College disciplinary process
- Applies to:
- Current Students
- Approved by:
- Office of Student Conduct
Responding to Violations
Note: Violations of Safer Spaces Policies are investigated and resolved through the Safer Spaces Resolution process. For information about this process, go to: http://www.calvin.edu/about/safer-spaces
College Receives Notice and Investigates
The Senior Conduct Officer receives an incident report, problem report or an anonymous report. The Senior Conduct Officer reviews report, gathers facts, and assigns the case to a staff member or assigns a staff member to begin a fact finding process to more clearly understand the situation.
Student Receives Notice
The student is notified via email that the college has received an incident report or problem report which involves this student. The office sends a notice to the student to schedule an initial conference with conduct officer.
Initial Conference with Student
During this meeting the conduct officer will:
- Review the content of the report with student.
- Allow student to respond to the report and the evidence.
- Provide student with opportunity to:
- Present further information.
- Offer additional perspectives.
- Suggest avenues of investigation.
- Review relevant policies and issues with student.
- Review process and answer student’s questions.
- Establish immediate temporary measures where necessary.
During or after the meeting the conduct officer will:
- Prepare a statement that is reviewed and signed by the student, if applicable.
- Communicate a process decision to student.
At the conclusion of this meeting, or as soon as possible after the meeting, the Conduct Officer will decide based on the facts of the situation and the input of the student to:
- Move to closure because no further action is necessary.
- Move to investigation to gather additional information.
- Move to investigation and/or resolution under Safer Spaces Policy.
- Move to informal resolution. Resolution meeting is scheduled. Student may request extra time to prepare (generally one week and more can be requested).
The college will refer a case for informal resolution when:
- The student and the college achieve general agreement regarding the facts of the report/violation.
- The evidence supporting the violation is so strong that the student’s testimony does not adequately challenge the finding based on preponderance of evidence standard.
- In cases involving injured parties, where all parties agree to move to informal resolution.
During the resolution meeting, the conduct officer will:
- Provide student with written notice of any conduct violations.
- Review with student the role of prior disciplinary history in the sanction decision.
- Present written copy of the resolution agreement which will be based on the violations and will list requirements. Requirements may include:
- Educational interventions
- Restitution and/or restorative measures
- Clarification of temporary measures
- Answer student’s questions about policy, process or resolution requirements.
- Determine student response/acceptance of resolution requirements.
- Provide appeal Information, if applicable or upon request.
- In cases involving injured parties, the Conduct Officer will provide the complainant with notice of the outcome and opportunity to appeal.
General Operating Guidelines
Given the scope of the college’s responsibilities, the college will review each reported problem or violation and decide which process to employ to address the situation.
Standard of Evidence
Calvin College’s disciplinary process requires a preponderance of evidence for finding an individual responsible for a violation. Unlike the criminal system, which requires evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt,” a college disciplinary decision is based on the “greater weight of the evidence.” A preponderance of evidence standard requires that the information indicate that it is “more likely than not” that a violation occurred.
Types of Evidence
Formal rules of evidence used in a court of law are not applicable to the college disciplinary process. The college process will consider all information or statements of value, and this may occasionally include hearsay or anonymous reports. The responding student has the right to hear and respond to all information that may be utilized for a decision.
Students may select any member of the Calvin College community (current faculty, staff or student) to serve as an advisor during the resolution meeting. The faculty, staff or student serving as the advisor cannot directly address the proceeding, but may advise the student during and after the meeting or hearing.
Resolution Meetings and Hearings
Trained college hearing officers will conduct the meeting in a manner that is according to college policy and protocol and is also thorough and respectful. Family members and attorneys are not present during these meetings or hearings.
Resolving Violations Through Referral to College Hearing Panel
- Violations of the Safer Spaces Policy will follow the hearing process outlined in the Safer Spaces policy itself. For more information, go here.
- The college reserves the right to refer conduct matters to a hearing with the College Hearing Panel usually when the situation involves:
- An injured party or personal violations.
- A violation of the Safer Spaces Policy.
- Community safety issues.
- Repeated violations.
Outline of Hearing Process for College Hearing Panel
- Ensure Process Steps are Completed:
- Notice to student
- Initial conference with student.
- Investigation and preparation of summary report.
- Process decision communicated to student.
- Senior Conduct Officer or the SSA appoints CHP and designates a chairperson.
- CHP reviews investigation summary and notes from process steps.
- CHP communicates with student: right to advisor, request for witnesses, preparation time.
- CHP decides on witness participation, confirms witness list.
- CHP sets hearing date and notifies responding student, and witnesses.
- CHP conducts hearing.
- CHP prepares written report which details each alleged violation and the findings and sanctions for each one. The CHP chairperson will prepare a written summary for the file and for the student.
- The CHP findings and sanctions will be presented to student parties by the CHP chairperson.
- The chairperson will record the student response to the sanctions.
- The chairperson will review appeal process for student, if applicable or requested.
- Course code: