Disciplinary Procedures and Sanctions
Find information on hearing procedures, scope of the student judicial board, temporary suspensions, student arrests, withdrawals/resignations, amendments to disciplinary procedures, inspections/search/seizure, rights of the accused, intermediate disciplinary review, involuntary medical withdrawal, disciplinary sanctions, and right to petition for readmission.
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia has delegated the responsibility for student conduct to the President of the University. The President has designated the Vice President of Student Affairs as the administrative official with primary responsibility for student discipline.
Georgia College has adopted the following policy on the standards and procedures for student nonacademic discipline, acknowledging both the need to preserve the orderly processes of the university with regard to its teaching, research, and public service missions, as well as the need to observe the student's procedural and substantive rights.
While the rules and regulations of Georgia College are not meant to duplicate general laws, there are some respects in which the lawful interests of the institution as an academic community coincide with the broader public interests treated in general laws. Students, who commit offenses against the laws of municipalities, states, or the United States, are subject to prosecution by those authorities, as well as liability for the disciplinary action under Georgia College rules when their conduct violates institutional standards.
Students enjoy the same freedom of speech and peaceable assembly that is afforded to other citizens, but students are under certain legal obligations in the exercise of these freedoms by virtue of membership in the university community. Expression may be subjected to reasonable regulations of time, place, number of persons, and form under established regulations. Expression in the form of action which materially interferes with normal activities of the institution or invades the rights of others is prohibited. Georgia College pledges to protect lawful exercise of the rights of free speech and assembly and will invoke legal and disciplinary sanctions when necessary in the pursuit of this goal.
For those cases in which the alleged misconduct arises in residence halls, involves the residence halls, or violates residence hall rules and regulations of Georgia College and the accused is a student, the Director of University Housing may delegate the hearing of that case, depending upon the severity of the alleged violation, to the appropriate Residence Hall authority. Decisions of the residence hall authority are recommendations to the Director of University Housing and may be appealed through the administrative route outlined.
In cases where the alleged misconduct includes a student employee as a resident director, resident advisor, desk worker, or other position involved in the performance of assigned university duties and responsibilities, the Vice President for Student Affairs or his designee shall assume jurisdiction and handle discipline with due process and procedures as outlined below.
Definition of Student
Student, for the purposes of this document, means any person who is registered for study in the university for the current academic period. A person shall be considered a student during any period which follows the end of an academic period in which the student has completed, until the last day for registration for the next succeeding academic period, or until fourteen calendar days have elapsed after the commencement of classes for the next succeeding academic period, whichever occurs first.
Inspection, Search and Seizure Policy
Although students are guaranteed the rights of any citizen and will not be subject to unreasonable searches and seizures, the courts have recognized the right of universities to conduct reasonable inspections, searches, and seizures in order to enforce university regulations. Georgia College reserves the right to conduct such inspections, searches, and seizures within the limits of the law.
- The university reserves the right to inspect rooms for cleanliness and possible damage. Further, it reserves the right to enter rooms or other facilities at reasonable hours in order to effect any necessary inspection or repairs of equipment and/or facilities.
- The university reserves the right to enter rooms or other facilities at any time it has reasonable cause to believe that a violation of university regulations is occurring.
- The university reserves the right to enter rooms to ensure that the building is vacated during fire drills and/or emergencies and during vacation periods.
- The university reserves the right to conduct searches of individual rooms and lockers in a residence hall or other facility on the campus if there is reason to believe that a university regulation has been violated. Prior authorization for such a search must be secured from the Vice President and Dean of Students or his designee, and must be conducted under the supervision of a professional Georgia College staff member.
- Law enforcement officials may search facilities with or without authorization from the university by means of a search warrant or consent from the owner or occupant of the property.
- Efforts will be made to have the student available when a room is searched.
- All evidence seized can be used in administrative hearings and/or disciplinary procedures concerning violations of University rules, regulations, or policy.
- Illegal property confiscated during a search will be disposed of according to state law.
- Students desiring more detailed information may contact the Office of the Vice President and Dean of Students.
Rights Of the Accused
Prior to a hearing the accused student is entitled to the following:
- Notice of the charge or charges and an outline of these rights. Notice can be given in person, or electronically via the university’s official email.
- Review of all available information documents and exhibits.
- A pre-hearing interview with the appropriate official in which these rights, responsibilities, and procedures are explained.
- For allegations of code of conduct violations, a student may choose between an administrative hearing and a Student Judicial Board hearing. Honor code offenses are typically heard by the Student Judicial Board, in accordance with the honor code policy. The Office of Student Affairs may decide to refer any case to an Administrative Hearing panel if it determines that it would be inappropriate to be heard by a student panel. An administrative hearing will be one in which the Director of University Housing or the Vice President for Student Affairs or his designee hears the case himself or chairs a panel of university faculty and/or staff, determines guilt or innocence of the student, and imposes sanctions, if applicable, on the student. The Student Judicial Board assisted by a designated faculty advisor will conduct a judicial hearing. Composition of the Student Judicial Board is outlined in this document.
Hearings to receive evidence or hear argument shall not be open to the public. The deliberations of the hearing chairperson, hearing panel, and the Student Judicial Board shall not be public.
The hearing shall be scheduled as expeditiously as possible. Hearings are schedule on the first open date of the Student Judicial Board with only the student’s class schedule taken into consideration. The Office of Student Affairs sets the hearing dates and times for the Student Judicial Board at the beginning of each term. The hearing shall be held on the date scheduled, except for good cause shown.
Procedures for Administrative or Student Judicial Board Hearings
The following procedures are in effect for Administrative or Student Judicial Board hearings:
Because these hearings are for the purpose of enforcing the student code of conduct and/or the Honor Code and are not conducted in the same manner as cases in civil courts, professional legal counsel is generally not of use to accused students. Accordingly, students may not be represented at their hearings by professional legal counsel.
During a hearing, the accused student may be assisted by an adviser or counsel of choice chosen from the faculty, staff, or student body of the university. The advisor or counsel, upon request of the accused student, may:
- Advise the student of the preparation and presentation of his case;
- Accompany the student to all judicial proceedings; and
- Participate in the disciplinary proceedings, other than advising the student, only at the discretion of the hearing authority.
During a hearing, the accused student is entitled to:
- Appear in person, hear all testimony, present any relevant information in his behalf, call witnesses, and ask questions of any present at the hearing.
- Elect not to appear at the hearing. Absence shall be noted without prejudice and the hearing shall be conducted in the student's absence.
- Refuse to answer any questions or to make a statement; however, the hearing authority shall make its decision based on information available to it.
- Be judged guilty only according to what a reasonable person believes to have occurred based upon the information introduced during the hearing.
- Challenge the hearing board for cause. The removal of a Student Judicial Board member for cause will be at the discretion of the remaining Student Judicial Board members as determined by a majority vote. Faculty advisors to the Student Judicial Board also have the right to remove members of the Student Judicial Board.
The Vice President for Student Affairs may offer opposing parties in a judicial case the opportunity to resolve the case through a mediation process rather than a formal hearing. In such a case, a hearing will be schedules only if the mediation effort proves unsuccessful.
A faculty advisor who exercises control over the hearing to avoid needless consumption of time through repetition of information and to prevent the harassment or intimidation of participants shall chair meetings of the Student Judicial Board hearing body. Any member of the hearing body may request that the body go into private session to discuss and decide a matter by majority vote. A faculty advisor can recess the hearing at any time. A faculty advisor will ensure that all procedures are appropriately followed. The Vice President for Student Affairs or his designee will chair an Administrative Hearing.
All hearings shall be conducted in an informal manner and technical rules of evidence will not be applied. The taking of the statements of witnesses may be done by discussion, though each witness shall be subject to cross-examination. When a witness unavoidably cannot be present at a hearing, a written deposition or communication by telephone is acceptable.
After all information has been presented and the accused has made a final statement, the hearing body shall meet in private to discuss the case and reach its decision. Decisions of the Student Judicial Board shall be by a majority vote of student members. A tie vote of the Student Judicial Board will constitute a finding of not guilty.
Honor code cases are typically heard by the Student Judicial Board. Charges of lying, stealing, or vandalism are heard in order to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused student. In charges of cheating or plagiarism, the appropriate faculty member(s) will determine that academic dishonesty occurred. The Student Judicial Board hears these cases to determine whether additional sanctions are warranted under the honor code. The Office of Student Affairs may decide to refer any case to an Administrative Hearing panel if it determines that it would be inappropriate to be heard by a student panel.
The Vice President for Student Affairs, faculty advisor, or designee will, upon request by the accused student, make a tape recording of all judicial and appellate board hearings. The accused student shall have the right, upon request, to listen to the tape in the presence of a staff member of the Office of Student Affairs.
The Vice President for Student Affairs, designee, or the faculty advisor shall be responsible for notifying the accused student in writing of the decision of the hearing board. Notification can be sent either in hardcopy via U.S. Mail, hand delivered, or electronically via the university’s official email.
A student found guilty shall have seven calendar days or five class days from the date the decision letter is sent from the Office of Student Affairs, whichever is later, to request an appeal. If there is no appeal within this time limit, the Vice President for Student Affairs or his designee shall implement the decision.
The request for appeal shall be written and addressed to the Dean of Students or faculty advisor for the Student Judicial Board. The appeal must state the reason(s) for believing the decision of the original hearing body to be improper. The Dean of Students may act on the appeal himself, or may appoint an ad hoc committee of faculty/staff and students to review the initial finding and make a preliminary recommendation regarding the outcome of the appeal. The Dean of Students may accept or reject the ad hoc committee's recommendations.
The decision of the Dean of Students can be appealed to the Vice President for Student Affairs with the same timeframe and procedures as listed above. The decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall be the final level of appeal.
Composition of The Student Judicial Board
The Student Judicial Board shall be composed as follows:
- The board shall consist of five student members and two nonvoting faculty advisors, with only one of the faculty advisors serving as chair of the board at any hearing. Multiple boards may be established in order to provide timely hearing dates.
- A quorum shall consist of three student members and one faculty advisor who will act as chairperson. The Student Judicial Board can meet only when a faculty chairperson is present. During Maymester, summer sessions and interim periods between semesters, a quorum shall consist of two student members and the faculty chairperson.
- The five student members shall be appointed by the President of the Student Government Association. Since the Student Judicial Board exists primarily to provide an educational peer review process, at least three of the student members must be undergraduate students. Student members become active members of the Student Judicial Board only after they have been appointed by the President of the Student Government Association and trained by a faculty advisor and/or the Vice President and Dean of Students or designee. Faculty advisors are appointed by the Deans of the academic colleges. The President of the Student Government Association may appoint replacements for student members during Maymester, summer sessions, or at any time that the original appointees are unable to serve.
- The Vice President for Student Affairs may designate a person (usually, the Student Government Attorney General) to present charges for all cases brought before the Student Judicial Board.
Scope Of The Student Judicial Board
The procedures outlined in this document do not prohibit the establishment of other student judicial bodies, which will serve as courts for original cases coming from the residence halls, and for which the Student Judicial Board will be the first appellate court.
The Judicial Board shall interpret and enforce all policies of the Student Government Association and have original jurisdiction in any cases concerning Student Government Association policies, laws, and activities, including elections.
The Student Judicial Board shall have original jurisdiction to hear all disputes concerning approved non-Greek student organizations and/or approved residence hall organizations. The Greek Judicial Board shall have jurisdiction in cases involving Greek organizations. The Vice President for Student Affairs may take temporary action on a matter involving a student organization pending a hearing by the appropriate body.
Intermediate Disciplinary Review
A Disciplinary Review Committee (ad hoc committee) shall review appeals at the request of the Vice President for Student Affairs and/or the Dean of Students on the record of decisions made at administrative or the Student Judicial Board Hearings.
A Disciplinary Review Committee shall consist of three faculty or staff members and two students, with the chair appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs and/or the Dean of Students from among the faculty or staff members. A quorum shall consist of four members including the chair.
The appeal from the accused to the Vice President for Student Affairs and/or the Dean of Students is forwarded to the Disciplinary Review Committee. The appeal must state the reason(s) for believing the decision of the original hearing body to be improper.
The parties shall have an opportunity to file briefs and present oral arguments to the Disciplinary Review Committee.
The Vice President for Student Affairs and/or the Dean of Students shall have the right to accept, modify, or reject any or all of the recommendations of the Disciplinary Review Committee.
A student may be temporarily suspended from the university, from university housing, and/or from one or more classes by the Vice President for Student Affairs pending final action on the charges against him or her if continued presence on campus would constitute a potential for serious harm to the student or to the safety of other members of the university community or of university property. Upon taking such action, the Vice President for Student Affairs shall inform the President of the University.
Except as otherwise provided in the foregoing Intermediate Disciplinary Review section, the student shall be afforded an opportunity for a preliminary hearing prior to imposition of the temporary suspension.
Before a temporary suspension may be imposed, the Vice President for Student Affairs shall make an initial evaluation of the reliability of the information received, and make further investigation as circumstances permit. If the Vice President for Student Affairs concludes that the conduct alleged warrants temporary suspension of the student, he shall notify the student of his intention to temporarily suspend him, and at the earliest reasonable opportunity provide the student with an opportunity to be heard.
If all reasonable efforts to notify the student are unsuccessful, the Vice President for Student Affairs may impose the temporary suspension without a preliminary hearing, provided, however, that the student, once notified, is afforded a preliminary hearing at the earliest reasonable opportunity.
At the hearing, the student shall be given a statement of charges and a summary of the reasons for concluding that the alleged conduct warrants temporary suspension. The issues addressed shall be limited to consideration of the reliability of the evidence against the student and whether the alleged conduct warrants temporary suspension. The decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs may be rendered orally but shall be confirmed in writing. The decision must be supported by credible evidence which is sufficient to indicate that there is probable cause to believe that the student engaged in the alleged conduct and that such conduct warrants temporary suspension.
Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Policy
A student may be administratively withdrawnfrom the university, from university housing, and/or from one or more classes when, in the judgment of the Vice President for Student Affairs and a professional member of the university's Health Services or Counseling Services staff, it is determined that the student's physical, mental, emotional or psychological health:
- (a) poses a significant danger or threat of physical harm to the student or to the person or property of others; or
- (b) causes the student to interfere with the rights of other members of the University community or with the exercise of any proper activities or functions of the university or its personnel.
Except in emergency situations, a student shall, upon request, be accorded a meeting with a University official or a hearing prior to a final decision concerning his or her continued enrollment at the university. If the student requests a hearing on such a matter, the Vice President for Student Affairs shall appoint a hearing body, consisting of students, faculty, and/or staff.
If a student is arrested, whether on-campus or off-campus, the university may judge the student's behavior a violation of a university regulation and in conflict with the recognized mission of the university. The university may initiate disciplinary procedures.
When a student is charged both with a criminal offense off the campus and charged with a violation of the student code of conduct or honor code at the university, the two processes are unrelated and conducted independently of each other. A student found not guilty in one setting may be found guilty in the other.
Disciplinary action or sanctions shall mean any action affecting the status of an individual as a student which is taken by Georgia College in response to student misconduct. The term shall include reprimands, personal probation, revocation and/or limitation of privileges, restitution, probation, suspension or expulsion, denial of particular university privileges, and other less severe actions. The sanctions of this policy may or may not jeopardize the student's progress in his course of study.
Sanctions for student misconduct may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Reprimand. The student is admonished orally or in writing to observe Georgia College rules and regulations. A copy of the written reprimand is to be filed in the Office of Student Affairs.
- Personal probation. The student shall be required to meet with a specific Georgia College faculty or staff member at intervals during the probation period, such intervals to be specified in the written decision of the adjudicating individual or body. Personal probation shall be imposed for a specified period not to exceed one full academic year (Spring to the end of the following Spring or Fall to the end of the following Fall).
- Movement within/among or removal from the residence halls. If a student is living in a residence hall he or she may be required to move into another hall or out of the residence hall system.
- Revocation and/or limitation of privileges. The student is denied or restricted from certain activities or privileges for a specified period of time. Such revocations or restrictions of privileges shall be related to the student's misconduct and shall not include attending classes or writing examinations and shall be for the purpose of preventing a recurrence of misconduct.
- Restitution. The student is required to pay for repair or replacement of damaged or stolen property. The payment required may not exceed the cost of repair or replacement of the damaged or stolen item, but a lesser amount may be specified. With the mutual consent of Georgia College and the student, the student may, in lieu of payment, arrange for repair or replacement or perform work as compensation. In the event the work option is selected, the student shall receive credit for work performed at no less than the prevailing wage rate of other student employees performing comparable work. The cumulated salary of the work performed shall not exceed the amount of the payment which otherwise would have been required. When Georgia College seeks and obtains restitution via a civil or criminal suit filed against the student, the university shall not impose restitution as a disciplinary sanction. Whenever such a suit is considered or filed, the restitution sanction shall be deferred until court action is completed.
- Disciplinary probation. The student is warned that a subsequent violation of Georgia College rules and regulations or with other standards of conduct which the student is directed to observe for the duration of the period of the probation will result in sanctions of increased severity. Disciplinary probation shall be imposed for a specified period not to exceed one full academic year (Spring to the end of the following Spring or Fall to the end of the following Fall).
- Suspension. The student is temporarily denied student status for a specified period of time with resultant loss of all student rights and privileges. Upon completion of suspension, the student shall have the same standing to re-enroll as he would have if no suspension had been imposed.
- Expulsion. The student is terminated of student status with resultant loss of all student rights and privileges. A student may petition the president of the university for readmission no sooner than three years after the imposition of this sanction.
Withdrawal or Resignation
Nothing contained in this policy shall prevent the student during investigation or after a statement of charges has been served prior to a hearing, from submitting a written resignation or leave for misconduct from the university.
In the event of such resignation, a hold is placed on the student's record, requiring a hearing to be conducted before the student may be readmitted to Georgia College.
Whenever charges or appeals are pending, a student under charges, unless temporarily suspended, shall continue to have the same rights and privileges accorded all other students. However, diplomas may be withheld pending final determination of the charges. A current transcript shall be issued at the request of the student.
Each student shall be responsible for maintaining on file with the Office of Student Affairs his current school and permanent home addresses. Notification of these addresses shall be in writing.
Right To Petition For Readmission
A student who has been expelled or suspended may petition for readmission. The petition must be in writing and directed to the President of Georgia College. Such petition may not be filed before the expiration of three years from the date of the final determination in expulsion cases, or before the expiration of one-half of the suspension. The President shall refer the petition for readmission to the Vice President for Student Affairs as custodian of the disciplinary record. The Vice President for Student Affairs shall submit all materials and/or records to the president. The President shall request that the Vice President for Student Affairs convene a Readmission Review Panel as described below.
The Vice President for Student Affairs (non-voting) shall convene a Readmission Review Panel composed of one student appointed by the Student Government Association, one staff member from the Office of Student Affairs who will serve as chair, and a faculty member from the petitioner's major department. All members must be present.
The panel will review all aspects and records of the case considering such factors as the severity of the original offense, likelihood of repetition of the offense, and possibility of other serious misconduct. This panel will submit its findings and recommendations to the President within five days after they have been convened. The President's decision to grant or deny the petition will be final.
Amendments To Disciplinary Procedures
Student disciplinary procedures shall be amended only by the University Senate in consultation with the Vice President for Student Affairs. Responsibility for proposing revisions to the student disciplinary procedures is delegated to the Office of Student Affairs.
The Office of Student Affairs shall accept and review recommendations from students, faculty and administrators regarding revisions of student disciplinary procedures and shall prepare proposed revisions and forward them to University Senate.
Nothing included above shall be construed as a limitation upon the President to propose changes without reference to the Office of Student Affairs.