What You Can Expect From the College During Resolution
Resolution Process (Policy 2011.1)
Amnesty in special circumstances
- Students who are committing a minor Code violation can offer assistance to others in need and report more serious Code violations without fear of being sanctioned for the minor violation. For example:
a. Two students are drinking or using drugs and one of them collapses. The one student should seek medical assistance for the other immediately
b. One student kicks over a trash can, spilling its contents on the floor and walks away. That student’s companion decides to take it to the next level by knocking over more trash cans and vandalizing the building. The first student should report the second student’s actions
- In both examples the reporting student would be required to attend an educational meeting with an administrator but would not face sanctions.
- A record of the offer of amnesty will be maintained
- The College may decide to not extend amnesty to the same person repeatedly
Burden of proof: “Preponderence of the evidence”
- At colleges across the country, students are found in violation of the codes of conduct if the preponderance of the evidence shows that it is more likely than not that a violation occurred. This is different from the standard used in criminal proceedings, which is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Challenges to students’ thinking
- Resolution is not about punishment. It is about protecting the interests of the community and challenging students to think reflectively about decisions they’ve made and actions they’ve taken
- The College’s hope is that Resolution will help them bring their behavior into accord with our community expectations
- All but two types of sanction remain as part of the student’s record for seven years and are then removed from the record
- Suspension and expulsion remain on the record permanently
- Respondents can expect to receive a written description of their possible Code violations and to have their cases heard by one or more objective decision- makers.
Findings of “responsible” or “not responsible”
- Students are found “responsible” or “not responsible” for violating the Code.
- A “responsible” finding leads to a caution letter or a sanction.
- Sanctions create a discipline record for the student.
- No less than four calendar days prior to a panel hearing, the respondent will receive written information describing the hearing process and outlining the information that will be presented to the panel by the College.
- Prior to the panel hearing, all respondents will be offered the opportunity to meet with the Associate Dean of Student Relations to discuss how the process works and review the information the College intends to present to the panel.
- In some cases the College will place a hold on a student’s account to prevent the student from registering for additional classes or receiving transcripts. This step is usually taken when a student fails to respond to correspondence. The student is informed of this step in a “no response” letter from the College.
- In more serious cases the College will suspend a student or restrict the student’s access to College facilities and activities while the investigation is happening and before an educational meeting or panel hearing has been scheduled.
- The College will take this step under one or more of these conditions:
a. The student represents a threat of harm to others.
b. The student faces allegations of criminal activity.
- The College believes suspending or restricting the student will preserve the integrity of an investigation, protect College property and/or prevent disruption of College operations.
- The College will schedule an educational meeting or a panel hearing within 12 calendar days of the start of interim action.
- A student who receives an interim suspension or restriction may request a meeting with the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer to demonstrate why the interim action is not merited. Regardless of the outcome of this meeting, the College may still proceed with the scheduling of an educational meeting or panel hearing.
- Initial investigation usually takes up to seven business days
- Initial investigation might lead to determination that additional investigation is required
- Additional investigation will require up to 10 additional business days
- The Associate Dean of Student Relations will investigate the report or will appoint an investigator
- For reports that fall under the federal law Title IX, the investigator works under the direction of the College’s Title IX Coordinator
- Title IX covers cases involving gender-based or sexual misconduct, stalking, or intimate relationship violence
- The investigator will talk with the reporter, the respondent, the victim (if different than the reporter), and witnesses
- The investigator may review other sources of information, such as documents, photographs, video from security cameras or other sources, voicemail messages, text messages, emails, and social media posts
- The investigator may obtain information from a police investigation, either from the Schoolcraft College Police Department or an off-campus police agency, if the information is relevant to the possible Code violation being investigated
Investigation plan and communication
- The College will maintain a written investigation plan that includes the general timeline for the investigation and lists of witnesses and information sources
- The College will provide periodic updates to the reporter, respondent and victim (if different from the reporter) on the status of the investigation
Investigation without reporter, victim or respondent involvement
- There are cases where key individuals decline to participate in the investigation
a. The person making the report (the reporter) declines to participate beyond making the initial report
b. The victim of the alleged misconduct declines to participate
c. The respondent who is alleged to have engaged in misconduct declines to participate
- The College will pursue the case without the involvement of one or more of these individuals if it is believed that investigating the report is in the best interest of the College community and is necessary to uphold the Code
Notification of alleged Code violations
- Respondents receive written notification of their alleged Code violations
- The College uses the respondent’s Schoolcraft student email account and U.S. Mail for all correspondence related to the Resolution process
- The initial written notification will include instructions on how to schedule an educational meeting with the appropriate administrator and a deadline for scheduling that meeting
Notification of hearing
- If a respondent’s case goes to a panel hearing, the respondent will receive written notification of the hearing date, time and location.
- Every effort will be made to schedule the hearing for no less than five and no more than 20 calendar days from the date of the respondent being notified.
- The notification letter will give the respondent a specified time period – usually no less than four calendar days – to respond to the letter.
Notification of outcomes
- The outcome of a Resolution by mutual consent or by a panel hearing is part of the education record of the respondent and is protected from release by the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), except under certain conditions. See section 1 for a description of these conditions.
- The College may notify the parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations.
- The College may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under the age of 21 of alcohol and/or other drug violations.
- Parental notification may also be utilized discretionarily by administrators when permitted by FERPA or consent of the student.
Privacy as allowed by FERPA and Title IX
- The outcome of Resolution is part of the respondent’s educational record.
- The outcome is protected from release under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) except when the Code violation is a “crime of violence” as defined by FERPA.
- The FERPA definition of a “crime of violence” includes arson, assault, stalking, burglary, criminal homicide, destruction of property, kidnapping, robbery, and forcible and non- forcible sex offenses.
Recognition of student rights
- As members of a college community, students have the same rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens and Michigan residents.
- Students have additional rights pertaining to accessing Schoolcraft College’s programs and services.
- These additional rights are spelled out in the Catalog and Student Handbook, both available on the College’s website.
Recognition of student responsibilities
- Students have responsibilities that come with membership in a college community.
- These responsibilities are spelled out in this Student Code of Conduct.
Resolution by mutual consent
- The College may offer the respondent the opportunity to agree to a finding and sanction without taking the case to a panel hearing.
- This form of Resolution is known as “mutual consent.”
Resolution by panel hearing
- The College may call for a panel hearing, or the student may request one.
- In a hearing a panel of College staff (usually 3-5) hears the case, delivers a finding and decides on the sanction(s).
Resolution by panel hearing in sensitive cases
- Cases involving sexual misconduct, discrimination and other conduct of a sensitive nature will have special provisions for the hearing.
- These provisions will focus on making the alleged victim more comfortable without working to the disadvantage of the respondent.
- For example, the alleged victim and respondent could be allowed to testify separately.
- Sanctions are consequences for students found responsible for Code violations.
- Sanctions range in severity from a warning letter and probation to suspension and expulsion.
- The full list of sanctions is contained in Policy 2011.
- Students who fail to comply with their sanctions face additional sanctions and/or suspension from the College.
- A suspension will only be lifted when the student has complied.
- This determination will be made by the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer.
- For some sanctions, a hold may be placed on the student’s account, preventing the student from enrolling or obtaining official transcripts until the sanction is fulfilled.
Safe harbor in cases involving substance abuse or dependency
- The Code should not deter students from seeking help.
- Students who bring their abuse, addiction or dependency to the attention of a College official in order to seek help will not face sanctions for drug- and alcohol- related Code violations disclosed during this process.
- Instead, a written action will be developed that focuses on getting the student the help he/she needs.
- If the student fails to follow the action plan, safe harbor protection may be lifted and the College may initiate the Resolution procedure