Part 4: Student Code of Conduct Procedures
The following are the procedures followed to adjudicate all violations of The Student Code of Conduct. Allegations of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking committed by a student or Student Organization are adjudicated under the Sexual Misconduct and Sex-based Discrimination Policy for Students and Employees.
Hearing officers may involve or seek input from other University officials in any or all parts of The Student Code of Conduct Procedures as they deem appropriate, such as University officials from the Dean of Student’s office, Center for Student Life, The Center for Cultural and Global Engagement or the Athletics Department with respect to Student Organization respondents.
Any person may file a report regarding any student or Student Organization alleging misconduct. To initiate The Student Code of Conduct process, reports shall be prepared in writing and directed to the Director for Student Conduct & Restorative Practices. A report should be submitted as soon as possible after the alleged misconduct takes place.
The Director for Student Conduct & Restorative Practices shall determine if there is reasonable cause to address a potential violation of The Student Code of Conduct and will notify the respondent of such allegations. The decision to continue a complaint through the process is the decision of the Director for Student Conduct & Restorative Practices.
Generally, the Director for Student Conduct & Restorative Practices will assign a Hearing officer(s) to the case who will investigate, schedule a meeting with the respondent(s) and other individuals as deemed necessary and appropriate.
Information, in addition to that provided in the complaint/incident report, may be sought through a preliminary investigation. The investigation may include, but not limited to:
- Interviewing the complaint(s), responding party(ies), and witness(es),
- Gathering documentary or other information from the party(ies) and witness(es),
- Gathering relevant documents and/or other information which may be available to the University.
The Director for Student Conduct & Restorative Practices, or designee, will determine what testimony, witnesses, or other information is relevant and may exclude information or witnesses that are deemed immaterial and/or irrelevant.
Complaints can be filed up to one academic year after information regarding the violation is discovered. Complaints against former students will not be processed. Complaints against seniors, 5th year students, and/or Master’s degree students must be filed prior to their graduation. This is to allocate sufficient time before graduation for an investigation, hearing, and appeal to occur.
The Director for Student Conduct & Restorative Practices, in their discretion, may determine whether conduct proceedings will be conducted separately or jointly in the following instances:
- If an incident report involves more than one charged student.
- If there is more than one incident involving the same student.
Student Conduct proceedings may be initiated without regard to the pendency of civil or criminal litigation in court or criminal arrest and prosecution resulting from the same or related conduct. Proceedings under The Student Code of Conduct may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off-campus at the discretion of the Director for Student Conduct & Restorative Practices.
Determinations made or sanctions imposed under The Student Code of Conduct shall not be subject to change because criminal charges arising out of the same facts giving rise to violation of University rules were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of or against the defendant in the criminal matter.
Subsection 1. Parental/Guardian Notification
As recommended by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the university may notify parents/guardians when students under the age of 21 have been found responsible for violating the University’s alcohol or drug policies.
The University reserves the right to notify parents/guardians when a student’s enrollment at the university is subject to change due to a separation resulting from University Suspension or University Expulsion.
Section 2. Administrative Hearing
The Hearing Officer will provide the parties with an opportunity to review information related to the incident.
The Hearing Officer will meet with the parties and provide them with an opportunity to respond to the information and present any information or witnesses they wish. The rules of evidence, applicable to civil and criminal cases do not apply and no recordings of the proceeding can be made by the student or the Hearing Officer.
The Hearing Officer may ask the parties questions during the meeting(s), seek additional information, make requests of the parties, or interview any person the Hearing Officer deems necessary.
Based upon the preponderance of the evidence, the Hearing Officer will decide as to whether a violation of The Student Code of Conduct has occurred.
The Hearing Officer has the full prior disciplinary record of the responding party available to them to decide the level of sanction if found in violation of The Student Code of Conduct.
The Hearing Officer will notify the parties of their findings and sanction(s), if any, in writing.
If a party does not meet with the Hearing Officer or comply with their requests, the Hearing Officer will make a finding and sanction decision based upon the information available. In this case, the party will lose any right of appeal.
In cases where information is received, before or during the Hearing that indicates an additional violation of The Student Code of Conduct may have occurred, the Hearing Officer will determine if it will be addressed during the meeting or in a separate hearing.
Administrative Hearings typically follow the following steps:
- A written Notice is sent to Respondent(s) listing the alleged violation(s) and date of the Administrative Hearing
- An individual meeting is held between the Respondent(s) and a Hearing Officer to provide and review evidence, testimony, and any other relevant information that may be pertinent to the allegations and a determination of facts giving rise to the alleged violation(s)
- The Respondent can provide the Hearing Officer with names of witnesses with relevant information, documents or information to be reviewed that pertain to the alleged violation. Other students with whom the University wishes to speak are expected to be truthful and participate as requested. The Hearing Officer may impose limits upon the number of witnesses and the amount of information that may be introduced
- The Hearing Officer may speak with other individuals or review written materials, oral materials or property, as they deem appropriate, to review the situation and to make a determination of whether the student is responsible for the reported violation, or a related violation.
- Following the Administrative Hearing, the Hearing Officer is responsible for providing a summary of the meeting to the Respondent, including a brief statement of the facts, findings from the Administrative Hearing(s) (in violation or not in violation) and any sanctions that have been issued.
- If an in violation finding is determined, past violations of the Student Code of Conduct and any related sanctions may be considered in determining the proper type and level of sanctions for the current violation.
- The outcome of the Administrative Hearing will be made part of the student’s educational record
Section 3. Informal Resolution Types
The Director for Student Conduct & Restorative Practices reserves the right to schedule an informal resolution/educational conference to discuss the behavior of students and its impact on the mission of the University.
Conferences may result in an action plan agreed on by all parties to address the behavior. If the action plan is not honored, the University reserves the right to initiate a formal review under The Student Code of Conduct. Examples of incidents that may be adjudicated by an Educational Conference include but are not limited to minor disruptions or behavioral concerns.
Educational conversations are typically scheduled within ten (10) business days upon receipt of a report of a potential violation of The Student Code of Conduct.
Restorative Justice Resolution
A restorative justice conference brings together those who were impacted by an alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct, including those who were responsible for the alleged violation and community members that were harmed and/or impacted by the violation. Through a facilitated dialogue, participants discuss what happened and determine the best ways to repair harm(s) and improve relationships.
The Director for Student Conduct & Restorative Practices, or designee, has discretion to refer a report or complaint for a Restorative Justice Resolution. All parties, specifically the Complainant(s), Respondent(s), and the University must agree on the resolution option and will be bound by the decision with no review/appeal.
The following must take place for the incident to be processed through RJ:
- The respondent must accept responsibility for the alleged conduct to initiate the Restorative Justice Resolution.
- If the Complainant or Respondent does not want to participate in the Restorative Justice Resolution process, they may request a formal Administrative Hearing Process as outlined in Section 2.
- The hearing officer reserves the right to stop the Restorative Justice process and initiate the formal Administrative Hearing Process at any time prior to the Respondent’s fulfillment of the agreement.
Requirements include but are not limited to:
- The Respondent failing to schedule or attend a meeting with the assigned Hearing Officer
- The Respondent’s denies responsibility for the alleged conduct
- The Respondent does not want to participate in the Restorative Justice Resolution Process
- The Hearing Officer determines that the matter is more appropriately resolved under the formal administrative hearing process
Subsection 4. Standard of Evidence
The standard used in determining whether the respondent violated The Student Code of Conduct is a preponderance of the evidence (whether it is more likely than not that a violation occurred).
If the respondent is found responsible for violating The Student Code of Conduct, appropriate sanctions will be imposed. Sanctions are determined by:
- Considering the nature of the misconduct
- Precedent regarding such misconduct
- The respondent’s complete student conduct record
- The community impact statements
Mitigating or aggravating factors
Sanctions for violations of the Sexual Misconduct and Sex-based Discrimination Policy for Students and Employees can be found within that policy.
The University has a special concern for incidents in which persons are mistreated because of race, gender, disability, age, marital status, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, genetic information, or other personal characteristic. Such incidents damage not only individuals, but also the free and open academic environment of the University. More severe sanctions are appropriate for such misconduct.
A campus department, separate from the Dean of Student’s office , may place a restriction on a student or Student Organization found responsible for violating The Student Code of Conduct. Examples include, but are not limited to: Athletics, Residential and Commuter Life, and The Center for Cultural and Global Engagement.
Students Sanctioned as University Expulsion, University Suspension, Permanent Residence Hall Suspension or Temporary Residence Hall Suspension may not receive refunds for tuition, room and board, or any other University costs or expenses. Non-compliance with assigned sanctions will result in a hold being placed on a student’s account. This may impact the student’s ability to register for classes. The student may also face additional charges through The Student Code of Conduct.
Subparagraph 1. Potential Sanctions
The following sanctions may be imposed, individually or in various combinations, on any student found to have violated The Student Code of Conduct. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of sanctions:
University Expulsion: University Expulsion is a permanent separation from Wentworth Institute of Technology. Students are prevented and prohibited from completing any academic progress towards a Wentworth degree including registering for coursework, attending classes or being present in or on Wentworth property. Students are administratively withdrawn from their courses and therefore will not receive grades for their academic work for the semester this sanction is implemented. Students must return any Wentworth issued property immediately to avoid charges (laptop, residential keys, library items etc.). A person’s presence on Wentworth property upon being expelled will be viewed as trespassing and may be subject to arrest.
University Suspension: University Suspension is a separation from the University for a designated period. Students who are suspended from the University are restricted from all University premises and activities, including but not limited to, course registration, class attendance, participation in co-curricular activities and University housing. Students returning from University Suspension must contact the Director for Student Conduct & Restorative Practices at least two weeks prior to the semester of their return and follow any additional sanctions assigned to them. A person’s presence on Wentworth property during University Suspension will be viewed as trespassing and may be subject to arrest.
University Probation: University Probation is a six-month period during which the student is given the opportunity to modify their behavior, to complete specific assignments, meet with designated persons, and demonstrate a positive contribution to the University community in an effort regain privileges within the University community. After six months of University probation the student may apply for a review of the student’s probationary status. The student will meet with the University Probation Review Committee and must demonstrate significant contributions, in academics, conduct and engagement. Students or organizations on University Probation are not considered to be in good disciplinary standing with the University, this may impact their ability to participate in intercollegiate athletics, represent the University, student leadership positions, study abroad opportunities, extracurricular and/or residence life activities. Additionally, any violation of University policy during the probation period will be viewed as a violation of probation and will result in further disciplinary action.
Warning: A written notice that the student has violated University policy or The Student Code of Conduct and a warning that another violation will likely result in more severe sanctions which could include University Probation, Temporary or Permanent Residence Hall Suspension, University Suspension, or University Expulsion.
Permanent Residence Hall Suspension: Permanent separation of the student from the residence halls.
Temporary Residence Hall Suspension: Temporary separation of the student from the residence halls for a specific period, after which the student may reapply for housing. Reapplication for housing does not guarantee immediate placement. Conditions for returning to the residence halls may be specified. Refunds for payments made will not be provided.
Housing Probation: A period during which the students will be subject to removal from the residence halls if there is an additional documentation.
Housing Relocation: Required assignment to another residence area.
Loss of Privileges: Denial of specified privileges for a designated period. This could include loss of responsible user status in the residence halls.
Restriction: Denial of access to any campus facility, activity, class, or program. This includes No Contact Orders.
Fines: Financial sanction.
Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service or monetary or material replacement.
Assessment: A student may be referred to an appropriate office or local agency for consultation or assessment. These may include Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Assessments.
Educational Sanctions: participation in health or safety programs, including restorative justice workshops (the student may be required to pay a fee); service to the University or to the larger community; seminars; and other assignments as warranted.
Alcohol Violation Sanctions
The sanctions listed below are only guides and may be more severe depending on the specifics of the incident. History of alcohol violation(s), as well as other violations which may have occurred simultaneously will be considered. These include but are not limited to University Suspension or Expulsion.
First level alcohol violations include but are not limited to: possession of a small quantity of beer or wine when underage, possession of beer or wine in a designated dry area, possessing an amount of alcohol exceeding allowed amount in registered Responsible User area, underage possession of empties, possession of alcohol paraphernalia, underage drinking, intoxication for students over 21.
- Disciplinary Warning
- Alcohol Education
- Parental/Guardian Notification
Second level alcohol violations include but are not limited to: second violation of the alcohol policy, possession of hard alcohol, possession of a quantity over the amount allowed in registered Responsible User suites (beer up to 72 fluid ounces or pre-bottle/measured beverage or 1.5 liter wine), public consumption, common source (kegs, beer balls, punch).
- Housing Probation/ University Probation
- Individual Alcohol Education
- Parental/Guardian Notification
Third level alcohol violations include but are not limited to: multiple first level or second level violations, providing alcohol to minors, and/or providing a location for underage consumption, distribution or intent to distribute alcohol
- University Probation and/or Suspension, or Expulsion from the University
- $100 fine
- Parental/Guardian Notification
- Mandated Assessment
- Work with a Residential Life & Commuter life Staff member on the development of an educational program
Cannabis, Illegal Substances, Prescription Drug Violation Sanctions
The following are possible sanctions imposed for violations. Sanctions are dependent upon the severity and circumstances of each incident as well as the type of substance.
First level violations may include, but are not limited to, possession of a personal use sized quantity of cannabis, odor, possession of drug paraphernalia, cannabis seeds/stems.
- Disciplinary Warning
- Drug Education
- Parental/Guardian Notification
Second level violations may include, but are not limited to, a second violation, use of illegal substances and drugs.
- University Probation
- Housing Probation (If applicable)
- Individual Drug Education
- Parental/Guardian Notification
Third level violations may include, but are not limited to, multiple first level or second level violations, possession of illegal or counterfeit substances and drugs, distribution, or intent to distribute.
- Suspension and/or Expulsion from the University
- Parental/Guardian Notification
- Work with a Student Affairs Staff member on the development of an educational program
- Fine $100
A student who has participated in the discipline process and has been found in violation of The Student Code of Conduct may file a written appeal within three business days of issuance of the administrative hearing decision letter. If the written appeal is not filed on time it will be dismissed. A party is allowed only one appeal per administrative process.
All appeals shall be submitted through the Appeal Submission Form. The appeal form must state the reasons for the appeal and provide information as to the basis of the appeal. Basis for appeal include:
- New and material information not available at the time of the hearing which might have affected the outcome of the hearing.
- The hearing did not substantially follow the Guidelines or a change from the Guidelines substantially affected the outcome of the hearing.
- A review of the imposed sanction(s), citing that it is disproportionate to the violation(s) committed.
The Appeal Officer may speak to the underlying decision maker/body, the appealing party, and the responding party, review all information taken during the underlying hearing and seek additional information.
The Appeal Officer may uphold or alter the original decision. Alterations to the original decision may include a change in the findings on violations and/or change of imposed sanction(s) (reduce or increase).
The decision made in the appeal process is final.
Subsection 7. Hearing Support Services
Any student participating in a meeting associated with The Student Code of Conduct may have a support person present. Students should be mindful of who they select as a support person. The University does not warrant the competency, ability, or availability of any volunteer support person.
The following are limitations:
- A support person may not have any additional role, such as a witness, in the University process.
- Only reasonable requests to change proposed meetings to accommodate a support person’s schedule will be considered.
- Requests to have more than one support person will be considered on case-by-case basis, and the final decision is the sole discretion of the Director for Student Conduct & Restorative Practices or designee.
- A party may ask another member of the Wentworth faculty, staff, or student to serve as a support person. No person is required to accept a request from a party to serve as a support person.
Hearing Support Person’s role: The support person may assist the party before the hearing in preparing a statement, reviewing the process, and answering any questions that the party may have. Support persons are present for support only and are not permitted to ask or answer questions, present evidence, or make any statements during the hearing.
Notification to Hearing Officer of Hearing Support Person: The Hearing Officer must be notified in writing prior to the hearing date who will be serving as the support person. For cases being heard by the Community Standards Board, the Director for Student Conduct & Restorative Practices must be notified in writing two (2) days prior to the hearing date.
Subsection 8. Disability Accommodations and Interpreter Services
Students with disabilities may request accommodations through Student Accessibility Services. It is the individual’s responsibility, and not that of a University official, to request an accommodation. Student Accessibility Services will review supportive medical documentation and meet with students in an interactive process to determine reasonable accommodations. For additional information, including the request of American Sign Language interpreter services, please contact Student Accessibility Services by email at AccessibilityServices@wit.edu or by phone at (617) 989-4545.