Sexual Misconduct/Title IX Policy and Procedures

Students who report sexual misconduct/Title IX violations will be advised of all options available to them as outlined in this policy.  University officials will respect the student’s right to confidentiality to the extent permitted under University and legal regulations.

I.    STATEMENT AND INTENT OF POLICY  

Under Title IX, and as a standard for the Student Code of Conduct, Soka University of America (SUA) will not tolerate and prohibits sexual assault and all forms of sexual misconduct including intimate partner violence, stalking, dating violence, sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, and domestic violence offenses. These acts are also against California State Law. 

In publishing this policy, the University is not intending to substitute or supersede related civil and/or criminal law. It should be clearly understood that there is a fundamental difference between the nature and purpose of student discipline and criminal law. California State Law considers sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact to be serious crimes that are punishable by imprisonment in jail and/or probation. It also involves creation of a criminal record and may include a monetary fine.  

All students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the public participating in University activities have the right to an environment free from sexual or physical intimidation that would prevent a reasonable person from attaining educational goals or living and working in a safe environment. 

If there is reason to believe that SUA campus regulations prohibiting sexual misconduct in any form have been violated, on campus, off campus, in person, and/or online, the administration will pursue disciplinary action through the appropriate University procedures.  This includes any online postings or other electronic communication, including cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, cyber-harassment, etc. occurring completely outside of the University/College’s control (e.g. not on University networks, websites or between University email accounts).  Regardless of where the violation occurred, the University discipline process will be conducted consistently, in the same manner.  SUA complies with its obligation to investigate and resolve reports of all forms of sexual misconduct regardless of whether or not a formal complaint is filed, in order to maintain a non-discriminatory and respectful educational environment.  

This policy is intended to provide more detailed information about how SUA handles these matters and is not intended to replace the SUA Student Code of Conduct or SUA Non-Harassment Policy.

II. DEFINITION OF TERMS AND PROHIBITED BEHAVIORS

Sexual Assault

The following behaviors constitute sexual assault:

A. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact:

  • Any intentional sexual touching,
  • however slight,
  • whether clothed or unclothed,
  • with any object or body part
  • by a person against another person
  • that is without consent and/or by force.

 Sexual Contact includes:

  • Intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts:
  • or any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.

B. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse:

  • Any act of vaginal or anal penetration,
  • however slight,
  • by a person upon another person,
  • with a person's penis, finger, other body part, or object,
  • or oral-genital contact,
  • that is without consent and/or by force.

 Sexual Intercourse includes:

  • Vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence is a pattern of behavior in an intimate relationship that is used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation. A pattern of behavior is typically determined based on the repeated use of words and/or actions and inactions in order to demean, intimidate, and/or control another person. This behavior can be verbal, emotional and/or physical. Examples include, but are not limited to: striking another person (slapping, punching, etc.), property damage, reckless behavior, name calling and insults, public humiliation, harassment directed toward friends and acquaintances, and verbal and/or physical threats. The behavior can include non-consensual sexual intercourse, acquaintance rape, stalking, dating violence, sexual violence, or domestic abuse.

Sexual Exploitation

Any act where one person violates the sexual privacy of another or takes unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another without their consent. Sexual exploitation may include:

  • surreptitiously observing another individual's nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe un/consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
  • recording, photographing, transmitting, showing, viewing, streaming, or distributing intimate or sexual images, audio recordings, or sexual information without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; or
  • exposing one's genitals or inducing another to expose their own genitals in non-consensual circumstances;
  • knowingly exposing and transmitting a sexually transmitted infection or disease, such as HIV, to another student.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the commission of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature where:

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in other University activity;
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting an individual; or
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance, and/or
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment.

Examples of sexually harassing or offensive conduct include, but are not limited to, committing or encouraging the following:

  • sexual flirtation, touching, advances, or propositions;
  • sexual comments including sexual gestures, jokes, or comments made in the presence of any employee or student;
  • graphic or suggestive comments or gestures about an individual or an individual’s dress or body;
  • visual conduct, such as leering, or the public display of nude, sexually oriented or explicit pictures, posters, calendars, graffiti, objects, or other materials on university property.

Stalking

A course of conduct (i.e., more than one act) directed at a specific person which, if uncorrected, would cause a reasonable person to feel fear, to experience substantial emotional distress, or to fear for their safety or the safety of a third person. Acts that together constitute stalking may be direct actions or may be communicated by a third party, and can include, but are not limited to, threats of harm to self, others, or property; pursuing or following; non-consensual (unwanted) communication by any means; unwanted gifts; trespassing; and surveillance or other related types of observation. Stalking also includes cyber-stalking through electronic media, like the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, or text messages.

Complicity

Any act that knowingly aids, facilitates, promotes, or encourages the commission of prohibited conduct by another person.

Consent

Soka University of America uses the standard of affirmative consent as described in California Educational Code Section 67386. “Affirmative consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is given by both parties to sexual activity.  Moreover, it is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.

Any consent that is given is invalid when the exchange involves unwanted physical force, coercion, intimidation, and/or threats. If an individual is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired such that one cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation, and the incapacitation or impairment is known or should be known to a reasonable person, there is no consent. This includes conditions resulting from alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious. 

Coercion

Coercion is the use of an unreasonable amount of pressure to gain sexual access. Coercion is more than an effort to persuade, entice, or attract another person to engage in sexual contact. When a person makes clear that they do not want to participate in a particular form of sexual contact, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go beyond a certain sexual interaction, continued pressure can be coercive. In evaluating whether coercion was used, the University will consider: (i) the frequency of the application of the pressure, (ii) the intensity of the pressure, (iii) the degree of isolation of the person being pressured, (iv) the duration of the pressure, and (v) the relative positions within the University community of those involved.

Incapacitation

Incapacitation is the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent because the individual is mentally and/or physically helpless, either voluntarily or involuntarily, or the individual is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise unaware that the sexual activity is occurring. In addition, an individual is incapacitated if they demonstrate that they are unaware at the time of the incident of where they are, how they got there, or why or how they became engaged in a sexual interaction.

When alcohol is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. When drug use is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond being under the influence or impaired by use of the drug. Alcohol and other drugs impact each individual differently, and determining whether an individual is incapacitated requires an individualized determination.

Retaliation

Retaliation against any person in the university community regarding a violation of Title IX or for participating in any investigation, proceeding or hearing relating to an alleged violation of Title IX is strictly prohibited and may result in disciplinary action, including additional interim or permanent measures. Any concerns regarding retaliation should be addressed immediately. Concerns regarding retaliation from a student should be addressed with the university Deputy Title IX Coordinator; concerns regarding retaliation from staff or faculty should be addressed with the university Title IX Coordinator.

Reporting Party

A Reporting party, also known as the complainant, is defined as a person who alleges being a victim of prohibited behavior.

Responding Party

The Responding Party, also known as the respondent, is a person against whom an allegation of prohibited behavior is directed.

III. WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE VICTIM OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

Any individual who is a victim of sexual misconduct is strongly encouraged to reach out immediately to someone the individual trusts such as a family member, friend and/or campus counselor for support.  Experiencing sexual misconduct is not only difficult but can be very confusing.  There are resources available on and off campus to the victim to provide the support the individual needs and help cope with the difficulties.   

Recognizing that a victim’s response to the sexual misconduct may differ, if you have been physically assaulted or raped, there are other important steps you can take right away: 

  • Go to a safe place.
  • Do not hesitate. If on campus, contact appropriate authorities and if during off hours, contact 24-hour Public Safety, Res Life On-Call, or 911.  
  • Call a friend, a campus resource, a family member or someone else you trust and ask them to stay with you. 
  • It is important for the victim to preserve the evidence if intending to pursue criminal charges.  Do not shower, bathe, douche, or brush teeth, and save all clothing worn at the time of the assault.  Place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag.  Do not use plastic bags. Do not disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred. 
  • Go immediately to see medical personnel either at the University Student Health Center or a local hospital emergency department.  If you suspect that you may have been given a rape drug, ask the hospital or clinic where you receive medical care to take a urine sample.  The urine sample should be preserved as evidence.  Rape drugs, such as Rohypnol and GHB, are more likely to be detected in urine than in blood. 
  • If the student has not seen medical personnel at the time of the complaint, the student will be immediately advised to do so.  The University will provide the transportation to the hospital if needed.
  • Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault, including a description of the assailant.  
  • Talk with a counselor who is trained to assist rape victims about the emotional and physical impacts of the assault.  You can call a hot line, a rape crisis center, or a counseling agency to find someone who understands the trauma of rape and knows how to help.   

IV. REPORTING INFORMATION

SUA strongly encourages individuals to report all incidents and violations of this nature to the Office of the Dean of Students, Human Resources for staff/faculty, law enforcement officials, and/or a University official in order for these incidents to be properly addressed and for victims to avail themselves of all the services and rights to which they are entitled.

Any member of the SUA community can file a report with the Office of the Dean of Students. At SUA, all SUA’s faculty and staff*, except for Counseling Services staff, are designated as “responsible employees”.  This means that if a student or any member of SUA community reveals potential sexual misconduct/Title IX violations to any SUA staff or faculty, it is the responsibility of that staff or faculty to report the incident immediately to the Dean of Students/Title IX Deputy Coordinator who will then take appropriate actions. If a student wishes to discuss the incident in complete confidence, the student should report to the counselor.

In addition, it is the Reporting Party’s right to notify law enforcement and to be assisted by University officials in doing so.  Thus, it is the Reporting Party’s right to decide whether or not to involve law enforcement.  Declining the involvement of law enforcement does not prevent the Reporting Party from receiving assistance from the University. The Reporting Party also has the right to use the University’s procedures in addition to filing a criminal complaint. 

Regardless of whether or not a student decides to report an incident, SUA strongly encourages students to at least meet with a Counseling Services staff member. All conversations with Counseling Services staff are held strictly confidential.   

*SUA staff does not include 3rd party vendor employees such as facilities, custodial, or dining services staff.

Reporting Timeframe

Any individual may file a complaint of sexual misconduct at any time. Early reporting is encouraged to preserve evidence if necessary and provide the Reporting Party with information regarding rights, options, and resources available to them by this policy and federal/state laws.  However, all complaints will be taken seriously and investigated no matter how much time has passed since the incident.

Reporting Options

A. Official Reporting

All SUA students are strongly encouraged to make an official report of any incident of sexual misconduct to the Office of the Dean of Students or the Office of Student Conduct & Resolution whether the incident occurred on or off campus. 

All SUA’s staff and faculty (except for the staff of Counseling Service), including Resident Assistants, are required to promptly report to the Office of the Dean of Students information they have about possible sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, including but not limited to sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, and stalking.  

Official reporting initiates a course of immediate action and the University’s Student Conduct & Resolution process.  The complaint/report can be filed directly with the Dean of Students or the Office of Student Conduct & Resolution via a written statement or an appointment.  Once a complaint/report has been submitted, the Dean of Students or a designee by the Dean will conduct intake interviews and fact-finding interviews with appropriate parties involved and follow the processes outlined in the Student Conduct & Resolution Process.  Each complaint will be investigated promptly and appropriate actions will be taken.

B.  Confidential Disclosure

SUA also offers confidential reporting through Counseling Services to 

  1. Weigh options and associated risks, 
  2. Discuss possible next steps, and 
  3. Obtain information about available resources and services. 

No one is expected or required to pursue a specific course of action with this option. 

Medical Amnesty Clause

The Office of Student Conduct & Resolution offers immunity (Amnesty) to students who may have violated the Code of Conduct’s Alcohol, Marijuana, or Illegal Drug Policy at the same time of the incident when the student became a victim of or is reporting of sexual misconduct.  Therefore, no alcohol or drug violations are applied to a Reporting Party or witness who reports being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of sexual misconduct. 

The purpose of this clause is to encourage reporting.  Victims or bystanders (witnesses) should not let the use of alcohol or drugs be a deterrent to reporting an incident.  When conducting the investigation, the University’s primary focus will be on addressing the sexual misconduct violation and not on alcohol/drug violations that may be discovered or disclosed. However, the University may provide referrals to counseling and may require educational options, rather than disciplinary sanctions, in such cases.

Bystander Intervention

The same above mentioned reporting options are available for bystanders or witnesses as well.  These are safe and positive options for bystanders who intervened during an incident in order to prevent harm when there was a risk or an act of violence. SUA strongly encourages bystanders to step up on behalf of another person’s well-being and safety. 

Contact Information

A. On Campus Resources

Title IX Coordinator (For Faculty, Staff and Others)

Katherine King, kking@soka.edu   

(949) 480-4161          

Deputy Title IX Coordinator (For Students)

Hyon Moon, hmoon@soka.edu  

(949) 480-4139

Student Conduct & Resolution

Jennifer Cunningham, jcunningham@soka.edu

(949) 480-4191 

Counseling Services

Anhthu Dang, adang@soka.edu

(949) 480-4192  

Health Services     

healthservices@soka.edu

(949) 480-4143

Public Safety (24-Hours)  (949) 480-4100  
Residential Life Staff (24-Hours)   (949) 480-4658 or (949) 480-4664   

B. Off Campus Resources

Sexual Assault Victim Services/Prevention Program 

(714) 957-2737

RAINN: National Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline   

(800) 656-4673

National Domestic Violence Hotline 

(800) 799-7233

GLBT National Help Center 

(888) 843-4564

Trans Lifeline   

(877) 565-8860

24-Hour Crisis Hotline   

(949) 831-9110

Orange County Sheriff’s Department  

(949) 425-1800   


V.  RIGHTS OF THE REPORTING AND RESPONDING PARTIES

It is SUA’s responsibility to assure students involved in allegations of an incident of sexual misconduct that:  

  • Students will be treated with dignity, respect, and in a non-judgmental manner. 
  • Students will be informed of all allegations of misconduct reported or responses to those allegations.
  • Students will have the opportunity to request prompt proceedings and that a fair, and impartial investigation and resolution will occur.
  • Students will be provided with information on available services for mental health, victim or accused advocacy, legal assistance, and other available community resources on and off campus.
  • Students will be informed of the ability to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by an advisor or support person of their choice. 
  • Students can obtain no contact orders to prevent unnecessary or unwanted contact or proximity between two parties when reasonably available.  
  • Students can request immediate on-campus housing relocation or other steps to prevent unnecessary or unwanted contact or proximity between two parties when reasonably available. 
  • Students will receive, in writing, the final results of the Conduct & Resolution process within one business day of such outcome being reached.
  • University officials will treat the incident seriously and ensure that the incident will be investigated and adjudicated by appropriate University officials. 
  • Proceedings shall be conducted by officials trained on sexual assault and other intimate partner violence issues and shall use preponderance of the evidence standard (which is “more likely than not” and the standard used by civil courts in the United States).
  • University officials will inform students of their option to notify appropriate law enforcement authorities, including on-campus Public Safety and local police, to pursue legal options including a restraining order, and offer assistance in notifying proper authorities when an individual discloses an incident of sexual misconduct.
  • University personnel will not discourage anyone from reporting, nor encourage them to underreport or report the incident as a lesser crime.
  • University personnel will cooperate in obtaining, securing and maintaining evidence (including a medical examination) necessary in legal/criminal proceedings.
  • University officials will prohibit retaliation and will not only take steps to prevent retaliation but also take strong responsive action if it occurs.  They will also follow up with complaints to determine whether any retaliation or new incidents of harassment have occurred.

VI. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

The grievance procedure outlined below follows the same general process used for other Student Code of Conduct violations but includes additional details for cases involving an allegation of sexual misconduct.

A. Right to Involve Law Enforcement
At any time, it is the Reporting Party’s right to notify law enforcement and to be assisted by University officials in doing so.  Thus, it is the Reporting Party’s right to decide whether or not to involve law enforcement.  Declining the involvement of law enforcement does not prevent the Reporting Party from receiving assistance from the University.  The Reporting Party also has the right to use the University’s procedures in addition to filing a criminal complaint.

A student accused of sexual misconduct may be prosecuted under the California Criminal Justice System and disciplined through SUA Student Conduct & Resolution process. Even if the criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, the student may be subject to University disciplinary action. University Student Conduct & Resolution process should be considered distinct and independent of any and all criminal procedures.  Student Conduct & Resolution process may precede, occur simultaneously, or follow court action. In the event that the University’s Student Conduct & Resolution process follows court action, the court proceedings and/or verdict may be considered in the Student Conduct & Resolution process.

B. University Process

  1. Initial Report
    Upon receiving a report of a possible violation of the Sexual Misconduct/Title IX Policy, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator will designate an investigator for the case. Investigators include, but are not limited to, the Assistant Director of Student Conduct & Resolution and the Director of Student Services. All investigators will be trained on all forms of sexual misconduct, as well as Title IX requirements.
  2. Investigation
    After the investigator has been named and received the initial report, the investigator will schedule and conduct intake interviews with individuals named in the report. All students interviewed will be informed of their rights, including the right to have an advisor present for the interview.  The role of the advisor is to be present for support but not to participate in the interview.
  3. Timeline
    The investigation will be conducted in a timely manner. The investigator will update both the Reporting and Responding Parties regarding the status of the process while the investigation proceeds. The University will attempt to complete cases within 60 days.
  4. Interim Measures

When necessary, temporary action may be taken by the University during the investigation to ensure the Reporting or Responding Party can continue to receive an education. Interim measures may include the following:

a)      Suspension or restriction from campus

b)      Relocation within or removal from the residence halls

c)      Restricted access to areas of the University and/or participation in University events, such as attendance at classes, use of the Recreation Center, and separate meal times at the Bistro

d)     Issuing a No Contact order between the Reporting Party and Responding Party to eliminate all forms of communication, both in person and electronically.

e)      Any other measures deemed appropriate

Interim measures are proposed by the investigator based on the nature of the case and impact on the students involved and approved by the Dean of Students. Interim measures are only in effect until the process is complete and a decision is rendered.

5. Review of Information

Both the Reporting Party and Responding party will have the ability to review notes from their respective individual interviews to ensure accuracy. In addition, each party will have access to accusations or relevant information in the case from the other party or witnesses, be given an opportunity to respond, and suggest questions to be posed to the other party.

6. Determining Outcomes

When determining if a policy violation has occurred, the investigator shall use the preponderance of the evidence standard, which is “more likely than not” based on the facts of the case. 

The investigator will present the facts of the case and a recommendation regarding responsibility to the Director of Student Services, who will determine the outcome of the case. In the event the Director of Student Services acts as the investigator, the Assistant Director of Student Conduct and Resolution will be consulted before an outcome is issued.

The Reporting Party and the Responding Party will be provided the outcome of the case, in writing, within one business day of the outcome being reached. The outcome will include the rationale which led to the decision

C. Sanctions

If a student is found responsible for violating the Sexual Misconduct/Title IX Policy, the university may impose sanctions immediately. In determining the sanctions, the Office of Student Conduct & Resolution will consider the specific policy violated, impact on the victim, and totality of the situation.

The following are possible sanctions for incidents reviewed under this policy:

  1. Students found responsible for violating this policy in regard to non-consensual sexual contact or intimate partner violence will likely receive a sanction ranging from probation to expulsion, depending upon the severity of the incident and any previous violations of the Student Code of conduct.
  2. Students found responsible for violating this policy in regard to non-consensual sexual intercourse will likely receive a sanction of suspension, dismissal or expulsion.
  3. Students found responsible for violating this policy in regard to sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, stalking, complicity or other misconduct will likely receive a sanction ranging from an official reprimand to expulsion, depending upon the severity of the incident and any previous violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

The University reserves the right to increase or decrease the recommended sanction guidelines listed above in the case of significant mitigating or aggravating factors. The University also reserves the rights to include additional sanctions, educational or otherwise, in accordance with the general student conduct process. Other sanctions may include campus restrictions, relocation within or removal from the residence halls, restricted access to areas of the University and/or participation in University events such as attendance at classes or use of the Recreation Center, and/or extending a No Contact order for a period of time.

The University encourages the report of sexual misconduct and considers addressing such misconduct a priority. In cases involving alcohol, drugs, or other Code of Conduct violations, the University recognizes Medical Amnesty and does not intend to hold Reporting Parties accountable for student code of conduct violations that may have occurred along with violations of sexual misconduct.

D.  Appeals

The Appeals process outlined below follows the same general process used for other Student Code of Conduct violations. 

A Responding Party or Reporting Party can appeal the decision.  It is important to note that the purpose of the appeals process is only to review the decision to hold a student responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct; not the sanctions.  Sanctions issued from the original decision will remain in place during the appeals process, unless the Dean of Students makes an exception due to exigent circumstances, such as an undue burden. If the decision to hold a student responsible is upheld, the sanctions remain the same.  A student can only appeal once and the decision made by the appeals process will be final. 

1. Grounds for Appeal

The following are the only grounds for appeal: 

New facts/information:  New facts/information that could potentially alter the outcome of the case became available after the decision.  Failure to present facts/information available prior to the decision is not grounds for an appeal under this provision.

Insufficient facts/information:  The decision was not based on substantial facts/information; that is, the Reporting Party or Responding Party believes the facts/information supporting the decision was insufficient to establish that a violation of the code of conduct occurred.

Procedural issue:  The Conduct & Resolution procedures were not followed in some material respect that resulted in significant detriment to the appealing party. 

2. Requesting an Appeal

If the student chooses to appeal, the student must make a request in writing to the Assistant Director of Student Conduct & Resolution within 5 business days of the date of the original decision. The request should include which grounds the student will base the appeal upon (new facts/information, insufficient facts/information, or procedural issue).  Within 10 business days from the date of the request to appeal, the student must submit a written statement which includes the grounds for appeal and any documentation supporting the argument for appeal. Documentation may include witness statements, pictures, copies of electronic communication, or other relevant materials. Documents may be delivered via email as a singular electronic file or printed as a hard copy.

Once an appeal is submitted, both parties will have the opportunity for a joinder appeal. In a joinder appeal, both the Reporting Party and Responding Party will be allowed to submit a written statement, review the other party’s statement, and submit a response to the other party’s statement. If the appeal cites a procedural issue, the Office of Student Conduct will have the opportunity to review and respond to the claim. Once all parties have reviewed and responded, the materials will be considered with the appeal.

3. Review of an Appeal

If the original decision was rendered by the Office of Student Conduct & Resolution (Assistant Director of Student Conduct & Resolution or Director of Student Services) a student may appeal to either the Dean of Students or to the Student Conduct and Resolution Board.  If the original decision was rendered by the Dean of Students, a student may appeal to the President of the University.

a)      Appeal to the Dean of Students
If a student appeals to the Dean of Students, the Dean will receive the appeal statement and accompanying documentation from the student. The Office of Student Conduct & Resolution will provide the Dean with all documentation which led to the original decision.

After reviewing all information, the Dean must first determine if the appeal meets the grounds to be heard. If the appeal does not meet one of the three grounds, the original decision will stand.  If the appeal does meet one of the three grounds, the Dean will then determine if it is more likely than not a student violated a Student Code of Conduct policy.

Appeal Result and Sanctions

    • If a student is found not responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct, no sanctions will be applied.
    • If a student is found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct, the original sanctions will remain in place.
    • If the student was originally found not responsible, and through the appeal process the student is found responsible, the Dean will refer the case back to the Office of Student Conduct & Resolution to determine appropriate sanctions.

The Dean will inform the student(s) of the appeal outcome in writing and the decision will be final.

b)      Appeal to the Student Conduct & Resolution Board

The Student Conduct & Resolution Board, convened by the Dean of Students, is made up of two students elected by peers (generally SSU EC Vice-President and Attorney General or other SSU EC members if necessary), two professional staff appointed by the Vice President of Administration and two faculty members appointed by the Dean of Faculty.  One professional staff or faculty member will be appointed as a Chairperson.  The Chairperson is a non-voting member except in the event of a tie vote.

All members of the Board will receive training on the Student Code of Conduct, Process and Procedures of the Office of Student Conduct & Resolution, Title IX/Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedure, and other relevant University policies prior to receiving an appeal.

Student Conduct and Resolution Board (SC&R Board) Procedures

i.      Prior to receiving all written materials for the appeal, SC&R Board members will be provided the names of the Reporting Party, Responding Party, witnesses, and policy pertaining to the appeal. Any member of the SC&R Board has an obligation to withdraw from proceedings if there is a compelling conflict of interest in the appeal.

ii.      Prior to SC&R Board members receiving all written materials for the appeal, both the Reporting Party and the Responding Party have the right to request a member of the Board withdraw from an appeal if a conflict of interest is involved. If a student believes a member of the SC&R Board has a compelling conflict of interest and should not hear the appeal, the student must notify the Dean of Students in writing and cite the compelling reason prior to the Board receiving the written appeal. The Dean of Students and the Chairperson, if appropriate, will determine whether the conflict is compelling, and if so, will make arrangements for a replacement member to hear the case.

iii.      The SC&R Board will receive the student’s written appeal statement and accompanying documentation, as well as all documentation from the Office of Student Conduct & Resolution which led to the original decision.

iv.      Once the SC&R Board has received all written documentation, reasonable efforts will be made to hold the first session of the SC&R Board deliberation within fifteen (15) business days of receiving the materials. More than one meeting for deliberation may need to occur.

v.      In deliberation, the SC&R Board must determine the following by a majority vote:

      1. Does the material provided by the appealing party meet the criteria for an appeal (new facts/information, insufficient information for original decision, or detrimental procedural issue)? If the material provided does not meet the criteria for appeal, the original decision will stand.
      2. If the SC&R Board determines the information provided meets the grounds for appeal, the SC&R Board must next decide by majority vote to recommend whether the original decision should be upheld or overturned.
      3. Following deliberation, the Chairperson will communicate the recommendation and rationale of the SC&R Board to the Dean of Students, who will then inform the student(s) of the appeal outcome in writing and the decision will be final.

Appeal Result and Sanctions

    • If a student is found not responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct, no sanctions will be applied.
    • If a student is found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct, the original sanctions will remain in place.
    • If the student was originally found not responsible, and through the appeal process the student is found responsible, the SC&R Board will refer the case back to the Office of Student Conduct & Resolution to determine appropriate sanctions.

The Dean will inform the student(s) of the appeal outcome in writing and the decision will be final.

c)      Appeal to the President of the University
If the original decision was rendered by the Dean of Students and a student appeals to the President of the University, the President will receive the appeal statement and accompanying documentation from the student. The Office of Student Conduct & Resolution will provide the President with all documentation which led to the original decision.

After reviewing all information, the President must first determine if the appeal meets the grounds to be heard. If the appeal does not meet one of the three grounds, the original decision will stand.  If the appeal does meet one of the three grounds, the President will then determine if it is more likely than not a student violated a Student Code of Conduct policy.

Appeal Result and Sanctions

    • If a student is found not responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct, no sanctions will be applied.
    • If a student is found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct, the original sanctions will remain in place.
    • Through the appeal, if a student is found responsible and the original decision was not responsible, the President will refer the case back to the Office of Student Conduct & Resolution to determine appropriate sanctions.

The President will inform the student(s) of the appeal outcome in writing and the decision will be final.

VII.  SAFETY AND SECURITY INFORMATION REPORT

Under The Campus Save Act, an addendum to the Clery Act, the SUA Public Safety Department will provide annual statistics on incidents of campus crimes, including incidents of sexual misconduct occurring on campus and reported to campus authorities and/or local police. Additionally, SUA will comply with all mandatory reporting requirements that include a broader range of sexual misconduct incidents occurring on campus including domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

Nothing in this policy should be interpreted as precluding enforcement of the laws and regulations of the United States of America, the State of California, any locality in the state of California, or the University’s Student Code of Conduct & Resolution Policy and Procedures.