Student Conduct Mission:
The Student Conduct program at Grinnell College supports the Division of Student Affairs and College missions by helping to create and sustain a culture of accountability and commitment to the community – as well as by providing a holistic and transformative individual learning experience for students. We strive to resolve allegations of misconduct in a fair, timely, and socially-just manner that balances the needs of the individual student and the College community at large. We achieve our mission by embracing our core values of integrity, honesty, and personal responsibility.
Student Conduct Core Values:
- Integrity: It is important to foster a student conduct system that adheres to our core values of integrity, honesty, and personal responsibility. By living up to these espoused values – as well as being held accountable to the high expectations articulated in the student conduct program mission – the integrity and legitimacy of our process is ensured.
- Honesty: Honesty is the essential building block of all healthy relationships – with one’s self, each other, our campus community, and society at large. By being truthful, sincere, and candid with each other, we can resolve community disputes and mediate allegations of misconduct in a respectful and socially-just manner.
- Personal Responsibility: Self-governance and personal responsibility are hallmarks of our residential liberal arts community. As such, it is important that we take responsibility for our actions that affect not only ourselves but our community as well. By owning our decisions and accepting the consequences of them, we can achieve our mission to create and sustain a culture of respect and responsibility.
Self-Governance at Grinnell College
Every student should become familiar with the contents of this online Student Handbook, and take advantage of updated information about the campus community posted on the Grinnell web site. While it is not the practice of the College to monitor online behavior, it should be noted that online behavior may be considered evidence of policy violations. Please keep this in mind as you engage with members of our community both in person and in today’s technological landscape.
Self-governance upholds the values and mission of the College.
Grinnell College’s commitment to excellence includes educating students to serve the common good. This purpose can be realized by understanding the relationship between the self and the larger whole. The College is committed to a self-governing community.
Self-governance expects student participation in governance at the institution.
Grinnell College students are charged with participating in institutional governance through established structures and by engaging in peer-based governance in their residential spaces. Students may express their views on institutional policies and have the opportunity to share opinions on decisions that affect student interests. As such, the College pledges to invite student participation while committing to the facilitation of learning.
Self-governance establishes a culture of belonging.
It is our objective to create a culture of belonging where students feel represented and connected to one another through dialogue and shared purpose. Students are expected to engage in active listening, to represent themselves with integrity, and to be honest and accountable for personal choices and actions. To foster our commitment to inclusion and social justice, the College insists that our diversity of identities, worldviews, and experiences be honored and represented in the practice of self-governance. Students are obligated to create space for all voices to be represented as we advance the mission of the College together. Faculty and staff participate in self-governance as facilitators of the student experience. Students can expect to grow in their leadership development, to deepen their understanding of citizenship, to strengthen their confidence and personal identity development, and to cultivate their ethical decision making skills.
Self-governance requires accountability and commitment to the community.
A self-governing community is imbued with responsibilities and rights for each of its members, with the expectation that students will create conditions that allow for these responsibilities and rights to be enjoyed by all. Any assertion of individual rights must be made with regard to the individual’s responsibilities to the community. Self-governance is marked not by license but by the responsible use of freedom, which requires all members of the community to sustain the rights of others. As a result, students can expect to have a rich and rewarding residential experience that remains focused on education as its primary purpose.
Self-governance as a guiding principle of our community exists within a system of standards, laws, policies, and other regulations. All members of our community are subject to federal, state, and local laws and statutes and Grinnell College cannot protect those who violate those laws. To uphold the safety and orderly function of our self-governing community, policies have been established to prevent actions that would infringe upon the rights and well-being of others, cause disruption to others or the community, endanger persons or property, or that would be in conflict with the principles of our self-governing community. If and when students violate our policies, they have an obligation to take responsibility for those actions by engaging in their own learning and development facilitated by our conduct process.
The Committee on Student Life holds the responsibility for reviewing and updating this document every three years.
Grinnell College is a residential community where self-governance and personal responsibility are hallmarks. As such, the following community standards build upon the Statement of Values and describe how students who are engaged in activities sponsored by the College act with integrity, honesty, and in a socially-just manner.
Because Grinnellians are expected to act with integrity at all times, these Community Standards are applicable to Grinnell College students both on campus and in the town of Grinnell. Egregious and/or repeated violations of these Standards in the town of Grinnell may be adjudicated through the College’s conduct process.
Standard One: Grinnellians act with integrity and consider how their actions will impact others.
Self-governance is grounded in responsibility and respect for others. As such, it is important for Grinnell College community members to act with integrity. This means students will not commit academic dishonesty, or engage in disorderly or disruptive conduct on College premises or at College-sponsored activities that interferes with the activities of others – including but not limited to studying, teaching, research, and College administration. Furthermore, intentionally furnishing false information or reports to the College, making, possessing, or using any forged, altered, or falsified instrument of identification or College document is contrary to this Standard.
Violating published College regulations, rules, or policies is dishonorable and unacceptable behavior. Such regulations or policies may include the residence hall agreement form, alcohol agreement form, or the smoking policy.
Knowingly violating the terms of any educational outcome (sanction) imposed in accordance with this Handbook, and/or abusing the student conduct process – including but not limited to harassing or intimidating a member of a conduct review board or any participant prior to, during, or after a student conduct proceeding – is prohibited as these acts do not uphold this Standard.
Standard Two: Grinnellians value the health and personal safety of themselves and other members of the Grinnell community.
This includes harassment, sexual misconduct, domestic/dating partner violence, physical assault, threatening behavior, hazing, or any related activities aimed at any member of the College community that harms someone physically or psychologically, or causes others to fear being harmed. Students may not pose a threat to the health and safety of Grinnell College, the wider community, or its members, nor may students significantly disrupt the academic or residential communities nor other students’ ability to engage in customary functions and activities at Grinnell College.
Also prohibited are hate crimes and/or bias-motivated incidents – including but not limited to racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or sexual discrimination, threatening remarks or gestures that are directly and specifically intended for another individual – that interfere with or limits one’s ability to attain their educational goals. Reckless or intentional acts or destructive behavior which undermines another’s basic dignity or self-esteem are contrary to this Standard.
The illegal or unauthorized use, possession, or storage of firearms, explosives, fireworks or other weapons in violation of College policy is not allowed in our community. Intentionally or recklessly misusing or damaging fire safety equipment, intentionally or recklessly setting a fire, activating a false fire alarm, and/or failing to comply with the directions of College officials, including Campus Safety, who are acting in performance of their duties jeopardizes the safety of one’s self and others and is prohibited.
Standard Three: Grinnellians respect personal and College property and role model good citizenship by abiding by local, state, and federal laws and accept the consequences for not adhering to them.
Destroying, damaging, misusing, or illegally possessing the property of the College, its members, or others – regardless of intent – is contrary to this Standard. This includes but is not limited to College-controlled keys, academic materials or instructional equipment (such as laboratory equipment, computers, electronic devices, or library materials), and personal belongings. Attempts to gain access to any portion of the College’s premises (including College-owned or College-leased property) without authorization are a violation of this Standard.
The College enforces all relevant local, state, and federal laws, including but not limited to alcohol and illicit drugs, and certifies itself to the federal government as a drug-free campus. It is the College’s commitment to provide a living and learning environment that is free from the use, sale, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs, controlled substances, or drug paraphernalia, or the improper or abusive use of legal drugs or alcohol on Grinnell College premises. For further details, refer to the Alcohol and Other Drugs policy.
Approved by Committee on Student Life and Joint Board Resolution, Spring 2011
Revised by Committee on Student Life, Spring 2012
Student Conduct Hearings
The College community, of which students are members, exercises its governance in several ways, including the creation and operation of three systems by which student conduct hearings can be heard. The Administrative Hearing, College Hearing Board (CHB) and Judicial Council (JudCo) may hear cases of alleged misconduct that occurs on- or off-campus, in College-owned residences (i.e., residence halls or language/project houses), or at a College-sponsored event, program, or facility. Egregious and/or repeated violations of these Standards off campus may also be adjudicated through the College’s conduct process. Any allegation that would violate the sexual misconduct policy is referred to the Title IX Office for adjudication through the Title IX policies and procedures (not through an Administrative hearing, CHB or JudCo).
The Administrative Hearing, College Hearing Board and Judicial Council share similar procedures though their composition and jurisdiction differ. All bodies consider the preponderance of evidence (i.e., “more likely than not”) when determining the facts of the case and making subsequent findings of responsibility (or non-responsibility) regarding alleged policy or regulation violations.
The Student Government Association (SGA) executive members, in partnership with the Dean of Students office, select a rotating panel of student conduct hearing board members that serve on the College Hearing Board and Judicial Council. The Dean of Students (or designee) acts as an advisor to JudCo and presiding officer with CHB. When the matter involves a computer/telephone complaint or violation, a non-voting member appointed by the Director of Information Technology Services may sit with the Board or Council and act as a technical advisor regarding the computer/telephone matters.
It is the primary responsibility of the administrator, board, or council to determine the facts of the case, determine responsibility, and make recommendations to the Dean of Students (or designee) regarding possible educational outcomes should it be determined that the Community Standards were not upheld.
It is the responsibility of the administrator, board, or council to assure that the information necessary to make an informed decision is presented. Members may play an active role in questioning both parties and witnesses involved in the case. Members are under no obligation to allow either party to cross-examine witnesses. Members may make exceptions to this rule when it determines that there are compelling reasons for doing so.
A student may request to resolve any alleged misconduct violation(s) through an informal and educational administrative hearing. Depending upon the severity of the situation, the Dean of Students (or designee) may decline to handle the matter administratively and refer the case to either the College Hearing Board or the Judicial Council. Similarly, the Dean of Students (or designee) may elect to hear any case administratively, even when one has not been specifically requested.
In an administrative hearing, the Dean of Students (or designee) will meet with the complainant and respondent to determine responsibility and render a decision as to what educational outcomes, if applicable, may be implemented. The same principles of fundamental fairness and standard of proof (i.e., preponderance of evidence – “more likely than not”) are afforded during an administrative hearing as in CHB or JudCo hearings.
College Hearing Board
The College Hearing Board is a fact-finding board consisting of a rotating panel of College faculty (appointed by the President), staff (appointed by the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs), and students (appointed by SGA), trained in student conduct procedures that typically hears cases that might result in possible suspension or dismissal from the College. The College Hearing Board has primary jurisdiction over the following types of matters, which are violations of our Community Standards:
- Any matter in which a student violates the rights of a student, faculty, staff member or College guest;
- Any matter in which a student has harassed or injured any College community member or, by other conduct, has interrupted or interfered with any College activity, program or facility;
- Matters of assault or harassment (not gender- or sexual-based), hate crimes/bias-motivated incidents, or theft as defined by Iowa law or College policy;
- Any matter that might result in the suspension or dismissal of a student;
- Any matter the President of the College or the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) deems is best heard by this body.
The Judicial Council is a student run fact-finding board that adjudicates allegations of lesser violations* of residence hall rules, College regulations or policies, and any student’s or guest’s rights or privileges occurring on campus, in College-owned residences, or at a college-sponsored event, program, or facility. Judicial Council may also hear alleged violations of election guidelines or improper election conduct. The Judicial Council membership is comprised of at least two students and a student presiding officer – all rotating from a pool of trained hearing board members. In addition, there is a non-voting staff advisor (typically the Assistant Dean of Students or Dean of Students), and a non-voting SGA Observer (typically the SGA Vice President for Academic Affairs).
*Please note: students appearing before JudCo are NOT at risk for dismissal. Dismissal is not an educational sanction that can be recommended by this body.
Presiding Officer Responsibilities
The Presiding Officer of the board, council, or panel is responsible for creating and maintaining a record of the proceedings, which includes identification of any testifying witnesses and the substance of their testimony. The Presiding Officer of the hearing board has final authority on all matters occurring during the hearing and the Presiding Officer’s rulings shall be final. The Presiding Officer may exclude any person, including any party, for disruptive or abusive behavior.
A Complainant or Respondent may object in writing or in person (before the hearing starts) to the Presiding Officer or Student Affairs dean or designee assisting with the case, on the basis of a belief that a board member or presiding officer may be unable to be an impartial decision maker. Objections should be submitted to the Presiding Officer of the judicial council or hearing board and - if the bias is against the Presiding Officer- to the Dean of Students (or designee). Concerns of bias with an administrator of an Administrative Hearing should be submitted to the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. Alternates will be chosen at the sole discretion of the Presiding Officer of the hearing board or, in the case of a bias against the Presiding Officer, the Dean of Students (or designee). All objections must be raised prior to the commencement of the hearing. Failure to object in writing or in person about a certain board or council member serving in his/her/hir role will forfeit one’s ability to appeal the outcome based on demonstrated bias.
Brief Overview of the Student Conduct Process
- The Student Conduct process is meant to educational and corrective, not disciplinary and punitive.
- The mission of the Student Conduct program is to provide a holistic and transformative learning experience to all students who engage with the student conduct process.
- The Student Conduct Program strives to resolve allegations of misconduct in a fair, timely, and socially-just manner that balances the needs of the individual student and the College community at large.
- A Grinnell College community member (i.e., student, faculty, or staff) makes the decision to file a formal complaint.
- Most complaints are filed by Campus Safety or the Dean of Students office. Individual students, faculty, or staff who wish to file a formal complaint against a student should meet with Campus Safety to file an incident report.
- A hearing will be scheduled as quickly as possible (typically within 10 business days of receipt of the Incident Report).
- The College Hearing Board and Judicial Council are comprised of members of the College community.
- The Dean of Students (or designee) may be present at the hearing to assist with procedural matters regarding student conduct policies and procedures. Additionally, the Dean of Students (or designee) may also remain with the Board or Council during the deliberations.
- Respondents and Complainants may have advisors from the College community present during the hearing as a support network. Please note: advisors cannot speak on behalf of any party and cannot serve as witnesses.
- Hearings will proceed to analyze all available information and determine a finding a responsibility whether or not the respondent chooses to attend the hearing to represent themselves.
- The hearing will be conducted in a confidential and closed environment.
- Administrative Hearings, College Hearing Board and Judicial Council sessions will be digitally audio recorded (excluding deliberations).
- Immediately following the hearing, if possible, the board will deliberate the findings of fact to determine responsibility, if any, and recommend educational outcome(s) to the Dean of Students (or designee), if applicable. Students who are found responsible for not upholding our Community Standards will receive a written Notice of Outcome from the Dean of Students (or designee) shortly after the hearing (within 3 business days for cases involving the College Hearing Board and typically within 5-7 business days for cases involving the Judicial Council). Students may not appeal their case simply because they do not like the outcome; rather, one of two specific criteria (explained in the appeals section) must be met.
Discrimination and Harassment Grievance/Complaints Procedure
If an individual believes that they have been discriminated against or has experienced discrimination or harassment (including sexual harassment), they should follow the procedure outlined below. This grievance/complaint process is for those issues that a person bringing the grievance/complaint believes involve discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, veteran status, pregnancy, childbirth, religion, disability, creed or any other protected class. For more information, please refer to the following links.
Grinnell College Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedure
Grinnell College Policies
All parties involved in a hearing are required to keep the information learned in preparation for the hearing and at the hearing private. No copies of documents provided are to be made or shared with any third parties. All copies provided must be returned to the Dean of Students (or designee) at the conclusion of the hearing and any appeals. Any breach of this duty is subject to further student conduct action by the College.
In an effort to increase transparency in the student conduct process, the Dean of Students (or designee) will occasionally (i.e., once a semester) provide an overview of the types of student conduct-related issues seen in the Dean of Students Office. As a residential liberal arts community, where self-governance and personal responsibility are hallmarks, it is very appropriate to share this information with the student community. Of course, the confidentiality of those involved in these incidents is of paramount concern. Therefore, all information will be provided in a non-identifiable manner.
Abuse of Student Conduct Process
After a complaint has been filed, any forms of retaliation, harassment, and/or intimidation toward witnesses or parties involved in the complaint (including board members) will not be tolerated.
Acts or attempts to retaliate or seek retribution against a Complainant, Respondent, or any individual or group of individuals involved in the investigation and/or resolution of an allegation is prohibited. Retaliation can be committed by any individual or group of individuals, not just by a Respondent or Complainant. Retaliation can take many forms, including continued abuse or violence, other forms of harassment, and slander and libel.
Retaliatory acts may be revealed in a conduct proceeding and could be grounds for additional Community Standard(s) violations and educational outcomes.
Right to an Advisor
Both parties to a dispute may have an advisor attend the hearing. The advisor’s role is to help the complainant or respondent prepare, advice on the procedural aspects of the hearing, and to be a non-participating supporter at the hearing. The Complainant and Respondent are expected to speak for themselves, to present their own cases, and to ask and answer questions.
There are some individuals who are prohibited from serving as advisors to complainants and/or respondents: the President of the College, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, the Associate Deans of the College, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, and any staff member of the Division of Student Affairs. Exceptions to the advisor prohibition list may be made with the approval of the Dean of Students (or designee). If a Complainant or Respondent has a question regarding the capacity of a person to act as advisor he/she/zi should contact the Presiding Officer of the Board, Council or Panel about hearing procedures.
Role of the Attorney/Outside Agreements
A Complainant or Respondent may choose to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney at their own expense. The attorney may accompany the party to any meeting with a College employee, external investigator, and to the hearing. Like an advisor, the attorney may not address the panel during the hearing, or otherwise delay, disrupt, or interfere with any meeting or proceeding. The attorney must meet with the Dean of Students (or designee) in advance of any participation in the proceedings to understand the expectations of the role, privacy and appropriate decorum. Attorneys serving as advisors must adhere to the expectations of the role as described in this policy.
The College will not recognize or enforce agreements between the parties made outside of these procedures.
Suggestions for Advisors in Student Conduct Hearings
During preparation for a conduct hearing, students may approach a member of the College community to assist them. Advisors may use these guidelines at whatever point they become involved in assisting a student. Remember that advisors are not being asked to serve as attorneys, but simply to assist a student through a procedure that they may find to be stressful.
Before the Hearing:
- Review the procedures outlined in the Student Handbook and discuss them in detail with the student. Direct procedural questions to the presiding officer or the Dean of Students.
- Assist the student in preparing a written statement. The statement should be in the student’s own words. You may make suggestions to help clarify the statement. You may also assist the student in editing out inflammatory language and/or subjective statements that are not supported by evidence. Help the student to be thorough and forthright.
- Remind the student of deadlines involved in submission of materials.
- Help the student prepare for the hearing. Review any additional written statements. Anticipate questions. Anticipate questions which may be asked during the hearing and assist the student in preparing a clear response.
- Arrange to meet the student just prior to the hearing so that you can enter the hearing together.
During the Hearing:
- Remember that advisors may not speak during the hearing. The advisor’s role is to support the student as they present their own statements.
- Listen carefully to the discussion.
- If, for any reason, the advisor feels the student would benefit from taking a break, suggest quietly to the student that they request one. At that point, the advisor may step into another room to calm the student, to help him/her clarify a question, raise a new issue or prepare a cogent response.
- At the end of the hearing, give the student constructive feedback about their presentation.
When Not to be an Advisor:
- If one has relationship with student(s) on opposing sides that may compromise their future role with the students (e.g., both are advisees, both are residence hall residents).
- If one feels so strongly about the issues involved in the hearing that they do not feel they can effectively assist the student seeking support.
- If one experiences any other conflict of interest.
Factual Witnesses vs. Character Witnesses
Generally, a person appears as a witness if that person has information of particular relevance to the incident forming the basis of the complaint. For example, that person may have actually seen the incident as it occurred; the person may have heard significant sounds, words, or statements, etc., while the incident was occurring; or the person may have some other information, which in the opinion of the hearing board or council may make that person a relevant witness. The final selection of any witness to appear is in the sole discretion of the hearing board. Names of persons given by the Complainant or Respondent are given as recommendations and not as directives to the hearing board. The board’s Presiding Officer (or designee), will contact the person(s) identified as potential witnesses. The Presiding Officer may question the potential witness to determine the relevancy, if any, of information the witness may have regarding the complaint. Names of witnesses who will appear will be shared with the complainant and respondent no less than two business days before the scheduled hearing.
If a person agrees to appear as a factual witness, they will be asked to make a statement regarding the matter before the Board or Council. That statement will address the relevant information concerning the complainant’s or the witness’ role in the events involving the complainant. At the end of the statement, questions may be asked of the witness by members of the hearing board.
A “character” witness is a person who has no relevant information to impart regarding the proceedings other than an opinion as to the character of the parties involved in the proceedings. Therefore, character witnesses are not allowed to participate in the proceedings. However, character witnesses may submit statements on behalf of the respondent(s) to the Dean of Students prior to the scheduled hearing. The Dean of Students will read the statements if the respondent is found “responsible” and prior to assigning educational outcomes.
Scheduling Hearing and Witnesses
The Presiding Officer of the hearing board (or designee) schedules a hearing of the College Hearing Board or Judicial Council, typically scheduled within 1-2 weeks of the incident complaint. Only the Presiding Officer of the hearing board (or designee) may postpone the hearing and, if so, only for overriding considerations deemed acceptable by the Presiding Officer (or designee).
The complainant(s) and/or respondent(s) are responsible for providing a list of witnesses to the presiding officer or designee. The presiding officer of the hearing board (or designee) is responsible for contacting and scheduling any witnesses. It is not the responsibility of either party to determine whether the witnesses are willing to appear at the hearing. Being a witness is by agreement with the presiding officer of the hearing board. A person will not be forced to attend, speak, or otherwise participate as a witness. A witness cannot serve as an advisor.
Hearing Notification and Processes
Notice of Hearing
Once the hearing is scheduled, the Presiding Officer (or designee) will send a Notice of Hearing by electronic mail to the Complainant, Respondent, Board or Council advisor(s), advisors for Complainant and Respondent, any witnesses who have agreed to participate, and members of the Board or Council.
It is the intention of the College, when feasible, to complete matters before the College Hearing Board or Judicial Council within 15 business days after receipt of the incident report, exclusive of the time set for decision by the Dean of Students (or designee) and any appeal time.
Nature of Hearing
A hearing is not intended to be adversarial; rather, it is intended to be educational and developmental. The hearing is intended to provide a fair opportunity for both sides to present their version of events and for the board to determine the facts of the case, make a determination regarding the alleged violations of Community Standards and/or College regulations, and to recommend appropriate educational outcomes (sanctions), if necessary. The hearing is an informal proceeding not comparable to a criminal trial and provides an opportunity to take action within the College community regarding an alleged violation of Community Standards and/or College policies and regulations.
Each hearing is a closed session. Present at the hearing to assist with procedural matters regarding student conduct will be the Dean of Students (or designee). The Dean of Students (or designee) will also remain with the board or council during the deliberations. For Judicial Council cases a non-voting SGA observer may also be present for the hearing and council deliberations. The hearing board may exclude any persons, including the complainant or respondent, if any party is being disruptive to the proceedings. The hearing board will employ a digital audio recorder, or other means, to make a digital audio recording of the proceeding. Neither the complainant nor respondent may record the proceedings. Hearing board members may take an active role in questioning the complainant, respondent, and any witnesses during the hearing. Witnesses are normally excused from the room until it is their turn to speak. Witnesses may be separated from each other before their appearance by order of the hearing board. After a witness has given information to the hearing board, the witness is excused by the Presiding Officer and should leave the hearing room. The witness shall have no further contact with any witness who has not spoken before the hearing board in the current proceedings.
The hearing process outlined below is utilized for all cases heard in Judicial Council, College Hearing Board, and in Administrative Hearings, modified only where appropriate to accommodate whether or not there are witnesses. However, please note one difference in Administrative Hearings: the hearing is adjourned after closing statements, to allow for careful deliberation by the administrator. It does not reconvene to share the findings of responsibility in the same way that JudCo or CHB does; instead, the determination of findings and the assignment of educational outcomes are communicated through a formal letter via electronic mail within five (5) business days.
Introductions and Introductory Remarks
Hearing Board Procedures
- Convene Hearing
- Presiding Officer invites the respondent and complainant, and their respective advisors and witnesses into the hearing room
- Presiding Officer states the date and time for the record and introduces self
- All council or board members introduce themselves
- All participants introduce themselves
- Presiding Officer explains the purpose of the hearing
- Presiding Officer reminds all participants to treat each other with courtesy
- Complaints and Charges
- Presiding Officer reads referral into the record
- Presiding Officer identifies charges and read into the record
- Presiding Officer requests a response for each charge: responsible or not responsible
- If the Plea is responsible
- Presiding Officer proceeds with all remaining items in sequence.
- Questioning should be restricted since the respondent has admitted responsibility. The Complainant’s narrative is important only to understand the incident.
- If the Plea is not responsible
- Presiding Officer proceeds with all remaining items in sequence
- All Witnesses will be excused
- Presiding Officer removes witnesses from the hearing until called
- Character witnesses are typically not allowed. In the rare case they will be allowed, they will not be called until a determination is rendered and if educational outcomes are deemed necessary
- Procedural Questions
- Presiding Officer asks both parties if there are any procedural questions that need to be resolved before commencing the hearing
- Presiding Officer asks if there is any reason for Board members (including Presiding Officer) to be recused before starting,
- Presiding Officer asks each party if they are prepared to proceed, for the record
- Opening Statements
- The Presiding Officer makes an opening statement summarizing the complaint (including the Community Standard and/or College policy or regulation that is claimed to have been violated)
- The Presiding Officer summarizes the response to the complaint
- Complainant’s Account
- Presiding Officer asks the complainant to give a narrative account of the incident
- Board members direct questions to either complainant
- Respondent may ask questions of the complainant
- Respondent’s Account
- Presiding Officer asks the respondent to provide a narrative account of the incident
- Board members direct questions to either respondent
- Complainant may ask questions of the respondent
- Identify Witnesses
- Presiding Officer asks the complainant to identify the witnesses to be called, and the relevancy of their testimony; be liberal in allowing relevant witnesses
- Presiding Officer asks the respondent to identify the witnesses to be called, and the relevancy of their testimony; be liberal in allowing relevant witnesses
- Complainant’s Witnesses
- Witnesses are called one at a time
- Presiding Officer asks each to affirm that the testimony they are about to offer is truthful
- Presiding Officer asks each witness to provide a narrative account of what they know about the allegations
- Board members ask questions of the witness
- Respondent may ask relevant questions (questions may need to be read by the Presiding Officer or hearing board member depending upon circumstances)
- Complainant may ask any relevant questions (questions may need to be read by the Presiding Officer or hearing board member depending upon circumstances)
- Respondent’s Witnesses
- Witnesses are called one at a time
- Ask each to affirm that the testimony they are about to offer is truthful
- Ask each witness to provide a narrative account of what they know
- Board members ask questions of the witness
- Complainant may ask any relevant questions (questions may need to be read by the Presiding Officer or hearing board member depending upon circumstances)
- Respondent may ask relevant questions (questions may need to be read by the Presiding Officer or hearing board member depending upon circumstances)
- Closing Statements
- Presiding Officer asks the respondent and complainant to offer a closing statement (if either chooses)
- Complainant has the burden of proof and goes last
- Adjournment and Deliberation
- The Presiding Officer announces adjournment to determine responsibility and reminds participants that they will be expected to return
- Presiding Officer asks each to affirm that the testimony they are about to offer is truthful
- All witnesses may be excused
- In the case of Administrative Hearings, the hearing is now adjourned to allow for careful deliberation by the administrator. Items 19-21 do not apply. It does not reconvene to share the findings of responsibility in the same way that JudCo or CHB does; instead, the determination of findings and the assignment of educational outcomes are communicated through a formal letter via electronic mail within five (5) business days.
- The Presiding Officer recalls both parties to the room and announces the board’s determination and the facts upon which it was based
- If not responsible, the Presiding Officer thanks participants and dismiss all parties
- Outcome Recommendations if found responsible
- The Presiding Officer explains the educational outcomes (sanctions) available to the board and the process for rendering a final decision
- Although character references are rarely used, the complainant may request to call no more than two character witnesses for the respondent; written references may be substituted
- Presiding Officer allows board members to ask questions related to character or any other questions that may assist in determining outcomes
- Presiding Officer asks the complainant for outcome recommendation(s)
- Presiding Officer asks the respondent for outcome recommendation(s)
- Outcome Recommendation Deliberation if found responsible
- The Presiding Officer explains to both parties that they will be notified of the final outcome(s) by electronic mail typically within 48 hours upon receipt of the Presiding Officer Report
- Presiding Officer dismisses all parties
Deliberation and Decisions
After all of the information has been presented, all parties will be dismissed from the hearing room so that the Board (including non-voting advisors and/or SGA observer, if applicable) may deliberate in private. The Presiding Officer may remain for deliberations, but may not vote for finding(s) of responsibility and/or educational outcome(s) – unless there is a tie. The Board must reach a decision on responsibility by majority vote and by using the preponderance (“more likely than not”) standard when reviewing findings of fact. Only the decision on responsibility will be shared with the Complainant and the Respondent. The vote itself shall not be shared with the parties.
The findings of the Board will be reduced to writing in a case opinion. The findings will detail the findings of fact and the basis/rationale for the decision of the Board, making reference to the evidence that led to the finding.
It is important to note that a student’s previous record of misconduct will only be introduced if a student is found responsible, and presented during educational outcome (sanction) deliberations.
Deferral of Proceedings
The Dean of Students (or designee) may defer student conduct proceedings for the alleged violations of this on-line Student Handbook for a period not to exceed 90 days. Pending charges may be withdrawn thereafter, dependent upon the good behavior of the Respondent. Deferral letters are often sent as policy reminders when minor policy violations have occurred.
Interim Ban and/or Suspension, Pending the Outcome of a Conduct Hearing
At times, a student may endanger other members of the community, or community property, College programs or themselves. The President of the College, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, and/or the Dean of Students have the right to immediately place a student on an interim ban and/or suspension pending a medical evaluation or a hearing with either the College Hearing Board or the Dean of Students..
While rare, an interim suspension is imposed for one of the following reasons: a.) to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the College community or preservation of College property, and/or; b.) to ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being, and/or; c.) if the student poses a substantial threat of disruption of interference with the normal operations of the College.
If, in the judgment of any of these College officials, interim suspension is necessary, the Dean of Students informs the student in writing according to the Grinnell College hearing procedures. The Dean of Students calls the College Hearing Board or arranges an Administrative Hearing to hear the case within a reasonable period of time after the interim suspension is imposed. During the interim suspension period, the student is denied access to the campus (including classes) and all other College activities or privilege for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as deemed appropriate by the Dean of Students (or designee).
Student Conduct Educational Outcomes
Serious departures from acceptable conduct may lead to one or more of the following educational outcomes: restitution fines, deferred finding of responsibility, conduct warning, conduct probation, behavioral expectations (including a campus no-contact order), parental and guardian notification, College-owned residence suspension, College-owned residence dismissal, suspension, or dismissal from the College, withholding of registration or degree, or rehabilitative measures decided by a College conduct body.
Where possible and appropriate, restorative justice practices are incorporated into educational outcomes.
Restitution may be required for any damages occurred as a result of misconduct.
Deferred Finding of Responsibility
A deferred finding of responsibility allows for the dismissal of specific policy violation charges, pending good conduct during a specified period of time. This rarely used educational outcome may be recommended by the adjudicating body and is assigned at the discretion of the Dean of Students (or designee). A deferred finding allows for the withdrawal of formal charges for good cause after a specified period of time (to last no longer than the student’s graduation date from the College). Factors to be considered in providing a deferred finding of responsibility include: a.) the present demeanor of the student; b.) the conduct of the student subsequent to the violation; c.) the nature of the violation and severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from it; and/or d.) the student has not received any other deferred finding of responsibility as an outcome from a previous student conduct matter while enrolled at the College. If a student complies with the conditions and requirements attributed to a deferred finding, the administrative charges will be dismissed at the end of the deferral period and there will be no conduct record of this case. Failure to comply with the conditions and requirements of the deferred finding may result in a finding of responsibility and, as a result, become part of the student’s conduct record. In this instance, additional educational outcomes may apply.
Alcohol BASICS or Marijuana BMI
Brief Alcohol Screening & Intervention for College Students (BASICS) is an assessment created specifically for college students. Developed at the University of Washington, BASICS has been found to significantly reduce negative consequences resulting from drinking, as well as alcohol consumption rates. Trained staff members who adhere to the empirically tested model meet with students using Motivational Interviewing to gather information about the student’s relationship with alcohol. Students receive information on campus norms and explore goals in a judgment-free conversation tailored to the student’s unique developmental stage with the goal of enhancing motivation for change.
Marijuana Brief Motivational Interview (BMI) adopts the same techniques, principles, and goals as Alcohol BASICS but focuses, specifically, on marijuana use.
A conduct warning is a recognition of general lack of cooperation in campus citizenship or the breaking of some specific rule. The terms of this warning are defined in each case by the body imposing the sanction. This is a warning that severe discipline will be imposed if the student is again reported for a similar lack of good campus citizenship and conduct.
Conduct probation is a recognition of a very serious lack of good campus citizenship and conduct or a serious or repeated violation of a College regulation. This probation is a warning that a person’s status as a student at Grinnell College is in jeopardy and that any further violation may result in suspension or dismissal from the College.
Behavioral Expectations Letter
In instances of repeated or serious offenses, behavioral expectations may be clearly identified and provided in writing to responsible students. Future Community Standards and/or College policy violations may result in separation from the College.
A Grinnell College no-contact order may also be issued between students as an outcome. These limited campus no-contact orders are intended to help provide distance between students when deemed necessary. For more information regarding campus no-contact orders, please review the Grinnell College No-Contact Orders in the Campus Life policies section of this Student Handbook.
Parental and Guardian Notification
A fundamental goal of Grinnell College is to support students’ independence and maturity, in part by expecting them to assume responsibility for their own educational and personal matters. However, under laws and policies that govern the privacy rights of students, Grinnell College has the authority and reserves the right to contact parents or guardians of dependent students about a variety of serious matters and the parents or guardians of all students in emergencies regarding serious injury or life or death situations. The cases in which Grinnell would, in extraordinary circumstances, notify parents or guardians cannot in the nature of things be completely enumerated or described; but it is, for example, the belief of Grinnell that a serious injury to a student, or a violent crime committed upon a student, is a sufficiently grave occurrence as to constitute an extraordinary circumstance. Parental or guardian notification may also occur under the following circumstances: hospitalization; hospital visits for alcohol poisoning or drug overdose; behavior that will likely result in residence hall suspension or expulsion, conduct suspension, or dismissal; acts of violence or significant abuse toward others or a student’s own self; arrest; drug or alcohol use that results in police action; or serious mental health concerns. For more information, please review the Parental and Guardian Notification Policy.
College-Owned Residence Suspension
Separation of the student from the residence halls or College-owned houses for a stated period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Students who are placed on College-owned residence suspension will not receive any refund for their board payments.
College-Owned Residence Dismissal
Permanent separation of the student from the residence halls or College-owned houses. Students who are dismissed from College-owned residence will not receive any refund for their board payments.
Suspension is a recognition of the temporary termination of the person’s status as a student. The student loses all privileges of a regularly-enrolled student and is required to leave the campus. No refunds apply in such cases. Students placed on conduct suspension after the end of the third week of classes will have “W” entries recorded on their transcripts for all currently enrolled courses. A notation of “conduct suspension” will be placed on the student’s transcript. This notation will be removed if the student successfully petitions to return to the College. If not, the “conduct suspension” notation will remain indefinitely. Conduct files are maintained permanently in the Dean of Students office. Any suspended student who returns to the campus during the suspension period is subject to dismissal unless they have made prior arrangements with the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee).
Dismissal is the termination of a student’s status at the College and is reserved the most egregious acts of student misconduct. The student loses all privileges of a regularly-enrolled student and is required to leave the campus. No refunds apply in such cases. Students who are dismissed after the end of the third week of classes will have “W” entries recorded on their transcripts for all currently enrolled courses. A permanent notation of “conduct dismissal” will be placed on the student’s transcript. Conduct files are maintained permanently in the Dean of Students office. Any dismissed student who returns to the campus without prior approval from the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) may face further action, including a no trespass order.
Withholding of Registration or Degree
Student Conduct educational outcomes may include the withholding of registration for continuing students or withholding the posting of the degree for graduating students. This outcome is used to ensure that students comply with other educational outcomes such as, but not limited to, the reimbursement to the College for damages or payment of fines and the performance of service to the College or community. Current students who do not meet the deadline stipulated for completion of educational outcomes may have their registration withheld and or/ be suspended for a minimum of one semester or until educational outcomes are satisfied, if longer. The posting of the degree may be withheld for students who are in, or who have completed, their final semester at the College until the prescribed educational outcomes have been satisfied.
Other educational outcomes may be recommended by hearing boards including but not limited to: assessment (e.g., mental health, substance abuse), treatment, apology letters and community service. The Dean of Students (or designee) imposes such educational outcomes.
This section applies to the College Hearing Board, Judicial Council, and administrative hearings. It does not apply to the Sub-Committee on Academic Honesty. The appeal process for the Sub-Committee on Academic Honesty is listed in the Academic Policies section of this on-line Student Handbook.
Either party may appeal the determination of responsibility and/or educational outcome(s) in writing to the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs (the “Appeals Officer”) or designee. The appeal must be filed within five (5) business days of receiving the written Notice of Outcome.
The Complainant and/or Respondent may appeal only the parts of the determination of responsibility and/or educational outcome(s), if applicable, directly relating to them. Dissatisfaction with the outcome of the hearing is not grounds for appeal. The limited grounds for appeal are as follows:
- New evidence that was not available at the time of the hearing is presented that could be outcome-determinative; and/or
- Procedural error(s) that had a material impact on the fundamental fairness of the hearing.
The appeal shall consist of a plain, concise, and complete written statement expounding on the grounds for the appeal. When an appeal has been submitted, the Appeals Officer will notify both parties. Each party will be given the opportunity to respond in writing to the other party’s appeal. Any response by the opposing party must be submitted within five (5) business days from receipt of the appeal.
In any request for an appeal, the burden of proof lies with the party requesting the appeal, as the original determination and educational outcomes are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. The appeal is not a de novo (i.e., from the beginning; anew) review. The Appeals Officer shall consider the merits of an appeal only on the basis of the two grounds for appeal and the supporting information provided in the written request for appeal along with the record of the original hearing. The Appeals Officer can affirm the original findings, alter the findings, and/or alter the educational outcomes, depending on the basis of the requested appeal. If the appeal is based on procedures not having been followed in a material manner, and the Appeals Officer deems that information to be clear and convincing, the Appeals Officer can ask that a new hearing occur before a newly constituted Board. In the case of new and relevant information, the Appeals Officer can recommend that the case be returned to the original Board to assess the weight and effect of the new information and render a determination after considering the new facts.
The Appeals Officer will communicate, via electronic mail, campus mail, and/or U.S. Postal Service, the result of the appeal to the Complainant and Respondent within ten (10) business days from the date of the submission of all appeal documents by both parties. Appeal decisions are final.
Student Conduct Records
The Dean of Students is responsible for maintaining all student conduct records. Copies of such reports and records are to be kept safely and securely in the Division of Student Affairs for a period of seven years after the end of the academic year of said violation(s) to comply with federal recordkeeping requirements. These student conduct records are destroyed at the end of the appropriate time period. Conduct records involving suspension or dismissal will be retained permanently.
Student conduct outcomes only appear on official college transcripts when the outcome is a suspension or dismissal.
Student conduct records may be released to College officials on a “need-to-know” basis. Records may be released to persons and agencies external to the College with the student’s permission, or in compliance with the law. Records that are lawfully subpoenaed or ordered by a judge may be released without the student’s permission. A student’s conduct record may also be released if it is in connection with a health and/or safety emergency.
Violations of Civil Law
The College or the aggrieved party always has recourse to the civil authorities for civil law violations. As a part of a larger community, students accept responsibility for their own actions under federal, state, and local laws. While affording reasonable initial support and advice to its members in difficulties with the law, the College provides no legal counsel or representation; nor does the College provide shelter from the consequences of illegal acts by any student.
Interpretation and Revision
The College publishes this on-line Student Handbook to provide students with our shared community values, as well as prohibited conduct. Since this on-line Handbook is not written with the specificity of a criminal statute it is open to interpretation and application by students, faculty, and staff alike. Any question of interpretation regarding the on-line Student Handbook should be referred to the Dean of Students (or designee) for final determination.
This on-line Student Handbook and College policies are reviewed annually under the direction of the Dean of Students (or designee), who consults with SGA executive members, Committee on Student Life committee members, and other students, faculty, and staff as appropriate. From time to time, the College modifies policies and procedures. The College may, at its discretion, make appropriate modifications, with or without notice and the relevant changes will appear in the on-line Student Handbook.
Title IX / Sexual Misconduct
The College prohibits all forms of sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence and other forms of interpersonal violence. These are umbrella terms which encompass a broad range of behavior. Grinnell College community members are fully supported in using the words that they feel express and/or represent their experience - including words like rape, abuse, attack, or fondling - even when the College policy uses these other, more overarching terms when adjudicating and classifying allegations. Within these broad categories, the College specifically prohibits sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, harm to others, intimate partner violence/relationship abuse, stalking, and retaliation.
The conduct process for adjudicating sexual misconduct cases is different than that used for other conduct cases. The full conduct process is listed in detail in the Grinnell College Policy, Procedures and Guide to Preventing, Reporting, and Responding to Sexual Misconduct and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence. Within this Student Handbook, however, we have listed an overview of the conduct process* for your convenience.
*This overview relates specifically to cases where the Complainant (the person who has a grievance against another) is a student, and the Respondent (the person responding to those allegations) is a student.
Title IX Conduct Process Overview
- Complainant* makes a report to Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students, or Campus Safety
- Complainant or College has decided to proceed with a complaint
- Initial investigation (i.e. interview with Complainant or written summary from Complainant) leads to Dean of Students determining threshold is met for further investigation and adjudication
- If the Dean of Students determines threshold not met? Complainant can appeal to Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
a. Notice of Investigation
- Complainant is notified that Respondent** will be contacted
- Respondent is notified of investigation, which includes a summary of the issue and relevant information, plus a request for an interview with the investigator within 5 business days; failure of Respondent to participate or respond will not delay the process
- Both receive requests for witness names and all exhibits/evidence; both are reminded retaliation is prohibited; both are reminded of support resources and the right to a support person/attorney
- Complainant is interviewed; a summary is written; Complainant can review & addend the summary
- Respondent is interviewed; a summary is written; Respondent can review & addend the summary
- Relevant witnesses are interviewed; summaries are written; witness can review & addend the summary
- Audio recordings may be made during interviews; they are kept in conduct file; transcripts of the interviews are created by the investigator and are exhibits in the report; they can be reviewed by all but not edited/add ended
- Complainant and Respondent and witnesses are asked to provide all correspondence with other party that relates to the case
- Adjudication meetings are scheduled and a Draft Investigative Report and supplemental materials are made available to both parties
c. Draft Investigative Report
- Complainant interview summary/ies and addenda and transcripts
- Respondent interview summary/ies and addenda and transcripts
- Witness interview summary/ies and addenda and transcripts
- Exhibits and evidence
- Conduct charge(s) that are being alleged
- Sent to both Complainant and Respondent; written response due in 5 business days
- Last opportunity to name additional witnesses or submit additional exhibits
- Proceedings may be delayed if additional investigation is necessary
d. Final Investigative Report
- All summaries, addenda, transcripts, exhibits plus responses from Draft
- Sent to Complainant, Respondent, and Adjudicator 5 or more business days before the adjudication meeting
a. Adjudication Meeting
- Usually 60 minutes (can be 90-120 minutes if there are multiple charges)
- Complainant, support person and adjudicator
- Respondent, support person and adjudicator
- In person is the preferred method, but video-conference may be used when circumstances dictate
- Audio recorded and the recording is kept in conduct file
- Both Complainant and Respondent may bring Impact Statements with their suggestions for the appropriate outcomes
- Adjudicator sends Case Opinion to Dean of Students within 5 business days of the last adjudication meeting
b. Notice of Outcome
- Dean of Students sends outcome letter to Respondent and Complainant concurrently within 2 business days of receiving Case Opinion
- Includes charges, findings of responsibility on charges, rationale from Case Opinion, educational outcomes, and appeal process (including deadlines)
- The letter is also sent to the Title IX Deputy Coordinator, Director of Campus Safety, Academic Advisor of Respondent, and any applicable College personnel
- The appeal starts a new time clock and extends the process
- Both/either Complainant and Respondent can appeal on two grounds: new information or material procedural error
- The appeal is not a de novo review; instead, the appeals officer will focus on either the procedural error or new material presented
- Appeal form is due to the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs within 5 business days of Notice of Outcome
- Within five (5) business days, the appellate discerns whether grounds are met to accept or reject the appeal for review
- When discerning whether the threshold has been met to accept the appeal for review, the appeals officer will ascertain whether the information in the appeal, if true, would meet one of the two grounds for appeal and has the potential for material impact on the outcome of the case. Accepting an appeal for review does not mean that the appeal has merit; instead, it means that it qualifies for review.
- If appeal is accepted for review, the other party is informed and allowed an opportunity to respond
- The appeals officer can affirm the original findings, alter the findings, or alter the educational outcomes, depending on the basis of the requested appeal
- The outcome of the appeal is delivered within ten (10) business days from the original submission of the appeal; the appeal officer’s decision is final
Links to Important Title IX Resources
This section of the Student Handbook is limited to the process that’s initiated if a student moves forward with campus conduct charges against another student, and if the threshold is met for adjudication. For the College’s full policy on how we prevent, report, and respond to a variety of prohibited behaviors that relate to sexual misconduct/Title IX, please see here:
Grinnell College Policy, Procedures, and Guide to Preventing, Reporting, and Responding to Sexual Misconduct and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence
We have collaborated with student leaders on a short list of Title IX FAQs that can be found here to help answer students’ frequently asked questions: Title IX FAQs
If you need additional information, please reach out to any member of the Title IX Team: Title IX Office and Staff
If you or a friend has been a victim of sexual misconduct of any form, please seek support from any of our confidential or non-confidential resources listed here: Title IX Support Resources
As always, you have a right to learn more about your rights and/or file a complaint with the OCR: Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights