Learning to live as responsible adults entails learning to live together. For Ursinus College to become a learning community, all of us must be involved in cooperating with and helping one another. Moreover, to enable us to live together, we need some basis of common understanding, some guidelines and some rules.
The Judicial System of Ursinus has the goals of 1) supporting the academic and student life programs of the College, and 2) providing a beneficial educational experience to the person accused and to other participants in the judicial process.
A call to appear before the President, the Judiciary Board, the Dean of Faculty, the Dean of Students, Residence Life, Duty Deans, Campus Safety, or the Faculty of Ursinus College takes precedence over all other duties. Students must respond promptly to such a call.
All authority for discipline is vested in the Board of Trustees of Ursinus College, which has delegated full and final authority and responsibility for disciplinary action to the President of the College. Because Ursinus is a private college in which disciplinary authority rests with the Board of Trustees, significant differences exist between college judicial process and state or federal judicial process. Because of the educational role of the disciplinary process, it is important that careful attention be paid to the validity of evidence and to the protection of those affected by violations of college policy. However, only those judicial rights and processes specifically set forth in the Student Handbook are extended to students by the College.
The Charter and By-laws of Ursinus College and the contractual relationship mutually agreed upon by Ursinus College and each student authorize the College to establish, interpret, and administer disciplinary rules and procedures.
The judicial process includes both normal and abbreviated procedures as set forth below.
Normal Disciplinary Procedures
Unless abbreviated disciplinary procedures are deemed by the President to be appropriate, disciplinary decisions will be reached by the Dean of Students or designee and the Judiciary Board. Prior to the execution of normal disciplinary procedures, the President may, if circumstances warrant, direct a student to leave the campus and return only on conditions defined by the President.
- The Dean of Students or designee is responsible for the accumulation of the facts pertinent to all disciplinary situations, for the presentation of these facts to the Judiciary Board, and for deciding on disciplinary action when so directed by the executive committee of the Judiciary Board. In this fact-finding process, all students, including the accused, are expected to participate candidly and responsibly. The purpose of this fact-finding process is to produce an accurate statement of those matters relevant to the possible infraction and to the disciplinary responses, which could be made.
- The Judiciary Board, a faculty-Ursinus Student Government Association (USGA) joint committee, is responsible for overseeing the disciplinary fact-finding of the Dean of Students or designee and, through its executive committee, for deciding whether a given disciplinary decision should be made by the Board or the Dean of Students. The faculty of Ursinus College elects three primary and three alternate faculty members to the Judiciary Board. The USGA elects three primary and three alternate student members to the Judiciary Board. The faculty elects one additional faculty member to chair the Judiciary Board. The chairperson votes only in the case of a tie.
- The Dean of Students or designee will discuss disciplinary cases with an executive committee comprised of three members of the Judiciary Board whom were selected by the Board. Both faculty and students must be represented on the executive committee. This discussion is designed to provide the Judiciary Board with the opportunity to hold a hearing if it deems this to be advisable. The executive committee will either (a) instruct the Dean or designee to proceed to make and carry out a disciplinary decision or (b) will call a full hearing of the Judiciary Board.
- If a majority of the members of the Judiciary Board executive committee so desire, or if requested by the Dean of Students, or if requested by the accused, the Judiciary Board will hold a hearing to examine the evidence presented by the Student Life staff member and the accused and make an appropriate disciplinary decision.
- A Judiciary Board Hearing shall be held only after the accused has had at least 24 hours to review and respond to the charges and an additional 24 hours to prepare for the hearing. An extension of time may be granted by the Chairperson of the Judiciary Board. Notification of the charges by the Dean of Students shall be in person and in writing and in the form of a statement of sufficient specificity and clarity that the student is reasonably able to understand the nature and extent of the allegations being made. This notification of charges must include the time and place of the hearing, a statement that encourages the accused to seek counsel from the Executive Board of the USGA, and a list of witnesses and documents to be presented at the hearing. The Dean of Students’ staff will distribute the charges and the response to the Judiciary Board before the hearing.
Hearings shall be closed. A closed hearing is attended by the Judiciary Board, the accused, the campus friend (see below for further information), the Dean of Students or designee, and one other Student Life staff member. Witnesses attend only for the limited time in which they give testimony.
Right of Challenge
The student may challenge the presence of any member of the Judiciary Board on the basis of bias or preformed judgment. Such challenge shall be presented in writing to the Dean of Students or the Chairperson of the Judiciary Board 24 hours before the meeting of the board. If the party concurs with the challenge, the party withdraws from the board. If the party does not concur with the challenge, remaining members of the board decide whether the party should remain on the Judiciary Board. Any member who withdraws or is removed from the Board will be replaced by an alternate from the list of faculty or students as appropriate.
In addition to challenge for bias, the student may challenge one member of the board with no stated reason. This challenge will be transmitted in writing to the Dean of Students or the chairperson 24 hours before the Board meets in order for an alternate be called.
Campus Friend: It is the right of the student to have a member of the campus community present at the hearing. The campus friend, while not a defense counsel is (a) a person with whom the student can discuss the situation with complete confidence; (b) moral support to the student at the hearing; (c) a witness to the observance of these procedures and the general fairness of the hearing; and (d) an observer whose opinion the President may consider in case of appeal.
The campus friend must be a current student, faculty or staff member, or administrator at Ursinus College and may speak on the student's behalf to whatever extent the student and the campus friend agree is necessary to present the student's case and to protect the student's interest. The conduct of the campus friend must accord with the procedures and rulings of the authority hearing the case.
Evidence: The Dean of Students, or a designee, and the accused, or the campus friend are authorized to present evidence to the board. The Judiciary Board shall receive all evidence presented which it deems relevant to the case. Members will weigh all evidence carefully to determine its reliability.
False Statements: Persons knowingly making false statements or misrepresentations to the Judiciary Board will be subject to severe disciplinary action in accordance with these judicial system procedures.
Participation of the Dean of Students and the Accused: It is the right of the Dean of Students or designee, and the accused to be present during the part of the proceedings where charges are being heard and evidence is being presented. The Dean of Students or designee and the accused may question any statements made or witnesses and documents presented. When the Judiciary Board debates and votes upon the charges and the penalty to be assessed, no non-members may be present.
Conduct of the Chairperson: The Chairperson of the Judiciary Board shall allow only evidence that can be shown to be relevant to the factual issue at hand.
Hearing Agenda: Judiciary Board hearings are not designed to be bound by complex rules and regulations. The following outlined agenda will serve to guide participants, but may be modified in appropriate situations at the discretion of the Judiciary Board.
- Statement of charges by the Dean of Students or designee.
- Comment on charges by the accused.
- Presentation of fact-finding report and any witnesses and documentary evidence by the Dean of Students or designee.
- Presentation of a statement, witnesses, and documentary evidence by the accused.
- Summary statement by the Dean of Students or designee.
- Summary statement by the accused.
- The Judiciary Board will then recess the hearing and meet privately to reach a decision as to guilt or innocence. The board should seek a consensus whenever possible. In the event of a tie vote, the board will discuss the matter before taking a second vote. If the tie persists, the Chairperson of the Judiciary Board will then vote.
- If a finding of guilt is made, the board shall reconvene the hearing and hear evidence from the Dean of Students and the accused regarding appropriate disciplinary action. A recommendation as to penalty may be given by the accused and/or the Dean of Students.
- The Judiciary Board will then adjourn the hearing and meet privately to make its decision regarding disciplinary action. Voting procedures will follow those set forth in #7 above.
- The Judiciary Board will notify the President, the accused, and the Dean of Students of the decision as soon as possible. Written sanctions shall be given within four days.
Disciplinary decisions of the Judiciary Board may be appealed to the President by either the accused or the Dean of Students. Decisions of the Dean of Students may be appealed to the President by the accused. Appeals must be made in writing within seven days of the original decision. The President's decision is final.
In general, disciplinary actions should be taken according to the normal disciplinary procedures set forth above. Under some unusual circumstances, however, the President may find it necessary to abbreviate normal disciplinary procedure. While it is not possible to make a definitive statement of all situations which might be deemed by the President to require an abbreviation of normal procedures, the following are examples of some such situations: violations which pose a danger to the violator or to others, violations of federal, state, and/or local laws, and violations which occur when the regular Fall or Spring semesters are not in session.
Whenever possible, these abbreviated procedures should include (a) advising those accused of the charges and discussing the facts with them, (b) informally discussing the findings of fact and proposed penalties with the Judiciary Board, with the hope but not the requirement for agreement between the Judiciary Board and the President, (c) reaching a decision by the President within 48 hours of formally advising the accused of the charges.
Pending resolution of both the abbreviated and the normal disciplinary procedures, the President may direct a student to leave campus and to return only on conditions defined by the College through the President.
All disciplinary penalties should be designed to protect the welfare of other students and the integrity of the College's academic and social programs, focus the attention of the offender upon the unacceptable nature of the infraction, and provide the best chance for the offender to reform her or his pattern of conduct. Parents or legal guardians will be notified of sanctioning for drug or alcohol offenses of all students.
The following are descriptions of some of the more common disciplinary actions, which may be taken; other appropriate sanctions, however, may be chosen.
Disciplinary Warning: Indicates by written notification that a student's behavior is in violation of college regulations. Further misconduct may result in more serious action, which could be suspension or dismissal from Ursinus. This disciplinary action may be used in combination with others.
Disciplinary Probation: Indicates a stringent written warning issued in response to more serious or frequent violations of college regulations. Probationary status is issued for a stated period of time. While on probation, the student may not represent the college in public events (e.g. intercollegiate athletics, musical organizations, etc.), hold office in any college organization, participate in student teaching or study abroad. Scholarships received from Ursinus College will be reviewed by the College Scholarship Committee. Other specific restrictions or disciplinary actions may be determined. Any further disciplinary problems may result in suspension or dismissal.
Suspension from Residence Halls: Prohibits the student from residing in any college residence hall on either a temporary or permanent basis. In the event that this action is for a stated period of time, the student may reapply for college housing. Specific additional restrictions in relation to residence halls may also apply.
Suspension from the College: Separates the student from the College for a stated period of time. Such separation prohibits attendance of any classes, social events, or other functions, or visiting the college grounds or buildings except by written permission from the Dean of Students. The student will receive Fs for all of his/ her classes during the affected semester. The student may not return to the college until the stated period of suspension is completed.
Dismissal: Separates the student from the College. Such separation prohibits the student’s presence on college grounds. The student will receive Fs for all of his/ her classes enrolled in during the affected semester. This action is part of a student's permanent record.
Restitution: Reparation will not substitute for punitive action. The hearing officer or body may also require restitution for damages or other payment for expenses incurred as a result of the student's behavior.
Service Project: If agreed to by the offending student or student organization, a college or community service program of activities may be arranged.
Constitution, Charter, or By-law: If a student organization is found to have violated college regulations, disciplinary action may include the modification, suspension, or revocation of the group's constitution, charter, or by-laws, in addition to other appropriate sanctions against the group or its members.
Restrictions of Activity: Prohibits the offender from engaging in specified activities or actions. Disciplinary action may be taken against organizations as well as individual students.
In the case of students involved in intercollegiate athletics, the condition of “representing the college in public events” could include but is not limited to the following:
- No participation - no practice, games, or involvement with team activities. The student is considered “off the team” for the duration of the sanctions.
- Limited participation – student may only practice with the team and be a part of off-field team functions (including community service events, team building activities, etc.). The student may travel to but cannot participate in games or pre-game activities, and may wear travel gear but no uniform.
- Athletic restrictions will have a predetermined time period (non-traditional season, remainder of playing season, a certain number of games, etc…).
- Revocation of leadership positions – i.e. captainship, leadership council/group
Sanctions take effect immediately.
Failure to Adhere to Disciplinary Sanction(s):
Students are expected to complete any sanctions issued in a judiciary board or administrative hearing according to the timeframe outlined in the hearing paperwork.
If a student does not fulfill the sanction(s) according to the outlined timeline, the college may conduct further proceedings to determine additional sanctions. While these proceedings may include: a new judiciary board hearing, or administrative review.
The student may present any evidence or witness statement(s) that may substantiate legitimate reason for not completing the sanction(s) in the outlined timeline.