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tennessee technological university

Handbooks

Authority and Inception

A new disciplinary system for all registered students was approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), effective fall quarter 1981. The disciplinary system defines channels and procedures for adjudication of student misconduct and was created by a task force of students, faculty, and administration.

Summary

The disciplinary system establishes an adjudication policy that applies to any student accused of violating the rules and regulations that govern the behavior of all members of the TTU community. The disciplinary system does not apply to matters of academic and classroom misconduct, which are governed by separate rules and procedures. Under the disciplinary system cases of alleged student misconduct may be considered by the Dean of Students, the University Student Judicial Council (USJC), the University Judicial Council (UJC), or the Hearing Officer or Committee under the Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (TUAPA). The decision to refer a case to one or another of these bodies is not based on the severity of the case or the possible sanction; rather, the policy states that “choice of hearing boards, other than the hearing board established by the Tennessee Administrative Uniform Procedures Act, shall be assigned as appropriate by the Dean of Students.” When both University judicial councils (USJC and UJC) are in operation, the student shall have the option to choose which body shall hear the case. When one council is not available, the disciplinary case shall be referred to the available council by the Dean of Students.

When a student is charged with a violation, a pre-hearing interview must be conducted in which the student is presented with specific charges, complaints, reports, and other information pertinent to the situation. The pre-hearing is a mandatory face-to-face interview with the student present; if the student is absent from campus, elements of the pre-hearing are presented by written correspondence and/or by telephone. During the pre-hearing interview, the student is given a complete explanation of the sanctions and the procedures for disciplinary hearings, including his or her rights and privileges during the hearings and the procedures for appeal or review. The student is given the opportunity to contest the validity of the charges and appear before a hearing body, or may elect not to contest the validity of the charges and appear before either a hearing body or the Dean of Students.

Notice of Charge(s)

The student is informed in writing of the charge(s) against him/her by the Dean of Students, sufficiently in advance of the hearing to give the student enough time to prepare a defense. A red card is sent to the student's campus mailbox. The card instructs the student to come to the office of the Dean of Students to pick up an official University notice. This official notice contains a specific written explanation of the University rule and/or regulation that the student has violated. The charge(s) shall be composed of a statement of the violation(s) of the University Rules and Regulations and a formal description of the alleged behavior, including time, date, and place of occurrence, if such information is available.

The student is required to contact the Dean of Students within 48 hours after receipt of the charge(s) (or the next working day if the 48-hour period ends on a weekend or holiday) to schedule an appointment for a pre-hearing interview.

Pre-hearing Interview

A pre-hearing interview with the Dean of Students is conducted with each charged student. During this interview, the student

  1. Receives the charges against him/her if the charges were not sent by mail or given to him/her in person;
  2. Has the charges explained, in terms of date, times, incidents, and evidence;
  3. Has the disciplinary system of the University explained, including a complete explanation of the sanctions and the procedures for disciplinary hearings, his/her rights and privileges during the hearings, and the procedure for appeal or review;
  4. Receives a copy and explanation of the “University Disciplinary Guidelines”;
  5. Is asked to sign a statement indicating receipt of the above document (or the receipt is witnessed);
  6. Is informed of the approximate hearing date and the method by which he/she will be contacted by the Dean of Students (the student is informed that the Dean of Students will be his/her contact for information on the status of his/her case);
  7. Selects one of the four hearing bodies available.

Hearing Bodies

There are four hearing bodies in the disciplinary system:

  1. The Dean of Students
  2. The University Student Judicial Council (USJC)
    1. Composed of nine (9) student members of the Student Government Association (SGA) Supreme Court: the Chief Justice, the Associate Chief Justice, and the seven Associate Justices.
    2. The chair of this hearing body is the Chief Justice. In the absence of the Chief Justice, the Associate Chief Justice shall serve as chair.
    3. Each member serves a term of one year, renewable.
    4. All members must be approved individually by a two-thirds vote of the SGA Senate, after being appointed by the SGA Judiciary Selection Committee.
  3. The University Judicial Council (UJC)
    1. Composed of eight (8) faculty/administrative members with a quorum of five (5) members present.
    2. Each member serves a term of three years, renewable.
    3. One member from each college or school is nominated by the respective academic dean, and one member by the Vice President for Student Affairs.
    4. The chair is elected by the members of the Council.
  4. Hearing Officer or Committee under the Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (TUAPA)
    1. These procedures may be applicable in cases involving suspension or expulsion of a student; the revocation of a student organization's charter for misconduct or disciplinary reasons; and other cases as designated by the Chancellor or President of the institution.
    2. The TUAPA sets a basis for uniform procedures to be used by institutions in the State University and Community College System of Tennessee for hearing of cases which may be subject to Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, Title 4, Chapter 5, Tennessee Code Annotated.
    3. The President of the institution shall designate a member of the staff to be responsible for the coordination and administration of the TUAPA procedures. This person shall be referred to as hearing director.
    4. The hearing director shall investigate all cases which may be subject to these procedures and may recommend to the President whether a hearing for a given case shall be commenced.
    5. The President shall determine whether the hearing shall be held before a hearing officer or a hearing committee. Hearing officers shall normally be appointed by the President from the administrative or professional staff of the institution. The institution may submit a request to the TBR Office of General Counsel for an administrative judge to conduct the hearing.
    6. A hearing committee may be appointed by the President from the administrative or professional staff of the institution. The person appointed as chairperson of the committee shall be deemed the hearing officer for purposes of presiding at the hearing.

If the student admits responsibility for the charge(s), he or she may choose one of the four hearing options described above:

  1. Dean of Students
  2. The University Student Judicial Council (USJC)
  3. The University Judicial Council (UJC)
  4. Hearing Officer or Committee under the TUAPA

If the student admits responsibility but does not accept the recommendation of the Dean, he or she may select one of the other hearing options. The USJC or UJC may also hear cases where the accused student does admit responsibility but the Dean of Students prefers that the case be heard by a hearing body.

If the student does not admit responsibility for the charge(s), he or she must choose one of the following hearing options:

  1. The University Student Judicial Council (USJC)
  2. The University Judicial Council (UJC)
  3. Hearing Officer or Committee under the TUAPA

After the hearing, the USJC or UJC may determine that the accused student either was responsible for the violation(s) or was not responsible.

If the USJC or UJC determines that the student was responsible for the violation(s), the USJC or UJC may recommend to the Dean of Students one or more sanctions provided for in the Student Handbook.

Appeal

The student may request an appeal to the Vice President for Student Affairs from the findings and/or recommendations of a University Student Judicial Council or University Judicial Council, or from the decision of the Dean of Students. The student may further appeal the decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs to the President, who may convene a hearing as provided under the Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. If the student has chosen a hearing under the TUAPA, the President will consider the first appeal, after which the matter may be referred to chancery court.