Publication: Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, 2006-07

II. Students and the University (cont.)

University Discipline

The Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline (Undergraduate)

Powers

The Committee on Discipline, comprising students, faculty members, and administrators, is responsible for the administration of the stated rules and regulations governing undergraduate conduct, for assessing reported violations, and, when necessary, for assigning and recommending appropriate penalties.

Membership

The committee consists of five student members selected by the Undergraduate Student Government, four elected members of the faculty, an Associate or Assistant Dean of the College, the Vice President for Campus Life, who sits with the committee without vote, the Dean of Undergraduate Students, who serves as chair and votes only in the event of a tie as set forth below, and an Associate or Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Students who serves as secretary without vote. A quorum consists of at least three student members and at least two faculty members. Either the Vice President for Campus Life or the Associate Dean of the College shall have the duties and powers of the Dean of Undergraduate Students in his or her absence.

General Procedures

If a student is alleged to have committed a minor infraction for which precedents are available and for which the penalty will not interrupt the student’s academic career, he or she is first asked to meet with the appropriate Director of Studies (if the student lives in a residential college) or with the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students (if the student lives in one of the upperclass dormitories or off campus). The Associate Dean or the Director of Studies will investigate all complaints promptly. The facts of the case are discussed and the student is given ample time and opportunity to present his or her account of the incident in question. If the student lives in a residential college, the Director of Studies brings the case forward (with a recommendation for action) to the Residential College Disciplinary Board, composed of the five Directors of Studies, and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students. The Residential College Disciplinary Board determines the appropriate action, up to and including disciplinary probation. If the student lives in an upperclass dormitory or off campus, the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students takes the appropriate action (up to and including disciplinary probation). Other deans in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students may assist the Associate Dean in the investigation and resolution of any case.

A student has the right to appeal to the Dean of Undergraduate Students any disciplinary decision of an Associate Dean or any decision by the Residential College Disciplinary Board (RCDB). The purpose of the appeal is to seek a review of a decision or penalty on the grounds that (1) there exists substantial relevant information that was not presented, and reasonably could not have been presented, to the dean or the RCDB, or (2) the imposed penalty does not fall within the range of penalties imposed for similar misconduct. The purpose of such an appeal is not to initiate a review of substantive issues of fact, or a new determination of whether a violation of rules has occurred. The deadline for filing such an appeal is one week from the date of the original decision and must be presented in writing. The decision of the Dean of Undergraduate Students shall be final.

All alleged academic infractions and any other potentially serious infraction for which the penalty might interrupt the student’s academic career are normally referred directly to the Committee on Discipline. Other cases, judged to be minor, but for which no clear precedent exists, are also normally referred to the committee. In all cases referred to the committee, the student involved is informed in writing of the reason for being summoned and of the specific day and time when the student is to appear before the committee. The student may obtain from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students reports of the alleged misconduct and the names of the members of the committee. Matters shall be presented to the committee with all reasonable promptness. Where a matter is first presented to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students within one week of the end of an academic term, it may be held for consideration in the following term.

In exceptional circumstances involving infractions described in the preceding paragraph, a student may request a hearing by the Dean of Undergraduate Students, waiving the right to a hearing by the Committee on Discipline. If the Dean agrees to hear the case, the student retains the right to appeal the decision to the Dean of the College.

Disciplinary cases involving allegations of sexual harassment or assault by a student (undergraduate or graduate) that are not resolved by the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students, the Associate Dean of the Graduate School, or the Residential College Disciplinary Board will be adjudicated by a designated subcommittee of the Committee on Discipline, which will make recommendations concerning its findings and, if necessary, a penalty, to the Dean of Undergraduate Students or to the Dean of the Graduate School. A more detailed description of these procedures is available in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students and in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School. Appeals of the decision of the respective Deans will follow the normal procedures governing the review of disciplinary decisions for undergraduate and graduate students.

Pending action on the charges by the committee or pending an appeal, the student may remain in residence on campus, attend classes, and make use of all University facilities, except for reasons relating to the student’s physical or emotional safety or well-being, or for reasons relating to the safety of other members of the University community or of University property. The student should understand that, if the committee’s decision proves adverse, or if an appeal proves unsuccessful, the decision of the committee will normally be considered effective as of the date of the original decision. In cases adjudicated prior to the last day of classes, if the final decision is a dismissal from the University (i.e., suspension, required withdrawal, or expulsion), the student will normally not earn credit for the semester in which the infraction occurred. If the case is adjudicated during reading or exam period or if the student has successfully completed course requirements while awaiting the final disposition of the matter, obtaining credit for the semester will be at the discretion of the Committee. Pending a hearing, or the student’s decision about whether to appeal a dismissal from the University or the withholding of the degree and while an appeal is in process, the student’s University transcript will bear the notation: “Status Under Review.” Should the student decide not to appeal a dismissal or the withholding of the degree or should an appeal not result in an alteration of the committee’s decision to dismiss the student or withhold his or her degree, the Registrar will record the fact of the penalty on the student’s transcript.

Conduct of Hearings

The student may be accompanied at the committee hearing by an adviser, who must be a current member of the resident University community, and who may participate in the same manner as the student in the hearing. At the hearing any person with information about the matter before the committee may be requested to appear by the student, the Dean of Undergraduate Students, or the committee, subject to reasonable limits agreed on by the committee. The student may invite one member of the resident University community, whose only role is to provide information about the character and qualities of the student, to speak on his/her behalf at the hearing. The student has the option of submitting additional statements in writing. The student has an opportunity to explain the circumstances from his or her point of view and may also question individuals who have provided information and may in turn be questioned by the committee members. After such questioning the student is given further opportunity to speak and is then excused while the committee deliberates and arrives at a decision by individual vote. In order to determine that a student has violated a University rule, a majority of the voting committee members present must conclude that the evidence presented constitutes a clear and persuasive case in support of the charges against the student. If the student is found to have misled the committee during the hearing, the committee may take that fact into account in reaching a conclusion and assigning a penalty.

The chair or the secretary of the committee informs the student promptly of the decision. If a penalty is imposed, special effort is made in this discussion to ensure that the student fully understands why the penalty was imposed and its nature and consequences. The student has the right to receive a copy of the summary report of the proceedings upon request.

There may be some occasions in which, because of external legal proceedings, the student believes that there are compelling reasons for refusing to speak or to answer questions. In the event that (1) legal proceedings—including but not limited to arrest, summons, and indictment—have been instituted or are anticipated against a student in state or federal courts as a result of his or her alleged involvement in the matters that the committee is investigating and (2) the alleged misconduct is more serious than a disorderly person offense, the student will be granted permission not to speak or to answer questions without prejudicing the committee’s decision. In the case of other external proceedings, the committee will consider the student’s reasons for declining to speak within the full context of its knowledge of the case before it, and if it deems these reasons legitimate it will excuse the student from giving information without prejudice to its disposition of the case. In instances as set forth above, when a student has chosen not to speak, and when the committee does not have enough information to come to a conclusion, at the discretion of the Dean the hearing may be postponed until more complete information is available. In such instances the Dean normally will suspend the student, pending disposition of the legal proceedings and recommencement of the hearing. Such suspension should be without prejudice. The committee must explain to the student the risks either of speaking freely or of not speaking at all.

If the voting members are evenly divided on a particular case, the case must be reconsidered at the next meeting of the committee. If at the second meeting at which the case is considered the regular voting members are still evenly divided, the Dean of Undergraduate Students votes to break the tie.

Appeals

A student has the right to appeal questions of procedural unfairness only to the Judicial Committee of the Council of the Princeton University Community, in accordance with the appeal procedures defined by the Judicial Committee. (See pages 27–28.)

A student may appeal to the Dean of the College, seeking a review of a decision or penalty on the grounds that (1) there exists substantial relevant information that was not presented, and reasonably could not have been presented, to the Committee on Discipline, or (2) the imposed penalty does not fall within the range of penalties imposed for similar misconduct. The purpose of such an appeal is not to initiate a review of substantive issues of fact, or a new determination of whether a violation of rules has occurred. If the Dean concludes after such a review that an additional hearing is warranted, the original hearing body will normally perform these functions. Also, if the Dean determines that a penalty of the Committee on Discipline (or the Dean of Undergraduate Students) should be altered, the Dean will make a recommendation to the President, describing the reasons for the proposed modification, and the President will decide whether or not to implement the recommendation.

The deadline for filing either such appeal is one week from the date of decision by the Committee on Discipline.

Records of Proceedings

Confidential records of all proceedings of the Committee and of the actions of the Residential College Disciplinary Board and the Deans are maintained in the offices of the Associate Dean. The use of these documents is restricted according to the rules and procedures concerning the confidential nature of student records.

Disciplinary procedures normally involve only the student and the University. Generally, the student’s family is not informed while disciplinary procedures are under way. When, however, in the judgment of the University the welfare of the student or the community warrants communication, family members may be contacted during the disciplinary process. All disciplinary decisions resulting in serious penalties (especially, but not exclusively, withholding of degree, suspension, required withdrawal, and expulsion) will be communicated to the student’s family or other legal guardian, unless the student has before the commencement of the term in question filed a statement certifying that he or she is not financially dependent as defined by the federal income tax laws.

Penalties

Penalties that may be applied by all University disciplinary bodies are set forth in the section on General Conduct, under “University Regulations,” pages 2–3.

Grievance Procedures

Information concerning grievance procedures is available on pages 18–20.

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