The Judicial System
Over Non-Vanderbilt Students /
Student Conduct Council /
Graduate Student Conduct Council / Appellate
Review Board /
Student Conduct Councils and Hearings by Hearing Officers /
Guidelines for Cases of Sexual Misconduct
/ Appeals /
Note: For general provisions
of the Universityís Honor System, see Chapter
2: the Honor System.
The bodies that comprise the
judicial system are the Appellate Review Board, the Undergraduate and
Graduate Student Conduct councils, their common Chair and the Chairs
designees, the Undergraduate Honor Council and the honor councils of the
Graduate School and the professional schools. For matters specific to
their areas, and for matters delegated to them but the Conduct Council
Chair, disciplinary authority may also be exercised by the Interfraternity,
Panhellenic, and National Pan-Hellenic judicial boards, residence hall
judicial boards, and Vanderbilt Student Communications, Incorporated.
The nature of specific areas of disciplinary authority is described in
the constitutions or bylaws of each of these bodies, or below, in the
case of residence halls.
Rights of students or student groups charged with misconduct are addressed
through the following judicial procedures that are designed to provide
a fair hearing and a just decision. The basic elements of the process
Written and timely notice of charges against students, including
Opportunity for students to present all relevant evidence at a
hearing, to challenge adverse testimony and evidence, to speak in their
own behalf, to call witnesses, and to be accompanied by a student, faculty,
or staff adviser of their own choosing who has not had legal training
(except in cases involving students in the law school)
Decisions reached on the basis of the evidence presented, proof
that is clear and convincing to the hearing panel or officer for a finding
of guilt, precedents, disciplinary regulations, and the character of the
An unbiased appellate body to which students may appeal.
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JURISDICTION OVER NON-VANDERBILT
All persons taking courses
or participating in activities of the University as students, even if
not registered primarily at Vanderbilt, fall under the jurisdiction of
the judicial system. This includes those taking part-time courses of study;
participants in summer programs such as PAVE, Governors School,
etc.; transients during the summer or other sessions; and students cross-registered
from a neighboring institution. Procedures for hearing charges against
these students are the same as for full-time Vanderbilt students. A notification
of the findings of hearings will be sent to the appropriate officer of
the institution in which the students are primarily registered.
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UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT CONDUCT
The Undergraduate Student
Conduct Council, led by its Chair who is appointed by the Vice Chancellor
for Student Life, is composed of one faculty member and one student representative
from each of the undergraduate schools, and has original jurisdiction
in all cases of nonacademic misconduct involving undergraduates.
The Conduct Council original jurisdiction for violations of the University
conduct regulations, for residence hall regulations, and for University
policies referred to it by appropriate University officials or the Council
Chair. The Chair or the Chairs designee may hear a case without
benefit of the Council at the students option except in cases of
sexual misconduct, which will be heard by the Conduct Council, or in cases
for which the Chair decides that it is more appropriate for the Council
to be the hearing body.
In cases of sexual misconduct, the Chair or his designee will appoint
a hearing panel of no more than five members from those serving on the
Conduct Council, and the hearing will follow the procedures given below
(Guidelines for Cases of Sexual Misconduct).
Judicial procedures for the study abroad programs of the University are
stated in the section on Study
Abroad Programs for Undergraduates in Chapter 3: Community
Each residence hall is an autonomous unit of Interhall, and residence
hall officers enforce the regulations the unit has adopted and University
policies and regulations that have been delegated to it by the Conduct
Council Chair. Undergraduate students who interfere with efforts of the
officers to achieve an atmosphere conducive to study, rest, and appropriate
recreation may be referred to the Undergraduate Student Conduct Council,
or the Chairs designee.
In matters pertaining to general residence hall regulations not within
the scope of residence hall units and set forth in this Handbook in the
Residence Hall Regulations
section of Chapter 8, Residential Life, or not delegated to residence
hall officers, a student has the option of having a case determined by
a housing dean or deans designee, the Conduct Council Chair or Chairs
designee, or the Conduct Council.
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GRADUATE STUDENT CONDUCT COUNCIL
The Graduate Student Conduct
Council has original jurisdiction in all cases of nonacademic misconduct
involving graduate and professional students. This Conduct Council may
hear cases of violations of University policies referred to it by academic
or Student Life administrators, or the Council Chair. The Chair or the
Chairs designee may hear a case without benefit of the Council at
the students option, except cases involving sexual misconduct or
other serious charge. All cases involving sexual misconduct are referred
to a panel of the Conduct Councils (see Guidelines
for Cases of Sexual Misconduct). In a matter not involving sexual
misconduct but nevertheless deemed serious, the Chair of the Conduct Councils,
in consultation with and upon the concurrence of the Dean of the appropriate
school, shall require that the case be heard by the faculty and student
panel of the Council from the accused students school. The Graduate
Student Conduct Council is composed of the Chair of the Conduct Councils
or his designee, and two students and two faculty members of the Graduate
School and each of the professional schools. Only the Council members
of the school in which a violation is alleged to have occurred participate
in a hearing regarding that violation.
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APPELLATE REVIEW BOARD
The Appellate Review Board
is chaired by a member of the faculty. Faculty and student representatives
from each school of the University complete the board.
The following decisions may be appealed to the Appellate Review Board:
Decisions of honor councils
Decisions of the student conduct councils
Decisions of other organizations such as the Student Government
Decisions of the Interfraternity, Panhellenic, and
National Pan-Hellenic judicial boards
Decisions of other designated University hearing officials
Procedures of the Appellate Review Board may be requested from the Chair
of the Conduct Councils, or from Vice Chancellor for Student Life. For
additional information, see the section on Appeals,
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STUDENT CONDUCT COUNCILS
HEARINGS BY HEARING OFFICERS
The procedures given here
are followed by each judicial body and apply to individuals and groups.
An accused student or officer for a group will be informed in writing
of a charge at least three days before the hearing. Either may waive the
three-day waiting period and request an earlier hearing. The charge notice
will include the specific regulation or policy allegedly violated.
The accused may choose a faculty, staff, or student adviser who has not
had formal legal training (except in cases concerning students in the
School of Law), to accompany him or her during the hearing.
The accused may testify personally and present witnesses in his or her
behalf. The student may examine all evidence that may form the basis for
disciplinary action. The adviser may not address the judicial body, but
may consult with the accused student during the hearing. No person who
has a substantial interest in the case, or in a related case as an accused
or adviser to an accused, may serve as an adviser.
Persons conducting the hearing and considering statements against the
accused (for example, statements in the students file), must advise
the accused of the content of the statements and give the student an opportunity
to rebut inferences that might be drawn. The accused may present testimony
and make arguments not only with regard to the offense but also with regard
to excuse, justification, and mitigating circumstances. The accused may
also speak to the question of the appropriateness of any particular sanction.
The decision of the persons hearing the case will be based on evidence
presented at the hearing. Evidence acquired through unauthorized searches
will not be considered. A search of a student, a students possessions,
or a students premises may be authorized by the Vice Chancellor
for Student Life, or by the Dean or Associate Dean of Housing and Residential
Education, if there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of
University policy is occurring or has occurred.
If the accused is found guilty of misconduct, the decision will specify
the acts of misconduct of which the accused is guilty and the sanction
to be imposed. The decision will be delivered to the student promptly,
and at the time of its delivery the student will be reminded of the opportunity
to appeal and of the time limits and procedures involved in an appeal.
Hearings may be recorded in writing, or on audio or video tape. The Honor
Council Adviser or Chair of the Conduct Councils, as appropriate, is custodian
of the records of the hearings. A written record of conclusions and sanctions
assessed must always be filed in cases resulting in disciplinary action.
These conclusions become a part of the record and may be examined by the
student in the case. If the case is appealed, a finding of fact and written
opinion will be submitted to the appellate body. A finding of fact and
opinion resulting in disciplinary action becomes part of the students
record as well as the record of the proceedings and may be examined by
the student in the case.
Investigations and hearings are not publicized or open to the public.
Hearing officers must hold these matters in confidence.
If a member of a judicial body has a conflict of interest, he or she is
ineligible to consider a case or to hear an appeal. Individuals should
declare themselves ineligible on these grounds. In addition, the judicial
body may, by a majority vote, declare any member ineligible on these grounds.
Students may be accountable both to civil authorities and to the University
for acts that constitute violations of law and of University policies
and regulations. Those accused of violations of these policies and regulations
are subject to the University disciplinary proceedings delineated in this
Handbook while criminal or civil proceedings regarding the same
conduct are pending. Accused students may not challenge University disciplinary
proceedings on the grounds that criminal charges or civil actions regarding
the same incident are pending, may be initiated, or have been terminated,
dismissed, reduced, or not yet adjudicated. When appropriate, the University
may refer matters to federal, state, and local authorities for prosecution.
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GUIDELINES FOR CASES OF
In cases of sexual misconduct,
the procedures will be as follows:
1. the Chair of the Conduct Councils or his designee will appoint
a hearing panel of no more than five members from those serving on the
Conduct Council or the Graduate Student Conduct Council;
2. the Chair or the Conduct Councils or his designee will chair
3. both women and men will serve on the hearing panel;
4. the hearing panel will be composed of both students and faculty/administration,
not including the Chair of the Conduct Councils or his designee;
5. any appointed panel member who personally knows either the accuser
or the accused will not be allowed to sit on the panel;
6. all members of the Conduct Councils will be counseled on issues
involved in sexual misconduct prior to hearing;
7. both the accused and the accuser will be allowed to be present
throughout the hearing;
8. both the accused and the accuser will be allowed to choose one
person who has not had formal legal training (except in cases involving
students in the law school) to accompany them throughout the hearing;
9. both the accused and the accuser will have the opportunity to
ask questions of each other and any other witness testifying at the hearing;
10. the consumption of alcohol or any other drug may not be used
as an excuse for sexual misconduct by the accused;
11. the accusers sexual history is not relevant to the outcome
of the hearing;
12. the members of the panel shall determine innocence or guilt.
The Chair shall determine the sanctions, when guilt is established by
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A student or group found guilty
of misconduct and/or against whom a sanction has been imposed may appeal
to the chair of the Appellate Review Board. The appeal petition must be
in writing and specify the grounds for appeal. The petition must be filed
within ten class (or exam) days of the original notification of the finding
of guilt, or within two calendar weeks if classes (or exams) are not in
session for ten days following the notification.
Grounds for review for those petitioning for appeal are:
Insufficient evidence to support the decision
Harshness of sanction sufficient to show an abuse of discretion
by the original hearing authority
Procedural irregularity sufficient to affect the decision
New evidence that was not reasonably available to be presented
to the original hearing authority, the introduction of which may reasonably
be expected to affect the decision.
The petition, including all supporting evidence provided by the petitioner,
will be reviewed by the chair to make a determination as to whether the
petition, when considered in the light most favorable to the petitioner,
sets forth a basis sufficient to provide the relief sought by the petitioner.
If the Appellate Review Board (ARB) Chair determines that the petition,
when considered in the light most favorable to the petitioner, does set
forth a basis sufficient to provide the relief sought by the petitioner,
the chair will forward the petition to the original hearing authority
for a response. If the chair determines that the petition, when considered
in the light most favorable to the petitioner, does not set forth a basis
sufficient to provide the relief sought by the petitioner, the ARB Chair
will dismiss the petition. The ARB Chairs decision is final.
The function of the ARB is to consider whether the persons conducting
the original hearing proceeded fairly and decided the case justly. A copy
of the Appellate Review Boards procedures is available at the offices
of the Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Chair of the Conduct Councils
. Normally The Appellate Review Board chooses to consider only the written
petition and written responses. The ARB or its authorized agent may call
witnesses, including the appellant, and may examine the record of the
case at will. Disposition of the petition is made by a majority vote of
the hearing panel appointed to consider the appeal.
Only in extraordinary circumstances would the Appellate Review Board reconsider
the entire case. In the event of a rehearing, standards of procedure will
in substance be those for original hearings, but the board may provide
additional procedural rules, if necessary. The ARB may affirm the original
decision, remand the case back to the original hearing body with instructions,
or hear the case de novo.
Students, faculty members, administrative officers, or groups within the
University may request the Appellate Review Board to consider a concern
that the disciplinary system of the institution is not operating effectively
or justly. Upon receipt of such a request for review, the ARB Chair makes
a preliminary investigation to clarify the matter. The ARB Chair then
brings the request to the attention of the ARB, which may make recommendations
for action to the appropriate authority.
The Appellate Review Board also has supervisory authority, in consultation
with the University Office of General Counsel, the Vice Chancellor for
Student Life, the Office of Housing and Residential Education, and other
appropriate University officials, to review and propose updates of the
procedures of the persons and bodies whose decisions have been appealed
to ensure that the students rights are protected.
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In all cases, judicial bodies
have authority to establish various sanctions appropriate to violations
or infractions. Routine sanctions may be established for certain infractions
and may also be appealed to the appropriate body according to prescribed
appeal procedures. Disciplinary actions may also be applied in combination.
For example, a student may be suspended for one term and readmitted subject
to restrictions (as in probation) for the next term. A students
previous disciplinary record may be considered when a disciplinary sanction
is imposed. When disciplinary sanctions are indicated for a student organization,
the groups disciplinary record for the current academic year, as
well as the previous three academic years, may be considered in determining
the appropriate sanction.
The following, although not exhaustive, is a list of frequently used sanctions:
Reprimand. An admonition and an official warning (such action
may also include repair or replacement of University property when loss
or damage is part of the offense).
Restriction. Loss of privileges that are consistent with
the offense and the rehabilitation of the student.
Fines. Published monetary fines for certain violations.
Work Service. Students may be assigned work details appropriate
to the violation.
Disciplinary probation. Placing a student in a probationary
status that takes
away the privilege of holding office and may also include social restrictions.
Suspension. Dismissal from the University for a specified
or indefinite period of time. Suspension, pending a hearing, may be imposed
when there is reason to believe the action is necessary to maintain University
functions or to protect the safety of individuals.
Expulsion. Permanent dismissal from the University.
Counseling, evaluation, and treatment programs. In some
cases of misconduct, such as those committed under the influence of alcohol
or other drugs, participation in an evaluation and/or treatment program
by an approved counseling service may be required as a part of a sanction.
Such treatment may also be a condition of readmission to the University
or a condition for remaining in the University.
In cases of sexual misconduct the following policies will apply:
1. On the first conviction, the expected sanction will be a suspension
beginning immediately and extending for the remainder of the semester
in which the offense occurred through the following semester.
2. For conviction of two offenses, the expected sanction will be immediate
3. The chair may consider circumstances which would reduce or enhance
4. Psychological counseling may be required for those found guilty of
sexual misconduct and that the Chair may set conditions for readmission
to Vanderbilt at the Chairs discretion.
Penalties for violations of student regulations may be increased by one
level of severity when it is determined that the violation was motivated
in part by prejudice toward the victim because of the perception that
the victim is of a different race, sex, religion, color, national or ethnic
origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, or veterans status.
Thus, the penalty of reprimand may become disciplinary probation; probation
may become suspension; and suspension may become expulsion.
If a student admits to being, or is found to be, in violation of University
policy, the results of the hearing, including any sanction, may be made
known to the complainant, the appropriate academic dean, the faculty adviser,
appropriate residential staff members, and the guilty students parents
Upon completion of cases involving a disciplinary sanction, the appropriate
University official will take action to implement the decision of the
judicial body, and the dean of the school in which the student is enrolled
will be notified if the finding will affect the students academic
status. However, action is normally not taken until final judicial decision
is reached, including appeal.
In reporting a disciplinary sanction effective for an indefinite period,
the judicial body will ask the appropriate hearing officer to recommend
when the sanction should be terminated.
Withdrawal and Readmission
Students may leave the University involuntarily for academic failure,
failure to meet financial obligations to the University, or circumstances
outside the Universitys jurisdiction. Withdrawal from the University
under these circumstances does not constitute disciplinary sanction; therefore,
re-enrollment after such withdrawal is handled through normal administrative
processes. Students who voluntarilyor involuntarilywithdraw
from the University for medical or mental/emotional health reasons must
be cleared by the Director of the Student Health Center before being permitted
Upon graduation or withdrawal from the University, student records in
the Office of Housing and Residential Education are maintained for a period
of seven years, after which time they are destroyed. Records of students
who are suspended or expelled from the University may be maintained indefinitely.
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Copyright © 2001 Vanderbilt University. Last modified
24 August 2001. For more information, please firstname.lastname@example.org.