It is in the best interests of Gallaudet University and the members of the University community for the University to function as a self-regulated community in an orderly environment. Assurance that sanctions will be promptly imposed on those found responsible for misconduct will help the University preserve order. Having its own responsible student conduct system that follows established procedures will enable the University to deal with internal matters of student discipline. Further, it can deal with such misconduct in ways that encourage positive learning from the experience.
Through a system of disciplinary conferences and hearings, restorative justice, and/or administrative review, students, staff, faculty, and/or administrators are able to participate in the student conduct program to resolve complaints made against students. Underlying the program is a deep regard for discipline as a constructive element of education. Stated another way, the philosophy of this program is based on the belief that an alleged violation of the student code of conduct should be handled so as to maximize the educational experience of the students involved. Such an approach does not eliminate punitive action, including suspension or expulsion, as one of the prescribed disciplinary sanctions. It recognizes that the University must protect itself by appropriate means from individuals whose behavior is contrary to the best interests of the University and its community.
It is the intent of the student conduct program that the University, in handling its disciplinary problems, will continue the use of discussion, counseling, conciliation, mediation, and other existing procedures, as long as such measures prove effective. The other provisions of the program will be set in motion in such instances when the informal procedures prove to be, or manifestly appear to be, ineffective, or inappropriate.
Restorative Justice in the Student Conduct Process
The university believes that in certain instances alternative approaches to resolving conflicts can enhance the educational experience for students involved in the student conduct process. Restorative justice is a process to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offense and to collectively identify and address harms, needs, and obligations, in order to heal and put things as right as possible.
Restorative justice is appropriate when all parties involved-the complainant(s) and respondent(s)-voluntarily agree to engage in this restorative justice resolution process and the Coordinator (or Director) of Student Conduct agrees that it is an acceptable alternative to resolve the complaint.
Restorative justice is not an appropriate resolution for cases involving complaints of sexual assault or other serious violations of the Student Code of Conduct; the Coordinator (or Director) of Student Conduct will make a determination of whether or not restorative justice is appropriate on a case-by-case basis.
Restorative justice will involve resolution of the incident, and the resolution may include mutually agreeable sanctions if appropriate. Restorative justice agreements are final, and there will be no subsequent proceedings. If restorative justice does not resolve the situation or if the restorative justice agreements are not adhered to, the case will be adjudicated utilizing established disciplinary proceedings as described below.
When determining possible sanctions a student may have as a result of their behavior Gallaudet will consider not only the particular incident for which the alleged policy violation(s) was placed, but also the overall needs of the individual student. A student’s need for the benefit provided by a particular sanction is not necessarily dependent on their behavior in a particular instance but on the totality of their experience. Although Gallaudet places a high value on the importance of consistency in our process, Gallaudet also recognizes that every situation and every person is different and sometimes reflects that through our sanctioning. Our sanctions are designed to be educational in nature and based on current theory, best practices, and relevant assessment. Ultimately, we strive to engage in a relationship with students in order to turn negative incidents into opportunities for positive growth.
EFFECTIVE DATE: AUGUST 21, 2020