The Utica University Student Conduct Program is intended to support the mission of the University through educating students about appropriate behavior and fostering a community where academic success can occur. The Program seeks to inspire the development of future leaders and responsible citizens by engaging in responsible and ethical decision-making. Students are treated with respect, and expected to take appropriate responsibility for their behavior, and the behavior of those around them.
"Human development is the aim of student conduct."
Philosophy and Goals
- Foster a sense of community that allows every member to comfortably live, work, and study in an atmosphere of respect;
- Protect the rights of all members of the Utica University community;
- Hold students accountable for their actions;
- Provide a student conduct process in which there is the opportunity for participants to experience personal growth;
- Assist students in developing alternatives to inappropriate behavior.
How Our System Works
Students have the right to express themselves freely on any subject provided they do so in a manner that does not violate the Code of Student Conduct. Students in turn have the responsibility to respect the rights of all members of the University to exercise these freedoms. For further information, see the Statement of Principles Regarding Expression on Campus, below.
- Tolerance and Civility
Students have the right to, and responsibility to maintain, a system of tolerance and civility that allows everyone to feel empowered to participate in the sometimes difficult discourse of an academic community, and to protect the precious heritage of freedom of thought and expression. This must be balanced with the necessity of providing an environment that is free of harassment to members of our student body and our larger community, so that a sense of marginalization and powerlessness does not frustrate the very goals we pursue.
Students have the right not to be discriminated against by any agent or organization of Utica University for reasons of age, color, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, marital status, political or social affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Students have the responsibility not to discriminate against others in their individual roles or as members of student organizations.
Students have the right to assemble in an orderly manner and engage in peaceable protest, demonstration, and picketing which does not disrupt the functions of the College, threaten the health or safety of any person, or violate the Code of Student Conduct.
Students have the right to exercise their religious convictions and associate with religious, political, or other organizations of their choice in University facilities designated for such purposes provided they do so in a manner that respects the rights of other members of the community and complies with the Code of Student Conduct. Students have the responsibility to respect the rights of other members of the University community to free exercise of their religious convictions and to free association with organizations of their choice.
Students have the right of privacy and to be free from unreasonable searches or unlawful arrest on University property and within their campus residences. Students have the responsibility to respect the privacy of other members of the University community in person and in their place of residence.
- Academic Pursuits
Students have the right to accurate and plainly stated information relating to maintenance of acceptable academic standing, graduation requirements, and individual course objectives and requirements. Students can expect instruction from designated instructors at appointed class times and reasonable access to those instructors. Students have the responsibility to attend class and know their appropriate academic requirements.
- Quality Environment
Students have the right to expect a reasonably safe environment supportive of the University’s mission and their own educational goals. Students have the responsibility to protect themselves, exercise reasonable behavior, and take precautions to avoid risk.
Students have the right to establish representative governmental bodies and participate in University governance in accordance with the rules and regulations of the University.
- Fair Process
Students have the right to a fair process before formal conduct sanctions are imposed by the University for violations of the Code of Student Conduct. Students have the right to written notice and the opportunity for a hearing before any change in status is incurred for conduct reasons, unless a significant threat to persons or property exists.
Under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, students have a right to (a) inspect and review educational records, (b) amend educational records, and (c) have some control of the information the University discloses related to their educational records. These include the rights to view and challenge the content of specified records, to control the release of personal and academic information to third parties, and to suppress all or some information categorized as “directory information” by legislation.
Utica University is a community committed to the pursuit of knowledge, meaningful academic experiences, and intellectual growth. In order to serve these goals, we recognize that we have a responsibility to create an inclusive community in which all of its members feel valued, as well an obligation to build a community that affirms, cherishes, and sustains freedom of expression.
We acknowledge that this balance is sometimes difficult to maintain and that, even though there are some clear legal precedents regarding protected forms of expression, the boundaries of allowable expression are nonetheless sometimes unclear, situation-specific, and subject to contestation, particularly in moments of crisis. Further, we contend that it is frequently precisely those ideas that challenge, frustrate, trouble, and offend some members of the community that may most advance the pursuit of knowledge. Therefore, the faculty and students, the administration and staff, and the Board of Trustees of the University have a duty both to maintain a system of tolerance and civility so that all of us feel empowered to participate in the sometimes-difficult discourse of an academic community, and to protect the precious heritage of freedom of thought and expression.
As an institution of higher education Utica University has a mission and a responsibility to encourage the widest possible discussion of ideas that bear on the development of our students and the enhancement of the larger society. In the classroom this principle is essential to the academic enterprise. Outside of the classroom, in both curricular and extracurricular venues, the goals of our purpose as an academic institution are best served by breadth of discussion and tolerance for controversy and disagreement. We embrace the intellectual challenge of confronting difficult, complex, and controversial ideas. This must be balanced with the necessity of providing an environment that is free of harassment to members of our student body and our larger community, so that a sense of marginalization and powerlessness does not frustrate the very goals we pursue. As we recognize and seek to expand the rich diversity of our students and employees and the varying cultures, backgrounds, and experiences we bring to the University, we find it essential to articulate our commitment to creating, maintaining, and promoting an environment where our similarities and differences are respected and valued.
In all of our principles we should also be mindful of the fact that we are an academic community that exists for the specific purpose of developing, testing, and teaching advances of knowledge and understanding. While we must be tolerant of the purveyors of a wide array of views, the University has no good purpose to be served by the advancement of factually inaccurate information. Ideas, beliefs, values, and aesthetic judgments that are offered up to the University community, or that are current in the wider public discourse, will be scrutinized and judged by the University community according to the standards of evidence and reason, and may be subject to repudiation and rejection based on that evaluation.
To these ends Utica University urges community members to recognize the following principles:
- We must encourage the widest possible discussion of ideas, with the understanding that the ideas with which some members of the University community disagree should not be silenced but are best met by other viewpoints and engaged argumentation;
- Speech or other forms of expression intended to harass, threaten, cause fear of physical injury, or otherwise incite violence or other criminal action against an individual or group will not be tolerated and may be subject to sanction;
- The University’s mission is best served by proactively creating opportunities through which community members can engage more fully on topics of curricular and societal interest and are empowered to do so in forums and through processes that allow for discussion and debate.
We know that our understanding and use of these principles will necessarily evolve over time as our experiences as a community and as individuals change and grow. We put forth this Statement of Principles not as an end in itself, but as a dynamic document intended to reflect and affirm the values and principles most integral to who we are as an educational institution and the experiences we believe all of our members deserve to have.
Utica University, in adopting this Statement of Principles, also acknowledges its duty to take steps to protect the physical safety of our community. Nothing in this Statement shall serve to limit the University's ability to make decisions designed to meet that obligation.
Overview of the Conduct Process
When an incident is documented, reports are forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards. If there is determination that a violation of the Code of Student Conduct has occurred, a charge letter to the student(s) involved is generated. The student charged with the violation(s) will be referred to either a Student Life Administrator or the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards. The hearing officer to which the student is referred is based on a student's conduct history and the severity of the alleged violation. A hearing will proceed to determine the responsibility of the student.
Following a hearing, the student will receive a Sanction Notification Form. The student is responsible for signing and returning the last page of the form back to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards. If a student does not sign the Sanction Notification Form or indicate a desire to appeal within 72 business hours of receipt of their letter, this indicates their acceptance of the outcome.
If the student is found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct, but believes the outcome isn't appropriate, he or she may request an appeal by indicating this option on the Sanction Notification Form. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards will then contact the student to set up an appeal hearing with Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards or the Student Conduct Appeal Board. The student will receive written notification of the outcome of their appeal.
When an incident occurs in the residence halls, reports are reviewed by the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards. Violations that are likely to result in a warning and educational sanctions are referred back to the building Area Coordinator (AC). Violations that are likely to result in the student being removed from the residence hall or repeated violations of previous behavior are referred to the Assistant Director of Student Living or the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards.
The Area Coordinator, Assistant Director of Student Living, or Director will schedule a hearing with the student to discuss the incident and determine responsibility. If appropriate, the Area Coordinator, the Assistant Director of Student Living, or the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards will then determine the resulting point assignment and sanction(s).
Incidents that take place outside of the residence halls will be heard by the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards. The student will receive a charge letter that outlines the alleged violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct, provides information regarding student rights and responsibilities, and gives the student a date and time for their hearing with the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards.
During an administrative hearing, the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards explains to the student the conduct process and the Code of Student Conduct violations outlined in the charge letter. This is also an opportunity for the accused student to explain his/her side of the story, indicate whether he/she is willing to take responsibility for violating the Code of Student Conduct, and provide information from pertinent witnesses. During this meeting, charges may also be dropped or amended.
At the outcome of the hearing, if the student is found responsible for the violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct, the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards will then determine the point assignment and sanction(s); and a sanction letter is generated. The student is responsible for signing and returning the Sanction Notification Form to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards. If the student has been found responsible for the violation and wants to appeal, they have 72 business hours from receipt of the sanction form to notify the Office of Student Conduct in writing.
Student Conduct Appeals Board
The Student Conduct Appeals Board is a hearing body comprised of students, staff, and faculty. This Board hears appeals of cases decided by the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards. This is the only venue for appeals of decisions at this level.
When a student wishes to appeal a decision made by the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards, he or she will return their sanction letter to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards indicating the reason for the appeal and a written statement supporting their reason. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards will schedule an appeal hearing with the Student Conduct Appeals Board, and notification of the hearing will be sent to the student. Prior to the appeal hearing, the student is strongly encouraged to set up an appointment with the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards to talk through the appeal process. After the appeal hearing is complete, the student will receive a letter outlining the decision made by the Board.
What is a Pre-Hearing?
A student may request a pre-hearing to review the conduct process with an administrator. The Hearing Officer will cover how the process ties to the Code of Student Conduct, where documentation comes from, how charge letters are generated, and what kinds of rights students going through the Utica Student Conduct Process are afforded.
What is a Hearing?
The purpose of a hearing is to document the student's "plea" (Responsible or Not Responsible) and to determine whether they're responsible for the alleged violation(s). If a student accepts responsibility, discussion of the student's actions as well as sanctions may take place. If the student pleads "Not Responsible", his or her perspective will be discussed and any additional information that the student provides will be used by the hearing officer to make an informed decision. The student will receive the hearing officer's decision by email.
Student Conduct Appeal Hearing Process
Purpose of Appeal
While the process of an appeal hearing with an administrator or the Student Conduct Appeals Board (hereafter referred to as "Board") is fairly similar to the process followed in original administrative hearings, there are some key differences. These differences include:
- The purpose of an appeal hearing is to review the decision(s) made by a hearing officer. Generally, this means that the case will not be re-heard. Instead, the administrator or Board will review information used in the original hearing as well as any other additional information the student provides in support of their appeal. The decision made by the Board or administrator hearing the appeal will be made in light of the reason identified for the basis for appeal.
- The student requesting an appeal identifies the reason for their appeal. The administrator or Board reviews the information regarding how the initial decision was made, and may make one of four decisions:
- To grant the appeal in its entirety
- To deny the appeal
- To modify decisions made by the original hearing officer
- To send the case back to the original hearing officer
- Witnesses are not a part of the appeal process. During a Board appeal hearing, the student and the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards will provide the board with information about how and why the decision was made. In all other appeals, the student meets individually with the administrator who is hearing the appeal. A Procedural Advocate may be present at the request of the student.
Reason for Appeal
You may only appeal based on one or more of the following:
- Decision - The standard used to make a decision about whether or not the student is responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct is “preponderance of the evidence.” This means that, based on the information available at the time, it is more likely than not that a violation has occurred. In appealing a decision regarding responsibility for a violation, the student must indicate how the decision that was made was not a reasonable conclusion based on information available to the hearing officer.
- Sanction - Appealing for this reason alleges that the sanction imposed is inappropriate or unreasonable. In his or her written statement, the student must outline how the sanction was disproportionate given the violation.
- Procedural Error - Because this is not a court of law, Utica University uses the standard of “fair process” in how the Student Conduct process is carried out. This means that the hearing officer is expected to conduct the original hearing in conformity with procedures described in the “Rights and Responsibilities” section of the Utica University Student Handbook. Appealing on the basis of a procedural error means that one of these standards was not upheld, and that it had a substantial impact on the fairness of the conduct process and the outcome of the hearing.
- New Evidence - An appeal based on “new evidence” means that the student now has additional information that was not available at the time of the hearing, and that that information would have had a substantial impact on the outcome of the hearing. If the student appeals on this basis, he/she must indicate in the written statement what new information is now available, how the information is sufficient to alter the original decision, and why the information was not provided at the time of the original conduct hearing.
Venue for Appeal
"Venue" refers to where and with whom a hearing takes place. The venues available for appeal are based upon where the initial hearing took place. Appeal venues are as follows:
- Decisions made by the Director of Student Conduct may be appealed to the Student Conduct Appeals Board
- Decisions made by Area Coordinators may be appealed to the Director of Student Conduct or his/her designee.
Process of Appeal
Director of Student Conduct Appeal Hearings
The Director of Student Conduct will hear appeals of Residence Life hearing officer decisions. An appeal hearing date and time is scheduled, and the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards will review the documentation and meet with the student to discuss the basis for his/her appeal. The student will receive notification of the Director's decision by email.
Student Conduct Appeals Board Hearings
The Student Conduct Appeals Board consists of several student, staff, and faculty members. For an appeal hearing to take place, (a) at least three members of the Board must be present, and (b) a representative from each of the following College constituencies must be present - 1 student, 1 staff member, and 1 faculty member.
The Student Conduct Appeals board will hear appeals of the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards' decisions. An appeal hearing date and time is scheduled, and the Board will have the opportunity to review the appeal hearing materials before the hearing takes place. The board will ask the student to leave the room while they deliberate, and will call the student back in to deliver their decision.
TIPS FOR PARTICIPATING IN YOUR CONDUCT HEARING
- READ YOUR CHARGE LETTER! There is a great deal of important information contained in your letter, including the time and date for your hearing and the violations with which you are being charged.
- Show up for the hearing. This is your opportunity to present your perspective, and not appearing may be interpreted as disrespect for the process and additional lack of responsibility. If you have an academic conflict with the date or time, contact the hearing officer indicated in your charge letter as soon as you receive your letter. Otherwise, the hearing officer/board can and will make a decision without you being present.
- It is important to be prepared and take the process seriously.
- Be honest. You are expected to provide only information that is true and accurate.
- Be cooperative. This hearing is about being held accountable for your own behavior, and part of what hearing officer/board will look for is your understanding of your own role and level of responsibility in this situation. Being uncooperative in a hearing may result in a more serious sanction.
- Dress neatly. This is a formal process that you are participating in, and your attire demonstrates respect for the hearing officer/board and the process.
- You have the opportunity to have a Procedural Advocate who can assist you and who may accompany you during the hearing. The Procedural Advocate is a member of the University community (except staff in the offices of Counseling & Student Development or Student Living & Campus Engagement), and his/her role is to help you prepare for your hearing and provide you support through the process. Notify the Director of Student Conduct as soon as possible if you wish to have a Procedural Advocate. A list of trained Procedural Advocates will be provided to you to choose from.
- During an Appeals Board Hearing, you will be given the opportunity to make an opening statement. At this time, you may share with the Board your reason(s) why you are appealing the decision in your case.
- You should read all documents related to the case prior to attending the hearing to have full understanding of what the hearing officer is using to assess whether or not you are responsible for the violations.
- If you attend an administrative pre-hearing, information will be reviewed with you at that point. Make sure you read all of the documentation provided at that time.
- Inform the hearing officer prior to the hearing of any witnesses you would like to have on your behalf. If your case is being heard by an administrator rather than a Board, you will have the opportunity to provide the hearing officer with names of individuals you would like him/her to speak with.
- You will always have the opportunity to respond to information provided by others that is being used to make a decision. However, cross-examination of witnesses in a Board hearing is not permitted; be sure to follow the process of addressing any questions you have to the Chair of the Board rather than the witness.
- Administrative hearings will be solely with you and the administrator. If you have any questions or concerns about the information provided by witnesses, however, be sure to raise them with the hearing officer.
- If you are questioning information provided by witnesses, do so respectfully and make sure your objections are relevant to the information provided. Making remarks about a witness’s character are not acceptable, and will not be tolerated.
- When you are in an Appeals Board Hearing, use the closing statement as an opportunity to make your final remarks regarding the relevant facts that have been given concerning your case. If you are not denying responsibility for the charges, you can use this opportunity to explain to the board what you have learned and suggest what sanction you may feel would be best.
- Try to make eye contact with the Hearing Officer/Board as you address them or they address you.
- Do not become defensive or argumentative with the Hearing Officer/Board. Their sole duty is to sort through the material that they have been given to determine a fair outcome, both in terms of responsibility and sanction.
- Make sure you ask any questions you have in order to better understand any sanctions that result, but do so in a way that is not argumentative or confrontational. If you disagree with a decision, you have the right to appeal.
Understanding Student Conduct, Sanctioning, and the Point System
As an institution, Utica University is committed to providing a safe and secure living and learning environment for all members of our community. Utica University expects each student to uphold our community’s values, norms, and expectations, and Utica University’s Student Conduct program emphasizes each student’s responsibility for themselves and to other members of their community.
Integral to the Code of Student Conduct and our Student Conduct program is the connection to the University’s core values. Integrity, respect for the person and property of others, and a commitment to intellectual and personal growth in a diverse population are values deemed fundamental to membership in this college community. The goals of the Student Conduct program include a commitment to fostering a sense of community that allows every member to comfortably live, work, and study in an atmosphere of mutual respect, providing a conduct process in which there is the opportunity for participants to experience personal growth and appreciation for the responsibilities of living in a community, and assisting students in developing alternatives to inappropriate behavior. As a result, students will be held accountable for behavior that violates our Code of Student Conduct.
Point System for Student Conduct
Utica University has developed a point system for use in sanctioning students that are found responsible for violations of the Code of Student Conduct. This point system is designed to provide clarity, predictability, and consistency in the sanctioning process. Assigned point values reflect the level of severity for each possible violation of the Code of Student Conduct. The system also tracks a student’s conduct history. If a student continues to violate the Code of Student Conduct, their point total rises to reflect their conduct history. Point totals are cumulative within a single incident as well as over a student’s academic career at Utica University.
For example, if a student is found responsible during the first week of the semester for a noise violation and underage consumption of alcohol, they will be assigned 5 points for the incident; 1 point for the noise violation and 4 points for the underage consumption of alcohol. If the same student is then found responsible for failure to follow emergency procedures later in the semester, they will be assigned 4 points for that violation for an accumulated total of 9 points. Students can consult the table of violations to see what points will be assigned for certain violations as well as how points will accumulate based on future violations.
Notification & Restriction Program
In addition to assignment of points, students will face a system of educational sanctions, notifications, and restrictions. When students are found responsible for violations and their point totals reach the following levels; either from one incident or multiple incidents; the following notifications or restrictions will take place (as well as educational sanctions at each level):
- 1-Point – Written Warning
- 2-Points – Written Warning
- 3-Points – Five hours of campus service
- 4-Points – The student’s parent(s) or guardian, success coach, and athletic coach will be notified of their violation(s).
- 5-Points – The student will be placed on Residential Probation if applicable. Educational assignment that explores their educational and career goals or a specific topic based on the violation
- 6-Points – The student will be penalized in the housing selection process and perform ten hours of campus service. AOD Assessment with Counseling Staff for alcohol or drug violation.
- 7-Points – The student will not be eligible for Greek Life or Study Abroad, and will be placed on social restriction or social probation
- 8-Points – The student will be placed on Disciplinary Probation and a second notification will be sent to the student’s parent(s) or guardian, success coach, and athletic coach will be notified of their violation(s).
- 9-Points – Meeting with AVP/DOS. Fifteen hours of campus service
- 10-Points – The student will be suspended for a period of time or expelled depending on the severity of the violation(s). Students may receive a sanction of expulsion without having been suspended first.
Students will be assigned points based on violations. Other sanctions will occur at the point levels identified and can also include sanctions for lower point totals (i.e.: If a student is reaches 7 points, they can be assigned ten hours of campus service as well as any restrictions listed for 6 points). Any sanction listed above that is not applicable to a certain student (i.e.: Residential Probation for a student who does not live on campus) will be replaced by an equivalent sanction.
In our example describing the point system, the student was assigned 5 points for the incident; 1 point for the noise violation and 4 points for the underage consumption of alcohol. At that time a notification would be sent to their parents, their success coach, and their athletic coach if applicable. Later in the semester when they were found responsible for failure to follow emergency procedures, they were assigned 4 points for that violation giving them a total of 9 points. At that time, (less than 90-days from their first violations), the student would be restricted from Greek Life and Study Abroad, Social Restriction, Social Probation, and be penalized in the room selection process since they had reached at least 6 points. Since they also surpassed the 8 point mark, another notification would be sent to parents, success coach, and athletic coach if applicable. This second notification occurs because the student is very close to the 10 point threshold for suspension or expulsion.
Point Forgiveness Program
Students may have points forgiven in three ways:
A two-point reduction will occur 90 days after the assignment of points. Students must complete all sanctions by their date due and not be found responsible for any other violations during the 90-day time period. If a student does have another violation, a two-point reduction will not occur until 90 days after the most recent violation (with no further violations occurring).
A one-point reduction will occur for those students who have had an AOD violation if they complete the Alcohol EDU program and complete a reflection paper. This paper must be substantive and approved by the assigning hearing officer. Students will only be eligible to receive this particular reduction one time.
A two-point reduction may be given with the completion of an approved 10-hour community service project. This community service project must be proposed to the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards and must be in cooperation with an off-campus agency. The off-campus agency will approve, monitor progress, and verify completion of the project. Upon completion, the student will need to write a reflection paper describing the project, the lessons learned throughout the project, and the positive impact the project had on the agency and the community. Students will only eligible to receive this particular reduction one time per academic semester.
In our example describing the point system, the student was assigned 5 points for their first incident; 1 point for the noise violation and 4 points for the underage consumption of alcohol. The student decided to complete the Alcohol EDU program and a reflection paper. This provides the student a 1-point reduction and leaves them with a total of 4 points. Unfortunately, they were found responsible for failure to follow emergency procedures prior to 90 days passing. They were assigned 4 points for that violation giving them a total of 8 points (invoking the restrictions at the 6-point, 7-point, and 8-point notifications). Shortly after this incident, the student decided to complete an approved 10-hour community service project in cooperation with an off-campus agency and write a reflection paper. Upon completion and approval of the project and the paper, the student receives a 2-point reduction from their total resulting in a new point total of 6 points.
Table of Point Assignments
Below is a listing of most violations of the Student Code of Conduct and the assigned point values. This list is not exhaustive nor inclusive of all possible violations.
Table of Point Assignments
Below is a listing of most violations of the Student Code of Conduct and the assigned point values. This list is not exhaustive nor inclusive of all possible violations.
Alcohol / Drug Violations
Damage / Vandalism
Endangering / Threatening Behaviors
General Conduct / Behavior
Housing Related Violations
- Violations denoted as 10 are violations that rise to the level of suspension or expulsion. Suspension does not need to precede expulsion. Students may receive a sanction of expulsion without having been suspended first.
- This point system in its entirety was developed with input from the systems and Conduct Administrators at Bucknell University, Gettysburg College, Hendrix College, Colgate University, Hamilton College and Union College
Revised August 2023
What is Utica's policy on Sexual Misconduct?
Utica University is committed to the maintenance of an environment that is supportive of its primary educational mission and free from exploitation and intimidation. Utica University will not tolerate rape, sexual assault, or any other form of non-consensual sexual activity, hereafter referred to more broadly as sexual misconduct. This policy is intended to articulate the University’s stance on sexual misconduct, define sexual misconduct and the concept of consent, and outline the procedure followed by the University in the event that an incident of sexual misconduct occurs. The University will enforce this policy through internal conduct procedures, safety programs, and the exploration of and support for prosecution of alleged offenders through the appropriate external judicial forums. The University supports this policy for students, faculty, and staff through its educational programs and counseling services.
What is sexual misconduct?
Sexual misconduct includes the following behaviors:
- Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any body part or object, by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman,without effective consent.
- Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is any sexual penetration (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any body part or object by a man or a woman upon a man or woman, without effective consent.
- Sexual Exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute another form of sexual misconduct. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, prostitution, non-consensual video or audio taping of sexual or other private activity, exceeding the boundaries of consent (e.g. permitting others to hide in a closet and observe consensual sexual activity, videotaping of a person using a bathroom), engaging in voyeurism, or engaging in consensual sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other sexually transmitted disease (STD) without informing the other person of such infection.
What is effective consent?In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear consent. Consent is sexual permission. Under this policy, “No” always means “No.” At the same time, silence, or the absence of an explicit “no,” cannot be assumed to indicate consent.
In addition, consent involves the following parameters and definitions:
- Consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is less clear than explicit verbal consent.
- Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other sexual activity.
- Silence – without actions demonstrating permission – cannot be assumed to show consent.
- There is a difference between seduction and coercion. Coerced sexual activity violates this policy just as much as physically forced sex does. Coercion happens when someone unreasonably pressures someone else for sex.
- Effective consent cannot be procured by use of physical force, compelling threats, intimidating behavior, or coercion. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear that he or she does not want sex, wants it to stop, or does not wish to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point is coercive.
- In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age, which is 17 in New York state.
- Persons using alcohol or other drugs are considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully comprehend the who, what, when, where, why, or how of a sexual interaction. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. Someone who has sexual activity with someone whom they know to be – or should know to be – mentally or physically incapacitated (through alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or blackout) is in violation of this policy. This policy also covers someone whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of so-called “date rape” drugs. Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances (including Rohypnol, Ketomine, GHB, Burundanga and others) is prohibited, and administering any of these drugs to another for the purpose of inducing incapacity is a violation of this policy.
What should someone do if they feel they are a victim of sexual misconduct?*Students who believe they are a victim of sexual misconduct are encouraged to notify the Office of Campus Safety, the Office of Residence Life, or the Office of Student Affairs.
*Employees, faculty, or other staff who believe they are a victim of sexual misconduct are encouraged to notify the Office of Campus Safety or the Office of Human Resources.
*Visitors or invitees to the Utica University campus who believe they are the victim of sexual misconduct are encouraged to contact the Office of Campus Safety.
*Any persons believing they are the victim of sexual misconduct have the option of notifying local law enforcement authorities, and will be assisted in doing so.
*The University also encourages any individual who believes he/she is the victim of sexual misconduct to report it, and to take steps to preserve such evidence as may be helpful in criminal or University conduct proceedings.
*Regardless of what choice is made regarding making a formal report of such an incident, support services are available to any person who believes they are a victim of sexual misconduct.
Where to Receive Help*Counseling and supportive services for victims of sexual misconduct are available both on and off campus. The Office of Counseling and Student Development is staffed by professional counselors who are trained in crisis counseling and sexual assault issues, and is open during the normal business hours of the College. To access University Counselors when offices are closed, students may call the Office of Campus Safety (x3046). All counseling contacts are held in confidence as permitted by law.
*Employees, staff, and faculty are encouraged to also seek counseling through the Employee Assistance Program. Contact the Office of Human Resources for information concerning the Employee Assistance Program.
*The University will make every effort to assist victims of sexual misconduct as outlined above. In addition, the College will assist such individuals in adjusting their academic, living or work situation, if requested by the individual and if such changes are reasonably available. Sexual misconduct is an act of violence prohibited, in separate ways, by New York state law and Utica University policy. Offenders may therefore be prosecuted under New York state criminal statues and also be subject to disciplinary action by the University. The University may choose to pursue disciplinary action while criminal action is pending, even if criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute.
*Student members of the University community found to be in violation of this policy are subject to the conduct action outlined in the Student Handbook and clarified in the more detailed policy to be found in offices listed below. A student who is found to have violated the University’s Code of Student Conduct may receive penalties up to and including removal from University housing and/or dismissal from the University. Pending a final judgment, the University reserves the right to exclude from University property any student whose presence it regards as a threat to the safety and welfare of any individual.
*Staff, faculty, and employees found to be in violation of this policy are subject to disciplinary actions including, but not limited to, termination. Visitors and/or invitees to the Utica University campus found to be in violation of this policy shall be prohibited from coming onto the Utica University campus.
Faculty and Staff
Domestic Violence/Sexual Misconduct
Oneida County YWCA Domestic and Sexual Violence Services, (315) 797-7740
Alcoholics Anonymous, (315) 732-6880
Addictions Crisis Center, (315) 735-1645
Center for Family Life and Recovery, (315) 733-1709
Community Recovery Center, (315) 334-4701
Insight House Chemical Dependency Services, (315) 724-5168
The following are toll-free information and referral services:
Alcoholism Council of New York, 1-800-56-SOBER
National Cocaine Hotline, 1-800-COCAINE
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1-800-662-HELP
How to Become a Procedural Advocate
The Role of a Procedural Advocate in the Utica University Community
The role of the Procedural Advocate is to assist the student before, during, and after the conduct process. The Procedural Advocate is not an adversarial role, and is not to speak on behalf of the student during any conduct hearing.
If a student, rather than the University, has filed a complaint against a student, both the responding student and the complaining student are entitled to a Procedural Advocate. Procedural Advocates may be any member of the Utica University community (except staff from the Office of Counseling & Student Development and the Office of Residence Life).
Being a Procedural Advocate
Student Procedural Advocates are expected to adhere to all provisions of the Utica University Code of Student Conduct. If you are charged with any violation of the Code of Student Conduct, or with a criminal offense this will make you ineligible to continuing serving as a Procedural Advocate.
If you will be serving as a Procedural Advocate, you are expected to attend all scheduled meetings and any training sessions for which you are given advance notice, or meet with the Director of Student Conduct prior to serving.
A Procedural Advocate is expected to maintain the confidential nature of the conduct process, especially in terms of any information shared and/or discussed throughout the process. If information is knowingly revealed, the Director of Student Conduct reserves the right to remove the person from the Procedural Advocate role and take conduct action.
If you are interested in serving as a Procedural Advocate, please contact the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards, Carl Lohmann, email@example.com
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are my rights and responsibilities as a Utica University student?
Utica University is a community, and every member of our community shares responsibility for its continued well being.
As a Utica University Student, you have the right to expect a campus environment that supports your learning and personal growth. At the same time, we expect that you will be guided by the values that we deem fundamental to our mission - values such as integrity, respect for others, and a commitment to intellectual and personal growth in a diverse community. These values are reflected in the Student Rights and Responsibilities and Code of Student Conduct sections of Utica University’s student handbook. The Utica University catalog includes additional information regarding issues of academic integrity.
Q: What is the Code of Student Conduct?
The Utica University Code of Student Conduct details what is expected of you as a member of the Utica University community. It also outlines behaviors that are in conflict with those expectations and with the values of this institution. The Code of Student Conduct may be found in its entirety online at www.utica.edu/handbook and on this website under the Code of Student Conduct. In brief, we expect that you will:
- Abide by University policies, rules, and regulations.
- Act responsibly and respectfully in your relationships and interactions with others.
- Act with integrity in your academic work and as you participate in other activities.
- Obey all local, state and federal laws.
Q: Why did I get a letter?
This simply means that the Office of Student Affairs has received a report indicating that you may have been involved in behavior that violated the Utica University Code of Student Conduct. The charge letter provides you with information about the situation in question, the date on which it occurred, and the parts of the Code of Student Conduct that pertain to that incident. Your letter will also contain information about meeting with a hearing officer or board.
Q: What is the difference between the Utica University Student Conduct Program and the external legal system?
While there are some similarities, Utica University’s Student Conduct Program is focused on education. That means it varies from the legal system in the following ways:
- The assumptions and philosophy underlying the process are different. Our goals are to produce behavior change. We seek to inspire the development of future leaders and responsible citizens by engaging students in responsible and ethical decision-making. Students are treated with respect and expected to take appropriate responsibility for their behavior and the behavior of those around them.
- We believe that every student has individual rights as a member of the Utica University community, but with those rights come responsibilities for themselves and to other members of the University community.
- Our hearing process is closed to the external community. That means that only students and the hearing officer/board members are present at a hearing, with the exception of procedural advocates if requested by the student. Procedural advocates must be members of the Utica University community.
- The language of our process varies accordingly. At Utica University, we talk about holding hearings rather than trials, ask students to accept responsibility rather than finding them guilty, and use the Code of Student Conduct to frame our community expectations rather than that of the legal system (although those behaviors that are illegal also violate our Code of Student Conduct). Rather than imposing a sentence, students receive sanctions.
- Ensure “fair process” rather than the external standard of “due process." That means that we need to follow our own processes and procedures, as laid out by the College, rather than those provided in a court of law. Essentially, “fair process” means that a student has a right to written notice and the opportunity for a hearing before any change in status is incurred for conduct reasons unless a significant threat to persons or property exists.
- The standard of proof needed to find a student responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct is that of “preponderance of the evidence” rather than “proof beyond a reasonable doubt." That means that a hearing officer/board needs to be more sure than not that a violation of the Code of Student Conduct has occurred and that the student being charged is the person who has violated the Code of Student Conduct.
Q: My friend met with an Area Coordinator. Why am I meeting with the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards?
The venue for your hearing will depend on factors such as your conduct history, the impact your behavior may have had on the community, the degree to which your safety or the safety of others was at risk, and/or your level of involvement in the incident. For more specifics, see the explanation of levels of violations and sanctions.
Q: What if I don’t show up for my hearing?
If you do not appear for your hearing, the hearing officer or board has the right to determine the outcome of your hearing in your absence.
Q: What rights do I have in the student conduct process?
Any student charged with violating the Code of Student Conduct has the right to fair process at Utica University. That means that you have the right to the following:
- A written notice of charges
- An impartial hearing in a timely fashion
- Advance inspection of information to be used in your hearing
- The opportunity to respond in person and provide your own account of what occurred
- The opportunity to provide your own witnesses
- A member of the University community to assist you as a procedural advocate
- Written notification of the outcome of your hearing
- The opportunity to request an appeal
Q: What are the possible outcomes of a hearing?
Consequences (called sanctions) for being found responsible for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct can take the form of a written warning, probation, or in the most serious situations, suspension/expulsion from the residence halls or the University. All sanctions are focused on education and helping the student change their behavior.
Q: What is a likely sanction?
Your sanction will be determined based on a variety of factors including your level of offense and conduct history. Please see the information provided on sanctions and the point system, above.
Q: What happens if I don't do my sanction?
Failure to complete and comply with any and all sanctions will result in a hold being placed on your student account. This will affect your ability to take any action through several offices of the University.
Q: How many chances do I get?
Utica University does not follow the "three strikes and you're out" philosophy, although you cannot continue to violate the Code of Student Conduct indefinitely. Utica University's Conduct program includes the philosophy of progressive discipline, and hearing officers/boards also balance care for the individual student with the needs of the larger community. That means that a series of what appear to be less significant incidents may result in your being asked to leave the community. There are a number of factors that determine your sanctions if it's been determined that you are responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct.
Q: How does an appeal work?
An appeal provides you with the opportunity to have a decision about your responsibility in an incident or the sanction imposed reviewed by a hearing officer. In order to appeal a decision made by a hearing officer, you must indicate that you wish to appeal within 72 business hours and provide a written statement with information about why you are appealing. If both the sanction form and the written statement are not turned in by the specified due date (72 business hours from when you receive your sanction notice) you lose your right to appeal. For more information, see the section on appeals, above.
Q: Will my parents find out?
FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) does limit the information we can share with others, including your parents, although there are exceptions, particularly if you are a dependent and/or under 21.
Utica University believes that students should be able to make mistakes and learn from them, and that you are accountable for your own behavior. Because of this, we do not necessarily notify your parents if you have been charged through the Student Conduct program.
However, if a pattern of behavior or a singular incident means that your safety is at risk, that you have put others at risk, and/or it is possible that your status as a student will change, the appropriate staff member will notify your parents.
Q: What are the long-term effects of being found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct?
Generally, minor violations will really have no long-term impact. A more serious violation and sanction can have significant long-term impact on you. Graduate schools and some jobs typically look for a pattern of inappropriate behavior. It is generally acknowledged by most colleges and universities that testing limits and making mistakes are part of the “college experience.” However, if you aren’t able to show how you've learned from these incidents and changed your behavior over time, this will likely impact your ability to get hired or attend graduate/professional school.
Q: Who has access to my conduct records?
Conduct records are confidential and are used for internal use only. A third party does not have access to these records without your written consent. While you may on occasion sign a waiver permitting us to share information from your files, we do not release copies of information except under specific circumstances (such as a subpoena).
Q: How can I complete documentation, and who can file a complaint?
A complaint can be submitted in either written form or online.
If you choose to submit an incident report in writing, you will need to get a documentation form from Campus Safety, fill it out, and either return it to Campus Safety or the Office of Student Affairs. Documentation forms are also available through the Office of Residence Life and Student Activities, and on under Forms, above.
If you choose to submit an incident report online, you will need to go to coco.utica.edu/MyCoCo. Once there, you will need to log in (username-community, password-utica1) and follow the instructions on the screen. Once you are finished completing the report, please make sure to review it, and click submit before closing out of the system.
Any member of the community can submit documentation against a student/organization alleging a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. If you have any questions about submitting documentation, please do not hesitate to contact the Director of Student Conduct in the Office of Student Affairs (Carl Lohmann, firstname.lastname@example.org).
You can also submit documentation anonymously via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 315-505-8470.
Q: How long do I have to provide written documentation?
While there is no hard deadlines for submitting documentation, the best information is gathered as soon as possible.
If you are trying to decide whether or not to provide documentation, please speak with someone in The Office of Student Affairs, The Office of Residence Life, or Campus Safety as soon as possible.
Q: Who can I talk to if I’m unsure about filing a complaint or have a question about the process?
There are many resources available to you if you are unsure about filing a complaint.
Any questions about submitting a complaint/documentation, or about the Student Conduct program can be addressed directly with the Dean of Students. Also, staff members in Campus Safety, Residence Life, or Academic Support Services can talk with you about your concerns and about whether filing a complaint is appropriate.
Q: In what circumstances can a student be held accountable for off-campus behaviors?
If a student engages in behavior that violates the Code of Student Conduct at a University sponsored event, or on University owned or controlled property, the University will act to address that behavior through the Student Conduct program.
In addition, jurisdiction may extend to behavior that has a significant impact on the well-being of a student or student organization, or that which affects the educational mission and well-being of the University, even if it occurs off-campus at an event, or in a place not controlled by Utica University. Intervention in these cases is at the discretion of the Dean of Students.
Q: What does it mean to be a witness?
The most essential role of being a witness is to provide information that is relevant to help determine whether or not the charged student is responsible for the alleged violations they have received. Witnesses are essential in order to ensure that the hearing officer/board has the best picture possible of what occurred during the incident in question.
Q: What will I have to do?
As a witness, you will be asked to provide accurate information regarding the incident regarding-what you know, who was there, and what you saw. It is likely that you will be asked to fill out written/online documentation. If the student who is charged will be having a board hearing, you will be asked to attend that hearing. If the hearing will be an administrative one, you may be contacted by the administrator who is conducting the hearing in order to talk further about what you know about the situation.
If you have any questions at any time about the process or your role, read the section on Hearing Process, above, for additional information and/or contact the Dean of Students.
Q: Will the student who has been charged know that I provided documentation?
Students being charged and going through the Student Conduct program have the right to know what information is being used to make decisions about responsibility, as well as who provided that information. While we can begin an investigation of a situation and keep witness names confidential, when the hearing process begins, the charged student will have information about the origination of any information being used in the conduct process.
If you experience any form of retaliation as a result of providing written or online documentation, please contact Campus Safety immediately (x3046). Utica University does not tolerate retaliation, and any student who engages in behavior that is/could be considered to be retaliation will be charged through the Student Conduct Program.
Q: Do I have to see the student that I provide information about?
In a board hearing, the charged student is in the room when witnesses come in to speak with the board. Charged students are not to attack any witness(es), and will be instructed to direct all questions for the witness(es) to the Chair of the Board.
In administrative hearings, witnesses are not in the room during the hearing process, although the hearing officer may request additional information from witnesses based on the charged student's response to documentation.
Q: How can I support my son/daughter through the Student Conduct Process?
Even though your son or daughter is the person most actively involved in the process, there are a variety of ways you can be supportive:
- Encourage your student to read all correspondence and respond within the time frames indicated in the letters he/she receives.
- Talk with them about taking advantage of all that is offered to them throughout the process (pre-hearings, Procedural Advocates, providing witnesses that may have relevant information).
- Encourage your student to ask questions about things they don’t understand.
- Reinforce that being honest and respectful throughout the process is in their best interest.
- Be aware that it is possible that your son or daughter may have made some choices that were not constructive, and reinforce that part of becoming an adult is taking responsibility for their actions.
- Help your son or daughter understand the importance of following through with any sanctions imposed.
- If you have questions about the process itself, read the information available to you or call the Office of Student Affairs. The Dean of Students will walk through the Conduct Process with you, but will likely not share details without having a signed release from your son or daughter first.
Q: Will I be called when my son/daughter is charged with a violation of the Code of Student Conduct?
In most situations, we will deal directly with your son or daughter if they have been charged with a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, and will not directly contact you. While we understand you want to be in the know, we do believe that students have the right to make mistakes and learn from them. Most of the situations resulting in conduct action tend to be relatively minor in scope.
The times when we will make a point to contact you are when (a) your son’s or daughter’s safety is at risk; (b) your son’s or daughter’s ability to reside on campus or continue as a Utica University student is in jeopardy; or (c) a pattern of behavior has been established that is likely to put your son or daughter at risk of continuing at Utica University, and working with you as a partner in changing your son or daughter’s behavior would be productive. We are also more likely to contact you if your son or daughter is a minor at the time.
When possible, we encourage your son or daughter to speak with you first, so that you can have the conversation with them before we contact you.
Q: Why can’t I have access to my son or daughter’s conduct record? I pay tuition!
There are both philosophical and legal reasons for not sharing this information with you.
Philosophically, we believe that students are learning to be adults while they are at Utica University, and that means they need to take responsibility for their actions both in and outside of the classroom. As a result, our system is constructed to deal directly with the student rather than parent.
In addition, student educational records, which include conduct files, are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This means that the student needs to give permission for anyone other than themselves to view the information contained in their file. If your son or daughter gives us permission, we can and will talk with you about the details of the incident that resulted in your son or daughter being charged with violations of the Code of Student Conduct.
We are also concerned with protecting the privacy of other students who may or may not have been involved in that particular situation, as their information is also contained in any documentation.
Your son or daughter has access to this information at any time, and should have copies of any information he/she submitted in the course of investigating the alleged behavior.
Q: Can I attend my son/daughter’s hearing?
No. You certainly may support your son or daughter by talking with them before or after the hearing, but the Student Conduct process is a closed process which only includes members of the Utica University community. While a student may have a Procedural Advocate present with them, that advocate must be a member of the Utica University community.
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