Office of Community Standards & Commuter Services
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Frequently Asked Questions
Many commonly asked questions about what happens when you are referred to the Office of Community Standards & Commuter Services are answered below.
How does your office know when and who violates the Student Code of Conduct?
The Office of Community Standards & Commuter Services receives various incident reports from different sources, e.g., Rowan Public Safety, Office of Residential Learning & University Housing, faculty or administrative offices, and other students.
How do I file a complaint?
Anyone who thinks s/he is a victim of or a witness to an alleged violation may submit a statement form to Public Safety, Office of Residential Learning & University Housing, or the Community Standards & Commuter Services Office. One must realize that the accused student(s)/organization will have a right to review the statement and call into question any allegations. You must be prepared to possibly give an account of your complaint in a disciplinary hearing if needed.
What are my rights in the discipline process?
Your rights are outlined in the Student Code of Conduct section of the Student Handbook.
How do you make your decision about if I violated a University policy?
You are presumed not responsible for violating policies unless proven otherwise in a disciplinary hearing. Unlike a court of law, the standard which must be met in order to prove that a violation occurred is less stringent. If you imagine weighing the information provided in the case on some imaginary scale, it must be more than 50% convincing that a policy was violated. Another way of stating it is “Is it more likely than not that a policy was violated?”
Does a student who has been charged with a violation need an attorney?
Any student (Accused, Complainant, Witness) who appears at a disciplinary hearing may have an advisor accompany him/her. The advisor may provide advice but will not be permitted to speak on your behalf, ask questions or present information at the hearing. (Having an attorney serve as an advisor does not change the role of the advisor.)
What about an incident occurring off-campus, e.g., a drug arrest, DUI, fights, theft, assault, etc.?
As a member of the Rowan Community you are expected to represent the institution in the best possible manner. The University reserves the right to deal with violators off-campus for incidents that would normally be considered violations of the Code of Conduct had they occurred on-campus.
If an incident is being handled in the courts, may the University also take action?
Yes, students sometimes find that their involvement in an incident is reviewed by two or more jurisdictions (e.g., the University discipline system and the civil and criminal justice systems.) The fact that an incident is being examined from more than one perspective does not mean that the student has been placed in “double jeopardy.” The purpose of the student discipline process is to determine if a person shall remain a member of this academic community and, if so, under what conditions.
If I did violate the rules, maybe I can just lie about it, sound very sincere, and get away with it.
This is a bad idea for two reasons.
First, people almost always get caught in their lies. One lie leads to another and another. Eventually, everything comes crashing down, and what was a single violation at the start is compounded by additional dishonest acts.
Second, even if you are successful in deceiving others, it is much harder to fool yourself. You would live you’re your conscience, and with the knowledge of that deception. It is best to tell the truth right at the beginning, face your mistakes and take responsibility for the consequences, learn from the experience and develop positive, ethical ways of solving problems in the future.
Maybe I can just talk my way out of it …
Again, this is a bad idea. The hearing with a Hearing Officer/Campus Hearing Board is an opportunity to talk about what happened in a non-threatening environment. Trying to avoid responsibility for your behavior usually results in more severe sanctions, and may establish a pattern of dishonesty and evasion that will create bigger problems in the future.
But admitting a violation will ruin my life – I’m afraid the violation will go on my record and keep me from going to professional or graduate school, or from getting a job!
A single violation will NOT ruin your life. As an educational institution, a primary goal of the campus disciplinary process is to help students learn from their mistakes. Usually, no permanent records are retained, and nothing goes on a student’s transcripts regarding the disciplinary action. Only if the sanction involves Suspension or Expulsion is it noted on transcripts. In all but a very few cases, a student discipline record will not prevent you from applying and being admitted to medical, law, dental, or other professional or graduate schools.
But I was not aware of the rules; I did not mean to do anything wrong!
Every student is responsible for knowing what the rules are. This is why it is important to ask questions if you are unsure of the standards that apply. For example, if you don’t know the proper rules for citing sources in a paper or to what extent you can work together on a homework assignment with another student, you must ask questions about those rules BEFORE completing and submitting the assignment. Ignorance is not an excuse. If you find yourself worrying about whether something is OK or not, don’t ignore your instincts - ask for clarification.
And if I did do it?
A referral to student disciplinary system, regardless of the outcome, can be a learning process. The goals of a disciplinary hearing are to find the truth, to be fair, and to treat all those involved with respect.
If you have violated the rules, we know that it is not easy to admit mistakes. Our experience has been, however, that most students have the courage to admit their mistakes. The act of taking personal responsibility empowers you and allows you to get beyond a bad decision and move forward with your life.
Most answers to questions about the student disciplinary process can be found in the Student Handbook. If you do not find the information you are looking for, you can send an e-mail to: email@example.com, or you can call the Office of Community Standards & Commuter Services at 856-256-4242.
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Hearing Resources - Tips for Participants
Tips for Accused Student in a Disciplinary Hearing
Tips for Complainant in a Disciplinary Hearing
Tips for the Advisor of a Student in a Disciplinary Hearing
Tips for the Witness in a Disciplinary Hearing
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Campus Hearing Board Membership
The Role of the Campus Hearing Board
The Campus Hearing Board's function is to investigate the issues raised in the disciplinary hearing and determine whether the accused student is responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct. Hearing Board members play an active role in listening to all information presented, and they have an opportunity to question all participants to gain a better understanding of the issues related to the allegations. If the members of the Campus Hearing Board decide, through deliberation, that the student(s) is responsible for the allegation(s), they then determine an appropriate sanction.
Board Selection for Hearings
Hearings are conducted on Wednesday mornings and usually last from one to two hours. Nine persons (three faculty, three professional staff and three students) serve on each Board. As a Hearing Board member, you will be notified by email about the convening of a Board several days before the hearing.
Students who serve on the Campus Hearing Board must have 24 credits earned, maintain a 2.5 cumulative G.P.A., no Code of Conduct violations within the past year, and agree to keep all case information in strict confidence.
If you are interested in serving on the Campus Hearing Board please contact Joe Mulligan at (856) 256-4242 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.
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Administrative Hearing Appeal Information
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Decision Making Reflection Questions
Community Responsibility Program
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Consent to Disclose Disciplinary Records
Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Complaint Form
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