Conduct adjudication or hearings take place to determine if an accused student is responsible for violating a college policy; they are regarded as private matters between the College and the student, and do not involve friends, relatives, or outside authorities. The process for responding to an alleged policy violation is outlined below:
- An appointment between the student and the Student Conduct Administrator will be arranged.
- In the meeting with the Student Conduct Administrator, the student will be told what policy was allegedly violated and receive a description of the incident including time, date, location, and summary of the evidence. The student will also receive a copy of the pertinent policy section of this handbook, be informed of their rights, have the charges explained and options outlined, and have the opportunity to make a statement and ask any pertinent questions. Students who fail to appear at the appointed time or fail to reschedule the appointment will receive written notice of the charges, with all of the above information included, and the opportunity to appear in person before the Student Conduct Administrator within two class days of receipt of the notice. Failure to respond at this time will result in the student waiving the right to a hearing and being assessed an appropriate sanction by the Student Conduct Administrator based on the evidence available.
- The above initial meeting will result in one of four possible outcomes:
- The Student Conduct Administrator may dismiss the charges.
- The student may accept responsibility for the violation and have a sanction imposed by the Student Conduct Administrator. Such a disposition of the case shall be final, and there will be no subsequent proceedings or appeals.
- The student and the Student Conduct Administrator may agree to continue the meeting at a future time. At this subsequent meeting the student may make a statement, present witnesses, and have an adviser present. Within two class days of this second meeting the Student Conduct Administrator will inform the student of the decision in writing with an imposed sanction if applicable. This decision may be appealed to the Dean of Students within two class days of its receipt.
- The student may elect a formal hearing before the Council on Student Affairs. The Student Conduct Administrator may refer the case to the Council on Student Affairs if the case warrants it. Up until the time the Council on Student Affairs meets to hear the case referred to it, the student may change their mind and have the case proceed as noted in either (b) or (c) above.
- If the student chooses a hearing before the Council on Student Affairs, or the Student Conduct Administrator refers the case to the Council on Student Affairs, the procedure will be as follows:
- The Student Conduct Administrator will provide the student with a written summary of the evidence and charges, a notice of the time and place of the hearing, the names of adverse witnesses, and a list of names of members of the Council on Student Affairs. The hearing will not occur less than 72 hours after the student receives the notice. The student may challenge any voting member of the Council for cause. The Chair of the Council on Student Affairs will rule on all such challenges.
- At least 48 hours prior to the hearing, the student must provide the Student Conduct Administrator with the names of witnesses to be called, if any. However, at any time prior to the hearing the student or the Student Conduct Administrator may introduce new evidence or witnesses with due notice to the other party.
- The student may choose an adviser from the Whitman College community (student or employee) to help prepare their case. This adviser may be present at the hearing but may not speak aloud. The adviser may only consult with the student.
- Other than the student and the Student Conduct Administrator, who will present the case to the Council, only those others who are called on by the Council on Student Affairs to present information relating to the case will be allowed to testify. The Chair of the Council on Student Affairs will rule on all such questions.
- A quorum of the Council on Student Affairs for the purpose of the hearing shall be two-thirds of those members eligible after challenges have been ruled upon.
- At the hearing, the statements of charges and supporting evidence will be presented by the Student Conduct Administrator and reviewed. The student may make a statement and present evidence and witnesses in their defense. The Student Conduct Administrator or Council on Student Affairs may question the student and any witnesses. The student may choose not to answer any questions. The student shall be given the opportunity to submit in writing any questions that they would like asked of any witness.
- If the student fails to appear at the hearing, the Council on Student Affairs may proceed in their absence and may assess an appropriate sanction based on the evidence available.
- All decisions by the Council on Student Affairs will be by a two-thirds vote of those eligible and will be based only on the evidence presented at the hearing. The standard of evidence to be used by the Council in reaching determinations of responsibility shall be a “preponderance of evidence.’’
- After the deliberations, the Chair of the Council on Student Affairs will inform the student in writing of the decision within two class days of the hearing. Notification will include a sanction if applicable.
- A decision by the Council on Student Affairs may be appealed by a student who is the subject of disciplinary action; however, appeals are not to be considered as “seeking a second opinion,” rather, they are intended to allow the College to reconsider elements that may have impacted the original decision sufficient to impact the outcome of that decision. The appeal, accompanied by a detailed description of the information supporting the specific appeal category, must be submitted in writing to the Chair of the Faculty within five (5) working days after being informed of the outcome. The appeal must be based on the following, and only the following criteria:
- New evidence unknown or unknowable at the time of the investigation that may substantially alter the outcome,
- Substantial procedural error(s) that may alter the outcome.
- Appeal requests based solely on a person’s disagreement with the outcome of the investigation, a sanction-decision, or the outcome of the hearing does not meet the criteria for an appeal.
- All sanctions imposed will be in effect during the appeal process including, but not limited to suspension, removal from campus, or continued no-contact directives.
- The Chair of the Faculty, to whom the appeal is made, will act on the petition in one of three ways:
- May decide to consider the appeal and then rule;
- May form a panel to review the appeal;
- May reject the appeal request.
- The Chair of the Faculty is the appellate officer for the College. If the Chair of the Faculty feels they cannot be impartial or if the Chair of the Faculty has an immediate interest in a particular case, they will recuse themselves from the appeal and the most recent, and available, past-Chair will serve as the appellate officer.
- Once an appeal request is considered appropriate for consideration, all other involved parties will be provided with a copy of that request and may submit information or a rebuttal (or, in the case of the other party – their own appeal) to the appeal request to be considered by the appellate officer.
The severity of any disciplinary action shall depend not only on the seriousness of any individual violation, but also on the complete record of campus citizenship of the student involved. The categories of official disciplinary action are:
- Dismissal or Expulsion – Permanent termination of student status.
- Suspension – Removal from the College for a definite period of time with reinstatement dependent upon the fulfillment of stipulated conditions.
- Conduct Probation – The Council on Student Affairs, the Dean of Students, or the Student Conduct Administrator will set the terms of probation.
- Suspended Conduct Probation – Probationary status under the terms of which any further violation of good conduct by the student involved may result in the immediate application of conduct probation or a more severe penalty.
- Other Official Action – This may include verbal warning, written warning, loss of privileges, restitution of damages, prohibition of participation in commencement exercises, withdrawal of permission to re-enroll, or other action appropriate to the offense.
The President of the College shall have the authority, when there is just cause, to summarily dismiss a student from the College.