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12.00 Conduct Review System

Procedural and advisory matters, as well as the integrity of the student conduct system, are the responsibility of the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards. Generally, student misconduct cases will be divided into two categories: nonacademic violations and academic integrity violations.

The Student Conduct initial review processes are: Administrative Review (Nonacademic Violations and Academic Dishonesty)

Peer Review Panel (Nonacademic Violations)

University Review Panel (Nonacademic Violations and Academic Dishonesty)

12.05 Office Of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards
Upon receiving a report that a student has allegedly violated university standards, the director, Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, or designee will review the report to determine whether there is sufficient information to proceed with the student conduct process. In complaints which have merit, the director or designee will meet with the accused student and conduct an Administrative Review, or schedule an appropriate review. Students who fail to respond to initial notification from the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards within 15 business days of that notification or who cannot be contacted after reasonable attempts are subject to Summary Administrative Review and consequent sanctioning.

12.10 Administrative Reviews

An Administrative Review consists of a meeting between the director or designee (finder-of-fact) and the accused student.

  • In a Voluntary Administrative Review, the student does not dispute the facts upon which the allegations are based, waives his or her right to further review and accepts the sanction(s) assessed by signing an Administrative Review form. Students administratively reviewed retain the right to appeal to the appropriate appeal body. The appeal is limited to the appropriateness of the sanction (see section 15.02B ).


  • In a Summary Administrative Review, the student may deny some or all of the facts upon which the allegations are based, or the student may dispute the appropriateness of the recommended sanction(s). The director, Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, or designated hearing officer, may determine the student is responsible for the alleged violation(s) or dismiss the case based on evidence conclusive on its face. In cases for which it is determined the evidence is not sufficient, the hearing officer may refer the case to an appropriate review panel. Students found responsible for violations under the Summary Administrative Review process retain the right to appeal to the appropriate appeal body on all grounds (see section 15.02 ).

12.11 Peer Review Panels
Peer Review Panels hear nonacademic cases arising out of university housing, the university fraternity and sorority system and the non-residential student population. Each of these panels is advised by the director, Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, or designee, who shall be a non-voting member of every hearing panel. These panels are composed of three to five students. Students are selected for membership after an application and interview process. Members serve at the discretion of the director, Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards.

Both the accused student and the complainant may have an advisor of his/her choice present at the Peer Review hearing. The advisor cannot be a licensed or practicing attorney. Advisors must request and review the guidelines for advisors prior to the hearing.

12.12 University Review Panels
University Review Panels are composed of three members including two faculty or staff members and a student chairperson. Members are drawn from lists supplied annually by the Vice President for Student Affairs (staff) and the academic deans (faculty). Lists may be supplemented as necessary during the year.

University Review Panels hear cases involving the following issues:
  • Academic integrity violations.
  • Cases in which expulsion, suspension, revocation of degree or revocation of admission are recommended for nonacademic violations.
  • Cases occurring when the appropriate Peer Review Panel is unable to convene in a reasonable time.
  • Cases specifically directed to University Review Panels by the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee.

All University Review Panels are advised by the director, Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, or designee, who shall be a non-voting member of every hearing panel. Both the accused student and complainant may have an advisor of his/her choice present at the review. The advisor may be a licensed or practicing attorney only for cases in which criminal charges are pending and the recommended sanctions include expulsion, suspension, revocation of degree or revocation of admission. Advisors must request and review the guidelines for advisors prior to the hearing.

12.13 Residential Education Review
In specified cases involving violations of behavioral standards outlined in the Student Conduct Code or the University Housing/Hospitality Service Contract by student residents in university housing, a Residential Education Review may be conducted by a Residential Education staff member. A Residential Education Review is an informal process which utilizes procedures in lieu of the procedures contained in this guidebook (documentation on the Residential review process may be obtained from the Office for Residential Education).

12.14 Other Review Systems
The Vice President for Student Affairs has granted to several graduate and professional schools the authority to conduct independent reviews, render decisions and recommend appropriate sanctions in cases of alleged violations. Granting this authority does not preclude the university from adjudicating matters concerning the behavior of students from these schools. These graduate/professional school panels are subject to basic due process requirements and general procedural fairness. Separate hearing bodies and/or procedures for hearings exist in the following professional degree programs: Keck School of Medicine, Law School, School of Dentistry, School of Pharmacy and the Leventhal School of Accounting.

12.30 Student Procedural Protections
Students accused of violating the Student Conduct Code are granted the following procedural protections:
  • Written notice of the misconduct charges that specifies the nature of the alleged violation and the basis for the charge including the date or period of time during which the misconduct occurred, and location where the incident(s) allegedly occurred.
  • Written notice of the location of copies of the Student Conduct Code and Conduct Review System.
  • Written notice of the requirement to meet with a staff member in the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards. The university reserves the right to conduct reviews in absentia when an accused student fails to respond after proper notice has been given or after the university has exercised reasonable effort to notify the student of the allegations.
  • A fair and impartial review of the incident.
  • Prior to a review, a summary of rights, hearing procedures and avenue of appeal.
  • The accused student may inspect documents and/or relevant information on file prior to the review. A request to inspect documentation or evidence should be directed to the staff member in charge of the review at any time during the process. Requests must be presented in writing at least one working day in advance.
  • The opportunity to be present at the review; to inspect all evidence presented; and to present witnesses and evidence.
  • If the accused student declines to present information on his/her own behalf, this will not be construed as an admission of guilt.
  • A written opinion outlining the results of the review. In Summary Administrative Reviews and panel reviews this includes the factual basis for the conclusions drawn. Student conduct records are maintained as a confidential student disciplinary file. As a primary document in such files, distribution of written decisions is limited to accused students and to USC personnel charged with responsibility for implementation of sanctions. Complainants will be notified by separate letter of the outcome of the review. (For an explanation of university policy concerning student records, see Student Education Records .)
  • The opportunity to appeal the initial review within 10 business days of receipt of the written decision. Both the accused student and the complainant will be notified in writing of the outcome of any appeal. Notice may be either mailed or hand delivered. If a notice is mailed, it is deemed to be received two days after it is mailed to the student’s last known address.
  • A timely initial review conducted as soon as possible after the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards has received all pertinent documents of the case. Due to the nature of the university’s academic calendar, the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards may not be able to conduct a review at any specified date or time.
  • The accused student and complainant may have an advisor of his/her choice present. The advisor may be a practicing attorney only for cases in which criminal charges are pending or the recommended sanctions include expulsion, suspension, revocation of degree or revocation of admission. Advisors must request and review the guidelines of advisors prior to the review. In all reviews, whether or not an advisor is present, the primary conversation shall be with the student.

    In cases involving alleged academic integrity violations, the appropriate action is initiated by the course instructor or appropriate university official.


12.40 Adjudicatory Procedures
All of the student procedural protections listed in Section 12.30 will be observed. Additionally, complainants will be treated with the same general procedural fairness afforded accused students. The following procedural guidelines apply to all reviews of Student Conduct Code violations adjudicated by the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards:
  • MULTIPLE ACCUSED STUDENTS In reviews of incidents involving more than one accused student, the director, Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, will determine whether the reviews concerning each student be conducted separately.
  • PENDING CRIMINAL CHARGES For cases in which criminal investigations and/or proceedings are concurrent or pending, the university normally may proceed independent of such investigations or proceedings. The accused student or the complainant may request that the university delay its proceeding. Such requests should be submitted in writing at least two business days prior to the scheduled hearing to the director, Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, stating the requested action and the supporting rationale for the request. The director may grant the request but is not obligated to do so. The mere fact that criminal investigation or proceedings exist will not ordinarily be considered grounds for delay.
  • TESTIMONY AND EVIDENCE It is the responsibility of the finder of fact to render determinations concerning relevance of testimony and evidence to be presented as part of the review. Rules of evidence and discovery used by federal and state administrative proceedings shall not be applicable to reviews described in this code. Affidavits submitted in lieu of a witness’ presence at a hearing shall not be admitted into evidence unless signed by the author of the affidavit. Authorship and content of the document may be subject to verification at the discretion of the finder of fact. In cases concerning accusation of sexual assault, past sexual history of any involved party will not be admitted in evidence or testimony unless directly relevant to the matter under consideration.
  • STANDARD OF PROOF The burden of proof shall at all times rest upon the complainant. The standard of proof for deciding against the accused student shall be such evidence that, when weighed against that opposed to it, has the more convincing force and the greater probability of truth.
  • DECISION For cases in which it is determined that a student is not responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code no sanctions will be assessed. For cases in which it is determined the accused student is responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code, consideration of the accused student’s disciplinary record (see Section 12.60 ) at the university will be included in determining appropriate sanctions. Except for cases in which the accused student’s disciplinary history is a basis for the alleged violation(s) under review (e.g., reference to Section 11.49 or to a continuing pattern of behavior), consideration of that history will occur subsequent to the determination of responsibility. Cases involving expulsion, suspension, revocation of degree and revocation of admission are subject to review and possible modification by the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee. Included with the decision document will be a statement outlining the proper course of appeal for the particular case. A notification of the outcome and of the opportunity to appeal the decision shall be forwarded to involved parties according to 12.30I.

12.50 Reviews by Panels
In addition to the above protections and procedures, the following apply to initial reviews conducted by panels:
  • Involved parties will be provided written notice of the date, time and place of any scheduled review. The accused student must be notified at least three business days before the scheduled hearing. Notice may be either mailed or hand delivered. If a notice is mailed, it is deemed to be received two days after it is mailed to the student’s last known address. The university reserves the right to conduct reviews in absentia when proper notice has been given. Failure to appear after proper notice does not necessarily constitute grounds for an appeal hearing. Requests for rescheduling a review hearing must be directed, in writing, to the director, Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, with a statement of grounds for the request, at least two business days prior to the scheduled hearing. This request will be considered, but rescheduling is not automatic. The Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, for good cause, may postpone a review and notify the accused student and the complainant of the new date.

  • A fully constituted review panel meeting the particular panel staffing requirements. See Conduct Review System . Applicable requirements should be verified with the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards.

  • An opportunity to object to any member of the review panel as biased. The panel will decide if that member should review the alleged violation. This decision will be based on that member’s ability to be fair and objective in the review.

  • An advisor at the review who may assist the accused student (e.g., conferring together, document management) but who may not represent the accused student by speaking in his or her behalf. At University Review Panels, the advisor may be a licensed or practicing attorney only for cases in which criminal charges are pending and the recommended sanctions include expulsion, suspension, revocation of degree or revocation of admission. At all other hearings, the advisor may be anyone but an attorney.

  • If the accused student declines to give testimony, this will not be construed as an admission of guilt. Declining testimony, the accused student retains the right to question witnesses, present witnesses on his/her own behalf and submit documentary evidence. If the accused student provides any testimony, he/she is subject to examination on credibility and on all matters relevant to the charges and to other testimony presented.

  • Panel reviews shall be private unless all parties and the panel agree that a public review be held. The number of persons attending any review may be limited by the panel conducting the review. Due to the nature of the university’s academic calendar and to the availability of appointed panel members, the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards may not be able to convene a University Review Panel for any specified date or time.

  • PANEL MEMBERS’ AND CHAIRPERSON’S ROLES The chairperson of the review panel shall exercise control over the hearing to avoid needless consumption of time and to prevent the harassment and/or intimidation of witnesses. Any person, including an advisor, who disrupts a hearing or who fails to adhere to the rulings of the chairperson of the review panel may be excluded from the proceedings. Panel members (including the Panel Advisor) have the authority to ask questions of all parties. All involved parties must be reminded of the student procedural protections cited in 12.30 at the outset of the review.

  • ADVISOR’S ROLE The advisor’s role shall be to consult with the student and not to speak on the student’s behalf; however, the advisor may be permitted to make brief statements as stipulated in the guidelines for advisors. Advisors must request and review a copy of guidelines for his/her role in the respective hearing process from the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards prior to the hearing in question. At University Review Panel hearings, the advisor may be a licensed or practicing attorney only for cases in which criminal charges are pending and the recommended sanctions include expulsion, suspension, revocation of degree or revocation of admission. At all other hearings, the advisor may be anyone but an attorney. If an advisor will be present, the review panel must be informed of this fact at least three business days prior to the hearing date. When an attorney is present as the student’s advisor, the university may also have an attorney present. If the student designates an attorney as his/her advisor, the attorney shall keep the following in mind: the review is not a court of law but an educational process. It does not follow the formal rules of evidence and procedure attorneys may encounter in other judicial forums. Academic decorum requires that the attorney play a different and a more limited role than in the courtroom.

  • HEARING FORMAT Normally, the complainant presents evidence first, the accused student then presents evidence and responds to the evidence presented by the complainant and then the complainant may rebut. This procedure will be followed unless the panel agrees to a different format.

  • TESTIMONY AND EVIDENCE At least three business days before the review, the involved parties must furnish the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards with a list of witnesses they may present and with copies of any documents and other evidence they intend to present. This list may be supplemented with additional witnesses and evidence for good cause as determined by the review panel. Only evidence and testimony presented during the hearing or officially admitted into the record following the hearing with notice to all parties may be used as the basis for the review panel’s decision. Because review panels may limit the number of witnesses presented (see 12.40C ), students should choose carefully those witnesses who can provide direct information concerning the allegation under review. Written statements from additional witnesses attesting to the same information is admissible (see below).

  • WITNESSES TESTIMONY All witnesses may be questioned by the members of the review panel, by the complainant and by the accused student. Witnesses may be asked to affirm that their testimony is truthful and may be subject to charges of dishonesty, pursuant to provisions of this code. Prospective witnesses, other than the complainant and the accused student will be excluded from the review during all testimony but their own. The panel may also exclude “expert” witnesses (such as handwriting experts, private investigators and others). Any witness may be excluded unless the university has been notified in advance that the student intends to call them on his/her behalf. In addition, the panel may exclude any witness it deems inappropriate for an educational hearing. The panel may limit the number of witnesses presented at a review for good cause (e.g., repetitive testimony, character witness).

  • HEARING RECORD An audiotape recording will be made as the single verbatim record of the hearing. This record shall be the sole property of the university. The complainant or accused student may request permission to review this record for appeal only. This tape will be erased after the appeal deadline has expired or after an appellate decision has been released.

  • PANEL DECISION Following the conclusion of testimony in a review, the panel will meet in a closed session to deliberate and make a decision concerning the alleged violation(s). For cases in which the panel determines a student is not responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code no sanctions will be assessed. For cases in which it is determined the accused student is responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code, the panel will include consideration of the accused student’s disciplinary record (see Section 12.50 ) at the university in determining appropriate sanctions. Except for cases in which the accused student’s disciplinary history is a basis for the alleged violation(s) under review (e.g., reference to Section 11.49 or to a continuing pattern of behavior), consideration of that history will occur subsequent to the panel’s determination of responsibility. The review panel will provide a written opinion outlining the results of the review to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards. This written opinion should be released to the student within 15 business days of the review. This time may be extended if necessary. The accused student and complainant should be informed if the decision will be delayed.

12.60 Disciplinary Records

When a student is determined to be responsible for a violation of university standards by any student conduct process, a disciplinary record of the matter will be maintained in a confidential student file by the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards for a minimum of seven years. Expulsion, suspension, revocation of degree and revocation of admission will result in permanent student conduct files.
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