Under the Student Code of Conduct, any member of the University community or interested person may file a complaint of a possible violation of the Student Code of Conduct or other University behavioral expectation against a student. Complaints should be made to the Office of Student Conduct or any hearing officer and include as much specific information as possible such as a description of the incident with times and date(s), names of those involved, and location. Complaints will be evaluated for merit prior to the conduct process being started to investigate it. A person filing a complaint can be accompanied by an advisor of his/her choice to any conduct-related meeting. A meeting can be conducted prior to the filing of a complaint to discuss situations, possible approaches and available support, although the University is obligated to investigate any report involving certain topics such as sexual harassment, assault or child abuse.
Some actions that violate the Student Code of Conduct may also violate local, state or federal law. Such incidents should be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency in addition to the Office of Student Conduct. Due to the administrative nature of the student conduct process, there is no double jeopardy standard for students going through the conduct process and the legal system for the same incident. Complaints involving sexual violence, harassment or discrimination may also be reported to the Office of Social Equity. Hearing Officers can assist students in making these reports if requested.
Any immediate threats or concerns should be directed to the appropriate police agency. Local police departments include University Police at 724-938-HELP (4357) and California Borough Police at 911.
If a complaint is filed against a student, he or she will be notified of the specific part of the code potentially violated and a meeting will be scheduled with the hearing officer designated to investigate the complaint. The respondent to a complaint can be accompanied to any conduct-related meeting by an advisor of his/her choice. The hearing officer will be able to answer questions about the conduct process.
During the conduct process, the student will have an opportunity to review the complaint, present his/her side, including names of possible witnesses, and offer information about the situation. If the hearing officer believes there is sufficient information to support the complaint that a violation occurred, the respondent may be able to accept an administrative resolution with the hearing officer or request a conduct board hearing as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, Section IV, Subsection B. The student may request time to gather information or consider his/her options prior to deciding whether to accept an administrative resolution or request a board hearing prior to a decision being made.
Sanctions are imposed after it has been determined a student violated the code of conduct or other behavioral expectations. Sanctions are intended to assist students in learning from the incident, including developing a better understanding of why certain behaviors are unacceptable, stronger decision-making skills and/or a better understanding of how actions can impact themselves or others. More serious sanctions are intended to be used with repeat violators or serious incidents.
The Student Code of Conduct outlines the range of sanctions available. The specifics of some sanctions - such as restitution service or conditions of probation - may be determined by the hearing officer or board depending on the circumstances of the violation. Hearing officers may impose sanctions not included in the code if they feel it is something that will support a student learning from the situation.
Written notification will be sent to parents or guardians of financially-dependent students under the age of 21 who have been found responsible for violating University rules in regard to drugs or alcohol that are in the code of conduct after the conduct process has been completed and a final decision has been reached. This process is in place so families will be able to support students in making appropriate choices in regards to substance use. Other conduct-related information is considered confidential and can only be released with the student's written consent.