Carnegie Mellon University

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Student Handbook

Initiating the Community Standards Process

In order to initiate the community standards process, the Office of Community Standards & Integrity must receive a complaint or report that substantiates the facts and circumstances associated with any alleged violation(s) of community standards by a Carnegie Mellon student. The initial information for the complaint or report may be provided by a student, faculty, staff member, or non-affiliate directly to the Office of Community Standards & Integrity or via the following:

The Office of Community Standards & Integrity has the authority to review and adjudicate all violations of university standards, policies and regulations that involve students. The university community standards process may not be used for the adjudication of cases involving the relationships or interactions between two parties that do not involve alleged violations of community standards. Additionally, a complaint may be resolved informally outside of the community standards process at the discretion of the dean of students or designee and with the agreement of the individuals involved in the matter.

As needed the Resolution Review Board (RRB) is empowered to review initial complaints and determine whether there is a reasonable basis for resolution via the community standards process.  When reviewing a complaint, the Resolution Review Board will consider if the described behavior could violate a University policy or community standard if shown to be true. The RRB may determine the described behavior does not constitute a violation of community standards or the complaint does not contain enough information to make such a determination and may request additional information or further investigation. The RRB may dismiss a complaint when it is determined there is no reasonable basis for resolution via the community standards process. Complaints that are dismissed may be resolved via an informal process including but not limited to, conflict coaching, facilitating a dialogue, mediation, restorative practices or shuttle diplomacy. 

Student organizations, as members of the academic community, are expected to uphold university policies and community standards. Alleged violations of community standards associated with student organization activities may be reviewed through the community standards process. Individual students may be held accountable through the community standards process separate from any sanctions imposed on an organization found responsible for violating community standards.

Withdrawal of a Complaint

Generally, when pending allegations are withdrawn by the complainant, the allegations may not be refiled unless new information becomes available that was not previously available. The refiled complaint will be reviewed by the Resolution Review Board to determine if the allegations should move forward based on the current circumstances.  For allegations of sexual misconduct involving student respondents under Section VI.E of the sexual misconduct policy (i.e. Other Prohibited Conduct), this withdrawal of complaint rule applies only after the final investigative report is provided to the Office of Community Standards & Integrity for adjudication through the community standards process.  

Engagement Expectations

It is an expectation that students involved in the community standards process make a good faith effort to participate and bring the matter to resolution.

If a Complainant ceases to engage in the resolution process, the Resolution Review Board may elect to dismiss the allegations or the RRB may allow the allegations to proceed with a university official serving as the Complainant.  Allegations dismissed by RRB may not be refiled by the Complainant unless new information is available that was not previously available.

If a Respondent ceases to participate in the process, the university may proceed to make a determination via Administrative Resolution or schedule and conduct a University Disciplinary Committee without that student's participation.

Overriding Community Interest in Community Standards Matters

There are some circumstances in which an overriding community interest will necessitate engagement of the community standards process even if the impacted party does not wish to pursue it as a means of resolution.

The Office of Community Standards & Integrity in consultation with the Resolution Review Board will determine if an overriding community interest exists. The Title IX Coordinator will play a key role in determining the existence of an overriding community interest in cases involving alleged violations of the Carnegie Mellon Sexual Misconduct Policy (Interim).

In circumstances where an impacted party does not wish to pursue action through the community standards process and it is determined that an overriding community interest exists, the University will bring the matter for review via the community standards process. The impacted party will be informed of this decision as well as their options for participation in the resolution process.

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