Student Code of Conduct Philosophy
Dominican University students experience an environment that encourages intellectual growth through free inquiry. We recognize that freedom to teach and learn depends upon truthful and caring conditions in the classroom, on the campus and in the larger community. The maintenance of the traditions of truth and caring demands a high standard of respect for the rights and dignity of others and for adherence to the necessary policies established to give order to our daily lives. Dominican University expects responsible social conduct of students, which reflects well on themselves and the university.
Dominican University is committed to fostering a campus environment that is conducive to academic inquiry, productive campus life, thoughtful study and discourse. A community exists on the basis of shared values and principles. At Dominican University, student members of the community are expected to uphold and abide by the standards of conduct that form the basis of the Student Code of Conduct. These standards are embodied within a set of core values that include integrity, social justice, respect, community and responsibility. When members of the community fail to exemplify these values, campus conduct proceedings are used to assert and uphold the Student Code of Conduct.
Ultimately, each member of the Dominican University community is expected to assume responsibility for their conduct and to assume reasonable responsibility for the behavior of others. On occasion, this may involve bystander intervention when one member observes another in inappropriate conduct. At other times it will involve cooperation when the authorities are investigating instances of alleged misconduct.
The Student Code of Conduct is committed to an educational and developmental process that balances the interests of individual students with the interests of the University community. The student conduct process at Dominican University is not intended to punish students. Rather, it exists to protect the interests of the community and to challenge those whose behavior is not in accordance with our standards. Sanctions are intended to challenge students’ moral and ethical decision-making and to help them bring their behavior into accord with our community expectations. When a student is unable to conform their behavior to community expectations, the student conduct process may determine that they should no longer share in the privilege of participating in this community.
Students should be aware that the student conduct process is quite different from criminal and civil court proceedings. Procedures and rights in student conduct proceedings are conducted with fairness to all, but do not include the same protections of due process afforded by the courts. Fair process, within these procedures, assures written notice and a hearing before an objective decision is made. It assures that no student will be found in violation of university policy without information showing that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred, and that any sanction will be proportionate to the severity of the violation and to the cumulative conduct history of the student.
Standards of Behavior
In accordance with the university motto Caritas et Veritas, compassion and truth, Dominican University has developed standards of behavior in support of the intellectual, physical, spiritual and emotional development of each student.
Dominican University students exemplify honesty, honor and a respect for truth in all of their dealings.
Dominican University students build, enhance and value their community.
Dominican University students are just and equitable in their treatment of all members of the community and act to discourage and/or intervene to prevent unjust and inequitable behaviors.
Dominican University students show positive regard for self, each other, for property, and for the community.
Dominican University students are given and accept a high level of responsibility to self, to others and to the community.
Students at Dominican University are annually emailed a link to the Student Code of Conduct and are responsible for knowing the information, policies and procedures outlined. The Student Code of Conduct and the student conduct process applies to the conduct of individual students and university-affiliated groups, organizations, teams, etc.
The Student Code of Conduct is based on shared values and sets a range of expectations for the Dominican University student no matter where or when their conduct may take place. Therefore, the Student Code of Conduct will apply to behaviors that take place on the campus, at college-sponsored events, and may also apply off campus when the administration determines that the off-campus conduct affects a substantial college interest. A substantial University interest is defined to include:
- Any situation where it appears the student’s conduct may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of self or others; and/or
- Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
- Any situation that is detrimental to the educational mission and/or interests of the University.
The Student Code of Conduct may be applied to conduct that takes place during the time a person is enrolled as a student, including intra-semester breaks and between semesters. Further, the Student Code of Conduct applies to guests of community members, whose hosts may be held accountable for the misconduct of their guests. The Student Code of Conduct also protects visitors to and guests of Dominican University, and they may initiate grievances for violations of the Student Code of Conduct committed by members of the Dominican University community against them.
The Student Code of Conduct may be applied to behavior conducted online, vie email or other electronic medium. Students should be aware that online postings such as blogs, web postings, chats and social networking sites are in the public sphere and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations if evidence of policy violations is posted online. The University does not regularly search for this information but may take action if and when such information is brought to the attention of University officials.
There is no time limit on reporting violations of the Student Code of Conduct; however, the longer someone waits to report an offense, the harder it becomes for University officials to obtain information and witness statements and to make determinations regarding alleged violations.
Dominican University reserves the right to take disciplinary action against any student whose behavior undermines the academic or social purposes, safety or order of the campus community. Disciplinary action is usually initiated by a written complaint or report submitted by any member of the Dominican community or guest. While it is possible to submit an anonymous report, an individual filing a report is encouraged to include their name on the report in order to expedite a disciplinary inquiry. Reports can be filed with the Office of the Dean of Students, Campus Safety or Student Life.
The following types of misconduct, whether committed by a student or their guests, are only examples and not exhaustive of the kinds of behavior subject to student disciplinary action. In addition to university regulations, all federal, state and municipal laws must be obeyed. All policy violations will be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students.
- Threat or cause of physical or psychological abuse to any person
- Harassment or the infringement of the rights of another person.
- Bias against an individual based on their identity, such as gender, ability, race, ethnicity. This includes but is not limited to: gender based violence, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, stalking, harassment, and discrimination. See One Process Policy and Title IX Policy.
- Interference, obstruction or disruption with activities at or sponsored by the university, as well as inciting, aiding, or encouraging other persons to engage in such conduct. Activities include special events and the normal daily operation of the institution.
- Academic dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism, forgery, misuse or falsification of university documents or official papers, or dishonest acts. See the University Bulletin for additional information regarding Academic Integrity.
- Theft or damage to university or individual property, or known possession of stolen property.
- Theft or misuse of services of any kind.
- Commercial solicitation, which is not permitted on campus except by recognized student organizations and athletic teams and approved by the Office of the Dean of Students.
- Failure to appropriately comply with the directions of a university official and/or with the policies and procedures of any official university document and/or processes.
- Unauthorized entry to or inappropriate use of university premises, facilities or property.
- Misuse of fire safety equipment; setting fires; failure to evacuate the building during a fire alarm or violation of any fire safety policy. Using emergency exits in non-emergencies is prohibited. Any open flame or burning substances such as candles, incense, etc., are not allowed.
- Possession or use of explosives (including fireworks and ammunition), firearms (including air, BB, paintball, facsimile weapons and pellet guns), or other weapons or dangerous objects such as arrows, axes, machetes, nunchucks, throwing stars, or knives, including the storage of any item that falls within the category of a weapon in a vehicle parked on University property.
- Demonstrations that are disorderly, disruptive, obstructs teaching, study, research or administration of the university, endangers the safety of others, or is meant to coerce, intimidate, target, or demean members of the community.
- Violation of the Drug policy, which includes, use, possession, manufacturing, selling or distribution of any drug; possession of any device or property used in connection with illegal drugs. See the Alcohol and Drug Policy for the full policy.
- Violation of the Alcohol policy, which includes possession of alcohol by individuals under 21, alcohol in common area spaces, public intoxication. See the Alcohol and Drug Policy for the full policy.
- Students are expected to abide by the federal laws and the laws of the State of Illinois prohibiting illegal gambling. See the Gambling Policy for further clarification.
- Falsifying, changing, or altering any data or knowingly providing false information on any university documents, including producing false documents, is prohibited. Students must carry their student ID card at all times. The student ID card must be presented and/or surrendered at any time it is requested by a university official, including Welcome Information Desk Attendants. During an alleged policy violation, students must present their Dominican University ID card when asked by a university official, including Resident Assistants.
- All acts of hazing by any individual student and university registered student club or organization and any of its members or alumnae/i are prohibited. See Hazing Policy.
- Behavior that causes disturbance or distress to the university community.
- Smoking and tobacco products are prohibited in all university buildings and on all university property. See the Tobacco Policy for additional information.
- Breaking any local, state or federal law either on or off campus.
- Violation of any policy or regulation contained in the Student Handbook, Student Involvement Manual, Residence Hall Housing Contract and Guidelines, IT Acceptable Use Policy, or any other publication of the university.
- Violation of the university Guest Responsibility and Visitation Policy.
- Loud and/or inappropriate noises are prohibited. Students and their guests must comply with the quiet and courtesy hours in the residence halls.
University as Complainant
As necessary, Dominican University reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by the victim of misconduct.
Prohibition against Retaliation
Dominican University strictly prohibits any adverse action against any individual for reporting incidents, providing information, or exercising their rights under this policy. No individual who makes a complaint alleging a violation of this policy or who participates in the investigation or resolution of a complaint shall be subject to retaliation as a result of such activity or participation. Retaliation is defined as conduct that 1) adversely affects the individual’s employment or their opportunity to access or benefit from the University’s programs or activities; and 2) is motivated in whole or in part by the individual’s participation in the complaint process. Retaliation exists when action is taken against a complainant or participant during the complaint process or after the resolution of a complaint.
Retaliatory actions include threats or actual violence against a person or that person’s property or threats on social media. Retaliation may involve engaging in ridicule, intimidation, bullying, or inciting adverse educational or employment consequences, or colluding with others to embarrass or punish an individual who filed a complaint or participated in an investigation, or hearing. Retaliation is not limited to the complainant or respondent— any individual or group of individuals involved in an investigation can engage in or be affected by retaliatory conduct.
Any acts of retaliation shall be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University.
Dominican University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.
When members of groups, individuals acting collusively, or members of an organization act in concert in violation of any policy, they may be held accountable as a group, and a hearing may proceed against the group as joint accused students. In any such action, however, determinations will be made with respect to the involvement of each accused individual.
Immunity for Victims
Dominican University encourages the reporting of conduct code violations and crimes by victims. Sometimes victims are hesitant to report to college officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. It is in the best interests of this community that as many victims as possible choose to report to university officials. To encourage reporting, Dominican University pursues a policy of offering limited immunity from policy violations related to the incident.
The welfare of students in our community is of paramount importance. At times, students on and off campus may need assistance. Dominican University encourages students to offer help and assistance to others in need. Sometimes, students are hesitant to offer assistance to others for fear that they may get in trouble themselves. Dominican University pursues a policy of limited immunity for students who offer help to others in need. While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the university will provide educational options, rather than punishment, to those who offer their assistance to others in need.
Dominican University reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations. The university may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations. Where a student is non-dependent, Dominican University will contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a health and/or safety risk. Dominican University also reserves the right to designate which university officials have a need to know about individual conduct complaints pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Notification of Outcomes
The outcome of a campus hearing is part of the educational record of the accused student and is protected from release under a federal law, FERPA. However, Dominican University observes the legal exceptions as follows:
- Complainants in sexual misconduct and sexual harassment incidents, as well as other incidents as deemed by the dean of students or their designee, have a right to be informed of the outcome and sanctions of the hearing, in writing, without condition or limitation.
- The university may release publicly the name, nature of the violation and the sanction for any student who is found in violation of a college policy that is a crime of violence, including: arson, assault offenses (including stalking), burglary, robbery, criminal homicide, destruction/damage/vandalism of property, kidnapping/abduction, robbery, forcible sex offenses, and non-forcible sex offenses. The university may release this information to the complainant in any of these offenses regardless of the outcome, but complainants are cautioned that FERPA does not permit them to re-release this information to others.
Dominican University respects and values the self-reflection that is required to explain behavioral patterns leading to policy violation. While your reason will not excuse your actions, Dominican University will take the legitimacy of your reason into consideration in addressing the proper sanction.
Under the Student Code of Conduct, the Dean of Students or designee may impose restrictions and/or separate a student from the community pending the scheduling of a conduct hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Student Code of Conduct when a student represents a threat of serious harm to others, is facing allegations of serious criminal activity, to preserve the integrity of an investigation, to preserve University property and/or to prevent disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the University. Interim actions may include separation from the institution or restrictions on participation in the community pending the outcome of a conduct hearing.
During an interim suspension, a student may be denied access to University housing and/or the University campus/facilities/events. A student is responsible for all tuition and fees during an interim suspension. As determined by the Dean of Students, this restriction may include classes and/or all other University activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible. At the discretion of the Dean of Students and with the collaboration with the appropriate College Dean(s), alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal impact as possible on the responding student.
The Dean of Students and/or their designee(s) is responsible for the interpretation and implementation of university policy regarding student rights and responsibilities. In the event that a student violates the code of conduct, they will be given fair process according to the guidelines of the conduct process and the student’ rights and responsibilities.
- Students are responsible for reading the Student Code of Conduct and Policies and being familiar with its contents. Not knowing its content does not preclude the student from being responsible for the information provided.
- Students will be notified of all conduct proceedings and results through their Dominican University email account
- Students will be notified of the date, time and place of the conduct hearing at least 72 hours (three business days) in advance. The notice will include a description of the policies allegedly violated. Student may request a waiver of the 72 hour notice to request an expedited meeting. When possible, those requests will be accepted.
- A student may be assisted at hearings by only one Dominican University faculty/staff member. The faculty/staff member cannot speak for the student; the faculty/staff member can only advise the student. Communication from the faculty/staff member can only happen between the student and the faculty/staff member and can be limited at the discretion of the conduct officer. Students must notify the conduct officer if they intend to bring a faculty/staff member and must provide the faculty/staff member’s name at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing. No one other than the principals (those to have allegedly violated the Code of Conduct) in the case, one faculty/staff member per student, any direct witnesses, and conduct officers are allowed to be present.
- The conduct officer(s) determination will be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the accused student violated the student code of conduct.
- The accused student(s) have a right to review a list of witnesses in advance of the hearing and review written statements in advance by contacting the conduct officer(s) hearing the case.
- Both the accused student(s) and complainant(s) will have the opportunity to bring direct witnesses and present information. If the accused student or complainant is bringing witnesses, they must inform the conduct officer in writing at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. The accused student(s) will have the right to speak on their behalf, hear and respond to witnesses, and review any written statements at the meeting. Students are not allowed to have copies of any of the materials.
- The decision in each case will be based on information presented at the hearing. The conduct history of the accused student(s) will not be used in determining the student’s culpability, but will be used in determining the appropriate sanction(s). If the alleged violation is a pattern offence and the evidence of pattern is relevant, an exception will be made.
- A decision will be presented to the student through their Dominican email within 72 hours (three business days) of the meeting or as defined by the conduct officer(s).
- All witnesses, in any meeting, must attend if called. If a student is called as a witness and does not appear, this will be considered a failure to comply, and the student is subject to disciplinary action. Witnesses must be truthful and appropriate in all their testimony.
- The accused is expected to be in attendance for the hearing, unless there is a need for an academic accommodation, which will be reviewed by the Dean of Students. If the accused student fails to appear for the hearing, the conduct hearing will be held in the student’s absence.
- The conduct officer(s) will deliberate in private and render a decision based on the information presented at the hearing.
- If there are multiple conduct officers, decisions will be made by a majority vote.
- No recording devices of any kind are allowed.
- A student may request a review of the decision of a hearing. See the Review Process section for clarification on how to appropriately request a review of a decision.
- A student may waive their fair process rights and accept responsibility for the policy violation. The student will have an Educational Conference to assist in the development of a sanction. This action may be initiated by the student or the University.
Conduct officers can be both faculty and/or staff that have participated in training offered by the Dean of Students office. These individuals hear cases delegated to them by the Dean of Students. The conduct officer(s) will decide if a student is responsible or not responsible for the alleged violation(s).
There are three types of conduct processes. The conduct type will be determined on the severity of the alleged violation and/or the conduct history of the student(s) involved. The rights of a student are the same in each hearing type as stated in the Student’s Rights and Responsibilities section. The conduct hearing will be scheduled around the student’s academic schedule.
Single or multiple designee(s) of the Dean of Students. Administrative hearings will be used for first time offenses or lower level offenses, as determined by the Dean of Students.
Dean of Students Conduct Board
A conduct board made up of staff and/or faculty, all acting as Dean of Students designees. This type of hearing is used for more egregious violations or repeat offenders.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
The University reserves the right to utilize, at its discretion, an Alternative Dispute Resolution. These may include, but are not limited to; arbitration, mediation, and restorative justice approaches.
Mediation is an alternate dispute resolution process intended to facilitate restoration and reconciliation of relationships. If mediation is determined an appropriate alternative, all parties agree to meet with an impartial trained mediator(s) to discuss the incident and attempt to resolve it amicably. Mediation is successful when the parties have reached a consensus about the details of the incident and how it will be resolved. Mediation is a voluntary process and any party may request that mediation be terminated at any time.
All parties must agree to an Alternative Dispute Resolution and to be bound by the decision with no Review available. Any unsuccessful Alternative Dispute Resolution can be referred to a conduct hearing.
The Dean of Students may also suggest that complaints that do not involve a violation of the Student Code of Conduct be referred to an Alternative Dispute Resolution.
A student has the right to request a review of a decision made at the initial hearing by a conduct officer(s). If a review request is denied, no further requests are allowed for the same case. If a review is granted, the review board’s decision is final and no further reviews will be considered.
A request for a review must be submitted using the online form on Star Tracker, to the office of the Dean of Students within 72 hours (three business days) after a student is notified of the outcome of the conduct hearing. To access the form select “Ask for Help”. Then on the drop down menu choose “Student Conduct Request for a Review.”
Except as required to explain the basis of new information, a review will be limited to review of the initial hearing and supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes:
- To consider new information, unavailable at the time of the original hearing, that could be outcome determinative;
- To assess whether a material deviation from written procedures impacted the fairness of the hearing;
- To decide if a sanction(s) is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense;
- To determine that the finding does not accord with the information; or
- To assess whether bias on the part of a conduct board member deprived the process of impartiality.
The Dean of Students, and/or their designee(s), will conduct an initial review to determine if the review request meets the grounds and is timely. If the Review Request is not timely or substantively eligible, the original finding and sanction will stand and the decision is final.
If the review request is considered to have merit, a review board will be convened. A review is heard by a review board made up of three individuals designated by the Dean of Students, none of whom have been involved in the original hearing. If the reason for Review is to consider new information, the Dean of Students may decide to return the information to the original hearing board for Review. Any sanctions given to the students in the initial hearing are not binding unless the Dean of Students decides otherwise. The review board has the right to call the initial conduct officer(s).
A review of the decision made at the initial hearing is NOT a rehearing of the case. The review board will consider the merit of the student’s allegations and decide a course of action by majority vote. The review board may choose to affirm the original decision or if overturned, a new sanction may be given, an alternate action may be imposed, and/or a new hearing may be convened.
Following is a list of possible sanctions. Sanctions not on this list may be given for violations of the Code of Conduct.
- Warning/Reprimand: An official written notice that the behavior is in violation of policy with notification that further violations will result in more serious sanctions.
- Educational/Creative Project(s): These sanctions are directly related to the incident or behavior and are designed to help educate the student about the consequences of their actions. These might include video or book review, attending a program, planning a program and/or assisting university staff.
- Community Service: Student participation in an activity designed to assist the university or surrounding community, i.e., volunteer activities at local churches, hospitals, agencies, campus projects or facilities.
- Restitution: Compensation for damage or loss to the University or any person’s property.
- Fines: Reasonable fines may be imposed for violation of University policy.
- Confiscation of Prohibited Property: Items whose presence is in violation of University policy will be confiscated and will become the property of the University.
- Loss of Privileges: The student will be denied specified privileges for a designated period of time.
- Visitation Privilege Loss: A student may have their visitation privileges to the residence halls suspended or revoked indefinitely.
- Behavioral Requirement: This includes required activities including, but not limited to, seeking academic counseling or substance abuse screening, writing a letter of apology, etc.
- Probation(s): Supervision of the student’s conduct for a designated period of time during which a subsequent infraction of any university regulation or any standard will result in more serious conduct action. Terms of probation are to be decided by the conduct officers and can include but are not limited to: a) inability to represent the university in an official capacity such as student leadership positions, athletics, etc. and b) inability to participate in university activities or designated events. Probationary meetings may also be imposed. The student is deemed “not in good disciplinary standing” for the period of probation.
- No-Trespass Order: The student will not be allowed to enter university buildings or other university property as defined in the sanction.
- Relocation of Housing: The student’s room assignment may be changed to an alternate room or building.
- University Housing Suspension: Removal from University housing for a specified period of time after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for re-admission to University housing may be specified. A student is required to vacate the residence hall at the date and time specified in the Hearing Outcome Letter.
- Dismissal From Residence: The student’s privilege to live in, or visit, any University housing structure is revoked for an extended period of time or permanently.
- Suspension: Separation of the student from the university for a specified minimum period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Eligibility may be contingent upon satisfaction of specific conditions noted at the time of suspension. During the suspension period, the student is banned from university property, facilities and events.
- Termination of Scholarship: Removal/termination of any scholarship provided by Dominican University.
- Dismissal: Permanent separation of the student from the university. The student will not be allowed to re-enroll in the university. The student is banned from university property, facilities and events.
- Other Sanctions: Additional or alternate sanctions may be created and designed as deemed appropriate to the offense with the approval of the Dean of Students or designee.
Violations of the Caritas Commitment are violations of the Code of Conduct and can result in sanctions, such as warnings, fines, educational/creative projects or a suspension.
A student is responsible for all tuition and fees during a suspension or if a dismissal is implemented. Any of the above sanctions may be imposed upon groups or organizations found in violation of the Student Code of Conduct. In addition, deactivation, de-recognition, loss of all privileges (including status as a University registered group or organization), for a specified period of time.
Failure to Complete Conduct Sanctions
All students, as members of the University community, are expected to comply with conduct sanctions within the time frame specified by the Dean of Students or designee. Failure to follow through on conduct sanctions by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect or any other reason, may result in alternate sanctions being implemented (such as a fine for non-compliance), a new hearing, and/or suspension from the University.
All conduct records are maintained by the University for seven years from the time of their creation except those that result in separation (suspension or dismissal, including from housing) which are maintained indefinitely.