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Code of Student Conduct 2013-2014

I. General Provisions
1.01 Applicability
This Code of Student Conduct is applicable to any student currently enrolled; enrolled in the previous semester/session and eligible to enroll in the next consecutive semester/session; or newly or re-admitted and eligible to enroll in the next semester/session. A student who withdraws from school is subject to disciplinary action for any conduct that occurred while the student met the aforementioned criteria. Students involved in misconduct that would subject them to disciplinary action while not enrolled may be required to appear before the Dean of Students or designee before being readmitted to the university.
This code is adopted pursuant to authority granted by The Texas State University System Board of Regents.
This code is printed annually in the student handbook. The handbook is also available online at: www.dos.txstate.edu. When this code is updated between printed editions, the most updated version, generally the online version, shall prevail.
1.02 Definitions
A. “Disciplinary action” means proceedings under section III of this Code.
B. “Hazing” means those activities defined in sections 37.151-37.157 of the Texas Education Code (See Student Handbook Appendix A).
C. “Hearing Officer” means that person appointed by the Dean of Students to conduct hearings under section III, subsection 3.05, of this code.
D.  “Notice” means correspondence:
1.   Sent by mail, addressed to the addressee at the local address and/or permanent address, as shown on university records; or
2.   Personally delivered to the addressee; or
3.   Sent electronically from a Texas State e-mail account to the student’s Texas State e-mail account.
E.  “Preponderance of the evidence” means the greater weight of credible evidence. It means the strongest evidence, however slight the difference might be.
F.  “Published university policy” means a written rule or policy from: (1) the Board of Regents, Texas State University System; (2) a university policy and procedure statement (UPPS); (3) a university division (for example, a PPS from Academic Affairs); or (4) a faculty, staff, or student handbook.
G. “University” means Texas State University, including the San Marcos and Round Rock campuses.
H. “University official” means a person in an official university capacity, including regents, officers, faculty and admin-istrative staff.
I.   “University property” means property owned, controlled, used, or occupied by the university, including property physically removed from Texas State campuses.

 

1.03 Awareness of Policies
Each student is expected to be fully acquainted with all published university policies, copies of which are available to each student for review in the Alkek Library at the Reserve Desk. The university will hold each student responsible for compliance with these published policies. A violation occurring off campus while participating in a university-sponsored program may be treated as if the violation occurred on campus. Students also are expected to comply with all federal, state and local laws. Any student who violates any provision of those laws is subject to disciplinary action, notwithstanding any action taken by civil authorities. This principle extends to conduct off campus that is likely to have an adverse effect on the university or the educational process.
II. Responsibilities of Students
2.01 Conduct Required
Students shall conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the university’s mission as an educational institution. Students who conduct themselves in
a manner that violates this Code of Student Conduct may be subject to disciplinary penalties.
2.02 Conduct Prohibited
Specific examples of conduct which are violations of this Code of Student Conduct include, but are not limited to, committing or attempting to commit
the following:
A. committing an act that would constitute a criminal offense under state, federal or municipal law;
B. violating any published university policy, including its policy against excessive parking violations;
C. failing to comply with a directive from a university official, including a summons to the office of an administrative officer at a designated time;
D. furnishing false information to the university or giving false testimony or evidence at a disciplinary or other administrative proceeding;
E.   issuing a check to the university without sufficient funds or otherwise failing to meet financial obligations to the university;
F.   endangering the health or safety of other persons, including, for example, throwing an object, without authorization, in or from university facilities;
G. misusing fire extinguishers or other safety equipment on university owned or controlled property;
H. interfering or disrupting university teaching, research or other activity, including administrative, disciplinary or public service activities (see Student Handbook Appendix B on disruptive activities);
 
I.   endangering the physical or mental health or safety of any person or intentionally or recklessly causing injury to any person;
J.   possession of or use of university keys without authorization;
K. engaging in or submitting to hazing (see Student Handbook Appendix A), including hazing associated with an initiation by an organization using dangerous, harmful or degrading acts;
L.   violating published university policies on the possession or use of alcoholic beverages (see Student Handbook Appendix C);
M. gambling on university property;
N. possessing, using, selling or distributing any illegal drug or controlled substance (The sanctions for this violation range from mandatory counseling to expulsion. A second infraction shall result in expulsion.);
O. possessing or using a firearm, ammunition, weapon (except as permitted by Government Code Section 411.2032) or replica thereof on university property. Request for exceptions to this prohibition must be submitted in writing to the Texas State University Police Department. The Chief of Police or their designee will review the request and consult any relevant stakeholder. The request may be denied, approved, or approved with qualifications. Examples of approved with qualifications may include requirements for the requestor to provide security, safety equipment, special facilities, and/or notifications. A request must comply with all other applicable laws and regulations to be eligible for exception. 
P.  possessing, igniting or detonating an explosive device, firework or flammable object on university owned or controlled property that could damage a person or property;
Q. stealing, destroying, damaging or misusing the property of the university or that of another person;
R. forging, altering or misusing university documents, forms, records, student identification cards or admission documents;
S. violating a published university policy governing residence life or breaching a Housing and Residential Life contract;
T. advocating, either orally or in writing, the conscious and deliberate violation of any federal, state or local law (“Advocating” means addressing an individual or group for imminent action and steeling it to such action as opposed to abstractly espousing the moral propriety of such action.);
U. entering, without authorization, university buildings or facilities, or using university equipment or resources without authorization;
V. failing to maintain a current official mailing address in the Registrar’s Office or giving a false or fictitious address to a university official;
W initiating, communicating or circulating a false report of a present, past or future bombing, fire, offense or other emergency that would cause action by an agency organized to deal with emergencies; placing a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or preventing or interrupting the occupation of a building, room, vehicle or other mode of conveyance;
X. harassing or threatening (by any means) to take unlawful action against any person, causing or intending to cause annoyance or alarm (see Student Handbook Appendix D);
Y.   engaging in academic dishonesty as described in UPPS 07.10.01 (Honor Code) and in this handbook;
Z. engaging in disorderly conduct on property owned or controlled by the university, or at a university function, that interferes with the university’s programs or activities;
AA. using authority granted by state law, system rule or university policy to deprive a person of his or her civil rights;
BB. engaging in or making life-threatening gestures;
CC. violating any published university policy relating to computer resources, electronic network facilities or the Internet; or
DD. attempting to commit any of these prohibited acts.
III. Administration of Student Justice
3.01 Authorization to Adjudicate Conduct Violations
Under the direction of the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Dean of Students or his/her designee, shall be primarily responsible for the administration of the student justice system.
A. Any student alleged to engage in or make life-threatening gestures may be required to report as soon as possible to the director of the Counseling Center or the designated representative. The director may designate the psychologist, psychiatrist or counselor whom the student will see. The Dean of Students or designee, upon the recommendation of the director, may require such students to obtain, at their own expense, a psychiatric evaluation to determine fitness to continue their current enrollment at Texas State. Failure to consult with the director of the Counseling Center or his/her representative or to comply with evaluation requirements and recommendations can result in disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, a registration hold.
B. The Associate Director of the Department of Housing and Residential Life, or designee, will work closely with the Dean of Students, or designee, in resolving minor disciplinary problems resulting from the alleged violation of regulations involving residence hall residents.
3.02 Disciplinary Procedures
A. Investigation — The Dean of Students or designee will investigate information that a student may have violated a university policy. During the investigation, the Dean of Students or designee will give the student an opportunity to explain the incident, unless the student is unavailable. The Dean of Students or designee may conduct an investigation and make an administrative determination in the absence of a student if the student does not respond within the time period specified in any notice to the student. The Dean of Students or designee may place a registration hold, preventing a student from registering for additional courses, until the student responds to a summons or a decision is finalized.
B. Administrative Review — If the Dean of Students or designee concludes, based on the preponderance of evidence, that the student has violated the Code of Student Conduct, the Dean of Students or designee will determine an appropriate disciplinary penalty.
1.   The Dean of Students or designee will discuss the findings and determination of an appropriate penalty with the student, if the student is available. In cases where the Dean of Students or designee determines that the allegations against the accused student are true but the only punishment assessed is a warning, the student may not appeal. For sanctions other than warnings, the Dean of Students or designee will give the student an opportunity to either accept or reject the Dean of Students or designee’s decision.
2.   If the student accepts the Dean of Students or designee’s decision, the student shall so indicate in writing and waive his or her rights to a hearing. The Dean of Students or designee may then assess the disciplinary penalty.
3.   If the student does not accept the Dean of Students or designee’s decision, the Dean of Students or designee will initiate the hearing procedure.
3.03 Disciplinary Penalties
A. Penalties — Mitigating or aggravating factors in assessing the proper level of discipline may include, but not be limited to, the student’s motive for engaging in the behavior; disciplinary history; effect of the behavior on safety and security of the university or college community; and the likelihood that behavior will recur. The following penalties comprise the range of official university actions that may be taken when, based on the preponderance of the evidence, a student is determined to have engaged in prohibited conduct. These penalties are not exclusive and may be imposed together with other sanctions.
1.   Warning — A written notice to the student that a violation of a published university policy has occurred and that the continuation of such conduct or actions could result in further disciplinary action.
2.   Restricted privileges — Denial or restriction of one or more university privileges granted to students. These may be, but are not limited to: parking privileges; dining facility privileges; visitation privileges; use of university comput-ers, computer facilities or systems; participation in athletics; or other extracurricular activities.
3.   Special project — The requirement that the student complete a special project, for example, writing an essay or attending a special class or lecture.
4.   Restitution — Paying for physical or property damage, losses or misap-
propriation, either monetarily or by the performance of specific duties.
5.   Cancellation of residence hall contract.
6.   Disciplinary probation — An indication that the student is not in good standing, and that his/her continued enrollment is conditioned upon adherence to published university policies. Probation automatically restricts the following privileges:
a.   A student on disciplinary probation is ineligible to be elected or hold any executive office of any student organiza-tion recognized by Texas State; and
b. A student on disciplinary probation may not represent the university in any special or honorary role.
7.   Withholding an official transcript or degree.
8.   Cancellation of pre-registered courses, prohibition against readmission or restriction from pre-registration.
9.   Denial or nonrecognition of a degree.
10. Loss of or ineligibility for a student grant or loan.
11. Suspension — Separation from the university for a definite term, during which the student shall not be permitted to: earn university credit at Texas State, be on university owned property nor participate in any university activity.
12. Expulsion — Permanent separation from the university.
A student who has been suspended or expelled from any Texas State University System component shall be ineligible to enroll at any other system component during the period of suspension or expulsion. The registrar of each component is authorized to make an appropriate notation on the student’s transcript to accomplish this objective and to remove the notation when the student’s disciplinary record has been cleared. In addition to Texas State, the Texas State University System includes all Lamar University, Sam Houston State University, and Sul Ross State University campuses.
B. Recording of Penalties — The penalties provided in subsections 3.03a, 8, 9, 11, and 12 may be noted on the student’s permanent transcript. Any record of penalty, except for expulsion, not noted on the transcript shall be expunged no later than five years after the penalty is assessed.
C. Finality of Penalties — No penalty shall take effect until disciplinary action becomes final. Disciplinary action becomes final when:
1.   During administrative disposition:
a.   upon acceptance by the student of the Dean of Students or designee’s decision,
b. if the only sanction is a warning, or
c.   upon notification to the student of the decision of the Dean of Students or designee and the expiration of the time in which to file a notice of appeal to the hearing board.
2.   In the event of a hearing:
a.   the sanction assessed is a warning, or
b. upon notification to the student of the decision of the hearing panel and the expiration of the time in which to file a notice of appeal to the Vice President for Student Affairs.
3.   In the event of review by the Vice President for Student Affairs, upon notification to the student of the decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
3.04 Interim Disciplinary Action
A. The President or Vice President for Student Affairs or their designee may take immediate interim disciplinary action, including suspension, pending a hearing, against a student for allegedly violating a university policy when the student’s continuing presence is reasonably believed to pose:
1.   A danger to persons or property; or
2.   An ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process.
B. The university official involved shall notify the student of the interim disciplinary action by the most expe-ditious means available. Thereafter, the Dean of Students or designee may offer the student an opportunity to have an administrative review or to immediately initiate the hearing procedures provided in this code. If the latter option is chosen, a hearing shall be held no later than 12 class days after the temporary disciplinary action was taken.
3.05 Hearings
A. Hearing Board — At the beginning of each fall semester, the Dean of Students will appoint an at-large hearing board composed of student members and hearing officers. The hearing officers will be full-time faculty or staff members. Student members must be in good academic and disciplinary standing. One hearing officer, two student members, and an alternate student member, hereafter collectively referred to as the hearing panel, shall be scheduled to hear each hearing based on availability and scheduling constraints. If one hearing officer and three student members are not able or willing to hear a case, the Dean of Students may appoint new members to the board so that every case may be heard within a reasonable time period. During hearings, new appointments, whether appointed for one hearing or the remainder of the current academic year, shall have all the qualifications, authority and responsibilities of a board member appointed at the beginning of the fall semester. The hearing officer shall preside over the disciplinary hearing.
B. Students’ Rights — Each student who requests a hearing or who is given an interim disciplinary sanction shall
be afforded:
1.   Notice — Written notification at least five class days before the hearing specifying:
a.   the university policy alleged to have been violated;
b. a summary of the facts alleged to constitute the violation;
c.   the date, time and location of the hearing;
d. the names of expected witnesses and a summary of their expected testimony;
e.   a description of other evidence that the Dean of Students or designee will present at the hearing;
f.   notification if the Dean of Students or designee intends to use legal counsel for other than advisory purposes as provided in section B, 3;
g.   a statement that the student must provide a list of witnesses and a summary of their expected testimony to the Dean of Students or designee at least 48 hours before the hearing; and
h. the names of the hearing officer and student members of the hearing panel.
      The Dean of Students or designee will send this notification to the student either by certified mail with return receipt requested, addressed to the student at the address appearing in the registrar’s records; by hand delivering the notification to the student and having the student sign a receipt; or from a university e-mail account to the student’s assigned university e-mail account.
2.   Hearing — This is an opportunity for the student to attend the hearing and present relevant evidence. If the student fails to attend, the hearing may proceed. The student may present his or her own defense against the charges and may produce either oral testimony or written affidavits of witnesses on his or her behalf.
3.   Representative — This is an opportunity for the student to have an advisor or counsel present at meetings with the Dean of Students or designee and during hearings. The student will provide the representative at his or her expense. The university is not obligated to arrange or provide a representative. In addition, the student may also have parents or a legal guardian present.
a.   To the extent that the Dean of Students or designee uses legal counsel for other than advisory purposes during the hearing, the student shall be afforded the same opportunity. The Dean of Students or designee will notify the student of the Dean of Students or designee’s intent to use legal counsel when providing the notification described in 3.05, B, 1.
 
b. The student’s representative may not address the panel, question witnesses or the Dean of Students or designee, or participate in the hearing except to offer advice and counsel to the student.
4.   Challenge to Impartiality — This is an opportunity for the student to challenge the impartiality of the hearing officer or a student member of the hearing panel. This challenge must be made at any time before the introduction of testimony or other evidence. The person challenged will be the sole judge as to whether he or she can serve with fairness and objectivity. If the person challenged chooses not to serve, the Dean of Students will appoint a special replacement for that case.
C. Notification of Evidence — At least 48 hours before the hearing, both the Dean of Students or designee and the student will provide the other party with the witnesses, summaries of testimony, documents and other evidence to be presented at the hearing.
D. Burden of Proof — The Dean of Students or designee has the burden of going forward with the evidence and the burden of substantiating the violation by the preponderance of the evidence.
E.   Questioning Witnesses — The Dean of Students or designee, the student, and members of the hearing panel may question witnesses regarding relevant matters.
F.   Recording — The hearing, with the exception of the panel's deliberation, will be recorded. If the student or the Dean of Students or designee desires to appeal the panel’s findings, a copy of the hearing recording and records presented at the hearing will be forwarded to the Vice President for Student Affairs. Students may request an electronic copy of the hearing at no cost. Requests for additional records that incur an expense will be paid by the requesting party.
G. Postponement — The Dean of Students may postpone a hearing for good cause. A request for postponement must be filed with the Dean of Students Office at least 24 hours before the hearing.
H. Hearing Officer — The hearing officer will determine the procedure to be followed, rule on the admissibility of evidence, and control decorum in
the hearing.
I.   Attendance — Upon the request of the student or the Dean of Students or designee, or upon his or her own initiative, the hearing officer may issue a written request for a witness to appear and testify or to produce documents at a hearing. Requests shall be personally delivered or sent by certified mail. Students who are requested to appear at hearings are expected to comply.
J.   Confidentiality — During the hearing, only the members of the hearing panel, Dean of Students or designee and his counsel, the student and his or her advisor, the student’s parents or legal guardians, the witness currently testifying, and the transcriber will be allowed in the hearing room. After testifying, a witness may not remain in the hearing room unless both the student and the Dean of Students or designee consent. All persons present at the hearing shall treat matters discussed with confidence.
K. Relevant Evidence — Legal rules of evidence shall not apply to hearings. Any relevant evidence shall be admitted, if it is credible and is the sort that reasonable people would rely upon in the conduct of their affairs.
L.   Not Compelled to Testify — The student may not be compelled to testify against himself or herself.
M. Procedural Rules
1.   The hearing officer will invite all parties entitled to be present into the hearing room.
2.   The hearing officer will read a statement of confidentiality.
3.   The hearing officer will state the university policy alleged to have been violated;
4.   The Dean of Students or designee will present evidence of the student’s violation of the policy.
5.   The student may present his or her own defense against the charges.
6.   Both parties may question the witness.
7.   Both parties may present rebuttal evidence.
8.   Both parties may present brief summations.
9.   The hearing officer will dismiss both parties and the hearing panel will deliberate and determine by a majority vote whether the student has violated a university policy. If the panel finds that the student did violate a university policy, it will assess the penalty. The hearing officer shall report in writing the panel’s findings and the penalty, if any, to be assessed.
10. The hearing officer will send the panel’s report to the VPSA, with copies to the student and to the Dean of Students or designee. If the student is found to have violated a university policy, and if a disciplinary penalty has been assessed, the hearing officer will inform the student of his or her right to appeal to the VPSA.
IV. Appeals
4.01 Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA)
In cases in which the sanction assessed is a verbal or written warning or probation, the decision of the hearing  panel is final. In cases in which the sanction assessed is beyond a warning or probation, either party may appeal to the VPSA based on: 
A. whether or not a fair hearing was afforded (A fair hearing includes notice of the alleged misconduct, and an opportunity to present evidence.)
B. whether or not the sanctions levied were appropriate to the offense
C. whether or not the finding was supported by the evidence

D. whether or not new evidence is introduced that was not available at the time of the hearing

An appeal is not a rehearing of the original case; the VPSA's review will focus on arguments addressing the basis, listed above, of the appeal.
 
4.02 Notice
Either party appealing to the VPSA must give written notice to the VPSA no later than five business days after the hearing panel's decision. All supporting documentation, including written arguments, when appropriate or requested, shall be filed with the VPSA no later than five business days after notice of appeal is given. Both parties, at the discretion of the VPSA, may submit oral or written arguments to support their positions.

4.03 Action
Upon appeal, the VPSA will review the materials presented at the hearing and may require the parties to submit written material or oral statements. The VPSA shall respond to the appeal within 10 business days after all the documentation is received and all testimony is heard. The VPSA may postpone a decision for good cause.
A. If the student is required to appear in person before the VPSA, the student may have a representative present, as provided in section 3.05 B, 3.
B. The VPSA may approve, reject, or modify the decision of the hearing panel or may require that the panel reopen the hearing to hear additional evidence or to reconsider the decision.
C. The VPSA will inform the student, the Dean of Students or designee, and the hearing officer of his or her decision in writing. The VPSA’s decision is final except for the discretionary review described below.

4.04 Discretionary Review
The VPSA, the president or the Board of Regents may, on their initiative, review any disciplinary case, and upon such review may approve, reject or modify the lower decision, or may remand the decision to the hearing officer or hearing panel for presentation of additional evidence and reconsideration of the decision.