Disciplinary Process

Overview

The Vice President for Student Development & Athletics and Associate Dean of Students are responsible for the implementation of the Code of Conduct. University jurisdiction shall be limited to conduct that occurs on University property, at University-related events, or that adversely affects the University community. Given that the University's interest in student welfare is not bound by campus property lines, its commitment to neighborhood relations is high, and a positive reputation within the broader Kansas City community is essential for its continued well-being, the University reserves the right to act on violations that occur off- campus or at University-sponsored or sanctioned events and activities regardless of location.

The adjudication process is designed to be primarily educative and developmental in nature. Pursuing the Ignatian principle that Rockhurst students become “men and women for others,” students will grow in their ability to embrace present responsibilities and consequences and make positive choices in the future that benefit themselves and their community. 

When the behavior of a student poses an immediate threat to the safety of the University, suspension or removal from the University, restriction of access to residence halls, the campus, or participation in any University-sponsored/sanctioned event or activity may result. This judgment is exercised through the Vice President for Student Development & Athletics or designate and remains in effect pending a hearing under the appropriate University disciplinary procedures.

The Associate Dean of Students is responsible for initiating disciplinary proceedings where there is reasonable cause to believe an offense under the Code of Conduct has occurred and disciplinary action is appropriate. Student non-academic disciplinary records are maintained by the Office of Residence Life. These records include all written correspondence concerning violations of University policies and are only released with the written permission of the student (or as required by law).

Individual Hearing

If you are charged with a Student Code of Conduct Violation and are called to an individual hearing, you will most likely be in one of the Resident Director's offices. You might also be called to come to the Office of Residence Life in Massman 3 to meet with another Residence Life staff member. At this hearing it will be you and the Hearing Officer (a Resident Director, Assistant Director of Residence Life, or the Associate Dean of Students). During the Hearing, you will be asked to share what you know about the incident that you are charged with being involved in. At this hearing a few things can happen:

The first type of outcome is when you and the Hearing Officer agree on the facts surrounding the incident and your responsibility for the incident. If sanctions are necessary, the two of you will decide on what is appropriate and helpful.

The second type of individual hearing is when the student and Hearing Officer do not agree on the facts surrounding the incident. In this instance, the Hearing Officer can either sanction the student if necessary or send the student to a Hearing Committee made up of three university constituents (typically one faculty, one staff member, and one student). Sanctions given by the Hearing Officer or Hearing Committee are appealable.

Who could be at my individual Hearing?
Hearing Officer - The Associate Dean of Students or designate. A Hearing Officer will review facts related to allegations of non-academic misconduct by a student or student organization most often considered to be less serious in nature and will make findings and, if the student or organization is found in violation of the Code of Conduct, impose sanctions.

Advisor - Each student or student organization will be afforded the opportunity to have a faculty or staff advisor present at a hearing either with an officer or committee. The advisor role is to help the student or student organization understand the responsibilities and rights afforded by the Code of Conduct process, and to encourage honest and forthright engagement in the process and between hearing officer/hearing committee and the student or student organization. The advisor's role during the actual hearing is limited in scope and should reflect a supportive stance of both the student and the University.

Hearing Committee

Consists of three (3) voting members (typically a faculty member, a staff member, and a current student) and is specifically constituted for cases that involved allegations considered to be more serious misconduct. Although every effort will be made to conduct the hearing committee with one student, one faculty and one staff, it may not be possible, especially during the summer, and the Hearing Committee may consist of any three members of the University community. The Hearing Committee will review facts related to allegations of non-academic misconduct against a student or student organization and will make their findings and, if the student or student organization is found in violation of the Code of Conduct, impose sanctions.

Who could be at my Hearing Committee? 
Hearing Officer - The Associate Dean of Students or designate. A Hearing Officer will review facts related to allegations of non-academic misconduct by a student or student organization most often considered to be less serious in nature and will make findings and, if the student or organization is found in violation of the Code of Conduct, impose sanctions.

Investigating Officer - The Associate Dean of Students or designate. This person consolidates historical and evidentiary data related to the charges against the student or student organization for the purposes of a hearing committee. This person presents this information to the committee for their review, and also suggests possible sanctions based upon the severity of the alleged infraction, disciplinary history of the charged student or student organization, and historical precedent.

Advisor - Each student or student organization will be afforded the opportunity to have a faculty or staff advisor present at a hearing either with an officer or committee. The advisor role is to help the student or student organization understand the responsibilities and rights afforded by the Code of Conduct process, and to encourage honest and forthright engagement in the process and between hearing officer/hearing committee and the student or student organization. The advisor's role during the actual hearing is limited in scope and should reflect a supportive stance of both the student and the University.

Faculty, staff, and students who are asked to be involved in the Code of Conduct process should avoid roles that create a conflict of interest (for example, close friend of charged student, relative of a student, current professor for charged student, or advisor to student organization, etc.)

Appeal Process

The appeal process is a right given to all students and student organizations. An appeal is not a re-hearing and is not granted on the basis of disagreement with the original decision. 

Acceptable basis for an appeal is limited to the following:

  • There was a denial of a fair hearing;
  • There is new and additional evidence not available at the time of the hearing;
  • There was insufficient evidence to establish the student's misconduct or responsibility for the misconduct;
  • The decision was based on prohibited discriminatory criteria; or
  • The decision was arbitrary and capricious.


What do I need to do and what can happen during an appeal?
An intent to appeal the decision of either the Hearing Officer or Hearing Committee must be filed in writing to the Dean of Students’ Office (Massman 1) within three (3) business days of receipt of the written decision (or attempt to deliver). The intent to appeal must specify the basis on which the student is appealing, the decision or part of the decision including sanctions that the student is appealing, and the facts in support of the appeal.

The Dean of Students or designate will decide whether or not the appeal meets the conditions for appeal. If the Dean of Students or designate certifies that the intent to appeal meets an acceptable basis for appeal, he or she will convene a 3-person appeals board to address the appeal. A Board of Appeals, led by the Dean of Students or designate, and generally consisting of a faculty or staff member and a student representative will make every attempt to review an appeal as expeditiously as possible. Until the appeal is reviewed and a decision rendered, the student's status at the University remains unchanged.

An appeal may result in one of the following actions:

  1. Leaving the original sanction intact.
  2. Reversal of the original decision or sanction(s).
  3. Modification of the sanction(s), including changes that could result in either a reduction or increase in sanctions, appropriate to the misconduct or based on new information considered during appeal.


The Dean of Students or designate shall provide the student with a written decision on the appeal. The decision of the Dean of Students or designate shall be the final appeal authority for the University in all cases of non-academic discipline.

How to Prepare for an Individual Hearing

Students should feel that they are prepared for their hearing. If students have questions prior to their hearing, they should come to Massman 3 to speak to the Associate Dean of Students, an Assistant Director of Residence Life, or a Resident Director.

Throughout the Hearing, keep in mind that the intent of the Student Development team is to support each student as he/she interacts with Rockhurst University’s Disciplinary Process. The system is an internal administrative process used by the University to resolve allegations of misconduct by our students. The goal is to discover the truth of the allegations. The University hopes that students who engage in misconduct will take responsibility for their actions in a mature way that demonstrates commitment to the education of themselves and others. The Student Code of Conduct seeks to ensure high standards of courtesy and integrity, to prevent educational disruption, and to promote a productive learning environment. At the same time, we all must recognize the reality of human fallibility as well as stresses associated with collegiate life. The Rockhurst community is hurt if a student is found responsible for engaging in actions prohibited by the Student Code of Conduct and/or the University. A charged student should:

  1. Read the charge letter carefully. The charge provides you with details of the allegations against you. It states the specific policy/policies that you have been charged with violating. It schedules the date, time and location of the Hearing.
  2. Confirm that the date and time of the Hearing does not conflict with your other scheduled responsibilities. Resolving this matter is extremely important and should be your priority over most things, except class and family responsibilities. Call to reschedule if there is a conflict or if   you are unsure of the location of the Hearing.
  3. Read the Student Handbook. Pay particular attention to the explanation of the guidelines you have been charged with violating. Read over the sanctions and conditions so that you are aware of the meaning and implications of each.
  4. Think about what happened on the date in question. Write down everything you remember, including who was present, what was said, and what your feelings were.
  5. Decide whether you will bring an advisor with you to the Hearing. The advisor provides advice and support to you and may not speak for you. Check to be sure your advisor’s schedule does not conflict with the Hearing. If there is a problem, call the number at the bottom of your charge letter to discuss it.
  6. Arrive at least five (5) minutes early for your Hearing. A late arrival might result in rescheduling of your Hearing or a decision on the allegations in your absence.
  7. Prepare yourself to discuss the incident in detail at the Hearing.
  8. At the Hearing, share your written version and any other written statements you have received. Speak openly and honestly. Express yourself in an appropriate, respectful manner, similar to the way you wish to be treated.


How to Prepare for a Committee Hearing 

Most committee hearings are held at the Rockhurst Community Center. Students should report there at least five (5) minutes before their Hearing. The Associate Dean of Students or designate will be presenting the University's case and has no vote. Both you and the University may have witnesses. You are allowed one character witness. You are also allowed to have a Rockhurst faculty or staff advisor present. Your advisor cannot address the witness(es) and should be there only to guide you and answer your questions. Parents and/or lawyers are not permitted to be in the hearing.

Both the University and the charged student are allowed to share their side and will have the opportunity to question the witnesses. After all of the information is presented the three (3) committee members will go into deliberation to decide if the charged student is responsible or not. If the student is found responsible, the committee will receive the student's discipline file. They will then determine what sanctions are appropriate. They will then share their sanctions with the students and university. If a student wishes to appeal the decision they should follow the University appeal process.

Advisors

As a student, you always have the right to have an advisor present for an individual or committee hearing. The advisor can be any Rockhurst University faculty or staff member. Advisors are used to give advice before and during the hearing. They cannot address the hearing committee or ask questions of witnesses. If you are planning on having an advisor, please share the Advisor guidelines with that faculty or staff member. If you do not have an advisor, but wish to have one, please contact the Office of Residence Life for a listing of trained advisors.

Witnesses

You are allowed to have witnesses to testify about the facts surrounding the case. You may also have one character witness who can speak about you personally (Rockhurst faculty, staff, or student). They do not have to have any information about the incident that you are being charged for.