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Code of Conduct – Frequently Asked Questions

About This Policy

Responsible Office
Student Development Campus Life

Frequently Asked Questions about students conduct and University discipline procedures are provided below for students.  If you have other questions about student conduct or University policy, please contact the Director of Student Conduct at 973-655-4118.

If I am facing criminal charges for an incident, do I also have to go through the University’s conduct and discipline process?
Yes. The purpose of the University’s campus conduct process is to determine if a violation of the University Code of Conduct has occurred and to determine what consequences are appropriate. Students have a relationship with the University that is different from their responsibilities as citizens of the larger Montclair and New Jersey communities. Therefore, if a student’s behavior violates local or state laws, he or she will also face adjudication in the appropriate court system. The court system will determine whether laws have been breached. Because the campus conduct system is distinct from the courts, students should keep in mind that the University may pursue or enforce disciplinary action even if criminal charges are reduced or dismissed. This is because University hearings are internal processes meant to serve an educational rather than a punitive purpose and because they deal with the University’s Code of Conduct.

What is the difference between a Complainant, a Witness, and the Respondent?
The complainant is the person(s) who bring forth charges. For example, this could be a faculty member; a University department; or the victim in cases concerning Title IX or the University itself. The University reserves the right to act as the complainant in any case, particularly those that deal with any type of alleged harassment. A witness is someone who can give first-hand knowledge of the situation that has been reported. This is not to be confused with character witnesses, who were not present during the alleged incident. The respondent is the person who has been accused of alleged violation(s) of the Student Code. This can be a single individual or it can be multiple individuals within one case.

Can I bring a lawyer to my hearing?
The University’s procedures allow students to bring a University Adviser to any type of hearing, but an attorney may only come to a University Panel Hearing. However, students are expected to speak for themselves at hearings. Attorneys are permitted to communicate at Panel Hearings only with the individuals they represent and may not speak on behalf of a student or address the hearing body.

What documents are used during my hearing?
Documents that can be used at a student’s hearing (Panel or Administrative) would detail the alleged incident. These documents include, but are not limited to the following: Police Reports; Incident Reports; Title IX reports; Witness Statements; reports on building entry/meal plan use/etc…; and Academic Dishonesty reports. Only documents for the student’s official conduct file are kept after the process. All other documents or copies of documents already in the student’s file will be destroyed.  During Panel Hearings, all notes taken by participants will be destroyed at the conclusion of the hearing.

How does my discipline history influence my status as a student, or future cases in which I might be involved?
Your discipline history will not influence a Conduct Officer or Hearing Panel’s decision regarding your responsibility. That decision is made on a preponderance of the evidence related to the case at hand. Your history of prior violations, however, does affect your sanctions. Sanctions are cumulative, so if you have a disciplinary history at the time of the incident, you can expect more severe sanctions.

If I receive a notice and decide not to attend the meeting, can a decision still be made against me? 
Yes. The University’s procedures states that notices will be sent to your University Email account and the notice provides the alleged violations and gives the student the opportunity to attend a Conduct Conference Meeting. If a student chooses not to attend the Conduct Conference Meeting or any type of hearing, then the Conduct Officer will make a decision based solely on the information that they have in the given reports.

Can I ask for a delay in the process so I can have my legal action taken care of first? If my first request does not get approved, can I ask for another?
While students are allowed to request postponement of their hearing, allowances are limited. Generally, they are limited to sickness; health; or tragedy in family. These requests must be documented accordingly. Requests due to employment; family or legal counsel attendance; or waiting until any legal process concludes will not be approved. Further, students are only allowed one request and one postponement of the process.

What is the level of evidence used in the University’s conduct process. 
The University uses the preponderance of evidence or “more likely than not” in determining all conduct matters.

What are sanctions?
A sanction represents the consequences a student faces for violating the University’s Code of Conduct. Sanctions are intended to educate students about their responsibilities to themselves and to others as well as help them understand and critically reflect on the effects of their behaviors. In this way, sanctions reinforce the community standards that protect the rights and responsibilities of all Montclair State University students. Sanctions range from University Warning to University Expulsion.

I do not think my sanctions or stipulations are necessary, so do I have to do them? 
Yes. If you do not complete your sanctions or stipulations satisfactorily, or by the deadline indicated in your outcome letter, you will be subject to additional disciplinary action. Depending on the sanctions and stipulations issued, you may be issued additional stipulations or restrictions like having holds placed on your account, and/or you may be given more severe sanctioning that could include University Probation, University Suspension or University Expulsion. Students should keep in mind these are examples of the potential disciplinary action that may be taken if a student does not complete his or her sanctions and/or stipulations.

What can I do if I do not agree with the disciplinary action that was taken against me?
Students may appeal a Conduct Officer or Hearing Panel’s decision if they believe one of the following conditions exists:

  1. There was substantial and prejudicial failure to follow procedures.
  2. The student can provide evidence that the sanction was unduly severe.
  3. The student has additional evidence that was not available at the time of the hearing.

Additional information about filing an appeal is published in the University Code of Conduct.

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