A university is a complex institution. It is distinctive from anything else in society, and therefore, the focus of its norms is distinctive. Further, a private university is an elite institution; admittance and attendance is a privilege granted on the assumption that the applicant who has voluntarily enrolled in the institution shares the university's values and goals and is committed to its purpose. If a student's values and goals are not consistent with those of the university, the privilege of attendance may be terminated.
To that end, students of Southern Methodist University commit themselves to the following values:
- Academic honesty.
Fundamental to any higher learning community is academic honesty. An environment free from giving or receiving unauthorized aid is fundamental to the process of learning and evaluating academic performance.
- Moral courage.
As a member of the SMU community, students recognize they are part of something larger than themselves, and as such, have the moral courage to uphold the values espoused by this community.
- Personal integrity.
Being honest with oneself and with others is critical to being a member of a community. This includes taking responsibility for one's actions and the consequences associated with those actions.
- Sincere respect for all SMU students, faculty, and staff.
Respect is not something one earns but something one gives, and all members of the SMU community are worthy of respect. Respect for all SMU students, faculty, and staff allows for the free exchange of ideas. To demonstrate their commitment to these values, students of Southern Methodist University developed the SMU Values Statement to remind themselves and others of the tenets to which SMU community members hold themselves. It reads, "I, as a citizen of the SMU community, commit myself to upholding the values of intellectual integrity, academic honesty, personal responsibility, and sincere regard and respect for all SMU students, faculty, and staff."
II. SOURCES OF AUTHORITY AND SCOPE OF POLICY
Responsibility for student discipline is vested in the President by the Board of Trustees. To exercise this responsibility, the President established the University Conduct Council, which reports through the Vice President for Student Affairs. Upon the recommendation of the University Conduct Council and the Vice President for Student Affairs, the President has accepted the following document delineating the conduct review process for students at SMU.
Based on the action of the Board of Trustees, the President of the University is authorized, at his discretion, to review all decisions of the Student Senate and all other student organizations, and all decisions concerning University conduct, including the University Conduct Council and all other conduct bodies. Such review shall include the power to take any action deemed appropriate, including reversing, amending, or remanding with instructions concerning such decisions. The President's power of review as stated herein is not limited in any way, and the President is authorized to act at his/her sole discretion in conducting such review and in deciding what action is appropriate.
The Code of Conduct applies to student behavior both on and off the campus of Southern Methodist University, including travel on University-sanctioned trips. Students traveling on University-sanctioned trips are representing Southern Methodist University and are expected to make responsible decisions regarding behavior so that they maintain appropriate standards of conduct at all times.
The information provided and the regulations and policies outlined in this handbook and Code are not intended to be all-inclusive and do not constitute a contract. The University reserves the right at any time to add to, modify, or revoke any of the regulations and policies contained in this handbook and Code without notice.
This Code is subject to the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of Southern Methodist University as well as any and all resolutions, policies, and regulations of the University. In the event of conflict between this Code and said Articles, Bylaws, resolutions, policies, and regulations of the University, the University Articles, Bylaws, resolutions, policy, and/or regulation in question shall be controlling. The University Policy Manual may be accessed through the SMU web page at https://www.smu.edu/policy.
III. DEFINITIONS - When used in the Student Code of Conduct:
A. "Campus" and "campus grounds" refer to any buildings or grounds owned, leased, operated, controlled, or supervised by the University, including the Dallas, Plano, and Taos campuses.
B. "College" means any academic division of the University.
C. "Complainant" refers to person(s) or entity making a complaint or referral regarding a student or student group who allegedly violated policy.
D. "Conduct Liaison" refers to a University faculty or staff member who is trained in the conduct review process in order to assist students with the process.
E. "Day" means a business day, unless otherwise specifically indicated.
F. "FERPA" refers to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The privacy and confidentiality of all student records shall be preserved in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended.
G. "Fraternity and sorority housing" refers to any housing, University owned or otherwise, designated for members of fraternity and sorority chapters.
H. "Hearing Panel" refers to individuals selected from the pool of faculty, staff, and student University Conduct Board members to hear a case.
I. "Institution" and "University" refer to Southern Methodist University and all of its undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools and colleges, divisions, and programs.
J. "Investigation" refers to the process of making an institutional inquiry into a claim or allegation of action(s) which may be in violation of SMU policy, and/or applicable federal, state, or local law or ordinance. Such inquiry may include, but not be limited to: gathering information from individuals with knowledge about such claim or allegation; review of documents or other tangible information relating to the claim or allegation; review of any information already available in a public domain (i.e., postings/photographs on social media, such as Facebook, text messages, emails, webpages) or other information discovered or provided that is deemed relevant to such inquiry by SMU.
K. "Investigator" refers to the person who conducts the investigation of the complaint or incident.
L. "Public place(s)" includes, but is not limited to any dining hall, lobby, hallway, lounge, study area, stairwell or restroom of on-campus buildings, fraternity and sorority housing, or any outdoor areas on campus grounds.
M. "Recognized organization" shall refer to any organization who has been designated by the Students' Association as having either a probationary, temporary, or full charter.
N. "Respondent" refers to a student or student group who has allegedly violated policy.
O. "Student" means any person for whom the University maintains educational records, as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and related regulations, and who is currently enrolled and/or is part of a degree-granting program.
P. "Student Organizations" means an organization comprised mainly of students who are organized by the University, recognized by the University, or substantively involved in campus life/activities of the University.
Q. "University Conduct Board" is the pool of trained faculty, staff, and students from which a hearing panel is selected.
R. "University community" means any student, faculty, administration or staff member at the University.
S. "Conduct Officer" refers to a University staff member trained in the conduct review process to adjudicate cases.
IV. CODE OF CONDUCT
The following acts may subject students to action within the University Conduct Review Process:
A. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
1. Alcohol. Violating the University’s alcohol policy (University Policies 1.5.2 and 1.5.3). This includes, but is not limited to such behaviors as the manufacture, possession, purchase, or consumption of alcoholic beverages on or off campus for those under 21 years of age other than where the law provides; public intoxication of any person regardless of age on or off campus; the unlawful provision of alcohol to others; and the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages in public places on campus, with the exception of days and locations approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs for those persons 21 years of age and older. Such exceptions to the alcohol policy will be handled in accordance with the Procedures for the Sale and Service of Alcohol, which may be accessed online at https://www.smu.edu/StudentAffairs/VPSA/Alcohol. (See https://www.smu.edu/policy for full policy.)
2. Community Standards. Violating the Community Standards outlined by the Department of Resident Life and Student Housing. (See https://www.smu.edu/StudentAffairs/Housing/eHandbook/CommunityStandards for full policy.)
3. Computing and Communications. Violating the University’s Computing and Communications Policy (University Policy 12.3). This includes, but is not limited to transmitting unsolicited information that contains obscene, indecent, lewd, or lascivious material; using University resources for any commercial venture; or violating the Copyright law in any manner. (See https://www.smu.edu/policy for full policy.)
4. Drugs and Paraphernalia. Using, possessing, distributing, or manufacturing drugs or mind-altering substances used to induce intoxication or impairment. This includes designer drugs, synthetic drugs, chemicals and plants, whether currently scheduled under local, state, or federal law or not. All persons are responsible for compliance with all local, state, and federal laws regarding controlled substances and prescription drugs. Possessing drug paraphernalia, as defined as objects used for or intended to be used for the consumption of prohibited substances, is also prohibited. The University adheres to the Drug-Free Workplace Act and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. (See https://www.smu.edu/policy for University Policy 10.8, “Non-Prescription Drug Policy.”)
5. Dishonesty. Acting dishonestly with the intent to mislead, defraud, or deprive University officials, hearing boards, students, faculty members, or members of the community at large of rights to information, accuracy of record, or property. Dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: the intention to produce counterfeit documents; possession of equipment with the intent to produce counterfeit documents; production of counterfeit documents; forgery; falsification of records; lying; falsification of checks, money orders, or other financial-related documents; unauthorized entry into University facilities; and falsification and/or manipulation of computer data.
6. Fire Safety. Tampering with, damaging, or misusing fire safety equipment such as, but not limited to, pull stations, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, or exit signs; unauthorized burning of any material in any University building on or near University property; disregarding a fire alarm or failure to evacuate a building when a fire alarm is sounding; falsely initiating any report, alarm, warning, or threat of fire, explosion, or other emergency; obstruction of fire escapes, corridors, or stairways; violating the University’s fire safety policy (see https://www.smu.edu/policy). Violators may also face criminal charges. A list of Residence Life Fire Safety policies, including prohibited items, is available on the Office of Residence Life and Student Housing website at https://www.smu.edu/StudentAffairs/Housing/eHandbook/FireSafety.
7. Gambling. Violating any local, state, or federal law regarding gambling. Texas law says that gambling requires a “bet,” defined as “an agreement to win or lose something of value solely or partially by chance.” Texas law adds, among other things: “A person commits an offense if he…plays and bets for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards, dice, balls, or any other gambling device."
8. Guests. Actions of one’s guest(s) that violate University policies, including but not limited to this Code. A guest is any visitor to any University-controlled property who is not on official business. A guest must identify him-/herself when called upon by a University official and must identify his/her host as well.
9. Irresponsible Conduct. Engaging in irresponsible conduct or behavior that does not model good citizenship or reflects poorly upon the Southern Methodist University community.
10. Laws & University Policy. Violating any local, state, federal law, or any SMU policy.
11. Weapons. Violating the University’s weapons policy (University Policy 10.5). To the fullest extent of Federal and Texas law, the University prohibits the possession of any dangerous weapon (either openly or in a concealed manner), or facsimiles of dangerous weapons such as water guns or toy guns and knives, on all University property, athletic venues, passenger transportation vehicles, and any groups or building on which University activities are conducted. If weapons or reasonable facsimiles of weapons are used, pursuit and attack games, including but not limited to “Gotcha,” “Assassin,” and “Dungeons and Dragons” are not permitted to be played on campus. (See https://www.smu.edu/policy for full policy.)
12. Motorized Vehicles. Violating the University's Vehicle Regulations (See pg. 41 of the PDF for full regulations).B. INTELLECTUAL INTEGRITY
1. Emergency Equipment. Tampering with or misusing fire-fighting equipment, including fire suppression systems (i.e., sprinklers), call boxes, emergency exits, or warning devices, or creating any hindrance of emergency procedures that is a threat to the community.
2. Entertainment. Engaging in entertainment on campus by strippers or other such dancers whose activities fall outside of the educational mission of the University.
3. Failure to Comply. Failing to comply with reasonable requests from University staff or administrators, including the completion of conduct-related sanctions. Students are expected to respond promptly to all correspondence from the University and its officials and are expected to maintain current addresses, both for U.S. mail and e-mail, on file with the Registrar’s Office.
4. Hazing. Hazing, being hazed, and/or failing to report hazing. “Hazing” means any intentional, knowing, or reckless act, occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution, by one person alone or acting with others, directed against a student, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization whose members are or include, students at an educational institution.
5. Identification. Purchasing, possessing and/or using false identification or another person’s identification. SMU IDs may not be used by anyone but the student pictured on the ID card for the use of SMU facilities. ID cards may not be altered. Likewise, personal accounts programmed onto SMU ID cards are for use at the discretion of the student on campus or at authorized locations off campus, pursuant to the rules under which the accounts were formed, including Pony Express Accounts.
6. Interference. Interfering with or disrupting an University teaching, research, administrative, disciplinary, public service, learning, or other authorized activity.
7. Trespassing. Unauthorized entry into or on University property.
C. SINCERE RESPECT AND REGARD FOR OTHERS1. Assault. Engaging in behavior that endangers or threatens to endanger the health or safety of any person. Examples include, but are not limited to fighting or assault in any form.
2. Discrimination. Harassing any member of the community related to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. Due to the University’s commitment to freedom of speech and expression, harassment is more than insensitivity or conduct that offends or creates an uncomfortable situation for certain members of the community. (See https://www.smu.edu/policy for University Policy 3.1, “Nondiscrimination, Affirmative Action, and Equal Opportunity Policy.”)
3. Harassment. Engaging in harassment, whether physical, psychological, verbal, written or digital-based, which is beyond the bounds of protected free speech, and directed at a specific individual(s), and likely to cause an immediate breach of the peace; conduct which threatens the mental health, physical health or security of any person or persons including stalking, intimidation, or threat that unreasonably impairs the security or privacy of another member of the university community.
4. Sexual Misconduct. Violating the University’s sexual misconduct policy (University Policy 3.3). Sexual misconduct encompasses all forms of sexual harassment to include sexual violence and sexual assault. It is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. (See https://www.smu.edu/policy for University Policy 3.3, "Title IX Harassment Policy.")
5. Theft. Attempted or actual theft of and/or damage to property of Southern Methodist University or property of the Southern Methodist community or other personal or public property, on or off campus.
D. ACADEMIC HONESTY (as defined in the SMU Honor Code)
- Academic Sabotage. Intentionally taking any action which negatively affects the academic work of another student.
- Cheating. Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise.
- Fabrication. Intentional and unauthorized falsification or invention of any information related in an academic exercise.
- Facilitating Academic Dishonesty. Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to to help another to violate any provision of the Honor Code.
- Plagiarism. Intentionally or knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own in any academic exercise.
V. CONDUCT REVIEW PROCESS
A. General Information Pertaining to Conduct Hearings
1. The standard of proof in all conduct hearings is the greater weight of the credible evidence.
2. The appropriate SMU official may extend timelines in this process, as warranted.
3. A student participating in a conduct hearing may not be actively represented by an attorney at any time during the Conduct Review Process. Parents or family members who are attorneys may not be present in a lawyer capacity.
4. All conduct hearings shall be closed to the general public. University staff in training may attend hearings. The Vice President for Student Affairs and/or the Dean of Students will have the authority to permit attendance of one or more University observers at any time during the course of the hearing.
5. If an incident involves more than one respondent, the Conduct Officer, at his or her discretion, may conduct a separate hearing for each respondent.
6. Any change in the allegation against a respondent shall be regarded as a new complaint subject to the conduct review process.
7. If a respondent fails to attend a conduct hearing, the Conduct Officer or Hearing Panel may conduct a hearing in the absence of the respondent.
8. Hearings may be audio/video recorded or transcribed by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards; no other audio/video recordings, or streaming audio/video, is permitted. Recordings and transcripts are the property of the University and are maintained in the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for the purpose of review for an appeal by the appropriate appellate entity.
9. As necessary, hearings and appeals will go forward during summer through procedures to be determined by the Vice President for Student Affairs.
10. A student organization is held responsible for a violation of the Code of Conduct when:
a. The activity in question was planned, sponsored, or endorsed by the organization;
b. The conduct occurred on property owned, controlled, rented, leased, or used by the organization or any of its members; or
c. An activity where a violation occurred was financed through the student organization's funds, or as a result of one or more members, advisors, or affiliates contributing funds and/or arranging for funding, services, in-kind donations or contributions;
d. One or more officer(s) acting in the scope of their roles commit an offense; or
e. One or more officer(s) or members of the organization had prior knowledge or reasonably should have known that the incident would take place.
f. Any member of the organization attempted to conceal the activity or protect other members who were involved.
g. An activity that an observer would consider a specific organization's event. Non-members of the organization learned of the activity through members, advertisements, or communications associated with the student organization, or otherwise formed a reasonable belief that the conduct or activity was associated with or sponsored by the organization.
B. Initiation of the Conduct Review Process
The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards will review all reports and complaints made available to the University (including, but not limited to, police reports, RLSH incident report, and personal complaints) and determine if a student or organization may have acted in violation of the SMU Code of Conduct.
If it is determined that a violation of the Code of Conduct may have occurred, the matter will be resolved through the Conduct Review Process.
A report must be filed with the University within six (6) months of the date of the incident or discovery by the complainant of the alleged violation, in order to resolve the matter through the Conduct Review Process.
A matter may be resolved through the Conduct Review Process whether the incident occurs on or off campus.
The University, at its discretion, may proceed with the Conduct Review Process without a formal written complaint.
C. Notification of a Conduct Hearing
No less than five (5) days prior to the Conduct Officer or Conduct Board Hearing (“hearing”), the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards shall provide to the complainant and the respondent a written Notification of Hearing, which shall include the date, time, and location of the hearing, taking into account the class schedule of each party, in addition to the date of the incident, and the alleged violation(s) of the Code of Conduct.
The Notification of a Conduct Hearing will be delivered via email to the SMU email address on record with the University Registrar for a student, and may also be delivered via courier or US Mail.
With the written agreement of the respondent, and, if applicable, the complainant, and at the discretion of the Conduct Officer or Hearing Panel, the right to receive notification of a conduct hearing no less than five days prior to a hearing may be waived.
D. Conduct Officer Hearing
The Conduct Officer shall meet with the respondent, and the complainant, if one exists other than the University. At his or her discretion, the Conduct Officer may meet with the complainant and the respondent separately.
Video and/or teleconferencing for Conduct Officer Hearings will be permitted, at the discretion of the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, if classes are not in session and/or unusual circumstances exist which would prevent the student from appearing in person.
If either the complainant or the respondent or both do not meet with the Conduct Officer, the Conduct Officer may determine the outcome of the case with either or both parties absent.
The Conduct Officer may determine the outcome of the case administratively by assigning responsibility and sanctions.
The Conduct Officer may refer the case to a University Conduct Board if the Conduct Officer is unable to determine the outcome of the case or if the outcome would be best determined by the University Conduct Board.
E. University Conduct Board Hearings
1. University Conduct Board Membership Selection
a. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards shall conduct a selection process for students, faculty, and staff to serve on University Conduct Board. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards shall appoint members to serve on a specific hearing panel on a random basis, whenever possible, and make every attempt to ensure that Board members reflect the full diversity of the University.
2. Composition of a Hearing Panel
a. Hearing panels are composed of any combination of five students, faculty, and staff, with students comprising the majority of the hearing panel. Hearing panel members are randomly selected by the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards from the members of the University Conduct Board.
b. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards shall appoint the Chair of each hearing panel. The Chair is a non-voting member of the hearing panel.
c. In each University Conduct Board Hearing, the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards will appoint a University Representative to record the hearing. The University Representative will also ensure that the procedures are not in violation of student rights.
3. Quorum Requirements for a Hearing Panel
a. Quorum for a hearing panel shall be five (5) voting members of the Board (in any combination).
b. If fewer than five (5) voting members of the Board are present at the opening of a hearing, the hearing may be postponed until five (5) voting members can be convened, or, upon written agreement of the chairperson, complainant, and respondent, the requirements in this subsection may be waived.
c. Any member of a hearing panel may recuse him or herself voluntarily. Participation of a hearing panel member can also be challenged by a complainant or respondent. If there is no quorum due to a member’s recusal or removal, the hearing will be delayed until an alternate member of the University Conduct Board can be selected.
4. Prehearing Procedures
a. Prior to the University Conduct Board hearing, the complainant and the respondent may meet separately with a Conduct Liaison. The Conduct Liaisons may attend the University Conduct Board Hearing but will not question witnesses, provide statements or speak on behalf of a student. Neither the complainant nor the respondent is obligated to meet with the Conduct Liaison.
b. The complainant (including the University in situations where the complainant does not wish to proceed on his or her own) and the respondent must attempt to provide written notification to the witnesses whom they intend to call during the University Conduct Board Hearing. Such notice shall set forth the time, place, and date of the hearing. The University shall notify members of the student community that failure to appear as a witness may result in a charge against them under Section IV., B.,13. of the Code of Conduct for failing to comply with requests from University staff.
c. No less than three (3) days prior to the hearing, the complainant and the respondent may each present to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards copies of all documents to be introduced at the hearing as well as a list of those witnesses whose testimony will be presented in person or by summation, including a brief summary of anticipated testimony.
d. No less than two (2) days prior to the hearing, the complainant and the respondent shall receive from The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards any documents to be introduced at the hearing and a list of those witnesses whose testimony will be presented in person or by summation through a Conduct Officer, including a brief summary of the anticipated testimony.
5. Hearing Procedures
a. The Chair of a Board shall maintain order for the proper conduct of the hearing and, when necessary, may expel disruptive individuals or adjourn the hearing to a later time to assure the full development of facts in a calm, deliberate setting.
b. A University Conduct Officer and/or University Conduct Board may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the complainant, accused student, and/or other witness during the hearing by providing separate facilities, by using a visual screen, and/or by permitting participation by telephone, videophone, closed circuit television, video conferencing, videotape, audio tape, written statement, or other means, where and as determined by the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards.
c. At the discretion of the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, the Chair may grant extensions of time at any point prior to the commencement of the hearing to permit reasonably sufficient time for:
i. the complainant to prepare his or her case; or
ii. the respondent to prepare his or her response; or
d. At the discretion of the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, the complainant and/or respondent may be granted an extension of time to provide additional evidence to the University Conduct Board.
e. If, after the commencement of the hearing, the University Conduct Board discovers the need for more preparation or more time to hear testimony, the Chair shall recess the hearing to a later time.
6. Statements and Witnesses
a. The Chair shall permit the introduction of any relevant testimony and documents.
b. The Chair shall resolve any procedural issues with discretion and, if applicable, may consult with the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards regarding such.
c. The purpose of the University Conduct Board hearing is to address behavior(s), not student character. Therefore, only information that is relevant to the incident, including witness testimony, will be considered during a hearing. Character witnesses, statements, and reference letters will not be considered.
d. Polygraph tests will not be considered in any conduct hearing.
e. The complainant and the respondent may present witnesses during the hearing. If the University is the complainant, the Conduct Officer may present witnesses during the hearing.
i. Each member of the hearing panel may direct questions to the complainant, the respondent, or any witness.
ii. Complainants and respondents will not be allowed to cross-examine each other or any witness but may submit questions to the Chair in writing. The Chair may determine the appropriateness of the submitted questions and may, at his or her discretion, decline to ask questions he or she deems inappropriate. The Chair may also ask questions at his or her discretion.
f. The complainant and the respondent have the right to make an opening and a closing statement.
i. The complainant may give the first opening statement.
ii. The respondent may give the last closing statement.
iii. The complainant and the respondent may each include a statement of the impact of the alleged offense as part of a closing statement.
g. Inability to obtain witnesses shall not justify undue delay to continue a hearing. If a witness is unable to attend the hearing in person, he or she may participate:
i. telephonically or electronically (e.g., by Skype, or video conference);
ii. by sworn, notarized statement; or
iii. through a written statement.
h. Additional witnesses and documents may be called at the discretion of the University Conduct Board.
7. Deliberations of the Hearing Panel
a. After the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing panel shall deliberate in executive session (only hearing panel members present during the session) to reach a decision.
i. Each hearing panel member, excluding the Chair, may vote, and all determinations shall be by majority vote.
ii. The hearing panel may not consider a student’s prior conduct history when determining responsibility.
iii. If there is a finding of responsibility, the hearing panel shall be made aware of any previous conduct history in order to recommend appropriate sanctions.
iv. If the respondent is found not responsible, the Board shall close the case, subject to the appeal rights set forth in Section V., H. of the Conduct Review Process.
b. Within three (3) days of the date of the conclusion of its deliberations, the hearing panel shall provide a written report to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, which shall include:
i. findings of fact;
ii. basis for finding responsibility or non-responsibility; and
iii. if finding the respondent responsible, the reasons for the recommended sanction, if any.
c. Within three (3) days of the date of receipt of the hearing panel’s report, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards shall notify in writing the complainant and the respondent of the hearing panel’s findings and recommended sanction(s), if any. If the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards is made aware of any possible procedural errors during this three-day period, the Office may take corrective action, including calling for a new hearing.
8. Hearing Record
The University Representative shall record (via audio) the University Conduct Board Hearing. At the discretion of the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, arrangements may be made for a certified court reporter to be present to transcribe the University Conduct Board Hearing or to transcribe the audio recording of the hearing. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards shall store the recording and any transcript for as long as the file is kept. Deliberations of the University Conduct Board after the hearing may not be recorded or transcribed.
F. Rights of a Student in the Conduct Review Process
1. Respondents will be provided a written notice of charges prior to a hearing.
2. Complainants and Respondents will be provided a list of witnesses who will be asked to provide information at a hearing, as well as the opportunity to review all written evidence prior to the hearing.
3. Complainants and Respondents will be afforded an opportunity to present evidence or to call witnesses not already called by the University to testify or submit written statements. All witnesses must have the prior approval of Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards before participating in a hearing. Witnesses should have first-hand knowledge of the incident. It is the responsibility of the student to notify any additional witnesses of the time, date, and location of the hearing.
4. The right to have two people serve as support persons during the conduct hearing. Such persons are for silent moral support.
5. Respondents may remain silent before, during, and after the hearing and may make a statement explaining the reasons for remaining silent.
6. If the hearing is a University Conduct Board hearing, Complainants and Respondents will have the opportunity to consult with a Conduct Liaison(s) provided by the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards. The Conduct Liaison(s) will remain in a neutral role throughout the process.
7. Respondents and complainants may challenge any member serving on a University Conduct Board on grounds of prejudice or bias.
8. Complainants and respondents may remain present during the conduct hearing process.
G. Hearing Outcomes and Sanctions
The following sanctions may be implemented individually or in any combination by the hearing panel or Conduct Officer. The President reserves the right to raise or lower sanctions imposed in the conduct review process. Students who fail to complete their sanctions within the allotted time period may be subject to having their registration cancelled and/or having a hold placed on their official University records, which may prohibit them from registration, reenrolling, or receiving transcripts.
1. Sanctions that do not affect standing with the University:
a. INFORMAL WARNING. A written notice indicating a violation of the Student Code of Conduct that is not considered a part of the student's formal conduct record.
b. FORMAL CONDUCT WARNING. A written notice indicating a violation of the Student Code of Conduct that is considered part of a student’s formal conduct record. The individual or group will be given formal notice by the Hearing Panel or the Conduct Officer that they have violated the Student Code of Conduct or University policy. If the individual or group is found in violation of a further charge, that case will be considered more seriously.
2. Sanctions that affect standing with the University:
a. CONDUCT PROBATION. A student or group is given a warning that further violations will result in consideration of suspension. The student or a group representative may be required to report to a Conduct Officer on a regular basis during the period of the probation.
b. DEFERRED SUSPENSION. Individual or group suspension may be deferred (not enforced). Deferred terms, i.e., conditions of the deferred suspension and its duration, will be set by the Conduct Officer or Hearing Panel which imposed the sanction. If a succeeding Conduct Officer or Hearing Panel finds the student responsible for violating the terms of deferred suspension during the period set up by the preceding Conduct Officer or Hearing Panel, the student may be suspended.
c. SUSPENSION. An individual or group will be dismissed from the University for an assigned time period, and under the conditions deemed necessary by the conduct review process. A student suspended from the University may not enter campus grounds for any reason during the period of her/his suspension without the express written permission from the Office of the Dean of Students. A student suspended from the University before an academic semester ends will not receive a refund of any monies paid and is not relieved of any financial obligations to the University, including tuition, fees, and room and board. No academic credit earned during the period of suspension at any other institution may be transferred to SMU. A conduct suspension and its effective dates are recorded on a student’s academic transcript. The notation remains for the time the student is enrolled in the University and is removed three (3) years after graduation. If the student leaves the University before graduation, the notation is removed three (3) years after the anticipated date of graduation from the University.
d. EXPULSION. An individual or group will be separated from the University on a permanent basis. An individual’s expulsion will be permanently recorded on his/her academic transcript. Before this sanction is enforced, the President of the University will review it. A student expelled from the University may not enter campus grounds for any reason without the express written permission from the Office of the Dean of Students. A student expelled from the University will not receive a refund of any monies paid and is not relieved of any financial obligations to the University, including tuition, fees, and room and board.
3. Additional sanctions that may be imposed in addition to sanctions imposed in Sections 1 and 2 above, include, but are not limited to:
a. REASSIGNMENT OF HOUSING LOCATION/CANCELLATION OF HOUSING CONTRACT. A student removed from the residence halls for an assigned period of time or expelled from the residence halls on a permanent basis may not enter any residence hall without the express written permission from the Office of Residence Life and Student Housing. A student who is reassigned to a residence hall due to disciplinary action may only enter the newly assigned residence hall. The reassigned student may not enter any other residence hall without the express written permission from the Office of Residence Life and Student Housing. If the student’s housing contract is still in force at the time of the suspension or expulsion, no refund of the housing deposit or fee will be made.
b. RESIDENCE HALL PROBATION. A student is advised that additional violations on or off campus could result in the reassignment of their housing location or the cancellation of their housing contract.
c. RESIDENCE HALL RESTRICTION. A student may be restricted from entering a specific residence hall or all residence halls, as specified, without the express written permission of the Office of Residence Life and Student Housing.
d. FINE. An individual or group may be fined any amount determined to be appropriate and commensurate with the severity of the offense. Fines resulting from an alcohol policy violation will be a minimum of $100 and fines resulting from a drug policy violation will be $500.
e. DISQUALIFICATION FROM HOLDING OFFICIAL STUDENT POSITIONS OR PARTICIPATING IN UNIVERSITY ACTIVITIES. An individual or group sanctioned will be restricted from either representing the University in an intercollegiate activity, or from participation/representation in any University activity or organization.
f. RESTITUTION. An individual or group will be required to pay a person or institution to compensate for the damage or loss of property.
g. NOTIFICATION OF PARENT OR GUARDIAN/NATIONAL ORGANIZATION/AUTHORIZING BODY. The University may notify a students’ parent or guardian, as allowed under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (1974), or the national organization and/or university authorizing body for a student group, of the student or group’s involvement in a policy violation.
h. SUSPENSION OF PRIVILEGES. An individual or group will lose privileges that allow participation in specific activities, use of specific facilities, or the exercise of specific privileges.
i. DISCIPLINARY VIOLATION (DV) TRANSCRIPT RECORD. If the nature of the offense so warrants, a notation indicating a disciplinary violation will be recorded on a students’ academic transcript. The notation will remain for the time he/she is enrolled at the University and for three (3) years following his/her graduation. If the student leaves the University before graduation, the notation is removed three (3) years after the anticipated date of graduation from the University.
j. EDUCATIONAL SANCTION. The objective of an educational sanction is to provide opportunities for education, reflection, and rehabilitation; and is selected to be commensurate with the offense.
k. CAMPUS RESOURCE REFERRAL. A student or group may be required to contact an individual or department on campus.
l. DRUG TESTING. A student may be subject to random on-going drug testing. The number of tests/dates will be determined by the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards and the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center. The fee for drug testing will be included in the fine assessed at the time of adjudication. Any missed test, diluted test, or positive test may result in immediate suspension from the University.
1. University Conduct Council
a. The University Conduct Council is the board responsible for student conduct appeals in response to student conduct and academic dishonesty cases, and is accountable to the President of the University through the Vice President for Student Affairs. It is the recommending body to the Vice President for Student Affairs.
i. The University Conduct Council shall be composed of at least two (2) staff, two (2) faculty, three (3) students (ideally two (2) undergraduates and one (1) graduate student), and two (2) student alternates.
ii. All seven (7) members may serve on any appellate board, but an official quorum for an appeal consists of a minimum of four (4) members, which includes at least one (1) faculty member, one (1) student member, and one (1) staff member.
iii. An official quorum for an Honor Council appeal consists of a minimum of five (5) members, which includes at least two (2) faculty members, two (2) student members and one (1) staff member (see the Honor Code of SMU, Article VI, Section 3).
iv. The chairperson of the University Conduct Council, who is a voting member of an appellate board, shall be elected by the members of the University Conduct Council from among the faculty and staff members of University Conduct Council.
v. The University Conduct Council serves as a board of final appeal for appeals originating from University Conduct Boards, Honor Council hearings and Conduct Hearings, except when a sanction of expulsion is assigned (see Section V., G.(2)(d)). Honor Council appeal procedures are set forth in Article VI of the Honor Code.
2. Requesting an Appeal
Both the complainant and respondent shall have the right to request an appeal of the findings and/or recommendations of the Conduct Officer or the University Conduct Board, to the University Conduct Council within five (5) days of receipt of notification of such findings and recommended sanctions by the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards.
In cases that involve both a complainant and a respondent, either party may file a written request to appeal with the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards. The request to appeal must include the ground(s) for appeal and the basis for each. Appeals received from the complainant or respondent will be forwarded to the other party involved within one business day of the appeal being received in order to allow the other party an opportunity to provide a written response. The non-appealing party may provide a written response to the appeal within five (5) days of the date of receipt. If a request for appeal is received from both the complainant and respondent, the appeals may be forwarded to each of the parties involved to allow each party the opportunity to provide a written response.
3. Grounds for Requesting an Appeal
The University Conduct Council may grant an appeal to the complainant or the respondent or both on finding that (i) any one or more of the following circumstances exist and (ii) the mere existence of the circumstance(s) would significantly change the University Conduct Board's findings and recommended sanction, if any:
a. Erroneous findings of fact;
b. Procedural irregularities in the Conduct Review Process that denied one or both parties a fair hearing;
c. New and relevant evidence not known at the time of the hearing;
d. Recommendation of a sanction that is either unreasonably harsh or inadequate.
4. University Conduct Council Procedures Regarding Appeals
a. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards will provide the University Conduct Council with a packet of documentation that must contain the following:
i. the original incident report and/or complaint filed with the University;
ii. any and all documents accepted by the Conduct Officer or Hearing Panel, and taken into consideration when determining the outcome of the hearing;
iii. any audio recording and/or transcript of the hearing, if either exists;
iv. the written request for an appeal explaining the grounds for appeal; and
v. any written response provided by the non-appealing party.
b. Only those members of the University Conduct Council who have participated in training shall sit as the appellate body.
c. The University Conduct Council shall base its findings and recommendations on the following:
i. either party's written request for an appeal;
ii. any summary of the hearing prepared by the Conduct Officer or Hearing Panel; and
iii. the packet of required documentation prepared by the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards.
d. At its discretion, the University Conduct Council may schedule a hearing and allow oral statements. The University Conduct Council may determine the presenters and the amount of time allowed for each statement.
5. Determination of Appeal
a. Within fifteen (15) days of the date of the receipt of the appeal packet from the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, the University Conduct Council shall recommend to the Vice President of Student Affairs one of the following actions:
i. Dismissal or remand of the case based on a finding that there were such procedural irregularities during the Conduct Review Process that one or both parties were clearly denied a fair hearing;
ii. Dismissal or remand of the case based on a finding that there were erroneous findings of fact;
iii. Lowering or increasing the sanction(s) imposed based on a finding that the recommendation of a sanction is either unreasonably harsh or inadequate;
iv. Remanding the case to the original Conduct Officer or Hearing Panel based on the finding that there exists significant new and relevant information regarding the allegation(s) discovered between the conclusion of the original hearing and the time of the appeal.
v. Upholding the findings and recommended sanctions, if any, of the Conduct Officer or Hearing Panel.
b. Subject to the discretionary review by the President pursuant to Section V., H(6) below, the Vice President for Student Affairs shall review the recommendation of the University Conduct Council, and the record of the complaint as a whole, and render a final determination in the matter to be returned to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards.
c. Within five (5) days of receipt of the final determination from the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards will notify the complainant, the respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator (if applicable) in writing of the outcome of the request for an appeal as determined by the Vice President of Student Affairs on the recommendation of the University Conduct Council
6. Review by the President of the University
At his or her discretion, the President of the University may review decisions concerning student conduct, including findings of the University Conduct Board, the University Conduct Council, and all other conduct review bodies. Such review includes the power to take any action deemed appropriate, including reversing, amending, or remanding with instructions concerning such decisions. The President’s power of review as stated in this policy is not limited in any way, and the President may act at his or her sole discretion in conducting such review and in deciding what action is appropriate.
The President shall inform in writing the complainant, the respondent, the Vice President for Student Affairs, and the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards of any decision to affirm, reverse, amend, or remand any decision.
VI. SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
A. Academic Dishonesty Cases
Any cases involving academic dishonesty will be handled in accordance with the Honor Code, which may be accessed online at https://smu.edu/StudentAffairs/StudentLife/StudentHandbook/HonorCode
B. Graduate Hearing Boards
The Dedman School of Law, the Perkins School of Theology, and the Lyle School of Engineering shall each appoint, as may be necessary and appropriate, hearing boards composed of staff, faculty and graduate students to hear misconduct cases.
1. The rosters of persons appointed to these boards shall be made available, as needed, to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards.
2. All conduct charges against graduate students not enrolled in the Dedman School of Law, the Perkins School of Theology, or the Lyle School of Engineering will be heard through this student conduct review process.
3. As with all other hearing boards, the result of a graduate hearing board, under this process, may be appealed to the University Conduct Council appellate body.
4. Academic dishonesty cases concerning graduate students at the Cox School of Business, the Dedman School of Law, and the Perkins School of Theology are handled separately through processes established at each of those schools.
C. Student Organizations
The Student Code of Conduct applies to student groups and organizations as well as individuals. When a student organization is believed to have violated the Student Code of Conduct, University policies, or the law, the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards will conduct an investigation.
1. Notice of Investigation: When initiating an investigation of a student organization the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards will issue a notice of investigation. The notice of investigation shall include: the date of incident(s) or activity(ies) and the alleged policy violation(s).
2. Administrative Conference: At the conclusion of the investigation the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards will schedule an administrative conference with the president of the organization and the organization advisor to review and address the investigation findings. A summary of the investigation findings will be provided to the president at least five (5) days prior to the administrative conference.
3. Student Organizations found responsible for violations of the Student Code of Conduct, University policies, or the law will have the option to resolve their case in one of the following manners.
a. Organization Accountability Agreement: In consultation with the organization (and their headquarters, coach, or advisor where applicable) the University will work to develop a plan including sanctions that affect the organization's standing with the University and educational sanctions to address the violations. The organization accountability agreement may not be appealed. If after 60 calendar days the University and the student organization cannot come to an agreement the organization will be sanctioned through option b. Additional violations committed during the duration of the organization accountability agreement may be cause for the agreement to be extended and/or altered.
b. Sanctions assigned by a Conduct Officer: The conduct officer overseeing the investigation will assign the sanctions deemed appropriate to the organization. The assigned sanctions may be appealed by following the steps outlined in the Conduct Review Process.
4. Student Organizations found responsible for subsequent violations of the Student Code of Conduct, University policies, or the law, following the implementation of an Organization Accountability Agreement or sanctions assigned by a conduct officer will have the following options to resolve their case:
a. Work with the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards to develop an Organization Accountability Agreement in consideration of the existing agreement.
b. Sanctions assigned by a Conduct Officer: The conduct officer overseeing the investigation will assign the sanctions deemed appropriate to the organization in consideration of the existing agreement or sanctions. The assigned sanctions may be appealed by following the steps outlined in the Conduct Review Process.
D. Interim Action
If student or student organization's behavior presents an on-going threat of disruption to the community or is a danger to the safety of others, the Vice President for Student Affairs and/or the Dean of Students or their designee may impose interim actions as s/he deems appropriate pending a conduct hearing.
E. Mandatory Administrative Withdrawal
If student behavior presents a threat of disruption to the community or is a danger to the safety of others to such a degree that resolution through the University conduct review process is not possible or appropriate, the Dean of Students may, in consultation with the Vice President for Student Affairs, mandate an immediate withdrawal of the student from the University. Such mandatory withdrawal may include, but is not limited to: withdrawal from academic classes, removal from any University-owned housing, or suspension from participation in any University activity. The Dean of Students may impose conditions and/or a time period for the withdrawal and the student may not return to the University until all such conditions and expiration of the time period are met.
F. Medical Amnesty
Students who seek medical assistance for themselves (Medical Amnesty) or another person (Good Samaritan) due to intoxication of alcohol and/or drugs will not normally be subject to the SMU conduct review process, except when it has been determined that another violation of University policy has occurred. The full policy and applicable procedures may be accessed here: https://www.smu.edu/StudentAffairs/StudentLife/CallForHelp.
G. No Contact Orders
1. For complaints involving allegations between students, the Office Student Conduct & Community Standards may issue a no contact order. If it is deemed appropriate by the Office Student Conduct & Community Standards that a no contact order should be issued, the complainant and respondent will each receive the order. Each party will be informed by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards once a no contact order has been issued to the other party.
2. If living on campus, students involved in a conduct matter who live near or with each other may also request to have living arrangements modified pending the outcome of the hearing.
H. Sexual Misconduct Cases
1. Any complaints involving allegations of Title IX sexual harassment or sexual assault and other conduct matters falling under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended. All Title IX student conduct matters are handled exclusively under SMU Policy 2.5.1, Title IX Sexual Harassment, which may be accessed here: https://smu.edu/IAE/PoliciesandProcedures.
2. In cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct, the investigation will focus primarily upon the allegations of sexual misconduct. Students involved in a sexual misconduct case may qualify to receive amnesty for other violations of the Code of Conduct.
I. Violations of the Law and the Code
The University recognizes that some violations may be handled concurrently by the University and civil and/or criminal authorities. The criminal court process is separate and distinct from the conduct review process, which determines only violations of the Student Code and imposes sanctions within the University community. As such, concurrent action by both processes does not constitute double jeopardy.
VII. RETENTION OF CONDUCT RECORDS
Upon graduation or withdrawal from the University, student records in the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards are maintained for a period of no less than seven years to facilitate compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act; after which time they are destroyed. Records of students who are suspended or expelled from the University will be maintained indefinitely. Conduct records may be released to third parties pursuant to University policies and federal and state laws.
Sanctions resulting in a change of a student's standing with the University may be disclosed to third parties; those sanctions include conduct probation, deferred suspension, suspension, and expulsion. Educational sanctions assigned may also be disclosed. Sanctions not affecting a student's standing with the University will not be disclosed; those sanctions include formal and informal warnings.
Cases which result in a student receiving amnesty through the Call for Help program (medical amnesty or Good Samaritan) will not be classified as student conduct records and will therefore not be disclosed to third parties expect as permitted by the student or required by the law. These records will similarly be maintained for a period of no less than seven years.
Only students with a violation occurring prior to the 2016-2017 academic year, who have earned 90 academic credits and achieved senior standing may request, through a written petition, to have their conduct record expunged by the Dean of Students for good cause. Factors to be considered in review of such petitions shall include:
1. The present demeanor of the student.
2. The conduct of the student subsequent to the violation.
3. The nature of the violation and the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from it.
There is no appeal of the decision made by the Dean of Students in response to a request to expunge a record.
VIII. INTERPRETATION, REVISION, AND AMENDMENTS
A. Code of Conduct
The Student Code as described in Section IV is received and evaluated by the Student Senate, which is the legislative body representing student interests. The writing of the Student Code involves students, is for students, and is the expression of the student body’s relationship to the rest of the University. Hence, the Student Senate may at any time make recommendations to the code and the senate shall be asked to endorse it. Changes to the Student Code adopted by the Student Senate are subject to approval by the President of the University. The most up-to-date version of this handbook can be viewed online at https://smu.edu/studentlife at any time.
B. Conduct Review Process
The Vice President for Student Affairs has responsibility for establishing and maintaining the conduct review process through its various parts. The University Conduct Council, in consultation with faculty, staff, students, and others, as appropriate, and in conjunction with the Vice President for Student Affairs, makes recommendations/amendments to the procedures of the conduct review process as described in Section V to the President of the University.
1. Proposals are to be made to the University Conduct Council for their recommendation, but final authority to change the conduct review process rests with the University President.
2. When the University Conduct Council receives a change, the Council is required to inform the Dean of Students and the Student Body President of the proposal and the details of the proposal’s contents in writing. This requirement is for written notification only; approval is not required by either the Dean of Students or the Student Body President.
3. Students with questions regarding this process may see the Dean of Students.
4. The Vice President for Student Affairs may delegate any part or all of his/her authority from time to time, to any person or several persons, wherever he/she deems it appropriate. This person or persons is referred to as a University Conduct Officer.
Approved & Effective as of: 1 October 2013
Last Revision: 21 Nov 2019