The discipline process begins when the Student Resolution Center receives a written account of the incident: police reports; residence hall incident reports; or reports from faculty, administrative staff, students, other members of the University community, or from outside the University community. Anonymous reports are not sufficient to begin the disciplinary process. In some instances, additional investigation may be warranted in response to an anonymous report and lead to documentation from an identifiable source that warrants charges of a Student Conduct Code violation.
The Hearing Officer may decide the incident warrants a University disciplinary hearing and charge the student with one or more Student Conduct Code violations. The Hearing Officer may also seek or conduct an additional investigation.
In some cases, the Hearing Officer may offer alternative dispute resolution such as Restorative Justice or mediation, if all parties involved are willing. All parties receive a written summary of the resulting agreements, which are binding and not subject to appeal. If the student violates these agreements, s/he may face additional disciplinary action.
The health and safety of members of the Colorado State community is a primary concern. Students are encouraged to make responsible decisions in emergency situations that result from alcohol and other drug abuse (to include alcohol poisoning, overdose, serious injury, and victims of sexual assault) and to seek medical attention for someone who is in danger because of intoxication. Colorado State University seeks to remove the barriers that prevent students from seeking the medical attention they need. Therefore, students should alert Residence or Apartment Life staff, the Colorado State University Police Department, Fort Collins Police Department (when off campus) or other university personnel when they or another person are in danger.
Students Seeking Help for Self or Others – Exemption from Discipline
Students Seeking Help for Self or Others – Exemption from Discipline: Students, both on and off campus, who seek medical attention for themselves or on behalf of another student related to consumption of drugs or alcohol will not be charged with violations from the Student Conduct Code relating to that incident, provided that the student completes an assessment and any recommended treatment by the Hearing Officer. Failure to complete an assessment may result in charges filed with the Student Conduct at the Student Resolution Center. Parental notification may occur for students that are under the age 21 who have been transported to the hospital in need of medical assistance.
How to Receive Exemption
To qualify for a disciplinary exemption, a student must complete the following steps:
- The student must make initial contact with the appropriate resource (i.e. law enforcement, medical personnel or University staff) as a result of their actively seeking out medical assistance for themselves or on behalf of another individual.
- The student seeking assistance for an intoxicated student must give his/her name to law enforcement or staff, remain on scene, and cooperate with medical personnel, law enforcement or University staff.
- The student seeking an exemption must meet with Student Conduct Services staff and complete an assessment, educational program or any additional treatment requirements of the Hearing Officer. Verification of completion must be provided to the Student Resolution Center.
Limitations to Exemption
The disciplinary exemption does not apply to students or student organizations experiencing an alcohol or drug-related medical emergency that are found by university staff (i.e. Residence or Apartment Life staff, Colorado State Police Department, Fort Collins Police Department, Faculty, or Administrative Staff). The help must be sought by, or on behalf of, the student. In cases of repeated violations of the Student Conduct Code, the University reserves the right to take judicial action on a case-by-case basis regardless of the manner in which the incident was reported. The University reserves the right to adjudicate any case in which the violations are egregious. Individual students that make calls to assist other students in medical need will not have a limit on opportunities to receive the disciplinary exemption. Students in need of medical assistance shall receive only one exemption, regardless of who calls for assistance.
All proceedings and records directly related to a Responsible Action Exemption will be considered educational and will not be maintained as discipline records. If a student is under 21 years of age, parents may be notified.
The student (respondent) is notified of the charges in writing, along with the date, time, and location of the hearing. A report of the incident may be included with the notice letter or may be available from the responding law enforcement agency. The student has no less than two (2) business days to prepare for the hearing (unless the student and Hearing Officer agree otherwise) nor typically more than fifteen (15) business days after the student has been notified of the charges (maximum time may be extended at the discretion of the Hearing Officer taking into consideration scheduled breaks and student requests).
The letter of notice may contain specific requirements or restrictions, until the matter is resolved through the student conduct process. These requirements could include, but are not limited to, temporary relocation in campus housing, restriction from specific campus locations, or orders prohibiting contact with Complainants or witnesses. The notice letter is sent to the student’s current email address on record with the University. The letter may also be served to the student by the University police.
University Hearing Officers conduct Disciplinary Hearings using these guidelines:
- The Complainant and the Respondent may bring an advisor or support person to the hearing, at their own expense. The advisor may be an attorney. The advisor is limited to counseling the student, but may not represent the student and speak on the student’s behalf, or participate directly in the hearing. Advisors may not serve in a dual role as a witness in the hearing. Hearing Officers may also consult with or include University Counsel as an advisor at the hearing.
- Disciplinary hearings are considered private educational interactions between the student(s) and the University. The Complainant, Respondent and their advisors, if any, may attend the entire hearing (excluding deliberations). Others may attend at the discretion of the Hearing Officer.
- The Hearing Officer may consider relevant records, exhibits and written statements. The Complainant and the Respondent shall have the opportunity to review and respond to any reports or statements the Hearing Officer considers, but copies must be requested in writing. Student requests for copies will be considered by the Hearing Officer, based on the totality of circumstances including the sensitive nature of the allegations or information, and may be granted or denied at the Hearing Officer’s discretion. If the request for copies is denied, the information may be reviewed at the Student Resolution Center.
- The Complainant and the Respondent may present their own versions of the incident to the Hearing Officer. They may include written statements and witnesses.
- If the Respondent misses the scheduled hearing, the Hearing Officer may make a decision with the information available.
- If the Respondent disputes the charges, the hearing may be recorded. The recording is the property of the University. If a student wishes to obtain a copy of the hearing record, a request must be submitted in writing to the Student Resolution Center. This may be done via FAX, mail, or in person. If the student wishes to have a copy, the recording of the hearing must be reduced to a written transcript at the expense of the student and prepared by a certified reporter. Alternatively, the recording may be made available for the Complainant or Respondent to listen to within the Student Resolution Center.
- In disputed cases, the Complainant, the Respondent and the Hearing Officer may bring or request relevant witnesses. If the Complainant or Respondent requests witnesses identified in the report at least two business days before the hearing, the Hearing Officer will make reasonable efforts to arrange for the attendance of the requested witnesses. Witnesses may be present only when they are giving information. Only the Hearing Officer may ask questions; the Respondent and/or Complainant may suggest questions for each other or witnesses. The Hearing Officer guides all questioning and limits repetition/statements. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Hearing Officer.
- The Hearing Officer may reschedule the hearing if the case requires further investigation or to accommodate irresolvable scheduling conflicts.
- If a case involves more than one Respondent, the Hearing Officer may permit the students to have combined or separate hearings.
- The Hearing Officer may accommodate witnesses through conference phone calls or other alternate means. Accommodations may also be made related to concern for their personal safety or fear of confrontation with the Complainant, Respondent, or other witnesses. Possible accommodations include separate facilities, a visual screen, participation by telephone, videophone, closed circuit television, video conferencing, videotape, audio tape, written statement, or other means.
- The formal rules of process, procedure, or evidence used by the justice system do not apply to the discipline process.
After the hearing, the Hearing Officer decides the outcome of each charge based on the ‘preponderance of evidence’ standard – whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the Student Conduct Code.
The Hearing Officer determines appropriate disciplinary action based on the incident’s severity, impact on others, and the student’s past record of conduct violations. Possible actions include limits or conditions, relocation in campus housing, restitution, community service, and/or educational programs and interventions related to alcohol or drug use, ethical decision making, personal counseling, community issues, and restorative justice.
The Respondent receives the Hearing Officer’s decision in writing within ten (10) business days of the hearing. The decision includes: determination of responsibility, level of discipline imposed, and a complete description of any sanctions or requirements. In sex offense cases, both the accuser and the accused receive the Hearing Officer’s decision. A copy of the decision may also be sent to other appropriate University offices. Compliance with this paragraph does not violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For the purpose of this paragraph, the outcome of a disciplinary proceeding means only the institution’s final determination with respect to the alleged sex offense and any sanction that is imposed against the accused. The notification shall consist of the determination of responsibility, level of discipline imposed, and a complete description of any sanctions or requirements. In disputed cases, when the Respondent is found responsible for the charges, the notification will also include a summary of the basis for the determination. (Recommended via Title IX)
The Respondent may not release decision letters that include victim information to unauthorized third parties. Additional disciplinary charges may apply in the event of unauthorized disclosure.
Due to the educational and assessment based nature of the conduct process, the Hearing Officer considers the totality of information provided in determining the appropriate outcomes and sanctions following hearings. The Hearing Officer may impose one or more of these sanctions as appropriate for the student’s personal development and the well-being of the campus community. The following sanctions may be applied when appropriate to individual students. More than one of the sanctions listed below may be imposed for any single violation. If the student fails to complete disciplinary sanctions by the stated deadline, a “hold” is placed on the student’s registration status.
- No Action: No disciplinary actions is taken.
- Warning or Written Reprimand: A student is formally warned or reprimanded for minor infractions.
- General Disciplinary Probation: Probation is for a designated period of time during which the student is required to show appropriate changes in attitude and behavior. Specific sanctions or restrictions may be imposed as a part of this discipline but do not result in loss of good standing with the University. A violation of the terms of General Disciplinary Probation, or subsequent misconduct after discipline, is grounds for further disciplinary action, including loss of good standing, suspension, or expulsion.
- Loss of Good Standing: Loss of Good Standing status is for a designated period of time during which the student is required to show appropriate changes in attitude and behavior. Specific sanctions or restrictions may be imposed. The student is not in good standing with the University and is prohibited from:
- Representing the University through official events
- Serving on a University committee
- Participating in intercollegiate or Sports Club athletics
- Holding office in a student organization
A student who commits a conduct violation while on Loss of Good Standing may face further disciplinary action, suspension or expulsion.
- Discretionary Sanctions: The Hearing Officer offers or requires educational programs or assignments, Restorative Justice, mediation, community service, individual assessment, counseling, substance abuse education, intervention or treatment, or other discretionary sanctions.
- Restitution: Compensation for loss, damages, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service or monetary or material replacement.
- Grading Penalty: The instructor imposes a grading penalty such as a zero on the assignment, a grade reduction or failure in the class, or loss of the repeat/delete option. This action will be recorded in the student’s discipline file. For serious or repeated academic misconduct offenses with reduced course grade, the student’s transcript may be marked with “AM” indicating a “reduction of letter grade for Academic Misconduct.”
- Residential Reassignment: A student may be reassigned to another residence hall room or building for disrupting the residential community or to appropriately separate persons.
- Residential Expulsion: The student is banned from the residence halls permanently. Since first-year students are required to live in University Residence Halls and manage their behavior to comply with community standards, the Director of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services decides if the student is exempted from that requirement.
- Disciplinary Suspension: Suspension is for a distinct period of time during which the student may not attend classes, use University facilities, participate in University activities, or be employed by the University for a certain time. In some instances, the student must fulfill specified requirements before the University will consider re-admission or re-instatement. Special conditions may be stipulated for reinstatement at the conclusion of the period of suspension.
Disciplinary suspension is noted on the transcript during the period of suspension and/or until the conditions for re-admission have been met. When the conditions for re- admission have been met, the student may petition for admissions clearance and/or removal of the notation whether or not the student intends to return to Colorado State University. If the petition is denied the student may appeal the decision to the University Discipline Panel.
- Deferred Suspension: Suspension is deferred while the student participates in a designated program, remaining in school under a strict probationary status.
- Disciplinary Expulsion: The student is permanently separated from the University and may not return. The expulsion is permanently noted on the student’s transcript and will not be removed.
- Revocation of Admission or Degree: The University may revoke admission or a degree for fraud, misrepresentation, or for other serious violations committed by the student prior to matriculation or graduation. Only the Board of Governors may revoke a degree.
- Withholding Degree: The University may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in this Student Conduct Code, including the completion of sanctions imposed.
- Parental Notification: The University may notify parents when a student under age 21 is found responsible for infraction(s) involving alcohol, drugs, or violence, and is placed on disciplinary probation, suspended, or expelled from the residence hall or University.
A Hearing Officer’s decision may be appealed to the University Discipline Panel by either the Respondent(s) or Complainant(s). The student appealing must submit a written request to the Student Resolution Center within ten (10) business days after the student is notified of the Hearing Officer’s decision. The appeal request must include the reasons for the request and be addressed to the Chair of the University Discipline Panel. Failure to submit a request for appeal in writing within the specified time will render the Hearing Officer’s decision as final.
For guidance on understanding the appeal process as well as help crafting your conduct appeal, please contact Conflict Resolution Services to schedule an appointment.
Except as necessary to explain the basis of new information not available at the time of the original hearing, an appeal shall be limited to a review of the record of the hearing and supporting documents. The Chair of the University Discipline Panel shall consider the appeal request based on one or more of the following:
- Whether the hearing was conducted fairly, giving both the Respondent and Complainant the opportunity to present relevant information. Minor deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless there is an adverse effect on the outcome of the hearing.
- Whether the decision was based on substantial and sufficient information. That is, whether there was information presented in the case that, if believed by the Hearing Officer, was sufficient to establish that a violation of the Student Conduct Code occurred.
- Whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate for the violation.
- Whether the decision separates the student from the University through disciplinary suspension or expulsion.
- Whether there is new information not available at the time of the original hearing that may be relevant to the final decision.
- To petition for removal of a disciplinary transcript notation or for eligibility to re-apply to the University after completing the terms of a disciplinary suspension. Appeals are directed to the panel only when the Hearing Officer determines the original terms were not satisfactorily completed.
The Chair of the Discipline Panel will review the written request for appeal to determine if an appeal should be granted. After reviewing the request, which may include a review of the record and/or meeting with the parties involved and/or the Hearing Officer, the Chair of the Discipline Panel shall take one of the following actions:
- Deny the appeal.
- Return the case to the Hearing Officer or Director of the Student Resolution Center for further consideration. The student must abide by the original conditions while the case is under review.
- Convene an Appeals Committee to review the record of the original case.
- Grant a hearing with an Appeals Committee to consider new information not available at the time of the original hearing.
When An Appeal Is Granted
When an appeal is granted, the Appeal Committee reviews the record, or schedules a hearing to address new information not available at the time of the original hearing, if necessary. In the meantime, the Respondent must comply with all restrictions from the Hearing Officer’s original decision, including separation from University housing, no contact orders, restrictions from specific facilities, suspensions or other conditions. Unless otherwise specified, a student may continue to attend classes while the appeal is pending.
When questions of law arise, the Chair may consult with University Legal Counsel.
A list of University Discipline Panel members is provided to the Respondent and/or the Complainant(s). The Hearing Officer, Respondent or Complainant may request, to the Chair, the removal of a member of the panel with cause. The Chair decides whether sufficient cause exists to remove members. Members of the panel shall excuse themselves if they have a conflict of interest. The Chair of the University Discipline Panel either chairs the Appeals Committee or selects a Chair from among the faculty members of the University Discipline Panel. The two faculty and two students are selected from the remaining names.
In all cases involving sexual misconduct or harassment, the Director of Equal Opportunity (or qualified designee) shall participate, as a non-voting member, in all deliberations of the Appeal Committee.
If a hearing is granted to consider new information that was not available at the time of the original hearing, it follows the hearing process set forth in Article IV, Section D.
The Appeal Committee, upon conclusion of its review, shall do one of the following:
- Affirm the decision, if the Appeal Committee agrees that the information supports the decision of the Hearing Officer. Decisions affirmed by the Appeal Committee are final.
- Return the case to the Hearing Officer or Director of the Student Resolution Center for further consideration, which may include recommendations for increasing or decreasing the penalty or addressing additional issues. While the case is being reconsidered, the student must continue to abide by any stated conditions.
- Recommend reversal of the decision, if the Appeal Committee disagrees with the Hearing Officer’s evaluation of evidence and does not believe sufficient evidence exists to support a violation of the Student Conduct Code. If the Appeal Committee recommends a reversal, the Chair shall submit a recommendation in writing, as follows:
- In all cases involving suspension or expulsion from the University (whether imposed by the original Hearing Officer or recommended by the Appeal Committee after review), the Chair of the Appeal Committee shall make a recommendation in writing to the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and the Vice President of Student Affairs for final review.
- In all cases involving any form of sexual misconduct or harassment, the Chair of the Appeal Committee shall make a recommendation in writing to the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Vice President of Student Affairs for final review, who may also consult with the Director of Equal Opportunity.
- In all other cases involving individual student violations of the Conduct Code, the Chair of the Appeal Committee shall make a recommendation in writing to the Dean of Students for final review.
The Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, as applicable, after review of the recommendations of the Appeal Committee and consultation with others as deemed appropriate or necessary, shall do one of the following:
- Affirm the recommendation of the Appeal Committee;
- Affirm the decision of the original Hearing Officer;
- Return the case to the Director for additional review or to impose alternate sanctions.
If the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Vice President of Student Affairs are unable to agree on the action to be taken, it may be referred to the Executive Vice President/Provost for final action.
Housing re-assignments or cancelation of the Residence Hall contract
Residential move appeals are made directly to the Director of Residence Life whether or not an appeal of the entire disciplinary decision is filed with the Discipline Panel.
If the student disputes a finding of academic misconduct and an associated grading penalty, the student may request a disciplinary hearing through Student Conduct at the Student Resolution Center. The request must be submitted (or postmarked, if mailed) no later than within thirty (30) calendar days after the next semester’s first day of classes of the next regular semester following the date the grade for the course was initially recorded or subsequently revised. If the Hearing Officer clears the charges, the instructor revises the grade, considering only academic performance and disregards the academic misconduct charge. If the Hearing Officer finds the student responsible for academic misconduct, the grading penalty stands and additional sanctions may be imposed.