Academic and Behavioral Standards and Policies


Student Code of Conduct

 

Community Expectations and Student Responsibility

All of our communities operate with a shared commitment to core values. Guided by the School Sisters of Notre Dame and committed to our long standing mission, Notre Dame of Maryland University (“NDMU” or “the University”) strives to build inclusive communities, engage in service to others, and to promote social responsibility. Being part of the NDMU community is a privilege and therefore brings with it the obligation to conduct oneself in ways that promote these goals and build up the community and the obligation to refrain from activity inconsistent with our shared goals and commitments.

Each student at the University is expected to make choices that preserve a safe and secure environment in which all individuals are able to pursue their academic endeavors, practice responsible citizenship, respect the rights of others, and be accountable for their actions and the actions of their guests. Failure to uphold University rules, policies, and expectations as well as state, local, and/or federal laws and regulations may result in student conduct action within the University under the authority of this Student Code of Conduct and/or referral to appropriate law enforcement.

Purpose

The purpose of regulating student conduct in the University setting is to protect the character of the University community by prohibiting conduct inconsistent with the values of the University. The purpose of publishing this Student Conduct Code is to give students notice of what constitutes prohibited behavior, as well as their rights and responsibilities during the student conduct review process. The campus student conduct proceedings are designed to provide a forum through which to determine whether a student is responsible for violating University rules, policies and regulations. This Code seeks to preserve the individual rights of students while ensuring that the interests of the entire University community are also maintained.

Alleged Violation of Behavioral Conduct Standards

The primary goal of the student disciplinary process is to:

      • Collect and examine information,
      • establish facts and determine responsibility,
      • restore and contribute to the health of the community, and
      • and foster academic and communal integrity.

The Office of the Associate Dean for Inclusion and Community Standards

The Associate Dean for Inclusion and Community Standards coordinates the oversight of and implementation of procedures associated with response to student conduct issues, which include the following:

      1. Review and conduct preliminary investigation to determine potential violations of the Student Code of Conduct and University Polices,
      2. conduct pre-hearing meetings,
      3. training and advisory of the Honor Board,
      4. review of the decisions of the Honor Board,
      5. maintenance of all student disciplinary records,
      6. development of procedures for conflict resolution, including mediation,
      7. monitoring the application and completion of educational outcomes,
      8. collection and dissemination of research and analysis concerning student conduct,
      9. submission of timely statistical reports to the Office of Public Safety and AVPSL for dissemination, including the number of incidents referred to the office, the number of incidents resulting in disciplinary action, and the range of outcomes imposed, and
      10. review and revise Student Handbook as necessary.

Rights of the Reporting and the Responding Party

In order to provide accessible, prompt and fair methods for reporting, investigating, and responding to complaints of Prohibited Conduct, the University has developed these Procedures. Throughout this process, both the Reporting Party and the Responding Party have the following rights:

      1. To a prompt, fair, and thorough investigation,
      2. to be treated with respect by University officials,
      3. to have the choice to be accompanied by a Support Person, Attorney, or Non Attorney Advisor of choice throughout the process,
      4. to be informed of available University and non-University resources and supports,
      5. to participate or decline to participate in the process, with the knowledge and understanding that the University may proceed with the process, despite a decision to refrain from participating,
      6. to have an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and evidence throughout the investigative and adjudicative process,
      7. to have similar and timely access to information to be used during any process and to notification in writing, at the same time as the other party, of any decision, resolution, and/or outcome. as applicable and in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 and The Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act, and
      8. other rights as described throughout this Handbook.

Alleged Violations of Academic Standards

Academic Standards Procedures

According to the University Honor Code, it is the responsibility of each member of the Notre Dame of Maryland University community to respond to suspected acts of academic dishonesty by:

      1. Consulting with the individual(s) thought to be involved and encouraging them to report it themselves and/or,
      2. reporting it to the instructor involved, and/or
      3. reporting it to Honor Board through the Academic Integrity Incident Referral Form.

*Reporting oneself after committing academic dishonesty is strongly encouraged and may be considered in determining sanctions.

A faculty member who, based on his or her own observations or information provided by others, suspects that a violation has occurred will speak to the suspected student about the situation and, if the violation involves work submitted by the student, shall keep an original copy of the work, if available.  In all such cases, the following shall be observed:

      1. If a faculty member has reasonable proof of a violation, he/she shall approach the student and learn the facts. In consultation with the Department Chair, the faculty member will judge the offense and impose the appropriate sanction(s), up to and including an “F” in the course as clearly stated in the course syllabus.
      2. The faculty member shall then complete a written narrative of the violation including the name of the student, the date of the violation, the course, a detailed summary of the violation, the resolution including any imposed sanctions, and any supporting documentation. The instructor will give the student written notice of the basis for the finding and sanction imposed, with a copy to the Dean of the school in which the violation took place and the Associate Dean of Inclusion and Community Standards. This record will be purged from the student’s confidential file seven years after the disposition of the case.
      3. The student will be held to the sanction imposed by the faculty member unless the student files a timely appeal as described below under Appeal.
      4. A student accused of academic dishonesty in a course may not withdraw from that course before a final resolution has been reached regarding an allegation. The option of withdrawing from the course with a “W” grade is open only to the student who has been found not in violation.
Academic Standards Appeals

If the student wishes to appeal the finding of the faculty member, the student may file a written appeal with accompanying documentation to the Dean of the school in which the violation took place no more than five business days after receiving notice of the finding and sanction imposed. To receive consideration, a student’s appeal must be full and complete upon its submission, including the basis for appeal and any supporting documentation. Within five business days of a timely receipt of the documentation, the Dean of the school in which the violation took place in conjunction with the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs will determine if the request meets the standards for an appeal. The original decision will only be reviewed to determine if any of the following conditions were present:

      1. Significant Procedural Error that affected the findings and/or sanctioning decision,
      2. new Information/Evidence that was not available at the time of the findings and/or sanctioning decision, or that could not have reasonably been discovered with due diligence, that may/would change the finding and/or sanctioning decisions,
      3. substantive Due Process Violation, and/or
      4. excessiveness or insufficiency of the sanctioning decision.

If none of the above conditions are met, then the original decision will stand. If there are sufficient grounds for the appeal, the Dean of the school in which the violation took place may, at the students discretion, review the appeal and make the final determination or refer the case to the Honor Board to do the same. The Dean and Honor Board do not re-hear cases, but rather weigh the merits of the appeal and make a decision in accordance with the evidence presented in the faculty member’s written narrative and in the appeal materials. All appeal decisions by the Dean or Honor Board are final. The final determination will be communicated to the student and faculty member with copies to the Department Chair, Associate Dean for Inclusion and Community Standards and the Dean, if applicable.

Student Conduct Review Procedures

Reporting

  • Any person may initiate a complaint against a student, organization or group, with the Office of Inclusion and Community Standards. The exception to this standard is any complaint involving alleged sexual misconduct, which will be report to the Title IX Coordinator and follow the procedures outlined in the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  • This complaint may be made in writing or verbally. If a Reporting Party makes the report verbally, the Office of Inclusion and Community Standards will summarize in writing the information received verbally, then share that summary with the Reporting Party to ensure accuracy. This summary will become a part of the Responding Party’s disciplinary file and will be shared with the Responding Party.
  • Persons making such allegations are required to provide information pertinent to the case and may be expected to appear during Student Conduct Review proceedings as the Reporting Party. The Associate Dean may appoint a Reporting Party.
Preliminary Review and Investigation
  • The Associate Dean or designee may conduct additional investigation to determine if the allegations have merit. If the allegations are unsubstantiated, the matter will be closed. Such disposition shall be final and there shall be no subsequent proceedings unless new information, unavailable at the time of the original disposition, arises.
  • Based upon the information/facts gathered during the Preliminary Review, if it is determined that the alleged conduct, even if proven by a preponderance of the evidence, would NOT constitute prohibited conduct in violation of the Policy, the Associate Dean or their designee will notify the Reporting Party, in writing, of the No Action Warranted determination.
Notice of Charges
  • If the allegations of misconduct are (a) based on reasonably reliable information and (b) may involve a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the Associate Dean or their designee will write a letter describing the charges to the Responding Party and scheduling an Administrative Review.
  • The notice to the Responding Party shall include:
      1. The alleged violation that the Responding Party is accused of, indicating the date of the occurrence and the names of the Reporting Party and all potential witnesses, except when the Office of Inclusion and Community Standards determines that disclosure may present a risk to any such witness,
      2. the Responding Party’s rights, including a description of the procedures to be used at both an Administrative Review or Honor Board Hearing, and
      3. All charges and dispositions will be issued to the Responding Party in written form at least 2 business days before any hearing procedure. All charge and disposition notices will be (a) hand-delivered, (b) e-mailed to the student’s University e-mail account, or (c) mailed by certified, return receipt requested first class mail to the off-campus address on file in the University Registrar’s Office. Notices sent to off-campus addresses may be copied and sent First Class U.S. Mail. Electronic notices will be sent to the University assigned email account. Notices sent by these methods will be presumed to be delivered unless returned as undeliverable. Students are responsible for ensuring that their mailing address of record is current and complete. Students are also responsible for maintaining their University assigned email account.
Administrative Review
  • The Administrative Review is an informal, non-adversarial meeting between the Responding Party and the Associate Dean or their designee.
  • When the Responding Party does not dispute the facts upon which the charges are based, and accepts responsibility to the alleged violations, the Associate Dean or their designee shall impose an appropriate sanction. The student shall be informed in writing of the decision. In such a case, when the Responding Party accepts responsibility for violating a Policy, only the sanction may be appealed.
  • In those cases, in which the Charged Student contests the allegations upon which the charges are based or refuses to execute a written waiver of a hearing, a Honor Board will resolve the allegations.
  • Failure to appear at an Administrative Review may preclude the early resolution of the case and may require that a full hearing be held by the Honor Board to resolve the matter.
Honor Board
  • The student is notified in writing of the specific alleged violation, and the time, place, and date of an Honor Board hearing, and the names of those individuals who will be serving on the Honor board panel.
  • The time for the hearing shall be no less than five nor more than fifteen calendar days after the student has been notified.  Maximum time limits for scheduling hearings may be extended by the Associate Dean of Inclusion and Community Standards or their designee. 
  • The purpose of the Honor Board hearing is to use a peer review process to determine whether the student(s) are responsible for violating the behavioral or academic standards, and, if responsible, recommend a sanction(s).
  • The Honor Board consists of community members (elected faculty and students and appointed staff) who hear cases of alleged violations.
  • A selected panel of the Board necessary to conduct a behavioral standard hearing consists of 1 student representative, 1 faculty member, and 1 staff member. Neither the Director for Student Rights and Responsibilities nor the AVPSL will be a member of any panel.
  • The following procedural guidelines shall be applicable in all student conduct proceedings before the Honor Board:
      1. Hearings will be conducted in private and are closed to the public, and the Presiding Officer for the hearings will be elected student member.
      2. Disciplinary and Honor Board Hearings are determined around the academic schedule of the student(s) involved in the hearing.
      3. Admission to the hearing by any persons other than the Reporting Party, the Responding Party, their advisors, witnesses during their time of interview, and the Associate Dean of Inclusion and Community Standards shall be at the discretion of the Associate Dean of Inclusion and Community Standards or their designee.
      4. If the alleged violation involves more than one student,  hearings may be held individually or jointly at the discretion of the Associate Dean of Inclusion and Community Standards or their designee.
      5. The Responding Party may request in writing an extension of time to prepare for the proceeding.  Extensions will not exceed 2 business days except in unusual circumstances where the Responding Party can demonstrate the necessity for a longer delay. All requests should be made at least 2 business days prior to the scheduled proceeding, except in cases of documented serious illness or emergency.
      6. The Responding Party shall be afforded reasonable access to review the case file prior to and during the proceeding, and may request a copy of a redacted incident report from the Office of Associate Dean of Inclusion and Community Standards. “Case file” means the file containing those materials pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. If additional information becomes available and is relevant, it will be made available to the Responding Party in advance of the hearing. The personal notes of University staff members and privileged information of other students are not included in the case file and thus are not accessible.
      7. The Responding Party, as well as the Reporting Party, may select and be assisted by an advisor. (See Participation of Advisors in the Resolution Process)
  • At the hearing, the Responding Party will have the opportunity to respond to the information relating to the alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct.  The Responding Party and the Reporting Party will have the opportunity to present witnesses.
  • The Responding Party, the Reporting Party, and all witnesses and will be subject to questioning and/or cross examination by the Honor Board Panel. 
  • The Responding Party and Reporting Party will notify the Associate Dean for Inclusion and Community Standards at least 2 business days prior to the hearing with names of student’s witnesses with relevant information to the hearing. Character witnesses will not normally be heard.
  • The Associate Dean for Inclusion and Community Standards will notify the Responding Party and Reporting Party at least 2 business days prior to the hearing of the names of any witnesses that will be present.
  • It is the responsibility of the Responding Party and Reporting Party to notify their witnesses of the hearing’s time and location. 
  • Pertinent records, written statements, and any other evidence may be accepted for consideration by the Honor Board, and procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Associate Dean for Inclusion and Community Standards or their designee.
  • Once all evidence and testimony has been presented, the Reporting Party will make a closing statement, and the Responding Party will make a closing statement, after which the Hearing will be adjourned.
  • After the hearing, the Honor Board shall determine, by a majority vote, whether the student has violated the behavioral or academic standards.
  • The Honor Board’s determination is made using the preponderance of evidence standard, or in other words, whether it is more likely than not that a violation of the Code has occurred. 
  • A written decision will be given to the Responding Party which states the findings made by the Panel and the sanction(s) to be imposed if it has been found that a violation has occurred.
  • The written decision will be shared with the Reporting Party if the allegation involves a crime of violence, in accordance with FERPA and The Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act.
  • There will be a complete audio recording of the hearing, which is the property of the University. Deliberations will not be recorded.
  • A Responding Party who fails to appear at a scheduled hearing, upon proper notice, may be adjudicated in absentia and forfeits all rights to an appeal unless it is for lack of proper notice, as required herein.  A student will not automatically be found to have violated the behavioral or academic standards because the student did not attend the hearing.  In such cases, decisions will be based solely on witness testimony and other written information presented during the proceeding.

Sanctions

The imposition of sanctions is based on the nature of the violation and the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from it, present demeanor of the student or status of the student organization, and the past student conduct record of the student or student organization. In some cases, a sanction may be held in abeyance for a specific period. This means that, should the student be found in violation of this Code during the stated period, the student may be subject to a deferred sanction. Students who are found to have violated academic standards will be held to the sanction imposed by the faculty member or chair of the department.  Additionally, the Honor Board may impose additional sanctions. More than one sanction may be imposed for a single violation.

Sanctions that may be imposed in accordance with this Student Code of Conduct include:

    1. Censure: An official written reprimand for violation of a specified standard.
    2. Loss of Privileges: Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.
    3. Disciplinary Probation: A period of time in which a student is expected to demonstrate positive behavioral change and may be excluded from participation in privileged or extracurricular University activities. Additional restrictions or conditions for behavioral changes may be imposed. Violations of the terms of disciplinary probation, or any other violation of this Code during the period of probation, may result in eviction from residence, suspension or expulsion from the University.
    4. Fines: Reasonable, compensatory (not punitive) fines may be imposed.
    5. Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage, or injury to person or property.  This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
    6. Educational Sanctions: Sanctions that bear a reasonable relation to the violation and are deemed appropriate and contribute to the success of the student may be imposed instead of or in addition to those listed in this section. Educational sanctions include, but are not limited to: service hours, educational reflection assignments, mentoring, meetings with staff, and participation in educational programs and training.
    7. Revocation of Privileges: Restrictions placed on activities and/or use of University services and facilities for a specified period of time.
    8. Loss of Registration: Removal of registered student organization status, resulting in revocation of all University privileges for a specified period of time, normally for at least the remainder of the current academic term and no longer than one full calendar year.
    9. Residence Hall Suspension: Separation of the student from the residence halls for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return.  Conditions for readmission may be specified.
    10. Residence Hall Eviction: Permanent separation of the student from the residence halls.
    11. Notice Against Trespass: Notice that a student will be arrested if found on University premises or specified University premises.  Suspensions, dismissals, and expulsions carry an automatic “Notice Against Trespass” on all University premises or as specified.
    12. Disciplinary Suspension: Separation of the student from the University for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return.  Exclusion from classes and other privileges or activities, including access to University premises or University-sponsored activities off campus, as set forth in the notice of suspension, normally for at least one semester. A student who is suspended is not entitled to any tuition or fee refund and is barred from being on University premises for the duration of the suspension.
    13. Disciplinary Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from the University.  Termination of student status, and exclusion from University premises, privileges and activities. A student who is expelled is not entitled to any tuition or fee refund and is issued a Notice Against Trespass from University premises permanently.

Consistency in sanctions of similar cases is important; however, similar offenses may result in different sanctions where there are distinguishing facts and circumstances. Factors considered when determining a sanction/responsive action may include:

    • The nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation,
    • an individual’s disciplinary history,
    • previous allegations or allegations involving similar conduct,
    • the need for sanctions/responsive actions to bring an end to the conduct,
    • the need for sanctions/responsive actions to prevent the future recurrence of conduct,
    • the need to remedy the effects of the conduct on the Reporting Party and the University community, and
    • any other mitigating, aggravating, or compelling circumstances to reach a just and appropriate resolution in each case.

Appeals

In certain circumstances the outcome of an Honor Board Hearing or Administrative Review (only in the case of sanctions) may be appealed. The following guidelines shall be applicable:

  • A letter of appeal by the Reporting Party (in cases of crime of violence, in accordance with FERPA and The Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act) and/or Responding Party of a behavioral standards violation must be submitted by the Responding Party to the AVPSL within five (5) business days of receipt of the outcome of the Honor Board proceeding or Administrative Review. Failure to appeal within the allotted time will render the original decision final and conclusive.
  • A Responding Party adjudicated in absentia forfeits all rights to an appeal process unless it is proven that it was for lack of proper notice, except in an extraordinary circumstance.
  • The letter of appeal must specify grounds that would justify re-consideration. General dissatisfaction with the outcome and/or an appeal for mercy is not an appropriate basis for appeal. The written appeal must specifically address at least one of the following criteria:
      1. Significant Procedural Error that affected the findings and/or sanctioning decision,
      2. new Information/Evidence that was not available at the time of the findings and/or sanctioning decision, or that could not have reasonably been discovered with due diligence, that may/would change the finding and/or sanctioning decisions,
      3. substantive Due Process Violation, and/or
      4. excessiveness or insufficiency of the sanctioning decision.
  • A timely appeal of a behavioral standards violation will be reviewed by the AVPSL or designee to determine the viability of the appeal based on the criteria above listed. 
  • Within five (5) business days of receipt of the appeal the AVPSL or designee will review and make the final determination to grant or deny the relief sought by the appealing party. The decision will be based on information supplied in the written appeal, the case file, and, when necessary, on the recording of the original proceedings.
  • The decision on the appeal is final and conclusive and will be conveyed in writing to the Responding Party.
  • The written decision will be shared with the Reporting Party if the allegation involves a crime of violence, in accordance with FERPA and The Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act.
  • The imposition of sanctions may be deferred while the appeal process is pending unless, in the discretion of the Associate Dean for Inclusion and Community Standards, the continued presence of the student on the campus poses a serious threat to the student’s own self or to others, or to the stability and continuance of normal University functions.