Code of Student Conduct
Originator: Chief Academic Officer
- In accordance with the Board of Regents Policy V-1.00 Policy on Student Affairs, approved on January 11, 1990, disciplinary regulations are set forth in writing to give students general notice of prohibited conduct. UMGC reserves the right to take appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the UMGC community.
- To encourage the development and growth of a supportive and respectful academic environment for all students, faculty, and staff, UMGC has created the Code of Civility.
- In every case of alleged Code of Conduct violation, the burden of proof rests with the complainant who must establish the responsibility of the person accused by a preponderance of the evidence. In cases where the complainant wishes to remain anonymous, the burden of proof rests with the Administrator. See Section VI. Standards of Due Process.
- Students may be accountable to both civil authorities and to UMGC for acts that constitute violations of law and of this Code of Conduct. Disciplinary action at UMGC will normally go forward pending criminal proceedings and will not be subject to challenge on the ground that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or reduced.
When used in this code:
- "Distribution" means sale or exchange for personal profit.
- "Harassment" means speech or conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment, with the expression being persistent, extreme or outrageous and reasonably likely to cause intimidation. The mode of expression may be, but is not limited to, verbal, nonverbal, written or electronic. This definition of harassment is intended to include "bullying."
- "Reckless conduct" means conduct that one should reasonably be expected to know would create a substantial risk of harm to persons or property or that would otherwise be likely to result in interference with normal UMGC- or USM-sponsored activities.
- "Student" means a person who has been admitted to UMGC and is eligible to register for courses as degree or non-degree seeking.
- "UMGC premises" means buildings, grounds, Web sites, or computer networks owned, leased, operated, controlled, or supervised by UMGC.
- "USM premises" means buildings, grounds, Web sites, or computer networks owned, leased, operated, controlled, or supervised by the University System of Maryland.
- "Weapon" means any object or substance designed or used to inflict a wound, cause injury, or incapacitate, including, but not limited to, all firearms, pellet guns, switchblade knives, knives, and chemicals such as mace products, pepper spray, or tear gas.
- "UMGC-sponsored activity" means any activity on or off UMGC premises that is initiated, aided, authorized, or supervised by UMGC.
- "USM-sponsored activity" means any activity on or off USM premises that is initiated, aided, authorized, or supervised by USM.
- "Conference" refers to a communication between two or more individuals by telephone, in writing (including but not limited to e-mail, fax, or posted letter), through videoconferencing, or in person.
- Prohibited Conduct
The following misconduct is subject to disciplinary action:
- All forms of academic dishonesty. Allegations of academic dishonesty will be handled in accordance with UMGC Policy 150.25 Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism.
- The written or spoken use of words, epithets, or phrases that are widely recognized to be derogatory references to personal characteristics including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and disability, when such words are used to create a hostile or intimidating environment for any person on UMGC or USM premises, or at UMGC- or USM- sponsored activities.
- Participation in any form of discrimination or harassment against UMGC faculty, staff and/or students on UMGC or USM premises, or at UMGC- or USM-sponsored activities. Allegations of harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, political affiliation, mental or physical disability, or veteran status, may be processed in accordance with UMGC Policy 040.30 Policy and Procedures on Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity. Allegations of harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender or sex, including sexual harassment, will be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and processed, in accordance with UMGC Policy 041.00 Sexual Misconduct. Allegations of harassment and discrimination that do not fall into one of the above categories may be addressed through the Student Code of Conduct complaint process, initiated through the Student Resolution and Judicial Affairs.
- Intentional and substantial interference with the freedom of expression of others on UMGC or USM premises or at UMGC- or USM-sponsored activities.
- Intentional or reckless assault or harm caused to any person on UMGC- or USM-premises or at UMGC- or USM-sponsored activities, or intentional or reckless cause of reasonable apprehension of such harm.
- Intentional or reckless interference with normal USM or UMGC activities, or USM- or UMGC-sponsored activities, including, but not limited to, studying, teaching, research, administration, or fire, police, or emergency services.
- Intentional use of the UMGC or USM computing resources to upload any content that contains a software virus, time bomb, Trojan horse, or any other computer code, files, or programs that may alter, damage, or interrupt the functionality of the UMGC computing resources or the hardware or software of any other person.
- Intentional or reckless destruction of or damage to the property of others on UMGC or USM premises, or at UMGC- or USM-sponsored activities.
- Intentional initiation or instigation of initiation of any false report, warning, or threat of fire, explosion, or other emergency on UMGC or USM premises or at UMGC- or USM-sponsored activities.
- Intentional or reckless misuse of or damage to fire-safety equipment.
- Theft of property or of services on UMGC or USM premises, or at UMGC- or USM-sponsored activities; knowing possession of stolen property on UMGC or USM premises, or at UMGC- or USM-sponsored activities.
- Unlawful use, distribution, or possession of any controlled substance, illegal drug, or alcohol on UMGC or USM premises, or at UMGC- or USM-sponsored activities.
- Unauthorized use, possession, or storage of any weapon on UMGC or USM premises or at UMGC- or USM-sponsored activities.
- Intentional submission of false information to UMGC or USM.
- Failure to comply with the directions of UMGC or USM officials, including UMGC or USM security officers, or the University of Maryland Campus Police, acting in performance of their duties.
- Forgery, unauthorized alteration, or unauthorized use of any UMGC or USM document or instrument of identification.
- Unauthorized use or possession of fireworks on UMGC or USM premises or at UMGC- or USM-sponsored activities.
- Knowing violation of the terms of any disciplinary sanction imposed in accordance with this Code.
- Violation of published UMGC or USM regulations or policies (e.g. Acceptable Use Policy).
- Conviction of any crime, other than a traffic violation, while actively enrolled as a UMGC Student that represents a substantial threat to persons and property affiliated with UMGC.
- Fraud, including any willful or deliberate act, expression, omission, or concealment with the intent of obtaining an unauthorized benefit by deception or other unethical means.
- Reporting Alleged Violations
- UMGC students, faculty, staff, or administrators may report a violation to the Administrator of the Code of Conduct process in the Office of the Registrar within 15 days of knowing about, or reasonably should have known about, the alleged violation. Persons other than UMGC students, faculty, staff and administrators who believe Student (as defined in this policy) may have violated the Student Code of Conduct must contact the Administrator of the Student Code of Conduct Process. The Administrator may file a Code of Conduct charge(s) on behalf of external entities, in accordance with the process outlined below. All referrals will be treated as confidential. Persons seeking to make referrals to the Code of Student Conduct process are required to provide preliminary information pertinent to the case by completing the Student Code of Conduct Complaint Form. The complainant will normally be expected to provide additional information if requested to participate in a Hearing or Administrative Conference (referenced in Section VI). Alleged violations referred to the Code of Conduct Administrator will be reviewed to determine if there is enough information to refer the alleged violation for further review and consideration according to due process standards (referenced in Section VI).
- Any alleged violation of this Code of Conduct, other than a traffic violation, that also may violate a United States, Maryland, or local law should be immediately reported by UMGC administration to the proper authorities.
- Interim Suspension and Other Interim Measures
- The Chief Academic Officer (“CAO”) or designee may suspend a student for an interim period pending a preliminary inquiry and investigation. An interim suspension will become immediately effective without prior notice, whenever there is evidence that the continued presence of the student on UMGC or USM premises poses a substantial threat to himself or herself, to others, or to the stability and continuance of normal USM- or UMGC-sponsored activity.
- The CAO designee may issue interim measures, including but not limited to, temporarily suspending or terminating access to the classroom or any UMGC Computing Resources and/or removing content that allegedly violates this Policy.
- A student issued an interim suspension or interim measures shall be given an opportunity to meet with or communicate in writing to the CAO or designee within 10 business days from the effective date of the interim suspension or interim measures to discuss the following issues only:
- Whether the conduct and surrounding circumstances reasonably indicate that the continued presence of the student at UMGC or USM premises or having access to UMGC Computing Resources poses a substantial threat to himself or herself, to others, or to the stability and continuance of normal USM- or UMGC-sponsored activity.
- Initial Inquiry
- The Administrator for the Student Code of Conduct will review referred materials to determine if there is sufficient information to warrant further Code proceedings. The Administrator for the Code may dismiss a referral if it is discovered (1) the complainant has failed to comply with procedure; and/or (2) there exists no evidence or documentation to support the alleged violations; and/or (3) information provided is found to be fraudulent or misleading; (4) the complainant elects not to proceed with case; and/or (5) the alleged activity does not fall under Prohibited Conduct pursuant to this Code of Conduct. Note: The Administrator may elect to proceed with a Code Case, despite a withdrawal of involvement by the complainant, if it is deemed there is reasonable cause to proceed. The Administrator will proceed with the Student Code of Conduct process as outlined in section VI. in situations where there is potential harm or risk of safety to an individual and/or the community. A regional Administrator will be identified to manage the Code of Conduct Stateside, in Asia and in Europe.
- The initial review period must not exceed 10 business days from the receipt of the initial complaint.
- As a result of the initial inquiry, the Administrator may also elect to refer the involved parties to other University resources, including, but not limited to alternative dispute resolution options.
- The complainant and the person accused will be notified in writing of the decision to move forward or to dismiss a Code referral within 10 business days of receipt of the initial referral.
- Code Process Options
The Administrator will determine the appropriate adjunction process based on the allegations made against the accused student. The matter will be handled by the Hearing Committee, as described in Section B.1, when the accused student is at risk of suspension or expulsion. All other matters will be handled in accordance with the Administrator Conference, as described in Section B.2 below.
The Administrator will consult institutional files to determine if there exists relevant information within the accused's academic record, pertinent to the allegations. All material reviewed will be considered confidential and shared on a need to know basis. This information will not be shared with anyone on the Hearing Committee as this cannot be used in their determination.
To protect the confidentiality of all involved parties, generally, the Hearing Committee and Administrative Conferences shall be closed to the public and non-participants.
- Hearing Committee
- If the Code referral is not dismissed within 10 business days of the initial reporting, the Administrator will appoint a three-member ad hoc Hearing Committee. The appointment of the Hearing Committee must occur within 7 business days after the Administrator notified the complainant and the accused of the decision to move forward with the Code of Conduct. This committee will consist of three (3) members, including exempt staff, faculty members, and/or students. A Staff or Faculty member will be appointed to serve as chair of the committee. The Hearing Committee may confer with legal affairs during the preparation phase, during the Hearing, and after the Hearing concludes, as appropriate and necessary. The Administrator or designee(s) will instruct this Hearing Committee to review all materials deemed relevant to the Code matter.
- The Hearing Committee will hold a Hearing within 10 business days of receiving the Code of Conduct violation from the Administrator in person, via teleconference, or electronic media as determined by the Hearing Committee. The Administrator or designee(s) will communicate with the person accused and the complainant and give them the opportunity to prepare any relevant evidence. The accused student may seek more information regarding the allegations made against him by submitting a written request and/or relevant questions to the Administrator.
- At the Hearing, the person accused and the complainant will be entitled to present information. Any information that is presented at the Hearing must be presented to all parties and the Hearing Committee. The person accused or complainant may be accompanied by an individual acting in an advisory capacity, who may be an attorney, at his or her own expense. Such individuals may counsel the complainant or the accused during the course of a Hearing, but shall not personally participate or speak on behalf of the complainant or the accused. Parties who wish to be accompanied by an attorney must inform the Administrator in writing at least 5 business days before the scheduled date of the proceeding. Those acting in an advisory capacity may not appear in lieu of the complainant or the persons accused.
- After the Committee Hearing is complete, the Hearing Committee will deliberate and render a recommendation in writing to the Administrator. If the Administrator is serving as the Complainant, on behalf of the University, final Committee recommendation will be provided to an alternate member of the Office of the Registrar. Final recommendations of the Hearing Committee shall be accompanied by a written opinion prepared by the chair of the Hearing Committee. Generally, if the Hearing Committee finds the allegation to be supported by a preponderance of the evidence, the Hearing Committee will recommend an appropriate sanction to the Administrator. The Administrator will review the recommendations, render a decision and issue a sanction, if appropriate (see Section VII Sanctions). Any previous record of violations of this Code may increase the sanction.
- Within 10 business days of the conclusion of the Hearing, the Administrator or designee will notify the accused of the decision and sanction, if appropriate, in writing. A copy of the report and the final decision will be kept on file as a part of the accused's academic record.
- In some circumstances, it may be necessary to notify the complainant of the decision made by the Hearing Committee. If necessary, the complainant will be notified within 7 business days of the decision.
- Administrative Conference
- If the Code referral is not dismissed within 10 business days of the initial reporting, the Administrator can choose to have an Administrative Conference with the student.
- The Administrative Conference must be scheduled within 7 business days of receipt of the referral.
- The Administrator will meet initially with the complainant, separate and apart from the accused. The Administrator will gather all relevant information from the complainant, including questions the complainant directs to the accused.
- The Administrator will meet with the accused in a one on one conference to complete the Administrative Conference.
- The Administrator reserves the right to remand the Code referral to an Hearing Committee, in the event of a conflict of interest and/or if deemed in the best interest of the process.
- After the conclusion of the Administrative Conference, the Administrator shall render a decision as to whether or not there has been a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.
- If the Administrator determines the Code has been violated, the Administrator will render the appropriate sanction at the same time it is deemed there has been a violation of the Code.
- The Administrator will notify the accused of the decision and sanction, if appropriate, in writing within 10 days after the conclusion of the Administrative Conference. A copy of the report and the final decision will be kept on file as a part of the accused's academic record.
- In some circumstances, it may be necessary to notify the complainant of the decision made by the Administrator. If necessary, the complainant will be notified within 7 business days of the decision.
- All deadlines contained in this Policy may be extended for good cause upon written notice prior to the date the deadline expires.
- Within 15 business days of receipt of the written decision, the accused may appeal the decision in writing to the CAO or designee.
- The CAO or designee shall review the information collected for the original preliminary Administrator's inquiry, the Hearing Committee report or Administrator's report, the final decision briefing, and all information relevant to the case. The CAO or designee will render a decision and sanction, as appropriate, based on this evidence. The CAO or designee may render one of the following decisions:
- Affirm the finding and the sanction imposed by the Hearing Committee or Administrative Conference
- Affirm the finding and reduce, but not eliminate, the sanction or impose a different sanction, if found to be disproportionate to the offense.
- Remand the case back to the Hearing Committee or the Administrator, if procedural errors or errors in interpretation of University regulations were substantial, and/or if new and significant evidence became available which could not have been discovered by a properly diligent person accused before or during the original Hearing or Inquiry.
- Dismiss the case.
- The decision of the CAO or designee is final and is not appealable.
- The CAO or designee will render the final decision, in writing, within 15 business days of the receiving the appeal. Copies of this final recommendation will maintained as a part of the students' academic record.
- In some circumstances, it may be necessary to notify the complainant of the decision made by the CAO or designee. If necessary, the complainant will be notified within 7 business days of the decision.
- Initial Inquiry
Sanctions for violations of disciplinary regulations include, but are not limited to:
- Verbal or Written Reprimand: The student is advised that such behavior is contrary to the principles and expectations of UMGC students; students are further advised that similar behavior in the future could result in new charges brought under the Student Code of Conduct pursuant to the process described in Sections I – VI.
- Disciplinary probation: The student shall not represent UMGC in any extracurricular activity or run for or hold office in any student group or organization for a specified period of time. The student may also be subject to restricted and/or reduced participation in UMGC and/or USM sponsored events, activities and/or services. Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed.
- Restitution: The student is required to make payment to UMGC or to other persons, groups, or organizations for damages incurred as a result of a violation of this Code.
- Suspension in Abeyance: The student shall receive a sanction that will temporarily separate them from all UMGC and USM sponsored activities, events, and/or services. The sanction, however, is held in abeyance until the expiration of the sanction period or if the accused is found responsible for continuing the behavior and/or circumstance that was found to have violated the Code of Conduct. In the event the accused is found to have continued the behavior or circumstance for which he or she was found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct, the suspension period shall become effective immediately.
- Suspension: The student is temporarily separated from UMGC for a specified period of time. Permanent notification will appear on the student's transcript. The student shall not participate in any UMGC or USM sponsored activity and may be barred from UMGC premises. Suspended time will not count against any time limits of the Graduate School for completion of a degree. Credit earned elsewhere during the period of suspension are subject to review and acceptance prior to transfer.
- Expulsion: The student is permanently separated from UMGC. Permanent notification will appear on the student's transcript. The student will also be barred from UMGC premises. (Expulsion requires approval by the CAO or designee.)
- Other sanctions: Other sanctions may be imposed instead of or in addition to those specified in this Section.
- Disciplinary Files and Records
- The reporting of any violation of this Code will result in the development of a student's disciplinary file, which shall be nullified if the student is found not responsible for the charges. The records of students found responsible for violating the Code of Conduct will be retained as permanent disciplinary records.
- Disciplinary records may be expunged from the student's disciplinary file by the CAO or designee for good cause, upon written petition of student accused, three years from the date of the final written decision. Disciplinary records shall not be expunged without unusual and compelling justification. Factors to be considered in review of such petitions shall include:
- The present demeanor of the person accused.
- The conduct of the person accused subsequent to the violation.
- The nature of the violation and the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from it. The CAO or designee will respond, in writing, within 15 business days of the receipt of the petition. The decision of the CAO is final. Copies of the petition and decision letter will be kept in the central records file in the Office of the CAO.
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