Student Conduct System & Process

St. John Fisher College seeks to create and maintain an environment that supports its mission. As an institution of higher education in the Catholic tradition, standards of behavior are more demanding than those required of the general public. The College reserves the right to take whatever actions it deems necessary and appropriate to ensure community safety at the time of an incident.

The College views its students as adults and expects that they will act with the requisite maturity and responsibility. As adults, students are accountable for their behavior under the Student Code of Conduct, whether it takes place on or off College property. In addition to being subject to any internal action that the College may initiate, an alleged violator may also be referred to law enforcement officials and students may also face criminal charges separate and independent from the student conduct process.

The Vice President for Student Affairs and Diversity Initiatives administers regulations governing most aspects of the College community that students are likely to encounter. He has authority in all cases of infractions of College regulations and general student conduct and serves as the College's Chief Title IX Officer. The Assistant Dean of Students and Residential Life supervises the Student Conduct System.

Student Conduct Procedures

The following procedures address institutional standards and expectations. The Student Conduct System is grounded in the principles of reasonableness and fairness for the entire community.

The student conduct procedures apply in all cases of alleged violations of College policy by all students enrolled at St. John Fisher College, except where provision is specifically made for other procedures—e.g., academic dishonesty and failure to maintain academic or professional standards.

Reports of alleged falsification of admission application information and violation of professional standards are filed with the Provost and Dean of the appropriate school within the College. At his/her discretion, the Provost or the appropriate Dean may subsequently file a complaint through the Student Conduct Process. All other reports are filed through the Coordinator of Student Conduct.

If there is reason to believe College policy has been violated, an incident report will be forwarded to the Coordinator of Student Conduct. The Coordinator of Student Conduct will review the report, evaluate the information, and determine the next appropriate actions. Depending on the circumstances of the alleged violation and the severity of possible sanctions, the Coordinator of Student Conduct will determine whether the hearing to address the alleged violation will take place before an assigned hearing officer or Student Conduct Hearing Committee.

[Top]

The Complainant

Any student, faculty, or staff member with a complaint against a student or student group may discuss the nature of the problem and possible courses of action with the Coordinator of Student Conduct or the Department of Safety and Security. The individual is expected to provide information about the incident. Details of the incident should be stated concisely and accurately. Witnesses to the incident should be listed.

Although reports will be accepted at any time, an incident or complaint should be reported within forty-eight (48) hours, as the passage of time will impede efforts to investigate and appropriately resolve alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

In the instance of the College being the Complainant, a member of Safety and Security may act as the Complainant on the College’s behalf.

[Top]

The Respondent

Any graduate or undergraduate student (hereafter referred to as student) accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct is subject to the procedures outlined in the student conduct procedures.

The respondent will receive an appearance letter by letter, or by letter and email, within five business days of the completion of the final incident report with the following information:

  1. The nature of the complaint
  2. The code(s) allegedly violated
  3. The need to meet personally with a hearing officer or the Student Conduct Hearing Committee to address the incident in question
  4. The time, date and location of the hearing
  5. The need to be prepared to either acknowledge or deny responsibility for the alleged violation(s)

[Top]

Attendance at the Student Conduct Hearing

The time, date and location of the student conduct hearing will be provided in an appearance letter and the student is expected to attend as directed. If the student has a conflict with the date and/or time of the meeting it is his/her responsibility to contact the hearing officer directly to reschedule. The hearing will take place in the respondent’s absence if he/she fails to appear.

The respondent may request that a witness(es) with firsthand knowledge fill out a statement of fact form through the Safety and Security Department. Statements must be completed at least 24 hours before the scheduled hearing. In a Student Conduct Committee Hearing, and at her discretion, the Coordinator of Student Conduct may request that witnesses who have submitted statement of facts forms attend the hearing. Additionally, the respondent may choose one person to act as a character witness at a Student Conduct Committee Hearing. The name of the character witness and his/her contact information is due to the Coordinator of Student Conduct no later than 24 hours prior to the scheduled hearing.

Please note that all Student Conduct Hearings are private and closed to everyone except the involved persons (i.e., the Complainant, the Respondent, and those witnesses invited by the hearing officer or Student Conduct Hearing Committee). A student may not be accompanied by legal counsel (whether a practicing attorney or not) unless criminal charges are pending or foreseeable, in which case an attorney may accompany the student for the sole purpose of advising the student during the hearing. The ability to have legal counsel present is restricted to the Student Conduct Hearing. Legal counsel may not be present during subsequent appeal hearings, if any.

[Top]

Procedure for a Student Conduct Hearing

Administrative Student Conduct Hearings are conducted between the respondent and a hearing officer on an individual basis. Student Conduct Committee Hearings are conducted with all parties allegedly involved in the incident: complainant, respondent, and witnesses as well as a Student Conduct Hearing Committee made up of a combination of Staff, Faculty and Students. The following is a general description of the student conduct hearing procedures. These procedures may vary as appropriate for specific hearings.

  1. The hearing officer or Student Conduct Hearing Committee will read statements on confidentiality and procedures for fairness, the alleged violations and the incident report(s).
  2. The complainant(s) and respondent(s) will be asked to present their accounts of the incident or behavior in question, including presenting relevant information and responding to any information provided by any witnesses.
  3. The hearing officer or Student Conduct Hearing Committee will have the opportunity to ask the complainant(s), respondent(s), and any witnesses who attend the hearing relevant questions in regard to the incident.
  4. The hearing officer or a member of the Student Conduct Hearing Committee will summarize to the complainant(s) and respondent(s) their understanding of the incident or behavior in question.
  5. The complainant(s) and respondent(s) will be offered an opportunity to make a summary statement to the hearing officer or Student Conduct Hearing Committee at the conclusion of the hearing.
  6. All other persons besides the hearing officer or Student Conduct Hearing Committee will then be excused from the hearing room while the hearing officer or Student Conduct Hearing Committee considers the information presented and determines responsibility for the violation, and any sanctions to be applied in the event the respondent is found responsible for the violation.
  7. The student will be informed of the outcome of the hearing verbally at the closing of the hearing or may be told that more information is needed before making a decision.
    1. If a student is found not responsible, no further action will be taken.
    2. If a student is found responsible, any sanctions will be effective immediately.
    3. If more information is needed, the student will be provided with a date by which the decision will be made.

If the hearing officer or Student Conduct Hearing Committee determines that a witness or complainant may be emotionally harmed by giving information in the presence of the respondent during a Student Conduct Hearing, arrangements may be made to allow participation while not depriving the respondent of access to the evidence or information. As appropriate and requested, College personnel will provide support to students in those cases involving sexual or physical assaults.

Please Note: No audio or other recording of a Student Conduct Committee Hearing or Administrative Hearing is permitted by any person.

[Top]

Procedure for Determining Responsibility

In order to make a decision regarding any alleged violations the hearing officer or Student Conduct Hearing Committee reviews all information presented through the report(s), Complainant, Respondent, and any witnesses. The determination will be made on the basis of whether there is sufficient information, in the judgment of the hearing officer or the Student Conduct Hearing Committee, that the Respondent violated any College policies/regulations. The hearing officer or Student Conduct Hearing Committee will review the relevant information presented to determine the outcome that is best supported by that information.

[Top]

Types of College Sanctions

The hearing officer or the Student Conduct Hearing Committee will determine the appropriate sanction(s). If a student is found responsible, prior violations for which a student was held responsible and subject to previous sanctions are taken into consideration when sanctioning decisions are made in all cases. The following sanctions, or modifications or combinations of them, may be applied:

  1. No action.
  2. Written Warning. A Written Warning serves as an expression of concern regarding behavior and as notice that upon a finding of responsibility in any other future violations, a student may be held accountable to increasingly significant sanctions. Written Warnings do not have an expiration date.
  3. Disciplinary Probation. Disciplinary Probation is a status imposed for a specific period of time during which a student must demonstrate behavior that aligns with the Student Code of Conduct. Students on Disciplinary Probation may be restricted from certain privileges and/or lose eligibility for activities at the College. Additionally, any finding of responsibility in future violations may result in increasingly significant sanctions.
  4. Suspension. Suspension from the College means a temporary termination of student status. The student may not be re-enroll at St. John Fisher College for a prescribed period of time. Before re-enrollment at the College, a student must meet with the Vice President for Student Affairs and Diversity Initiatives or his designee. Upon any re-enrollment, the student will be placed on Disciplinary Probation for the remainder of the academic career.

    The transcript will reflect "W" (withdrawn) for all courses in which the student was enrolled for the semester. Tuition, room and board charges, as applicable, will be prorated based on the College Refund Policy. The date used to determine any refund is the date of this finding or the date of any interim action related to this finding, which ever date is earlier.

    Persons Suspended from the College are considered to be Persona Non Grata (PNG) from the College until any re-enrollment at the College.
  5. Expulsion. Expulsion from the College means permanent termination of student status.

    The transcript will reflect "W" (withdrawn) for all courses in which the student was enrolled for the semester. Tuition, room and board charges, as applicable, will be prorated based on the College Refund Policy. The date used to determine any refund is the date of this finding or the date of any interim action related to this finding, which ever date is earlier.

    Persons Expelled from the College are considered to be Persona Non Grata (PNG) from the College.

Other sanctions can include any, or a combination, of the following:

  • Change in Residence: A change in a resident student's current on-campus residence to another location within the College housing system as assigned the Office of Residential Life.
  • Removal from Residence: A student's housing assignment will be canceled and the student will need to make alternate arrangements for housing. Room and board charges are prorated per the College refund schedule.
  • Compulsory Service: A specific number of hours to be spent working with an assigned College department or agency outside of the College
  • Educational Assignment: Assignment for the purpose of gaining additional knowledge, information, or perspective regarding a specified topic or issue. Educational assignments may include, but are not limited to: reflection papers, informational bulletin board, and/or attending a campus program or event.
  • Exclusion: from specific campus privileges or activities including but not limited to:
    • Parking and/or driving on campus privileges
    • Campus jobs
    • Participation in extracurricular activities
    • Hosting a perspective student
    • Participating in the following year's housing selection process
    • Loss of computing privileges at the College
  • External Referral: Referral to an off campus agency for the purposes of evaluation and/or education.
  • Internal Referral: Referral to a specific department or Campus official for the purposes of evaluation and education. Referrals may include: Medical Intervention or Mental Health Counseling, a meeting with the Fire Marshall and the like.
  • Fines: Monetary reimbursement to the College must be paid by the date specified. All financial obligations must be satisfied prior to or at the time of course registration for the next semester or graduation from the College
  • Restitution: Monetary reimbursement to the College, an individual, or organization for any property damages or losses resulting from the acts committed.
  • Persona Non Grata (PNG): A student may be declared persona non grata and prohibited from accessing designated areas of campus or the campus in its entirety.

Any sanction imposed by the original hearing officer or Student Conduct Hearing Committee will be in effect as stated in the sanction letter until the conclusion of the appeal process, unless the Assistant Dean of Students and Residential Life or the Vice President of Student Affairs grants the appellant a written exception.

[Top]

Notification of Outcome: Respondent

In addition to any verbal communication at the end of the hearing, students will receive written notification of the outcome of their Student Conduct Hearing, Appeal Hearing, or Probationary Status Review by mail (either by hand delivery, or USPS to mailing address of record) or through their College email address. This notification is referred to as a decision letter. It is the student’s responsibility to check his/her mail and College email address for such notifications.

[Top]

Notification of Outcome: Complainant

Ordinarily, complainants will not be informed of the outcome of a student conduct hearing.

However, where complaints involve sexual misconduct, the complainant will be informed of the outcome of the student conduct hearing.

Additionally, complainants in cases involving violent acts of a non-sexual nature can request information regarding the outcome of the hearing from the Coordinator of Student Conduct and requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

[Top]

Appeals

After the student conduct hearing, the respondent will receive written notification of the outcome of the original hearing (referred to as a decision letter). The respondent may then choose to submit a request for an appeal hearing, based on the grounds below, through the Appeal Hearing Request Form. The request for an appeal must be received within five (5) business days after the respondent has received the decision letter. The Assistant Dean of Students and Residential Life, or her designee, serves as the Appeal Officer.

In addition, when the situation involves sexual misconduct, after notification of the outcome, the complainant may also choose to submit a request for an appeal hearing, based on the grounds below, through the Appeal Hearing Request Form. The request for an appeal must be received within five (5) business days after the complainant has received the decision letter. In this case, the College’s Title IX Coordinator, or his designee, serves as the Appeal Officer.

Grounds for Appeal

For an appeal hearing to be considered, the student must demonstrate in writing that one or more of the following applies to his/her situation:

  1. The original hearing was inconsistent with the established student conduct procedures.
  2. The sanction imposed was not in keeping with the gravity of the violation.
  3. Evidence is now available that could not have been obtained at the time of the hearing.

An appeal hearing will be considered only on the ground(s) alleged by the student. The Assistant Dean will consider the information contained in the appeal request and relevant information contained in the student’s conduct file. The Assistant Dean may also consult with the original hearing officer for background information regarding the original Student Conduct Hearing.

The student will be notified of the status of his/her appeal request within five business days of the submission of the Appeal Hearing Request Form.

Appeal Hearing Procedures

If an appeal hearing is granted, the Assistant Dean, at her discretion, may meet with the appellant individually, assign the appeal hearing to her designee, or convene an Appellate Board. If an Appellate Board is used, the membership of the board may include a combination of students, faculty, and staff. The Assistant Dean or her designee will serve as the chairperson of the Appellate Board. A majority vote of the Appellate Board members present is sufficient to make an appeal decision. The student is able to appear before the Assistant Dean, her designee or the Appellate Board during the appeal hearing and to be present while any witness is contributing information.

The student will be informed of the outcome of the hearing verbally at the closing of the appeal hearing. The Assistant Dean, her designee, or the Appellate Board may modify the decision and/or sanctions by reducing or increasing them at his/her discretion. Alternately, the student may be told that more information is needed before making a decision. If more information is needed before making a decision, the student will be provided with a date by which the decision will be made.

The appeal decision made by the Assistant Dean, her designee, or the Appellate Board is final. There is no further opportunity beyond the appeal for a student to dispute or further appeal the decision(s) made.

[Top]

Interim Action/Interim Suspension

Any time following the submission of an incident report, verbal or written, the Assistant Dean of Student and Residential Life or her designee may modify or suspend the ability of a student to be present on campus or on a specific part of campus, or to attend classes for an interim period prior to resolution of the student conduct proceeding, including any appeal. The decision will be based on whether the allegation of misconduct is apparently reliable and whether the continued presence of the student on the College campus reasonably poses a threat to the physical or emotional condition and well-being of any individual, including the student, for reasons relating to the safety and welfare of any person, College property, or any College function. The interim decision will be communicated in writing to the student, and will become effective immediately. Notification will either be hand-delivered or sent by certified mail. Failure or refusal to take receipt of notification will not negate or postpone said action.

A student who receives an interim action will be provided an opportunity to respond to the allegations of misconduct through the Student Conduct Process and a hearing will be scheduled as soon as is practical.

The interim action will remain in effect until a final decision has been made on the pending complaint or until the Assistant Dean or her designee determines that the reason for imposing the interim action no longer exists and the student receives written notice that the interim action is no longer applicable.

[Top]

Student Conduct Records

All documentation of Student Conduct Hearings become part of the student's student conduct file, part of the student's educational record, which is maintained in the Office of Residential Life and Student Conduct. Records may be released to College officials on a "need-to-know" basis. Student conduct records may be released to persons and agencies external to the College with the student's permission, or in compliance with the law. Records subpoenaed or ordered by a judge may be released without the student's permission. A record may also be released if it is in the College's legal interest to do so.

All student conduct files will be maintained for seven (7) years after the most recent recorded incident. These student conduct records are destroyed at the end of the appropriate time period. Records pertaining to students who are suspended or expelled will be maintained permanently.

[Top]

Parental Notification of Violations of Student Code of Conduct

Ordinarily, parents or legal guardians will not receive notification from the College about violations of the Student Code of Conduct. However, if a student is held responsible for a violation of alcohol or drug policies, or if the student is found responsible for a serious violation of College policies, the parent or legal guardian, at the discretion of the Assistant Dean of Student and Residential Life or her designee, may receive notice documenting the violation and the outcome of a Student Conduct Hearing. Federal regulations permit this notification without the student's consent for those students who are dependents, under the age of 21. This notification would be mailed to the home address of record. The student will also receive a copy of this notification.

[Top]

Probationary Status Review

In the case where a student receives a sanction of disciplinary probation that is at least 2 consecutive years, he/she may petition to change his/her probationary status after 18 months, resulting in a shortened period of disciplinary probation.

Process

  1. The student must submit the following information to the Assistant Dean for Student and Residential Life along with a letter requesting a change his/her probationary status.
    • A personal statement outlining both positive contributions the student has made to the Fisher community and personal growth
    • Two (2) reference letters from on-campus constituents attesting to positive behavior and growth
    • A copy of an un-official transcript
    • A letter of support from the student’s current Residence Director (as applicable)
  2. At the Assistant Dean’s discretion, a committee made up of students and faculty/staff members will meet with the student regarding his/her probationary status. After discussing the information provided by the student, as well as asking questions of the student, the committee will make a determination to end or continue a student’s probationary status. The committee is specifically charged with evaluating a student’s personal growth and commitment to positive behavior over an extended period of time at St. John Fisher College.

Any change in probationary status does not erase the student’s conduct history; it modifies the student’s current conduct status at the College.

[Top]

Good Samaritan Policy

St. John Fisher College is committed to the safety, welfare and health of all students. Students are encouraged to make responsible choices for themselves and for other community members.

In cases of an emergency involving intoxication, alcohol poisoning, or drug-related medical issues, St. John Fisher College encourages students to seek medical assistance for themselves and/or others.

Contacting emergency personnel in these situations will fall under the SJFC Good Samaritan Policy.

This includes:

  • An individual student voluntarily contacts emergency medical assistance for themselves related to alcohol or drug use.
  • An individual student voluntarily contacts emergency medical assistance on behalf of another person related to alcohol or drug use.

In all cases in which the SJFC Good Samaritan Policy applies, all students involved in an incident, including the good samaritan(s) who made the contact and the student(s) experiencing the emergency, will meet with Student Conduct Coordinator. At the meeting, the incident will be reviewed and an appropriate response determined. This may include the following:

  • Mandated counseling session(s)
  • Substance abuse education and/or evaluation
  • Participation in an education group or class
  • Educational assignment(s)

The students involved will not receive formal student conduct action, regardless of conduct history, provided the student completes all meetings and conditions. If a student fails to attend their scheduled meeting or fails to complete the required outcomes of the meeting they will be referred to the Student Conduct Process for Failure to Comply.

The St. John Fisher College Good Samaritan Policy does not excuse or protect students who repeatedly violate the College’s Code of Conduct and its use will be limited in the number of times any one student can report endangering behavior before being subject to the Student Conduct Process. The Department of Safety and Security and the Residential Life Staff is expected to follow its processes and procedures for any situation whether or not the SJFC Good Samaritan policy may be applicable to the situation.

The Good Samaritan Policy does not apply to students experiencing alcohol or drug related emergencies that are found by a College Official. The Good Samaritan Policy will not be used in incidents involving any alleged violation of the St. John Fisher College Code of Conduct concerning sexual misconduct, physical abuse or harassment, distribution of controlled substances, or property damage.

[Top]

Copyright © St. John Fisher College • 3690 East Avenue, Rochester, New York 14618 • (585) 385-8000
Questions/Comments? - Email the Webmaster Website Terms of Use