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Student Handbook
Butler Student Handbook

Student Conduct System

Overview

The student conduct process is an extension of the educational mission of the University. The process is intended to educate students about appropriate behavior and the potential consequences of one’s actions and choices. It promotes learning, personal responsibility, self-discipline, respect for others and self, and the support of the educational values of the community.

The University President has delegated the responsibility for matters of student conduct to the Vice President for Student Affairs. In an atmosphere of mutual respect, this responsibility has traditionally been shared by members of the Butler community—students, faculty and administration alike.

Unless specifically stipulated elsewhere in University policy, the Vice President for Student Affairs serves as the primary officer responsible for addressing unacceptable conduct or action by any student that involves an infraction of University rules and regulations. The Vice President has designated other staff members to assume various roles within the conduct system. “Vice President” in this section should be read as “Vice President or designee.”

Proposed changes in the student conduct system may be submitted to the Vice President for Student Affairs. The Vice President may consult with any University group affected by a change. Examples of University groups include, but are not limited to, the Student Conduct Board and student government association.

The Butler University student conduct system consists of administrative conduct reviews both informal and formal. Appeals of administrative decisions can be heard by the Student Conduct Board and/or the Vice President for Student Affairs. At all levels, these proceedings are not to be construed as legalistic judicial trials, but care shall be taken to provide a fundamentally fair process for the review of a student’s conduct.

Further:

  • Alleged violations of University rules and regulations may be brought to the attention of the Vice President by any member of the University community and from external constituencies.
  • The Vice President or designated conduct officer shall investigate reported student misconduct, initiate conduct procedures when warranted and, after giving the student written notice of the charges, provide the student the opportunity to present their own version of the incident or occurrence.
  • The conduct officer may discuss the situation with or advise any student whose conduct is called into question, and students shall attend such meetings as requested by the conduct officer. Failure to comply will result in additional conduct action.
  • The “parties” to a student conduct review are the student(s) or organization alleged to have violated the University’s rules and regulations and the representative from the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. A person alleging the violation(s) is considered a “witness,” and therefore does not have a right to appeal a student conduct decision.
  • References to “days” means “calendar days,” except where otherwise stipulated.

Interim Suspension

The Vice President may temporarily suspend a student from the University or campus housing pending student conduct procedures when the presence of a student on campus is deemed by the Vice President as an actual or potential disruption of the University or when the student's presence may constitute a danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the University, to property, to others, or to the student. The Vice President will notify the student in writing of the interim suspension. If the student should desire to challenge any such finding of the Vice President or the reliability of the information utilized in making such finding, they may do so by appearing before the Vice President for that purpose only, within five (5) days of notice of such interim suspension.

Administrative Conduct Reviews

All allegations of student misconduct (except those that fall under the Policy on Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Domestic Violence) will be resolved through a meeting with a designated conduct officer. Students will receive a charge letter via their official Butler e-mail address that briefly describes the incident, the alleged violations of rules/policies in question, and the date of the conduct review meeting. Reviews will be scheduled around classes and students are expected to attend or make an alternate arrangement in advance of the scheduled meeting. Those who fail to attend scheduled conduct reviews will be held responsible for the findings.

  • Students will have three (3) days advance notice of the review (excluding official University breaks) although students may waive their right to three (3) days notice and arrange for an earlier resolution of the case. This request should be made in writing.
  • The student may not challenge the assignment of the conduct officer for an administrative review.
  • In advance of a conduct review or appeal at any level, students may seek guidance and assistance from the Dean of Student Services who is located in Atherton Union 200, 317-940-9570.
  • Students are entitled to obtain a written statement of the results and findings of the review. This will normally be provided within seven (7) days after the conclusion of the review.
  • A student engaged in an administrative review has a right to one appeal, except in cases involving suspension or dismissal from the University. (See Appeals.)

This administrative review will be either informal or formal as described below:

  • Informal—The conduct officer meets individually with the accused student to:
  1. Review the process and the student’s rights and answer the student’s questions.
  2. Review the incident report and discuss other information or relevant testimony.
  3. Allow the student to respond to the charges and provide additional information.
  4. Reviews are presumed closed, unless all participants agree to the presence of others.
  5. The student may attend with an advisor of his/her choosing but generally informal reviews involve only the accused student and the conduct officer. (See bullet below in formal review description for more detail about the role of the advisor.)
  6. At any time during the informal review the student or the conduct officer may determine that a formal review is needed and a formal administrative review will be scheduled.
  • Formal—This format is similar to the informal review but requires more structure and planning as witnesses are likely to be called either by the conduct officer, the student, or both.
  1. This format will be selected by the conduct officer if he/she believes that suspension or dismissal is a possible outcome.
  2. A formal review may be selected if the student would like to call witnesses to testify on his/her behalf or involve an advisor of his/her choosing. A student may want to choose this option if parallel criminal charges are pending.
  3. A student engaged in a conduct review may be assisted by an advisor. The advisor may act in an advisory capacity only and may not actively participate in the procedures (e.g., advisors may not question witnesses, provide opening or closing statements, etc.). An advisor will not be permitted to interfere with any procedure or review.
  4. Students shall have the right to hear and pose questions of witnesses, to be informed of the content of all written statements or other evidence; and to rebut any such evidence or challenge its value.
  5. The accused student and the conduct officer shall exchange witness information at least three (3) days in advance of the review date in order for witnesses to be informed of date, time and location. Witnesses not identified in advance according to this time frame may not be allowed to participate. The conduct officer will make a good faith effort to include witnesses via phone, Zoom, or other means if witnesses cannot be physically present. Written statements may be accepted and are subject to verification by the conduct officer.
  6. Beyond witness and advisor participation, formal reviews are presumed closed, unless all participants agree to the presence of others.

After conducting an investigation and an informal or formal review, the conduct officer shall have the authority to determine whether the student is responsible or not responsible for the violation(s) and, as warranted, the officer shall assign an appropriate sanction(s). The decision is based on the totality of the information available to the conduct officer. The officer will find the student responsible if he/she reasonably concludes that it is more likely than not that the student violated University policies/rules.

Appeal Process

  1. If, following the outcome of an informal or formal administrative review, the student wants to appeal the decision, the student will submit a written appeal to the Dean of Student Services within three (3) days of the date of the notification letter/e-mail. Appeals are coordinated by the Dean of Student Services unless designated otherwise. The Dean is available to meet with students to explain process and procedures and to assist in all aspects of the appeal process.
  2. Appeals are not granted simply because someone disagrees with the prior decision. Appeals will be granted based on the following grounds as determined by members of the student conduct board or the Vice President:
    (a) A procedural error or omission occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the review (e.g., substantiated bias, deviation from established procedures, etc.).
    (b) To consider new evidence, unknown or unavailable during the original review or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included in the request.
  3. A student’s right to appeal shall be exhausted after one appeal except in cases in which the sanction imposed is either suspension or dismissal from the University.
  4. Appeals are directed to different entities:
    (a) The Student Conduct Board shall hear appeals related to general behavior and academic integrity.
    (b) The Vice President for Student Affairs shall resolve appeals when the timing of the appeal does not allow for the board to convene (e.g. at the end of semesters, during breaks, and over the summer). In these situations the Vice President for Student Affairs may appoint, at their discretion, an ad hoc appeal board to review cases that may result in the suspension or dismissal of the student. 
    (c)  The Vice President for Student Affairs will hear final appeals of decisions made by the Student Conduct Board when the outcome is suspension or dismissal.
  5. Appeals considered by the Vice President for Student Affairs will be based on a review of the written case documentation; no personal conference will occur. All appeals considered by the Vice President are final.
  6. A full board is constituted by a quorum of five voting members.  Additionally a non-voting chairperson and the Dean of Student Services (ex officio) will be present. An alternate panelist may be present with the advance permission of the accused student.
  7. The board has the authority to render a decision in which written and timely appeals have been submitted. The board may sustain or modify the decision of the previous review in whatever way it deems appropriate, including either increasing or reducing the sanctions.
  8. A student engaged in a conduct review may be assisted by an advisor. The advisor may act in an advisory capacity only and may not actively participate in the procedures (e.g., advisors may not question witnesses, provide opening or closing statements, etc.). An advisor will not be permitted to interfere with any procedure or review.
  9. Students shall have the right to hear and pose questions of witnesses; to be informed of the content of all written statements or other evidence; and to rebut any such evidence or challenge its value.
  10. The accused student and the conduct officer shall exchange witness information at least three (3) days in advance of the review date in order for witnesses to be informed of date, time and location. Witnesses not identified according to this time frame may not be allowed to participate. The conduct officer will make a good faith effort to include witnesses via phone, Skype or other means if they cannot be physically present. Written statements may be accepted and are subject to verification by the conduct officer/board.
  11. Students shall have the right to challenge, for cause, the membership of any member or members of a review board due to prejudice or conflict of interest.
    (a) The challenge must be stated in writing and presented to the board promptly after the student has received notice of the review. The board shall deliberate in private and determine by majority vote whether the member or members so challenged shall be excluded from participating in the proceeding. Whether the challenged member or members shall have a vote on the issue of their participation shall be determined by other members of the board. Members against whom challenges are sustained shall be replaced by alternates.
  12. Conduct meetings to consider appeals are presumed closed, unless all participants agree to the presence of others. All aspects of the appeal, including evidence, arguments, and discussion among the members of the board shall be deemed confidential. A closed review shall be restricted to the board, the student, an advisor to a student, the witnesses, and any personnel deemed essential by the board to the work of the board. By participating in a closed appeal review all students and members of the faculty or staff have agreed to:
    (a)   Maintain the strict confidentiality of all aspects of the proceeding during the entire course of the proceeding, including the period of any and all appeals, and;
    (b)  Accept severe sanctions in the event any such person is found to have breached the confidentiality in any way. Whether such a person has breached the confidentiality and the sanctions to be imposed, if any, shall be determined by the Vice President, the method of arriving at such decision remaining entirely in the judgment of the Vice President.
    (c)  Provided, however, the student and his/her advisor shall not be so restricted that the preparation of their respective cases to be presented to the board is impaired. Provided further, the board in its discretion may declare any review to be closed at any time it deems it necessary to assure a fair review to any student.
  13. No member of the University community may publicly release a summary of the proceedings of any board without the prior written approval of all parties, all participants in the review, and the Vice President. The decision of the board may be made public, but the accused student's name shall not be released.
    (a) In the case where the conduct officer/body determines that a person has been the victim of a crime of violence (as the term is defined by federal, state, or local law), the victim will be informed of the outcome of the review.
  14. Student Conduct Board Composition (PDF) 

Sanctions and Administrative Actions

Sanctions

  1. The sanctions below may be imposed by conduct officers, the Student Conduct Board and/or the Vice President for Student Affairs.
    • Warning letter:  An official letter sent to a student who has violated a University rule or policy or to whom a letter should be sent to warn a student regarding failure to comply with University rules or regulations in the future. A copy of this letter shall be placed in the student’s conduct file.
    • Probation: A period of observation and review during which a student must demonstrate a willingness and ability to comply with all University regulations.The terms of the probation shall be for a specified period and may include restriction of participation in leadership roles and co-curricular activities, among other stipulations.
    • Restitution: The student is required to provide reimbursement for (a) damage to, destruction of, or misappropriation of, University property or property of any person or the University premises, (b) personal or other injuries inflicted.
    • Other Sanctions: Other sanctions may include, but are not limited to, restrictions on student privileges, forfeiture of financial assistance, monetary fines, extra work hours (e.g., in residence halls), community restoration and/or community service, reflection paper, research assignment, completion of an educational program, referral for alcohol or drug assessment, letter of apology, or personal apology.
    • Suspension: The student is suspended from continuing at the University for a specified period. While a suspension is in effect, a student may not, without the expressed permission of the Vice President for Student Affairs:
      (a) Attend classes, or participate in any University-sponsored event or activity; or
      (b) Be present on University owned or affiliated property, including University approved housing units.
      To be considered for return, a suspended student 1) must meet all stipulations outlined in their sanction letter and 2) must receive approval from the Vice President for Student Affairs.
    • Dismissal: The student is dismissed permanently from the University. This sanction is noted on the student’s transcript (See Student Conduct Records). Dismissed students are permanently trespassed from University property.
  2. Notwithstanding the provisions of the University’s refund policies, if any student conduct action results in the suspension or dismissal of a student, the University may refuse to refund, in whole or in part, such student’s tuition and fees.
  3. A student who is suspended or dismissed from the University for conduct reasons may be provisionally withdrawn from classes pending the outcome of the student conduct process. If the process is not completed by the time semester grades must be submitted, the student may receive a grade of "I," pending the outcome of the process. This allows her/him to complete the course should the suspension or dismissal be reversed through the appeal process. Tuition and fees for the semester in which she/he is suspended or dismissed may be forfeited as determined by the University at its sole discretion.
  4. Student conduct action taken against a student shall become a part of the student’s educational and/or personnel records. Such records shall be considered in determining the appropriate sanction in a particular case.

Administrative Actions are distinct from sanctions and, if assigned by a University official, are not subject to appeal:

  1. Breaches in the residence hall contract may result in administrative actions such as a room reassignment in on-campus housing. Students may be banned from living in or entering a residential facility indefinitely or for a specified period.
  2. Student account holds may be applied; this can impede a student’s ability to register for next semester courses or do business with the University.
  3. The University reserves the right to notify parents of alcohol and drug policy violations as described in the Privacy Rights of Students section of the handbook.
  4. Athletic coaches will be informed when student-athletes are accused of misconduct and/or found responsible for violations of the conduct code.
  5. The Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences or designee may be notified when COPHS students are found responsible for code violations.
  6. Failure to observe any imposed sanctions shall constitute a basis for additional sanctions. The University may withhold grades, registration, transcripts, or diplomas until all sanctions have been fulfilled.

Student Conduct Records

The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs maintains the educational records related to student conduct in accordance with the following:

  1. Records of lower level student conduct action (e.g., written warning, conduct probation) are maintained during the student’s attendance at the University and removed once the student graduates. If the student discontinues enrollment at Butler (e.g., transfers to another institution, drops out) the record is removed five (5) years after the student’s separation from the University.
  2. Higher level student conduct action
    (a)  Student conduct action that involves either dismissal from a housing unit or suspension from the University is maintained for a period of five years from the date of the student’s separation from the University.
    (b)  The record of a student who has been dismissed from the University is maintained on a permanent basis in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
    (c)  A student who is dismissed from the University for conduct reasons will have the conduct action noted on his/her transcript. A dismissal notation will never be removed from the transcript. The notation shall read “Dismissed permanently from the University.”
  3. Student conduct records may be released to Butler officials or faculty members if such information is necessary in the discharge of their respective responsibilities.
  4. A student’s conduct record, however, shall not be released to other sources outside the University unless there is written consent from the student, except as specified in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or in accordance with law. (See Privacy Rights of Students at Butler University.) If required to release records in compliance with student conduct order or subpoena, the University will reasonably attempt to notify the student before complying and in accordance with law.
  5. Records subject to government reporting will be maintained as required by law. Although records may be purged from the student conduct database, physical documents will be stored for auditing purposes for a period of up to seven years.

Greek Conduct Review Process

Greek organizations, which may receive conduct charges for allegedly violating campus policies, state law or their respective council’s constitution and bylaws, are entitled to an administrative conduct review. If the allegations involve campus policies or state law, a review process will be coordinated by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. If the allegations involve IFC/Panhellenic council constitution and bylaws or recruitment rules, the matter would be resolved by the IFC/Panhellenic conduct vice president and the respective conduct review board. For more information, contact the Director of Greek Life.

Note: Any act that denies, deprives, or limits the educational, employment, residential and/or social access, benefits and/or opportunities of any member of the campus community on the basis of their actual or perceived membership in a federally protected class is in violation of the University policy on nondiscrimination. Protected classes include but are not limited to: race, sex, religion, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship status, age, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and veteran or military status.*

All allegations of student or student organization misconduct that are perceived to infringe upon the federally protected civil rights of any member of the University community or its visitors will be addressed through the Policy on Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Domestic Violence and Non-discrimination policy. This will include allegations related to discriminatory or bias-related harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and hazing among others.