Summary of the Discipline Process

The Conduct System - a Brief Overview

The Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA) is responsible for administering the student disciplinary system at UC Davis. As members of an academic community and of society at large, students have both rights and responsibilities. Students are expected to be aware of and follow University policies and law.

Suspected student violations of University policies or campus rules are referred to OSSJA, including academic and social misconduct, occurring on- or off-campus. Centralized reporting and handling of student discipline cases maintains consistency and fairness in treatment of cases, and centralized records ensure that repeat offenders are disciplined accordingly.

Academic honesty is very important at UC Davis. The Code of Academic Conduct is part of a long-standing honor code tradition at our campus. Students who violate the Code may be removed from school, even for a first-time violation; admitting the violation and accepting responsibility, including sanctions, may reduce the severity of the penalty. Students who admit or are found in violation of the Code normally receive a grade of "F" or zero on the work in question.

Students are also subject to discipline for social misconduct, which can range from violations of noise, alcohol, or drug policies, to disruption of class, to theft, fraud, misuse of computers, or conduct that threatens health and safety. The more serious the violation, and the higher the risk of harm to the campus community, the more severe the sanctions.

Whenever possible, informal procedures are used to resolve disciplinary matters. Temphasis is on education, personal growth and ethical behavior -- upholding standards of academic integrity and responsible conduct to protect the quality of education and the welfare of our UC Davis community. In the few cases in which formal fact-finding procedures are necessary, the system is designed to provide a timely, fair, and impartial hearing and resolution of the matter. A student may consult an advisor at any stage in the informal or formal process.

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Notice of Report. When a report is received, OSSJA notifies the student by email of the suspected misconduct, and directs the student to meet with an OSSJA officer. For reports of incidents occurring in University Housing, students receive notice of an OSSJA referral from their area Judicial Conduct Coordinator.

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The First Meeting. At the first meeting, the student is advised of his/her rights and informed of the evidence supporting the charges. The student has an opportunity to respond and to discuss possible ways of resolving the case. Residence Hall violations are subject to remedies under the student's housing contract (e.g., involuntary move/contract termination) as well as student disciplinary action (e.g., Probation or Suspension from school).

Students do not have to say anything at the informal meeting, but if they choose to speak, they must tell the truth. Providing false information in the discipline process is a serious violation which can result in removal from the University.

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Informal Disposition. Informal disposition means resolution without a formal hearing, usually by agreement between the student, the reporting party and OSSJA - including the sanction to be imposed, if any. At UC Davis, most cases (more than 95%) are resolved by mutual agreement under Informal Disposition procedures, no penalty can be imposed informally without the student's consent, unless he/she fails to participate in the disciplinary process.

If the student does not participate in this process, unilateral action can be taken or the case may be referred for formal adjudication. Unilateral action may include administrative holds on registration, transcripts, graduation, and/or diploma, or may include disciplinary Probation or even removal from the University. This means that the student needs to schedule an appointment promptly and participate in the process. A student may appeal unilateral action, but must show reasonable grounds for failing to cooperate.

If, after discussion, the student and OSSJA cannot agree on Informal Disposition, the case may be referred to the appropriate hearing body for a formal fact-finding hearing before a student-faculty panel called the Campus Judicial Board (CJB).

If, after discussion, the student and OSSJA cannot agree on whether or not a violation occurred, or, if a violation is admitted, the student and OSSJA cannot agree upon a sanction or sanctions, the case may be referred for a formal fact-finding hearing, normally before a student-faculty panel called the Campus Judicial Board (CJB).

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The Formal Hearing Process. A formal fact-finding hearing is an educational meeting, not a trial or court proceeding. The goal is to find the truth of what happened through a fair, timely, and effective process that respects and preserves the rights of all concerned: the accused student, the University community, the reporting party, and any witnesses. Hearing panel members or hearing officers are neutral decision makers (students and faculty) who should have no prior involvement in the case, and who must be able to render a fair decision; they may be challenged and removed if found to be biased.

In keeping with the University's educational goals, the accused student and the reporting party each speak on his or her own behalf, except in unusual circumstances. They may each be accompanied by an advisor. Attorneys may not represent parties before the Campus Judicial Board.

The student and the reporting party receive prior written email notice of the specific charges at issue and the date, time, and place of the hearing. The notice also summarizes the hearing procedures, including the right to an advisor, and the parties' responsibility to submit evidence and witness lists to OSSJA before the hearing.

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Hearing Procedures. Formal rules of evidence do not apply. Hearings are closed except to the hearing panel, the accused student, the reporting party, and the witnesses (who are present only during the time they testify, unless they request and receive permission from the panel to remain in the room after their testimony). Others may attend the hearing only with the approval of the hearing panel and/or OSSJA. The accused student may be present at the hearing or absent. Both the reporting party and the accused student may provide evidence and question witnesses. Panel members may also question witnesses. If they testify, parties and witnesses can be questioned and must tell the truth. The accused student may remain silent without inference of culpability. An audio recording of the hearing is kept.

After the hearing ends, a written report is prepared containing findings of fact (what happened, and was it more likely than not that the student violated University standards as suspected). Any findings of fact must be based only upon evidence received at the hearing. If the student is found in violation, the panel may recommend appropriate sanctions. In determining a sanction, the panel may consider the student's complete disciplinary file, as well as testimony from the student, OSSJA, and other witnesses. The written report is submitted to the designated University official, and the student is then notified in writing of the official decision.

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Appeals. A student who is found in violation has ten business days to file a written appeal of the decision, on one or more of the following grounds: (1) there is no substantial basis in fact to support the findings; (2) the sanction is inconsistent with the findings; (3) there was unfairness in the proceedings; or (4) there is newly discovered important evidence that was not available at the time of the hearing. The appeal may be denied, granted in whole or part, or other relief may be directed where appropriate.

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This information is excerpted from the UC Davis Policy on Student Conduct & Discipline. Copies are available upon request from Student Support and Judicial Affairs, 3200 Dutton Hall, (530) 752-1128, and on the web at http://sja.ucdavis.edu.