University Disciplinary Committee
The University Disciplinary Committee has jurisdiction in the following cases:
- Any cases of alleged violations of university standards and policies that the Resolution Review Board deems sufficiently serious in nature or inappropriate for administrative resolution.
- Any cases of alleged violations of university standards and policies in which one student(s) is filing allegation against another student(s) that cannot be appropriately resolved through the administrative resolution process.
- Appeals referred by the dean of students or designee to review summary actions imposed by a university adjudicator or university staff member.
- Cases in which administrative resolution has not been successful.
Composition of the University Disciplinary Committee
Each case presented to the University Disciplinary Committee is heard by two student board members, one staff board member, one faculty board member and one additional faculty or staff board member. In addition, a trained moderator will preside over the hearing.
The faculty members will be appointed by the Office of Community Standards & Integrity in consultation with Faculty Senate. The staff members will be appointed by the Office of the Community Standards & Integrity in consultation with Staff Council. The student members will be appointed by the Office of Community Standards & Integrity in consultation with Undergraduate Student Senate and the Graduate Student Assembly following a selection process coordinated by the Office of Community Standards & Integrity. All appointees must complete initial and ongoing training in order to be eligible to serve as board members. Once trained, board members may complete up to three years of service. Board members may be reappointed to successive three year terms.
Members participating in a given hearing will be selected from a list of eligible individuals based upon availability and disinterestedness in the case or parties following review by the parties who are appearing before the University Disciplinary Committee. The following circumstance would preclude participation as a board member in a given hearing:
- Individuals with prior substantial knowledge of or interest in the student(s) involved or the event(s) leading to the allegations.
- Individuals with a conflict of interest with the student(s), witnesses or other parties to the case.
- Individuals who may appropriately be a witness in the case.
Conduct of University Disciplinary Committee Hearings
The university attempts to ensure fair, timely and orderly procedures in all student conduct reviews. To provide for this, the university has adopted the following procedural protections that govern the University Disciplinary Committee process:
Hearing Preparation and Scheduling
- The logistics of hearing preparation and scheduling will be coordinated by a process advisor in the Office of Community Standards & Integrity.
- The student must be notified in writing of the specific policy, standard or regulation the student has allegedly violated. Such notification is normally made at least seven calendar days before the hearing.
- Throughout the student conduct process, the student respondent will receive full notification of complaint, notification of any hearing and notification of disposition of the charge and will have the opportunity to be present throughout the hearing process.
- The complainant will receive full notification of the complaint, notification of any hearing, and will have the opportunity to be present throughout the hearing process.
- Prior to the hearing, the individuals involved will be asked if they believe that the potential hearing board members are aware of any significant relationship or interaction that might impair their ability to render an objective recommendation for resolution of the matter under review. The process advisor will consider this in seating the board for the hearing.
- During process advisement, the complainant and respondent will be provided a hearing packet, which may include, among other relevant items: the initial complainant report; any investigation reports and/or witness statements; a statement from the complainant(s) to the board; and a statement from the respondent(s) to the board. This packet may be used for the purpose of preparing for or use during the hearing, consistent with the privacy rights of those involved. These materials are to be kept private and may be shared only with permission from the process advisor. These documents may not be duplicated nor utilized for any other purpose.
- In advance of the hearing, the members of the University Disciplinary Committee will be provided a hearing packet, which may include, among other relevant items: the initial complainant report; any investigation reports and/or witness statements; a statement from the complainant(s) to the board; and a statement from the respondent(s) to the board. Board members are expected to keep the information reviewed during a University Disciplinary Committee confidential.
- Complainant(s) and respondent(s) may submit up to three written letters of support at a date specified by the process advisor for consideration only during the outcomes phase of the proceeding in the event that the respondent is found responsible.
- It is the responsibility of the Office of Community Standards & Integrity to ensure that times set for hearings are reasonable and that necessary accommodations have been offered to both the complainant and respondent whenever appropriate. In turn, both the complainant and respondent will be expected to demonstrate good faith efforts in their participation with this process, particularly in relation to the scheduling of the hearing. In a case involving exigent circumstances that prevent the complainant or respondent from participating in a scheduled hearing, the hearing will be rescheduled.
- Every effort will be made to avoid conflicts with a student's class schedule when identifying a hearing date and time. When circumstances warrant, classroom attendance, except for scheduled examinations, will not be a reasonable excuse for delaying a hearing.
- In the rare circumstance where a respondent fails to make a good faith effort to participate in the process, the university (having made reasonable attempts to accommodate the respondent) may elect to schedule and conduct a hearing without that student's participation.
- Review of incidents involving both student conduct allegations and academic integrity allegations may be conducted by a University Disciplinary Committee at the discretion of the dean of students or designee.
- Allegations stemming from multiple incidents indicating an alleged pattern of behavior may be collectively reviewed by a single University Disciplinary Committee at the discretion of the Resolution Review Board.
- The respondent may file in writing counter-allegations against the complainant in connection with the incident(s) currently under review by the University Disciplinary Committee. In order to be considered for inclusion in the packet in the same hearing process, counter-allegations must be raised within a reasonable time (normally two business days) of the first University Disciplinary Committee process advisement meeting. The counter-allegations must detail the university regulation or policy that the respondent believes has been violated in connection with the incident(s) currently under review by the University Disciplinary Committee and provide information that substantiates the facts and circumstances. Counter-allegations cannot be based solely on the fact that a complaint was brought forward, nor can they be retaliatory in nature. The Resolution Review Board will determine if the counter-allegations will be reviewed by the University Disciplinary Committee or resolved in a subsequent hearing, based on the connection of the counter- allegations to the incident(s) already under review.
- Both the complainant and respondent have the right to have one Support Person of their choosing present at the hearing. Both parties are required to notify the process advisor of their Support Person of choice at a date specified by the process advisor that will be at least three days in advance. If legal counsel will serve in this capacity, a representative of the University’s Office of General Counsel will typically be present for the hearing to provide assistance to the University Disciplinary Committee, moderator, and/or process advisor as needed. Legal counsel or any other Support Person, if present, will not be permitted to participate in the proceedings but may advise the respondent or the complainant and/or be present at a hearing. In the event that one party to a case is accompanied by legal counsel without advance notice, a hearing may be postponed until all parties to the case have had an opportunity to have counsel present. Registered Support Persons are not permitted to participate as witnesses in the same proceedings.
- Both the complainant and respondent have the opportunity to register witnesses. Witnesses should be able to provide direct information related to the alleged violations being reviewed by the University Disciplinary Committee, such as direct observation of the incident in question and/or direct interaction with any of the parties before, during or after the incident in question. Both parties are required to notify the process advisor of their registered witnesses at a date specified by the process advisor that will be at least three days in advance of the University Disciplinary Committee hearing.
- The university reserves the right to supplement the registered witness list at any time to ensure that the board has access to all potential witnesses with substantive information. Both the Complainant and Respondent will be promptly notified of any changes to the registered witness list.
- In scheduling a hearing, consideration should be given to allow that witnesses significant to the case being heard are available to the hearing group. If a witness is not available to be called by the hearing group in person or via telecommunication, they may submit a written statement to the process advisor to be reviewed if the board requests information from the witness.
Hearing Process and Procedures
- Information provided during a University Disciplinary Committee hearing should remain private.
- In order to maintain a fair and equitable process, no new materials will be accepted on the day of the hearing, with the exception of (i) oral testimony and (ii) such other evidence as may be necessary to rebut new oral testimony. Evidence offered as rebuttal will only be accepted at the discretion of the moderator.
- All proceedings before a hearing group, except the deliberation of the group, will be recorded. Recordings will be kept in accordance with student conduct records retention practices.
- During the actual hearing, a student has the right to be present when evidence relative to the case is being presented. In the student conduct process, a student who is charged with a violation has the right to remain silent.
- The moderator will remind all persons present at the opening of each student conduct hearing that the purpose of a University Disciplinary Committee is to determine an appropriate response, through a deliberative process, when a violation of policy, standard or regulation is alleged.
- The complainant(s) and respondent(s) will each be limited to ten minutes for introductory statements.
- The majority of the proceeding will consist of questioning from the board members for all parties as well as the registered witnesses that are called by the board. The complainant(s) and respondent(s) will also have the opportunity to present questions for the board’s consideration.
- It is within the discretion of the board to determine whether they wish to hear from the registered witnesses. Witnesses will be questioned one at a time by the hearing group and subsequently dismissed. They should only be present in the room when providing information to the board. Except in documented extenuating circumstances, students are expected to make a good faith effort to provide information to the University Disciplinary Committee when called as a witness.
- The complainant(s) and respondent(s) will each be limited to five minutes for summary statements.
- All materials provided to the complainant(s) and respondent(s) must be returned to the process advisor at the conclusion of the hearing.
- Following summary statements, the board will enter closed deliberations. A preponderance of the evidence standard (more likely than not) will be used to determine if a university policy, standard or regulation was violated. If responsibility is determined, the board will make a recommendation for appropriate outcomes.
- No information about a respondent's prior student conduct record will be shared with the University Disciplinary Committee until a determination of responsibility has been made unless the case being reviewed stems from the prior incident for which a student conduct record exists. If a respondent(s) has a prior student conduct record and is found responsible by the University Disciplinary Committee, the following information will be shared with the board: community standards violation(s) for which they were found responsible, date of incident(s), outcome(s), and status of the case(s). The student may be recalled before the board to discuss the prior violations and sanctions prior to the University Disciplinary Committee making a recommendation for appropriate sanctions for the present.
Hearing Outcome Determination and Notifications
- A representative of the Office of Community Standards & Integrity will be responsible for notifying the associate vice president of student affairs for community life or designee in writing of the recommendation of the hearing group regarding responsibility and any sanctions deemed appropriate.
- The associate vice present of student affairs for community life or designee makes the decision in the case, informed by the recommendation of the University Disciplinary Committee. The associate vice president of student affairs for community life or designee may accept, reject, or modify the recommendation, or may remand the matter to a new University Disciplinary Committee for review.
- After reviewing the recommendations, the associate vice president of student affairs for community life or designee will render a decision in writing. The decision letter will typically be delivered to the respondent(s) by the process advisor.
- In cases that involve a) crimes of violence and non-forcible sex offenses as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and b) sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking in accordance with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the complainant/ impacted party will receive notification of disposition of the allegation(s).
- Parents of a student normally will not be notified of any student conduct action.
- Student conduct actions will be recorded in the student's disciplinary record in the Office of Community Standards & Integrity in accordance with student conduct records retention practices. When student conduct actions affect eligibility for enrollment, designation on other university records will be made. Disciplinary records will not be released as a part of the official transcript of the academic record of a student.
A request for appeal of a decision delivered through the University Disciplinary Committee process must be submitted in writing to the president of the university by the respondent within seven calendar days of the official notification of the decision.
In cases where the disposition of the charge has been communicated to the complainant and/or impacted party (as described above), the complainant and/or impacted party may also submit a request for appeal in writing to the president of the university within seven calendar days of the official notification of the decision.
The written appeal request should indicate whether the student is appealing the finding(s) of responsibility, the outcome(s), or both, as well the basis for the appeal itself. The basis of an appeal will be limited to one or more of the following cases:
- A gross procedural error that materially affected the outcome;
- The sanction(s) imposed were not commensurate with the violation(s) of community standards for which the respondent(s) were found responsible;
- The decision was not consistent with a preponderance of the evidence;
- New information, which was unavailable at the time of the hearing, that merits re-consideration of the final disposition.
The appeal officer designated by the president will review the written appeal request and determine whether, in the judgment of the appeal officer, sufficient grounds exist for at least one basis of appeal to be further explored through review by the appeal officer. In hearing an appeal, the appeal officer, at their discretion, may meet with individuals and review information relevant to the bases of the appeal. In the event of an appeal, sanctions will normally be held in abeyance pending the outcome of the appeal, except in cases where the university determines there may exist a threat to the safety and welfare of the campus community, in which case sanctions will take immediate effect. Interim measures put in place via the Safety Intervention Protocol are not sanctions and therefore remain in effect per their original terms during the pendency of the appeal.
Appeals will be decided by the appeal officer in a timely manner as circumstances warrant. While an appeal is under review, the appeal officer will update the respondent(s) and complainant(s) as necessary about the anticipated timeline.
The appeal officer has the authority to modify the decision as they deem appropriate for resolution of the matter being appealed, which could entail an increase, decrease or change to the nature of the sanction(s). The appeal officer may also reconvene the initial University Disciplinary Committee or remand the matter to a new University Disciplinary Committee for review.
Cases Involving Prohibited Conduct Under Section VI.E of the Sexual Misconduct Policy (Interim)
Alleged violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy (Interim) that meet the definition of Federal Rule Sexual Misconduct will be resolved in accordance with the Hearing Procedures for the Adjudication of Federal Rule Sexual Misconduct set forth in Section VI.C of the Sexual Misconduct Policy (Interim). Cases involving Other Prohibited Conduct with student respondents under section VI.E of the Sexual Misconduct Policy (Interim) will be resolved in accordance with the Community Standards process subject to the following additional procedures.
- In cases where the university receives information describing behaviors that may violate the university Sexual Misconduct Policy (Interim) and the impacted party chooses not to serve as a complainant in a student conduct proceeding, the university may act as a complainant when there exists a broaded or overriding community interest. Notwithstanding the fact that the impacted party wishes not to serve as complainant, they may nevertheless act as a witness in a University Disciplinary Committee hearing.
- For all Prohibited Conduct, students may utilize alternative resolution options for their complaint as set forth in Section VI.G of the Sexual Misconduct Policy (Interim).
- In cases involving alleged violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy (Interim), the university will register the appropriate university investigator(s) to serve as potential witnesses during a University Disciplinary Committee hearing.
- In general, new information will not be added to the investigative report under VI.B of the Sexual Misconduct Policy (Interim). The Process Advisor has discretion to allow new documentary evidence prior to a hearing or to remand the matter back to the investigator for further investigation.
- In cases that involve a) crimes of violence and non-forcible sex offenses as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and b) sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking in accordance with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the complainant/impacted party will receive notification of disposition of the allegation(s) and has the right to submit an appeal following notification of the disposition of a complaint resolved by a University Disciplinary Committee.
- After reviewing the recommendations, the associate vice president of student affairs for community life or designee will notify the respondent in writing of their decision as well as the process for appeal. Notifications to the complainant/impacted party in cases that involve a) crimes of violence and non-forcible sex offenses as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and b) sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking in accordance with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) will be made in writing by the process advisor and will include notification of the appeal process.
- Administrative resolution meetings and University Disciplinary Committee hearings will be conducted by officials who receive annual training on the issues related to all Prohibited Conduct on how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of all involved while promoting accountability and a fair process.
Cases Involving Student Organizations
Carnegie Mellon University is committed to managing all cases that involve alleged violations of university policy by student organizations with appropriate care and sensitivity. In these cases, the university may need to invoke additional procedural provisions to determine responsibility for alleged policy violation(s) by a student organization.
In cases of alleged policy violations in which the responding party is a student organization, the following procedures will supplement the procedures outlined in the Conduct of University Disciplinary Committee Hearings:
- In cases where the university receives information describing behaviors that may violate university policy and the impacted party chooses not to serve as a complainant in a student conduct proceeding, the university may act as a complainant when there exists a broader or overriding community interest. Notwithstanding the fact that the impacted party wishes not to serve as complainant, they may nevertheless act as a witness in a University Disciplinary Committee hearing.
- For purposes of organizational conduct, separation from the university may be defined as temporary or permanent loss of recognition along with associated privileges.
- No more than two student members may represent an organization in a student conduct proceeding.
- The University Disciplinary Committee may review both individual member and organizational allegations concurrently. It is recommended that members responding to individual allegations do not also represent the organization in the same University Disciplinary Committee.
- A preponderance of the evidence standard (e.g., more likely than not) will be used to determine if a university policy, standard, or regulation has been violated.
- Administrative resolution meetings will be conducted by the SLICE representative or designee for alleged violations of community standards by an organization. Should administrative resolution fail, the matter will be remanded to the Office of Community Standards & Integrity for resolution.
- The complaining party and each designated student representative is entitled to a copy of the board packet before the hearing.
- The university is committed to resolving cases related to organizational conduct in a timely manner. Complainants and respondents will receive periodic status updates related to the timeline for resolution of the case.
- Unless a different timeline is set forth in this section, stated timelines for a University Disciplinary Committee hearing and notification of a decision will be followed in cases involving student organizations.
- The University Disciplinary Committee may recommend as an outcome of the organizational review, that an individual or individuals be charged with specific policy violations to be reviewed via a subsequent student conduct process.
- In cases that involve student organizations, the complainant will receive notification of disposition of the allegation(s) to the degree that individual privacy is not impacted.
- After reviewing the recommendations, the associate vice president of student affairs for community life or designee will render a decision in writing. The decision letter will typically be delivered to the respondent(s) by the process advisor.
- Appeals will be decided by the appeal officer in a timely manner as circumstances warrant. While an appeal is under review, the appeal officer will update the respondent and complainant as necessary about the anticipated timeline. The complainant and respondent will be notified in writing of the final decision.
- Consistent with Pennsylvania state law, the university will issue and electronically publish a biannual report of all reported hazing violations. Biannual hazing reports are retained for at least five years.
Sanctions and Outcomes
The student conduct sanctions defined below comprise a range of official action that may be imposed by the University for violations of community standards. One or more of these actions may be imposed in response to a given situation. This list is not comprehensive, as other sanctions may be utilized as appropriate.
When sanctions are decided as part of the student conduct process, the educational and developmental needs of the involved student and the welfare of the community will be considered with utmost importance.
Non-compliance with imposed or agreed-upon sanctions may result in further action through the student conduct process.
The determination of sanctions will be guided by the following considerations: the interests of the community, the impact of the violation, documented student conduct history, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances.
Students with two (2) community standards violations within an academic year may immediately be placed on disciplinary probation. Students involved in three (3) violations within an academic year may be referred to the University Disciplinary Committee.
Warning: For minor infractions, a student may be issued a written warning. The warning will be noted in the event of any further infractions of community standards and may justify consideration of more severe sanctions.
- Loss of Privilege: Students may lose specified privileges, which may include access to facilities, services, and/or the opportunity to participate in university activities.
- Residential Probation: An official notice to a residential student that conduct with regard to university housing regulations or policies has been unacceptable and that future violation of university regulations may result in more serious student conduct action, including the possible loss of campus residency. Probation lasts for a stated period of time.
- Disciplinary Probation: For a second infraction or for a single offense of a more serious nature, a student may be placed on disciplinary probation for a designated period of time. Probation may entail specific requirements to be met. When a student is on disciplinary probation, they may be subject to suspension or expulsion in the event of further infractions of community standards.
- Community Service: The university may require uncompensated service (a specified number of hours) to the university or an off-campus, non-profit organization as a sanction. The particular assignment of duties must be pre-approved through the appropriate university adjudicator. Students must provide appropriate documentation verifying their completed community service. Failure to complete the service satisfactorily within the specified period of time may result in further action through the student conduct process.
- Educational/Developmental Assignment: The university may require a student to complete a project, assignment, or activity to promote the student’s education and development. These assignments are at the discretion of the university adjudicator or University Disciplinary Committee. Assignments may include but are not limited to: reflection or research paper, development of a presentation, discussion with an individual, apology letter, reading assignment, etc.
- No Contact Order: A No Contact Order is a directive from an associate vice president of student affairs or designee indicating that two students may not have direct contact with each other, or make indirect contact through third parties, except for that which is necessary for their academic pursuits. A No Contact Order may be issued in connection with the student conduct process, either as an interim measure during the pendency of the process and/or an outcome associated with a finding of responsibility from the process.
- Behavioral Assessments and Recommendations: The university may require a student to meet with a health care provider and/or a mental health care provider within a specified time frame. If so, the student will be expected to fully participate in any relevant assessment requested by the provider and complete any consequent recommendation(s), such as a treatment plan or a referral to another provider. The student is expected to provide the appropriate releases to allow the university to confirm compliance with this outcome.
- Restitution: In cases where a student is found responsible for damaging or misappropriating physical property, the student may be responsible for reimbursing the property owner for all or some of the cost.
- Room Reassignment: An action where a student is assigned to either another room in the same house community or a room in another house community. When a student is assigned to another house community, specific restrictions concerning the previous community may be invoked.
- Loss of Residency in University Housing: An action that excludes a student or student group from residence in university housing for a stated period of time. A student who loses residency in university housing shall be considered for future housing accommodations once the period of debarment is concluded and as space permits.
- Disciplinary Suspension: A student may be barred from enrollment for a designated period of time. Students who have been suspended are required to absent themselves from the campus (including but not limited to university housing and fraternity or sorority houses, offices, labs, and libraries) within a maximum of two days after the action and to remain off the campus for the duration of the time specified as outlined in the Policy on Student Suspension/ Required Withdrawal. A student on disciplinary suspension is not eligible for employment by the university during the period of suspension.
- Expulsion: The student is required to sever entirely their connection with the University. Students who have been expelled are required to absent themselves from the campus (including but not limited to university housing and fraternity or sorority houses, offices, labs, and libraries) within a maximum of two days after the action and to remain off the campus permanently, as outlined in the Policy on Student Suspension/ Required Withdrawal unless otherwise specified. Students who have been expelled from the University may not apply for admission to other academic programs at the university.
- Withholding A Degree: Because a degree from the University signifies not only successful completion of academic requirements but also compliance with the university’s standards and good standing as a member of the university community, the dean of students or designee may direct that a degree not be certified by the university registrar and therefore not awarded pending the resolution of student conduct proceedings, including completion of all sanctions and outcomes.
State citations are issued by University Police for violations of state law. While these citations are handled through the criminal justice system, students may also be expected to meet with a university adjudicator to determine whether a violation of community standards has also occurred.
Withdrawal with Pending Allegations
Students who withdraw from the university with unresolved community standards allegations should expect the university to adjudicate the matter to bring the case to resolution and uphold the university’s obligation to expressly articulate eligibility to return to the university. If a good faith effort to participate in the appropriate process is not exhibited by the respondent, the university may elect to resolve the matter through the student conduct process without that student's participation.
Review After a Charge or Conviction of a Crime
In circumstances that constitute a potential threat to the safety and security of the university community and/or to the university’s ability to function in whole or in part, the university may review a case when a student has been charged with or convicted of any felony or misdemeanor crime(s) in federal, state, or local court or an equivalent foreign court. The review will be conducted utilizing the university's student conduct process and/or Safety Intervention Protocol.
Examples of crimes that may trigger such review include but are not limited to:
- Aggravated assault
- Child abuse
- Criminal mischief
- Murder or manslaughter
- Sexual assault
- The manufacturing, selling or possessing with intent to sell any drug on the prescribed list subject to the criminal code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania