Complainants

Introduction

The student conduct process at Youngstown State University adheres to procedural due process and is intended to be part of the educational process at the University. The student conduct process provides for the impartial and expedient resolution of misconduct in the University community and encourages students to live responsibly and be accountable for their actions. The student conduct process is based on the University's commitment to developing integrity, respect, and responsibility among all members of the University community.

As a complainant, you have a specific and integral role within the student conduct process at Youngstown State University. The following information is designed to assist members of the University community in understanding the role of complainant. The complainant is an individual who has an alleged violation of University conduct regulations committed against them or an individual who brings forward information that indicates a student may have violated a University conduct regulation. Complainants may also be witnesses to events, as well as those affected by negative behavior.

Filing a Complaint

University conduct regulations pertaining to all students are provided in The Student Code of Conduct. Any person may report alleged violations of conduct regulations. In addition, individuals may report alleged violations to the University Police or the Office of Housing & Residence Life. All reports alleging a violation of University conduct regulations will be forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct. Questions regarding reporting an alleged violation of University conduct regulations should be directed to the Office of Student Conduct at 330.941.4704.

The Hearing Process for the Complainant

Students charged with violating University conduct regulations (respondents) shall be provided a conference or a hearing, depending on the violation. The person filing the initial report of misconduct will be notified if they will be requested to appear in person as a witness. The Office of Student Conduct assists both complainants and respondents by offering general information regarding the University student conduct process.

As a complainant, you will be expected to cooperate throughout the entire process. If a respondent is scheduled for a hearing before the Student Conduct Board, you may be requested to appear to provide relevant information to the hearing panel. If a student is scheduled for a conference, you may be contacted by the Office of Student Conduct for additional information prior to making a decision in the case. You should review The Student Code of Conduct for specific guidelines regarding student conduct conferences and hearings.

The Sanctioning Process

Keep in mind the University student conduct process is part of the educational process at the University. The sanctioning process is not intended to be merely punitive, but rather the intent is to redirect the student's behavior in an acceptable manner within the University community. In order to redirect the student's behavior accordingly, the student conduct body utilizes both status sanctions and developmental sanctions. Status sanctions include warnings, probation, suspension, and expulsion. Developmental sanctions include educational assignments, counseling assessments, community service, and more.

In determining appropriate sanctions, a number of variables are considered, including:

  • The nature of the violation (what occurred)
  • Prior violations/previous conduct history (what the respondent has done in the past)
  • Mitigating circumstances surrounding the violation (unusual circumstances)
  • The respondent's motivation for the behavior (why the respondent chose to engage in the behavior)
  • Precedent (what respondents involved in similar cases have been assigned)
  • The developmental and educational impact (how is this going to affect the respondent)

Appeals

A respondent may appeal decisions made during a hearing, following the appeal process outlined in The Student Code of Conduct. Appeals must follow the instructions outlined and must be received within seven (7) days following the initial decision.

Confidentiality

The Office of Student Conduct maintains all student conduct records and conducts all proceedings in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). To the extent permitted by law, the Office of Student Conduct will not provide information regarding the identities of individuals involved in the University student conduct process. This confidentiality extends to all individuals involved in the process, including members of the Student Conduct Board. You should be aware that while the Office of Student Conduct will not comment on cases, we are not responsible for comments made by other parties involved in the matter or those made by uninvolved parties. All participants are expected to refrain from public disclosure of reports filed with the Office of Student Conduct.

Your Rights as the Complainant

The complainant of a student conduct case will be afforded the following rights:

  • The right to request that charges of misconduct be pursued.
  • The right for these charges being processed and resolved in a timely manner.
  • Written notification of date, time, and location of hearing and information about hearing procedures. This notice will come to the student's official University email account.
  • The right to question the impartiality of a Student Conduct Board hearing panel member's ability to participate fairly in the hearing. The hearing panel Chair or Advisor may eject a hearing panel member with just cause.
  • The right to be accompanied by an advisor (see Article VII, Section D, Paragraph 2.d).
  • The right to present witnesses during the hearing. If a witness cannot appear, a signed statement from the witness can be used as long as it is notarized by an appropriate official. 
  • The right to know the nature and source of evidence, and to be informed of the final outcome of the case to the extent permitted by law.
  • Hearings shall be closed to the public to the extent allowed by law.
  • The opportunity to appeal as outlined in The Student Code of Conduct.
  • The right to be treated with respect and dignity by all University officials.
  • Counseling, available medical resources, and academic assistance, when requested.

Preparation

As you prepare for your involvement in an upcoming Student Conduct Board hearing, you will need to make sure that you have completed each of the following:

  • Review case materials. This includes, but is not limited to: All communication from the Office of Student Conduct, any reports about the incident in question (police, Housing, etc.), information about the specific charges filed in the case, an overview of the hearing process, and your rights and responsibilities under The Student Code of Conduct.
  • Identify potential witnesses. Meet with anyone whom you may ask to be a witness on your behalf during the hearing. If you have witnesses whom you want to include in the hearing, you will need to provide their name(s), phone numbers(s), and a summary of the information they will provide at the hearing (one or two lines of text is sufficient). This information should be emailed to hlreed@ysu.edu no less than 24 hours prior to your hearing. Please inform your witnesses of the start time, duration, and location of the hearing. We also encourage you to have your witnesses bring something to work on, as they may have to wait to be called into the hearing to provide their testimony.
  • Submit other evidential documents. You must provide copies of any printed information (letters, copies of emails, copies of pictures, signs, etc.) that you will use during the hearing to the Office of Student Conduct no less than 24 hours prior to your hearing. You may email this information to hlreed@ysu.edu or drop it off in hard copy at 2071 Kilcawley Center.
  • Choose an advisor. You have the right to be accompanied by an advisor of your choice during the hearing, though this is not required. This advisor may be an attorney.  This advisor may not speak or interact with the proceedings (ask questions aloud, redirect questions, answer on your behalf), but may give you advice in the form of written messages, or whispering consultation. If your advisor is an attorney, you must notify the Office of Student Conduct of the attorney’s name and phone number no less than 24 hours prior to your hearing. You may email this information to hlreed@ysu.edu or drop it off in hard copy at 2071 Kilcawley Center.
  • Prepare your case. Meet with the Associate Director for Student Conduct prior to your hearing to help you prepare. You can schedule this meeting by calling 330.941.7285. Make personal notes regarding what you plan to say during the hearing on your own behalf, as well as questions that you may ask of the charging officer.
     

After the conclusion of the hearing and the issuance of a final resolution letter we recommend that you:

  • Review the findings. Review all aspects of the resolution letter upon receipt to ensure that you understand it in its entirety. If you have any questions or need clarification, please contact the Office of Student Conduct.