Student Code of Conduct
- Philosophy of the Conduct System
- Conduct Expectations & Policies
- Responding to Violations of College Policy
- Good Samaritan Policy
- Suspension Level Violations
- Appeals Process & Appeal Form
- Recordkeeping and Release of Information
- Interpretation and Revision
- Hearing Board Membership
- Rights of a Student Accused of Policy Violations
- Rights of Victims in the Student Conduct Process
Revised June 2015
Philosophy of the Conduct System
Keene State College regards students as adults and expects them to accept responsibility for their behavior, whether acting individually or in a group. Students are expected to be considerate of the rights of others and conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the values embraced by the College and reflected in its various policies, contracts, rules, and regulations.
All students and student organizations are expected to maintain a high standard of conduct both on and off campus.
- College jurisdiction shall include conduct that occurs on the College premises, off-campus, during College-sponsored activities, and/or conduct that impacts the health and/or safety of members of this community and/or negatively impact the educational mission or reputation of the College.
The College reserves the right to assert its jurisdiction in certain off-campus incidents when specific actions by KSC students adversely affect the College community and/or its mission. Off campus behaviors subject to College conduct action include, but are not limited to: physical abuse, sexual misconduct, harassing or intimidating behavior, damage to other’s property, unlawful alcohol gatherings, disruptive or disorderly behavior, selling or distributing drugs and other controlled substances. Any student who exhibits chronic behavioral issues off campus will be subject to College conduct action under these guidelines.
Students are expected to remove themselves immediately from situations in which others are engaging in, or are attempting to engage in, violations of College policies. Remaining in such situations or failing to take action to address such behaviors may result in students being subject to action through the College’s Conduct System.
The Student Code of Conduct assumes that reasonable people, given adequate information and freedom to decide, can and will make judgments in the best interests of the community. The goal of the College Conduct System is to teach the student why the behavior displayed is unacceptable. As such, sanctioning is designed to be both educational and corrective in nature.
Students with disabilities are encouraged to disclose their disability and request accommodations to the Hearing Officer prior to the hearing if they feel that knowledge of such could affect decisions made in the hearing. If the student is not registered with KSC’s Office of Disability Services then the student will be required to provide documentation of the disability to the Director/Coordinator of Student Conduct. Undocumented/undisclosed claims of disability cannot be considered during or after the hearing process is complete.
Keene State College will take a strong position on actions that are motivated by or committed against an individual(s) based on race, religion, disability, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or veteran’s status, and sanctions will be reflective of the nature of the incident and any bias demonstrated.
The following terms are used throughout the Student Code of Conduct. “College” throughout this document refers to Keene State College.
A Policy is a written regulation of the College, including, but not limited to, those found in the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog, Student Handbook, the Terms and Conditions of the Residence Hall Contract (pdf), the College Parking and Motor Vehicle Policies, and the complete list available in the policies section of our web site.
Throughout this document, reference is made to a number of individuals who are involved in the College Conduct System.
College Officials are people currently employed by the College who perform assigned administrative or professional duties. In addition to faculty and staff, resident assistants and desk attendants are considered College Officials.
The College Premises include all the land, buildings, facilities, and other properties that the College owns, uses, or controls, including adjacent streets and sidewalks.
A College-Sponsored Event includes any event that is sponsored by the College, occurs on College premises, or occurs off-campus with the permission of the College or with participation by College officials in the performance of their official duties.
An Advisor is a current member of the College community who is chosen by a student to assist him/her navigate the conduct process. Please see the advisor page for further details. Students who would like the assistance of a trained advisor should stop by the Student Conduct Office for a list of available volunteers.
A Faculty Member is a person hired by the College to conduct classroom, teaching and/or scholarly activities.
A Hearing Board is composed of trained College community members who are appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs and selected by the Director of Student Conduct to hear a particular case or otherwise resolve matters of student misconduct. Members of the Hearing Board may be called on to serve in several different capacities.
A Member of the College Community can be any current student, faculty member, College official, or other person employed by the College directly or through a contract service. A person’s status in a particular situation shall be determined by the Dean of Student’s Office.
A Student is any person who is registered for courses at the College. Individuals no longer enrolled for a particular semester, but maintaining a continuing relationship with the College (for example, on an approved leave of absence), are considered students.
A Student Organization refers to a group of students recognized or registered as affiliated with the College as a result of complying with the formal requirements established by the Student Involvement Office.
The responsibility for the College Conduct System lies with the following individuals:
The Vice President for Student Affairs has ultimate authority over the College Conduct System, including interpretation of policies and the system’s procedures.
The Dean of Student’s Office provides oversight for the day to day operations of the Student Conduct Office and, in accordance with College policy, approves the Code of Conduct and coordinates all nominations to the Hearing Board.
The Director of Student Conduct is charged with providing comprehensive leadership, management and vision for the Student Conduct Office. She/he sets the tone and direction for the office and develops the conduct codes, adjudication systems and related procedures.
The Coordinator of Student Conduct is the professional staff member responsible for the overall coordination of the processes used to administer the Student Code of Conduct, including interpretations of policies and the system’s procedures. In this capacity, she or he serves as a Hearing Officer, oversees all procedures and processes, and ensures that training programs are conducted for Hearing Officers and Hearing Board members.
Hearing Officers are individuals who, through their job responsibilities or authorization by the Director or Coordinator of Student Conduct, initiate action on possible violations to the Code of Conduct. The Hearing Officer may hear, arbitrate, mediate, or otherwise resolve student misconduct or disputes.
Hearing Board Members are faculty, staff, and students who have been trained to hear and act on student conduct violations.
Information for Advisors
This information is designed to help you prepare to serve in your role as advisor for a student called to a hearing or hearing board. It is meant to supplement the Code of Conduct which details the student conduct process. You should read the Code thoroughly as well as follow these tips when preparing your advisee. If you have any questions about the process please contact the Student Conduct Office.
The advisor in a student conduct process may be anyone of the student’s choosing as long as s/he is a current member of the College community. Advisors are not permitted to speak during the proceeding, though s/he may confer and speak privately to the advisee. The advisor may not be included in the list of witnesses; s/he may only function in the capacity of an advisor.
When selecting an advisor, students should remember that the advisor may not be fully aware of the student conduct process and is probably not an expert in conduct proceedings.
The advisor should assist the advisee with the following:
- Review and understand the alleged violation(s) and the student conduct process
- Prepare the student to share their side of what occurred in the alleged incident
- Think of questions to ask the witness(es) called to present information at the hearing
- Take notes during the hearing
- Suggest additional questions to ask witnesses and the other party based on their statements
- Help keep the advisee calm and in control
- Provide moral support to the advisee prior to and during the proceeding
Please note that while advisors may contact the Coordinator of Student Conduct to discuss general process questions and their role as an advisor, they are not permitted to discuss the specifics of a case.
The advisor’s assistance may also be needed in preparing a letter of appeal (if advisee is the accused student), should the student choose to appeal the hearing outcome.
Conduct Expectations & Policies
As members of the College community, students and their organizations have an obligation to know and abide by the Student Code of Conduct. Through its policies and regulation statements, the College has identified the behavioral expectations it has for its students. The College expects that students will behave in a mature and responsible manner at all times. Students who fail to do so will be referred to the College’s Student Conduct System.
Residential students are expected to know and abide by the Terms and Conditions of the Residence Hall Contract. Any violation of these policies and regulations will be considered a breach of the contract and may lead to disciplinary action and/or removal from on-campus housing.
Students living in residence halls are responsible for all events and/or behaviors that take place in their room/suite/apartment. If a resident is uncomfortable with what is taking place (e.g., drinking, noise, too many guests, etc.), the College expects students to address policy violations with their peers, set expectations that are mutually acceptable, and uphold the expectations of the College. If this is not possible, the student is obligated to leave, get a Resident Assistant or call Campus Safety.
College conduct proceedings may be instituted against a student who is subject to prosecution for violation of law in any judicial venue without regard to the pendency or outcome of the judicial proceedings when the conduct alleged is also a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
The Student Conduct Office will address violations of the following list of policies. College policies are described in detail elsewhere in the Student Handbook. This list is intended, therefore, to be illustrative and not exhaustive.
Keene State College students are expected to abide by and comply with each of the following:
I. General Policies
- Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities
- All federal, state and local laws and ordinances
- All published policies, rules and regulations of Keene State College, whether occurring on or off campus
II. Campus Policies
- Honesty and Cooperation Policy
- Student ID Card Policy
- Not engage in forgery, alteration, or misuse of any College document, record, name, seal, College approved logo or instrument of identification
III. Residence Hall Policies
- Guest and Visitor policy
- Noise policy
- Windows, roofs and ledges policy
- Pet policy
- Hall sports policy
- Solicitation and sales policy
- Health and sanitation policy
- Prohibited electrical appliances policy
- Unauthorized furnishings/decorations/alterations policy
IV. Alcohol Policies
V. Controlled Substance Policy
VI. Gambling Policy
VII. Key, Combination, and Card Access Policies
VIII. Fire Safety Polices
IX. Weapons Policy
X. Personal Injury Policies
- Disorderly, disruptive or indecent behavior policy
- Threatening or endangering others policy
- Sexual misconduct policy
XI. Theft and Damage Policy
XII. Dining Commons Policies
XIII. College Community Policies
XIV. Hazing Policies
- Hazing Policy
- Criminal Conviction for a violation of New Hampshire State Law prohibiting hazing (e.g., NH RSA 631-7)
XV. Technology and Telecommunication Policies
Responding to Violations of College Policy
Any member of the College community may file a report against a student or student organization alleging a violation of the Code of Conduct. Reports of any alleged policy violation should be filed with the Student Conduct Office as soon as possible, normally within 30 days of either the incident taking place or knowledge of the incident becoming available. Extension of this time period may be granted at the discretion of the Student Conduct Office.
Upon receipt of a report the Coordinator of Student Conduct or the hearing officer to which the report is assigned will review the materials and determine what College policies may have been violated and the manner in which the infraction will be addressed. These alleged policy violations become the charges which will be brought by the College against the accused student(s) when the matter moves forward through the Conduct System.
In the case of an alleged violation of any of the College’s policies regarding sexual offenses by a student or student organization the College will follow the procedures outlined in the Sexual Misconduct Policy section of the Student Handbook.
It is important to note that the rules of process, procedure, and/or evidence that are applicable to civil and criminal cases do not apply to College hearings.
Alleged violations may be addressed in one of the following ways:
If a hearing officer determines the violation(s) is minor in nature and the student has no history of other conduct violations then the student will attend an Educational Conference. An Educational Conference is a conversation regarding the violation(s) and a review of strategies for avoiding such violations in the future.
Students who do not appear for their Educational Conference will either receive an Educational Letter or be sent to a Hearing.
An electronic letter may be sent to a student or student organization involved in a first-time minor violation outlining the incident that was reported and stating the College’s expectations regarding the behavior.
Educational Letters address quiet hours and health & safety issues. These letters are noted in a student’s conduct record and may be used in determining appropriate sanctions for future violations.
The student or student organization has the right to request a hearing to discuss the charges. Contact must be made with the College official who sent the educational letter within five business days of receipt of the letter, otherwise the matter will be considered resolved and the student/organization will be required to fulfill the specified expectations or directions.
Interim Suspension: In certain serious circumstances, a student or student organization may be suspended or face restrictions in activities prior to a hearing. This might occur in an effort to ensure the health, safety, or well-being of members of the College community or to preserve College property; to ensure the suspended student’s physical and emotional safety and well-being; or to prevent the disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the College.
This action will only be taken upon the direction of the Dean of Students or his/her designee.
When a student or student organization is placed on interim suspension, the student will receive requisite notice and a hearing will be scheduled as soon as is practical. The Vice President for Student Affairs shall be notified of such action.
A student placed on Interim Suspension is not permitted access to the College campus or to participate in any College sponsored or supervised activities, including classes. If there is an administrative need to be on campus, the student must submit a written request to the Dean of Students office including the exact date, time, and reason for such request. A student placed on interim suspension is ineligible to register for or attend classes at any other USNH institution for as long as the charge remains pending.
Hearing or Hearing Board
Students charged with a violation or who are requested to appear before a hearing or hearing board are expected to attend. If a student is unable to attend he/she may submit a detailed and truthful statement regarding his or her observations and involvement in the incident to the hearing officer or hearing board chairperson.
Should a student or student organization representative(s) fail to appear for a scheduled hearing or otherwise choose to limit or withhold a response to the charge(s), the hearing officer or chairperson of the hearing board will proceed with the hearing. Any decision(s) made shall be based on the evidence presented at the hearing; failure to attend a hearing will not be a presumption of responsibility.
The purpose of the hearing is to fully discuss all aspects of the incident in order to understand the circumstances, review the behavior and the decisions that were made, educate the student(s) regarding College policy and expectations, determine responsibility for the action(s), and issue appropriate sanction(s).
If it is determined that the student or student organization could face Disciplinary Suspension, Disciplinary Expulsion or Disaffiliation of a Student Organization then the case will usually be addressed by a Hearing Board, except in some circumstances indicated in the Hearing Procedures. Regardless of whether the case is heard by the Hearing Officer or the Hearing Board, the format is similar.
Please note that information disclosed during a hearing that was unknown to the Hearing Officer prior to the hearing and which constitutes a violation of the Code of Conduct may result in additional conduct action.
Restorative justice is an educational and collaborative approach to dealing with violations that have impacted individuals and/or the community. Students who are prepared to take responsibility for their behaviors associated with an incident may be offered, if other pre-conditions are met, an intake interview to determine whether restorative justice is an appropriate means for resolving the matter. If it is determined that this is the case, the student will participate in a facilitated conference with those affected by the incident, and collaborate in designing a plan for repairing the harm done. If completed, the restorative justice process replaces a more traditional hearing process. As suggested above, restorative justice is not applicable for all types of violations or behaviors. The final decision regarding whether a case may or may not be referred to the restorative justice process rests with the Director of Student Conduct or his/her designee.
College Hearing Procedures
When it is determined that an incident may involve policy violations that must be addressed through a hearing, the hearing officer will contact all the students alleged to be involved in the policy violation. This contact, via e-mail to the College-issued e-mail account, will include:
- the policies the student is alleged to have violated;
- a copy of relevant written materials that constitute evidence of the violation (audio and video materials are the property of the College; copies will not be sent to the accused student(s) but will be available for review with the hearing officer up to 24 hours prior to the scheduled hearing or hearing board);
- a web link to the student’s rights in the conduct process; and
- a date, time and location for the student to meet with the hearing officer or hearing board.
At least 24 hours prior to the meeting the student is expected to contact the hearing officer to indicate how they would like to resolve the situation. Students have the option to:
- Take responsibility for the violation(s) and meet with the hearing officer regarding the incident, during which sanctions will be issued, or
- Indicate they are not responsible for some or all of the violations they are charged with and participate in a hearing for the hearing officer to determine responsibility and appropriate sanctions if deemed responsible.
Students generally have no less than two but no more than 20 days for the hearing to occur. In cases where circumstances prevent the hearing being scheduled within this time frame, for example, during the start or end of the semester and during examination periods and summer session, the timeframe may be waived or extended at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct or a designee. In addition, a student charged with a violation(s) may waive the minimum two-day period.
Students with pending criminal charges may request a delay in the hearing until the conclusion of their legal case. The Director of Student Conduct will determine whether to grant or deny the request.
In cases where the violation the student is accused of can result in sanctions of Disciplinary Suspension, Disciplinary Expulsion, or Deactivation of a Student Organization, the Director of Student Conduct or his/her designee will generally constitute a hearing board of at least three members from the hearing board membership to adjudicate the case. However, there are times (e.g., during the start or end of the semester, during examination periods and summer session, as well as other times deemed necessary due to calendar, personnel, and/or other special consideration, or when a student has received a warning that being found responsible for a particular violation will result in a suspension/expulsion) when constitution of a board will not be practical. At such times, the Board may not include a student member or the Director of Student Conduct or his/her designee will adjudicate the case in lieu of a board. An accused student or organization may request to have an Administrative Hearing with a hearing officer (Director of Student Conduct, Coordinator of Student Conduct, or other officer) in lieu of a hearing board, this request should be submitted to the Director of Student Conduct by email and he/she will determine whether to grant or deny the request.
Only members of the College community who have direct knowledge of the incident can attend the hearing. Written requests for specified additional persons to attend a hearing will be granted or denied at the sole discretion of the hearing board chairperson or hearing officer. The Director of Student Conduct or his/her designee may sit in or authorize other individuals to sit in a hearing for training/observation purposes.
The hearing consists of a reading of the charge(s) and a response by the student(s), including an indication of whether the student accepts responsibility for the policy violation(s). The incident is presented by the hearing officer and the student is offered the opportunity to respond. Additional information about the incident will be presented, including witnesses, if applicable.
During a formal hearing all College-related individuals who have first-hand information regarding the alleged incident will be provided the opportunity to present information. Non-College-related individuals may attend the hearing as a witness; however, it is it is the obligation of the student who wants them to attend to notify them of the date, time, and location of the hearing. Additionally, students must notify the Student Conduct Office at least 24 hours prior to the hearing if they have requested a non-College-related individual(s) to serve as a witness. Finally, given the numerous differences between criminal and civil court proceedings and the College’s Conduct System, expert, character, or witnesses whose quality of information is limited to second hand or hearsay will not be allowed to participate in a hearing. Questioning by the student, the complainant, and the hearing officer (or hearing board members) will be permitted.
A hearing officer or hearing board may, at their discretion, accommodate (in any manner they deem appropriate) concerns for personal safety, well-being, and/or fear of confrontation by the complainant, the accused student, and/or any witness(es). Pertinent records, exhibits, and taped or written statements may be accepted for consideration by the hearing officer or hearing board and will occur at their discretion. Individuals charged with a violation, as well as any impacted parties, have the right to an advisor of their choice, within certain exceptions: Specifically, advisors are limited to current members of the College community (students, staff, or faculty). Advisors are not permitted to speak or participate directly in any hearing. If concurrent criminal or civil charges have been filed in association with the incident then the student may have a non-College-related attorney present at the hearing as a non-participating observer.
Hearings conclude with summary statements by the accused student as well as the victim, if present. The victim, other impacted parties, and the accused student may submit impact statements that will be considered by the hearing officer, chairperson, or the hearing board during the determination of sanction(s) if necessary.
The hearing officer or hearing board will adjourn to deliberate in private, review the case, and assign responsibility if appropriate. This determination is made on the basis of a preponderance of evidence presented at the hearing - namely, that it is more likely than not that the student or student organization has committed the violation(s) as charged. Note: Decisions and sanctions are sometimes provided to students at the hearing.
It is the responsibility of the hearing officer to determine the appropriate sanction(s). In the case of a hearing board, once the board members have determined responsibility for the violation(s), they will identify and describe any mitigating or aggravating factors they believe should impact the sanction(s) that are issued to the student(s) or student organization. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the hearing board chairperson, in consultation with the Director or Coordinator of Student Conduct, to issue the sanction(s) based on a number of factors including:
- a student’s or student organization’s conduct history
- information from any impact statements
- the standard sanction guidelines, and
- the mitigating and aggravating factors identified by the hearing board members
Students will normally receive the outcome via e-mail within five days of the completion of the hearing. Determinations by the hearing officer, hearing board, or the chairperson will be considered final, pending normal appeal processes.
NOTE: Violations, particularly those associated with alcohol and controlled substance use, which occur during the Orientation period will be sanctioned more severely than those occurring during the academic year.
A student or student organization found responsible for violating the Code of Conduct will be sanctioned based on the specific violation(s). Factors such as past conduct action will be taken into consideration when sanctions are imposed.
Since students have the right to appeal (based on specific criteria - see Appeals section), sanctions will generally not be implemented until the appeal process has been exhausted. However, in cases where the health, safety, or well-being of a particular student or the College community is threatened, the Director of Student Conduct may authorize immediate implementation of any sanctions and offer to expedite the review. She or he may also authorize immediate implementation of the sanction(s) during the final examination period.
The following list identifies the range of sanctions that may be imposed on a student or student organization, either individually or in combination. The list is not all-inclusive; it provides a sample of the types of sanctions that may be issued.
a. Official Warning: A documented warning that unacceptable behavior has occurred. Further similar behavior or another violation of the Code of Conduct may result in more serious action.
b. Educational Sanction: Designed for students who violate health & safety policies, this sanction requires attendance at a group meeting with a College Official to review the policies and explore why the College treats them so seriously.
c. Restitution: This sanction requires a student to provide an appropriate monetary or material replacement for the loss, damage, or injury caused as a result of the misconduct. In situations where restitution cannot be billed directly to a student’s account at the Student Accounts Office, a hold will be placed on their account by the Dean of Students Office pending proof of payment of, or acceptable payment plan for, the restitution approved by the College official who issued the sanction of restitution.
d. Disciplinary Restriction (DR): Disciplinary Restriction limits and reduces the privileges of a student or student organization. DR normally lasts for a specific period of time, although some conditions may remain in effect permanently. Additionally, DR is a sanction level at which the Dean of Student’s Office will report information in response to reference checks or referrals.
While this list is not all-inclusive, examples of conditions of DR are:
- re-assignment to another residential facility
- being banned from specific College facilities
- being denied the privilege of posting materials in College facilities
- being denied the ability to schedule and hold events in College facilities
- an indication that if specific violations occur again, a student will be banned from all on campus residential facilities
- being denied the ability to select a housing assignment or type of housing for the following academic year
- being removed from College housing
- an indication that if specific violations occur again a student or student organization will be suspended, expelled, or deactivated
e. College Probation (CP): Restricts or alters the relationship between a student and Keene State College. CP normally lasts for a specific period of time, although some conditions may remain in effect permanently. Being placed on College Probation may affect a student’s ability to participate in study abroad and alternative spring break programs. Additionally, CP is a sanction level at which the Dean of Student’s Office will report information in response to reference checks or referrals.
It is important to note that students who violate policy while on CP will receive a higher level sanction. This may include being suspended for at least one semester from the College.
f. Deferred Suspension: The loss of the privilege to attend Keene State College for a period of time may be deferred. This means the suspension would not be enforced immediately pending specific actions or conditions imposed upon the student being fulfilled. Any violation of those conditions or failure to act will result in enforcement of the suspension. It may also result in further disciplinary action.
g. Disciplinary Suspension: The loss of the privilege of attending Keene State College for a specified period of time, normally not less than one semester or more than two years. During the period of suspension, the student is not eligible for a statement of “good standing.” A suspended student is banned from campus and may not attend classes or attend or participate in any College function during this period. Suspended students may petition the Dean of Students to be allowed on campus for administrative reasons.__A notation of “Disciplinary Suspension” is entered on the student’s transcript. Students suspended for a semester or more must apply to the Director of Admissions for formal readmission to the College. When suspended, the student is ineligible to register for or attend classes at any University System of New Hampshire (USNH) institution for the duration of the suspension. Please note that students who are suspended forfeit their right to a financial refund. The full policy can be found on the Student Accounts website.
h. Disciplinary Expulsion: This constitutes the final separation from Keene State College and renders the student ineligible for readmission at any time in the future. In addition, the student is permanently banned from the College premises and may never receive a statement of “good standing.” Students who are expelled for disciplinary reasons may be only allowed on campus for legitimate campus administrative business with the prior approval of the Dean of Students.
The notation of “Disciplinary Expulsion” is entered on the student’s transcript and becomes a part of his or her permanent record. The student is ineligible to register or attend classes at any USNH institution for two years following the date of the expulsion from Keene State College. Please note that students who are expelled forfeit their right to a financial refund. The full policy can be found on the Student Accounts website.
i. Deactivation of a Student Organization: Loss of recognition by the College for either a specific period of time or permanently. Upon completion of the period of deactivation, an organization may have the opportunity to make a new application for College recognition. Often, the organization must show that it has complied with the sanctions or agreements associated with the deactivation.
j. Fines: Monetary fines will be issued to students who violate certain College policies. These fines will be applied to student accounts within 30 days of the incident being adjudicated. Students will be notified of the amount by an educational letter or hearing outcome sent to their KSC issued email address. Payment can be made at the Bursar’s Office once the bill appears on the account. Failure to pay the fine will result in additional conduct action.
Below are the standard fine amounts for alcohol and marijuana violations that are charged to a student in addition to other sanctions (Educational programs, College Probation, etc). Please note that each case is heard on its own merits and depending on the many factors involved, a student may start at a lower or higher fine amount. For example, violations of the College’s hosting policy are considered especially egregious and will start at the second violation amount.
First Violation: $186
Second Violation: $372
Third Violation: $744
Failure to Complete a Sanction
Failure to satisfactorily complete a sanction will result in a student or student organization receiving additional conduct sanctions. Generally, the student or student organization will be made aware of what will happen for failing to complete a sanction in the original Hearing Outcome Letter. Any sanction that has not been completed at the time of a student’s departure from the College shall be considered outstanding. If or when the student attempts to return to the College, approval must be granted by the Dean of Students prior to returning to classes.
Good Samaritan Policy
The Keene State College community recognizes that the health and wellness of students are of the utmost priority. When alcohol and/or drug use creates medical or safety emergencies, potential for college disciplinary action may deter students from seeking assistance for themselves or others. The Good Samaritan policy was developed to support students to act with their own and others’ health and safety as the primary concern. This policy applies only to College policy and does not prevent action by local or state authorities.
This Good Samaritan policy grants immunity from disciplinary action to students who seek medical attention for themselves and/or other students in alcohol or drug-related incidents. This policy does not grant immunities for other violations such as disorderly conduct, vandalism, assault, sexual assault, etc. This College does not condone underage drinking, the over-consumption of alcohol, or the use of drugs. The policy exists to encourage students who find themselves in life-threatening situations with alcohol and/or drugs to call for help.
Students who are granted immunity under the policy will still be required to complete alcohol and/or drug education activities, assessments, and/or treatment. Failure to meet these requirements will result in application of the disciplinary actions.
Students should always seek medical attention in a drug or alcohol-related emergency. However, students who have repeated violations over the course of a year, could face disciplinary action.
Any alcohol visible in the room or at the scene of the emergency will be disposed of. Any controlled substances visible at the scene of the emergency will result in KPD involvement. However, in the case of an emergency, Keene State College will grant immunity to the student for the campus violations associated with possession of controlled substances, but only for personal consumption. Paraphernalia such as plastic bags, scales, and other indicators of distribution will result in KPD involvement and College disciplinary action. Keene State College does not have the authority to dispose of and/or grant legal immunity for controlled substances, and will contact KPD whenever necessary.
Suspension Level Violations
Alleged commission of the following violations will likely result in interim suspension. Being found responsible for violating these policies will most likely result in disciplinary suspension or disciplinary expulsion from the College.
Please note that the following list is not all inclusive:
- Sale or evidence of intent to sell drugs.
- Sale or evidence to illegally sell alcohol.
- Instigating a riot or other disruption as described in the disorderly, disruptive or indecent behavior policy.
- Arson or attempted arson.
- DUI arrest.
- Physical altercation with public safety or College Officials.
- Infliction of physical harm.
- Sexual misconduct as outlined in the sexual misconduct policy.
- Threat or danger to others.
- Possession or evidence of use of illegal drugs other than marijuana.
- Intentionally causing a false fire alarm.
- Committing or planning to commit discrimination or discriminatory harassment.
- Committing or planning to commit hazing.
Appeals Process & Appeal Form
The findings of the Hearing Officer or Hearing Board may be appealed by either the accused student or the individual who filed the original complaint. Submitting an appeal will not guarantee that your outcome will be overturned, but will ensure that is fully vetted by an appellate officer. Please note that appeals do not serve as re-hearings of the original case. They are designed to determine whether or not:
- The hearing was conducted in accordance with procedures prescribed by the College Conduct System. Deviation from designated procedures will not be a basis for granting an appeal unless significant prejudice can be demonstrated as a result of the deviation.
- The sanction(s) imposed was appropriate for the violation(s) committed, the past conduct history, and any previous sanction(s) of the student(s) or student organization.
- There is new evidence that could not have been known during the hearing which is sufficient to alter the decision or outcome. It must be clear that the evidence could not have been known at the time of the original hearing.
Appeals must be submitted by the student in writing (through our online form) and contain the specific grounds for the appeal based on the criteria identified above. Please note that failure to attend the hearing or to provide a statement in lieu of attendance are not grounds for an appeal. In addition, the appeal must be received by the Student Conduct Office within five days of the date at the top of the hearing outcome notification e-mail. In most cases the Director or Coordinator of Student Conduct will review the appeal except in instances where she or he heard the original case. In some cases, the appeal may be considered by the Associate Dean of Students or the Dean of Students.
Upon receiving an appeal, the Appellate Officer will vet the appeal to determine whether or not any of the grounds upon which a case can be appealed have been addressed at a sufficient level to warrant an appeal being granted.
The appeal review is limited to an analysis of the written appeal document, the record and documents of the initial hearing, and an interview with the original hearing officer or chair of the hearing board. If new information becomes available or a procedural error has been determined through the appeals process, the Appellate Officer will adjust the sanction(s) as necessary but will not increase the sanctions. The case may be returned to the original hearing officer or hearing board, or a newly constituted one, to allow for a reconsideration of the original finding.
All decisions resulting from an appeal review shall be final. Although a verbal notification may be provided to the student who requested the appeal review, an e-mail notification of the decision shall be sent within twenty days of the receipt of the appeal.
An appeal of the outcome of a student conduct case is a formal document that becomes a part of the student’s conduct record. It is important to formulate the contents carefully and to write it in a clear, concise and logical manner. Proper grammar and spelling are expected.
Appeals that are not filed properly or are missing information will not be considered. Appeals should be submitted through the following form: Student Conduct Appeal Form. Please only submit appeals through this form.
Your appeal will include the following:
- Case number
- Date of outcome letter (found at the top of outcome email)
- Your Name and Student ID
- Your KSC email address
- Selection of the reason(s) you are appealing:
- The hearing was not conducted properly
- The sanction does not fit the violation and the student’s conduct history
- New information that would significantly change the outcome has become available after the hearing
- Objective and factual evidence that supports the ground(s) on which you are appealing; opinions are not objective or factual and therefore will not be considered. For instance, if you were claiming that you did not receive the hearing notice in a timely way, you would quote the College’s guidelines for proper notification and provide the original summons letter highlighting the date.
If you have questions about how to write your appeal, please contact the Student Conduct Office at StudentConduct10@keene.edu.
Recordkeeping and Release of Information
Written Records - The Dean of Students Office maintains records of conduct actions, including written reports and electronic or paper copies of letters, as well as academic honesty sanctions that are forwarded from the Office of Academic Affairs. Student conduct records are also maintained in the Student Conduct Office. These confidential records cannot be removed and are accessible only in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
“Disciplinary Suspension” and “Disciplinary Expulsion” are entered on a student’s academic transcript as well as in his or her official file. A student initiated leave of absence or a withdrawal during the suspension timeframe shall not be a basis for the removal of this notation. The notation of “Disciplinary Expulsion” shall not be removed from a student’s transcript except for good cause upon the direction of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
Audio Recordings - All cases that are referred to a Hearing Board are recorded. The audio recordings are the property of the College and may not be duplicated without the permission of the Director of Student Conduct or a designee. Students are not permitted to make their own recordings of hearings. Students who may be preparing an appeal can request to review the official recording. Unless otherwise authorized by the Vice President for Student Affairs and/or ordered by a court of law, the review of the audio recording of the conduct hearings shall be limited to those involved in the case, their advisors, the Hearing Officer or Hearing Board members, the Coordinator of Student Conduct, Appeal Officer, and the Vice President. Deliberations of the Hearing Board shall not be recorded. All audio recordings of College conduct hearings shall be destroyed 30 days after the deadline for filing an appeal has passed or the appeal has been decided.
Parental Notification - In accordance with FERPA, limited information will be released from a student’s educational record. In cases where a dependent student is found responsible for a violation(s) that results in the student being placed on Disciplinary Restriction and/or College Probation, the student’s parent or legal guardian will be notified of the action. Parents will also be notified when their student has been called to a suspension-level hearing.
Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRS) will determine a student’s dependency and the College will use the information maintained in the College’s student information system. In cases where the student does not receive financial aid, she or he will have the opportunity to provide this information to the Coordinator of Student Conduct or his or her designee.
Other reporting - Information regarding policy violations defined as violent crimes or non-forcible sex offenses (under the Higher Education Amendments of 1998) may be released to the public. The student’s name, the policy violation she or he is responsible for, and the sanctions imposed may be released to the public when a student is found responsible for such a violation.
Information regarding policy violations may also be released to the extent otherwise required by law.
Interpretation and Revision
Questions of interpretation about the Code of Conduct and the College Conduct System should be addressed to the Director of Student Conduct, whose determination on such issues shall be subject to review by the Dean of Students Office. Any determination by the Dean of Students Office on such issues shall be final. The Code of Conduct and the College Conduct System shall be reviewed annually, or more often as necessary. The Director of Student Conduct and the Dean of Student’s Office shall propose changes to the Vice President for Student Affairs, who shall approve any changes to the Code of Conduct and the College Conduct System. It is the responsibility of the Vice President for Student Affairs to notify the College community of changes approved.
Hearing Board Membership
Hearing Board members are recruited through a nomination process during the academic year. Current members of the College community may submit nominations (including self-nominations) in accordance with the timeline identified on the solicitation announcements. Hearing Officers may serve as Hearing Board members, as advisors to students or advisors to a Hearing Board. The Student Conduct Office is responsible for constituting, training, advising, and assigning cases to members of the Hearing Board.
Each nominee will be required to participate in Hearing Board training conducted by the Office of Student Conduct.
In situations where the Director of Student Conduct has reason to believe that a Hearing Board member has deliberately disregarded the rules, guidelines, procedures, or philosophy set forth in the Code of Conduct and College Conduct System, she or he will review the situation with the Dean’s Office and take appropriate action which may include dismissal from the Hearing Board.
Student Hearing Board Members must be in good disciplinary standing, have completed one semester of courses at Keene State College (unless otherwise approved by the Director of Student Conduct), and attend mandatory training.
Composition of the College Hearing Board
Hearing Boards consist of three members of the current College community who are convened to review a case of alleged student misconduct that is within the jurisdiction of the College’s Conduct System. It is the role of the Hearing Board to determine responsibility and then identify and describe any mitigating or aggravating factors they believe should impact the sanction(s) that may be issued to the student(s) or student organization.
Each Hearing Board typically will have one student member, two faculty/staff members, and a non-voting Chairperson. During certain times of the year having a student member may not be feasible (e.g. during the start or end of the semester, during examination periods and summer session, as well as other times deemed necessary due to calendar, personnel, and/or other special consideration) in these cases a trained faculty or staff hearing person will replace the student member. The Chairperson shall be an individual who, based on their position at the College, is authorized to serve as a Hearing Officer. All Hearing Board members participate as equals. It is the responsibility of the Hearing Board to conduct a hearing that meets the standards of the College Conduct System and is respectful of the sensitivities, confidentiality, and integrity of each participant.
In cases where a Hearing Board member feels she or he is unable to hear a particular case without prejudice, the member will voluntarily remove himself or herself from that hearing.
Rights of a Student Accused of Policy Violations
In keeping with the mission and values of Keene State College, all hearings shall afford students the important rights identified below in addition to the right of privacy and the right to protection from discrimination.
Right to adequate and timely notice of charges. A student or student organization is entitled to prompt notification of the charges. Other than at the beginning of the semester, the end of the semester, during summer sessions, or as deemed necessary by the Director of Student Conduct, students will be notified of this information at least two days before the hearing is to occur. This notification will take place via an e-mail sent to the student’s College-issued e-mail account. Students can request that a hearing date and/or time be changed for extenuating circumstances (such as a death in the family, court date, etc.) and must request this at least 48 hours prior to a hearing through e-mail. It is at the discretion of the Chairperson or Hearing Officer whether or not to grant this request. Failing to read your e-mail will not be considered a violation of this right or serve as grounds for appeal.
Right to be presumed not responsible. A student or student organization facing charges is presumed not responsible until found responsible by a preponderance of evidence. Charges filed against a student or a student organization are based on the information contain in the complaint report. The Hearing Officer or Hearing Board will hear all the available information before rendering a decision.
Right to present evidence and/or witnesses. A student or student organization shall be given the opportunity to appear, provide information, and present evidence and witnesses at the hearing. A student or student organization has the right to hear all evidence presented against them, whether it comes in the form of a direct testimony or as written or recorded statements.
Right to remain silent. A student or student organization facing charges may choose not to present evidence or speak in their own behalf. A decision will still be rendered based on the information that is presented at the hearing.
Right to an advisor. A student or student organization facing charges has the right to have an advisor of his or her choice, within specific parameters. Advisors are limited to current members of the College community (student, staff, or faculty). If criminal or civil charges have been filed in association with the incident then students are permitted to have their non-College related attorney present at the hearing as a non-participating observer. Please remember that the role of the advisor is to help prepare and provide support to a student during the hearing process but at no time will be allowed to present evidence or speak on behalf of the accused student.
Right to timely notice of findings. A student or student organization has the right to receive prompt notification of the results. Generally within 5 days of a hearing an outcome letter will be sent to the student’s College-issued e-mail account.
Right to appeal. A student or student organization found responsible can choose to appeal the decision. While an appeal is pending, the sanctions issued shall not be imposed except in extraordinary circumstances. Please refer to the Appeals section of the Student Code of Conduct and College Conduct System for a complete explanation of the appeal process.
Rights of Victims in the Student Conduct Process
- To have an advisor from the College community to assist throughout the conduct process. The advisor may contact the Coordinator of Student Conduct to discuss general process questions and their role as an advisor, but they are not permitted to discuss the specifics of a case
- To have a No Contact Order immediately issued between the accused and the victim that prohibits contact between the two students by any method, including through friends or acquaintances. If this is violated by either party, further conduct action may be taken.
- If the accused is a roommate or lives close to the victim in the residence halls and threat is a consideration, arrangements can be made to find temporary housing for the victim. In some cases the accused may be moved and prohibited from visiting a particular hall or campus area.
- To be informed of outcome of the conduct process.
In the event of a hearing, the victim also has these rights:
- To have unrelated past behavior excluded from the hearing
- The choice to participate or not participate
- The opportunity to present evidence with special accommodations: i.e. over the phone, not in visual contact with the accused, video teleconference at other location of her/his choice, etc.
- To have no direct contact with the accused student: i.e. questions from the accused student would be posed through a third party (i.e. the chairperson) and then relayed to the victim
- The option to provide questions to the Chairperson/Hearing Officer prior to or during the hearing that s/he may incorporate into questioning the accused student
- The right to provide a victim impact statement that will be reviewed only by the board in the event that the charged student is found responsible. The impact statement may be considered before the board determines a sanction
- The opportunity to request a break during the hearing if s/he needs time to consult with her/his advisor or the chairperson
- In the instance of a Hearing Board, the option to appeal the Hearing Board’s decision as per the normal appeal process