Policy 151.00 - Code of Student Conduct

This Replaces
File: 151.00 151.00
Date: 4/3/13 6/21/12

Originator: Assistant Vice President of Institutional Resolution and Accessibility, Office of the President

Subject: Code of Student Conduct

  1. Introduction
    1. In accordance with the Board of Regents Policy V-1.00 Policy on Student Affairs, approved on January 11, 1990, disciplinary regulations are set forth in writing to give students general notice of prohibited conduct. UMUC reserves the right to take appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the UMUC community.
    2. To encourage the development and growth of a supportive and respectful academic environment for all students, faculty, and staff, UMUC has created the Code of Civility, which is available at www.umuc.edu and in UMUC publications.
    3. In every case of alleged Code of Conduct violation, the burden of proof rests with the complainant who must establish the responsibility of the person accused by a preponderance of the evidence. In cases where the complainant wishes to remain anonymous, the burden of proof rests with the Administrator. See Section VI. Standards of Due Process.
    4. Students may be accountable to both civil authorities and to UMUC for acts that constitute violations of law and of this Code of Conduct. Disciplinary action at UMUC will normally go forward pending criminal proceedings and will not be subject to challenge on the ground that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or reduced.
  2. Definitions
    When used in this code:
    1. "Distribution" means sale or exchange for personal profit.
    2. "Harassment" means speech or conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment, with the expression being persistent, extreme or outrageous and reasonably likely to cause intimidation. The mode of expression may be, but is not limited to, verbal, nonverbal, written or electronic. This definition of harassment is intended to include "bullying."
    3. "Reckless conduct" means conduct that one should reasonably be expected to know would create a substantial risk of harm to persons or property or that would otherwise be likely to result in interference with normal UMUC- or USM-sponsored activities.
    4. "Student" means a person who has been admitted to UMUC and is eligible to register for courses as degree or non-degree seeking.
    5. "UMUC premises" means buildings, grounds, Web sites, or computer networks owned, leased, operated, controlled, or supervised by UMUC.
    6. "USM premises" means buildings, grounds, Web sites, or computer networks owned, leased, operated, controlled, or supervised by the University System of Maryland.
    7. "Weapon" means any object or substance designed or used to inflict a wound, cause injury, or incapacitate, including, but not limited to, all firearms, pellet guns, switchblade knives, knives, and chemicals such as mace products, pepper spray, or tear gas.
    8. "UMUC-sponsored activity" means any activity on or off UMUC premises that is initiated, aided, authorized, or supervised by UMUC.
    9. "USM-sponsored activity" means any activity on or off USM premises that is initiated, aided, authorized, or supervised by USM.
    10. "Conference" refers to a communication between two or more individuals by telephone, in writing (including but not limited to e-mail, fax, or posted letter), through videoconferencing, or in person.
  3. Prohibited Conduct
    The following misconduct is subject to disciplinary action:
    1. All forms of academic dishonesty. Allegations of academic dishonesty will be handled in accordance with Policy 150.25 Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism.
    2. The written or spoken use of words, epithets, or phrases that are widely recognized to be derogatory references to personal characteristics including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and disability, when such words are used to create a hostile or intimidating environment for any person on UMUC or USM premises, or at UMUC- or USM- sponsored activities.
    3. Participation in any form of discrimination or harassment (including sexual harassment) against UMUC faculty, staff and/or students on UMUC or USM premises, or at UMUC- or USM-sponsored activities. Allegations of harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, gender (including sexual harassment), marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, political affiliation, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or veteran status, may be processed in accordance with Policy 40.3 Policy and Procedures on Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Sexual Harassment. Allegations of harassment and discrimination that do not fall into one of the above categories may be addressed through the Student Code of Conduct complaint process, initiated through the Office of Institutional Resolution and Accessibility.
    4. Intentional and substantial interference with the freedom of expression of others on UMUC or USM premises or at UMUC- or USM-sponsored activities.
    5. Intentional or reckless assault or harm caused to any person on UMUC- or USM-premises or at UMUC- or USM-sponsored activities, or intentional or reckless cause of reasonable apprehension of such harm.
    6. Intentional or reckless interference with normal USM or UMUC activities, or USM- or UMUC-sponsored activities, including, but not limited to, studying, teaching, research, administration, or fire, police, or emergency services.
    7. Intentional use of the UMUC or USM computing resources to upload any content that contains a software virus, time bomb, Trojan horse, or any other computer code, files, or programs that may alter, damage, or interrupt the functionality of the UMUC computing resources or the hardware or software of any other person.
    8. Intentional or reckless destruction of or damage to the property of others on UMUC or USM premises, or at UMUC- or USM-sponsored activities.
    9. Intentional initiation or instigation of initiation of any false report, warning, or threat of fire, explosion, or other emergency on UMUC or USM premises or at UMUC- or USM-sponsored activities.
    10. Intentional or reckless misuse of or damage to fire-safety equipment.
    11. Theft of property or of services on UMUC or USM premises, or at UMUC- or USM-sponsored activities; knowing possession of stolen property on UMUC or USM premises, or at UMUC- or USM-sponsored activities.
    12. Unlawful use, distribution, or possession of any controlled substance, illegal drug, or alcohol on UMUC or USM premises, or at UMUC- or USM-sponsored activities.
    13. Unauthorized use, possession, or storage of any weapon on UMUC or USM premises or at UMUC- or USM-sponsored activities.
    14. Intentional submission of false information to UMUC or USM.
    15. Failure to comply with the directions of UMUC or USM officials, including UMUC or USM security officers, or the University of Maryland Campus Police, acting in performance of their duties.
    16. Forgery, unauthorized alteration, or unauthorized use of any UMUC or USM document or instrument of identification.
    17. Unauthorized use or possession of fireworks on UMUC or USM premises or at UMUC- or USM-sponsored activities.
    18. Knowing violation of the terms of any disciplinary sanction imposed in accordance with this Code.
    19. Violation of published UMUC or USM regulations or policies (e.g. Acceptable Use Policy).
    20. Conviction of any crime, other than a traffic violation, while actively enrolled as a UMUC Student that represents a substantial threat to persons and property affiliated with UMUC.
  4. Reporting Alleged Violations
    1. UMUC students, faculty, staff, or administrators may report a violation to the Administrator of the Code of Conduct process in the Office of Institutional Resolution and Accessibility within 15 days of knowing about, or reasonably should have known about, the alleged violation. Persons other than UMUC students, faculty, staff and administrators who believe Student (as defined in this policy) may have violated the Student Code of Conduct must contact the Administrator of the Student Code of Conduct Process. The Administrator may file a Code of Conduct charge(s) on behalf of external entities, in accordance with the process outlined below. All referrals will be treated as confidential. Persons seeking to make referrals to the Code of Student Conduct process are required to provide preliminary information pertinent to the case by completing the Student Code of Conduct Complaint Form. The complainant will normally be expected to provide additional information if requested to participate in a Hearing or Administrative Conference (referenced in Section VI). Alleged violations referred to the Code of Conduct Administrator will be reviewed to determine if there is enough information to refer the alleged violation for further review and consideration according to due process standards (referenced in Section VI).
    2. Any alleged violation of this Code of Conduct, other than a traffic violation, that also may violate a United States, Maryland, or local law should be immediately reported by UMUC administration to the proper authorities.
  5. Interim Suspension
    1. The Assistant Vice President for Institutional Resolution and Accessibility or his/her designee may suspend a student for an interim period pending a preliminary inquiry and investigation. An interim suspension will become immediately effective without prior notice, whenever there is evidence that the continued presence of the student on UMUC or USM premises poses a substantial threat to himself or herself, to others, or to the stability and continuance of normal USM- or UMUC-sponsored activity.
    2. A student suspended on an interim basis shall be given an opportunity to meet with or communicate in writing to the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Resolution and Accessibility or his/her designee within 10 business days from the effective date of the interim suspension to discuss the following issues only:
      1. Whether the conduct and surrounding circumstances reasonably indicate that the continued presence of the student at UMUC or USM premises poses a substantial threat to himself or herself, to others, or to the stability and continuance of normal USM- or UMUC-sponsored activity.
  6. Procedure
    1. Initial Inquiry
      1. The Administrator for the Student Code of Conduct will review referred materials to determine if there is sufficient information to warrant further Code proceedings. The Administrator for the Code may dismiss a referral if it is discovered (1) the complainant has failed to comply with procedure; and/or (2) there exists no evidence or documentation to support the alleged violations; and/or (3) information provided is found to be fraudulent or misleading; (4) the complainant elects not to proceed with case; and/or (5) the alleged activity does not fall under Prohibited Conduct pursuant to this Code of Conduct. Note: The Administrator in consultation with the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Resolution and Accessibility may elect to proceed with a Code Case, despite a withdrawal of involvement by the complainant, if it is deemed there is reasonable cause to proceed. The Administrator will proceed with the Student Code of Conduct process as outlined in section VI. in situations where there is potential harm or risk of safety to an individual and/or the community. A regional Administrator will be identified to manage the Code of Conduct Stateside, in Asia and in Europe.
      2. The initial review period must not exceed 10 business days from the receipt of the initial complaint.
      3. As a result of the initial inquiry, the Administrator may also elect to refer the involved parties to other University resources, including, but not limited to alternative dispute resolution options.
      4. The complainant and the person accused will be notified in writing of the decision to move forward or to dismiss a Code referral within 10 business days of receipt of the initial referral.
    2. Code Process Options
      The Administrator will determine the appropriate adjunction process based on the allegations made against the accused student. The matter will be handled by the Hearing Committee, as described in Section B.1, when the accused student is at risk of suspension or expulsion. All other matters will be handled in accordance with the Administrator Conference, as described in Section B.2 below.

      The Administrator or Administrator's designee will consult institutional files to determine if there exists relevant information within the accused's academic record, pertinent to the allegations. All material reviewed will be considered confidential and shared on a need to know basis. This information will not be shared with anyone on the Hearing Committee as this cannot be used in their determination of guilt or innocence.

      To protect the confidentiality of all involved parties, generally, the Hearing Committee and Administrative Conferences shall be closed to the public and non-participants.

      Under special circumstances, UMUC reserves the right to provide the student with an alternative due process procedure.
    3. Hearing Committee
      1. If the Code referral is not dismissed within 10 business days of the initial reporting, the Administrator will appoint a three-member ad hoc Hearing Committee. The appointment of the Hearing Committee must occur within 7 business days after the Administrator notified the complainant and the accused of the decision to move forward with the Code of Conduct. This committee will consist of two (2) exempt staff or faculty members, and one (1) undergraduate or graduate student. A Staff or Faculty member will be appointed to serve as chair of the committee. The Hearing Committee may confer with legal affairs during the preparation phase, during the Hearing, and after the Hearing concludes, as appropriate and necessary. The Administrator or designee(s) will instruct this Hearing Committee to review all materials deemed relevant to the Code matter.
      2. The Hearing Committee will hold a Hearing within 10 business days of receiving the Code of Conduct violation from the Administrator. Witnesses and the complainant (if not anonymous) may be requested to submit to questioning, either in person, via teleconference, electronic media, or in writing, by the Hearing Committee. The Administrator or designee(s) will communicate with the person accused and the complainant and give them the opportunity to prepare any relevant evidence. The accused student may seek more information regarding the allegations made against him by submitting a written request and/or relevant questions to the Administrator.
      3. At the Hearing, the person accused and the complainant will be entitled to present information. Any information that is presented at the Hearing must be presented to all parties and the Hearing Committee. The person accused or complainant may be accompanied by an individual acting in an advisory capacity, who may be an attorney, at his or her own expense. Such individuals may counsel the complainant or the accused during the course of a Hearing, but shall not personally participate or speak on behalf of the complainant or the accused. Parties who wish to be accompanied by an attorney must inform the Administrator in writing at least 5 business days before the scheduled date of the proceeding. Those acting in an advisory capacity may not appear in lieu of the complainant or the persons accused.
      4. After the Committee Hearing is complete, the Hearing Committee will deliberate and render a recommendation in writing to the Administrator. If the Administrator is serving as the Complainant, on behalf of the University, final Committee recommendation will be provided to the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Resolution and Accessibility. Final recommendations of the Hearing Committee shall be accompanied by a written opinion prepared by the chair of the Hearing Committee. Generally, if the Hearing Committee finds the allegation to be supported by a preponderance of the evidence, the Hearing Committee will recommend an appropriate sanction to the Administrator. The Administrator will review the recommendations, render a decision and issue a sanction, if appropriate (see Section VII Sanctions). Any previous record of violations of this Code may increase the sanction.
      5. Within 10 business days of the conclusion of the Hearing, the Administrator or designee will notify the accused of the decision and sanction, if appropriate, in writing. A copy of the report and the final decision will be kept on file as a part of the accused's academic record.
      6. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to notify the complainant of the decision made by the Hearing Committee. If necessary, the complainant will be notified within 7 business days of the decision.
    4. Administrative Conference
      1. If the Code referral is not dismissed within 10 business days of the initial reporting, the Administrator can choose to have an Administrative Conference with the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Resolution and Accessibility or their designee.
      2. The Administrative Conference must be scheduled within 7 business days of receipt of the referral.
      3. The Assistant Vice President or designee will meet initially with the complainant, separate and apart from the accused. The Assistant Vice President or designee will gather all relevant information from the complainant, including questions the complainant directs to the accused.
      4. The Assistant Vice President or designee will meet with the accused in a one on one conference to complete the Administrative Conference.
      5. The Assistant Vice President or designee reserves the right to remand the Code referral to an Hearing Committee, in the event of a conflict of interest and/or if deemed in the best interest of the process.
        1. After the conclusion of the Administrative Conference, the Assistant Vice President or designee shall render a decision as to whether or not there has been a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.
        2. If the Assistant Vice President or designee determines the Code has been violated, the Assistant Vice President or designee will render the appropriate sanction at the same time it is deemed there has been a violation of the Code.
        3. The Assistant Vice President or designee will notify the accused of the decision and sanction, if appropriate, in writing within 10 days after the conclusion of the Administrative Conference. A copy of the report and the final decision will be kept on file as a part of the accused's academic record.
        4. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to notify the complainant of the decision made by the Assistant Vice President. If necessary, the complainant will be notified within 7 business days of the decision.
    5. Appeals
      1. Within 15 business days of receipt of the written decision, the accused may appeal the decision in writing to the Provost.
      2. The Provost shall review the information collected for the original preliminary Administrator's inquiry, the Hearing Committee report or Assistant Vice President's report, the final decision briefing, and all information relevant to the case. The Provost will render a decision and sanction, as appropriate, based on this evidence. The Provost may render one of the following decisions:
        1. Affirm the finding and the sanction imposed by the Hearing Committee or Administrative Conference
        2. Affirm the finding and reduce, but not eliminate, the sanction or impose a different sanction, if found to be disproportionate to the offense.
        3. Remand the case back to the Hearing Committee or the Assistant Vice President, if procedural errors or errors in interpretation of University regulations were substantial, and/or if new and significant evidence became available which could not have been discovered by a properly diligent person accused before or during the original Hearing or Inquiry.
        4. Dismiss the case.
      3. The decision of the Provost is final and is not appealable.
      4. The Provost will render the final decision, in writing, within 15 business days of the receiving the appeal. Copies of this final recommendation will maintained as a part of the students' academic record.
      5. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to notify the complainant of the decision made by the Provost. If necessary, the complainant will be notified within 7 business days of the decision.
  7. Sanctions
    1. Sanctions for violations of disciplinary regulations include, but are not limited to:
      1. Verbal or Written Reprimand: The student is advised that such behavior is contrary to the principles and expectations of UMUC students; students are further advised that similar behavior in the future could result in new charges brought under the Student Code of Conduct pursuant to the process described in Sections I – VI.
      2. Disciplinary probation: The student shall not represent UMUC in any extracurricular activity or run for or hold office in any student group or organization for a specified period of time. The student may also be subject to restricted and/or reduced participation in UMUC and/or USM sponsored events, activities and/or services. Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed.
      3. Restitution: The student is required to make payment to UMUC or to other persons, groups, or organizations for damages incurred as a result of a violation of this Code.
      4. Suspension in Abeyance: The student shall receive a sanction that will temporarily separate them from all UMUC and USM sponsored activities, events, and/or services. The sanction, however, is held in abeyance until the expiration of the sanction period or if the accused is found responsible for continuing the behavior and/or circumstance that was found to have violated the Code of Conduct. In the event the accused is found to have continued the behavior or circumstance for which he or she was found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct, the suspension period shall become effective immediately.
      5. Suspension: The student is temporarily separated from UMUC for a specified period of time. Permanent notification will appear on the student's transcript. The student shall not participate in any UMUC or USM sponsored activity and may be barred from UMUC premises. Suspended time will not count against any time limits of the Graduate School for completion of a degree. Credit earned elsewhere during the period of suspension are subject to review and acceptance prior to transfer..
      6. Expulsion: The student is permanently separated from UMUC. Permanent notification will appear on the student's transcript. The student will also be barred from UMUC premises. (Expulsion requires approval by the Provost.)
      7. Other sanctions: Other sanctions may be imposed instead of or in addition to those specified in Sections VII.A.1 through VII.A.5.
  8. Disciplinary Files and Records
    1. The reporting of any violation of this Code will result in the development of a student's disciplinary file, which shall be nullified if the student is found innocent of the charges. The records of students found responsible for violating the Code of Conduct will be retained as permanent disciplinary records.
    2. Disciplinary records may be expunged from the student's disciplinary file by the Provost or designee for good cause, upon written petition of student accused, three years from the date of the final written decision. Disciplinary records shall not be expunged without unusual and compelling justification. Factors to be considered in review of such petitions shall include:
      1. The present demeanor of the person accused.
      2. The conduct of the person accused subsequent to the violation.
      3. The nature of the violation and the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from it.

    The Provost will respond, in writing, within 15 business days of the receipt of the petition. The decision of the Provost is final. Copies of the petition and decision letter will be kept in the central records file in the Office of the Provost.