University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

Rights of Students in Disciplinary Proceedings

In preserving the rights of the individual student, the University shall have the obligation:

  1. To describe their standards clearly.
  2. To make known their standards in a form readily available in a manner which, while not exaggerated in length, detail, or complexity, shall provide fair notice of what is expected and what is forbidden.
  3. To apply rules and regulations fairly, impartially, and equally to all students who are similarly situated.

For any disciplinary action for which sanctions may be imposed, the student shall have the right:

  1. To be considered not responsible until found responsible by clear and convincing evidence of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
  2. To be informed of his/her rights.
  3. To receive written, timely, and complete notice of the specific charges to be resolved.
  4. To seek representation. Legal counsel shall be restricted to an advising role and are not permitted to speak or participate directly, but a non-attorney representative may advise and/or represent. Failure to secure representation will not cause a hearing to be postponed or canceled. (Note: Residence Life staff members cannot provide representation).
  5. To have a fair disposition of all mattefrs as promptly as possible under the circumstances.
  6. To elect to be heard by an impartial Hearing Officer or Hearing Board when available. If the parties fail to indicate a preference for a Hearing Officer or a Hearing Board or cannot agree on this option within three business days prior to the hearing, then a Hearing Officer will be appointed. (Note: This right of election, on a case-by-case basis, may be outweighed by the need to protect privacy rights, in which case the Director shall make the election.)
  7. To have a hearing in a private forum.
  8. To elect to have a settlement agreement, provided it is acceptable to both the respondent and the complainant. Where the victim is not the complainant, the Director ofr designee of the University Student Conduct System will attempt to consult with the victim for input in the settlement process.
  9. To have a preliminary hearing from the Vice President for Student Affairs or his/her appointed representative with the knowledge of the Director when immediate action is proposed prior to a full hearing.
  10. To be informed of the maximum and minimum sanctions which may be imposed.
  11. To be informed of the format and procedures of the Pitt-Johnstown University Hearing Board.
  12. To be informed of the general nature of the evidence to be presented.
  13. To confront and question all parties and witnesses except when extraordinary circumstances make this impossible.
  14. To present a factual defense through witnesses, personal testimony and other relevant evidence.
  15. To decline to testify against oneself.
  16. To request attendance of witnesses upon a showing of relevance.
  17. To receive a record upon request.
  18. To have only relevant evidence considered by the Hearing Board or Hearing Officer.
  19. To be informed of all decisions within a reasonable time.
  20. To appeal a decision which meets the criteria outlined in the Basis For Appeal section of this Code and to be informed of the appelate procedure to be followed.
  21. To be free from repeated disciplinary proceedings where the parties and issues are the same.

PROCEDURE

Any member of the University community may institute a proceeding before the University Hearing Board by filing a complaint in the Office of the Director of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown University Hearing Board. A complaint against a student must set forth the following:

  1. The name and address of the student against whom a complaint is lodged.
  2. The name of the complaintant and his/her status in the University community.
  3. The alleged offense(s) which is/are the basis of the complaint.
  4. A statement demonstrating the facts of the alleged offense, which must include:
    1. Date of occurrence
    2. Time of occurrence
    3. Place of occurrence
    4. Narrative of events
  5. The names of persons having personal knowledge of circumstances or events and the general nature and description of all evidence.
  6. The signature of the complainant.

NOTICE

Upon receipt of a properly filed complaint the Director or designee shall notify the respondent student that proceedings have been instituted. The letter indicates a prescheduled preliminary conference with the Director or designee. Failure to comply with this directive will result in a hearing being scheduled and a Hearing Officer being appointed. A student conduct hold will be placed on your student account and academic record.

DISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE

The purpose of the preliminary conference is to allow the Director or designee to discuss the alleged offense (s) with the respondent student. The letter directs the student to schedule a preliminary appointment. The hearing response form to be completed by the respondent and returned to the Director or designee at the preliminary conference shall signify whether the respondent prefers:

  1. To accept the recommended sanctions and waive a Hearing.
  2. To proceed before the University Hearing Board if available or a Hearing Officer.
  3. To conduct his/her own defense or be represented by a non-attorney.

The respondent will provide the Director or designee with all available documents which he/she intends to introduce at the hearing not less than three (3) working days prior to the hearing date. The Director or his/ her representative will provide the respondent with all available documents which the charging party will introduce at the hearing not less than three (3) working days prior to the hearing date.

UNIVERSITY HEARING BOARD OR HEARING OFFICER

The respondent shall have the right to preview a list of possible hearing board members and legitimately object to their serving on a hearing board involving his/her case.

Determination as to whether the student’s objection is legitimate and appropriate shall be made by the Coordinator or designee.

HEARING NOTIFICATION FORMAT

The Coordinator or designee is responsible for scheduling the hearing. All parties shall receive written notification of the hearing which shall include: time, date, and place of hearing.

WITNESSES

Any member of the University community may, upon a showing of relevance and necessity, request witnesses to appear at the hearing. Witnesses who are members of the University community shall be called and other witnesses shall be requested to appear at a hearing. The call or request to witnesses shall set forth:

  1. Names of the parties
  2. Request to appear
  3. Time of hearing
  4. Date of hearing
  5. Place of hearing.
  6. Signature of the Coordinator or designee

When necessitated by fairness or extraordinary circumstances, the Coordinator or designee may make arrangements for written testimony for use in a proceeding.

HEARING FORMAT

The Coordinator is responsible for scheduling the hearing. All parties shall receive written notification of the hearing which shall include: time, date, and place of hearing.

At the time, date, and place scheduled, the hearing shall be conducted under the guidance of the Coordinator or designee. All proceedings before the University Hearing Board or a Hearing Officer shall be duly recorded by the Coordinator or designee. However, any other recordings or transcripts by any manner are absolutely forbidden unless approved in advance by the Coordinator or designee.

1. The Coordinator or designee shall convene the hearing and introduce members of the hearing board, and parties involved in the proceeding and the student’s representative, if any.

2. The Coordinator or designee will not apply technical extraordinary rules of evidence followed in student conduct proceedings nor entertain technical legal motions. Technical legal rules pertaining to the wording of questions, hearsay, and opinions will not be formally applied. Reasonable rules of relevancy will guide the Coordinator or designee in ruling on the admissibility of evidence. Reasonable limits may be imposed on the number of factual witnesses and the amount of cumulative evidence that may be introduced.

3. The alleged offense or offenses upon which the complaint has been based shall be read by the Coordinator or designee.

4. Objections to procedures shall be entered on record and the Coordinator shall make any necessary rulings regarding the validity of such objections.

5. Complainant or representative for complainant shall state his/her case and shall offer evidence in support thereof.

6. Respondent or representative for respondent shall have the opportunity to question complainant.

7. Complainant or representative for respondent shall be given the opportunity to call witnesses.

8. Respondent or representative for respondent shall be given the opportunity to question each witness of the complainant after he/she testifies.

9. University Hearing  Board members or the Hearing Officer may question all persons testifying.

10. Complainant shall inform the Coordinator or designee when his/her presentation is completed.

11. Hearing shall be recessed and the Coordinator or designee shall make a determination as to whether the complainant has presented sufficient evidence to support a finding against the respondent if such evidence is a perponderance of evidence.

12. Depending upon the determination of the Coordinator or designee, the matter shall be dismissed or the respondent shall be called upon to present his/her case and offer evidence in support thereof.

13. The respondent may testify or not as he/she chooses.

14. Complainant or representative for complainant shall have the opportunity to question the respondent if the respondent voluntarily chooses to testify.

15. Respondent or representative for respondent shall have the opportunity to call witnesses.

16. Complainant or representative for complainant shall have the opportunity to question each witness of the respondent after he/she testifies.

17. Respondent shall inform the Coordinator or designee when his/her presentation is completed.

18. Coordinator or designee shall have an opportunity to address the University Hearing Board or Hearing Officer on University regulation, points of law, or procedure in the presence of all parties, but shall not offer other comments without the consent of all parties.

19. Hearing shall be continued and the members of the University Hearing Board or Hearing Officer shall deliberate in private until a decision is reached and recorded.

20. When a decision in favor of or against an respondent has been reached by the Hearing Officer or by a majority vote of a Hearing Board, the hearing shall be reconvened and the findings of fact and recommendation announced.

21. If a decision is entered against an respondent, the parties shall be given the opportunity to address the University Hearing Board or Hearing Officer regarding the imposition of a sanction. Hearing shall be concluded and members of the University Hearing Board or Hearing Officer shall deliberate in private until the final decision is reached and recorded.

FINAL ADJUDICATION

The recommended sanction shall be sent to the Vice President for Student Affairs for final adjudication. The  Vice President for Student Affairs may increase, decrease, or otherwise change the recommended sanction if he/she believes that the totality of circumstances, including but not limited to any prior offenses and any available precedents, justify it. The final adjudication shall be forwarded to the respondent and charging parties.

Where a sanction has been imposed, a record of the adjudication shall be maintained in the Office of Student Affairs, G-61 Student Union.

While a sanction is in effect, a record of it may be properly introduced at a subsequent disciplinary hearing if it is determined that a student has committed another offense.

RIGHT TO APPEAL

Students have the right to petition the Pitt-Johnstown Appeals Board for an appeal from a decision of the hearing body upon receipt of the final decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs. This petition must be submitted to Office of Student Conduct and Resolution, G-61 Student Union, no later than five (5) working days of the decision letter.

Until favorable decision on the appeal or favorable sanction pending appeal, the original sanction imposed remains in effect.

Last Reviewed: June 16, 2010