The Shepherd University Office of Student Conduct addresses all violations of the Student Code of Conduct by holding each individual appropriately accountable. Student Conduct works closely with the University Police, Residence Life, and Campus Security Authorities to maintain student safety. However, the campus student conduct system process exists apart from and in addition to the West Virginia criminal justice system. Institutional discipline for any criminal offense is not dependent on prosecution or conviction in the state or federal courts. In addition to upholding the laws of the nation, state, and locality, students must uphold the Code of Conduct, fully outlined in the Student Handbook.
The campus student conduct system is designed to maintain safety, order, and due process on campus. Students charged with an alleged violation are informed of their due process rights on Shepherd University’s campus. Students charged may choose an administrative sanction or a campus student conduct board hearing, where three impartial individuals will hear and decide the case.
The procedures and appeals process are outlined in the Student Handbook. The maximum penalty assessed in the campus student conduct system is expulsion from Shepherd University. Other outcomes include warnings, community restitution, mandated substance use or anger management education programs, campus or building restrictions, disciplinary probation, and/or other outcomes appropriate to the violation.
The Office of Student Conduct at Shepherd University maintains and reinforces a safe and equitable community where the rights of all students are protected by upholding institutional policies and procedures. In circumstances where the behaviors or actions of individual students, student groups, or student organizations do not meet the guidelines set by the Student Code of Conduct, the Office of Student Conduct pursues the resolution of policy violations in an equitable, timely, and unbiased manner through due process. Within this process, the Office of Student Conduct promotes opportunities for appropriate educational and developmental learning using a restorative justice model.
Restorative Justice in Student Conduct
Shepherd University utilizes a developmental, restorative justice model in addressing Code of Conduct violations and student behaviors. Using a restorative model allows for behaviors to be addressed in an appropriate manner, individualizing processes so each individual is treated with respect and equity.
What is restorative Justice?
Restorative justice is a method which utilizes mediation, educational, and developmental outcomes to address Code of Conduct violations and individual behavior. It focuses on addressing and reducing negative behaviors while reinforcing positive behaviors. Restorative justice encourages outcomes to address harm caused to the community, individuals, and self as a result of violations. Outcomes include reflection processes, educational models, community restitution, assessments and more designed to increase individual learning and development.
Developmental and restorative Justice Practices in Student Conduct
Shepherd University Student Conduct uses developmental and restorative justice practices to support a positive and engaging educational community. While some punitive outcomes such as suspension or expulsion may still be utilized, most violation outcomes will not result in this manner since they are reserved for violations which impact the campus community in a more serious manner. A majority of processes and outcomes result in sanctions which are appropriate to the violation, increasing based on the severity of the violation. The goal of Student Conduct processes is not to remove an individual from the educational community, but to remove a behavior which creates negative impact on the educational community. The outcomes in the form of sanctions addresses the needs of the community as well as the developmental needs of the individual.
The developmental learning which takes place in outcomes is often summarized in reflections discussed by the individual who violated policy. This way, individuals can demonstrate what they have learned and gain an increased sense of self-understanding.
The Student Conduct System
The university student conduct procedures are separate from legal proceedings, and not all legal principles apply. All student conduct proceedings are private in accordance with pertinent federal legislation (including the Family Education Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA), Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, and state laws). To honor their due process rights, students can expect the following:
- To be presumed not responsible for a violation;
- To receive fair, prompt, and impartial treatment;
- To be notified of an alleged violation in writing in a timely manner;
- To be informed of the nature of the information used as a basis for the charge;
- To present information on their behalf related to the alleged incident;
- To contest any charges of alleged policy violations and to challenge individuals, including witnesses, who allege that a policy violation has occurred;
- To provide names and contact information of witnesses to be included during the student conduct process;
- To seek advice or advocacy from any member of the campus community or legal counsel;
- To receive sanctions, if appropriate, that are consistent with the severity or frequency of the offense and in accordance with the Student Handbook and the Student Code of Conduct;
- To appeal a decision(s) for good cause (e.g., unfair or biased process or sanctioning, new information, or procedure concerns); and
- To have access to their personal student records.
- In accordance with FERPA, the university is allowed 45 days to provide a student their educational records, which includes records regarding student Only the original conduct records relating to the student making the request may be provided/reviewed and they may not be removed from the office. A financial charge may be assessed to the student for these records.
Enrollment at Shepherd University is a voluntary decision, which includes a student’s acceptance of the responsibility to meet academic requirements and to behave consistently with the university’s policies, purposes and objectives at all times, on campus, off campus and in cyberspace. The university reserves the right to notify law enforcement to problems on or off campus. Shepherd University’s jurisdiction includes university-owned or operated property, as well as university-sponsored functions that occur on or off campus.
Students should demonstrate respect and concern for all members of both on-campus and off-campus communities and behave as responsible citizens. Students should understand that conduct investigation and charges will be initiated when the university’s interest, safety, and/or capacity to function as an academic community is involved. The university jurisdiction includes any misrepresentation or fraud related to a student’s application for admission or readmission. The student conduct process applies to any individual who is enrolled in or auditing courses at Shepherd University on a full-time or part-time basis, including between terms, during vacation periods, advisement and registration sessions, orientation, summer break, or a period of suspension or withdrawal. The student conduct process applies to individual students, student groups, student clubs, and student organizations recognized by or affiliated with Shepherd University. As such, sanctions may apply to individuals, groups and/or organizations.
The university reserves the right to take necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the campus community.
Interim Administrative Action
Serving as the student conduct administrator, the Student Affairs Office designee, may defer procedural due process and enforce an interim action if necessary to maintain safety or order. If, in the judgment of the student conduct administrator or designee, there is probable cause to believe the continued presence of an accused student on campus might constitute an unreasonable risk to university students, faculty, staff, or property, the student conduct administrator, or designee, may take interim actions to protect the safety and well-being of the campus community. Within two business days, the student conduct administrator or designee will convene a committee consisting of three faculty or staff members to review information to determine whether a temporary suspension or restriction is warranted and should be continued. The student will have an opportunity to address the committee. The committee has the authority to restrict or suspend the student on an interim basis, pending the outcome of the student conduct process. The results of the committee meeting will be announced to the student and will not be considered to be a part of the student conduct process nor an indication of a student’s responsibility for an alleged policy violation.
Modifying the Student Code of Conduct
The university reserves the right to amend the Student Code of Conduct and student conduct process at any time. Communication of any changes will be made to the university community in a timely fashion.
The Student Affairs Office designee has the responsibility in defining and interpreting the Student Code of Conduct and conduct procedures.
Filing A Complaint
Any member of the university community may file (and is responsible for filing) a complaint against an individual who allegedly violates the rights of another person or a Shepherd University regulation or policy.
Shepherd University strongly supports the vigorous prosecution in the state courts of any person who commits a crime within the jurisdiction of the university. Students who experience crimes are strongly encouraged to file such complaints with the Shepherd University Police, or with the following: West Virginia State Police, Shepherdstown Police Department, or the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department who all hold concurrent jurisdiction. Whenever a complaint is presented to a Shepherd University police officer or Student Affairs staff that occurred outside the jurisdiction of the university, the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction will be notified of any alleged crime, if they have not been previously notified. Notification will include the offense alleged and the name of the alleged perpetrator but disclosure of the respondent’s identity will be at the election of the student complainant, unless disclosure by a university official is legally compelled.
- Students who are victims of a crime or persons wishing to report a crime should contact the University Police by calling 911, or at their office in Moler Hall. An officer can be reached for non-emergency calls at 304-876-5202.
- Students who wish to report a violation of a campus policy or wish to file a complaint against another student should contact the Student Affairs Office or Residence Life staff member
- Students who are victims of interpersonal violence, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking should refer to http://www.shepherd.edu/title-ix
Student Conduct Processes
After a violation of a campus policy is alleged, a written incident report is submitted to Student Conduct. A student conduct officer reviews the report and takes one of the following actions:
- Verbal conduct warning
- Written conduct warning
- Conduct charges–The student conduct process is outlined below
Preliminary Student Conduct Hearing Process
- The student conduct officer may offer a respondent a preliminary hearing. During a preliminary hearing, the student conduct officer will meet with the respondent to review the charges and the options they have available to them to resolve their questions. The respondent has up to two business days from the time the preliminary hearing meeting concludes (or by 8 a.m. on the next university business day if the deadline occurs when the university is closed) to decide which option the respondent would like to utilize to resolve the charges. Possible ways a preliminary hearing can be resolved include:
- The respondent accepts responsibility for the Student Code of Conduct violation charges and sanctions are determined.
- The respondent does not accept responsibility for Student Code of Conduct violation charges and the violation process moves forward to an Administrative or Formal Student Conduct Hearing.
- Student Code of Conduct violation charges are dropped based on information present.
- If a respondent does not accept responsibility or does not attend the preliminary hearing, sanctions will be convened at the discretion of the Student Affairs designee, Director of Residence Life, or other designee. Students are not required to participate in the student conduct process; however, the student conduct process will continue based on the information that is presented and available at the time of the preliminary hearing.
- At the discretion of the university, the student conduct process may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following legal proceedings.
- The university reserves the right to resolve the matter through a formal administrative hearing or Student Conduct Hearing Board should the student conduct officer deems it to be necessary based on the type and severity of the alleged violation. In this case, a respondent may not be offered a preliminary hearing option.
Formal Student Conduct Hearing Process
- A respondent will attend a pre-hearing conference prior to the formal conduct hearing. In this conference, the respondent will be able to view all documents which will be presented during the Formal Student Conduct Hearing and have an opportunity to submit additional documentation. A complainant will have this same opportunity.
- Formal hearings may be conducted by the Student Affairs designee who serves as a facilitator of the process.
- A Student Conduct Hearing Board is comprised of three board members and a chair member who are faculty and staff at Shepherd University. These members will review documentation, ask clarifying questions of all parties in the hearing, and determine responsibility and sanctions for the violation.
- An Administrative Hearing has one administrative hearing officer may be used for cases except those concerning sexual misconduct where physical contact has occurred. An administrative hearing may occur through the Student Affairs Office or the Residence Life Office. The Administrative Hearing officer will review documents, ask clarifying questions, and determine responsibility and sanctions for the violation.
- No recordings of the proceedings shall be made by any person other than the student conduct administrator or the administrative hearing officer. All formal hearing recordings will be maintained by the Student Affairs designee.
- The student conduct officer will notify the student at least five days in advance of the date, time, and place of the formal hearing in writing.
- The student(s) reserve the right to not participate in the formal hearing process. However, the formal hearing will be held as scheduled and a decision will be based on the documentation available.
- In hearings involving more than one respondent, the student conduct administrator or the administrative hearing officer, may use professional judgment to permit the hearings concerning each student to be conducted separately or jointly.
- Students have the right to have an advisor, including legal counsel, present at formal hearings and pre-hearing conferences. An advisor will be designated for all respondents if they do not select one for themselves.
- An advisor may consult and advise the student but may not speak on the behalf of the student, ask questions of the participants, address the student conduct officer or Student Conduct Board members publicly during formal proceedings, serve as a witness, or otherwise participate directly in the proceedings in Student Conduct hearings. However, advisors may conduct cross examination during hearings falling under Title IX rule.
- If the respondent is found responsible, the student will be informed of sanctions via campus email within two business days and will has the right to appeal the decision.
- If the respondent is found not responsible, the respondent will be excused, all charges will be dropped.
- The respondent will be notified in writing of the findings of the formal hearing and sanctions, if appropriate. The complainant will be notified simultaneously in writing of the findings of the formal hearing and sanctions in cases related to interpersonal violence as allowed by federal law.
- The respondent will have an opportunity to file an appeal to the Student Affairs designee within two business days in writing with any new information or indication of bias. If an appeal is granted, an appeal board will review all information and make a final decision.
- The complainant will also have the opportunity to file an appeal in cases related to interpersonal violence, and as allowed by federal guidelines.
- Please refer to the Title IX web site for detailed information about interpersonal violence and incidents related to alleged policy violations related to sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
Appeal Process for Formal Administrative Hearings
- An appeal may be made on the following grounds:
- The student conduct process was not conducted in a fair or impartial manner
- New, relevant information became available after the hearing was completed
- The hearing was not conducted according to established procedures
- A respondent has up to two business days (or by 8 a.m. on the next university business day if the deadline occurs when university offices are closed) from the date of the decision notification to submit an appeal in writing. This notification must clearly identify which of the reason(s) for the appeal and give clear support for this reason.
- For cases in which the formal hearing occurred as an administrative hearing through the Residence Life Office, appeals are filed to the Director of Residence Life or designee, who will serve as the appellate officer.
- For cases in which the formal hearing occurred as an administrative hearing through the Office of Student Conduct, appeals are filed to the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee, who will serve as the appellate officer.
- The decision of the appellate officer will be considered final in all appeal cases and cannot be further appealed. Decisions of the appellate officer may take one of the following three forms:
- Affirm the original decision and sanctions
- Change the original decision and/or sanctions
- Void the original decision and order a new formal hearing
- Except as required to explain the basis of new information, the appeals process will be limited to the content of the appeal request, a review of hearing recordings (if any), supporting documents, and related information. The university representative, the respondent, and the complainant may not be required to attend the Appeals Hearing Board unless needed to explain the basis of new information
- In circumstances where new information is presented, both the respondent and the complainant will be notified of the date, time, and location of the appeals administrative hearing.
- Before the appeals administrative hearing, both the respondent and the complainant may review any new evidence that will be introduced to the appeal hearing.
- The respondent and the complainant may have an advisor, including legal counsel, if they choose. An advisor may consult and advise the student but may not speak on the behalf of the student. Please see advisor information under the formal hearings section for more information.
- The respondent, the complainant, the university representative, and the appellate officer may make arrangements for witnesses to present or explain pertinent information. The appellate officer reserves the right to ask only those questions that are relevant to the new evidence
- The university representative, the respondent, and the complainant may have the opportunity to suggest questions in writing to the appellate officer of anyone presenting information during the formal hearing. The appellate officer will review and present the questions at their professional judgment. This method is used to preserve the educational tone of the hearing and to avoid an adversarial environment. Questions of whether potential information will be considered shall be resolved at the discretion of the appellate officer
- The appellate officer will make their decision promptly and communicate the findings to the respondent. In cases of interpersonal violence, other violence, and as allowed by law, the findings will also be communicated to the complainant in writing in a timely manner.
- Sanctions imposed during the student conduct process may be suspended during the time in which an appeal is reviewed. If a respondent is suspended or expelled from the institution after the conclusion of the appeals process, all academic work completed during the time of the appeal is forfeited and the sanction will be placed into effect immediately. Depending on the timing of the final decision, the sanction may be extended to the next regular semester. A student may not graduate during the appeal process.
University Appeals for Student Conduct Hearing Boards
- An appeal may be made on the following grounds:
- The student conduct process was not conducted in a fair or impartial manner
- New, relevant information became available after the hearing was completed
- The hearing was not conducted according to established procedures.
- A respondent has up to two business days (or by 8 a.m. on the next university business day if the deadline occurs when university offices are closed) from the date of the decision notification to submit an appeal in writing to the Student Affairs designee. This notification must clearly identify which of the reason(s) for the appeal and give clear support for this reason.
- Appeals based on the outcomes of Student Conduct Hearings Boards through the Student Affairs Office, will be heard through the Student Conduct Appeal Board which will consist of three faculty or staff members and one chairperson
- The appeals process will be limited to the content of the appeal request, a review of hearing recordings (if any), supporting documents, and related information. The respondent, and the complainant may not be required to attend the Appeals Hearing Board unless needed to explain the basis of new information.
- The decision of the Student Conduct Appeal Board will be considered to be final in all cases and cannot be appealed. Decisions of the Student Conduct Appeal Board may take one of the following three forms:
- Affirm the original decision and sanctions
- Change the original decision and/or sanctions
- Void the original decision and order a new formal hearing.
- The Student Conduct Appeal Board will make their decision promptly and communicate the findings to the respondent in in cases of interpersonal violence, other violence, and as allowed by law, the findings will also be communicated to the complainant in writing in a timely manner.
Sanctions imposed during the student conduct process may be suspended during the time in which an appeal is reviewed. If a respondent is suspended or expelled from the institution after the conclusion of the appeals process, all academic work completed during the time of the appeal is forfeited and the sanction will be placed into effect immediately. Depending on the timing of the final decision, the sanction may be extended to the next regular semester. A student may not graduate during the appeal process.
The sanctions listed below shall be imposed upon students when the circumstances clearly indicate that a campus regulation has been violated. The sanction for a violation may be one or a combination of those set forth below:
- Verbal Warning: an oral statement to a student that they have violated university rules.
- Written Warning: written notice to the student that continued or repeated violation of university regulations will be cause for more serious student conduct action
- Policy Reminder: a reminder that is issued to a student related to the university’s policies as an opportunity for students to make more informed decisions
- Removal of Property: required removal of property
- Restitution: reimbursement for damage to or misappropriation of property, or required service hours
- Restriction or Revoked Privileges: limited freedom to move about, to visit residence halls or register guests in residence halls, to use campus facilities, and/or to participate in campus activities
- Educational Task: required participation in an educational risk assessment process (provided by Student Conduct staff or Counseling Services when available), assessment and attendance at an anger management program, completion of online education modules, written reflections, or other educational programs that would relate to the policy violation. Conduct restitution charges may be applied to the student account for appropriate alcohol or other drug courses.
- Change in housing and/or board plan status: housing reassignment, termination of housing, or cancellation of board plan. In cases of termination of housing, no refund will be provided for room charges
- Student Conduct Probation: period of time during which full compliance with policies, rules and regulations are mandatory. Noncompliance would make the student on probation subject to suspension or expulsion. Disciplinary probation may also include certain restrictions when so stated in the decision of the hearing body.
- Deferred Suspension: In limited circumstances, a student who has committed misconduct which would ordinarily result in suspension may be given, due to mitigating factors, one final opportunity to maintain compliance. The deferred suspension means that a student has admitted or has been found responsible for serious misconduct, resulting in a period of review during which a student must demonstrate your ability to comply with university rules, policies, or any other stipulated requirements. If during the deferred suspension a student is responsible for any violations or fails to meet communicated requirements, as determined by the Student Affairs designee, the student will be immediately suspended. A student may appeal this suspension to the Shepherd University Appeal Board, whose decision will be final.
- Suspension: restriction from campus, exclusion from class attendance and other privileges or activities as set forth in the notice of suspension for a stated period of time. The conditions of readmission, if applicable, will be stated in the order of suspension. During a period of suspension, no credits earned at another institution will be accepted at Shepherd University
- Expulsion: complete termination of student status for an indefinite period of time. The conditions of readmission, if applicable, will be stated in the order of expulsion. This sanction shall also be effective at all other state colleges in West Virginia
During a period of expulsion, no credits earned at another institution will be accepted at Shepherd University.
- In cases where the penalties listed above are inappropriate, an outcome especially suited to the offense may be imposed
Medical Amnesty–Special Note About Enforcement
Student health and safety are of primary concern at Shepherd University. As such, in cases of intoxication and /or alcohol poisoning, the university encourages individuals to seek medical assistance for themselves or others. Those students who seek medical attention for themselves or other individuals who are intoxicated will not receive conduct sanctions for violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Medical amnesty does not preclude student conduct sanctions due to any other violations of the code of conduct (not related to the alcohol policy). Likewise, Medical amnesty does not prevent action by law enforcement personnel.
- Administrative Hearing: A meeting to determine if there is sufficient information to indicate that a policy violation occurred and to allow the respondent(s) the opportunity to resolve an allegation of policy violation. This meeting is held by an administrative hearing officer. A respondent who accepts responsibility for a violation and its associated sanction waives his/her right to a formal hearing.
- Administrative Hearing Officer: A University faculty or staff member charged with the responsibility of resolving alleged violations of student conduct through a formal hearing process and to assign sanctions, if appropriate.
- Advisor: Any individual, including legal counsel, who provides guidance to a complainant or respondent. An advisor may provide support and guidance to a complainant or respondent, but may not speak on their behalf, with the exception of Title IX hearings.
- Appellate Officer: A university faculty or staff member charged with the responsibility of resolving appeals filed by the respondent (or complainant in cases of interpersonal violence) during the student conduct process. Appellate officers include the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Director of Residence Life, and designees.
- Code of Conduct: The document(s) in which the rules governing behavioral expectations of students are identified. These behavioral expectations may not be exhaustive, but rather indicate the general expectations of the university community.
- Complainant: The person(s) who files an initial complaint of a policy violation with the university. This person(s) can be the recipient of misconduct, a university proxy, the witness to a violation of the code, or the university itself.
- Deliberation: Deliberation occurs when the Student Conduct Hearing Board members or the administrative hearing officer reviews all the presented information, applies the standard of proof to that information, and makes a determination about the relationship of the respondent’s behavior to the policies.
- Formal Hearing: The official process in which the complainant or university representative and the respondent presents information to a Student Conduct Hearing Board or administrative hearing officer in order to resolve an allegation of policy violation.
- Information/Evidence/Documentation: Information refers to the knowledge, materials, etc. brought to the hearing, whether furnished by witnesses or derived from documents or from any other source. It should be noted that the term “information” is preferred to “evidence.”
- No Contest: Student is not contesting or challenging responsibility for the charges of the incident.
- Not Responsible: Student is found more likely than not to not be accountable for the alleged policy violation.
- Pre-Hearing Conference: A meeting with the student conduct officer that is requested by the respondent or complainant in order to convey information about the formal hearing process.
- Preliminary Hearing: A hearing which occurs to notify students of alleged violations and potential outcomes. A respondent may accept responsibility for the alleged violations and outcomes during this hearing, or deny responsibility moving the process forward to a formal hearing.
- Preponderance of Information/Standard of Proof: Preponderance of information characterizes the standard of proof in the student conduct procedures. A preponderance of information means a greater weight of evidence or “more likely than not.”
- Respondent: The respondent is the student who is accused of violating University Code of Conduct and who is responding to the complaint and charges.
- Responsible: Student is found more likely than not that they are responsible for violating a university policy, whether the responsibility was claimed by the student or assigned through the student conduct process.
- Sanction: Sanction is the term used for the outcomes assigned to students as a result of being found responsible for violating a university policy.
- Student: Any individual who is enrolled in or auditing courses at Shepherd University on a full-time or part-time basis, including between terms, during vacation periods, advisement and registration sessions, orientation, summer break, or a period of suspension or withdrawal.
- Student Conduct Administrator: An administrator designated by the Vice President for Student Affairs with the responsibility for the overall administration of the student conduct process at Shepherd University. The student conduct administrator at Shepherd University is the Coordinator for Student Conduct or designee.
- Student Conduct Hearing Board: Consists of three individuals, including staff or faculty members and one chairperson. The Student Conduct Hearing Board is charged with the responsibility of resolving alleged violations of student conduct through a formal hearing process and to assign sanctions, if appropriate.
- Student Conduct Officer: A university faculty or staff member charged with the responsibility of resolving alleged violations of student conduct. Student Conduct Officers can include, but are not limited to, the Coordinator for Student Conduct, Graduate Assistant for Student Conduct, Student Conduct Board members, Director of Residence Life, Associate/Assistant Director of Residence Life, Area Directors of Residence Life, Graduate Hall Directors, and others designated by the Coordinator for Student Conduct.
- University Representative: A university faculty or staff member that presents information related to an allegation of policy violation on behalf of the university.
- Witness: Any individual who provides information to the student conduct officer related to an alleged policy violation.