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Student Handbook

Student Handbook: HGSE Committee on Rights and Responsibilities

Responsibilities

The HGSE Committee on Rights and Responsibilities (CRR) handles the resolution of alleged infractions of HGSE or University rules, breaches of community standards and/or other disciplinary matters involving students at the school. With respect to alleged violations of the University Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, the CRR imposes sanctions after an investigation has been concluded in accordance with the University Procedures, as described more fully below. The CRR is not intended to handle academic matters involving student progress, which are normally within the province of the Doctoral Program Steering Committees, and the Degree Programs Office. The dean appoints the committee members and designates a faculty member to serve as chair. Convenings include at least three faculty members plus the chair.

Disciplinary cases ordinarily are considered by the CRR as quickly as is reasonably possible, given its schedule and the need to investigate matters carefully. The CRR does not meet during the summer months.

It is important to recognize that the CRR’s disciplinary system is not a legal system, and that the procedures of the CRR are designed to achieve ends different from those of criminal or civil litigation. While a court of law may only be interested in establishing innocence or guilt, the CRR is interested in the larger educational, developmental, and community implications of conduct.

Upon referral of a case, the CRR will send written notification to the respondent, providing the time and place (including virtual meetings) of the CRR hearing and inviting the respondent to attend. The notice shall provide sufficient specificity about the charges and the basis for the referral to permit the respondent to prepare a response. When a case has been referred to the CRR, the student’s transcript may be marked in the interim “disciplinary proceedings pending.”

Conduct of Hearings

The hearings of the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities will be conducted under the following conditions:

  • The chair will be responsible for initiating, moderating, and ending the hearing.
  • Members of the committee who have a direct or personal interest in the hearing may submit a request to the chair to be excused from that particular hearing. This request must be submitted prior to the hearing; the dean or dean’s designee will be responsible for appointing a substitute.
  • If two or more people have been accused of the same violation, each person may request a separate hearing.
  • During the hearing, only those directly involved in the case, that is, the members of the CRR, the complainant, the respondent, witnesses, faculty advisers or other personal advisors (officers of the university affiliated with HGSE), may be present.
  • Either the complainant or respondent may request that particular witnesses appear before the CRR; however, the CRR retains final discretion over which witnesses are asked to appear, and may limit the number of witnesses if it so elects. Witnesses who appear before the CRR will be expected to answer questions from members of the committee. Witnesses are not to discuss the case with one another throughout the duration of the hearing.
  • The respondent has the option of appearing at the CRR hearing, but is not obliged to accept this opportunity. They may submit a written statement instead of making a personal appearance.
  • Respondents who choose to appear before the committee may participate to whatever extent they feel comfortable, within the bounds of standard CRR procedures. A faculty advisor or HGSE adviser (an officer of the university affiliated with HGSE) may accompany the student. Such an advisor does not participate in the questioning or discussion with the committee, but is there as a resource for and support to the student. Members of student’s family may not serve as personal advisers for these purposes, even if affiliated with HGSE. Respondents who appear are entitled to rebut any information presented and to present their own information on pertinent matters. The respondent must indicate in writing to the committee the name of his or her faculty/HGSE or personal advisor at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.
  • The committee shall compose a written report of its findings and sanctions.
  • The associate director for master’s studies or associate dean for enrollment and student services will notify the respondent of the CRR’s decision. A written copy of the committee’s report shall be provided to the respondent.
  • In student discipline cases involving allegations of physical violence, both the student making the complaint and the student(s) charged will be informed of the committee’s decision. In cases other than those involving allegations of physical violence, it is only the student charged who is informed of the committee’s decision.

Sanctions

The Committee on Rights and Responsibilities may recommend any of the following sanctions:

  • Censure: a written or oral rebuke without further conditions.
  • Probation: conditional permission to remain in the university, with conditions established by the CRR. Any involvement in further violations would be grounds for separation from the university.
  • Failure of the Assignment and/or Course: failing the assignment without makeup, having to redo the assignment, or failing the course. Usually, these dispositions of a case are made only where it is apparent that the student did not fully understand his or her obligations.
  • Requirement to Withdraw: temporary separation from the university for a specified period of time, after which the person may be reinstated, sometimes under probation. Reinstatement ordinarily is contingent on the person’s demonstrating that they maintained a satisfactory standard of conduct during the time away, that they understand the reasons for previous difficulties, and that have taken steps to address these difficulties successfully.
  • Dismissal: action taken in serious disciplinary cases that ends a student’s connection with the university. (The action taken by the CRR is a vote of separation with a recommendation to the Dean’s Cabinet that the student be dismissed.) Dismissal must be voted by a two-thirds majority of the Dean’s Cabinet. Dismissal does not necessarily preclude the student’s return, but readmission similarly requires a recommendation by the CRR to the Dean’s Cabinet. Dismissed students are not in good standing unless and until they are officially readmitted.
  • Expulsion: the most extreme disciplinary action possible. It signifies that the student is no longer welcome in the community. (The action taken by the CRR is a vote of separation with a recommendation to the Dean’s Cabinet that the student be expelled.) Expulsion must be voted by a two-thirds majority vote of the Dean’s Cabinet. A student who is expelled can never be readmitted and restored to good standing.

The Committee on Rights and Responsibilities keeps a record of all cases that it hears. The record specifies the Committee’s recommendation and the rationale for this recommendation, and the final decision and disposition of the case. This record becomes part of the student’s educational record.

Disciplinary findings may be reflected on a student’s transcript.

Appeals and Special Cases

Appeals

A respondent who wishes to appeal a disciplinary decision must file a written appeal with the dean within one week after being notified of the decision.

Decisions by the CRR will be given deference and reviewed by the dean for clear error only. If there is new and compelling information material to the outcome, that information must be included with the appeal and will be considered only if the student can show that the new information could not have been presented to the CRR at or before the hearing.

If the dean determines that the appeal has sufficient merit to warrant further consideration of the case, they may alter the sanctions, request a rehearing by the CRR, or refer the matter to the full faculty for review. Ordinarily, the dean’s review of an appeal will be completed within 30 days.

Cases that Require Special Consideration

Cases and Court Action

HGSE may defer consideration of a case for as long as it considers appropriate if a criminal investigation or court process is pending and if the underlying allegations involve serious criminal misconduct. If, however, both the complainant and respondent (or all parties involved) prefer to have HGSE take up the case immediately, regardless of the status of legal matters, the CRR may proceed at its discretion. In all cases involving the potential for serious criminal sanctions as well as CRR review, respondents are advised to seek legal counsel.

Possible Involuntary Leave of Absence or Restrictions

As noted above in the section on Involuntary Leaves of Absence, The associate dean for enrollment and student services, in consultation with the associate dean for degree programs and other officers of the university as appropriate, may place a student on involuntary leave of absence when the student has been arrested on allegations of serious criminal behavior or has been charged with such behavior by law enforcement authorities, or when the student allegedly has violated a disciplinary rule of HGSE and his or her presence on campus poses a significant risk to the safety of others or to the educational environment of the community. The associate dean also may place restrictions on an enrolled student’s activities or living arrangements during the course of a disciplinary case.