SCCRS understands that students going through the student conduct process may have questions or concerns about their disciplinary matter. The following information may be useful for students with questions about the SCCRS process.
If you have any additional questions, please contact our office or refer to the Student Conduct Code.
Students accused of nonacademic offenses that will likely result in penalties less than removal from university housing, suspension, or dismissal are subject to a disciplinary conference with a conference officer. The purpose of this meeting is to determine if there has been a violation of non-academic policy.
A disciplinary conference is your opportunity to provide your response to this incident. If you would like to provide a written statement and have not already submitted it electronically, you may provide your written statement via your AU email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, witnesses may provide a written statement on your behalf. They should submit the statement to email@example.com from their AU email address. If the witness does not attend AU, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional instructions.
If you choose not to attend your disciplinary conference, a decision will be made in your absence based on the information provided to our office.
American University uses the preponderance of the evidence standard to determine findings of responsibility. Preponderance of the evidence is a measure of proof that a reasonable person would accept as "more likely than not."
Please review the Student Conduct Code (Section XV. Procedures for Disciplinary Conferences) for more information.
Students accused of non-academic offenses that will likely result in sanctions such as removal from university housing, suspension, or dismissal are subject to a disciplinary hearing convened by a hearing administrator before Conduct Council members.
Being involved in a disciplinary hearing is a situation that requires careful thought and preparation. Advance preparation for a hearing is time well spent, since the hearing panel members will best be able to understand your position, arguments, and evidence if you can clearly articulate your case. American University uses the preponderance of the evidence standard to determine findings of responsibility. Preponderance of the evidence means a measure of proof that a reasonable person would accept as "more likely than not." All decisions regarding the finding of fact and sanctions at the disciplinary hearing level are recommendations that are made to the Dean of Students who will then provide a final outcome to the respondent.
Respondents in the disciplinary hearing process are offered the opportunity to meet with a staff member to complete a pre-hearing meeting where a staff member will provide information related to the preparation and facilitation of a disciplinary hearing.
Please review the Student Conduct Code(Section XVI. Procedures for Disciplinary Hearings) for more information.
Who Participates in a Disciplinary Hearing?
- Hearing Administrator: A staff member in Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Services or designee who facilitates the hearing process. This person does not vote on the outcome of the hearing and does not question witnesses.
- Hearing Panel Members: A group of one student and two faculty/staff members who hear information and determine recommendations to the Dean of Students regarding the outcome of the case. Hearing Panel Members may question witnesses.
- Respondent: The student/student organization representative who allegedly violated non-academic policies (including Residence Hall Regulations).
- Advisors: Advisors are present for consultation with their party, but do not ask questions (except for procedural questions) or participate during the hearing. The respondent may have an advisor present. Advisors must be current AU student, faculty, or staff members.
- Witnesses: Witnesses may be called to present a statement and be questioned during a hearing. Witnesses should have relevant information to provide about the incident in question. If your witness is unable to attend the hearing, they may provide a written statement (PDF) containing their testimony, which may be presented on your behalf. It is your responsibility to inform your witnesses of all relevant information, such as the Honesty Policy, the time and location of the hearing, etc. Please email email@example.com for questions about witnesses.
Please review the Student Conduct Code for a more in-depth explanation of disciplinary hearings during the conduct process.
The following honesty and confidentiality provisions apply to any disciplinary proceeding under the Student Conduct Code.
Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution Services accepts into its proceedings and records only statements that are sworn to be truthful. Individuals entering written statements into any proceeding or record must affirm the truthfulness of the statements in the presence of the director of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution Services, or designee. An individual who knowingly provides false information or testimony may be subject to disciplinary action.
The assurance of confidentiality encourages complainants, respondents, and witnesses to share freely all the information that is essential to achieving a fair case outcome. Therefore, participants in the disciplinary process are expected to treat all information disclosed at a proceeding as confidential. This expectation of confidentiality is not intended to imply or impose restrictions in the following situations:
- Sharing one's own experience of the incident that led to the Student Conduct complaint;
- Sharing information relevant to receiving counseling, medical, legal, or similar types of support services;
- Preparing for a case or an appeal to a case outcome;
Every student has a duty to understand and abide by the rules and regulations of the university. Ignorance of a rule or regulation will not be an acceptable reason to find a student not responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code.
Students accused of conduct violations are entitled to the following:
- To be informed of the allegations against them.
- To request an informal resolution of the case.
- To be allowed reasonable time to prepare a response.
- To hear and respond to evidence upon which an allegation is based.
- To present relevant witnesses and ask questions of the witnesses at disciplinary hearings.
- To be assured of confidentiality according to the terms of the university policy on Confidentiality of Student Records.
- To request that any person conducting a disciplinary conference (hearing officer), or serving as a Conduct Council member or hearing administrator, be disqualified on the grounds of personal bias.
- To be provided with an opportunity to review these rights before any disciplinary conference or hearing.
- To be considered not responsible for the allegations until found responsible based on what is more likely than not to have occurred (by a preponderance of the evidence).
- To have reasonable access to the case file prior to and during the disciplinary conference or hearing.
- To have an advisor as defined in the Student Conduct Code.
- To appeal the outcome of the case as described in the Student Conduct Code.
Please review the Student Conduct Code for a more in-depth explanation of your rights and responsibilities during the conduct process.
Any disciplinary determination may be appealed within seven (7) calendar days after the notice of the case outcome. Appeals must be submitted in writing using the link provided in the decision letter for your conduct case.
An appeal may be submitted based on the following grounds: new information that significantly alters the finding of fact; evidence of improper procedure; or insufficient/excessive sanctions.
Appeals are reviewed by an appellate board of the Conduct Council to determine its viability. If your student conduct case was heard through a Disciplinary Hearing, the appellate board will consist of members who did not serve on the original hearing panel. The appellate board's determination about the viability of the appeal is made by majority vote and is final.
If the appeal is determined to be not viable, the appellate board will deny the appeal and affirm the findings of the original decision. If the appeal is determined to be viable, it will be forwarded to the vice president of Campus Life or designee for review and decision.
The following standards will apply when appeals are considered by the vice president of Campus Life or designee: sanctions may be increased or decreased; cases may be remanded for rehearing; or cases may be dismissed. Decisions rendered by the vice president of Campus Life or designee are final.
Please review the Student Conduct Code for a more in-depth explanation of appeals during the conduct process.