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Accused Students

  • Responses apply to university student conduct proceedings only. Questions regarding charges in civil or criminal court should be addressed to the district judge, borough police, or student legal services. The university reserves the right to address behaviors that occur outside the boundaries of campus, whether they involve residential students, commuters, or students who live in the surrounding community. Students involved in off-campus incidents should view “more frequently asked questions."

    What is an IRC?

    IRC stands for Informal Resolution Conference. It is an informal way for a student to resolve behavioral issues with the university. An IRC can occur if

    • The student does not have a previous disciplinary record with the university, and the student is charged with a minor violation with the university [i.e., health and safety violation, mutual argument where no physical contact is made, underage drinking (first offense), etc.].
    • The student has a previous disciplinary record, but the sanctions have concluded and were for minor policy violations.

    My alleged violation was off campus, why is the university contacting me?

    All student actions reflect upon the IUP community as a whole, regardless of where those actions take place. For that reason, IUP addresses student behavior that occurs both on and off campus.

    Do I have to show up to this meeting?

    Although you are not required to attend, you are strongly encouraged to do so. The Office of Student Conduct or Office of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining schedules your meeting around your class schedule. If you choose not to attend your IRC, you will be found “in violation” of all of the alleged charges and you will be sanctioned appropriately.

    What is going to happen at this meeting?

    You will be presented with information concerning your alleged policy violation. You will then be given the opportunity to convey what happened during the incident. From this information, the university official will determine if it is “more likely than not” that you are either “in violation” or “not in violation” of the alleged charge(s). If you are found "in violation," the university official will seek agreement with you regarding the appropriate sanctions. If you are found" not in violation," no sanctions will be applied and the related paperwork will be destroyed.

    With whom will I be meeting?

    You will meet with an assistant director of Student Conduct, a graduate student for the Office of Student Conduct, or a Residential Living professional staff member.

    Should I bring anything to the IRC?

    You do not need to bring anything unless you feel it pertains directly to the incident being discussed.

    Do I need a lawyer?

    No, but you may bring an advisor to help remind you of details pertaining to the alleged incident and/or to provide moral support. The advisor is allowed to provide private consultation to you but may not speak to the university official.

    Can I be suspended if I am found “in violation”?

    Not in an IRC. Violations that may result in suspension are scheduled for an administrative hearing or a student conduct board hearing.

    I already have a hearing in the borough court system. Do I still need to attend the IRC?

    Yes. The university procedures are completely separate from the borough procedures. You should attend both.

    How do I prepare for a student conduct hearing?

    There are three ways you can prepare for your student conduct hearing:

    1. Read the Student Code at The Source: A Student Policy Guide.
    2. If you plan on bringing an advisor or witnesses to your hearing, you should contact the hearing officer or student conduct board chairperson at least twenty-four hours in advance of the hearing.
    3. Prepare questions for the referring party and witnesses and prepare your final (summary) statement.

    How many witnesses should I bring?

    Bringing a large number of witnesses does not guarantee a stronger case. Only person(s) who were witness to the actual incident, or to related circumstances, may provide information. It is best to ask one or two eyewitnesses to accompany you. Generally speaking, character witnesses are not permitted to provide information. If you have an addition to the witness list, you should notify the Office of Student Conduct at least twenty-four hours in advance of the hearing.

    What if I don’t attend the hearing?

    If you do not attend the hearing, the case will be decided based on information presented at the scheduled hearing and you will be notified in writing of the outcome.

    May I bring an advisor to the hearing?

    Yes. An advisor may be present at a hearing to provide support for an accused student, alleged victim of violence, or witness. An advisor may be any individual of your choice (including, but not limited to) a friend, student, IUP administrator, family member, or attorney. S/he may consult and interact privately with you during the student conduct proceedings. The advisor is not permitted to represent you. If the advisor does not act within the limitations as outlined, the hearing officer or student conduct board chairperson will request that s/he comply or remove herself/himself from the hearing. Only one advisor is permitted per accused student, alleged victim of violence, or witness.

    Will my parent(s)/guardian(s) find out about this?

    If, as a result of the hearing, you are found “in violation” of one or more policies and placed on a sanction of disciplinary probation or higher or if you are found “in violation” of any alcohol and/or drug policy, your parent(s)/guardian(s) will automatically receive a copy of the hearing officer or student conduct board decision. This does not apply if you are 21 years of age or older, or if you show the hearing officer or student conduct board chairperson that you are financially independent. You are encouraged to discuss all disciplinary matters with your family.

    Why do I have to go before both the district judge and university student conduct adjudicator?

    The court system addresses charges against you as a citizen of Indiana Borough. The university student conduct hearing addresses charges against you as a student of IUP.

    Will the hearing outcome affect my financial aid or scholarship?

    Sanctions other than suspension or expulsion are not likely to impact your financial aid or scholarship. Financial aid is very date specific and is impacted by the date of your last documented attendance at IUP. Please contact Student Financial Services (724-357-2218) to discuss your situation.

    Will the hearing outcome affect my major?

    It depends on the sanction and your major. Criminology and education majors may be impacted. Talk with your academic advisor about this issue.

    Why does the university adjudicate behavior that occurs off campus?

    The university is concerned with students’ decisions affecting others, including the local community.

    What rights do I have in the hearing process?

    All accused students have a right to due process. You have the right to know the charge(s) against you and to have the opportunity to defend yourself. The accused student is presumed to be “not in violation” unless the information at the hearing indicates that it is “more likely than not” (51 percent or more) that the student violated the policy. A past student conduct record may not be used to establish violation of current allegations. However, once the accused student is found “in violation” of one or more policies, a past student conduct record may be used to determine the appropriate sanction(s).

    What information is used to find a student ”in violation"?

    Information that is used must be from an eyewitness and/or from related circumstances or documents. Rumors or hearsay are not considered to be useful. Information serves a different purpose than in a court of law. In a university conduct hearing, it is used to review one’s status as a student. In addition, the standard of evidence is lower than in the courts. The information presented along with the testimony needs to demonstrate that the accused student is “more likely than not” “in violation” of university policy.

    What kind of sanctions can I expect?

    If you are found “in violation", the hearing officer or student conduct board will determine one or more sanctions. When determining a sanction, your previous involvement in the university student conduct system will be considered. Sanctions are imposed to foster responsibility and developmental growth and to protect the university community. Sanctions include, but are not limited to: a disciplinary warning, a contract for behavioral change, an educational task, disciplinary probation, removal from university-owned/operated housing, loss of eligibility for university-owned/operated housing, restitution, a letter to your parent/guardian, suspension, or expulsion. A board may recommend to the vice president for Student Affairs that you be expelled. Expulsion is a permanent dismissal from the university.

    What if I cannot complete an educational task on time?

    You may contact your hearing officer or student conduct board chairperson to explain the situation and request an extension. He or she will decide whether to extend your deadline.

    What happens if I am suspended or expelled?

    You have the opportunity to appeal the decision in writing to the vice president for Student Affairs within ten (10) calendar days of receiving the decision. If you are suspended or expelled, a “W” will appear on your academic transcript. No notation of the suspension or expulsion is made on the academic transcript.

    Can I appeal a decision or sanction?

    Upon notification of the student conduct board or hearing officer’s decision, you, the referring party, and/or the victim of violence may file an appeal. Appeals must be in writing, must specify reason(s) for the appeal, (procedural errors, new information, and inappropriate sanctions) and must be received by the vice president for Student Affairs within ten (10) calendar days following notification of the decision. The vice president for Student Affairs may deny the appeal, accept the appeal and amend the hearing outcome, or direct the appeal to be heard by a student conduct board, special interim board, or by a hearing officer.

    Who has access to a student conduct file?

    The Office of Student Conduct maintains student conduct files. Within IUP, university administrators who are involved with student conduct functions have access to a student’s conduct file. The university will not release a student’s conduct record outside IUP without written consent of the student. The only exceptions to this guideline are those outlined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

    How long does a student conduct file stay on record?

    Student conduct files are maintained for seven (7) years following the ending date of the last sanction. For cases of suspension or expulsion, the files may be maintained for a longer period of time. The university reserves the right to retain all student conduct files for longer than seven (7) years, as deemed necessary.

    Will my academic program be notified of the hearing outcome?

    The Honors College and Police Academy will be notified of any student conduct sanction imposed on students in the program. Other academic programs are notified if you are suspended or expelled from the university.

    Can I attend other schools while I am suspended or expelled from IUP?

    Yes, if the school accepts you upon application.

    Can I get a copy of my student conduct file?

    Yes. You may obtain a copy of your student conduct file by submitting a written request to the Office of Student Conduct. Please allow one week for your file to be copied and available for you.

    Whom do I contact for more information?

    The Office of Student Conduct is in Ruddock Hall, Suite G11. You may reach the OSC at 724-357-1264, Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–noon and 1:00–4:30 p.m. Summer office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.–noon and 1:00–4:00 p.m.

    Do I have to dress formally for a hearing?

    No. You may wear what you want, as long as it does not distract from the proceedings. Of course, it never hurts to be well-groomed and neatly dressed. However, a suit or dress is not required.

    Is a university student conduct hearing like a court hearing?

    No. A university student conduct hearing is less formal, and you will not be sworn in as in a court hearing. In this hearing, you will be asked to tell what you saw or heard truthfully and to the best of your recollection.

    How long will the hearing last?

    Length of a hearing depends on several factors such as complexity of the case, number of questions, and the number of people involved. We recommend that you bring something to do during the time you are waiting.

    Do I have to answer all the questions at a hearing?

    As an accused student, you have the right to answer or refuse to answer the questions you are asked.