26. Student Conduct Proceedings
All charges shall be presented to the accused student in written form. The accused student will be given at least three (3) University business days to prepare for a conference. In all student conduct proceedings, the accused student shall be presumed not responsible until it is proven that a violation of the University rules occurred by a preponderance of the information standard.
26.1. Student Conduct Conferences that may result in University mandated separation from the University shall be conducted by the following guidelines with the exception of cases that involve potential violations of Texas A&M University rule 08.01.01.M1. Fact patterns that include one or more possible violations of Texas A&M University rule 08.01.01.M1 may utilize procedures as outlined in the Texas A&M University Standard Administrative Procedure 08.01.01.M1.01. Accused students subject to less severe sanctions may, at the discretion of the Student Conduct Administrator, be afforded but are not guaranteed the guidelines outlined below. These guidelines are as follows:
26.1.1. Student Conduct Conferences will typically be conducted in private and may involve joint conferences where two or more students are charged in the same fact pattern.
26.1.2. The accused student and the accused student’s advisor, if any, shall be allowed to attend the entire portion of the student conduct conference at which information is received (excluding deliberations) provided the accused student and the accused student’s advisor appear at the designated time and do not inhibit the proceeding. Admission of any other person to the student conduct conference shall be at the discretion of the Student Conduct Administrator.
26.1.3. In student conduct conferences involving more than one accused student, the Student Conduct Administrator, at the Student Conduct Administrator’s discretion, may permit the student conduct conferences concerning each student to be conducted either separately or jointly.
26.1.4. There will be no finding of responsibility solely because a student remains silent during a student conduct conference.
26.1.5. The accused student has the opportunity to be assisted by an advisor the accused student chooses, at the accused student’s own expense.
18.104.22.168. The advisor may not be an attorney unless the accused student is also the subject of a pending subsequent criminal matter arising out of the same circumstances; in such cases, the accused student may be allowed to have an attorney serve as the accused student’s advisor, at their own expense, to behave in the same manner as any other advisor.
22.214.171.124. Students who are charged in the same fact pattern, or who are not in good standing with the University are not eligible to serve as an advisor at conduct proceedings.
126.96.36.199. The advisor may not be a witness or otherwise have any conflicting role in the process.
188.8.131.52. During the process, the advisor may not actively participate, directly address an involved university official, or advocate on behalf of the student.
Accused students are responsible for presenting their own information. Therefore, a student should select as an advisor a person whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled date and time for the student conduct conference. Student conduct conferences will not typically be delayed due to scheduling conflicts of an advisor. There is no restriction on who a student may consult or seek advice from, the restriction pertains to the conduct conference only.
26.1.6. The accused student and the Student Conduct Administrator may arrange for witnesses to present pertinent information to the Student Conduct Panel. Witnesses may provide this information to and answer questions from the Student Conduct Panel, Student Conduct Administrator, and/or accused student. (Character statements shall be accepted in written form only.)
26.1.7. An advisor, witness, or other participating party who is verbally abusive, disruptive to the process, or persists in trying to inappropriately and substantively participate in the process after being warned to cease and desist may be asked to leave and may be precluded from attendance at future meetings. The University has the right at all times to determine what constitutes appropriate behavior on the part of an advisor.
26.1.8. Pertinent records, exhibits, student impact statements and other written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by a Student Conduct Panel at the discretion of the chairperson. Student impact statements and other documents determined at the discretion of the chairperson shall be reviewed by the Student Conduct Panel during the sanction phase only.
26.1.9. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the chairperson of the Student Conduct Panel.
26.1.10. After the portion of the Student Conduct Conference concludes in which all pertinent information has been received, the Student Conduct Panel shall deliberate in private to determine whether the accused student has violated each section of the student conduct code for which the student is charged.
26.1.11. The focus of inquiry in student conduct proceedings shall be the determination of whether a violation of University rules occurred and, if relevant, collect information to inform factors that are considered for issuing sanctions. In all initial student conduct proceedings, the burden of proof shall rest with the University, and said burden of proof shall be by a preponderance of the information. Preponderance of the information is defined as the greater weight and degree of credible information admitted in the conference. The Student Conduct Panel’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the accused student violated the Student Conduct Code.
26.1.12. The accused student shall be informed of the outcome of the Student Conduct Conference.
26.1.13. There shall be a single verbatim record, such as a tape or digital recording, of all student conduct conferences before a Student Conduct Panel. Deliberations shall not be recorded. The record shall be the property of the University.
If an accused student with notice, does not appear at a student conduct conference, the information in support of charges shall be presented, considered, and a decision may be made. The Student Conduct Panel may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the complainant, accused student, and/or other witnesses during the conference. There is no entitlement to these accommodations and they shall be determined by the Student Conduct Administrator. The Student Conduct Administrator may also make reasonable accommodations to provide access for students with disabilities.
The decision as to which procedure to utilize for a grievance filed by a student shall be made solely by the University and shall be based on the fact pattern of each particular case.
A decision reached by the Student Conduct Panel or a sanction imposed by the Student Conduct Administrator may be appealed by the accused student(s) to an appeal panel within five (5) University business days of the decision. Such appeals shall be in writing and shall be submitted to the coordinator of the appeals process or designee.
Rules regarding the Student Conduct Code and related actions are listed in Part III, Student Life Rules, Grievance Procedures (See sec. 51). An appeal panel may uphold the sanction(s) imposed by the original Student Conduct Panel and/or Student Conduct Administrator or the appeal panel may modify the sanction(s) imposed by the original Student Conduct Panel and/or Student Conduct Administrator. If sufficient information is presented that may have materially altered the decision of the original Student Conduct Panel and/or Student Conduct Administrator and was not or could not have been known at the time of the original conference and/or the original Student Conduct Panel failed to appropriately follow the guidelines described above, the appeal panel may require that the case be heard again by a Student Conduct Panel administered by the Offices of the Dean of Student Life.
Following an appeal, the matter shall be considered final and binding upon all involved.
26.4. An open conference may be held only if all students involved provide written consent to disclose any and all information that might be released from their educational record during the course of the conference. Final determination shall be at the sole discretion of the Student Conduct Administrator(s).