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Code of Conduct

I. UNDERLYING PURPOSE OF THE CONDUCT SYSTEM

As a public institution of higher education, George Mason University has as its primary mission the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, and the development of its students into productive citizens who contribute to the well-being of society. It is the purpose of the University Conduct System to foster a supportive climate by protecting the community from conduct that is disruptive of the community and by encouraging conduct that is supportive of the teaching/learning environment.

II. STATEMENT OF VALUES

Underlying the University’s mission are basic values which must be respected if the goals are to be achieved. These indispensable community values include:

The importance of personal integrity.

The right of every individual to be treated with respect and dignity.

The freedom of intellectual inquiry in the pursuit of truth.

The freedom of speech and open exchange of ideas.

The acceptance and appreciation of diversity.

The freedom from discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity, and political views.

The freedom from violence aimed at limiting freedom, interfering with, or disrupting university activities.

III. UNIVERSITY CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT

George Mason University believes that through active participation in an intellectually and culturally diverse learning community, students will be better prepared to deal with the issues they will face in a rapidly changing ethnically diverse society.

In the presentation of ideas, the University encourages a balanced approach and respect for contrary points of view. Being open to the ideas and opinions of other members of the community will lead to discussion that is characterized by courtesy, mutual respect and charity no matter how offensive or unpopular the idea may be.

Congruent with these ideas is the principle that all members of the George Mason University community enjoy the right to freedom of speech and expression.

The right to free speech and expression does not include unlawful activity or activity which endangers or threatens to endanger the safety or well-being of any member of the community. Further, it does not include any activity which materially interferes with the education of other students or the mission of the institution.

It is expected that members of the community will actively participate in programs and activities of the University and will support efforts to foster the identified values of the community. All members of the community are expected to abide by local, state, federal, and international laws.

IV. SCOPE OF AUTHORITY

The University Conduct System has authority in all non-academic disciplinary matters and applies to all students from the time of application until the conferral of degree. Individuals who are not officially enrolled for a particular term, but who have a continuing relationship with the university, are also subject to the Code of Student Conduct. Action taken in criminal and/or civil courts does not affect the authority of the University Conduct System.

Students may be considered in violation if they fail to remove themselves from incriminating situations and/or report the incident to proper authorities. Students and student organizations can also be held responsible for the behavior of their guests.

The University reserves the right to discipline students for acts of misconduct wherever they occur. Violations of the Code of Student Conduct that occur via the internet, telecommunication devices, mail, and other mediums may be addressed through the university conduct system.

The responding student or organization has the right to be present at the hearing. If the student or organization does not attend the hearing after having been provided with appropriate notification of the hearing, then a decision will be made in absentia.

Acts of violence, weapons possession, and possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated and will likely result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

V. ACTS OF MISCONDUCT

Acts of misconduct include, but are not specifically limited to, the following:

  1. Possession, use and/or distribution of alcoholic beverages in violation of university policy or law; impairment which can be attributed to the use of alcohol; possession of alcoholic beverages in designated “dry areas”; or other violation of the University Alcohol Policy.
  2. Use, manufacture, distribution or possession of drugs, narcotics, chemicals and/or drug paraphernalia in violation of university policy or law, or other violation of the University Drug Policy.
  3. Illegal gambling.
  4. Breach of peace or disorderly conduct.
  5. Trespass.
  6. Acts of dishonesty included but not limited to knowingly furnishing false information, including fabrication, forgery, alteration, or misuse of University documents, or identification.
  7. Physical assault (including rape/sexual assault) or harassment (including sexual harassment/verbal abuse), threat of physical harm of any person or self, and/or conduct which threatens or endangers the health, safety, or welfare of any person or self.
  8. Non-recognized student groups attempting to function on the campus or in the name of George Mason University.
  9. Failure to comply with a verbal or written directive given by a University official, including obligations associated with any disciplinary sanction(s).
  10. Possession or use of firearms, fireworks, other weapons, or chemicals which are of an explosive or corrosive nature on university property or at university functions.
  11. Theft, attempted theft, possession, sale or barter of, or damage to property.
  12. The instigation of false fire/explosion, or emergency alarms, bomb threats, tampering/misusing or damaging fire extinguishers, alarms or other safety equipment.
  13. All forms of hazing such as any action taken or situation created, intentionally, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, ridicule, or possibly cause mental or physical harm or injury to any person on or off the university campus.
  14. Violation of policies, procedures or regulations of the university.
  15. Misuse, abuse, and unauthorized use of technology, and/or use of technology for unauthorized purposes.
  16. Illegal activity, including violation of local, state, federal, or international law.
  17. Interfering with the normal operation of the teaching/learning environment.

VI. EXPECTATIONS OF STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS

Registration as an official organization with the University is voluntary. By doing so the organization voluntarily assumes the responsibilities associated with recognition. While community members are free to associate with any organization, prior to choosing an organization community members are strongly encouraged to consult the list of recognized campus organizations. Only these, having been officially recognized, have voluntarily assumed the responsibilities of being a part of the campus community.

If, during an individual student’s hearing, it is determined that the alleged violation is an organizational offense, charges may also be brought against the organization within the university’s disciplinary process.

  1. A student organization is subject to the disciplinary process in the following situations:
  2. An alleged offense was committed by one or more members of an organization and was done so on behalf of the organization.
  3. An alleged offense was committed by one or more members of an organization and was sanctioned by an officer.
  4. An alleged offense was committed by one or more members of an organization and organization funds were used to finance the venture.
  5. An alleged offense was committed by one or more members of an organization and was supported by a majority of the organization’s membership.
  6. An organization has chosen to obstruct the university’s disciplinary process for one or more individuals who were members or guests of the organization and are alleged to have violated university policies.
  7. The hearing officer/body deems that the offense, by its nature, was an organization offense and not the actions of the individual members.
  8. An alleged offense occurred as a result of an organization sponsored function.

Violations of University rules and regulations by an organization will be adjudicated through the University’s Conduct System.

VII. STUDENT RIGHTS

The model for disciplinary procedures is that of an administrative proceeding, rather than criminal or civil trial. The following standards of fairness and student rights are provided to a student in any University disciplinary proceeding.

A. Respondent Rights

  1. To receive written notice of alleged violations.
  2. To have reasonable access in advance to any written testimony that may be used at a hearing, upon written request filed with the hearing board or officer.
  3. To examine witnesses presented against the student at the hearing and to produce evidence on his or her behalf, including making a statement regarding the alleged violations.
  4. To not be compelled to be a witness against oneself or to have his or her silence taken as an indication of responsibility for the violation.
  5. To a decision based on a preponderance of the evidence.
  6. To not be sanctioned and/or censured unless the decision maker, on the basis of the evidence, is persuaded that the student is found responsible for the violation.
  7. To be accompanied in all formal proceedings by an advisor of his or her own choosing and at his or her own expense. Advisors may only consult with the respondent and are not permitted to speak on the respondent’s behalf or address the hearing board or officer.
  8. To appeal decisions within the appellate structure provided by the George Mason University Conduct System.

B. Complainant Rights

  1. To be provided with information about victim advocacy, counseling, mental health or medical services available on campus.
  2. To decide whether or not to notify local law enforcement authorities and/or to file a report with the Office of Student Conduct.
  3. To be advised how to report retaliation or harassment as a result of reporting acts of misconduct.

C. The following additional rights apply in cases heard by the Sexual Assault Board.

Additional Respondent Rights

  1. To have timely access to any information that will be used at the hearing including the complainant’s narrative statement, complainant’s witness list, and witness narrative statements, if available.
  2. To make an impact statement and suggest appropriate sanctions if the respondent is found responsible for alleged violations.
  3. To be notified in the event the complainant submits an appeal and the outcome of that appeal.

Additional Complainant Rights

  1. To make a narrative statement to the hearing body.
  2. To be accompanied in all formal proceedings by an advisor of his or her own choosing and at his or her own expense. Advisors may only consult with the complainant and are not permitted to speak on the complainant’s behalf or address the hearing board or officer.
  3. To have timely access to any information that will be used at the hearing including the respondent’s narrative statement, respondent’s witness list, and witness narrative statements, if available.
  4. To be present for the entire hearing, except deliberations and recesses, and as deemed necessary by the board chair.
  5. To make an impact statement and suggest appropriate sanctions if the respondent is found responsible for alleged violations.
  6. To know the final results of the case. The final results include the name of the respondent, whether the respondent was found responsible or not responsible for each alleged violation, and any sanction being imposed.
  7. To appeal the final results if guidelines for appeal are met and a written appeal is submitted in accordance with the appeal process.
  8. To be notified in the event the respondent submits an appeal and the outcome of that appeal.

D. Complainants and respondents have the responsibility to cooperate in providing accurate information regarding the alleged conduct, including providing documents and physical evidence if requested. Complainants and respondents must be aware that the University’s ability to conduct a prompt and equitable investigation may be diminished if they choose to limit their participation in the process or fail to provide information in a timely manner.

VIII. UNIVERSITY CONDUCT ADMINISTRATION

All non-academic discipline matters fall under the authority of the Office of Student Conduct. The Director of Student Conduct may appoint an appropriate number of University staff to act as his/her designee in providing supervision and administrative support for the George Mason University Conduct System.

The Director of Student Conduct or designee will assist the hearing boards in maintaining their dockets and will assist students accused in specific situations in the preparation of the paperwork required by providing them with information on procedures, by serving and publishing announcements of meetings and hearing, and by informing parties seeking to file complaints about their options, rights and procedures.
In addition, the Director has the power and authority to investigate all complaints submitted to the Office of Student Conduct, and may refer or file formal complaints with the proper hearing body. The Director has authority to hear cases administratively and to issue informal warnings and reprimands to students, to seek administrative action, or to seek sanctions in the hearing bodies. The Director will have the authority to investigate complaints, resolve cases on behalf of the University, and exercise other such reasonably provided powers and authority. The Director of Student Conduct will oversee the preparation of all cases in the University Conduct System on behalf of the University. When the University is the complainant in a case, the Director of Student Conduct, or a representative of that office, will personally present the interest of the University to the appropriate hearing body.

The Director of Student Conduct will work closely with all members of the University community, and appropriate committees, student organizations, and individual students, faculty and staff as necessary to develop a fair and effective code of rules and regulations for campus life, a fair and effective conduct system, and to preserve the academic environment of the institution.

IX. CASE RESOLUTION PROCESS

Students charged with an alleged violation in the University Conduct System have the option of having their case heard before a student hearing board or before an administrative hearing officer. The Hearing Officer, upon notifying the student of the alleged violations, will inform the student of this option.

A. Administrative Hearing. The hearing officer for administrative hearings will be the Director of Student Conduct or his or her designee.

B. Community Adjudication Board Hearing. This hearing will be conducted according to norms established in this document for the University Community Adjudication Board. Community Adjudication Board hearings are offered based on board availability.

Depending on the nature and severity of the infraction, and the impact on the community, the University reserves the right to administratively hear cases of alleged student misconduct. All hearings are closed to the public.

X. RESPONSIBILITIES OF HEARING BODIES AND OFFICERS

Because it is not intended that the University conduct system become legalistic, the hearing bodies may find it necessary to remind parties, counsel, or advisors that the proceedings are not criminal or civil trials, that criminal or civil trial procedures and rules of evidence are not controlling and that the hearing body shall have discretion to interpret, vary, and adjust procedural requirements in order to promote a fair and just decision, as long as student rights are not abused. Further, the hearing body may provide a recess to permit the respondent to proceed under any procedural adjustments.

All parties appearing before the various hearing bodies are expected to show consideration for one another so that the fact finding and analysis may proceed in a reasoned and reliable way. The hearing bodies have the power to warn disorderly and disruptive persons, as well as to remove them from the hearing room. Disorderly, abusive or disruptive conduct, or other acts of contempt, may result in disciplinary action.
The primary responsibility for maintaining order lies with the presiding officer or chairperson, however all members of the hearing body have the ability and the duty to assert the power to assure an orderly and fair proceeding. If a hearing body cannot control a proceeding, it shall terminate the session by adjourning and shall confer among its members as to the possibilities of resuming at some later time with cooperation of all parties. If such resumption seems futile, the hearing body shall surrender jurisdiction to the body immediately above it in the appellate structure.

It is the duty of the presiding officer to manage the mechanics of the hearing; to coordinate schedules, paperwork and reports with the Director of Student Conduct; to speak for the body in all exchanges with counsel, parties, and others (except when the bodies are engaged in general conference with their advisor present); to control the proceedings and maintain order; to instruct persons before the body on the appropriate procedures of that hearing body; to declare the rulings and orders of the hearing body; to ensure proper completion and filing of all papers; and to perform other duties as necessary.

It is the special duty of the chair to make sure that presentations to the board, by any hearing participant, are relevant and that matters raised by complaint, appeal, petition or other business before the body is fully and reasonably developed.

The non-voting advisor may ask such questions as he or she feels are helpful to the board but should not ask questions routinely.

Confidence is placed in the character and judgment of the board members, and they should hear, examine, and consider all testimony and evidence relevant to the specific issues before the body. Members should feel free to require counsel of the board advisor, the University, the complainant or the respondent to explain testimony.

Board members have the duty to submit, to the Director of Student Conduct, complaints, comments, or suggestions for the improvement of the conduct procedures or substantive regulations regarding the governing of the University which affect the conduct system. Members are expected to commit themselves diligently and in good faith to the business of the board and to disqualify themselves, if necessary.

Finally, members are reminded that all matters before the hearing board concerning identifiable individuals are strictly confidential and cannot be revealed to, or discussed with, persons outside the hearing body in which the matter arises.

XI. THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY ADJUDICATION BOARD

The University Community Adjudication Board (CAB) shall have jurisdiction over violations of all university-wide, non-academic regulations that are not explicitly assigned to another hearing board.

A. Membership

The University Community Adjudication Board (CAB) shall be composed of willing members of the University student community. The conditions of membership are:

  1. Members shall be required to have and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.3, be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the University, and have completed at least one semester of full time enrollment, and be currently enrolled, at George Mason University.
  2. Membership will be open to all classifications including graduate students and to students of all majors.
  3. The CAB will be comprised of an appropriate number of Chairs appointed from its membership by the Director of Student Conduct or designee.
  4. The remaining membership shall serve as CAB Panel Members.

B. Advisor

The Director of Student Conduct or designee shall serve as advisor to the CAB. The advisor should sit with and advise the board at all hearings.

C. Training

CAB members must participate in training to ensure that they understand their duties, rights and obligations under the University Conduct of Student Code.The CAB is organized to provide the student community at George Mason University an opportunity to serve the University through the adjudication of cases of alleged violations of the University Conduct Code.

XII. SPECIAL HEARING BODIES

Special hearing bodies of limited jurisdiction will be established as may be required by the University, by its divisions and activities, by a resolution from the Office of Student Conduct requesting approval of a charter for each body. The charter of such hearing bodies will include the following: name of the hearing body, jurisdiction, and authority in the University for establishing such a body, appointment procedures for members of the hearing board, procedures for adopting hearing procedures which protect the rights of students, the requirement of the student rights specified herein and appellate procedures.

Approval of the Dean of Students normally will be required before the establishment of such a hearing body.

Depending on the nature and severity of the infraction, and the impact on the community, the University reserves the right to administratively adjudicate cases of alleged student misconduct.

XIII. SPECIAL PROCEDURES FOR ADJUDICATING CHARGES OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

A. Definitions

Sexual Assault is defined as the attempts or acts of rape, forced anal intercourse, forced oral copulation (oral-genital contact), or forced penetration by a foreign object including a finger. Sexual assault also includes the act of touching of an unwilling person’s intimate parts such as genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks or the clothing covering these parts, or forcing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts. Intoxication of the assailant shall not diminish the assailant’s responsibility for sexual assault. Rape is further defined as unwanted sexual intercourse. Unwanted sexual intercourse is defined as sexual intercourse committed against a person’s will, as evidenced by refusal of consent or the use of force, threat or intimidation.

Consent is an affirmative decision to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity given by clear actions or words. It is an informed decision made freely and actively by all parties. Students should not make assumptions about another individual’s willingness to participate in sexual activities. If confusion or ambiguity regarding consent arises at any time during the sexual interaction, it is essential that each participant stops and clarifies, verbally, willingness to continue. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance. A current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. Impairment due to drugs or alcohol does not diminish each party’s responsibility to obtain consent.

Consent must be given for each sexual act. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Conduct will be considered “without consent” if no consent, verbal or nonverbal, is given. It should be noted that in some situations an individual’s ability to freely consent is taken away by another person or circumstance. Examples include, but are not limited to, when an individual is incapacitated due to alcohol or other drugs, scared, physically forced, passed out, intimidated, coerced, mentally or physically impaired, beaten, threatened, isolated, or confined. Sexual intercourse committed with a person who, by virtue of mental incapacity or physical helplessness, is unable to give or withhold consent is also defined as rape. This includes, but is not limited to, incapacity or helplessness caused by alcohol or other drugs.

The above acts constitute sexual assault when they are committed through force, threat, or intimidation; when the perpetrator has been informed that his/her actions are unwanted; or through the use of the victim’s mental or physical helplessness of which the accused was aware or should have been aware. The degree of impairment of the victim’s ability to give or withhold consent may be introduced as pertinent information at any University disciplinary hearing.

B. Rights

Additional rights are afforded to the complainant and respondent in cases heard by the Sexual Assault Board. These additional rights may be found in section VII of this code.

C. Procedures

The following procedures are applicable to George Mason University students. The sexual assault hearing will be conducted in accordance with the rules and procedures established by the University Conduct Board, with special sensitivity to the nature of the charge and the best interests of the parties involved. In recognition of the unique nature of sexual abuse cases, these procedures supersede the University Code of Student Conduct when necessary. A staff member in the Office of Student Conduct is designated to administer these procedures.

Upon becoming aware that an act of sexual assault is alleged, the Director of Student Conduct or designee will initiate an investigation and take actions deemed necessary to protect the emotional well-being of the students involved, as well as the educational environment of the University. These actions may include, but are not limited to; changes of residence hall room assignment, placing restrictions on entrance into certain campus areas or buildings, or forbidding contact between the complainant and the respondent. These actions are subject to appeal to the Dean of Students or designee, and will remain in effect until resolution of the charges unless explicitly continued as a sanction imposed by the hearing board.

The sexual assault hearing board will be comprised of three George Mason University professional staff/faculty members appointed by the Office of Student Conduct. No more than two shall be of the same sex. A chairperson for each hearing will be selected by the panel members from among those appointed to hear the case.

The hearing will normally take place within sixty (60) days of the filing of the charge by the Office of Student Conduct.

The hearing board will determine whether there has been a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, and will impose or recommend sanctions to the Director of Student Conduct which may range from probation to dismissal from the University as set forth in the student Conduct code.

Both the complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to present their respective narrative statements, witnesses, and additional evidence.

Statements or questions regarding the irrelevant past sexual history of both the complainant and respondent will generally not be admitted into evidence at the hearing. Character witnesses are not permitted. Direct questioning and cross-examination between the complainant and respondent is not permitted.

During these proceedings, should the complainant or the respondent desire to avail himself/herself of counseling or other services provided by the University, he/she is encouraged to seek assistance from the Office of the Dean of Students.

A finding of responsibility for a violation of sexual assault policies requires an affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the sexual assault hearing board.

If the panel determines the respondent has engaged in sexual assault, the members are to impose or recommend sanctions according to conditions established in sections of this Code.

The outcome of the hearing and any sanctions that are imposed are normally made available, in writing, to both the respondent and the complainant within ten (10) business days of the completion of the hearing.

Due to the private nature of these actions, the University will not normally pursue charges of sexual assault unless the alleged victim acts as the complainant. However, in cases where there may be a witness to the alleged violation, or in cases where the victim asks the University to pursue the case when he/she does not act as the complainant, or in cases where non-pursuit of the charges would constitute a danger to the University community, or would materially affect the learning environment or operations of the institution, the University reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to pursue a case to its conclusion.

As a matter of University policy, the complainant is urged to pursue all charges of sexual assault and rape in the criminal justice system and to file a Title IX complaint with the Office of Equity & Diversity Services (OEDS). Actions by the police or criminal courts or OEDS do not in any way prejudice the right of a student to bring a charge in the University Conduct System.

Once a formal complaint has been made to the Office of Student Conduct, OEDS will be notified that a complaint of sexual assault has been filed with the Office of Student Conduct, in compliance with Title IX requirements. This notification will include the names of the complainant & respondent and the nature of the allegation.

XIV. SANCTIONS

The following sanctions are provided and may be imposed upon students and organizations or recommended by all hearing bodies and administrative hearing officers, except where noted herein. This list is not all inclusive. Dependent on the nature of the case, other sanctions not specifically listed may be imposed or recommended, as appropriate.

The Office of Student Conduct may take actions deemed necessary for the reasonable operation of George Mason University. Changes in the status of a student or organization that are not disciplinary in character, intended neither as punishment nor as censure, but required by administrative, academic, or security interests of the University and its community are not governed by these disciplinary procedures.

A. Sanctions for Individuals

  1. Educative Sanctions: Sanctions designed to educate students such as, but not limited to, papers, counseling, alcohol/drug evaluations, tasks or series of tasks that are educational in nature and/or serve to benefit the group or community at large.
  2. Warning: Notice, written or oral, that continuation or repetition of conduct found wrongful in the indefinite future may be cause for more severe disciplinary actions.
  3. Probation: For a determinate period, students may be placed on disciplinary probation, violations of which may result in suspension or expulsion or other University action. For a determinate period, students may be placed on housing probation, violations of which may result in eviction from the residence halls for a determinate period of time or indefinitely. This may include exclusion from participation in extracurricular University activities as defined in the notice for a period of time. Orders of no contact and administrative trespass orders may be considered sanctions of probation, as violations of these sanctions may result in further disciplinary action.
  4. Restitution/Service: Reimbursement for damages to or misappropriation of property. This may take the form of appropriate service or other compensation.
  5. Suspension: Exclusion from classes and/or other privileges or activities as set forth in the notice for a definite period of time. Students who have been suspended may be eligible for reinstatement upon successful petition to the Office of Student Conduct.
  6. Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status.

Sanctions for Organizations

  1. Educative Sanctions: Sanctions designed to educate organizations such as but not limited to papers, counseling, alcohol/drug evaluations, tasks or series of tasks that are educational in nature and/or serve to benefit the group or community at large.
  2. Warning: Notice, written or oral, that continuation or repetition of conduct found wrongful in the indefinite future may be cause for more severe disciplinary actions.
  3. Probation: For a determinate period, organizations may be placed on disciplinary probation, violations of which may result in suspension or other University action. This may include exclusion from participation in University activities as defined in the notice for a period of time.
  4. Restitution/Service: Reimbursement for damages to or misappropriation of property. This may take the form of appropriate service or other compensation.
  5. Suspension: Loss of all privileges and rights, including university recognition, for a definite period of time.
  6. Expulsion: Permanent loss of all privileges and rights, including university recognition.

*Administrative termination of the recognized status of the organization for an indefinite period of time may be imposed by the Office of Student Conduct for failure to comply with the University’s recognition procedures. The conditions of reapplication for recognition, if any, shall be stated in the notice of termination. Appeals to termination should be addressed to the Dean of Students within five days.

B. Interim Actions

Depending on the nature of the alleged misconduct, interim measures may be taken as deemed necessary for the reasonable operation of George Mason University. Examples include, but are not limited to, administrative trespasses from specific buildings and campuses and administrative no contact orders between individuals or groups.

Interim Suspension

Following an alleged act of student misconduct and until final disposition of the charge in the University Conduct System, the status of a student shall not be altered or the student’s right to be present on campus and to attend classes suspended. An exception to this would be the need to impose an interim suspension to ensure the safety and/or education of other students, faculty and staff, or to protect the property or operations of the University from damage or interference.

The interim suspension is enacted by the Office of Student Conduct for the University and is imposed when and if there is reasonable cause to believe one of the above conditions is present should this action not be taken. When the Office of Student Conduct imposes an interim suspension, the student (or student group) will be provided a written statement of the charges. The student accused of misconduct and facing interim suspension is given the informal opportunity to discuss the charges with the Director of Student Conduct or designee.

The Dean of Students, or his/her designee shall reserve the right to review any such action if appealed to that office in writing within three days of the decision of interim suspension, and to take such action, or no action, as he/she deems appropriate under the circumstances. The written appeal must concisely set forth all objections to the suspension and include all facts in support. The suspension shall take effect notwithstanding the appeal, unless and until the Dean of Students or his/her designee directs otherwise. A copy must be provided to the Conduct Administrator.

Other University Measures

In addition to non-punitive actions, University administrators and faculty members may take actions that are punitive in character but which are not so serious as to justify referral to the University Conduct System. Examples of this are the withdrawal of minor privileges upon administrative determination of misconduct, or the privilege of using the Student Unions for individuals or organizations that do not conform to the regulations affecting the building. Actions of this kind are necessary for the reasonable operation of the University.

Whether an administrative sanction is proper or not will depend upon several factors: the nature of the offense, the nature of the situation in which the conduct occurred, and the sanction to be imposed.

XV. APPEALS PROCEDURES

The broad purpose of the variety of hearing bodies and the provision for appellate review is to insure all parties that the original findings of fact, the reasoned integration of them, and an opinion and imposition of sanctions or other solutions directed by the hearing body are sound enough to withstand the scrutiny of an impartial review. The extent of review is determined by the seriousness of the issue and the character of the sanction imposed.

Any persons seeking a review of a decision, order, or report will within five working days (or in the case of reason #1, below, 30 days) from the date of the decision, submit a written statement outlining the specific issues for which review is sought, and the grounds upon which exception is taken to the original finding or ruling. Requests for appeal will be entertained only when based on one or more of the following:

  1. Evidence not available at the hearing which, had it been available, would in all reasonable likelihood have produced a different finding (responsible v. not responsible);
  2. Substantial procedural irregularity based upon a perceived violation of student rights; or
  3. Perceived hearing officer bias resulting in a violation of the standards of fairness used in disciplinary hearings.

The Dean of Students or his/her designee will rule on all appeals unless otherwise established in the approved procedures of special boards.
Cases on appeal will be corrected at the appellate level when justified by the consideration of fairness to the parties, efficiency of adjudication, or requirements of justice. The appellate body or agent may, at its discretion, modify the order or ruling of the original decision, may order a change in the outcomes of a decision, or may remand the case for new hearing.

With the consent of the Community Adjudication Board, special hearing bodies may use the Community Adjudication Board as an appellate body or as an initial hearing body. The power of the Community Adjudication Board to make binding determinations of questions submitted to it from non-chartered bodies, groups and organizations, is only with the consent of the parties in dispute. The Community Adjudication Board does not have power to review decisions of campus organizations not subordinate to it nor does it have the powers to suspend or dismiss a student from the University without the concurrence of the Office of Student Conduct.

XVI. SPECIAL PROCEDURES IN EMERGENCIES

To facilitate the prompt adjudication of disciplinary cases in situations involving large numbers of students, or whenever a significant backlog of cases develops for either the Community Adjudication Board or the special boards, upon recommendation from the Director of Student Conduct, a special hearing committee may be appointed to hear the case, an administrative hearing may be authorized, or the case may be dismissed by authority of the Dean of Students.

XVII. DISCIPLINE RECORDS

George Mason University maintains a record of students who have been found in violation of University rules and regulations. Student conduct records are maintained separately from the student’s official academic records, except in cases involving outcomes of suspension or dismissal. In these cases, notations are made on the academic record.

Records of conduct matters handled by the Office of Student Conduct or by the University Community Adjudication Board will be maintained within the Dean of Students organization. Special hearing bodies will maintain hearing records in secure storage as approved by the Office of Student Conduct.

Information about the status of a student’s conduct records will be handled in compliance with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. In accordance with these provisions, no information will be released to external authorities or to others outside of the conduct system unless the student has provided written permission authorizing such release or unless such release is authorized by law.

Students may request that conduct records be reviewed and removed. Requests must be in writing and directed to the Dean of Students. Requests will be considered in the light of federal and state record-keeping guidance.

XVIII. REVISIONS TO THE CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT

It is the general duty of all persons affiliated with the university conduct system to advise the Director of Student Conduct of modifications that should be considered in order to improve the fairness and effectiveness of the system. The Director of Student Conduct will bear the responsibility for identifying and considering any proposed revisions to the Code of Student Conduct. The Director will present such proposals in the form of a draft for consideration and action by the Dean of Students.

Revised: 8/25/92, 8/33/99, 7/9/03, 6/24/04, 8/23/06, 8/7/07, 8/26/11