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Pepperdine University

Community Standards for Students

 Philosophy of Student Discipline

The disciplinary process is based on the assumption that disciplinary procedures, when required, should be an educational process. Disciplinary sanctions are imposed to help students develop individual responsibility and encourage self-discipline, to foster a respect for the rights of others, and to protect the rights, freedoms, and safety of members of the University community. Students who demonstrate an unwillingness or inability to follow the Student Code of Conduct will be treated in the same manner as one who has failed academically.

An institution of higher learning is authorized by law to establish and administer codes of conduct and to suspend, expel or dismiss students whose actions negatively impact the campus community. The University reserves this right.

Student disciplinary proceedings are not analogous to criminal court proceedings. No particular model of procedural due process is required. However, the procedures should be structured in order to facilitate a reliable determination of the truth and to provide fundamental fairness. Procedures can be very informal in cases where suspension, expulsion, or dismissal are not a probable sanction; more procedural formality should be observed in serious disciplinary cases. In all situations, fairness requires that students be informed of the nature of the alleged violation(s) and be given a fair opportunity to respond to them.

In cases where suspension, expulsion, or dismissal are a possible sanction, students will have the opportunity to meet with a Student Disciplinary Committee before any decisions are made regarding whether a violation of the Student Code of Code occurred and what, if any, sanctions are appropriate if a student is found responsible for violating the Code. In cases where the alleged violation is less serious, the matter may be resolved through the issuance of a warning letter or an administrative hearing.

 Information on Hearings

Administrative Hearings

When the alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct is of a less serious nature and the misconduct would not result in suspension, expulsion, or dismissal, a student may be notified to attend an administrative hearing with a University staff member (normally the associate dean or a resident director) to discuss the incident and any steps that must be taken or sanction imposed to resolve the matter. Before the administrative hearing, the student will be sent a notification letter briefly summarizing the behavior that allegedly violates the Student Code of Conduct, along with the date and time of the hearing. The administrative hearing will be followed by an official letter summarizing the decision.

Sanctions imposed as a result of an administrative hearing cannot be appealed. Sanctions imposed by the Student Disciplinary Committee may be appealed; therefore, students who are summoned to an administrative hearing may request instead to meet with the Student Disciplinary Committee if they want an appeal option.

Student Disciplinary Committee Hearings

If, after reviewing a report of misconduct, the associate dean determines that the incident is deemed sufficiently serious, the incident will be submitted for hearing by the Student Disciplinary Committee. The Student Disciplinary Committee will include a quorum of one student, one faculty member, and one staff member. The associate dean (or designee) will chair the committee but is not a voting member unless there is a tie vote.

Before meeting with the Student Disciplinary Committee, the student will be provided in writing with a summary of the behavior that allegedly violates particular provisions of the Student Code of Conduct. The notice will also include the date and time of the hearing, not less than five or more than fifteen calendar days after the student has been notified. Maximum time limits for scheduling hearings may be extended at the discretion of the associate dean.

Hearings are not required to adhere to formal rules of procedure or technical rules of evidence followed by courts of law. Hearings will be conducted according to the following guidelines:

  1. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the associate dean or designee.
  2. The hearing will normally be conducted in private. Admission of any person to the hearing will be at the discretion of the associate dean. The associate dean may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the reporting party, accused student, and/or other witness during the hearing by providing separate facilities, and/or by permitting participation by telephone, video conferencing, written statement, or other means. Such decisions are made at the sole discretion of the associate dean.
  3. Accused students may be assisted at hearings by an advisor. The advisor must be a current student, faculty, or staff member of the University who was not involved in the incident. The advisor cannot speak for the accused student. The role of the advisor is to accompany the student and advise him or her privately during the hearing process.
  4. Hearings will be chaired by the associate dean or designee, and will proceed in the following manner:
    • Reading of the charges.
    • The student's denial or admission of the alleged violation(s). If the student admits to the alleged violation(s), then the committee may dismiss the student and deliberate on the appropriate sanctions.
    • Presentation of information and/or witnesses supporting the alleged violation(s).
    • Presentation of information and/or witnesses by the student charged that rebuts the alleged violation(s).
    • Closing statement by the accused student.
  5. The chair and the accused student may call witnesses. Witnesses may only be present while giving testimony. Accused students must present a list of witnesses and purposes of their statements to the chair at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled hearing. It is the responsibility of the person who calls the witness to request and confirm the witness's participation in the hearing. The chair may, at his or her sole discretion, exclude any witness from attending the hearing if the witness's testimony is duplicative or irrelevant.
  6. A list of witnesses called by the University should be presented to the accused student 24 hours before the hearing.
  7. Pertinent records, exhibits and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by the committee at the discretion of the chair. This information must be submitted to the chair at least 24 hours before the hearing. The committee may or may not consider any documents received after the 24-hour deadline subject to the discretion of the associate dean.
  8. If, during the course of the hearing, additional policy violations are discovered, the accused student will be notified of the new alleged policy violation(s) and will be granted additional time, if needed, to prepare a defense of the new alleged violation(s). The accused student may waive the additional time and the hearing can proceed with the new alleged violation(s) taken under consideration by the committee. A record will be made in the hearing notes of additional alleged violation(s) and whether or not the student desires additional preparation time.
  9. Information about the misconduct of other students shared at the hearing may be used as the basis for disciplinary action.
  10. The committee's determination will be made on the basis of the preponderance of the evidence standard (whether it is more likely than not that the accused student violated the Student Code of Conduct).
  11. After the hearing, the committee will determine by majority vote whether the student has violated each section of the Student Code of Conduct that the student was notified of allegedly violating.
  12. If the student is found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct, the committee will then make a recommendation to the associate dean (or designee) on the appropriate sanctions.
  13. The associate dean will notify the student in writing of the committee's decision and the sanctions issued, if any.
  14. There will be a single written record of the hearing, which normally consists of the statement of alleged misconduct, a summary of the information presented in the hearing, a summary of the statement of the accused, statement of the decision, and the sanctions issued, if any. The hearing will not be transcribed or otherwise recorded.
  15. If the accused student fails to appear at the hearing, the committee may make a decision based on the available information. If the associate dean determines that good cause exists for the accused student not appearing at the hearing, a new date may be set for the hearing.

 The Incident Report

When a student receives a notice requesting his/her presence at a disciplinary proceeding, that notice is always based on an incident report, processed and received by the Office of Community Standards. Incident reports are most often filed by the Housing and Residence Life staff, such as an RA or RD, or the Department of Public Safety. In some instances, both parties file reports.

Once a report is received by the Office of Community Standards, the associate dean of students determines whether or not the reported violation warrants an administrative hearing or Student Disciplinary Committee (SDC) hearing. This determination is based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the severity of the alleged violation and the disciplinary history of the involved student(s). The associate dean of students also determines whether or not a parental notification is necessary.

Anyone may report a violation of the Code of Conduct by contacting the Office of Community Standards at 506-4471. Normally, the person reporting the violation will be asked to submit a written report. The report should be a brief written statement citing the section of the Student Code of Conduct allegedly violated and providing a summary of the facts deemed to constitute a violation. Reports should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place. The University reserves the right to take action against an individual for violating the Student Code of Conduct regardless of how much time has passed since the incident.

Anonymous reports may be made on the anonymous crime tip hotline by calling voicemail at 310-506-7634 or on the LiveSafe app. Public Safety will receive these reports. Students living in the residence halls may also notify their resident directors or resident advisors. For any campus emergency, call Public Safety at (310) 506-4441. If off campus, call 911


 Information on Sanctions

Please review the Student Code of Conduct website for information on sanctions and the table of standards sanctions.

Below are examples of books and articles that are assigned to students as educational sanctions:

Defining Moments: How God Shapes Our Character Through Crisis by Rick Ezell

(Dis)Honesty - The Truth About Lies by The (Dis)Honesty Project

The Seven Levels of Lying by Christianity Today

What on Earth Am I Here For? Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

 Information on Appeals

Please review the Student Code of Conduct website for information on the appeals process.

 Alcohol and Drug Education and Assessment Resources

Often when a student is in violation of the University's alcohol or drug policy, the student is sanctioned to complete an alcohol or drug education course, or an assessment of their alcohol or drug use. The following are resources for this type of sanction.

Alcohol Education

My Student Body Online Alcohol Education Course

Please contact the Office of Community Standards at community.standards@pepperdine.edu for instructions on how to access the course.

Alcohol and Drug Assessment

Pepperdine Counseling Center[BROKEN LINK]

Please contact the Pepperdine Counseling Center at 310.506.4210 to schedule an appointment if sanctioned with an alcohol or drug assessment. The Pepperdine Counseling Center is located in the Tyler Campus Center 270.

Drug Testing

Alo House Recovery Centers

 Information on Title IX

Please review the Sexual Misconduct Policy

The Title IX[BROKEN LINK] website is also a resource for sexual misconduct response and prevention at Pepperdine University.