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V. Regulations Concerning Student Life on Campus

A.  The Enactment of Regulations

University-wide regulations intended to formalize general standards of student conduct may be recommended to the Board of Trustees by appropriate committees composed entirely of students or jointly of students, faculty, and administrative representatives.  University-wide regulations do not contemplate specialized regulations or rules governing academic, business, administrative, or contractual matters, nor rules or regulations published by administrators, students, or faculty for the control of facilities or programs, such as those not normally submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval.  Generally understood standards of conduct, such as respect for the persons or property of others, continue to apply and may form the basis of disciplinary action though nowhere specified in particular detail.

It is the intent of this section to bring students into active participation in the formulation of University-wide regulations not excepted above, and to encourage the inclusion of students as active participants in the formulation of those regulations excepted above to the extent that such involvement can be accomplished reasonably and practicably.

B.  Standards of Fairness and Student Rights in Disciplinary Cases

The George Washington University respects and is determined to protect the individual dignity, integrity, and reputations of its students.  At the same time it requires that students comply with those conventions and regulations of University life that are necessary to maintain order, to protect individuals and property, and to fulfill its purposes and responsibilities as a University.  To this end, the University realizes that the prevailing rule in matters of student discipline must continue to be that of common sense, and an excessive legalism can only disserve the University and its community of students, faculty, and staff.  The model for disciplinary procedures that the University adopts is that of the administrative process not that of the criminal or civil courts.  

Certain procedural rights shall be guaranteed to a student in any University disciplinary proceeding in which he or she stands to bear significant injury, such as expulsion, suspension, permanent reprimand, or other stigmatizing action.  A student subject to such disciplinary action is in danger of injury to his or her reputation, opportunity to learn, and earning power.  He or she therefore should enjoy full protection of his or her rights:

1. The right to notice of charges whenever formal action upon such charges is initiated, such notice to be given within a reasonably prompt period and with sufficient particularity as to the facts that the student may reasonably investigate the charge and prepare his or her defense, with reasonable and appropriate recesses and continuances being provided to all parties.

2.  The right to question witnesses appearing against him or her (although in certain cases including, without limitation, when sexual violence is charged, the University may require that such questioning be conducted indirectly and/or from a separate location); to produce witnesses on his or her own behalf; to present evidence; to know prior to the hearing the contents of and the names of the authors of any written statements that may be introduced against him or her, and to rebut unfavorable inferences that might be drawn from such statements; and not to be compelled to be a witness against himself or herself or to have his or her silence taken as evidence of the violation charged.   

3.  The right to a decision based upon evidence of a kind upon which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in serious affairs.  However, rules of evidence in courts of law shall not, as such, be applied.  The reliance upon evidence shall be determined by fundamental principles of fair play.

4.  The right not to be sanctioned unless the decision maker is persuaded by a preponderance of the evidence that the student is in violation. 

5.   The right to be accompanied in all proceedings by an adviser (student, faculty, or other) of his or her own choosing and at his or her own expense.

6.   The right to have the option of a public hearing in the discretion of the presiding officer, upon the student respondent's request, and if permitted by law.

7.  The right to appeal decisions to a higher authority or hearing body within the administrative processes provided.

8.   The right to have his or her case processed without prejudicial delay. 

Hearings shall be recorded or transcribed.

Following an alleged act of student misconduct, and until final disposition of the charges, the status of a student shall not be altered or his or her right to be present on campus and to attend classes suspended, except for reasons relating to his or her physical or emotional safety and well-being or for reasons relating to the safety and well-being of other students, faculty, or University property, or for reasons relating to the protection of the normal functions of the University.

Changes in the status of a student that are not disciplinary in character intended neither as punishment nor as censure, but required by administrative, academic, or security interests of the University and its community are not governed by these disciplinary procedures.

The University disciplinary hearing system should not become excessively legalistic or adversarial.  The hearing bodies may find it necessary frequently and firmly to remind parties, counsel, or advisers that the proceedings are not criminal or civil trials, that criminal or civil standards of due process and rules of evidence are not controlling, and that the hearing bodies shall enjoy considerable discretion to interpret, vary, and waive procedural requirements to the end that a just and fair decision may be obtained.

NEXT: VI. Students as Off-Campus Citizens