The Judicial Process
The steps followed at Alma College to resolve formal disciplinary matters are called the judicial process. This procedure exists to assure that basic due process is granted to all students of our Community who find themselves in conflict with the Community's standards. All such conflicts are resolved by members of the Alma College Community in a system which, while avoiding the formalities and complexities of a legal process, aims to respect the dignity of the individual as well as personal and community rights. With heavy reliance on the honesty of all participants, it is assumed that reasonable people, properly informed, can and will make judgments in the best interest of the College Community.
The judicial structures and procedures described in this catalog have been set in place and are to be considered binding on all parties. The formal responsibility for discipline rests with the Vice President for Student Life. All possible disciplinary matters begin with a complaint filed with a member of the Student Life staff (Vice President for Student Life, Residence Hall Director, Resident Assistant, etc.) by any member of the College Community. Each complaint is then investigated. If formal disciplinary action seems called for, then the student or group alleged to have violated College policy is notified by a staff member of the Student Life Office that the matter is being referred to an appropriate judicial body or hearing agent.
Hearings and Adjudications
All cases involving student infractions of College policies and regulations will be adjudicated by Judicial Committees which will be of three types:
- The Campus Judicial Committee will hear all disciplinary cases in which the infractions are of such a serious nature that suspension or expulsion of the student or group is possible. In such cases, the student or group must request in writing an administrative hearing. The Vice President for Student Life will be the hearing agent for all such administrative hearings.
- The Student Judicial Committee will hear cases involving all other types of infractions.
- The Interfraternity Council Judicial Committee or the Panhellenic Executive Council will hear all disciplinary cases where the infractions are determined to be the responsibility of a fraternity or sorority as a group rather than the responsibility of an individual who happens to be a fraternity or sorority member.
- During those times when the Campus Judicial Committee, the Student Judicial Committee, and the Interfraternity Council Judicial Committee do not function (first and last week of term and Spring Term if not enough members are on campus) all cases will be heard by the Vice President for Student Life (Campus Judicial, IFC) or the Coordinator of Judicial Affairs (Student Judicial) with appeals going to the appropriate administrator.
Allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault between or among students will be handled administratively by the Vice President for Student Life Office.
The following sanctions may be imposed by any hearing agent or Judicial Committee. In selecting any of these sanctions, the hearing agent must consider the seriousness of the offense, the maturity and needs of the individual or group found guilty of the offense, the needs of the Community, and the current disciplinary status, if any, of the offender(s). Sanctions are imposed to
- Assist the individual or group involved in learning how to live more suitably within the opportunities and limitations created by the College's standards.
- Protect the excellence of the educational environment.
- Provide a vehicle for the rectification of any damages resulting from misbehavior.
Sanctions may be imposed only after a specific violation of College policy has been established.
The Student Judicial Committee may impose any one or a combination of the following sanctions:
Written Warning. A written statement will be issued to the student stating that he/she has violated College policy and that more stringent disciplinary actions are likely to be established for further violations of College policy. A copy of this statement will be placed in the student's file in the Vice President for Student Life Office.
Fines. Monetary penalties may be imposed for violations of College regulations.
Restitution. Students may be held responsible for reimbursement of damage to, or misappropriation of, property.
Work Assignments. Students may be assigned jobs of a reasonable nature for a given period that relate to the offense.
Warning Probation. This confers upon a student or group a probationary status for a specific period of time not to exceed four months of enrollment. During this time, if the offender is found responsible for further violations of College policy or fails to abide by any conditions established as part of the probation, then more severe sanctions are likely to be imposed.
Disciplinary Probation. This confers upon a student or group a probationary status for a specific period of time not to exceed one academic year of enrollment. During this time, if the offender is found responsible for further violations of College policy or fails to abide by any conditions established as part of the probation, then more severe sanctions are likely to be imposed.
The Hearing Agent or the Campus Judicial Committee may impose the following sanctions after a specific violation of College policy has been established:
Suspension. This action terminates an individual's status as a student at Alma College or a group's status as a recognized organization for a specific period of time not to exceed one calendar year.
Expulsion. This action terminates an individual's status as a student or a group's status as a recognized organization for an indefinite period of time.
When the sanctions of suspension or expulsion are imposed, the individual or group will be required to leave the campus. Written permission must be requested in advance from the Vice President for Student Life before a suspended or expelled student may return to the campus. Organizations or groups which receive either status will cease using College facilities and lose all privileges granted to recognized organizations on campus. At the time that these sanctions are imposed, stipulations controlling the conditions to be met to permit an individual to re-enroll or a group to re-register as a College organization may also be established.
Conditions which are reasonably related to the original offense and are believed necessary to facilitate the reasons for imposing the sanction may be attached to any sanction. Examples of such conditions include but are not limited to monetary penalty; restitution for damage, theft or loss; loss of privileges such as visitation, use of alcoholic beverages, or use of a motor vehicle; counseling; loss of financial aid; or service and/or work assignments. Any condition attached to a sanction must be met within the duration of the sanction.
Appeals of disciplinary decisions are reviewed only if they are submitted in writing. Three types of appeals are possible: (1) appeals seeking a review of the facts or procedures, (2) appeals seeking a review of penalties or (3) appeals presenting new information.
All appeals must
- Be submitted to the Vice President for Student Life no later than 48 hours after the student or group has been notified of a decision.
- Specify whether the appeal is (a) seeking a review of the facts or procedures, (b) seeking a review of the severity of the penalty, and/or (c) presenting new information.
- Provide the necessary detailed information to support the position.
Appeals of disciplinary decisions made by the Student Judicial Committee will be heard by the Vice President for Student Life. Based upon the review, the Vice President for Student Life may
- Confirm the original decision.
- Return the case to the Campus Judicial Committee for a new hearing.
- Change the sanction(s) and/or the condition(s) originally imposed.
In all cases, the Vice President for Student Life will provide those concerned with the appeal with a written rationale for the actions.
Appeals of disciplinary decisions made by the Vice President for Student Life or by the Campus Judicial Committee must be submitted to the Vice President for Student Life who will then submit the appeal and all other information to the President for final action. Based upon the review, this officer may
- Confirm the original decision.
- Return the case to the Vice President for Student Life or the Judicial Committee for a new hearing.
- Change the sanction(s) and/or the condition(s) originally imposed.
In all cases, the President will provide those concerned with the appeal with a written rationale for the actions.
Final Authority for Disciplinary Matters
As a result of the corporate status of the College, the President, as a chief administrative officer, is charged with the internal direction of the College. Implied in this statement is the President's and the Board of Trustees' authority to take whatever action they deem appropriate, within established College policy and procedures, to protect the best interest of Alma College. This authority may include the direct application of these policies and procedures by the President subject to review by the Board of Trustees.
Disciplinary records are kept in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. Thus, disciplinary actions are recorded on the student's "personal record" and are not placed on the student's transcript. These disciplinary records are typically retained for a period of one academic year after the student graduates or withdraws from the College. The College may determine it is in its best interest to retain these records for a longer period of time, for example if legal action is anticipated or pending. After such time all disciplinary records are destroyed. These personal records are confidential. However, in most cases parents will be notified of disciplinary action.