I am a student and want to file a complaint against another student, but I want to talk to someone first, where can I go?
There are a number of resources on campus. If you want to talk to someone confidentially, you can speak with a staff member in Office of Victim Services or a staff member in the Counseling Center. Keep in mind, most BSU employees cannot maintain confidentiality and are obligated to report.
I never knew about the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, how can I be held accountable?
Students are notified of the Code and agree to comply with it when they apply to Ball State. Notices reminding students of the Code’s existence are sent periodically. Every organization or team of which you’ve been part has rules for helping everyone succeed—even families have rules—why would one think that Ball State does not?
How are students referred to the Office of Student Conduct?
There are multiple agencies that send referrals to our office. Students are referred by law enforcement agencies including but not limited to University Police Department and Indiana State Excise Police. Students are referred by other students, Housing and Residence Life, Office of Student Life, other Ball State employees, and community members not associated with Ball State.
What kind of incidents are referred to the Office of Student Conduct?
When alleged violations of the Code occur off-campus or outside of a residence hall, the accused students are typically referred to the office of Student Conduct. However, any alleged violation taking place anywhere can be referred to the office. Alleged violations of the Sexual
How will I be notified if I have been referred to the Office of Student Conduct?
You will be notified through your Ball State e-mail address. University e-mail is the official communication means of Ball State.
The incident happened off campus, why does the University want to speak with me?
The Code applies to all students at Ball State University, regardless of where the incident occurs. Ball State University has high expectations for students wherever they are. In addition, state law gives Ball State the authority to address behavior directed at other students or that occurs in connection with university activities or student organizations, is criminal in nature, or that adversely affects the university community.
I have a very busy schedule and cannot attend the preliminary meeting time the University has scheduled. How can the preliminary hearing be rescheduled?
The University schedules preliminary meetings based on a student’s class schedule and does not request a student to miss class to attend a preliminary meeting. If you have commitments outside of the classroom during your meeting time, you will need to call the office to see if a different appointment time is available. Typically, students are not able to reschedule if the commitment is not directly related to education.
What happens during the preliminary meeting?
The staff member meeting with you will explain the conduct process, answer your questions, review the accusation, and request you to provide your description of what took place.
If I am accused of a violation, what happens next?
You have options. You may accept responsibility for the violation(s) at which point sanction(s) will be imposed. Students will be expected to complete sanctions in a timely manner. You also have the option to contest the charge and request a formal resolution. In these cases, a hearing panel will determine if you are in violation of the Code
If during my preliminary meeting the information shows I did not violate the Code, what happens next?
If the information presented by you is accurate in nature and shows you did not violate the Code, the case manager can dismiss the complaint or seek additional information about the incident. If the complaint is dismissed, the case is closed unless new information comes forward.
What is the standard of information (evidence) in the student conduct process?
All decisions of the University conduct process will be made based on preponderance of the information presented, or a “more likely than not” standard. The conduct process is an administrative process, not a criminal process.
What will happen if I refuse to participate or do not show up in this process?
You are not required to participate. The student conduct process will continue to move forward regardless if you choose to participate or not. You are encouraged to fully participate in the process. You will be provided notices as outlined in the Code of all meetings, scheduled hearings, charges and outcome. Failure to participate is not considered evidence of responsibility but also will not provide a basis for an appeal.
I am being charged with a crime off-campus for the same offense. Can the conduct process for the University be delayed until after the criminal trial or the criminal complaint is resolved?
No. The conduct process at Ball State University is not designed to determine if a student violated the law. Instead, the University seeks to determine if a student’s behavior was in violation of published policies, regulations, and standards. The University will not delay the conduct of students to accommodate the criminal process. Delays may only be granted when it is established to the satisfaction of the Director of Student Conduct or designee that a delay is in the best interest of the University.
I got a citation, and I am going to be going through the diversion program, does this have an effect on the conduct process?
Not usually. The criminal process and subsequent criminal fines, community service, or information programs often part of diversion are not considered replacements for the conduct process or subsequent sanctions. However, signing a diversion agreement—in which one pleads guilty for a crime—can be considered evidence of a violation.
I am going to have to go to court for this incident already. Isn’t this double jeopardy?
No. “Double jeopardy” is a concept that applies solely to criminal proceedings which do not have an effect on the conduct process.
May I have someone of my choice attend the meeting with me?
Yes. You can have an individual of your choice attend with you. This person does not have to be a part of the Ball State community. Their role is to serve as an advisor for you. An advisor is not permitted to actively participate in the process in any way. During the meeting/hearing, your advisor may consult with you quietly in a whisper or exchange notes. The Office of Student Conduct will correspond and communicate directly with the student involved and not with third parties. We will gladly answer general questions about the process, but will communicate about the specifics of the incident only with the students. If your advisor does not follow the procedures they may be asked to leave the hearing and/or meeting.
Can someone represent me in the conduct process?
No. Unlike a criminal case, participants in our administrative processes are expected to speak for themselves. This means you will have the opportunity to share with the hearing officer/board your version of events as well as answer questions from the hearing officer, the board and/or complainant. Proceedings are designed to evaluate the information and determine if a violation of the Code occurred.
Can I just withdraw to avoid the conduct process?
Not really. Students may withdraw within the established University procedures. The Office of Student Conduct will not block your ability to withdraw from classes with disciplinary charges pending. However, conduct proceedings typically will continue in order to resolve the matter. Rare exceptions and accommodations may be made if a student is incarcerated, hospitalized, or otherwise unavailable to participate in the process.
My lawyer has told me not to say anything. What will happen if I refuse to participate in this process?
The conduct process will continue to move forward regardless of whether you actively participate or not. You will be given several opportunities to participate and provide information in the decision making process. You are encouraged to fully participate in this process. Failure to do so will not be grounds for an appeal later.
Can I just plead “no contest” to the violations?
No. The hearing officer/hearing board chair will ask you to say whether you are “responsible” or “not responsible” for the allegation(s). A plea of “no contest” is a legal concept not applicable to administrative proceedings. Failing to respond to the charges will result in the Office of Student Conduct entering a response of “not responsible” on your behalf.
What are sanctions?
Our conduct process is designed to be educational and restorative in nature. Sanctions are not considered a punishment for a student’s actions or behavior. Sanctions are imposed to help students to: (a) make better decision in the future; (b) understand how their choices impacted the community; (c) deter them from future, similar behavior; and (d) help restore the community or other individuals impacted.
How are sanctions determined?
Sanctions are determined based on nature and/or severity of the violation, the student’s previous conduct record, precedent, and impact on the community.
What sanctions could be imposed?
Sanctions can range from an official warning or disciplinary probation to suspension or expulsion from the institution. Sanctions can include, but are not limited to, referrals to community service and/or alcohol or other drug education, educational requirements, restitution, trespass, and restriction or loss of privileges. See 6.6.4 in Code.
My friend and I violated the same policy, but we received different sanctions, how is that fair?
In determining sanctions, a student’s prior conduct, nature and severity of the incident, precedent for cases similar and impact on the community are taken into consideration. Multiple factors determining the appropriate sanctions for a student and it is possible students can receive differing sanctions. The purpose of sanctions is to help students to better understand how their behavior violated the Code; each student is considered separately.
What does Student Conduct consider serious violations of the Code that could lead to suspension or expulsion?
Violations that involve threat to community and individual safety are taken seriously. Students who violated policies including but not limited to sexual misconduct, violence, and repeated violations is when suspension and/or expulsion will be considered.
Adapted from the University of Toledo, Emory University, University of Delaware