Respondents

Introduction

The student conduct process at Youngstown State University provides due process to any student who is accused of an alleged violation of The Student Code of Conduct. As a part of the larger educational mission of the University our process encourages students to live responsibly and to 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

The information included on this page is focused on what the "respondent" (person accused of alleged violation) should know about the student conduct process, including both their rights and their responsibilities.

The Hearing Process

Students charged with violating University conduct regulations shall be provided a Student Conduct Conference or Hearing, depending on the alleged violation. The respondent should consult The Student Code of Conduct for specific information regarding both processes. The Office of Student Conduct assists both respondents and complainants (a student who files a report of misconduct) by offering general information regarding the University student conduct process.

The focus of a Student Conduct Board hearing is to determine if a violation of University conduct regulations has been committed. During the conference or hearing, the respondent will be presented with the specific charges and have an opportunity to accept or deny responsibility for the alleged violation. In addition, the respondent will be presented with all information on which charges have been based and have an opportunity to respond to this information.

The University student conduct process is not comparable to a legal court proceeding and thus formal rules of evidence do not apply. After all information has been presented and reviewed, the Student Conduct Body will make a determination of whether or not the student has violated University conduct regulations. The standard of proof utilized in all student conduct proceedings is a preponderance of evidence (more likely than not). In other words, the information on which the charges are based must be more than 50% convincing that a conduct regulation was violated.

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 to a more acceptable behavior 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:

  • Warning
  • Probation
  • Probation with Restrictions
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
     

Developmental sanctions include:

  • Educational assignments
  • Counseling assessments
  • Counseling workshops
  • Community service
  • Restitution
  • Relocation
  • And others that are deemed appropriate by the Student Conduct Body
     

In determining appropriate sanctions, the Student Conduct Body assesses a number of variables including:

  • The nature of the violation (what occurred)
  • Prior violations/previous conduct history (what the student has done in the past)
  • Mitigating circumstances surrounding the violation (unusual circumstances)
  • The student's motivation for the behavior (why the student chose to engage in the behavior)
  • Precedent (how other students found responsible for similar violations were sanctioned)
  • The developmental and educational impact (the potential impact on the student, student's behavior, and student's mindset)

Appeals

A student may appeal decisions made during a hearing, following the appeal process outlined in The Student Code of Conduct. Appeals must follow the instructions outlined in the Request for Appeal and must be received within seven days following the decision.

Student Records and Confidentiality

Records

If a student is found to have violated University conduct regulations, a conduct file will be maintained for a period of seven years from the date the case was resolved. Upon graduating, a student may petition the Office of Student Conduct to have their conduct record expunged. Note that when a student is issued a residence hall expulsion, University suspension, and University expulsion the records shall be maintained permanently.

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 Respondent

The respondent in a student conduct case will be afforded the following rights:

  • Written notice of charge(s).
  • Written notice of the specific violations of The Student Code of Conduct alleged to be violated.
  • General information including the nature and source of the information, unless prohibited by law.
  • Timely resolution.
  • Written notification of date, time, and location of hearing and information about hearing procedures. The respondent shall be notified by University e-mail.
  • The right to question the impartiality of a Student Conduct Board hearing panel member's ability to participate fairly in a hearing. The Student Conduct Administer may reject any Student Conduct Board Member when just cause has been demonstrated.
  • The right to be accompanied by an advisor. (See The Student Code of Conduct Article VII, D, 2.d.)
  • The right to present witnesses on one's own behalf 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.
  • Respondents are not required to testify against themselves.
  • Hearings shall be closed to the public to the extent allowed by law.
  • Written notice of the final outcome of the case.
  • The opportunity to appeal as outlined in The Student Code of Conduct.

Preparation

As you prepare for your involvement in an upcoming 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 against you, 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 student conduct 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 student conduct 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. Follow through on any directives outlined in the resolution letter. If you have any questions or need clarification, please contact the Office of Student Conduct.