NOTE: SUNY Geneseo originally sent us the conduct procedures that take place when an individual is charged with a violation of the student code of conduct. The excerpt at the bottom of this story is the procedure that is enacted when organizations are charged with a violation, as in this case.
GENESEO – SUNY Geneseo revoked a suspension for the activities of Alpha Chi Rho following an investigation into allegations of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
On Wednesday, SUNY Geneseo provided the following official statement on the incident:
Student organizations are an integral part of the co-curricular life on the Geneseo campus. Such organizations exist to offer a maximum number of opportunities for students to pursue their educational, social and recreational interests. Insofar as they are sanctioned, recognized*, and supported by the College, they become an extension of the SUNY Geneseo community. It is expected that each organization receiving the privileges of recognition will accept the responsibility of representing the College both on and off campus in a positive manner. Part of that responsibility will include adherence to the Student Code of Conduct.
An established conduct procedure will be used when recognized student organizations, including Club sports and intercollegiate athletic teams of the College, violate the Student Code of Conduct. This policy does not supersede the administrative prerogative to withdraw recognition for just cause from any campus organization.
The Dean of Students or his/her designee is responsible for the investigation of all complaints or reports charging misconduct by any recognized student group. If it is determined that there may be cause for action against a recognized student group, the matter will be referred to the Student Conduct Board. If after investigation the incident appears to result from individual rather than group action, the individual student’s behavior will be subject to review under the Student Conduct Procedure. Referral of a charge against a group to the Student Conduct Board does not preclude parallel action against the individual students through the College Conduct Procedure in the same case.
Members of the Student Conduct Board Committee are appointed from three of the College’s constituent groups: faculty, administrative staff, and students. The total membership will consist of at least three appointees from each constituent group. After appropriate consultation, the Vice President for Student and Campus Life will recommend to the President each year the names of the members. The President’s appointments to the Committee may be for a specified period of time with there being no limit on the length of time any one individual may serve.
Primary consideration for selection to this Committee is membership in, or advisor to, a recognized organization.
A member of each constituent group will be selected to constitute the Student Conduct Board of three members for each case. The Dean of Students or designee will serve as non-voting chair of each Board. The Dean of Students or designee will prove the charges, introduce evidence and other pertinent information for consideration by the Board. Determination of procedures, introduction of witnesses, rules of evidence, and participation of advisors or attorneys shall be the responsibility of the Dean of Students or designee.
Charges will be presented to a representative of a student organization accused of violation of the Student Code of Conduct no less than three days before the scheduled hearing before the selected Board. The advisor of record of the organization also will receive a copy of the charges and be invited to attend the hearing. The charged organization’s representatives will be given the opportunity to meet with the Dean of Students or designee prior to the hearing to discuss the hearing process and procedures. It will be the responsibility of the charged organization to select no more than two of their members as representatives of the organization at the hearing and any pre-hearing or post-hearing meetings. These individuals will remain the organizational representatives throughout the appeals process. The advisor to the organization may attend all sessions and meetings but is not required to do so.
The hearing process is not based on legal standards and allows the Board full access to all pertinent information related to the charges under consideration. The organization’s representatives are asked to explain and present evidence related to the charges and they are offered an opportunity to discuss with members of the Board all relevant implications of the behavior of their members. They may bring forward a reasonable number of witnesses to provide testimony on the charges and on behalf of the organization. In addition, they may directly question any witnesses that have presented testimony or evidence to the Board related to the organization’s misconduct, unless they have agreed in advance that the written statements of the witnesses are correct. Hearings conducted by the Board are not open to the public. The current College policy regarding the Right to Legal Counsel will apply to these procedures.
The Board first determines by majority vote of its members whether or not the organization has violated the standards of conduct. If the majority find the organization has violated the standards of conduct, the Board will, by majority vote, determine the conduct action to be taken against the organization. The organization’s representatives will be provided the opportunity to provide the Board with information about any extenuating circumstances or other factors that should be considered by the Board prior to the determination of conduct action.
The Board’s determination and decision on conduct actions is communicated to the representatives of the organization orally and in writing by the Dean or his/her designee. A copy of the written decision is kept on file in the Dean of Students’ Office. The advisor of the organization is provided a copy of the decision and, if the organization has an external affiliation, the headquarters of the organization will be sent a copy of the charges and the decision. The Board may take any of the following conduct actions:
- Written Warning – A letter from the Dean of Students or designee reviewing the behavior of the organization that was inappropriate and expectations for the future. The consequences of similar behavior in the future should be clearly stated. The date on which the Letter of Warning will be removed from the file should also be included.
- Probation with Sanctions – A severe warning that will require the organization to take specific actions or refrain from certain activities. Specifically, an organization may be required to:
1. Perform a specific community service for a specified amount of time or for a specific purpose;
2. Organize and complete a fund-raising activity with the proceeds to be donated to a designated organization;
3. Make restitution of a specified dollar amount to the individual or group injured by the actions of the organization;
4. Be prohibited for a specified period from the use of College facilities or participation in certain Campus activities;
5. In manner to be determined by the Dean of Students, distribute a written public apology to the College and/or local community.
- Suspension of Recognition – The withdrawal of recognition and its privileges for a specified period of time. Any conditions required for the rerecognition of the organization should be specified in writing.
- Withdrawal of Recognition – The permanent withdrawal of recognition and its privileges.
An organization that has received a conduct sanction under this procedure has the right to appeal the Board’s decision to the Vice President for Student and Campus Life. The appeal must be in writing and received by the Vice President’s Office within five (5) working days of the receipt by the organization of the written decision of the Board. The decision of the Vice President will be reviewed by the President of the College before it is issued in writing to the organization’s representatives.
It is expected that the organization representatives making the appeal will meet with the Vice President after submitting their written appeal. The Vice President may uphold the conduct sanction or take a lesser action. The conduct sanction may not be increased in the appeals process. The conduct action taken by the Board will not be implemented until the appeal process is concluded.
If the Vice President is not available to hear an appeal or was involved in initiating charges against the organization, the President of the College will select another administrative officer to hear the appeal.
An organization that fails to fulfill or implement a Board’s conduct action or an action decided on appeal will lose its recognition.
Organizations and advisors are given copies of these procedures at the time they are notified of a conduct review. The College administration may at its discretion make public the charges against the organization and the final conduct penalties imposed by this procedure.
The College retains the right to move forward with this procedure if the charged organization does not participate in a timely manner.
(* Recognition is a formal process by which student social, academic, fraternal and service organizations are allowed to function by the College.)