Hearing Boards

 

Purpose of University Discipline

The education process at Creighton University is founded on Christian ideals and is committed to intellectual growth, the search for truth, and the development of such attributes as integrity, human dignity, and the concern for others.

The regulations set forth in this handbook and in other official University bulletins are essential to the University’s educational purpose and the promotion of community life.  The major emphasis of this disciplinary system is the education and development of the student and the protection of the rights of other members of the University community.

 

Obligations of a Student

By voluntary entrance into the Creighton University community, the student assumes obligations of performance and behavior, both on and off campus, reasonably imposed by the institution.  These obligations are in addition to those imposed on all citizens by the civil and criminal law.

University Committee on Student Discipline

Purpose -

The purpose of this committee shall be to conduct hearings on alleged infractions of University rules and recommend sanctions for individual(s) or group violations to the Vice Provost for Student Life. The hearing is not a formal process such as a civil or criminal trial but an educational endeavor, which deals with alleged disruptive behavior. Discipline in a university, by the very nature of the institution is educational, for that reason, formal rules of evidence shall not apply in disciplinary hearings.

Membership -

The Vice Provost for Student Life will appoint the chairperson of the Committee on a case by case basis.

The committee shall consist of the appointed chairperson, three faculty members and three students. The faculty are recommended by the Faculty Council and appointed by the President of the University for terms of three years. These members shall be elected from at least two Schools or Colleges. Six alternate members shall be elected by the faculty for three-year terms at staggered intervals. No College or School shall be represented by more than two alternates. Deans, University Officers, Chairs, Division Heads, Directors of Centers and Institutes, and non-tenured faculty are not eligible for elections.

The students, one graduate or professional student, one male undergraduate and one female undergraduate are recommended by the Creighton Students Union and appointed by the President of the University from the student body at large for a term of one year. Six alternate students shall also be selected for one academic year—two graduate or professional students, two male undergraduate students, and two female undergraduate students.

Voting -

A quorum of four (4) Committee members or three (3) members and the chairperson is required to hear cases. All issues, findings, or sanctions in a case will be decided by majority vote of the quorum. The chairperson will vote in case of a tie and, as stated above, if necessary to obtain a quorum. The Committee’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the accused is responsible for committing the alleged offense.

Conflict of Interest –

If the case of any student is referred to the Committee with whom any member of the Committee has an actual or perceived conflict of interest, the Committee member may ask that member to excuse themselves in accordance with this section and shall not have access to any of the materials for the case from which they are excused.

Administrative Hearing Panel

Purpose –

The purpose of this process shall be to conduct hearings on alleged infractions of University rules and provide appropriate sanctions in matters involving nonacademic disciplinary matters where it is anticipated that a student infraction may result in any sanction up to and including disciplinary probation. The administrative hearing is not a formal process such as a civil or criminal trial but an educational endeavor, which deals with alleged non-academic misconduct. Discipline in a university, by the very nature of the institution is educational, for that reason, formal rules of evidence shall not apply in disciplinary hearings.

Administrative hearings will occur when a mutually agreeable decision cannot be made between the student and a hearing officer, but also in cases when the Senior Director of Student Integrity determines that an Administrative Hearing Panel is the best for the student and/or the community.

Membership –

The Administrative Hearing Panel will be composed of one to three staff members (usually from the Division of Student Life) that have been trained to handle student conduct matters. At least one staff member in the administrative hearing must be a member of Student Integrity. The Senior Director of Student Integrity will appoint the members of each Administrative Hearing Panel.

Procedures of Administrative Hearing Panels –

The accused receives advance written notice of the charges, time, date, and place of the hearing. The accused and their advisor will be allowed the opportunity to review and respond to any materials or evidence that will be presented at the hearing.

The complainant may review materials or evidence that will be presented at the hearing 24 hours in advance (or may waive that right) and must review the materials in the Vice Provost for Student Life Suite. The materials and evidence must stay in the Suite and may not be photocopied or taken outside of the Suite.

The accused student is advised prior to the hearing that he/she may bring another member of the University community with him/her as an advisor but that the student is expected to present the case in his/her own words. The student should advise the assigned Hearing Officer if he/she will be accompanied by an advisor at the hearing.

Attendance at disciplinary hearings will be limited to the student(s), his/her advisor, and the members of the Administrative Hearing Panel. The student may bring one of his/her parents or a legal guardian to the hearing, and the student should advise the assigned Hearing Officer at least 24 hours prior to the hearing date if he/she will be accompanied by a parent or a legal guardian at the hearing. The parent(s) or legal guardian may only observe at the hearing. They are not allowed to ask questions or make any comments. They are not permitted to act as the student’s advisor, nor are they permitted to act as a witness for the student. Only members of the Administrative Hearing Panel are allowed to be present during the deliberations.

The complainant and accused have the right to ask questions of each other, but the questions will be written in advance and reviewed by the Hearing Officer at least 24 hours in advance prior to the hearing date. If the accused or accuser has additional questions, it is up the discretion of the Hearing Officer if further questions will be allowed during the hearing.

Any party to the proceedings may request the privilege of presenting witnesses. It is the responsibility of the complainant and accused to contact his/her witnesses and request their attendance at the hearing and notify the Hearing Officer at least 24 hours prior to the hearing date of the witnesses who will appear. The Hearing Officer may also contact witnesses to appear before the Administrative Hearing Panel.

Any decision made by the Administrative Hearing Panel that includes the sanction of suspension are subject to the approval of the Vice Provost for Student Life. Once approved, the Hearing Officer or an administrative officer of the University will give the written decision to the student.

Greek Standards Board

The Greek Standards Board is approved by the Vice Provost for Student Life and may be granted authority to adjudicate specific types of cases involving Greek organizations. The Board is advised by the Fraternity and Sorority Life Advisor and the Assistant Director of the Office of Community Standards and Wellbeing. For hearings, quorum will consist of five voting members with representatives from Panhellenic Council chapters, Interfraternity Council chapters, and representatives from multicultural Greek organizations (only if applications are received from these organizations), the Vice President of Judicial Affairs for the Interfraternity Council, and the Vice President of Judicial Affairs for the Panhellenic Council. The board may hear certain disciplinary cases involving Greek organizations at the request of the Advisor(s) and with the approval of the Senior Director of the Office of Community Standards and Wellbeing in lieu of a Private Decision. The Greek organization retains the right of a Preliminary Conference meeting in advance of a hearing before the Greek Standards Board.

In the case of violations specific to either the Panhellenic or Interfraternity Council recruitment processes, the makeup for that board will consist of members of the Greek Standards Board who are representing their respective councils. All other violations will have boards made up of both councils.

Appeal Procedures for Greek Standards Board -

Grounds for Appeal - An organization may appeal on the following grounds:

·         If the disciplinary sanction imposed is disproportionate to the violation(s) committed, considering the relevant aggravating and/or mitigating factors.

·         If the decision is clearly unsubstantiated by the evidence, or

·         If new information is presented that was not available during the course of the investigation.

Severity of Sanction - The severity of the sanction is not considered an acceptable reason to appeal. 

Filing the Appeal - An appeal shall not be considered to have been filed properly or timely unless it is specific. Letters must be complete enough so that a personal appearance will not be necessary. A letter, which merely lists the grounds of appeal without concern for the individual case at hand, may be dismissed as frivolous.

Appeal Deadlines and Expectations -

After receiving the decision of the Greek Standards Board, the appealing organization will then be permitted up to five (5) working days to prepare and submit a written appeal. The written appeal must cite the specific ground(s) for appeal that the respondent would like the Vice Provost for Student Life or his/her designee to consider and provide an explanation of why, based on these grounds, the decision of the Board should be reviewed. Any supporting evidence or documentation that was not available at the time of the Board hearing must be attached to the written appeal. The appeal must be in writing, signed by the president, and submitted to the Vice Provost for Student Life in person, by facsimile, or attached to an e-mail from the organization’s executive member’s Creighton e-mail address. 

Organization’s Status During Appeal: Pending the response to the appeal, the appealing student organization will remain unaltered except in cases where there are reasons relating to the emotional or physical welfare of the student or of others, or reasons involving the safety of persons or property. Organizations are not required to complete the sanctions given by the Greek Standards Board until a final decision on the appeal is made by the Vice Provost for Student Life or his/her designee.

Considerations and Determination of the Appeal -

Upon receiving a written appeal from the appealing student organization, the Vice Provost for Student Life or his/her designee will review all materials available to the Greek Standards Board. The Office of Community Standards and Wellbeing will provide the Vice Provost for Student Life or his/her designee with the case file, which includes the investigative report, a copy of the Greek Standards Board investigative document. Work product of University representatives (including memoranda and notes that they might generate) and correspondence between University representatives. 

The Vice Provost for Student Life or his/her designee will review and consider all materials submitted as soon as reasonably possible. 

Burden: The burden of proof rests on the appealing student organization who must establish by presenting clear and convincing evidence that the original process or decision was substantially flawed. 

Action: The following actions may be taken by the Vice Provost for Student Life or his/her designee: affirm the finding of responsibility and the sanction imposed by the Greek Standards Board; affirm the finding of responsibility and amend the sanction(s); or overturn the finding of the Greek Standards Board. 

The Vice Provost for Student Life or his/her designee will provide written notification of his/her determination to the organization. The decision of the Vice Provost for Student Life or his/her designee is final.