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Section 5. Student Conduct System

2013-2014 student guide

Gasson Hall
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> Student Conduct System Overview
> Complaint or Report
> Notification of Respondent
> Mutual Resolution
> Formal Hearing
> Sanctions
> Sanctioning Guideline
> Appeals
> General Information

STUDENT CONDUCT SYSTEM

The Office of the Dean of Students coordinates the Student Conduct System and all matters relative to the conduct and behavior of Boston College students in order to maintain a community conducive to the overall mission of Boston College.

The Student Conduct System has been developed to ensure the existence of an environment fostering the intellectual, personal, ethical, psychological, social, and spiritual potential of all students. In keeping with the mission of Boston College, a conduct system should be, first and foremost, educational in nature. However, there may be occasions when issues of community or personal safety and well-being require severe, but appropriate responses that appear to supersede, but in actuality augment, learning. Such a system has among its goals personal development, moral and ethical enrichment, value formation, and citizenship.

5.1    Overview

Any case of alleged misconduct by any Boston College student is within the jurisdiction of the Student Conduct System.  The Code of Student Conduct and the accompanying student conduct process apply to all students enrolled, in any capacity, at Boston College. The conduct system applies to residential or non-residential students and governs the investigation and adjudication of violations regardless of where they occur. The Student Conduct System is administered by the Vice President for Student Affairs through the Dean of Students and his/her staff.  The Dean of Students reserves the right to review the sanctions imposed at any conduct hearing to assure their appropriateness.

Additionally, in consultation with other appropriate University administrators, the Dean of Students or designee may separate a student from the University or from University housing if the student presents a substantial health or safety risk, or if the Dean of Students or designee determines that the student is unable to meet the community standards of Boston College.

The focus of inquiry in conduct proceedings shall be whether the respondent is responsible or not responsible for violating conduct regulations or the community standards outlined in the Code of Student Conduct. The function of the proceedings is to investigate the facts of the matter and to determine responsibility for alleged violations.  The process is designed to enforce the Boston College Code of Student Conduct, not criminal laws, though at times the two may coincide. Formal rules of evidence will not be applicable, and deviations from prescribed procedures will not necessarily invalidate a decision or proceeding unless significant prejudice to a student or the University may result.  Determinations of "responsible" or "not responsible" within the Student Conduct System are based upon a preponderance of the evidence, i.e. “more likely than not,” as presented to the hearing officer or board.

The student conduct system exists to protect the rights of the Boston College community and assure fundamental fairness to the complainant and to the respondent.

5.2    The Complaint or Report of Incident

A student will become involved with the conduct system as a result of alleged violations of the Boston College Code of Student Conduct. Such violations will usually be documented through a complaint or report submitted by a residential life staff member, Boston College police officer, off-campus community liaison, neighbor, fellow student, University official, or local police department.

Anyone who has grounds to initiate a complaint regarding any Boston College student may do so by submitting to the Office of the Dean of Students the following information:

  1. the names of the respondent;
  2. a clear statement explaining the nature and circumstances of the complaint; and
  3. the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of those filing the complaint.

The Office of the Dean of Students reserves the right to not proceed with complaints that are not submitted within a reasonable time frame including, but not limited to instances in which material witnesses are no longer in attendance at the University.

5.3    Case Assignment and Responding Student Notification

A student who has had a complaint lodged against him or her will be contacted by the Dean of Students or designee to discuss the complaint. Designees, subsequently referred to as hearing officers, may include, but are not limited to staff members in the Office of the Dean of Students and Office of Residential Life. Cases are assigned based on the nature and severity of the incident as well as where the incident occurred. The responding student will be sent a written, verbal, or electronic notice of a mutual resolution meeting or Formal Hearing in which his or her presence is required. Incidents involving more than one student may be resolved through a single mutual resolution meeting or Formal Hearing at the discretion of the hearing officer.

The Office of the Dean of Students will determine the appropriate hearing process for each case. Those students who have allegedly committed a less severe violation of the Code of Student Conduct and/or have no previous student conduct record will generally be assigned to a mutual resolution meeting (See Section 5.4).

Those students who have allegedly committed a more severe violation of the Code of Student Conduct and/or have a previous student conduct record will generally be assigned to a Formal Hearing (See Section 5.5). The Dean of Students reserves the right to adjust the process as appropriate.

A student who does not respond to a request to schedule a mutual resolution meeting or fails to appear will have his/her case referred to a Formal Hearing. A student who does not respond to a request to schedule a Formal Hearing or fails to appear for such a scheduled meeting could have the case heard in his or her absence or have an administrative hold placed on his/her student status until the meeting occurs.

5.4    Mutual Resolution

At a mutual resolution meeting, the hearing officer and student(s) discuss the incident at issue and options for resolution. The goal of the mutual resolution process is for the hearing officer and student to reach an understanding regarding both the student’s level of responsibility and appropriate sanctions, if any.  

If a student and hearing officer reach an understanding, a student may accept the resolution immediately by signing a resolution agreement at the meeting or may accept the resolution within two business days by returning the signed agreement to the hearing officer.   The student’s submission of the agreement shall be deemed the final resolution of the matter, and the results are final. 

If the student and hearing officer fail to reach an understanding and the student fails to accept the proposed resolution within two business days by submitting the agreement, the matter will be referred to a formal hearing for adjudication and resolution. 

5.5    Formal Hearing Process

Those cases not resolved through the mutual resolution process will be adjudicated through a Formal Hearing. Formal Hearings may be referred to an administrative hearing, student conduct board, or administrative hearing board. The determination of where a case is referred is based upon the severity of the alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct and the complexity of the case.

5.5.1 Administrative Hearing

An administrative hearing is a Formal Hearing with a hearing officer to resolve an incident. Students have a right to present witnesses and other evidence on their behalf. The hearing officer has discretion to allow parents/guardians to participate in an administrative hearing. Lawyers or other legal representation are not allowed to participate or be present at Administrative Hearings. Decisions that can be reached at the Administrative Hearing are:

  1. A case may be held for further information.
  2. A case may be dropped in circumstances where relevant information and evidence concerning the alleged misconduct or violation is determined to be inadequate for referral to a Student Conduct Board or Administrative Hearing Board, or if no further conduct action is required.
  3. A case may be referred to either the Student Conduct Board or the Administrative Hearing Board.
  4. A case may be resolved through the determination of the preponderance of evidence.
  5. In some cases, the hearing officer may offer an alternate process such as mediation, facilitated dialogue, or restorative practices, if mutually agreed upon by all parties involved. 

5.5.2    Hearing Boards (Student Conduct Board or Administrative Hearing Board)

Board Referral: Cases that are typically referred to a hearing board involve significant threats to the health, safety, or tranquility of the members of the community including, but not limited to physical violence, theft, sexual assault, major damages, high-level violations of the University Code of Student Conduct or the Conditions for Residency, recidivism, or off-campus violations. A case in which two or more students are charged with having participated in the same incident will be heard by a single board.

Both the complainant (e.g., police officer, resident adviser, resident director, community liaison, alleged victim, complainant, etc.) and the respondent will be given an equal opportunity to review any statements submitted by each other in the matter.  Any additional documents related to the case must be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students in advance of the hearing.

Conduct Board Procedures

All statements below refer to the rights of and procedures for both the responding party and the complainant.

  1. Both parties will be sent written notification of a hearing a minimum of 72 hours in advance, indicating the type of board, time and location of hearing, the name of the responding party, and the name of the complaining party. Both parties will be sent a copy of the board procedures.

  2. Both parties have the right to request that a partition be put in place during the hearing so that the opposing parties will not be visible to each other.  Both parties will, however, be visible by the board members.  A final determination to use such a partition will be made by the Office of the Dean of Students.

  3. Neither party at the hearing will be allowed to use any type of electronic device including, but not limited to laptop computers, tape or digital recorders, cell phones, or PDAs without the advance written permission of the Dean of Students or designee.

  4. At the hearing, the chairperson will convene the board, have all parties introduce themselves, explain the purpose of the board, address the issues of veracity and confidentiality, and explain the role of advisors if any are present.  All witnesses will then be asked to leave the room.

  5. Both parties may be accompanied by an advisor of their choosing at a conduct board hearing. An attorney may be present and serve as an advisor to either party only in instances where the responding student has been arrested or has had a criminal complaint filed against him or her, and the matter has not yet been concluded in court. Hearings will not be scheduled or postponed based upon the availability of a student's advisor.

    The role of the advisor at the actual hearing is limited. He or she is not entitled to address the Board or act in any advocacy capacity at the hearing. The student and his or her advisor can confer at any point during the hearing, but the advisor may not formulate specific questions, responses, or statements for the student. Violations of the guidelines would result in a warning being issued to the advisor by the hearing official. Repeated violations may result in the advisor being asked to leave the hearing room.

    If either party wishes to be accompanied by an advisor to a conduct hearing, he or she must inform the Office of the Dean of Students, in writing, a minimum of 48 hours in advance of the hearing and indicate the name and phone number of the advisor.
    The University reserves the right to have legal counsel at a hearing to serve as an advisor to the chairperson of the hearing board. The chairperson and legal counsel may consult anytime during the hearing.

    Boston College officials involved in the Student Conduct System will only discuss procedural matters with attorneys serving as advisors; all other matters (written or verbal) will be referred directly to the Office of the General Counsel. All substantive questions, concerns, or comments concerning the matter as well as any written correspondence, including the filing of an appeal, must come directly from the student(s) involved.

  6. Witnesses

    If either party wishes to present witnesses at the conduct hearing, he/she must inform the Office of the Dean of Students, in writing, a minimum of 48 hours in advance of the hearing and provide their names and phone number. Only witnesses, who can attest to the facts of the incident, are permitted to be a part of the hearing process. In general, character witnesses are not allowed to testify at conduct hearings; written character references may be submitted to the board.  It is the responsibility of each party to notify their own witnesses of the date, time, and location of the hearing; the Office of the Dean of Students does not notify witnesses for either party.

    The Office of the Dean of Students has the authority to request the presence of witnesses to provide information to the Board. In addition, the Board will have the authority to request the presence of any additional witnesses when it is determined that the witness testimony is important and necessary for a full and fair hearing of a case. In such cases, the Office of the Dean of Students will contact these witnesses to provide the date, time, and location of the hearing and information regarding the role of the witness during the board process. Students who fail to cooperate with the hearing process or fail to cooperate with the investigation of a complaint may be subject to disciplinary action by the Office of the Dean of Students.

  7. If either party has evidence as to why a specific person should not be on the Board hearing the case due to a conflict of interest, he/she will be given an opportunity to present this information to the chairperson of the board at the start of the hearing.  If the chairperson determines that there is evidence of a conflict, the board member in question will be excused and another board member, if available, may be substituted.  The decision of the chairperson is final.

  8. The chairperson will introduce the complaint by reading the formal alleged violations as determined by the Office of the Dean of Students.  The chair of the board or a designated complainant will then read the incident report(s) and any other relevant materials to the board.  The respondent will then have an opportunity to make a full and accountable response to the complaint.  The respondent may elect to remain silent, if he/she so chooses.

  9. The board members may question both parties on all matters relevant to the complaint at any time during the hearing.

  10. Both parties will be given an opportunity to ask questions.  All questions, however, must be directed to and through the chairperson.

  11. Witnesses, upon request of either party, will make a presentation concerning those facts to which they are witness and are relevant to the complaint and will then answer questions posed by the board and by either party.

  12. Both parties are then given an opportunity to make a final statement to the hearing board.  The Chair may elect to give each party a few minutes to prepare these closing statements.

  13. The Board will meet in private to determine whether the respondent is responsible or not for the violation(s), based upon a preponderance of the evidence.  If the finding is responsible, the board will have access to the student’s record of previous conduct history, if any, and then they will decide upon appropriate sanctions.  The board’s decision will be sent to the Dean of Students or designee as a recommended resolution to the case. 

The Office of the Dean of Students will send written notification of any decisions and/or sanctions reached as a result of a hearing within ten business days of the conclusion of the hearing. 

NOTE: Boston College reserves the right to amend the above procedures as necessary.

5.5.2.1    Student Conduct Board

Membership

The Student Conduct Board is composed of student members from each undergraduate class plus chairpersons. Chairpersons, who must have at least one prior semester of service as a board member, are elected via ballot by the general membership. A panel of a minimum of three voting members of the Student Conduct Board will hear individual cases.

Board members must disclose any real or perceived conflict of interest between themselves and any party and may not hear a case if they are not able to be impartial in the hearing of the case.

Replacement/Dismissal

The Office of the Dean of Students may fill any openings on the Student Conduct Board that occur during the academic year. If a simple majority of the chairpersons of the Student Conduct Board, in consultation with the Dean of Students or designee, feel that a member should be dismissed from the board for failure to support the regulations, non-completion of duties, breach of confidentiality, or being judged responsible of violating the Code of Student Conduct, they may do so. Chairpersons may be dismissed only by the Dean of Students or designee. A replacement for a chairperson will be selected by the Student Conduct Board members from their numbers in an election.

Duties of Chairpersons

Chairpersons of boards convene boards as necessary, determine the order of hearing cases (e.g., witnesses, duration of testimony), determine appropriateness of questions and/or testimony, and serve as the principle liaison between the board and the Office of the Dean of Students. The chairperson has final procedural authority during the conduct of a hearing.

Decisions

Decisions that can be reached by the Student Conduct Board are "responsible," "not responsible," "no finding," or "responsible for a lesser inclusive charge." A simple majority vote of the panel is required to render a decision.

If the decision is "responsible," the board may recommend sanctions up to and including suspension from the University.

5.5.2.2    Administrative Hearing Board

Membership

The Administrative Hearing Board is composed of three to five individuals chosen from a pool of university administrators, faculty, and student conduct board members.

All board members are trained by the Office of the Dean of Students.  Chairpersons for the Administrative Hearing Board are designated by the Office of the Dean of Students and receive additional training.  Board members must disclose any real or perceived conflict of interest between themselves and any party and may not hear a case if they are not able to be impartial in the hearing of the case.

Decisions

Decisions that can be reached by the Administrative Hearing Board are "responsible," "not responsible," "no finding," or "responsible for a lesser inclusive charge." A simple majority vote of the panel is required to render a decision.

If the decision is "responsible," the board may recommend sanctions up to and including suspension or dismissal from the University.  In addition, the Board, where appropriate, may recommend other administrative measures designed to protect any party to the action from retaliation or harassment.

5.6    Sanctions

Violations of the Code of Student Conduct generally result in a student being assessed a sanction. The specific combination of sanctions assessed for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct will be determined by the hearing officer based upon the facts and circumstances of the case.  Sanctions should not be regarded as punishments or controls, but rather as educational devices to assist the student to succeed in an educational environment.

Non-compliance with or failure to meet the terms of a sanction imposed at any conduct hearing may result in Housing and/or University Suspension. A student records freeze (Housing, Registration, and Student Accounts) or a suspension from University housing may be involved pending completion of sanctions. Additionally, a fine may be assessed for incomplete sanctions.

A student’s conduct record may impact a student's ability to hold leadership positions including but not limited to Resident Assistant, Student Government Officer, Orientation Leader, Student Conduct Board Member, or to participate in University sponsored Study Abroad Programs.

Additionally, such a records may be reportable to most law school applications, state bar examiner reports, medical school applications, graduate school forms, college transfer forms, job applications (particularly for federal or state positions), etc.

In determining the appropriate sanctions for a violation of the Code of the Student Conduct, a number of factors will be considered including, but not limited to the following:

  1. Level of risk and/or harm to the community
  2. Severity of injury and/or damage
  3. High-risk vs. lower-risk alcohol use
  4. Bias-related incident
  5. Level of cooperation with University and public officials in the fulfillment of their duties
  6. Prior conduct record (including, but not limited to any previous probationary sanctions)
  7. Repeat violations of the same type

5.6.1    Probationary Sanctions

A probationary sanction refers to a student’s university conduct status and is imposed for a specified period of time. Whether a student currently has an active or expired probationary sanction is a factor in determining appropriate sanctions for subsequent violations of the Code of Student Conduct. Subsequent violations of the Code of Student Conduct while on an active probationary status will generally result at a minimum in the next higher level of probationary sanction being levied.

Probationary sanctions are as follows:

Administrative Warning is a formal notification to a student documenting that a violation of the Code of Student Conduct has occurred. Administrative warnings are not accompanied by a set time period in which a student is on this status and do not result in the student having an official conduct record, but rather serve as an official warning to the student that subsequent violations of the Code of Student Conduct may result in higher level sanctions being levied.

Disciplinary Probation is a low level probation status that remains in place for a specified period of time. Disciplinary Probation also serves as a formal notification that the activity in question is unacceptable and that if continued or other inappropriate behavior follows, more severe action may be taken. Additional violations of the Code of Student Conduct while on Disciplinary Probation will likely result in a higher level of inactive sanction.

Housing Probation is a higher level of probation status that remains in place for a specified period of time. Housing Probation indicates that any similar or more severe violation of the Code of Student Conduct while on this status will generally result in placement on University Probation and/or the imposition of a suspension or dismissal from University housing.

University Probation is the highest level of probation status, which remains in place for a specified period of time. University Probation indicates that similar or more severe violations of the Code of Student Conduct while on this status will result in the mandatory imposition of a suspension or dismissal from the University, the length being a minimum of the balance of the semester or one full semester. University Probation is a serious matter. While on University Probation, certain privileges may not be available to the student based upon the discretion of the hearing officer.

5.6.2    Other Sanctions

Fines:  Certain offenses will result in monetary sanctions. Financial penalties will be applied to a student's account.  Participation in community restitution programs may be substituted for fines if approved by the hearing officer. Additionally, individuals who fail to complete sanctions by their specified due date may receive a fine.

Financial Restitution:  Compensation to the injured party, payment for damages, and/or "court costs" for hearing appearances of the police when such appearances are key to a case and if the respondent is found responsible.

Suspension from University Housing:  Requires moving out of housing for the length of time specified at the hearing. Any student who receives a suspension from University Housing will lose eligibility to live in the Modular Apartment (Mods) area.

Housing Dismissal:  Requires permanently moving out of housing. The student may not reapply for residency and is permanently banned from being present in University housing.

Delay in Awarding Degrees:  The University reserves the right to delay the awarding of any degree in instances where an allegation remains pending against a student.

Revocation of Degree: A student may have his degree revoked, and such revocation would be noted on the student’s academic transcript.

University Suspension:  Requires that the student no longer be present on any Boston College owned or leased property for the time specified at the hearing (minimum of one semester or the balance of the semester). Any student who receives a suspension from the University will lose eligibility to live in the Modular Apartment (Mods) area.

While on suspension, a student may not take courses to advance his or her Boston College degree. Students cannot be readmitted until after the date their suspension ends, nor may they register or pre-register for the following semester's courses. The graduation date will be adjusted upon readmission according to the length of the suspension. Students should contact their academic dean's office for additional information about the impact of a University suspension upon their graduation date.

In addition, students who have been suspended from the university may have lost certain privileges upon their return to the University at the discretion of the hearing officer including, but not limited to study abroad and UGBC leadership position restrictions. Students returning from University Suspension will have a sanction of University Probation for at least one full semester upon their return to campus.

Dismissal from the University: Requires that the student completely and permanently sever any and all connection with Boston College; this includes all Boston College activities, services, facilities, grounds, and undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. A dismissal for conduct reasons will be indicated on the student’s transcript.

5.6.3    Privilege Sanctions

Privilege sanctions limit and/or restrict a student from being able to participate in and/or utilize specified programs, services, and/or processes.

Administrative Placement: Student loses the opportunity to participate in the Housing Room Selection Process and will be administratively placed and/or assigned to a room.

Campus Ban: Student is banned from being present on specified areas of the campus.

Housing Relocation: The student is required to relocate to a different residence hall or area.

Mod Restriction: Student loses the opportunity to live in the Modular Apartments.

Privilege Ban:  The student will have his/her privilege to utilize certain services and/or programs of Boston College restricted. Such privilege bans include, but are not limited to loss of use of recreational facilities, parking, and restricted participation in social gatherings and student events. 

Student Activity Ban: Student is prohibited from participating in specified or all student clubs/organizations, and/or from participating in intercollegiate activities/athletics.

University Stay Away Order: See Section 5.9, General Information.

5.6.4    Formative Sanctions

Formative sanctions are used in conjunction with other sanctions to hold students accountable for their behavior as well as to provide a venue for follow up conversations, reflections, and meaningful contributions to the greater community. The use of formative sanctions is based on a combination of psychosocial and cognitive theories of student development, which suggest that personal growth occurs during moments of conflict and challenge if the individual is provided with an opportunity to reflect, gain new information, and learn new behaviors.

Alcohol and Drug Education Program

Students who have committed a drug and/or alcohol violation or a violation where alcohol or drugs may have been an aggravating factor will be sanctioned to an Alcohol and Drug Education (ADE) Program. Students sanctioned to an ADE Program will pay the associated fee for the provision of the program. See http://bc.edu/ade//eiep for a description of each ADE program.

Community Restitution

Community restitution requires students to be responsible for their actions by giving back to the community.  The mission of the Community Restitution Program at Boston College is not only to resolve community standards violations, but also to help students develop a deeper understanding of the role of the individual within a community.

Conversation Project

The Conversation Project is a collaborative effort to organize and systematize how students meet with faculty and professional staff to have informal, meaningful conversations. The Conversation Project aims to provide a non-conduct, authoritative resource for students and to give students an opportunity to share in a “safe environment,” reflect upon their experience, and identify pathways to foster future success.

Educational Project/Paper

Student is required to engage in a specific educational project, such as writing a reflective paper, conducting research or a project, or creating a bulletin board in an area relevant to the offense.

Friday Night Heights (FNH)

Students who are found responsible for off-campus infractions are often unaware of the impact of their behavior on their neighbors. The Friday Night Heights workshop promotes citizenship, civility, and responsibility by educating them on their civic responsibilities and helping them to devise strategies for preventing problematic behaviors off-campus.

Friday Night Heights (FNH) is a collaborative effort between the Boston College Office of the Dean of Students, the Boston Police Department, and the Allston Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force. Off-campus students who are found to be responsible for violating university policies or city ordinances may participate in the Friday Night Heights workshop to reduce their inactive sanction. Students can only attend the workshop once.

Formative Off-Campus Referral and Mentoring (FORM)

The Formative Off-Campus Referral and Mentoring program consists of a follow-up conversation for students who have been documented for violating university policies or city ordinances with a staff person. When students are documented, they are given a formative sanction: FORM. A graduate assistant (or other concerned BC community members) from the Office of the Dean of Students will then visit the place of residence of the students and have an educational conversation about the incident that took place, what comes next, and how to avoid similar incidents.

Referral for Appropriate Counseling or Guidance

The referral requires that the student meet with a member of Counseling Services to undergo a general psychological and/or substance abuse evaluation, the general conclusions of which will be shared with the Dean of Students as needed within the bounds of confidentiality.

Roads Retreat

The Roads Retreat is designed for our students who have repeatedly violated the Code of Student Conduct and find themselves on the brink of losing their opportunity to live on campus or to be a member of the BC community.  This retreat has been designed to empower students to make respectful and responsible decisions in regards to their personal lives and consider how that might affect their role as BC community members.

5.7    Sanctioning Guidelines

The sanctioning guidelines below provide a framework for the hearing officer or conduct board to utilize when identifying appropriate sanctions for certain violations of the Code of Student Conduct.  

The following is only a guide; the hearing officer will consider a student’s prior conduct record, aggravating factors, mitigating factors, and all details of an incident when making a sanctioning determination. The sanctioning guidelines are only intended for first-time violations of the Code of Student Conduct. Students with prior conduct records will be sanctioned progressively (See Section 5.6.1, Probationary Sanctions) based upon their specific conduct and sanction record.

5.7.1    High-Level Violations

Certain violations of the Code of Student Conduct represent a significant threat to the community, the rights of members of the community, and/or the safety and wellbeing of the individual and/or the community. High Level violations of the Code of Student Conduct include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Dating Violence
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drug Sales
  • Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute
  • Fire Safety Violations
  • Physical Violence
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Stalking
  • Theft
  • Throwing Objects That May Cause Harm
  • Weapons Possession

Students who have been found responsible of committing high level violations of the Code of Student Conduct, regardless of their prior conduct record, may receive sanctions, which include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Housing Suspension
  • Housing Dismissal
  • University Suspension
  • University Dismissal

5.7.2    Alcohol Violations

Alcohol violations for individuals with no previous conduct record will generally be sanctioned according to the following guidelines:

Possession and/or Use of Alcohol:

  1. Administrative Warning to Disciplinary Probation
  2. Alcohol and Drug Education (ADE) Referral

Alcohol Related Hospitalization or Infirmary Placement:

  1. Disciplinary Probation to Housing Probation
  2. ADE Referral

Enabling Underage Drinking:

  1. Disciplinary Probation to Housing Probation
  2. ADE Referral

Central Alcohol Source:

  1. Housing Probation to Housing Suspension
  2. ADE Referral

Subsequent alcohol violations will adhere to the progressive sanctioning guidelines for probationary sanctions as set forth in Section 5.6.1.

In the presence of alcohol citations are handled as administrative matters, not violations of the Code of Student Conduct.  However, repeat citations of being in the presence of alcohol may be referred to the student conduct process.

5.7.3    Drug Violations

Drug violations for individuals with no previous conduct record will generally be sanctioned according to the below guidelines based upon the quantity and type of drug involved. The drugs are classified according to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 94C, Section 31.

Drug Use and/or Possession, Class D or E (e.g., marijuana, non-prescribed use of prescription drugs):

  1. Disciplinary Probation to Housing Probation
  2. ADE Referral
  3. Depending upon quantity, student may be suspended or dismissed from University Housing.

Drug Use and/or Possession, Class A, B, or C (e.g., heroin, LSD, cocaine, psychotropic mushrooms):

  1. University Probation to University Dismissal
  2. ADE Referral
  3. Depending upon type and quantity of substance, student may be suspended or dismissed from University Housing.

Drug Paraphernalia:

  1. Administrative Warning to Disciplinary Probation
  2. ADE Referral

5.7.4    Off-Campus Community Disturbance Violations

Factors, including the size of the gathering (generally, over 30 individuals is considered a large gathering) and whether an alcohol violation occurred, are considered in the sanctioning process of off-campus community disturbances. Off-campus community disturbance violations for individuals with no previous conduct record will generally be sanctioned according to the following guidelines:

Small Gathering with no Alcohol Violations:

  1. Administrative Warning to Disciplinary Probation
  2. Formative Sanction

Small Gathering with Alcohol Violations:

  1. Disciplinary Probation to Housing Probation
  2. Formative Sanction
  3. Fines up to $100

Large Gathering with no Alcohol Violations:

  1. Disciplinary Probation to Housing Probation
  2. Community Restitution
  3. Formative Sanction
  4. Fines up to $200

Large Gathering with Alcohol Violations:

  1. Housing Probation to University Probation
  2. Community Restitution
  3. Formative Sanction
  4. Fines up to $250

5.7.5    Misuse of Identification

Misuse of Identification violations for individuals with no previous conduct record will generally be sanctioned according to the following guidelines:

Possession:

  1. Housing Probation
  2. Community Restitution
  3. Formative Sanction

Production and/or Sale of False ID:

  1. University Suspension
  2. Housing Dismissal
  3. Fine up to $500

5.7.6    Fire-Related Misconduct

Fire-Related Misconduct violations for individuals with no previous conduct record will generally be sanctioned according to the following:

False Fire Alarms/Smoke Detectors, Deliberate:

  1. University Suspension – University Dismissal
  2. Reset Cost

False Fire Alarms/Smoke Detectors, Accidental:

  1. Community Restitution
  2. Reset Cost

Failure to Evacuate for a Fire Alarm:

  1. Housing Probation
  2. Community Restitution and/or $100 Fine

5.7.7    Throwing Objects That May Cause Harm

Violations for individuals with no previous conduct record who throw an object that may cause injury will be sanctioned according to the following:

  1. Housing Probation – University Dismissal
  2. Community Restitution
  3. Depending upon specific facts of the incident, student may be suspended or dismissed from housing.

5.8    Appeals

Grounds for Appeal

Appeals of hearing findings may be made if either a complainant or a respondent can demonstrate that he or she has been denied a fair hearing of the case due to procedural unfairness or can introduce evidence not previously available that would be likely to change the result of the prior hearing.

A denial of a proper hearing would be a violation of the fairness rights listed in the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. New evidence is evidence which was unknown to the party at the time of the original hearing and which could have a significant impact on the outcome of the case. It is the responsibility of the parties to make every effort to gather sufficient evidence and witnesses for the original hearing. Failure to do so will be an important factor in determining the appropriateness of a subsequent appeal based on new evidence.

How to File an Appeal

An appeal must contain the following information:

  1. The name, address, and telephone number of the party filing the appeal.
  2. A clear statement explaining the nature and circumstances of the appeal, citing the new evidence and/or the explanation with specifics of the alleged lack of fairness in the prior hearing.
  3. The names, addresses, telephone numbers, and written statements of new witnesses. Written statements should include the general nature of their testimony and their assent to appear at a board hearing.
  4. The name of an advisor, if any.

Appeals of findings made in adminstrative hearings must be submitted to the original hearing officer. Appeals of findings made in Administrative Hearing Boards or Student Conduct Boards must be submitted to the Associate Dean for Student Conduct.

The appeal must be filed in writing by the party (not the advisor) within five business days after notification of the sanctions.  

Review of Appeals

The Office of the Dean of Students will review the appeal and determine if it has met the aforementioned grounds for appeal. The Dean of Students or designee has the ability to defer imposed sanctions while the review of an appeal is being considered.

If it is determined that the appeal meets the necessary criteria, the appeal will be forwarded to the Dean of Students or designee in their role as an Appeals Officer. The Appeals Officer has ten (10) business days to make a decision on the appeal; however, that time can be expanded if deemed necessary due to the complexity of other relevant factors concerning the case. The Appeals Officer also has the discretion to meet with some or all parties involved in the case if the Appeals Officer deems it necessary.

The decision of the Appeals Officer is final.

5.9     General Information

Amending the Procedure

Proposals for amending the Student Conduct System should be submitted in writing to the Dean of Students.

Confidentiality

All parties, including the respondent, complainant, witness, advisors, and the hearing board, are required to respect the right of confidentiality of other participants. Any unauthorized disclosure of confidential information by participants to persons not involved in the hearing process as direct participants, advisors, or responsible administrators will be dealt with as a subsequent charge or as grounds for dismissal from the board.

In addition, all participants in the hearing process have a right to be free from intimidation and harassment. Students required to appear before a board, their advisors, and their witnesses must not communicate with any member of any conduct board or with the accusers and their witnesses prior to the hearing. Any implied or actual act of retaliation, intimidation or harassment is strictly prohibited and will be dealt with as a subsequent and high-level violation.

As a general rule, all board hearings are closed.

Counseling Referral

An Administrative Referral may be made when, in the opinion of the hearing officer, a student has demonstrated indications of emotional distress and/or substance abuse that could affect his or her functioning as a member of the Boston College community. The referral requires that the student meet with a member of Counseling Services, Alcohol and Drug Education, or other appropriate professionals to undergo a general psychological and/or substance abuse evaluation.  The general conclusions of which will be shared with the Dean of Students as needed within the bounds of confidentiality.

Notification of Decisions

The responding student will be sent written notification of any decisions and/or sanctions reached as a result of a hearing within 10 business days after a hearing. Notification of whether or not the grounds for an appeal have merit will be sent within 10 business days after the receipt of the appeal. In cases involving allegations of sexual assault or of a crime of violence, the Office of the Dean of Students will notify both the respondent and the complainant of the decision and the sanction imposed.

Hearing results may be shared with relevant academic deans and other university officials having a legitimate educational interest in such results.

Parental Notification

The Dean of Students or designee, at his or her discretion, will notify parents in writing of conduct matters to the full extent permitted by law. The Office of the Dean of Students may inform a student's parents of any finding of responsibility and related sanctions for violations of federal, state or local laws governing the possession or use of alcohol or controlled substances.

Pursuit of Alleged Violations

The Office of the Dean of Students reserves the right to investigate and pursue all alleged violations of the Code of Student Conduct that come to the Office’s attention, including cases in which the  students or other community members affected by the violation choose not to file or pursue an allegation.  In such cases, a University administrator with knowledge of the matter will usually act as the complainant if the matter proceeds to the Student Conduct Board or Administrative Hearing Board. However, a complainant does not have to be present at a board hearing for it to proceed.

Retaliation

Boston College prohibits retaliation of any kind against any individual filing a complaint or participating in a conduct hearing involving a Boston College student.  Such retaliation will result in disciplinary action.

Student Conduct Records

When a student is found responsible for violation(s) of the University Code of Student Conduct, a conduct record will be established and maintained in the Office of the Dean of Students.

Student conduct records will be maintained, per Federal regulations, for a minimum period of seven years.

Summary Suspension

When an individual is considered an imminent threat to persons or property, the Dean of Students, the Director of Residential Life, or their designated representatives may invoke an immediate suspension from housing and/or the University, to be followed within a reasonable period of time, under the particular circumstances, by a conduct hearing to resolve the incident.

In the case of summary suspensions imposed as a result of criminal charges, the suspension may remain in effect until the matter is resolved both off and on campus. Examples of behavior that may lead to immediate suspension include, but are not limited to physical violence, sexual assault, disruption of the educational mission or civil living environment of the University, severe damage to property, and possession and distribution of controlled substances.

University Temporary No Contact Order

In instances where it has been determined by a University administrator that contact between specific persons may pose an immediate threat to an individual or may cause concern for the safety or emotional wellbeing of an individual, a Temporary No Contact Order may be issued. The order, specific to a person and/or location, prohibits the parties subject to the order from having any further direct or indirect contact, including but not limited to email, mail, text messages, social media, or telephone, as well as third party contact for the duration of one week (7 days).

A Temporary No Contact Order may be issued by the Administrator On Call (AOC), Senior Administrator On Call (SAOC), or a staff member in the Office of the Dean of Students. During the 7-day period, the Office of the Dean of Students will determine whether the issuance of a longer-term Stay Away Order is warranted. The Temporary No Contact Order is issued as an initial response to a complaint and does not necessarily indicate that a violation of the Code of Student Conduct has occurred.

University Stay Away Order

The Office of the Dean of Students may issue a University Stay Away Order when interaction with an individual could cause severe emotional or mental harm or when an individual poses an ongoing, significant threat to a student’s rights as a member of the Boston College community. 

The order, specific to a person and/or location, prohibits both parties from having any further direct or indirect contact, including but not limited to via email, mail, text messages, social media or telephone. At the discretion of the Office of the Dean of Students, a Stay Away Order may result in mandated changes to a student's academic schedule, on-campus employment, co-curricular or other activities, and/or residential assignments. In addition, the Stay Away Order prohibits contact by third parties on the behalf of either party.

The duration of the Stay Away Order is determined by the Office of the Dean of Students, but as a general practice will expire at the end of the academic year in which it is issued. In cases where a Stay Away Order is issued as a conduct sanction a Stay Away Order of a longer duration may be issued.