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Student Disciplinary Procedures

 


 

I. 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.

II. 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.

III. 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.

IV. Sanctions

Violation of University policies for personal conduct may result in the imposition of one or more of the sanctions listed below. Sanctions that may be imposed are not limited to those listed. In certain limited situations, University officials may impose a sanction but suspend or postpone its actual implementation. Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed by a disciplinary body may result in further disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, a registration hold, placement on, or extension of, University probation, suspension, expulsion, or permanent dismissal.

Sanctions are based on general principles of fair treatment. While attempting to be consistent in its disciplinary decisions, the University also seeks to be fair and sensitive to the facts and circumstances of each individual case. Disciplinary action may involve, but is not limited to, one or a combination of the sanctions listed below:

  • Warning: Oral or written notice to the student that the student is violating or has violated the Student Code of Conduct and that continuation or repetition of misconduct may result in a more severe sanction.

  • University Probation: A status which indicates that a student's relationship with the University is tenuous. Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student is found in violation of any University policy. Probation may also result in the loss of privileges, depending on the policies of various University departments and organizations. For example, a student becomes ineligible to hold some leadership positions when placed on probation. Also, if a student is placed on University probation, the student becomes ineligible for International Programs during the probation period. Ineligibility includes applying, remaining in the queue, or attending a program.

  • Loss of Privileges: Such loss may include, but is not limited to, financial assistance, eligibility to represent the University officially on athletic teams or performing groups, or use of specific University facilities, computer systems, equipment, or services.

  • Fines: Payment of charges for violation of regulations. These charges will be added to a student's account.

  • Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage or injury. Failure to pay such charges may result in additional sanctions (including, but not limited to, denial of re-enrollment or refusal to release official transcripts and records).

  • Educational Sanctions: Mandatory work hours, reading/writing assignment, drug or alcohol assessment/treatment, seminar attendance, or other discretionary sanctions as deemed appropriate.

  • Dismissal from University Housing: Loss of privilege to live in University housing. In accordance with University housing policy, students required to live on campus who are dismissed from University housing may be dismissed from Pepperdine University. Any student dismissed from the residential community prior to the end of the contractual period may be responsible for any remaining monetary charges, as well as ineligible for reimbursement for any charges already paid.
  • Suspension: Temporary separation of the student from Pepperdine University for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return without re-applying through the Office of Admission, unless the student is absent for two or more academic years, which does require re-application and readmission by the Office of Admission, as is the case for all students. Conditions for readmission may be specified.
  • Expulsion: Temporary separation of the student from Pepperdine University for a definite period of time, but not less than two semesters, after which the student must re-apply through the Office of Admission and be granted acceptance before becoming eligible for re-enrollment at the University. Conditions for readmission may be specified, but the student is not guaranteed readmission.
  • Dismissal: Permanent separation of the student from Pepperdine University. The student is dismissed from the University and is ineligible to re-enroll at the University at any time in the future.
  • Revocation of Admission and/or Degree: Admission to or a degree awarded from the University may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violation of University standards in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation.
  • Withholding Degree: The University may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in this Student Code of Conduct, including the completion of all sanctions imposed, if any.

If a violation occurs just prior to a student's scheduled graduation, sanctions may be imposed even if all academic requirements are completed. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, community service, research or reflective paper, restitution, loss of privilege to participate in the graduation ceremony, deferment of degree, and a transcript hold. The University may withhold issuing a degree until all sanctions are fulfilled. In the rare case of a serious violation (e.g., sexual assault, DUI, illegal drug sales), the University may permanently withhold a degree.

When students are dismissed, expelled, or suspended for disciplinary reasons, there will be no refund of tuition or room charges for the semester and all financial assistance for subsequent semesters will be reviewed and is subject to cancellation.

V. Standard Sanctions

Standard sanctions are consistent University responses to specific violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Although sanctions are not assigned until a student's case is heard, these sanctions constitute the minimum consequences a student may expect. We hope that prior notice of these standard sanctions will encourage students to avoid behaviors that lead to serious consequences. The standard sanctions are rarely modified. However, the presence of substantial mitigating or aggravating circumstances may result in the reduction or escalation of a standard sanction.

Standard sanctions do not apply when:

  1. A student engages in multiple violations in a single incident;
  2. A student has a disciplinary history, regardless of whether past violations are related to the current violation; or
  3. An incident presents unusually serious circumstances, risks to persons or property, or other complex concerns.

In these situations, the appropriate sanctions are determined on a case-by-case basis in light of all the circumstances. Generally, these situations result in sanctions in excess of the standard sanction.

Standard sanctions apply only to those offenses described on the following table. Other types of incidents are handled on a case-by-case basis.

Table of Standard Sanctions

Category First Violation Second Violation Third Violation

Housing and Residence Life Visitation

Warning; or University probation if visitation occurs significantly over visitation time or evidence that person of opposite gender has spent the night.

University probation or removal from residential community or suspension

Removal from residential community or suspension

Consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages or possession of empty containers of alcohol on campus

University probation, alcohol assessment and education programs

Suspension

To Be Determined (TBD)

Underage consumption of alcohol

(on or off campus)

University probation, alcohol assessment and education programs

Suspension

TBD

Drunkenness 

(on or off campus)

University probation, alcohol assessment and education programs

Suspension

TBD

Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance

(on or off campus)

Suspension, completion of alcohol/drug assessment and/or education programs; possible dismissal when injury involved

Dismissal

N/A

Attempt to obtain, use, or possess marijuana, other illegal drugs, or drug paraphernalia

(on or off campus)

Suspension, drug assessment and education programs and reflective paper on drug abuse

TBD

TBD

Hosting or in any way assisting or promoting a gathering that includes drunkenness, drug use, or underage drinking

(on or off campus)

Suspension; possible dismissal when injury involved

Dismissal

N/A

VI. Forfeiture of Financial Assistance

Every student who has accepted a scholarship, loan, fellowship, grant-in-aid, or any other financial assistance from the University (including federal and state assistance) is deemed to have agreed to observe the rules and regulations applicable to the receipt of such assistance. If a student is placed on disciplinary probation, suspended, expelled, or dismissed from the University, or arrested and convicted as a result of a violation of University policy, the student may forfeit his or her financial assistance. For further information regarding this policy, please contact the Office of Financial Assistance.

VII. Expectation for Student Organizations

Student groups and organizations may be charged with violations of this Student Code of Conduct. A student group or organization may be held collectively responsible when violations of this code occur either during an event sponsored by the organization or when four or more members are in attendance at the event in question. Individual members of the student organization may also face disciplinary action through the normal disciplinary process. Sanctions that may be imposed upon groups or organizations include, but are not limited to, deactivation, warning, reprimand, probation, fines, loss of privileges, restitution, and other educational sanctions. Deactivation includes loss of all privileges, including University recognition, for a specified period of time.

VIII. Expectation for Student Leaders

As role models to other students and ambassadors for Pepperdine University, student leaders are expected to embody the institution's highest ideals, values, and aspirations, and to uphold its community standards. Therefore, students placed on University probation may lose privileges, including their ability to apply, campaign, or hold leadership positions for the time they are on probation.

IX. Appeals Process

Students who believe they were not treated fairly in the disciplinary process can submit a written appeal to the University dean of students (hereafter, "dean"). The appeal must be submitted by completing the online appeal form within seven calendar days of the issuance date of the hearing decision.

On the online appeal form, the student must specifically address at least one of the following criteria:

  1. The hearing decision was not supported by substantial information. In other words, there was no reasonable basis for such decision. The disciplinary committee's credibility assessment of the student and witnesses is not subject to review by the dean. The student must state the basis for this belief and provide relevant supporting information.
  2. New information that was not reasonably available at the time of the hearing and would have substantially impacted the decision. The student must provide a summary of this new information and its impact.
  3. Procedural irregularity in the investigation or disciplinary committee proceedings that was substantial enough to undermine the student's ability to present a defense or provide relevant supporting information. The student must identify the specific investigative or hearing procedure that was not followed, along with a summary of how it undermined the student's ability to present a defense or provide relevant supporting information.
  4. Bias or conflict of interest by an investigator or committee member. The student must state the basis for this belief and provide any supporting information.
  5. Inappropriateness of the sanction for the violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

Generally the appellate process does not require the dean to make personal contact with the student or the Student Disciplinary Committee. The dean may, but is not required to, convene an advisory committee to assist in making a recommendation to the dean regarding the appeal. The dean shall not be bound by the committee's recommendation.

The dean may affirm, reverse, or modify the sanction. The dean may also return the case to the associate dean or the Student Disciplinary Committee chair for further consideration. The dean's decision shall be final and effective immediately. A letter describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for the decision will be emailed to the student's pepperdine.edu account.

X. Disciplinary Records

Other than University dismissal or permanent withholding of a degree, disciplinary sanctions will not be made part of the student's permanent academic record, but will become part of the student's disciplinary record. Cases involving the imposition of sanctions other than University expulsion or dismissal or withholding of a degree will be expunged from the student's record seven years after graduation.

If a Pepperdine student is under the age of 21, the University may disclose to a parent or legal guardian of the student information regarding any violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or any rule or policy of the University governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance, regardless of whether that information is contained in the student's educational records.

Federal law permits the release of information from a student's records to his or her parents if the student is a dependent for federal income tax purposes unless the student has submitted credible evidence of non-dependency. Parents requesting information may be granted access upon submission to the University of a signed statement or other evidence of Federal Income Tax Dependency. Therefore, the University may, in its sole discretion, disclose personally identifiable information to parents who claim a student as a federal income tax dependent. In implementing this discretionary policy, it shall be the University's objective to safeguard the privacy of students while recognizing the supporting parents' legitimate needs for information about their tax dependent son's or daughter's behavior.

Furthermore, the University may disclose the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence, or a non-forcible sex offense (including, but not limited to, incest; or statutory rape, which in California is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse with an individual under 18 years old who was not the defendant's spouse at the time of the intercourse), if the institution determines as a result of that disciplinary proceeding that the student committed a violation of the University's rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense.

The disclosure of the final results include only the name of the student, the violation committed (i.e., the University rule or policy that was violated and any essential findings supporting the University's conclusion that the violation was committed), and any sanction imposed by the University against the student (i.e., a description of the disciplinary action taken, the date of its imposition and its duration). The University also may disclose the final results before all internal reviews and appeals have been exhausted. The name of any other student, including a victim or witness, may not be disclosed without the prior written consent of that other student.

The final results of a disciplinary proceeding may be disclosed to the victim regardless of whether the University concluded that the alleged perpetrator committed a violation of a University rule or policy. The final results of a disciplinary proceeding may be disclosed to the public when a student is alleged to have been a perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, and actually committed a violation of the University's rules or policies with respect to that allegation. See the Student Records Policy for additional information.

Last Updated: August 16, 2019

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