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Sanction System

The Center for Student Involvement (CSI) manages a sanction system that holds chartered student organizations (CSOs) and registered student organizations (RSOs) accountable for violating rules, policies, and procedures related to student organizations.

The purpose of the sanction system for CSOs and RSOs is to have a clear and consistent process by which to adequately yet fairly assess infractions and levy sanctions to organizations that violate university policies, behave in inappropriate ways, commit financial misconduct, and/or make egregious decisions that are detrimental to either their organizations and/or the University.

There are three types of violations that can occur by a student organization. They are:

  • Behavioral violations
  • Operational violations
  • Financial violations

Behavioral Violations

A behavioral violation is any incident where an organization or individual associated with the organization violates one or more of the items outlined in the Student Conduct Code found in the Student Handbook.

In addition to the Student Conduct Code, an organization is also bound to item #4 of the Activities Regulation part of the Student Organizations section in the Student Handbook:

“The University has the right, through its Student Conduct System, to impose discipline, as deemed appropriate, on any student or student organization whose oral or written expression violates University policy or codes of conduct, or goes beyond that which is protected by this particular policy.”

Also, an organization is bound to any other relevant policies outlined in the Student Handbook.

Student Handbook (see pages 11-15)

The adjudication process and sanctioning is through the Student Conduct System which is managed by the Office of Student Life. For a full description of the Student Conduct System, see pages 89-103 of the 2017-18 edition of the Student Handbook.

Operational Violations

The violations described below do not constitute an exhaustive list. Examples of violations:

  • Failing to comply with or disrespect towards a university official (extreme cases may constitute a behavioral violation under the Student Conduct Code)
  • Posting inappropriate content in print or digital marketing and/or chalking
  • Hosting a non-registered off-campus event that need substantial resources and/or that are moderate to high risk
  • Creating excessive messes and/or damage to rooms and spaces
  • Signing contracts and other documents that require official signature by the University
  • Breaching contract terms in a willful or negligent manner
  • Violating university policies in a willful or negligent manner

Lying about an operational violation may also classify the violation as a behavioral violation under the Student Conduct Code.

“Knowingly furnishing false or incomplete information to the University, a University official, or conduct hearing board in response to an authorized request.” (see page 12 of the 2017-18 edition of the Student Handbook)

The adjudication process and sanctioning is through a hearing process which is managed by the Center for Student Involvement.

Financial Violations

The violations described below do not constitute an exhaustive list. Examples of violations:

  • Returning petty cash or cash advances late and/or without required material (i.e. receipts, remaining cash)
  • Having a bank, savings, or other financial account (i.e. non-SCU account)
  • Engaging in unapproved fundraising practices with third party vendors (i.e. to collect donations and payments)
  • Misusing the SCU purchasing card (i.e. inappropriate and/or unapproved use of the P-Card)
  • Paying “under the table” (i.e. paying others cash and/or without an invoice, contract, or other similar document)
  • Failing to deposit funds (i.e. not depositing all raised or collected funds and/or spending funds before depositing into SCU fund account first)
  • Failing to reconcile ticket sales (i.e. deposit amount from ticket sales does not match funds raised through ticket sales)
  • Overspending the SCU fund account (i.e. running a negative balance)
  • Forging a signature -- this automatically constitutes a behavioral violation under the Student Conduct Code

Lying about an operational violation may also classify the violation as a behavioral violation under the Student Conduct Code.

“Knowingly furnishing false or incomplete information to the University, a University official, or conduct hearing board in response to an authorized request.” (see page 12 of the 2017-18 edition of the Student Handbook

The adjudication process and sanctioning is managed by the Center for Student Involvement (CSI). Adjudication does not require a hearing but does require written documentation and conversation with CSI staff.

An organization may request an appeal if it is not satisfied with the sanction decision.

Hearing Process

Although the hearing process is primarily for operational violations, it may be applied to behavioral violations and/or financial violations whenever appropriate.

Although the strike system is primarily for operational violations, it may be applied to behavioral violations and/or financial violations whenever appropriate. Violations are on a 3-strike system:

  • First violation (strike) leads to a written warning.
  • Second violation (strike) leads to a sanction that lasts one full academic quarter.
  • Third violation (strike) leads to a sanction that lasts 3 full academic quarters.

The strike system is for any violation and does not need to be the same violation for all strikes. Although the CSI staff will review the violation which includes conversation with the student organization, there will be no hearing since the sanction for the first violation is a written warning. However, an organization will have a hearing with the CSI staff for each violation after the first one. The severity of the violation will dictate the sanction levied by CSI. Multiple sanctions for a violation may be levied if the severity is considered high and/or if the organization has had several violations in previous years.

The strike system spans violations that occur within an academic year. Once a new academic year begins, the total number of violations resets to zero. However, regardless of how many violations an organization commits during an academic year, any violations committed in prior years will be taken into account during hearings. And even though the total number of violations resets to zero in a new academic year, any sanctions that began the previous academic year but did not end that year will continue into the new year until the full term of the sanction has elapsed.

The hearing process is overseen by a panel comprised of 3 members of the CSI staff, particularly:

  • CSI Director
  • CSI Assistant Director for Student Organizations
  • One additional CSI staff member agreed upon by the other 2 staff members

An organization may request for a non-CSI staff member serve as the third panelist. Any such request must be submitted and approved before the hearing date. CSI reserves the right to not approve such requests if there is a clear conflict of interest or clear display of bias by the proposed panelist.

The request for a hearing must be sent to the organization within 5 business days of the incident in question and/or knowledge of the issue in question by CSI.

A hearing date must be scheduled within 5 business days of the hearing request being sent. An extended deadline may be granted if scheduling conflicts arise.

The organization may have up to 5 student leaders or members and any faculty advisors at the hearing. In general, student representatives should be present because they each have something of substance to present or discuss during the hearing. Organizational leaders and members cannot participate in the hearing to just observe or provide non-verbal support.

Requests to have more than 5 student representatives must be submitted in writing to the CSI Director at least 2 business days in advance of the hearing date. The request must include reasoning for why additional representatives are needed to present the RSO's case at the hearing. The CSI hearing panel reserves the right to approve or deny the request.

The hearing will be restricted to one hour where the organization may present its case and the CSI hearing panel may ask questions throughout the hearing. The reason for the time limit is to encourage both the organization and the CSI hearing panel to be concise and efficient with time and words as well as to avoid circular arguments. The hearing is meant to be conversational. Additional time may be added to the hearing as long as both the organization and CSI approve.

Final decision making by the CSI hearing panel is through consensus building, not a vote. The final decision will be announced to the organization within 5 business days after the hearing date. However, if additional time is needed to make a decision, the CSI Director will contact the organization in advance in writing to announce the extension of the decision deadline.

Once a final decision is made by the CSI hearing panel, the decision may be appealed to the Vice Provost for Student Life. The Vice Provost for Student Life will review the appeal and decide whether to honor the appeal, defer an appeal hearing to either the original CSI hearing panel or to a new hearing panel, or deny the appeal.

Sanctions may range from a warning to a loss of privileges to the removal of an officer to the suspended charter or registration of the organization to the dissolution of the organization.

Since a violation may be both a behavioral violation adjudicated by the Office of Student Life and an operational and/or financial violation adjudicated by CSI, adjudication by the Office of Student Life and CSI may occur concurrently and do not necessarily have to follow the same timeline.

Similarly, decisions adjudicated by the Office of Student Life do not necessarily impact decisions adjudicated by CSI (and vice versa).

Individuals vs Organizations

Although the sanction system may examine the behaviors and decisions of individuals, any levied sanctions would be for the entire organization and not for specific individuals within the organization whether leaders or members. In the event that an individual is sanctioned, it would most likely be due to this individual violating the Student Conduct Code or other relevant policies outlined in the Student Handbook. If this is the case, then adjudication would be through the Student Conduct System which is managed by the Office of Student Life.

Consideration will be made to determine if either an individual or the organization will be held responsible for behaviors and decisions. Considerations may include -- but are not limited to -- the following:

  • If the decision was made by an individual or by the organization
  • If multiple individuals were involved
  • If the individuals involved are leaders of the organization acting in their official capacity
  • If actions, opinions, and/or perspectives are held by an individual or by the organization
  • If the action has any impact on the credibility of the organization and/or the capacity of the organization to operate
  • If the action has any impact on the credibility of the University and/or the capacity of the University to operate

When multiple violations are being considered, it may be appropriate for some of the violations to lead to sanctions levied against an individual while other violations are levied against the organization. In addition, it may be decided that all violations may lead to sanctions levied against an individual or the organization.