Student Code of Conduct
- Philosophy and Jurisdiction
- Authority of the College Community Standards System
- Good Samaritan Policy (GSP)
- Conduct Expectations & Policies (Violations)
- Responding to Violations of College Policy (Hearing Process & Sanctions)
- Suspension Level Violations
- Organizational Misconduct Policy
- Statement of Rights for Involved Parties
- College Sanctions
- Appeals Process & Appeal Form
- Recordkeeping and Release of Information
- Interpretation and Revision
Revised August 2023
Philosophy and Jurisdiction
Keene State College prepares students to think critically and creatively, to engage in active citizenship, and to pursue meaningful work. The purpose of the KSC Student Code of Conduct is to promote an environment that supports the mission of the College by articulating expected standards of individual and group behavior. Students and student organizations are expected to accept responsibility for their behavior, whether acting individually or in a group and to be considerate of the rights of others including conducting themselves in a manner that is consistent with the values embraced by the College and reflected in its various policies, contracts, rules, and regulations. Keene State College is responsible for helping to create and maintain a community that safely supports students in their academic, social, and personal endeavors. The College’s jurisdiction applies to both on and off campus violations of the Code of Conduct and as such all students and student organizations are expected to maintain a high standard of conduct both on and off campus.
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.
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.
Authority of the College Community Standards System
The responsibility for the College Community Standards System lies with the following individuals:
The Dean of Students, under the direction of the Associate Vice President of Student Engagement, has ultimate authority over the College Community Standards System, including interpretation of policies, the system’s procedures and approval of changes to the Code of Conduct.
The Assistant Dean of Students is the professional staff member responsible and is charged with providing comprehensive leadership, management, and vision for the Office of Community Standards. They set the tone and direction for the office and develop the conduct codes, adjudication systems, related procedures, trainings, and coordinate all nominations to the Hearing Board. The Assistant Dean of Students is 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 and chairing of hearing boards where suspension or expulsion may be a possible outcome.
Hearing Officers are individuals who, through their job responsibilities or authorization by the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Community Standards, initiate action on possible violations to the Code of Conduct. The Hearing Officer may hear or otherwise resolve student misconduct.
Hearing Board Members are staff, through their job responsibilities or authorization by the Assistant Dean of Students, initiate action on possible violations to the Code of Conduct. The Hearing Officer may hear or otherwise resolve student misconduct.
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.
Advisor: Is a current member of the College community who is chosen by a student to assist them in navigating the conduct process. If a student needs assistance in finding an advisor they can contact the Office of Community Standards for support.
College Officials: Are people currently employed by the College who perform assigned administrative or professional duties. In addition to faculty and staff, and Community Assistants are considered College Officials.
College Premises: Include all the land, buildings, facilities, and other properties that the College owns, uses, or controls, including adjacent streets and sidewalks.
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.
Faculty Member: Is a person hired by the College to conduct classroom, teaching and/or scholarly activities.
Hearing Board: Is composed of trained College community members who resolve accusations of serious student misconduct. Members of the Hearing Board may be called on to serve in several different capacities.
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.
Reporting Party: A person who alleges that another person or an organization violated the Code of Conduct or College Policy. In some situations, the Reporting Party is Campus Safety, Community Living, or other College Officials.
Responding Party: Any person, student organization, club, or team who is alleged to have violated the Code of Conduct or College policy.
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.
Student Organization: Refers to a group of students recognized or registered as a club or team that is affiliated with the College as a result of complying with the formal requirements established by the Student Involvement Office.
Good Samaritan Policy (GSP)
The Keene State College community recognizes that the health and wellness of students are of the utmost priority. Keene State College does not condone underage drinking, the over-consumption of alcohol, or the use of drugs. When alcohol and/or drug use creates medical or safety emergencies, the potential for Community Standards action may deter students from seeking assistance for themselves or others. The Good Samaritan policy was developed to encourage students who find themselves in life-threatening situations with alcohol and/or drugs to call for help. This policy applies only to College policy and does not prevent action by local or State authorities. The Good Samaritan Policy is enacted by the Assistant Dean of Students or their designee upon review of the situation.
This Good Samaritan policy grants immunity from punitive 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 distribution of a controlled substance, disorderly conduct, vandalism, assault, etc.. Students who are granted immunity under the policy may still be required to complete alcohol and/or drug education activities, assessments, and/or treatment. This may include a Mandated Safety Assessment (MSA). Failure to meet these requirements will result in the application of the disciplinary actions. In incidents of alleged sexual misconduct, the College’s focus will be on addressing the sexual assault and not on the lessor policy violations that may be discovered or disclosed.
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.
Conduct Expectations & Policies (Violations)
As members of the College community, students and student organizations have an obligation to know and abide by the Student Code of Conduct. Through its policies and regulations, 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 may be referred to the College’s Community Standard’s 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 Community Living Staff member or call Campus Safety.
College conduct proceedings may be instituted with 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.
Violations, particularly those associated with alcohol and controlled substance use, which occur during the Orientation period or Summer/Early Arrival programs will be sanctioned more severely than those occurring during the academic year.
The Office of Community Standards 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 violations occur on or off campus
II. Campus Policies
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
- Fire Safety Policies
- Candle and Incense Policy
- Arson: Arson is any willful or malicious burning or attempt to burn a dwelling, building, motor vehicle, or personal property of another.
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 (Hearing Process & Sanctions)
Reports of any alleged policy violation should be given to the Department of Campus Safety, Community Living, or another College Official, 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 Office of Community Standards.
Upon receipt of a report, the Office of Community Standards 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 Responding Party through the Conduct System.
In the case of an alleged violation by a student or student organization of any of the College’s policies regarding sexual misconduct incidents, the College will follow the procedures outlined in the Sexual Misconduct Policy section of the Student Handbook.
Interim Suspension will only be issued upon the direction of the Dean of Students or their designee.
In certain circumstances, a student or student organization may be issued an Interim Suspension or face restrictions in activities on an interim basis 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.
When a student or student organization is placed on Interim Suspension, the student and/or student organization will receive requisite notice and a hearing will be scheduled as soon as is practical.
A student or student organization 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 while the charge remains pending.
Electronic educational letters address quiet hours, health & safety issues and minor Off-campus ordinance violations. These letters are noted in a Responding Party’s conduct record and may be used in determining appropriate sanctions for future violations.
The Responding Party 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 Responding Party will be required to fulfill the specified expectations or directions.
College Adjudication Procedures
Responding Party(s) accused of violating College policy will be summoned to participate in the community standards process. For alleged violations which could result in Disciplinary Suspension or Expulsion (if the Responding Party is found responsible), the Office of Community Standards will notify the Responding Party of the alleged violation(s) and give them 48 hours to select one of the following processes:
- Deny responsibility for all violations and request a hearing board;
- Accept responsibility for all violations and request an administrative hearing with a Hearing Officer, for the purpose of determining an
3.Deny responsibility for all violations and request an Administrative Hearing with the Assistant Dean of Students or their designee
If option 2 is selected, the Responding Party will submit a written statement acknowledging responsibility for the alleged violation(s). This submission must be received within 48 hours of notification of charges. Assistant Dean of Students or their designee will determine whether or not to grant this request.
Please note that if a Responding Party does not respond by selecting an option, a hearing board and/or individual hearing will be scheduled.
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.
An administrative hearing will be held with a Hearing Officer and all students alleged to be involved in violations of College policy. Using a preponderance of the evidence standard, the Hearing Officer will determine whether it is more likely than not that the Responding Party has committed the violation as charged. The Hearing Officer will contact students, via e-mail through the College-issued email system, with the following information:
- The policies the Responding Party is alleged to have violated;
- A date, time and location for the Responding Party to meet with the Hearing Officer;
- 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 Responding Party but will be available for review with the Hearing Officer up to 24 hours prior to the scheduled hearing or hearing board by appointment);
- A web link to the Responding Party’s rights in the conduct process.
Students generally have no less than two but no more than 20 days for the administrative 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 Assistant Dean of Students or their 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 Assistant Dean of Students will determine whether to grant or deny the request. Please note that this request is only granted in certain circumstances.
A Hearing Board is convened when a Responding Party is alleged to have violated a College policy that is especially egregious or when disciplinary suspension or expulsion may be an outcome, or at the discretion of the Assistant Dean of Students. The determination of the Hearing Board is made using a preponderance of the evidence standard–namely that it is more likely than not that the Responding Party has committed the violations as charged. Please review the Sexual Misconduct Policy for hearing procedures related to cases involving this type of misconduct.
Composition of the Hearing Board
The Hearing Board shall be composed of College faculty, staff, and student members who are trained on Community Standards issues, investigations, and hearing practices. Each Hearing Board typically will have one student member, two faculty/staff members, and a non-voting Chairperson. During certain times of the year, The Assistant Dean of Students will determine that 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). Please note that for cases that involve allegations of Sexual Misconduct, a student member is not on 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 Assistant Dean of Students), and attend mandatory training. In cases where a Hearing Board member feels they are unable to hear a particular case without prejudice, the member will voluntarily remove themselves prior to the hearing.
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 prior warning that being found responsible for a particular violation will result in a suspension/expulsion) when the Assistant Dean of Students will determine that the constitution of a board will not be practical. At such times, the Board may not include a student member or the Assistant Dean of Students or their designee will adjudicate the case in lieu of a Hearing Board. At the Hearing Board, the following individuals may be present:
At the hearing board, the following individuals may be present:
- Hearing Chairperson (typically a staff member from the Office of Community Standards or designee);
- Three Hearing Board members;
- Reporting Party;
- Responding Party;
- Advisor for the Reporting and/or Responding party (if applicable);
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;
- Witnesses (only while providing relevant information).
The Hearing Chairperson ensures:
- All parties are introduced;
- The rights of the parties involved are acknowledged;
- Each party involved hears and accepts the “Expectation of Truth Statement”;
- All alleged conduct code violations are read;
- Investigation report is presented;
- The Responding Party is provided an opportunity to state that they responsible, not responsible, or declines to make a statement, for each alleged conduct code charge;
- Each party and witness has an opportunity to be heard and to submit relevant questions for consideration;
- That each party have the chance to describe any mitigating factors relevant to this situation;
- That each party is provided the opportunity to provide a closing statement to the Hearing Board.
If either party wishes, they may provide a written impact statement to the Hearing Chairperson. If the Responding Party is found responsible, the Chairperson will share the impact statements with the hearing board members as information to consider in their sanction deliberations.
All hearing board proceedings are audio recorded by the Office of Community Standards, but recordings are not permitted by other parties.
If any individual should become disruptive during the hearing, including witnesses and advisors, the Hearing Chairperson retains the discretion to remove that individual from the hearing.
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 (ODS) then the student should contact ODS immediately and provide appropriate documentation. The Office of Disability Services will establish eligibility and verify requested accommodations. Undocumented/undisclosed claims of disability cannot be considered during or after the hearing process is complete.
Both the Reporting and Responding Parties may present witnesses who must have direct knowledge of the incident being adjudicated. Additionally, a Party wishing to call a witness must notify the Office of Community Standards at least 24 hours prior to a hearing of who they intend to call as a witness.
Please note that character witnesses are not allowed at any point in the community standards process and will not be considered.
Hearing Board Deliberations
At the conclusion of the Hearing Board, all parties will be dismissed from the proceedings and the Hearing Board will deliberate privately to determine the Responding Party’s responsibility for the alleged conduct code violation(s). All decisions require a majority vote from the Hearing Board members.
If the Responding Party is found responsible, the hearing board will recommend appropriate sanctions based on the severity of the violation, the Responding Party’s conduct history, and case precedent. During the sanctioning phase of deliberations, the Hearing Chairperson will:
- Disclose the Responding Party’s past community standard’s history, if any;
- Provide sanction parameters, as defined by this policy for the applicable violations of the code of conduct.
If the Responding Party is found not responsible, there is no discussion of sanctions and the official proceeding concludes.
Once a finding of responsibility is made and sanctions recommended, the Hearing Chairperson will submit the recommendation for sanction for review to the Assistant Dean of Students or their designee.
Both the Reporting Party and the Responding Party will be informed of the hearing outcome, in writing, concurrently. The final outcome letter will set forth the violation(s) of policy for which the Responding Party was found responsible and/or not responsible any essential findings supporting the decision of responsibility; and the sanction(s) imposed, if any.
Suspension Level Violations
Alleged commission of the following violations may result in interim suspension. Being found responsible for violating these policies may result in Disciplinary Suspension or Disciplinary Expulsion from the College.
Please note that the following list is not all-inclusive:
- Distribution or evidence of intent to illegally distribute drugs or alcohol.
- Possession or evidence of use of illegal drugs other than marijuana.
- Instigating a riot or other disruption as described in the disorderly, disruptive or indecent behavior policy.
- Arson or attempted arson.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.
- Physical altercation with public safety (i.e. Police, Fire, emergency response personnel, Campus Safety) or College Officials.
- Infliction of physical harm or threatening/endangering others.
- Sexual misconduct as outlined in the sexual misconduct policy.
- Intentionally causing a false fire alarm.
- Committing or planning to commit discrimination or discriminatory harassment.
- Committing or planning to commit hazing.
- Repeated violations of college policy.
Organizational Misconduct Policy
The College Community Standards System also applies to Keene State College sponsored student groups including Recognized Student Organizations, Athletic teams, and any other student groups operating using the Keene State College name, likeness, or whose membership is primarily students. Allegations of misconduct by these groups are reviewed and processed by the Office of Community Standards in accordance with the Student Handbook.
Both reporting and responding parties have rights that the College is committed to maintaining and protecting. Charges and proceedings against organizations may occur simultaneously with individual student’s charges and hearings. Additionally, student governing bodies may conduct their own processes separately from the Community Standards Process.
The following additional policies are specific to organizational misconduct:
Jurisdiction The Student Code of Conduct applies to behaviors that take place on the campus, at College sponsored events whether on or off-campus and may also apply to other off-campus behaviors when the Dean of Students, Assistant Dean of Students, or designee determines that the off-campus conduct affects a College interest. An event or incident in which a reasonable person could determine that the event was sponsored, related, or part of an organization will also follow this process even if the organization did not properly register the event. A College interest is defined to include:
Any situation where it appears that the groups conduct may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of individuals; and/or
Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
Any situation that is detrimental to the educational mission and/or interests of the College.
Jurisdiction language adapted from The Dyad Strategies Model Code of Student Organization Conduct and is used here with permission.
When there are alleged violations of community standards by a student group where the student group accepts responsibility for committing violations, an incident may be adjudicated through a Negotiated Agreement Process if it is the unanimous choice of the two parties involved:
The student group who accepts responsibility for the violation, and
The Assistant Dean of Students or their designee.
Negotiated Agreements may only be requested before a formal conduct hearing has occurred. Negotiated Agreements will be jointly developed by the Assistant Dean of Students or their designee and leadership of the student group involved. Negotiated Agreements may not be used in cases involving allegations of hazing (when there are legal charges), sexual assault, sexual or relationship violence, or stalking. Negotiated Agreements must be approved by the Associate Vice President of Student Engagement/Dean of Students. In all cases of Negotiated Agreements, the written agreement will be kept in an electronic database. Should any aspect of the agreement not be completed by assigned deadlines, or should a party fail to abide by the written agreement, the student group will be charged with Failure to Comply and charged for the incident through the College Conduct System. Note that the Negotiated Agreement applies to the student group and does not exempt students in that group from conduct proceedings for the same alleged incident.
Group and Organizational Sanctions:
Sanctions listed in the Code of Conduct for students are also applicable for student groups and a full list can be found here. Additional terms of sanctions are below:
Disciplinary Suspension: Any student groups that are issued a disciplinary suspension are prohibited from sponsoring, co-sponsoring, or participating in any and all social, intramural, athletic, or other similar activities on or off campus. A suspended student group may not recruit, solicit, or initiate any new members. Suspension will be for a specific and determined period of time, and will include a written return agreement outlining specific conditions for return. The suspension may be delayed at the discretion of the Dean of Students or designee.
If the recognized student organization or student group dissolves or loses recognition, as a result of group or organizational misconduct, and then attempts to seek recognition under the guise of a different group or organizational name, the College reserves the right to deny the request for recognition or withdraw the recognition. This conclusion may be based on any of multiple factors, including but not limited to: overlapping membership, similarity of purpose, and the timing of the dissolution or prior loss of recognition and the request for new recognition. Continued operation of the student group or recognized student organization after suspension or loss of recognition will result in a violation of Failure to Comply and may result in additional outcomes or restrictions, up to and including an extension of the suspension beyond the terms originally outlined in the initial Outcomes Letter/return agreement. An organization or student group that has completed a period of suspension and has met conditions for return as outlined in the return agreement may seek reinstatement by complying with the recognition requirements of the appropriate College department.
Educational Sanctions: Educational sanctions may include but are not limited to: educational programming, interventions, restrictions, workshops, or other outcomes determined to help develop the culture and community of the student organization or group. A member of the Office of Community Standards will determine Educational Outcomes after consultation with the appropriate College Office(s), or other appropriate stakeholders as necessary.
Structural Outcomes: Structural Outcomes are related to the structure, membership or governance of a recognized organization. Structural outcomes, developed in collaboration with the inter/national organizational governing body (if applicable), may include, but are not limited to: changes to organization operating procedures, a review of organizational membership/leadership, an external organizational review, and changes to the organizational advisor support. Structural Outcomes may be included alongside any Status and Educational Outcomes, but only after consultation with the appropriate College department(s), the organizational inter/national governing body (if applicable), the organization representative, advisors, and/or other appropriate stakeholders as necessary.
Sanction language adapted from The Dyad Strategies Model Code of Student Organization Conduct and is used here with permission.
The hearing process for organizations will mirror the student hearing process with a few notable differences:
The President, Captain, or recognized leader (or their designee) of the student group shall represent the group and may bring up to two other student members to respond to the allegations of misconduct.
An advisor may be present (per the Advisor section of the Code of Conduct). This advisor may be the group or recognized student organization’s advisor (if not a material witness to the situation) or it may be another member of the KSC Community.
Information on how to file appeals can be found in the Code of Conduct here.
Statement of Rights for Involved Parties
In keeping with the mission and values of Keene State College, all hearings shall afford all involved parties the important rights identified below:
- A fair, impartial, and equitable process that respects the rights of all participants;
- Be treated with respect by College Officials;
- Written and timely notice of charges and hearing absent extenuating or extraordinary circumstances;
- Be presumed not responsible until found responsible by a preponderance of evidence;
- Have an advisor with them throughout the resolution process;
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;
- Review all relevant documentary evidence regarding the allegation including the investigative report, at least two (2) days prior to a hearing;
- Have unrelated past behavior excluded from the hearing;
- Choose not to present evidence or speak on their own behalf. A decision will still be rendered based on the information that is presented at the hearing;
- Make an impact statement and to have that statement considered in determining sanctions;
- Be informed, in writing, promptly of the outcome, pending all appeals;
- To appeal the decision and/or the sanction imposed based on specific grounds.
Information for Advisors
The advisor in a community standards process may be any one of the student’s choosing as long as they are a current member of the College community. Advisors are not permitted to speak during the proceeding, though they may confer and speak privately to the advisee. The advisor may not be included in the list of witnesses; they may only function in the capacity of an advisor.
Serving as an advisor during a sexual misconduct hearing is different than serving as an advisor during other hearings. Please see the Sexual Misconduct Policy for more information
When selecting an advisor, students should remember that the advisor may not be fully aware of the community standards process and is probably not an expert in conduct proceedings. All advisors are expected to review the Code of Conduct and abide by College policies throughout the process.
The advisor should assist the advisee with the following:
- Review and understand the alleged violation(s) and the community standards 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 Office of Community Standards to discuss general process questions and their role as an advisor, the Office of Community Standards is not permitted to discuss the specifics of a case.
A student may also ask an advisor for help in preparing a letter of appeal, should the student choose to appeal the hearing outcome.
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 but not as the student’s advisor.
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 and student organizations 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 Assistant Dean of Students may authorize immediate implementation of any sanctions and offer to expedite the review. They 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: Any of a broad range of assigned sanctions meant to help the Responding Party learn from and reflect on their behaviors as a member of the KSC community.
c. Restitution: This sanction requires a Responding Party 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/or reduces the privileges of a student or student organization. a DR normally lasts for a specific period of time, although some conditions may remain in effect permanently. Additionally, a 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:
- loss of guest privileges;
- 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 Responding Party and Keene State College placing the Responding Party out of good standing with the 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 Responding Party’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 and 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 their 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 fine 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: $100
Second Violation: $300
Third Violation: $500
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 the consequences 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.
Appeals Process & Appeal Form
The findings of the Hearing Officer or Hearing Board may be appealed by either the Reporting Party or the Responding Party. 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 sanctions imposed are substantially outside the parameters or guidelines set by the College for this type of offense or the cumulative conduct record of the responding student 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 or student organization in writing (through our online form) and contain specific evidence addressing the criteria. 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 Office of Community Standards within five calendar days of the date at the top of the hearing outcome notification e-mail. In most cases the Assistant Dean of Students will review the appeal except in instances where she or he heard the original case. In some cases, the appeal may be considered by another College official.
Upon receiving an appeal, the Appellate Officer will acknowledge the receipt of 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.
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 Dean of Student’s or the Assistant Dean of Students 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 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.
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.
Possible Outcomes of an Appeal
An Appellate Officer will make one of the following decisions after carefully reviewing the appeal:
- Original hearing outcome will stand.
- Original hearing outcome stands but the Appellate Officer will adjust the sanction(s) as appropriate but will not increase the sanction(s).
- 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.
An appeal of the outcome of a community standards 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 them 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: Community Standards Appeal Form. Please only submit appeals through this form.
If you have questions about how to write your appeal, please contact the Office of Community Standards.
Recordkeeping and Release of Information
Written Records - The Dean of Students Office maintains records of conduct actions, including written reports and electronic copies of letters. Community Standards records are also maintained in the Office of Community Standards. 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 their 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.
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 Community Standards or a designee. Students are not permitted to make their own recordings of hearings. Students who may be preparing an appeal can request an appointment to review the official recording. Unless otherwise authorized by the Dean of Students 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 Appeal Officer, Assistant Dean of Students, Dean of Students, and the Associate Vice President of Student Engagement. Deliberations of the Hearing Board shall not be recorded. All audio recordings of College Community Standards hearings are typically saved for at least 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, College Probation, Deferred Suspension, Suspension or Expulsion, or when the Good Samaritan Policy is invoked the student’s parent or legal guardian will be notified of the action (if the student would have received Conduct Probation or higher).
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 Assistant Dean of Students or their 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 Community Standards should be addressed to the Assistant Dean of Students, 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 Community Standards shall be reviewed annually, or more often as necessary. The Assistant Dean of Students shall propose changes to the Dean of Students and the Associate Vice President for Student Engagement who shall approve any changes to the Code of Conduct and the College Community Standards System. It is the responsibility of the Dean of Students to notify the College community of approved changes.