Rights of the Accused
If the need for a hearing arises, accused students have the right:
- To have it within a reasonable period of time after a charge is filed.
- To have notice of time and place of the hearing and of specific charges.
- To appear in person and present information on their own behalf, to call witnesses, and to ask questions of anyone present at the hearing. In determining responsibility for the alleged violation, the College will permit witnesses of fact but not character.
- To elect not to attend a hearing. In such cases, the hearing shall be conducted solely on the basis of the evidence available.
- To refuse to answer or make a statement. However, decisions will be based on the evidence available.
- To have at the hearing an individual chosen by the accused who may provide support but not participate in the hearing. In cases other than those involving sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, the individual must be a member of the faculty, administration, or student body. Individuals other than those listed above, including but not limited to family members and attorneys, will not be admitted except in cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
- To receive written documentation of the outcome of a hearing and any sanctions imposed.
- To request an appeal of the outcome of a hearing.
Rights of the Accuser
In a case involving one student bringing charges against another, the complainant also is afforded certain rights:
- To be treated with dignity and seriousness.
- To be reasonably free of intimidation that may occur because of a case.
- In cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, to be informed of the status and outcome of the case.
- To have at the hearing an individual chosen by the accuser who may provide support but not participate in the hearing. In cases other than those involving sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, the individual must be a member of the faculty, administration, or student body. Individuals other than those listed above, including but not limited to family members and attorneys, will not be admitted except in cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
- In cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, to request an appeal of the outcome of a hearing.
- To receive or be referred to appropriate support services.
Charges and Hearings
Any member of the Moravian College community may file charges against any student for misconduct. Charges shall be prepared in writing and forwarded to the associate dean of students or designee. Any charge should be submitted as soon as possible after the event occurs.
The associate dean of students or designee shall determine the appropriate judicial body for hearing the case. The hearing process shall include:
- Written or other appropriate notice of the hearing for the accused student.
- Notice of the charges.
- Opportunity for the person charged to defend against the charges and to present witnesses having direct testimony concerning the charges.
- Opportunity to be accompanied by a faculty, administrative, or student member of the College community who may support the accused student or accuser but not participate in the hearing. In cases of alleged sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, the individual attending accompanying a student does not need to be a member of the College community.
- A recorded version of the proceedings, if deemed appropriate.
Deliberations and Decisions
A finding of responsibility for a violation must be supported by the majority of the members of a disciplinary panel or by the sole member of an administrative hearing. The criterion of "preponderance of the evidence" shall be used to determine responsibility when it suggests that the alleged violation was more likely to have occurred than not.
Upon reaching a verdict of responsibility, a judicial body shall determine the sanction.
Students will receive written notification of any decision and the sanction to be imposed. Copies of disciplinary letters are placed in the student's file; at the discretion of the judicial body's recommendation, these may be sent to parents. In general, parents will receive a copy of the notification letter in cases of suspension or expulsion, in cases where removal from the halls, suspension, or expulsion are probable outcomes of a subsequent case, or where restitution for significant damage is mandated. It is assumed that students are the dependents of their parents and that such information may be released to them.
It is the responsibility of students to demonstrate their independent status if they wish to forestall the possibility of parental notification. In accordance with the Higher Education Act and in an effort to build partnerships with parents, most decisions assigning responsibility for alcohol and drug violations will be sent to parents.
Moravian is required (as a result of the Higher Education Act of 2008), upon written request, to disclose to the alleged victim of a crime of violence or a nonforcible sex offense, or to the alleged victim’s next of kin (if the victim dies as a result of the crime or offense), the final results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding dealing with that crime or offense.
The following pages suggest the range of official action that may be imposed for violation of College regulations or expectations. One or more sanctions may be imposed in any given case. A statement concerning suggested minimum sanctions for specific violations has been prepared by the College and is updated periodically. This document is included elsewhere in this handbook.
It should be noted that the College refund policy directs that when a student has been suspended or expelled from the College for disciplinary reasons, refunds are not available except for a pro-rated board refund. Further, if disciplinary action results in the loss of any College or College-contracted service for the student, no refund except pro-rated board is available, unless required by federal, state, or other regulations.
Here are the definitions of terms used in the following pages:
- Warning: a notice in writing that a regulation has been violated.
- Fines: monetary payments, imposed at the discretion of the hearing officer or body.
- Restitution: compensation for loss, damage, or injury, in the form of appropriate service, monetary or material replacement, or both.
- Developmental sanctions: work assignments, service to the College, reflection papers, counseling sessions, etc.
- College suspension: separation of the student from the College for a specified period of time. Notification of suspension will not be maintained on the student's transcript during the period of suspension. The student will not be allowed to participate in College-sponsored activity and will be barred from all College-owned property.
- College expulsion: permanent separation of the student from the College. Notice of expulsion shall not appear on the student's transcript. The student will not be allowed to participate in any College-sponsored activity and will be barred from all College-owned property.
- Loss of recognition: for organizations.
Conduct Sanction Philosophy
The basic philosophy and approach to student conduct at Moravian College is one of education, focusing on student learning through individual growth and personal responsibility. Our overall goal is to help and encourage students to be successful citizens of the community. Students take many steps through life’s journey that positively contribute to this goal, but there will invariably be some missteps as well. Violations of College policy as outlined in this handbook represent steps away from the institution and its values, which can ultimately lead a student to be suspended or expelled.
There are specific incidents, as indicated in the Suggested Minimum Sanctions table, which will lead to suspension or expulsion on a first offense. Other incidents may indicate a step toward that potential outcome.
It is our sincere hope that suspensions and expulsions will be rare occurrences at the College. To that end, the conduct process is designed to provide resources (developmental sanctions) that are intended to help students remain successful in the Moravian College community. Developmental sanctions represent a partnership between the student and the institution. Active engagement in the sanctions is necessary for the benefits to be gained.
During the conduct process, students receive information about the types of behaviors that would be likely to result in a future suspension or expulsion and, more importantly, actions that can be taken to avoid that unwanted outcome. Guidelines for specific offenses are articulated in the Suggested Minimum Sanctions table.
In certain circumstances, the associate dean of students or designee may impose a College or a residence-hall suspension prior to the final disposition of the case. Interim suspension may be imposed to ensure the safety and well-being of the members of the College community and to preserve the safety of College property; to ensure the student's own physical or emotional safety and well-being; or to ensure normal operation of the College if the student poses a threat of disruption.
The student and the College (and the complainant in cases involving sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking) have the right to request an appeal of a hearing decision. Students wishing to appeal must make their request in writing. Appeals must be received by the associate dean of students within five class days of receipt of the original hearing verdict. The associate dean of students shall evaluate the written appeal so as to determine whether grounds exist (as stated below).
Appeals of cases for which grounds have been recognized by the associate dean of students are generally heard by an Appeal Board appointed by the associate dean of students. The Appeal Board can modify a sanction or call for a re-hearing of the case. Decisions of the board in these instances are final, except in cases involving suspension or expulsion from the College, in which case a final appeal may be made to the president of the College.
Appeals shall be limited to a review of the record of the hearing and its supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes:
- To determine whether the original hearing was fair in process.
- To determine if a decision was made contrary to the evidence presented.
- To evaluate the appropriateness of the sanction.
- To consider new evidence that may alter the outcome of the case. In this instance, only the new evidence may be heard by the Appeal Board.