Feb 24, 2020  
2018-2019 Student Handbook 
    
2018-2019 Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Student Code of Conduct & Judicial Process


6.1 GENERAL REGULATIONS OF STUDENT CONDUCT AND DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS

The following is a list of rights and responsibilities of the student body of Mississippi University for Women. Also contained herein are the sanctions that can be imposed as a result of an infraction. Proper procedures are also outlined here.

Standards of Student Conduct

All students shall be free to exercise all constitutional rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, and the Constitution of the State of Mississippi. Nothing contained herein shall supplant, supersede, override, or infringe upon the authority of the aforementioned documents.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

  1. Students at The W are members of a community designed to encourage academic excellence. The privilege of belonging to this community requires that students assume responsibility for themselves and others. Every student must respect the rights and privileges of others and federal, state, and local statutes.
  2. Upon enrollment at The W, students must assume the responsibility for being fully acquainted with published rules and regulations and for complying with them in the interest of an atmosphere conducive to the pursuit of knowledge.
  3. It is the responsibility of students to serve on University committees as appointed by University officials.

Primary Rights of Students

  1. The right to read and study free from undue interference in one’s room. One basic purpose of the University is the dissemination and application of knowledge. Unreasonable noise and other distractions inhibit the exercise of this right.
  2. The right to sleep, the right to one’s personal belongings, the right to free access to one’s room and suite facilities during the period that the residence halls are open, and the right to a clean environment in which to live.
  3. The right to redress of grievance. If the academic and residential communities are to function in the most educationally profitable manner, the right to initiate actions and referrals for impartial and fair adjudication of grievances is paramount. In exercising this right, the student further holds the right to be free from fear or intimidation, physical and emotional harm and to be without imposition of sanctions apart from due process.

Subordinate Rights of the Students

  1. The right to personal privacy: all persons should have freedom from the interference with their personal activities within the parameters of university policies and the Student Code of Conduct and should be able to maintain privacy for other than academic reasons.
  2. The right to host guests: All students should have an opportunity to maintain personal contacts and friendships with other persons to fulfill their needs for socialization (in accordance with residence life guidelines).

6.2 CODE OF CONDUCT

Authority

Section 615, of the Bylaws and Policies of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning delegates to the President of Mississippi University for Women “full authority in all matters concerning student affairs.”  In accordance with this responsibility, the aim of disciplinary action is the redirection of student behavior toward the achievement of academic, community and student developmental goals. This Code of Conduct applies to all official university sanctioned activities including off campus programs.

The President has delegated this function to the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) or designee(s).  It is the responsibility of the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee(s) to initiate, implement, and supervise the disciplinary process for students.

The W recognizes students as adults who are expected to obey the law and the rules and regulations of the University, to take personal responsibility for their conduct, to respect the rights of others, and to have regard for the preservation of state and University property, as well as the private property of others. Students whose conduct, whether on or off-campus, threatens to cause disorder, public disturbances, danger to themselves or others, or property damage will be disciplined. Those apprehended and proven guilty of violating the law or rules and regulations of the University may receive a maximum sanction of expulsion from the University.

The Code of Conduct applies to all students while present on campus or at a University facility. It further applies to all student conduct that occurs in connection with a University program or activity, regardless of the location.

Further, the University reserves the right to take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion, when, in the University’s judgment, a student’s conduct off-campus and not connected to any University program or activity: (1) indicates that the student may post a danger to him or herself or to others; or (2) the conduct has a negative impact on the University community or in the University’s mission.

In order to protect the university community and the educational mission of the institution although not all inclusive, the following actions will subject the student(s) to disciplinary review and/or action:

Academic Misconduct

Any form. (See Section 1.13, Academic Dishonesty Policy)

Alcohol

Possession, distribution, or use of alcoholic beverages on University-owned or controlled property or at a University-supervised activity. (See Section 7.6, Drug and Alcohol Policy)

Assault and Battery

Physical abuse to any person or the threat to offer corporal injury to another person by force, creating a fear of imminent danger, on institutional premises or at an institutionally supervised or sponsored function.

Burglary

Unauthorized Entry.

Disorderly Conduct

Public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or reckless creating a risk thereof, by engaging in fights, threats, or in violent behavior; or making unreasonable noise or offensively coarse utterance, gesture or display; or abusive language. Indecent or obscene conduct or expression on University-controlled property

Disregard for University Authority

Failure to comply with directions of University officials acting in the performance of their duties, including failure of the student to respond to requests for conferences on matters pertaining to the student at the University, whether the request is by mail, telephone, messenger, or in person.

Disruption of Activities

Intentionally disrupting or obstructing teaching, research, student proceedings, administrative proceedings, disciplinary proceeding, or any other institutional proceeding. It shall be unlawful for students to assemble on campus for the purpose of creating a riot, destruction, or disorderly diversion which interferes with the normal operation of the University.

Drugs

Possession, use, manufacture, sale, or distribution of drugs, drug paraphernalia or narcotics, including stimulants and depressants, sedatives, tranquilizers, hallucinogens, marijuana or other illegal substances on University-owned or controlled property or at a University-supervised activity. (See Section 7.6, Drug and Alcohol Policy)

Evidence of Felony

If there is evidence that a student has committed a felony and is a potential danger to the university community.

Explosive Devices

Possession or discharge of explosive devices of any kind is prohibited on campus.

False Alarms and Arson

Misusing, tampering with, or otherwise disturbing without proper cause any fire safety and/or prevention or control equipment - including, but not limited to, thermal, smoke detectors or emergency fire alarms - in University buildings. The unauthorized possession, sale, furnishing, or use of any incendiary device shall be unlawful.                                                                                                                                                                                      

Fraud

Obtaining or attempting to obtain something of value, or preferential treatment through trickery, deceit, or threatening means.  Furnishing false information to any representative of the institution in any way; misusing any University documents, records, or identification to forge, alter, lend, or sell with the intent to defraud; or passing a worthless check in payment to the University.

Gambling                                        

Encouraging, promoting, or participating in gambling on campus is prohibited.

Harassment

Conduct (physical, verbal, graphic, written, or electronic) that is (1) unwelcome; (2) discriminatory on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, veteran status or any other status protected by state or federal law; and (3) directed at an individual. Harassment violates university policy when it is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it denies or limits or is likely to deny or limit a reasonable ability to participate in or to realize the intended benefits of an institutional activity, opportunity, or resource.

Hazing

Any action taken or situation created by a person or organization, whether on or off campus, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule. (See Section 3.8, Hazing Prevention)

Littering

Dispersing litter of any form onto University grounds or within University facilities.

Off-campus Misconduct

Off-campus misconduct can be the subject of an administrative or conduct board hearing and disciplinary action.

Ordinances of Law

Any violation of civil or criminal ordinances or laws which brings into question the student’s integrity or brings discredit upon the university.

Noise

Unapproved use or moving of stationary sound systems, whether amplified or not, on campus that causes a disturbance to reasonable persons in the area, disrupts the academic, research or service activities or mission of the University.

Perjury                                                                                                                                                               

Failure to present factual or truthful testimony during an administrative hearing or conduct board hearing.

Prohibited Vehicles/Devices

The use of roller skates, rollerblades, skateboards, and hoverboards (and similar vehicles/devices) is prohibited on campus, including campus buildings and campus grounds.  Hoverboards (and similar vehicles/devices) may not be stored or charged on campus.

Reckless Conduct

Conduct that creates a substantial risk to another.

Residence Hall Violations

See Section 10, Housing and Residence Life.

Sexual Harassment

See Section 8, Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Sexual Misconduct

See Section 8, Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Stalking

Conduct that reasonably causes another to fear their safety is at risk.

Student Organizational Violations

Any breach of university student organization policies.

Theft

Unauthorized use, taking, or withholding of anything of value belonging to another individual.

Traffic & Parking

Any violation of university rules and regulations regarding the operation and parking of motor vehicles.

(See Section 4, Campus Safety, Police Department Regulations & Resources).

Treats of Violence (against another person)

Trespass

Unauthorized entry onto, or into, the property of others, including computers, computer accounts, and computer systems, and/or unauthorized possession of keys to University facilities.

Vandalism

Abuse, damage, destruction, or defacement of University, state, federal, public, or private property.

Violating University Policies

Violation of written University policies and/or rules and regulations relating to use of campus buildings and other University facilities or services that are disseminated to the campus community.

Weapons

Possession or discharge of any weapon, ammunition, explosives, or any other offensive weapon on University property or at events sponsored or supervised by the University or any recognized University organization. Weapons will include any item that is designed to replicate or simulate actual firearms or other weapons. (See Section 4.9, Firearms Policy).

6.3 STUDENT JUDICIAL PROCEDURES

Disciplinary Responsibility

  1. The Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) or designee(s) is assigned the responsibility for disciplinary matters concerning the behavior of students, groups, and/or student organizations. When a disciplinary matter is reported to the VPSA office, it will be reviewed promptly. If there is a basis for charges, written notification will be sent to those involved outlining initiated proceedings.
  2. Disciplinary procedures are initiated by an official incident report, police report or valid complaint. The VPSA or designee(s) investigates to determine if there is sufficient cause to proceed with a pre-hearing meeting. 
  3. The W disciplinary proceedings may be initiated against a student charged with conduct that potentially violates both the criminal law and the Student Code of Conduct (that is, if both possible violations result from the same factual situation) without regard to the pendency of civil or criminal proceedings. At the discretion of the VPSA or designee(s), a proceeding under the Student Code of Conduct may be carried out before, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings.  Determinations made or sanctions imposed under the Student Code of Conduct shall not be subject to change because criminal charges arising out of the same facts were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of or against the criminal defendant.

Judicial Procedures

Pre-hearing Meeting  

During the pre-hearing meeting, the VPSA or designee(s) will discuss the allegation(s) and inform the student, group, or registered student organization about their rights to defend the allegations. During the pre-hearing meeting, the student, group, or registered student organization will be informed of the hearing process and their appeal rights.Based on the alleged incident, the VPSA or designee(s) may determine that an administrative hearing will be conducted in lieu of a conduct board hearing.

Administrative Hearing

An administrative hearing is conducted by the VPSA or designee(s).At least three business days before the hearing, written notification will be provided to the student, group, or registered student organization regarding the date, time, location of the hearing, allegations, and hearing procedures.The notification may be hand delivered or sent to the student’s university email address.Based on the information presented during the administrative hearing, the VPSA or designee(s) may issue an appropriate sanction(s) as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.See Hearing Procedures below for the hearing process.

Conduct Board Hearing

The VPSA or designee(s) is assisted in the disciplinary proceedings by a Conduct Board. Each year, the VPSA or designee(s) will select 3 students, 3 faculty members, and 3 staff members to serve as members of the conduct board.  The VPSA or designee(s) will select 1 member from the aforementioned groups (a maximum of 3) for a conduct board hearing.  The VPSA or designee(s) will attempt to select a representative from each group i.e. faculty, staff, and students to serve on the panel for each hearing.  At least three business days before the hearing, written notification will be provided to the student, group, or registered student organization regarding the date, time, and location of the hearing, allegations, and hearing procedures.  The notification may be hand delivered or sent to the student’s university email address.  Based on the information presented during the conduct board hearing, the panel will recommend appropriate sanction(s) as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct to the VPSA or designee(s). The VPSA or designee(s) will then notify the student, group, or registered student organization of the final sanctions. See Hearing Procedures below for the hearing process. 

Hearing Procedures

Student Notification

  1. The student, group, or registered student organization shall be notified in writing by the VPSA or designee(s) of the allegations. The time, date, and location of the administrative or conduct board hearing will be outlined in the letter of notification. 
  2. The letter of notification will include the following information: 
  • That the student, group, or registered student organization may bring any witnesses to the hearing to present information on his/her behalf.
  • That the student, group, or registered student organization may be accompanied by an advisor during any time that she/he may appear before the VPSA, designee(s), or conduct board. If the advisor is an attorney, the VPSA, designee(s), or conduct board must be notified 48 hours before to the hearing.  The advisor is not allowed to participate in proceedings.
  • That the student, not the advisor, is responsible for presenting their case. Therefore, the advisor may not address the VPSA, designee(s), or conduct board members and/or speak during the proceedings.
  • While not required, if direct questioning is in the best interest of the proceedings, the accused shall be permitted to question witnesses testifying at the hearing.  Questioning may be conducted indirectly through the VPSA, designee(s), or conduct board.
  • That the hearing shall be conducted in accordance with policy set forth in Hearing Outline below.
  1. The letter of notification may be hand delivered or sent to the university email address as recorded in the Office of the Registrar.  The letter shall be sent at least three business days before the time designated for the students’, groups’, or registered student organizations’ appearance before the VPSA, designee(s), or conduct board, unless a shorter period of notification is agreed to by the student.

Rights of the Victim

  1. The right to be kept informed throughout the process by the VPSA, designee(s), or conduct board.
  2. The right to have the presence of an advisor at the administrative or conduct board hearing.
  3. The right to present witnesses and pertinent information for consideration.
  4. The right to remain present throughout the administrative or conduct board hearing excluding conduct board deliberations, unless the victim is to be called as a witness. If the student is to serve as a witness to the victims(s) will not be allowed to remain present during periods of questioning that may impede fair and objective response. (see Hearing Outline below for the hearing process).
  5. The right to submit, orally or in writing, a victim impact statement to the VPSA, designee(s), or conduct board.
  6. The right to have past unrelated behavior excluded from any administrative or conduct board hearing.
  7. The right to be informed of the outcome of the administrative or conduct hearing.

Hearing Outline

  1. The purpose of the administrative or conduct board hearing is to reach a decision regarding the alleged’s responsibility for violation of University rules or regulations, to provide due process for the alleged, and to recommend a sanction. Such decisions may affect students, groups, and registered student organizations and their relationship to the University.  Attendance at an administrative or conduct boarding hearing is limited to only those individuals directly involved or those requested by the VPSA or designee(s). The confidentiality of all student cases should be maintained.
  2. Rules and procedures for conducting disciplinary hearings are as follows:
  • Call to order.
  • Presentation of the charge(s).
  • A call is made for the plea of the alleged to the charges. Alleged may plea responsible, not responsible, or no plea. Failure to appear could result in further disciplinary action. Notification must be made in writing to the VPSA, designee(s), or conduct board at least 48 hours prior to the administrative or conduct board hearing.   
  • Information will be presented against the alleged, which may include testimony of witnesses and supporting information on the charges. The alleged may ask questions of these witnesses present or rebut any information presented.
  • The alleged may present a response which may include testimony of witnesses and supporting information.
  • All witnesses will be called separately and may not hear each other’s testimony.
  • Examination and questioning by the VPSA or designee(s) (administrative hearing) or members of the conduct board (conduct board hearing) will follow both the presentation by the University and the defense of the alleged.
  • The decision is reached by the VPSA or designee(s) (administrative hearing) or members of the conduct board (conduct board hearing) as to whether the student, group, or registered student organization are responsible for the violation. These deliberations (conduct board hearing) will be closed to all, but the members of the board; however, the University Counsel may assist the conduct board.  The deliberations may extend beyond the scheduled hearing date.
  • The conduct board will present a written finding and recommended sanction(s), if any, to the VPSA or designee(s).
  • The VPSA or designee(s) has sole discretion in the application of sanctions and will use the recommended sanctions in the final determination of sanction(s). The VPSA or designee(s) will in turn so inform the alleged, in writing, as soon as possible of the findings and sanction(s).

Appeals

A. The student, group, or registered student organization can appeal the decision of an administrative or conduct board hearing in writing to the VPSA or designee(s) within five business days from the date of receiving notification.  All appeals must be based on one or more of the followings factors:

  1. An error in procedure, which prejudiced the process to the extent that the participant was denied a fundamentally fair hearing as a result of the error. Procedural flaws alone are not grounds for an appeal. Significant procedural errors that may have affected the verdict or sanction will be considered.
  2. The emergence of new evidence that could not have been previously discovered and that, had it been represented at the initial hearing, would have substantially affected the original decision of the hearing official or hearing body.

B. The student, group, or registered student organization must indicate in their correspondence to the VPSA or designee(s) the basis for the appeal.  Based on the merit of the appeal, the VPSA or designee(s) will decide the appeal.  The decisions of the VPSA or designee(s) shall be made in writing to the student, group, or registered student organization granting or denying their request.  The decision of the VPSA or designee(s) is final, except in those cases where a student, group, or registered student organization receives expulsion as a sanction.

C. Appeals will depend on the hearing officer and may be heard by the VPSA, designee(s), or by the President of the University.

Sanctions

Sanctions are designed to promote the University’s educational mission. More than one sanction or any combination of sanctions may be imposed for any single violation. Students who fail to complete assigned sanctions in the prescribed time may experience a judicial hold being placed on the student’s account. In addition to a judicial hold, students and organizations that fail to complete sanctions may be charged with Disregard for University Authority.

Students, group or registered student organization found responsible for violating University Policy, regulation, city, state or federal law, may receive one or more of the following sanctions:

This cannot be considered an exhaustive list, as it may be enlarged or modified to meet the circumstances of a given case.

Expulsion: permanent severance of the student from the University community without the possibility of readmission.

Disciplinary suspension: separation of the student, group or registered student organization from the University for a period of time, after which the student, group or registered student organization is eligible to return. Conditions for the readmission may be specified.

Temporary suspension: prompt and decisive action may be taken by the VPSA or designee(s) in extreme cases before there is opportunity to conduct a hearing, as in the cases in which a student’s, group’s, or registered student organization’s continued presence on campus constitutes immediate threat or injury to the well-being or property of members of the University community or to the property or the orderly functioning of the University. Students, groups, or registered student organizations who receive this sanction, will receive a prompt hearing.

Probation: a written notice to a student, group or registered student organization for violation of specified policies. Probation is for a defined period of time and includes the possibility of more severe sanctions if the student, group or registered student organization if found responsible for violating any University rules and regulations during the probationary period. The student, group or registered student organization may not participate in MUW sponsored trips during probation period.

Restrictions: the withdraw of specified privileges for a defined period of time.

Reprimand: written statement of disapproval to the student, group or registered student organization that repetition of conduct found wrongful within a specific period of time may be cause for more severe disciplinary action.

Restitution: reasonable compensation for loss, damage or misappropriation. The monetary reimbursement can be part of, or in addition to, other disciplinary action. Restitution may take the form of community service, monetary compensation, or material replacement.

Residence hall probation: probation is for a defined period of time and includes the possibility of more severe sanctions if the student is found responsible for violating any University rules and regulations during the probationary period. Any further disciplinary violation may result in their removal from the residence halls.

Loss of residence hall living privilege: removal from university housing for disciplinary reasons.

Community service: assignments for the benefit of the University or community. This service can include but is not limited to the assignment of work hours, activity planning, program development, review of pertinent materials, or required attendance at a “help” agency.

Educational program: students, groups or registered student organizations may be required to complete an educational assignment directly related to the violation of the Student Code of Conduct committed.

Parental notification

Loss of privileges: denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time. This may include, but is not limited to, loss of visitation rights, denial of participation in specific programs, denial of participation in University related organizations or groups, denial of the right to attend University sponsored events, and denial of access to campus resources or facilities.

No contact order: no further communication (verbally, physical, or electronic) with a specific person for a specified period of time or throughout their matriculation at the university. This no contact order includes direct and indirect communication through electronic devices and other individuals.

Counseling consultation: student may be required to attend sessions with a counselor for an assessment when deemed necessary.

Residential Students

For residential students, Contract probation and/or termination from the residence hall or university, withdrawal of privileges, changes in housing assignment, suspension or expulsion may result because of inappropriate behavior within the residence hall. Residents should be aware of specific regulations and policies of the residence hall system outlined in the Housing and Residence Life section. (See Section 10, Housing and Residence Life).  

6.4 WITHDRAWAL FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL OR MEDICAL REASONS

The procedures for involuntary withdrawal are meant to be used only after attempts to secure voluntary cooperation for a psychological evaluation or withdrawal have been exhausted, and will be used only after thoughtful consideration.

Involuntary Withdrawal

An involuntary withdrawal is necessary when a student:

  1. Engages in behavior which is imminently harmful to others; or
  2. Is unable to meet reasonable institutional standards of conduct; and in which there is serious question about the student’s appreciation of the nature and quality of the behavior(s) in question.

Procedure

  1. Withdrawals will be initiated on the recommendation of professional staff (physician, clinical psychologist, counseling psychologist, or other appropriate staff). Decisions to withdraw will be forwarded to the VPSA.
  2. Readmission requests from those withdrawn under this procedure will be referred to the VPSA for review. Reviews will draw upon resources outside the university for statements on treatment and prognosis, and will be considered by the Behavioral Intervention Team, as needed.
  3. All decisions will be made on a professional and confidential basis and will include the consideration of the nature of the withdrawal, the availability of treatment outside the institution, the availability of parental or guardian supervision, and the welfare of the individual as it relates to the welfare of the institution.

Voluntary Leave of Absence/Voluntary Withdrawal

A student may also petition the Vice President for Student Affairs to receive a voluntary withdrawal or leave of absence for psychological or medical reasons. The request may or may not be granted, based on the circumstances of the request and appropriate documentation provided by The W’s Counseling Center staff, licensed counselor, psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, or physician.

Removal from Residence Halls

Students may be removed from the residence halls for psychological reasons if their behavior seriously interferes with the living environment of the other students in the residence halls but is not severe enough to warrant a student being required to take a mandatory leave of absence from the university. A representative of the Vice President for Student Affairs will enlist the university’s Behavioral Intervention Team and/or The W’s Counseling Center staff to assist in making decisions about requiring students to take a leave of absence from the residence halls.

A student may appeal a removal from the residence halls by presenting their case to the Vice President for Student Affairs. A student will be given an opportunity to examine the evaluation and discuss it with a university representative before a final determination is made.