Student Organizations Conduct

Last Revised: 
March 2016
Review Date: 
March 2019
Policy Owner: 
Student Life
Contact Name: 
John Stein
Contact Title: 
VP of Student Life
Contact Email: 
john.stein@vpss.gatech.edu

STUDENT ORGANIZATION CODE OF CONDUCT PROCEDURES

  1. Case Referrals
    Any person may file a complaint against an Organization for violations of the Student Code of Conduct. The complaint shall be prepared in writing and directed to OSI. The procedures for filing a complaint can be found on the OSI website. This complaint should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place or when it is reasonably discovered, no later than thirty (30) business days following the discovery of the incident. In extraordinary circumstances, OSI may waive this timeline for good cause.
  2. Communication
    All communication (requests for meetings, notifications, notice of hearings, etc.) will be provided via the official Institute e-mail address of the Organization’s President, as defined by the Office of Information Technology. If the Organization president is not currently enrolled, the notification will be sent via U.S. Postal Service to the Student’s last known address on file with the Office of the Dean of Students and notification will be sent to the Organization’s Advisor via his or her official Institute email address.
  3. Rights of the Respondent Student Organization
    Throughout the conduct process, the Respondent is granted the following rights:
    1. to seek information from a Student Conduct Administrator about the Investigation and Resolution Process
    2. to be informed of the charge(s) and alleged misconduct upon which the charge is based
    3. to be informed of the Information upon which a charge is based and afforded an opportunity to offer a relevant response
    4. to be accompanied by an Advisor
    5. to remain silent with no inference of responsibility drawn
    6. to call and question relevant Witnesses
    7. to present Information in the Student Organization’s behalf
    8. to be considered not responsible until proven responsible by a Preponderance of the Evidence
    9. to appeal the decision
    10. to waive any of the above rights.
  4. Investigation and Resolution Process
    The Institute's conduct process utilizes an investigatory model, not an adversarial model, with the primary goal of uncovering the truth. The standard of proof shall be a Preponderance of the Evidence. During the investigation, the Organization should continue to participate in Institute functions unless otherwise instructed by the Dean of Students. The investigation and resolution process is as follows:

    After OSI receives a complaint, the Student Conduct Administrator will review the complaint and any supporting Information to decide what, if any, process to initiate. The Student Conduct Administrator willdetermine whether the facts as alleged in the complaint or report are sufficient to initiate Institute conduct proceedings.
    1. If the Student Conduct Administrator determines that the facts of the complaint or report, even if true, would not constitute a violation of policy, no further action will be taken. Otherwise, the Student Conduct Administrator may (1) attempt to resolve the situation through an informal resolution process including but not limited to mediation or a meeting between the Organization and a Student Conduct Administrator or a third party; or (2) initiate a conduct process.
    2. The Student Conduct Administrator may also determine, in consultation with the Director of Greek Life or the Director of Student Involvement, that the facts of the complaint may constitute a violation of that Organization’s own governing documents or bylaws and should be adjudicated by the Organization’s governing board conduct process. If the Organization conducts its own process, that process may occur at the same time as any Institute Conduct process.
    3. If OSI receives multiple complaints involving the same Organization, each complaint will be considered separately in determining whether a conduct process should be initiated. Multiple charges against the same Respondent will generally be investigated and adjudicated separately; however, multiple charges may be aggregated under appropriate circumstances, which may include, but are not limited to, consent of the partiers, similar or related conduct, and the administrative burden of considering the charges separately.
    4. If the Student Conduct Administrator initiates a conduct process, the Organization president is notified and is requested to contact the Student Conduct Administrator within five (5) business days of the notification to schedule an Administrative Conference. During the conduct process, the Respondent should continue to engage in Institute functions unless otherwise instructed by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students or by the Student Conduct Administrator. Should the Organization president fail to contact the Student Conduct Administrator within five (5) business days, or fail to attend the Administrative Conference, the Student Conduct Administrator may resolve the case in the Organization’s absence, or may refer the case to a Student Conduct Panel.
    5. At the Administrative Conference, the Organization president is presented with the alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct, supporting Information and an explanation of his/her rights. The Organization president may bring an Advisor. However, if the Advisor disrupts the investigation and resolution process, he/she may be asked to leave.
    6. The case will be adjudicated by the Student Conduct Administrator or a Student Conduct Panel. The Organization president may state a preference for a decision to be rendered by the Student Conduct Administrator or by a Student Conduct Panel. The Organization president may also request that the case be adjudicated by a different Student Conduct Administrator than that initially authorized to hear the case in the event of perceived bias of the initially authorized official. The Organization president’s reasons for his/her preference must be conveyed to the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, in writing, before the investigation begins. Ordinarily, the Organization president’s preference will be honored; however, the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students will make the final decision in his/her sole discretion. If the Organization president’s preference is not honored, the rationale for the decision will be provided to the Organization president in writing. The Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students reserves the right to determine the process to be used based on the relevant facts and circumstances, including, but not limited to::
      • imminent graduation of the Student(s) associated with the Organization;
      • end of the semester; or
      • extraordinary circumstances.
    7. If the case is to be adjudicated by the Student Conduct Administrator, the Organization president shall provide his/her statement regarding the alleged misconduct, supporting Information, and names of Witnesses, no later than forty-eight (48) hours following the conclusion of the Administrative Conference. The Student Conduct Administrator shall continues the investigation as necessary by meeting with the Complainant(s), and Witnesses and gathering additional Information. If the Student Conduct Administrator determines that a Witness (including faculty or staff) may have relevant Information, s/he will make a good faith effort to contact such Witness to obtain a statement from the Witness. Before rendering a decision, the Student Conduct Administrator will communicate with the Organization president and share with the Organization president the Information collected. The Student Conduct Administrator will then render a final decision, which will be sent to the Organization president’s Institute email address.
    8. If the case is to be adjudicated by the Student Conduct Panel, the case shall be referred to the Student Conduct Panel and follow the procedures outlined in Section 5.b of this Code.
    9. Resolution of the case should be made within thirty (30) business days of the Administrative Conference. If resolution cannot be reached in thirty (30) business days, OSI will inform the Organization president and the Complainant. OSI may waive this timeline for good cause.
  5. Forms of Case Resolution
    1. Administrative Resolution
      The Student Conduct Administrator renders a decision of 1) Not Responsible, which closes the case or 2) Responsible for one or more violations with an appropriate Sanction, and, as warranted, one or more from among the Supplementary Requirements. The Organization president, after being notified of the Student Conduct Administrator’s decision, may submit an appeal to the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students according to appeal procedures described in Section G of the Student Code of Conduct.
    2. Student Conduct Panel
      1. Decisions and Sanctions
        The Student Conduct Panel, after convening a hearing, makes a recommendation of (1) not responsible, or (2) responsible, with an appropriate sanction to the Director of Student Integrity. The Director of Student Integrity, after reviewing the case, renders a decision of 1) Not Responsible, which closes the case, or 2) Responsible for one or more violations of the Student Code of Conduct with an appropriate Sanction and, as warranted, one or more from among the Supplementary Requirements. The Organization president, after being notified of the decision and Sanction, may appeal to the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, according to appeal procedures described in Section G of the Student Code of Conduct.
      2. Scheduling of Student Conduct Panel Hearing
        After the case is forwarded to a Student Conduct Panel, the Complainant(s) and the Respondent(s) will be notified of available dates and times for a hearing. The Organization president may indicate preferences from among the available dates and times, which will be considered by OSI if received within three (3) business days.
        This official notice will be provided at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing and will include the time, date, and location of the hearing. In addition, the notice will specify the Complainant(s), Witnesses(s), and nature of the alleged misconduct. The Organization president may waive the notification timeline in order to expedite the hearing process. Upon request, the Organization president may meet with a Student Conduct Administrator to review Information and hearing procedures.
      3. Hearing Participants and Attendees
        • Student Conduct Panel hearings shall ordinarily be closed except for the Respondent(s), the Complainant(s), Advisor(s), and Witnesses. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Chairperson. Witnesses are allowed at the discretion of the Chairperson. The Chairperson may exclude any person, including the Organization, who disrupts a hearing.
        • A Organization who fails to appear after proper notice will be deemed to have responded "Not Responsible" to the charges against him/her and to have exercised the right to remain silent without prejudice. At the discretion of the Chairperson the hearing may be conducted in the absence of the Student(s) and all the Information regarding the alleged misconduct shall be presented and considered.
        • The Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) have the right to be accompanied by an Advisor. The Complainant(s) and/or Respondent(s) should select an Advisor who can attend the hearing at the scheduled date and time. Delays are not usually granted due to scheduling conflicts of an Advisor.
        • Subject to the Chairperson’s control of the hearing, the Complainant(s), Respondent(s) and their Advisors, shall be allowed to attend the Student Conduct Panel hearing, but not Panel deliberations.
        • In Student Conduct Panel hearings involving more than one Accused, OSI may permit the Student Conduct Panel hearings concerning each Organization to be conducted either separately or jointly.
        • A maximum of two (2) character Witnesses will be allowed in a hearing.
      4. Hearing Procedures
        • The Chairperson shall exercise control over the proceedings to achieve orderly completion of the hearing.
        • Advisors are restricted to private communications with their advisee(s). If the Advisor disrupts the investigation and resolution process, he/she may be asked to leave.
        • All questions by the Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) must be directed to the Chairperson, rather than to the Witness directly. Questions of whether potential Information will be received shall be resolved at the discretion of the Chairperson.
        • In addition to the Information provided by OSI, the Student Conduct Panel, at the discretion of the Chairperson, may accept additional pertinent Information and testimony (including impact statements). Any letters of recommendation submitted by the Respondent will be admitted for consideration at the discretion of the Chairperson and, if admitted, will be viewed only during Panel deliberations.
        • All procedural questions arising during the hearing are subject to the final decision of the Chairperson.
        • The Student Conduct Panel’s standard of proof shall be a Preponderance of the Evidence.
        • The Student Conduct Panel in consultation with OSI, may reasonably accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the Complainant(s), Respondent(s), and/or Witnesses during the hearing.
        • The Student Conduct Panel shall make a recording and/or summary transcription of the proceeding, which will serve as the official record of the hearing. No other recording will be permitted. The Respondent or the Complainant may request a copy of the Institute's recording upon payment of the cost to reproduce the recording, or may listen to the original recording in a location designated by OSI at no charge. The record shall be the property of the Institute, and is subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 USC §1232g.
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