a serious violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
  4. Right to Assistance.
    1. The right to the presence of a silent supporter (who may be legal counsel) and one immediate family member to attend the hearing. Neither the silent supporter nor the family member may participate in the hearing in any manner.
  5. Right to Confidentiality. The Respondent has the right to confidentiality regarding all matters related to the alleged violations except from those who have a legitimate educational interest in the information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Violations of that right may be considered an infraction of the Code of Conduct.
  6. Right to Receive Post-hearing Notification. The right to be notified of the outcome of the hearing following post-hearing review by the Office of the Assistant Provost for Residential & Student Life in coordination with the Chair of the Student Conduct Board within five working days after the conclusion of the hearing.
  7. Rights within the Hearing.
    1. The right to the presumption of innocence until the panel has found the student in violation by a preponderance of the evidence.
    2. The right to a separate hearing on each charge if multiple unrelated charges have been filed.
    3. The right to request a separate hearing if two or more students are charged with the same offense.
    4. The right to present evidence relevant to the charges and, if necessary, possible sanctions and to request the presence of necessary witnesses. The number of witnesses may be limited by the Chair if the Chair finds the proposed testimony will duplicate that of the other witnesses or the proposed testimony is immaterial. The Respondent may submit written statements from witnesses in lieu of personal appearances.
    5. The right to ask relevant question of all witnesses.
    6. The right to a closed hearing, and the right to request an open hearing.
  8. Right to be Free from Conflict of Interest.
    1. The right to have the Reporting Party or witnesses barred from participating in the matter in any other capacity.
    2. The right to request that a Board member be removed from his/her case on the grounds of possible bias or conflict of interest. The Respondent must provide reasons as to why the Board member in question is unable to hear the case fairly, and the decision whether to grant the request is left to the Chair, who, where such a request is rejected, will provide a written explanation.
  9. Right to Prepare for Appeal. The right to review the documentary evidence and recording in preparation for an appeal. The review must occur in the presence of a member of the Assistant Provost for Residential & Student Life’s staff.
  10. Right to Waive any Rights. The Respondent has the right to sign a knowing and voluntary waiver of any of the rights accorded.
  11. Duty to Cooperate. The Respondent will reasonably cooperate with the investigation and, if necessary, hearing. This duty includes answering questions fully and honestly and presenting requested information; however, the Respondent has the right not to answer questions if he/she is facing charges in criminal court for the same or similar behavior. Lying in the course of an investigation or hearing may be considered a separate violation of the Student Code of Conduct. This duty also includes complying promptly with requests for meetings or information.

B. Rights and Duties of the Reporting Party

  1. Right to Freedom from Harassment and Retaliation. The right to be free from harassment, intimidation, and coercion, including attempts to change testimony. Any violations of this right may be considered a serious violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
  2. Duty to Preserve Confidentiality. The Reporting Party will keep all matters regarding the conduct or honor case confidential except from those who have a legitimate educational interest in the information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
  3. Right to Know the Outcome of the Case. Faculty reporters will have the right to know the outcome of the case, both following the hearing, and if applicable, the appeals process. This right does not extend to all case materials. Due to the protections afforded student records, this provision does not extend to those who do not have a legitimate educational interest in receiving the information.
  4. Right to Know Grounds for Dismissal of Case. Faculty reporters will have the right to know the basis for dismissal of a particular case, regardless of the stage at which the case is dismissed, if such knowledge serves a legitimate educational purpose.
  5. Right to Request Student not Participate in End of Semester Evaluations. A faculty member who reports a student for a potential violation of the Honor Code or Code of Conduct will have the right to request that the student be excluded from conducting a formal end of semester evaluation.
  6. Duty to Cooperate. The Reporting Party will cooperate reasonably with the investigation and, if necessary, hearing. This duty includes answering questions fully and honestly and presenting requested information and complying promptly with requests for meetings or information.

C. Rights and Duties of Witnesses

    1. Right to Freedom from Harassment and Retaliation. The right to be free from harassment, intimidation, and coercion, including attempts to change testimony. Any violation of this right may be considered a serious violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
    2. Duty to Preserve Confidentiality. Witnesses will keep all matters regarding the case confidential.
    3. Duty to Cooperate. Student witnesses will reasonably cooperate with the investigation and, if necessary, hearing. This duty includes answering questions fully and honestly and presenting requested information; however, the witness has the right not to answer questions if he/she is facing charges in criminal court for the same or similar behavior. Lying in the course of an investigation or hearing may be considered a separate violation of the Honor Code. This duty also includes complying promptly with requests for meetings or information.

All participants have the responsibility to be completely truthful with the information they share at all stages of the process. Any individual who knowingly or intentionally provides false information as part of a report, investigation, or hearing will be subject to discipline in accordance with the procedures set forth in the applicable Student Handbook, Policy Manual, or Faculty Handbook. This provision does not apply to information that is not substantiated or proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

 

Student Conduct Board Appeal Process: If the Respondent wishes to appeal the decision of the Student Conduct Board, he/she must submit an official letter of appeal to the appellate authority, the Dean of Finance and Administration, within five working days of receiving the Board’s notice on the hearing decision and sanction(s). The basis for an appeal will be limited to particular criteria as follows:

      1. Whether the hearing process was conducted fairly in accordance with RBC policies and procedures.
      2. Whether the hearing decision was based on sufficient facts.
      3. Whether the sanctions imposed were appropriate.
      4. To consider new information that is sufficient to alter the decision.
      5. New information and/or facts that were not known to the Respondent at the time of the original hearing.

If one or more of the criteria is met, the appeal will be granted. The Dean of Finance and Administration (“appellate authority”) will provide to the Respondent a written decision within thirty days of receiving the appeal either denying the appeal or granting the appeal and remanding the case back to the Board for a new hearing. In either case, the appellate authority will provide the basis for the decision. If remanded, the Respondent will have another hearing based solely on the applicable appeal criteria found by the appellate authority. The hearing will be conducted in accordance with the Student Conduct Board Process and Procedures for On-Campus Misconduct.

    1. Off-Campus Student Misconduct Process: A student’s off-campus misconduct and/or actions will be reviewed by the Chair of the Student Conduct Board on a case-by-case basis. A student’s misconduct off-campus that results in a negative reflection on the mission, vision, and values of the institution or is a criminal violation that could constitute a threat to the safety of the campus community would be areas of misconduct that could result in a Student Conduct Board hearing. It is necessary that Richard Bland College review off-campus misconduct as the College has a genuine interest in the character of its students and believes that a student’s off-campus behavior reflects his/her ability to be part of an academic community. The Student Conduct Board Process and Procedures for On-Campus Misconduct, Hearing Process, and Appeal Process will be followed for a student whose off-campus misconduct warrants a Student Conduct Board hearing.
    2. Postponement of Hearings: A Respondent may request one postponement of a hearing by contacting the Student Conduct Board Chair (or the designated hearing officer) at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled hearing. Postponement will be allowed only under the following conditions:
      1. The Respondent has a class conflict;
      2. The Respondent is unable to produce necessary witnesses on his/her behalf on the scheduled date of the hearing;
      3. The Respondent has a family emergency;
      4. The Respondent is too ill to attend the hearing;
      5. The consultant/counsel to the Respondent is unable to attend because of illness, emergency, or legal court appearance; or
      6. The Respondent cannot attend because of a religious holiday.

The Student Conduct Board may require written verification of the reason claimed from the affected witness/witnesses, consultant/counsel, family member(s), or a healthcare provider as appropriate.

    1. Student Removal from Campus:
      Students whose on- or off-campus actions and/or presence on campus poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process may be immediately removed from the College. A notice and hearing should follow as soon as practicable.
    2. Board Member Ethics and Confidentiality:
      1. Information regarding a hearing or sanctioning status must not to be discussed outside of the Board.
      2. The misconduct of any respondent will not be disclosed or discussed outside the hearing.
      3. No information given in confidence in a hearing will be discussed outside the hearing.
      4. When members of the board are speaking with a respondent, the members should refrain from making accusations or statements that cannot be supported.
      5. A board member will not participate in a hearing where he/she feels unable to be fair or impartial.
      6. All decisions of the board should be supported by all members of the panel once a vote has been administered and a final decision has been determined.
      7. Any failure of the requirements above may result in disciplinary action.

A student identified as violating any of the following policies may be immediately suspended from the residence halls or College campus pending the appropriate hearing. The Chair of the Student Conduct Board, in conjunction with the Assistant Provost for Residential & Student Life and the Chief of Police shall determine if the student may continue to reside on campus and attend classes throughout the appeals process (until all appeals have been exhausted). This decision is based on the severity of the incident. The student will not be allowed to return to campus if found in violation as charged. It is not necessary to wait for the disposition of legal action related to a criminal offense for the above action to occur.

Any violation of these policies requiring arrest or the issuance of a summons may be carried out simultaneously with the above action. It is not necessary to wait for the completion of the RBC process to arrest the student or to issue the student a summons. All violations falling under these policies are heard by the appropriate administrator(s) on campus.

Richard Bland College has a strict policy for the following violations. An immediate suspension may be imposed on students who are suspected of being directly or indirectly involved with any of the incidences below.

      1. Violence to Persons – Engaging in any form of physical violence directed toward another person or group of people, except when such a response constitutes legitimate self-defense.
      2. Sexual Misconduct – Coerced sexual intercourse (e.g. rape, date-rape, attempted rape, sodomy, or other sexual acts or misconduct), or when the victim is incapable of consent by reason of age, mental incapacity (including when the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is incapable of giving consent), or physical helplessness.
        1. All students, faculty, and staff of Richard Bland College are required to complete Title IX training annually.
        2. For misconduct involving student or employee discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, or retaliation pursuant to Title IX, please refer to the RBC website at http://www.rbc.edu/why-rbc/faculty-staff/policy-manual/ and https://www.rbc.edu/my-rbc/title-ix/title-ix-college-policy/ for applicable policies and procedures.
      3. Illegal Drugs – Possession or distribution of an illegal drug as defined by the Drug Control Act of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Chapter 34 of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia. The list of illegal drugs includes, but is not limited to, marijuana, hashish, amphetamines, LSD compounds, rohypnol (date rape drug), mescaline, psilocybin, DMT, narcotics, opiates, and other hallucinogens including Spice, K2, and synthetic marijuana.  Students who are suspected of possessing/using these drugs without proper doctor’s prescription may be dismissed from the College and held responsible in accordance with the Drug and Alcohol Policy located in Appendix 1 of this document.
      4. Possession/use of a weapon(s) – using, possessing, or threatening to use a weapon or any object as a weapon.
      5. More than two violations of the College’s Student Code of Conduct or Honor Code.
      6. Other inappropriate or threatening actions that disturb the academic and/or living environment of another student or a group of students.

Process for Aforementioned Cases

    1. If the violation requires immediate attention, please call the Richard Bland College Department of Campus Safety and Police at (804) 862-6111 and they will call the Chair of the Student Conduct Board or Assistant Provost for Residential & Student Life if appropriate.
    2. If the violation is egregious enough to warrant arrest, the accused may be removed from housing and/or campus until the Student Conduct Hearing is convened and the Student Conduct Board submits their findings.
    3. A findings report is submitted to the Chair of the Student Conduct Board, the Assistant Provost for Residential & Student Life, and the Chief of Police.
    4. The accused is notified through a pre-hearing process that the incident in which he/she has been allegedly involved has been reported. The notification includes the hearing date, time, and location of the hearing.
    5. The accused completes a pre-hearing notification form.
    6. If the individual admits he/she is responsible, sanctions will be administered.

Student Handbook

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