Judicial Affairs

SUNY Morrisville wants to minimize any hesitation individuals might have in reporting problems and obtaining help for themselves or others, due to concern that their own behavior might be a violation of college policy.

While violations cannot be overlooked, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will take into consideration the positive impact that assisting others and reporting problems has when determining the appropriate response to policy and Student code of conduct violations. SUNY Morrisville encourages everyone to report problems in order to put those in need in touch with professional helpers.

The College, through the Judicial Affairs System, maintains authority to impose sanctions for behaviors that violate policies and the Student Code of Conduct. All students at SUNY Morrisville have access to the Student Code of Conduct which is contained in the Student Handbook. The Student Code of Conduct is available upon request in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and is accessible on the College website, from which copies can be printed.

Definitions

  1. The terms “judicial officer” or “hearing officer” refer to any person who is authorized by the College to conduct disciplinary meetings where student conduct is reviewed to determine whether a student has violated the Student Code of Conduct and to impose sanctions when necessary.
  2. The term “judicial body” means any person or persons authorized by the College to conduct disciplinary meetings where student conduct is reviewed to determine whether a student has violated the Student Code of Conduct and to impose sanctions when necessary.
  3. The term “complainant” means any person or persons who have filed disciplinary charges against a student.
  4. The term "reporting individual" shall encompass the term victim/survivor in cases related to sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.  "Reporting individual" status will also apply to cases where the respondent has been charged with conduct which violates the health and safety of an individual.
  5. The term “accused” means any student who has had disciplinary charges filed against them.
  6. The term "respondent" is sued to describe an accused student once the conduct process is engaged and charges have been filed.
  7. The term “investigation” means inquiry undertaken to verify whether an allegation merits further inquiry or disciplinary action.
  8. The term “reasonable person” means a person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to those involved.
  9. The term "student status" means the state of the student as an active student eligible to access all college resources, enter and use all college facilities, attend and participate in all college activities and events, and to receive the benefits from the educational institution.

The Judicial Affairs System

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities has been delegated the responsibility to administer the college judicial system. Responsibilities of the office include but are not limited to:

  1. Reviewing complaints and determining charges to be filed pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct.
  2. Investigating cases and conducting disciplinary meetings.
  3. Determining which judicial body shall hear each case.
  4. Interviewing and advising parties involved in disciplinary proceedings.
  5. Training and advising of all judicial bodies.
  6. Reviewing the decisions of all judicial bodies.
  7. Making appropriate notifications.
  8. Resolving disputes and contested issues that arise out of cases of alleged student misconduct.
  9. Maintaining student disciplinary records resulting from enforcement of the Student Code of Conduct.
  10. Collecting and disseminating data concerning student judicial system actions.

Judicial Affairs System Staff

The Judicial Affairs system functions with faculty, professional, and student staff including but not limited to:

  • The President
  • Coordinator of Student Rights and Responsibilities
  • The Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Director of the Norwich Campus
  • Judicial Board members
  • Appellate Board members
  • Director of Residence Life
  • Residence Directors/Building Managers
  • College Judicial Board Advisors
  • Secretaries

Judicial Authority

  1. The President and designees are authorized to conduct disciplinary meetings and assign sanctions when, in their judgment, student behavior is deemed to be dangerous, disruptive, or in violation of the behavioral guidelines set forth by the SUNY Board of Trustees or the SUNY Morrisville Council, and as published in electronic and printed versions of the Student Handbook, College Housing License, and the College Catalog.
  2. The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities shall develop procedures for the administration of the judicial program, including rules for the conduct of judicial board hearings.
  3. The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities shall determine the hearing officers, composition of judicial boards and appellate boards, and determine which judicial body, hearing officer, or appellate board shall hear a case.
  4. Decisions made by an authorized staff member or a judicial board shall be final, pending the appeal process.
  5. Decisions made by an appellate board are final.

Jurisdiction

Students are expected to assume responsibility for their behavior and for that of the groups to which they belong. Students are also expected to abide by local, State and Federal laws. The College will provide no sanctuary for those who violate such laws. While most College Judicial action will be the result of violations of the Student Code of Conduct or other College Policies on College-owned or operated property, the institution reserves the right to discipline members of its student body for infractions of local, State, or Federal laws which occur beyond College-owned or operated property if it is determined by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities that the individual(s) allegedly involved in such incidents pose a potential threat to safety of others or to the integrity of the educational function of the College. Without regard to the status of civil litigation in court or criminal arrest and prosecution, college judicial proceedings under the Student Code of Conduct may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus. When a student is charged by Federal, State, or local authorities with a violation of law, the College will not request or agree to special consideration for that individual because of her/his status as a student. College judicial action does not preclude prosecution by authorities in other jurisdictions.

Judicial Board Mission Statement

SUNY Morrisville expects that each member of the community will regard other members with civility and mutual respect. Students, faculty, and staff are expected to exercise their own rights in a way that does not deny or infringe upon the rights of others regarding the safety of people, property, and/or intellectual development.

A primary goal of any judicial system is to promote fairness and due process, while striking a balance between community standards and individual behavior. A judicial process is maintained in order to provide students with a representative voice in the regulation of their actions, and to encourage their understanding of the administration of justice. The adjudication process and any resultant action serve to assist people in recognizing and correcting behavior that is incompatible with the norms of the college community, and to deter others from making inappropriate decisions.

When community standards are violated, an appropriate sanction may be imposed through a judicial process which demonstrates due process with regard to the person's rights as an individual, including the right to a hearing before an impartial student-involved hearing, and the right to appeal disciplinary decisions. Due process is emphasized in the effort to ensure that every person, whether the alleged victim, perpetrator, or witness, receives equitable and judicious treatment.

College Judicial Affairs Policies

Charges and Hearings

  1. Any member of the College community may request to file a complaint that may result in charges against a student for misconduct.  Complaints shall be prepared in writing and directed to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or her/his designee, who is in turn responsible for administering the student judicial program.
  2. The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or her/his designee conducts investigations and contacts students who were apparently involved in order to investigate an incident, to determine if witnesses or statements are available, to determine if charges have merit, and to select the staff member or hearing body to hear a case.
  3. In cases where an accused student is not likely to be suspended or expelled from the College if found responsible for a violation of College policy or the student Code of Conduct, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or her/his designee may hear the case administratively.
  4. In cases when an accused student may be suspended or expelled from the College if found responsible for a violation of College Policy and/or the Student Code of Conduct, they are entitled to a College Judicial Hearing, where both finding and sanction decisions are made. The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities or designee determines when an administrative hearing or judicial board hearing will be conducted to adjudicate a case.
  5. A Summary Action Agreement may be used to establish mutual consent of the parties involved to hold a hearing sooner or later than the minimum 10-day time limit.
  6. Upon request, any time before or at a hearing, a student charged may review a redacted (Personally identifiable information removed) copy of statements to be used in the hearing in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities office or hearing room. Names of witnesses who will be produced at a hearing in support of the charges will be provided, but shall not preclude the testimony of witnesses who were unknown at the time names are provided.
  7. Hearings shall be conducted by a judicial body according to the following guidelines:
    1. Hearings shall be closed to the public.
    2. Admission of any person to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the judicial body.
    3. In hearings involving more than one accused student, the judicial officer, at her/his discretion may permit the hearings concerning each student to be conducted separately.
    4. All parties have the right to be assisted by one advisor of their choice, at their own expense. (Ex: advisors may be a parent, attorney, etc.) Witnesses cannot act as advisors. Faculty/staff advisors are available as schedules permit to assist a student and guide them through the College judicial process. The complainant and/or the accused student are responsible for presenting her/his own case. A student can quietly confer with their advisor during the hearing provided it does not interfere with the process. A student may request one 10-minute recess to speak with their advisor in private. Advisors may not actively participate in the hearing or interfere with the process.   In cases that meet the Title IX criteria, Advisors will conduct the cross-examination portion of the hearing.(If a party does not have an advisor, SUNY Morrisville will provide one for the cross-examination portion of the hearing. Parties can not conduct the cross examination themselves.) Should an advisor interfere after being warned, the board chair will direct the advisor to immediately leave the hearing room.
    5. Conduct meetings below the judicial board level may be conducted without an advisor.
    6. Students that require any accommodations for the hearing process should inform the judicial Officer immediately so that all reasonable attempts to meet the requested accommodation can be made prior to the scheduling of the judicial hearing. (Ex: interpreter or language translator services for language barriers.)
    7. The complainant, the accused student, and the judicial body shall have the privilege of requesting witness participation and all are, subject to questioning by the judicial body. It is the student’s responsibility to provide witness names and contact information to the judicial officer in writing at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled judicial hearing. It is the responsibility of the students to invite their witnesses to the hearing by providing them with the date, time, and location of the hearing.
    8. In all cases, the evidence in support of the charges shall be presented and considered. Pertinent records, exhibits, and/or written statements may be accepted as evidence for consideration by a judicial body at the discretion of the judicial body.
    9. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the judicial body.
    10. After a hearing, the judicial body shall determine by majority vote, whether the student has violated the Student Code of Conduct as charged.
    11. The judicial body shall deliberate and reach its finding in closed executive session. The judicial body’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether or not there is a preponderance of evidence which supports the finding of a violation, indicating that it is more likely than not that the accused student violated the Student Code of Conduct.
    12. All hearings, pre-hearing conferences, conduct meetings, and witness and party interviews may be audio recorded by the college judicial staff and maintained on a campus computer, server, or other storage medium consistent with retention practices for other documents in an investigation or conduct file. Only college judicial affairs staff may record the proceedings. No other recordings are permitted. Such recordings often contain personally identifiable and sensitive information about participants. Deliberations are not recorded. Judicial recordings shall be the exclusive property of the College. The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities shall make arrangements for an accused student to have access to the recording for filing an appeal.
    13. If any party disrupts a hearing (by shouting, repeatedly interrupting others, or verbally or physically threatening individuals involved in the hearing, etc.), the presiding hearing officer has the right to remove the disruptive individual from the hearing after he or she fails to heed a warning.  It is expected that all individuals in the hearing room will abide by the rules of decorum given at the start of the hearing.  The hearing may continue in the absence of any removed party, or it may need to be rescheduled at the discretion of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
    14. If a student accused of violating College Policy fails to attend a scheduled hearing, the hearing may be held in the student’s absence, and the student will be assumed to have entered a claim of Not Responsible to each charge, but forfeited her/his ability to present information or otherwise participate on her/his behalf. Findings and sanctions, if applicable, will be based on the evidence and not upon the accused student’s failure to appear. If the judicial officer learns that the student’s failure to appear is for good cause, the judicial officer may grant a new hearing. Otherwise, the decision of the hearing shall stand. Title IX cases will be heard according to the same absentia policy except SUNY Morrisville will provide an advisor to conduct the cross examination portion of the hearing. Failure of the accused student to respond to the Judicial Office’s correspondence will not prevent adjudication of the incident. 
    15. Except in the case of a student charged with failing to obey the summons of a judicial body or hearing officer, no student may be found to have violated another part of the Student Code of Conduct solely because the student failed to appear before the judicial body. Upon receiving notification of the scheduled hearing date and time, the accused student or the claimant may request a one-time delay no later than 48 hours prior to the hearing.
    16. An accused student who withdraws from the college shall not be exempt from the disciplinary process for violations which took place prior to withdrawal. The judicial process may be initiated regardless of a student’s current enrollment status. This includes conduct which occurs before classes begin or after classes end as well as during the academic year and during periods between terms of actual enrollment. A hold may be placed on the student’s account while the disciplinary review is pending. If a student leaves or attempts to withdraw from the College, the College may still proceed with disciplinary action. Should suspension or expulsion take place following the disciplinary process, these sanctions supersede a withdrawal from the College. Please note that disciplinary expulsions or suspensions result in 100% liability for all semester charges.
    17. Sanctions commence and terminate as specified by the assigning judicial body. The judicial body has flexibility to determine when the sanction is to begin and end within reason. Students who are separated (temporarily suspended, suspended for a period of time, or expelled permanently) from the College through the college judicial process have lost their student status for the time specified, unless their student status is restored through the college judicial process. Separated students are not permitted to attend classes, build their co-curricular transcript, travel on any college related trips, participate in intercollegiate athletics or intramurals, and to attend any events held on college property or property operated for the benefit of the college. While students who are separated by the college judicial process may be eligible to transfer earned credits to another institution, they are not permitted to complete coursework or transfer credits back to Morrisville State. At the discretion of the assigning college judicial body, separated students who are eligible to receive earned credits at the time of separation, may be permitted to complete coursework and/or receive earned credits. Separated students are not permitted to transfer credits back to SUNY Morrisville. Should a student who has completed degree requirements be charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct prior to commencement or the conferral of the degree, they are ineligible to graduate until the college judicial process is completed. In Title IX cases, a transcript notation will be placed on the students record as per the Title IX rules and regulations.

Due Process

Students should expect that disciplinary proceedings will be handled fairly. All SUNY Morrisville students accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct shall be granted the following due process rights:

  1. A student has the right to have an advisor present at a hearing.
  2. A student has the right to receive written notification of the time and place of a hearing at least ten (10) days before the hearing, unless the student charged waives the 10-day minimum notification period. Whenever possible, written notification will be accomplished by “personal delivery” by a staff member. Methods of delivery may also include one or more of the following: handing a notice to the student, delivery to the campus mailbox, e-mail as an attachment to the student’s college email account or other e-mail account provided by the student.
  3. A student has the right to request a one-time delay that, if reasonable, will be granted by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities or designee and to allow delays mutually agreed upon by all parties. In all instances of a delay being granted, written notification of the delay and the reason for the delay will be given to the complainant and respondent.
  4. A student has the right to review a copy of the written report(s) in redacted form, supporting the allegations involved. This information shall be made available for review in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities or hearing room upon request of students involved in a hearing.
  5. A student with good reason has the right to object to a judicial board member or hearing officer who is serving in the capacity of judicial body. The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will determine the validity of the objection and designate a replacement.
  6. A student has the right not to present information against her/himself.
  7. A student has the right to hear and respond to information presented against her/him. This includes the right to appropriately question available parties in person or indirectly through appropriate technology.  In Title IX cases questioning must be done through the parties advisor.  No direct questioning of the other parties is allowed.
  8. A student has the right to present information and witnesses on her/his own behalf.
  9. A student has the right to have Character reference letters submitted to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities or designee to be considered by the College Judicial Board after they have made a determination of responsibility but before any sanctioning decisions are made.  Character letters must be submitted no later than two days before a College Judicial Board hearing in order to be considered at the hearing.

  10. A student has the right to written notification of the results of a hearing after the hearing.
  11. A student has the right to appeal the outcome of a hearing. Appeal decisions are final. In cases of sexual assault/harassment both the accused and the complainant have the right to appeal the outcome of a hearing. Appeal process will be followed and all appeal decisions are final.