1. If I want to file a complaint against another student, what do I do?
Any member of the University community (faculty, staff, student, or community stakeholder) may file a complaint against any student for misconduct reasons. Complaints should be prepared in writing and directed to the Office of Student Conduct, which is responsible for the administration of the University student conduct system. All complaints should be submitted as soon as possible after the incident takes place, preferably within forty-eight (48) business hours.
Complaints may be submitted online at http://sites.uco.edu/student-affairs/conduct/reportanincident/index.asp or hand-delivered to the Nigh University Center, room 136.
2. If I have been contacted by the Office of Student Conduct, what should I do? What is going to happen?
Students may receive a phone call, email, text message, face-to-face request and/or a letter from the Office of Student Conduct or another University Official (i.e. instructor, Housing and Dining staff member, etc.) requesting them to make an appointment to meet with the Office of Student Conduct. The communication will most likely describe any complaints that may have been communicated or filed against the student(s). This notification should be taken very seriously. Students should make an appointment at their earliest convenience and prior to the stated deadline. Ignoring this notification and/or failing to make an appointment may result in a hold being placed on their University account, a decision being made regarding their case without the benefit of their input, or other more severe disciplinary actions.
The Office of Student Conduct shall provide due process for students by providing notice and seeking to hear the various perspectives from each complaint. If respondents who have been provided with notice do not appear before a hearing body for an informal hearing, then the information in support of the complainant shall be presented and considered in the absence of the respondent. A decision shall be made without the benefit of the respondent’s personal input, unless a documented emergency can be verified to account for the respondent’s absence. The purpose of informal hearings is to give complainants and respondents the opportunity to voice their version of the incident and recommendation for outcome. Students will also be given the opportunity to indicate a preference for an informal or formal hearing. Whereas student preferences will be considered, some preferences for a hearing type may not be honored, due to the specific nature and/or circumstances of the case and matters involved.
The Office of Student Conduct may determine if the complaints can be disposed of administratively by an informal resolution or dismissed. If the allegations are not admitted to and/or cannot be reasonably disposed of by an informal hearing, the Office of Student Conduct may refer the case to another hearing body to be resolved formally (see Section III.Q.). The hearing body that hears the complaint, either informally or formally, will make a determination of responsibility based upon a preponderance of the evidence standard. Under this standard, the designated hearing body will seek to determine what more than likely occurred. Formal rules of due process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence applied in criminal or civil court are not used in student conduct proceedings.
3. What if I don't show up for my meeting with a representative from the Office of Student Conduct?
Ignoring the attempts of the Office of Student Conduct to make contact with you will not make the situation any easier. In addition, failing to appear for an informal hearing or a formal hearing will not help your situation either. If you fail to appear for either type of hearing, then a hold may be placed on your University account or a decision may be made about your situation without the benefit of your input and perspective being heard.
Note the following University violations from the UCO Code of Student Conduct, Section III. H:
4. What is the difference between an Informal Hearing and a Formal Hearing?
The term “hearing” means an opportunity to be heard, which may be informal or formal. Informal hearings are typically resolved by the case investigator, after a preceding investigation. Final decisions for formal hearings are routinely made by a designated board, panel, or committee (i.e. the Committee on Student Conduct or Sexual Misconduct Panel). Each type of hearing is further explained further in sections III.
Informal hearings are conducted through a series of investigative interviews with complainants, the reporting party (if different from the complaint), respondents, and witnesses. As stated above, complainants and respondents may be accompanied by an advisor of their choice, during informal or formal hearings, at their own expense, as long as their presence and/or actions do not disrupt the investigation and/or operations of the hearing process.
An informal decision shall be made after enough information has been gathered and/or received to make a final determination by the Director of Student Conduct or designated hearing body. Some preferences to resolve matters informally or formally may not be honored, due to the specific nature of the case and matters involved.
The hearing body’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the respondent(s) violated the Code of Student Conduct, based upon the preponderance of the evidence standard.
If the matters cannot be appropriately resolved in an informal manner, then official notice of all the reported allegations shall be presented to the respondent in written form (if they have not already been presented). A copy of the official notice and advisement of the upcoming hearing shall be forwarded to the respondent. Official notice of the reported allegations shall also be presented to the complainant. A date and time shall be set for a formal hearing which does not conflict with students’ class schedules. At the discretion of the Office of Student Conduct, the date and time for hearings may be adjusted due to exigent circumstances, such as cases involving Temporary Suspension (see current Code of Student Conduct, Section III.). All hearings are closed and shall be conducted in private. For further details about formal hearing, please refer to the current Code of Student Conduct, section III.
5. How should I prepare for a formal hearing?
In preparation for a formal hearing, the following steps should prove helpful for students:
6. Will I be allowed to bring my parents and/or my attorney to the Student Conduct Hearing?
According to the UCO Code of Student Conduct (section III.), students (Complainants and Respondents) shall have the right to be assisted by any advisor they choose, at their own expense, unless that person’s presence and / or actions disrupt the operations of the hearing. The complainant, the accused student, and / or the accused student organization representative(s) may be assisted by no more than one (1) advisor. The advisor may be an attorney. The Complainant, the Respondent, and or organization is responsible for presenting his, her, or their own case and, therefore, advisors are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any hearing before a student conduct body. Participating students should select as an advisor or person whose schedule allows attendance at the allotted dates and times for Student Conduct Hearings. Generally, delays shall not be allowed, because of scheduling conflicts of advisors.
7. What if I was not aware of the University policy that I was accused of violating?
Each student who voluntarily enrolls at the University of Central Oklahoma also voluntarily assumes an obligation to obey all rules and regulations made by properly constituted authorities, to preserve faithfully all property provided by the State for his or her education, and to discharge such duties as a student with diligence, fidelity and honor. Any student found to be responsible for misconduct is subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in the UCO Code of Student Conduct, section III. S.
Therefore, each student is encouraged to read the Code of Student Conduct prior to and/or during their time of enrollment. Each student is also encouraged to consult with the Director of Student Conduct or another University Official if they are unsure about the policies.
The University of Central Oklahoma distributes and makes available an updated version of the Code of Student Conduct at the beginning of each fall semester via distribution through:
8. What if the incident happened off campus?
Generally, University jurisdiction and discipline shall be applicable to misconduct which occurs on or near activities, events, and premises which are owned, leased, or controlled by the University, including UCO owned social media and electronic communications Additionally, the University shall exercise jurisdictional discipline to address misconduct which violate local, state, and/or federal law and adversely affects the University Community and/or the safe and orderly pursuit of its educational objectives.
9. If I am being charged in court, why do I also have to go through the University process as well?
Contrary to popular belief, this is not double jeopardy, which only applies to the criminal court system. Students are held responsible by the University of Central Oklahoma for their behavior under the UCO Code of Student Conduct.
University conduct proceedings may be instituted against a student with violation of a law which is also a violation of the UCO Code of Student Conduct; such as, when both violations result from the same incident. Proceedings under the UCO Code of Student Conduct may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off-campus. Moreover, determinations made or sanctions imposed under this Code of Student Conduct shall not be subject to change because of criminal charges arising or dismissed out of the same facts.
10. What if I lie about my involvement in the incident?
Lying is not encouraged. Lying during student conduct proceedings is a violation of University policy.
According to the Code of Student Conduct, section III. H., “abuse of the student conduct system includes but is not limited to . . . falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a student conduct body.” Thus, lying may be cause to apply additional disciplinary sanctions, if discovered.
11. What if I do not complete an assigned sanction?
According to the Code of Student Conduct, section III. H., “abuse of the student conduct system includes but is not limited to . . . failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under the Code of Student Conduct.” All students are encouraged to comply with the policies enforced by the Office of Student Conduct and other University Officials. If sanctions are not completed by a student, then a hold may be placed on their University account and/or more severe disciplinary actions may be taken, including suspension.
12. What does “probation” mean?
A student may be placed on probation in Housing or on a University level. As defined by the UCO Code of Student Conduct, section III. there are two (2) levels of University probation. The following descriptions apply to University Probation only.
Probation 1- A written reprimand for violation of specified regulations and a loss of privilege from representing the University in on- or off-campus co-curricular academic, athletic, or other social functions sponsored by the University during the probationary period. Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe sanctions, such as suspension or expulsion, if the student is found responsible for violating any further institutional regulation(s) during the probationary period.
Probation 2 – Due to previous university violations at other institutions and/or law violations prior to admittance to the University of Central Oklahoma, a specified conditional period of enrollment may be applied to an incoming student. The conditional period may include a denial of access to one or more of the following areas and/or events of the University of Central Oklahoma:
The conditional period may also include one or more of the following requirements:
13. Will disciplinary sanctions appear on my academic transcript?
Usually, behavioral disciplinary sanctions will not appear on a student’s transcript, unless the student was found responsible for academic misconduct and/or sanctioned with a suspension or expulsion.
14. What violations of the Code of Student Conduct are most likely to result in suspensions or expulsions?
Typically, when responsibility is determined in the following types of cases, suspensions or expulsions may be applied as the appropriate sanctions:
The above list is representative, but not exhaustive.
15. Will potential employers have access to my conduct records? No. However, if a student completes an Educational Records Release Authorization form or an official release form from the potential employer, then the Office of Student Conduct may release the requested information regarding your student conduct file.
Potential employers may require background checks before making official hires. The University of Central Oklahoma cannot disclose information about your student conduct records, unless we have received written permission from you. These restrictions are based upon the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, which protects the privacy of student education records.
16. What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."
Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance.
Further details about FERPA may be accessed online within the UCO Undergraduate Catalog at http://sites.uco.edu/academic-affairs/files/ug-catalog/ug-generaldegree.pdf
17. Will my parents be notified if I am found “RESPONSIBLE” for violating a University Policy?
No, not for every incident. However, in efforts to help reduce the increasingly dangerous alcohol consumption incidents, parents are regularly notified when a student is found to be responsible for violating a University alcohol and/or drug policy. Yet, University of Central Oklahoma encourages students to speak with their parents on their own.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows for Universities to contact the parents of students, if their student has been found “RESPONSIBLE” for violating any University alcohol or controlled substance policy or any local, state, or federal law and are under the age of twenty-one (21). Therefore, parents may be contacted if the aforementioned criterion is met. Additionally, parents may be contacted, without consent of the student, if their student’s health, safety, and/or welfare are in clear and present danger.
18. What if I am found responsible for violating a University policy and assigned a sanction with which I do not agree?
A decision reached or sanction assigned by a hearing body may be appealed by the respondent and complainant. Complainants and Respondents may request that the decision reached or sanction(s) assigned, if any, by a hearing body be reviewed, according to the grounds described below.
a) Disproportionate Sanction(s): To consider whether the sanctions outcomes assigned are significantly disproportionate to the severity of the violation. (Simple dissatisfaction with a sanction is not grounds for overturning a sanction assignment under this provision.)
b) New Information: To consider new documentation, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction assignment(s). A summary of this new documentation and its potential impact must be included.
c) Procedural Error: To determine that a procedural or substantive error occurred during the investigation or hearing that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. unjustified and significant deviation from published procedures, etc.).
Appeal requests related to decisions made by the Office of Student Conduct, may be submitted online at the Office of Student Conduct OrgSync page at https://orgsync.com/114403/forms/145119. Appeal requests related to decisions made by Housing Officials may be submitted online at the Housing OrgSync page at https://orgsync.com/85227/forms/205741.
All appeal requests must be completed, signed, submitted, and received within three (3) business days after the disciplinary decision has been rendered and received. Failure to check or claim notice of the disciplinary decision by email, US Postal Service, or campus mail will not constitute an acceptable reason for non-receipt of the original decision.
a) Request Denials: If the appeal request IS NOT submitted within three (3) business days and/or the appeal request DOES NOT substantially articulate one (1) or more of the appeal merits, then the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs will notify the requesting party and other party that the appeal request is denied.
b) Requests Granted: If the appeal request IS submitted within three (3) business days AND the appeal request DOES meet one (1) of the appeal merits, then the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs will notify the requesting party that the appeal request is granted and will notify each party (complainant and respondent) that an appeal hearing or review will be forthcoming.
For granted appeal requests, the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs will inform the opposing party of the granted appeal requests (e.g., if the respondent’s appeal request is granted, the appeal request will be shared with the complainant, who may also wish to file a response). Furthermore, each party will be contacted to coordinate the date and other necessary logistics for the appeal review or hearing. The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, the Committee on Student Conduct, and/or the Sexual Misconduct Panel will make every attempt to hear or resolve an appeal within fifteen (15) Business days of the submitted appeal request.
19. Who can I contact to find out more information on Student Conduct at UCO?
The Office of Student Conduct, may be reached by calling (405) 974-5380 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org