Student Conduct staff is often informed of reports of student misconduct through Campus Safety, the Residential Life professional and student staff, or other college administrators. However, any person may file a report about student misconduct which violates the Honor Code or Code of Social Conduct with the request for Student Conduct to investigate and adjudicate.
Once Student Conduct receives a report of misconduct, a Conduct Administrator (CA) will take the follow steps to assess if/how the College will move forward:
- Follow-up with the person bringing the complaint to determine their wishes from the conduct process and to determine if the person brining the complaint is a Harmed Party, a College representative, or a third party and discuss their options for remaining involved through the adjudication process.
- The CA will evaluate each report to determine if there is enough information to suggest a possible violation of the Code of Social Conduct and charge the student(s) with violating such. The CA reserves the right to determine there is not enough information to move forward or that the behavior described is not a violation of the Honor Code or Code of Social Conduct.
- A student accused of violating the Code of Social Conduct will be given an opportunity to meet with the CA to review the complaint and potential avenues for resolution (described below). The CA determines which of the available processes will be used in any given case based upon factors including, but not limited to, the willingness of the student to accept responsibility for the violation, the seriousness of the alleged violation, the existence of a pattern of repeat or multiple violations, or issues of fairness and equity.
The Dean of Students/Vice President of Student Affairs (DoS/VPSA), or designee, in consultation with Campus Safety, the Office of Residential Life, and/or the Student Assessment and Intervention Group (SAIG) may implement appropriate action to maintain the safety of the campus community (or specific persons within the campus community) until the investigation and/or conduct process is complete, such as no contact directives, removal from campus residence facilities, removing a student from a class or classes, and/or interim suspension from the College. A student subject to such interim measures may appeal the decision to impose them to the DoS/VPSA or the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs (AVP) within three business days after being notified of the decision.
If a student withdraws from the College while disciplinary action is pending, the College may proceed with resolution based on available information in the student’s absence, and include the finding in the student’s permanent record. The student must resolve the disciplinary complaint before the College will consider readmission.
In an administrative conference, Responding Students are invited to meet with the
CA or Hearing Officer to discuss the incident. The CA or Hearing Officer may also
meet with Harmed Parties or other witnesses to gather more information about the incident
prior to making a final determination. The CA or Hearing Officer will make determinations
of responsibility and sanctioning.
A Hearing Officer may be the Director of Student Conduct, Associate Dean for Residential Life and Student Conduct, or any professional staff member in the Office of Residential Life. Hearing Officers are assigned by the Director of Student Conduct or their designee and will depend on the seriousness of the incident and any past conduct violation.
Administrative Conference Process
In line with Skidmore College’s dedication to fundamental fairness, the administrative conference provides the Responding Student with an opportunity to review available information and provide their own perspective regarding their involvement in an incident.
Once a determination is made that the case will be referred for an administrative conference, the Director of Student Conduct or designee will assign a Hearing Officer to hear the case. The Responding Student will receive notice in writing from the Hearing Officer via Skidmore College-issued email. The letter of notice will include:
- Notice of the time, date, and location of the administrative conference;
- The alleged Code of Social Conduct violation(s)1, including the date of incident;
- Name of Hearing Officer and information on how to submit conflict of interest concerns.
1The alleged Code of Social Conduct violation(s) listed in the written notice are tentative and based on the information available to the Conduct Administrator in the report of the incident. Information gathered during the course of investigation and adjudication may lead to additional charges. The Conduct Administrator or Hearing Officer will notify the Responding Student of additional charges either in writing prior to the start of the Administrative Conference, or verbally in person if the information becomes available during the Administrative Conference.
Responding Students are expected to participate in the administrative conference. If a Responding Student fails to attend the administrative conference as scheduled, the process will proceed without the Responding Student present, and the Hearing Officer renders a decision based on the information available. The Hearing Officer may, but is not obligated, to attempt to contact the Responding Student to reschedule if the Responding Student does not appear for the scheduled administrative conference.
If upon receiving notice of an administrative conference, the Responding Student discovers that they have a scheduling conflict of an academic nature, they must notify the Hearing Officer in writing via Skidmore College-issued email indicating the nature of the academic conflict, as well as providing alternative availability for an administrative conference.
Responding students are permitted but not required to prepare a written statement to bring with them to their administrative conference.
At the discretion of the Conduct Administrator, Responding Students may participate by remote means such as phone or videoconference.
In incidents involving more than one Responding Student, at the discretion of the Conduct Administrator, the complaints may be heard jointly if all Responding Students consent and agree to waive their respective FERPA rights, or if a joint administrative conference is otherwise determined by the CA to be appropriate if permitted by applicable law. In joint administrative conferences, separate determinations of responsibility will be made for each Responding Student.
The Hearing Officer decides every case on an individual basis, after considering the information available. The Hearing Officer conducts administrative conferences in a fair and reasonable manner, respecting the rights and needs of all participants, while also considering the importance of honoring the community value system.
The standard of decision used by the Hearing Officer is preponderance of the evidence. In other words, the Hearing Officer must determine whether it is more likely than not that the alleged violation occurred.
During the administrative conference, the Responding Student has an opportunity to offer information and to present materials. The Responding Student may also provide the Hearing Officer with the names of individuals who may be able to offer information as witnesses. The Hearing Officer will contact witnesses at their discretion. The Hearing Officer bases their decision on the information available regarding the incident (typically from Residential Life and Campus Safety), as well as information presented by the Responding Student during the administrative conference.
The goals of the administrative conference are to determine responsibility and identify appropriate sanctions if applicable. To determine responsibility, the Hearing Officer reviews the allegations and determines if the Responding Student has violated the Code of Social Conduct. If a Responding Student is found not responsible for a violation, the administrative conference is concluded. If a Responding Student is found responsible for a violation, the next part of the administrative conference is focused on identifying the impact of the Responding Student’s behavior.
In an effort to determine appropriate sanctions, the Hearing Officer may pose the following questions to the Responding Student during the administrative conference:
- What were you thinking about at the time?
- What have you thought about since?
- What impact has this incident had on you?
- Who else has been impacted and how?
- Anything else you would like to say or ask at this time?
If applicable, the Hearing Officer may contact the Reporting Individual or Harmed Parties to learn more about the impact of the violation on them. This information may be used to determine appropriate sanctioning.
The Hearing Officer will notify the Responding Student of their decision after reaching their determinations as to responsibility and (if applicable) sanctioning. This notification will take place in writing via e-mail. Hearing Officers will aim to provide this information within 5 business days following the administrative conference. However, this notification may be delayed in instances where the Hearing Officer is engaged in ongoing investigation into the incident (i.e. following up with witnesses, reviewing Campus Safety evidence, etc.).