Hearing Procedures for Student Organizations

The discipline of student organizations is incorporated into the general Student Code of Conduct of Gallaudet University and operates according to rules of that system. Any member of the University community may file charges against an organization for misconduct. Charges should be prepared in writing and directed to the Coordinator of Student Conduct. Any charge should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place.

The Coordinator of Student Conduct may conduct an investigation to decide whether a formal charge will be brought against the organization. The Coordinator of Student Conduct may refuse to grant hearings on complaints about incidents that occurred at a time to distant from the date of the filing of charges or when information or testimony is too vague.

The following procedural guidelines are established for the direction of all persons and boards conducting formal hearings on disciplinary complaints against an organization at Gallaudet University.

  1. The organization will be notified by the Coordinator of Student Conduct that a disciplinary complaint has been filed. The president/chair of an organization and/or his/her designee shall represent the organization in any proceedings involving alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct by the organization.
  2. An appointment for a pre-hearing meeting with the Coordinator of Student Conduct must be made no later than five working days after the letter is received. If a meeting with the Coordinator of Student Conduct is not arranged within five working days after receipt of the letter, or if the organization fails to show up at the scheduled pre-hearing meeting, information in support of the charge(s) will be presented and considered.
  3. The Coordinator of Student Conduct may conduct an investigation to determine if the charges have merit and/or if they can be disposed of through a mediation committee established for this purpose on a basis acceptable to the Coordinator of Student Conduct. The mediation committee will be chaired by a staff or faculty member selected by the Coordinator of Student Conduct. If the charges are disposed of by mutual consent through the mediation committee, such disposition shall be final, and there shall be no subsequent proceedings. If the charges cannot be disposed of by mutual consent, the charges will be handled by the Student Conduct Board or Coordinator of Student Conduct. The Coordinator of Student Conduct, if present at the mediation committee, may later serve in the same manner as a non-voting member of the Student Conduct Board in a hearing.
  4. The organization shall be informed by the Coordinator of Student Conduct, in cases where a complaint appears to represent substantial misconduct, of two possible ways to handle the case: 1) appear at a scheduled hearing and present its case before the Student Conduct Board; or 2) Accept responsibility for the violation(s) as charged, waive the right to a hearing and present witnesses on your behalf and accept sanctions imposed by the Coordinator of Student Conduct. In the event of scheduling difficulties or special circumstances, the complaint may be heard and action decided by an Administrative Student Conduct Board.
  5. The president/chair of the organization and/or his/her designee may appear in person and present relevant information to the Coordinator of Student Conduct or the Board, and may call witnesses. The designated representatives are responsible for presenting their cases and will have the opportunity to hear and question all participants at the hearing. Should the designated representatives of the organization elect not to appear at the hearing, it shall be held in their absence. The failure of an organization to appear may be a factor considered.
  6. The designated representatives of the organization may be accompanied by an advisor (the advisor shall be a member of the full-time faculty, staff, or student body of Gallaudet University, but not a lawyer). The role of advisors shall be limited to consultation with the complainant or respondent; advisors may not address the Board or question hearing participants. Violations of this limitation will result in the advisor being removed from the hearing at the discretion of the Coordinator of Student Conduct.
  7. The organization may remain silent to preserve the right against self-incrimination. In such cases, other available information will be considered.
  8. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable to campus disciplinary hearings. Any information or testimony the Board or hearing official believes to be relevant may be admitted.
  9. After the hearing, the Student Conduct Board shall determine whether the organization is responsible for the violation with which it is charged and will impose sanctions, if any, from the range of sanctions applicable for student organizations. The organization shall be entitled to an explanation of any decision. The Student Conduct Board's determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the accused organization violated the Student Code of Conduct.

    If the Student Conduct Board, Coordinator of Student Conduct, or the mediation committee participants decide that a violation did occur, but the organization is not responsible for the violation, the complainant may proceed with charges against individual(s) through the Student Conduct program in accordance with guidelines in the Student Code of Conduct.
  10. The organization shall be informed of the right to appeal a decision. A decision or judgment of the Student Conduct Board or hearing official may be appealed to the Executive Director of Student Affairs. A decision or judgment of the Student Conduct Board or hearing official may be appealed by either or both of the opposing parties upon the following grounds:
    • The Student Conduct Board hearing was not conducted fairly and in conformity with prescribed procedures, which made it unfair.

    • New or newly discovered information that could not have been produced at the hearing. For the Executive Director of Student Affairs to consider new information sufficient to alter a decision, or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, such information and/or facts must not have been known at the time of the original hearing by the appellant.

    • The decision is not supported by substantial information considering the record as a whole. That is, the facts in the case were not sufficient to establish that a violation of the Student Code of Conduct occurred.

    • The sanction imposed was excessive or insufficient and not appropriate for the violation.

An appeal must be in writing, must indicate the basis of the appeal with an explanation, and must be made within five working days of the date the parties were notified of the decision. In an appeal case, action assessed by the initial Student Conduct Board or University official may be held in suspense until acted upon in appeal, at the discretion of the Executive Director of Student Affairs or his/her designee. The Executive Director of Student Affairs or his/her designee may affirm, reverse, or modify the sanction originally assessed. The Coordinator of Student Conduct shall convey pertinent information to the Executive Director of Student Affairs or his/her designee. The decision of the Executive Director of Student Affairs or his/her designee is final.

All Student Conduct hearings shall be closed to the public in order to protect the confidential nature of the proceedings.

Any Student Conduct Board member shall elect to abstain from participation in a hearing when the member has a duality of interest in the case or a personal reason that precludes participation without prejudice.

Because of the expenses it would incur, provision for written transcripts of campus disciplinary hearings is not required.

Each Student Conduct Board, mediation committee, and/or Coordinator of Student Conduct shall determine the rules of procedure in addition to those stated herein.

If a Student Conduct Board or hearing official decides that a student organization should be disciplined, the disciplinary action should be consistent with the severity of the offense. Following are sanctions recognized by Gallaudet University; the Board or hearing official may implement other sanctions instead of or in addition to those specified below:

  1. Permanent Revocation of Organizational Registration - The organization shall not be represented on any student or University organization, board, or committee. Office or housing space assigned by the University shall be vacated within ten (10) business days from the date the notice of revocation is mailed. Space vacated due to this permanent revocation may be reassigned by the University.
  2. Suspension - Denial of rights and privileges of a registered organization. Any organization whose registration is suspended must cease all organizational activities upon receiving this sanction. Any member of a suspended organization may not hold an appointed or elected office as a representative of the suspended organization in any other organization or committee for the duration of the organization's period of suspension. The organization may be asked to vacate office or housing space assigned by the University. Office or housing space assigned prior to suspension will not automatically be reassigned. The organization may reapply for space assignment, subject to availability.

    Suspended organizations will automatically be placed on disciplinary probation for a minimum of one academic year following their renewed registration and may be subject to conditions and/or restrictions during the probationary status.
  3. Disciplinary Probation - A period of review and observation during which the student organization whose conduct has been found wrongful will be granted the opportunity to prove that it can uphold University rules and policies. Subsequent violations of University rules, regulations, or policies could result in more severe sanctions. The terms imply that violation of any provision in the Student Code of Conduct would be viewed not only as a violation of the regulation itself, but also as a violation of the probation and would most likely result in the suspension of the organization. During the probation period, the organization may be subject to one or any combination of the following conditions and/or restrictions:
    • Denial of the right to represent the University.
    • Denial of the right to maintain an office or other assigned space on University property.
    • Denial of the privileges of:
      1. Receiving or retaining funding;
      2. Participating in intramurals;
      3. Sponsoring a social event;
      4. Sponsoring any speaker or guest on campus;
      5. Participating in a social event;
      6. Co-sponsoring any social event or other activity;
      7. Rush or membership recruitment;
      8. Eligibility for University awards or recognition;
      9. Representation on University and student committees, organizations, or boards.
  4. Conditions - Limitations on a student organization's privileges for a period of time or an active obligation to complete a specified activity or activities. This sanction may include the conditions or restrictions listed under the disciplinary probation sanction.
  5. Disciplinary Reprimand - Verbal warning or written notification to an organization that it has violated a University rule, regulation, or policy and that subsequent wrongful conduct by the organization will not be tolerated and may result in severe disciplinary sanctions.
  6. Restitution/Fines - Reimbursement for damage to, or misappropriation of property and/or compensation for injury to an individual, group, or the University. This may take the form of appropriate service or other compensation.
  7. Loss of Student Privileges - Limitations on a student's privileges for a period of time. Principals (officers, etc.) may be prohibited from holding office in any other organization, depending on the severity of the negative leadership displayed. Students from a suspended or revoked organization may also be prohibited from reforming a similar organization under another name.
  8. Community Service - Work assignments may be a part of a disciplinary probation or may be imposed as an independent sanction. If the student or student organization does not complete the community service assignment by the assigned completion date, a charge of non-compliance of a University decision will result. Such assignments will be in addition to the community service requirements as set forth by the student organization guidelines.
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