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Conduct Policies

Residence Education Conduct Philosophy
 

Living on campus affords a resident many opportunities for learning. One goal is to learn the value and meaning of “community” and what it means to live and study together with others who may have different backgrounds and values. Another is how individual autonomy (what you would like to do regardless of others) meshes with and impacts the community in which you live. Upon signing the Housing and Residence Education contract all members of this community have agreed to abide by the policies and information contained within the contract as well as the UC Merced Student Handbook: Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations and Students and the Housing and Residence Life Handbook.

Community behavior standards are designed to encourage residents to take responsibility for their actions and to ensure that the rights of all members of the community are respected. UC Merced Residence Education has designed a conduct process to address violations of university policies outlined herein, other relevant policies and any inappropriate or illegal behavior or actions. It is important to note that any university conduct procedure may take place prior to or concurrently with criminal processes.

Residence Education Conduct Process
 

The conduct process begins with an informational report, commonly filed by a Resident Assistant, indicating an alleged violation of Residence Education policies and/or other university policy. Resident Assistants are instructed to document apparent violations of policy, however not all informational reports result in conduct action or sanctions. The informational report provides the designated Conduct Officers with information from which to decide if a conduct meeting with the resident is necessary. Informational reports are kept in Residence Education files for a period of five years or longer if necessary.

Should a conduct meeting be necessary, you will receive written electronic notification outlining alleged violations of policy. This notification will request your attendance at a conduct meeting with a designated Conduct Officer(s).

In most cases, you will be given 72 hours advance notification of the time and date of your conduct meeting. If you are unable to attend a scheduled meeting due to a class conflict or employment, you may contact the designated Conduct Officer indicated in your conduct notification letter, to reschedule. During this meeting, you will have the opportunity to discuss the incident. After the case is heard, a decision will be rendered, and sanctions may be imposed if you are found to be responsible for a policy violation. Please note that if you fail to attend a conduct meeting, the conduct process will proceed without your input.

Residence Rights and Responsibilities in the Conduct Process

Within the Residence Education conduct process students have the right to:

  • A fair and thorough conduct meeting.
  • Written notice of all potential policy violations prior to the conduct meeting.
  • An alternate Conduct Officer in the event of obvious and/or significant bias.
  • Review the incident report(s) and sanction letter(s).
  • One level of appeal within the Residence Education conduct system.
  • Have a support person present at any conduct meeting pertaining to his/her conduct. The support person serves as an advisor to the student, not a representative, and may be a student, faculty or staff member, family member or another person. The support person may observe the process and provide support and guidance to the student as needed. Resident Assistants (RAs) may not serve in the support person role due to the potential for conflict of interest; however, the RA can serve as a resource for students before and after the conduct meeting. The support person may not have a conflict of interest with the situation in question.
  • A written decision and a summary of facts
  • Information about the appeals process

As a student, you have the RESPONSIBILITY to:

  • Appear on time for your meeting or hearing. If you are late or absent, a review of the case may be conducted in your absence, and you will lose your opportunity to provide input into the outcome of the matter.
  • Be honest, complete and forthright. False, dishonest or misleading statements may lead to further conduct action.
  • Act in a civil manner throughout the entire conduct process.
  • Students may express anger or frustration in an appropriate manner, but they do not have the right to act in an abusive or uncivil manner toward student Conduct Officers.
  • Complete any assigned sanctions in a thorough and timely manner, according to the dates and timelines provided.
  • Submit all materials and/or witness list at least two days prior to any formal hearing.

Sanctions

The following alternatives or combination thereof may be exercised when students have been found in violation of university policies and regulations. The appended list is not to be considered inclusive or complete, and other sanctions may be imposed at the discretion of the appropriate Conduct Officer. Also, the decision may place some additional restrictions on facility access, organizational membership and/or participation in activities representing the University.

  1. Warning: An official letter of reprimand or censure.
  2. Restitution: The requirement to make financial restitution for damage, destruction or the replacement of property.
  3. Educational Project: A required project related to the violation designed to help a resident better understand behaviors that impact the community and/or learn from the experience.
  4. Disciplinary Probation: Official notice that further violation of Residence Education policies and/or behavior standards and/or the UC Merced Student Handbook: Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations and Students may result in serious consideration being given that the individual not be permitted to reside in or visit any on- campus housing facility.
  5. Contract Termination Held in Abeyance: The violations were serious or pervasive enough to terminate the housing contract. However, they are being given an opportunity to remain in university housing. Any further violation will result in the immediate termination of the contract.
  6. Contract Termination: The University will initiate the cancellation of the Housing and Residence Education contract and the resident will be required to vacate the premises within a specified amount of time.
  7. Housing Ineligibility: The student will be prohibited from residing in any university housing facility for a specified amount of time. The student will be informed of this status in writing.
  8. Referral to the UC Merced Department of Public Safety: In some situations, the incident may be referred for civil/criminal actions.

Students are responsible for adhering to the behavioral standards outlined in the Housing and Residence Education Contract, UC Merced Residence Education Handbook and UC Merced Student Handbook: Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations and Students.

Standard of Evidence

Formal rules of evidence are not applicable to the designated Conduct Officer. If a resident denies responsibility for an alleged policy infraction, the designated Conduct Officer must decide based upon the preponderance of the evidence. After weighing all the available evidence, including the credibility of evidence, the designated Conduct Officer will decide, more likely than not, if the resident is responsible for the policy violation(s).

Appeal Process

The Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Life and Residence Education, or their designee, is the designated Appeals Officer for conduct decisions. To appeal a decision rendered by a Residence Education Conduct Officer, the resident must submit an appeal online through the conduct system using the instructions in the sanction letter. Appeals must be submitted within five (5) business days from the date of the sanction letter. The resident must specify on which ground(s) the sanction is being appealed and provide justification in writing. Sanctions may be stayed pending appeal.

Grounds for Appeal

Disagreeing with the decision is not grounds for appeal. The appeal grounds are as follows:

  1. An incorrect decision was made.
  2. The sanction is disproportional.
Decision Making for Appeal

When a student initiates an appeal, the student must demonstrate to the Appeal Officer that the initial conduct decision was incorrect or inappropriate. Failure by the student to have attended the initial conduct meeting is not a valid reason to appeal a conduct decision. The Appeal Officer will review the written appeal, the incident report and the related conduct letters. The Appeal Officer may request to meet with the student to further discuss the appeal. Within seven business days the student will receive written notification of the final decision. The original conduct decision may be upheld, modified or reversed and sanctions may be removed, added and/or changed. Decisions made by the Appeal Officer are final.