I. Personal Misconduct Cases

The following procedures shall govern cases involving alleged acts of personal misconduct. The procedures contained in this Article apply to all students at Michigan State University. These procedures do not govern cases involving academic misconduct, which are governed by Article 7. The Vice President of Student Affairs and Services (the “Vice President”) and the Provost will determine whether a case involving allegations of both personal misconduct and academic misconduct will be heard pursuant to Article 5 or Article 7 (or both).

A. Complaints

A complaint is defined as an allegation that a student has violated a University regulation, ordinance, or policy. Any member of the University community may file a complaint against a student.

B. Filing a Complaint

To file a complaint, a complainant must submit a written, signed statement to the Department of Student Life. The statement must contain the following information:

1. The specific policy, ordinance, or regulation that has allegedly been violated;

2. The time, place, and specific description of the alleged violation;

3. The name of the student against whom the complaint is filed (the “respondent”); and

4. The name of the individual who is filing the complaint (the “complainant”).

C. Notice of Complaint

Upon receipt of a complaint, a designee of the Vice President shall notify the respondent in writing within five class days that he or she has been accused of violating a University regulation, ordinance, or policy[15]. The respondent shall be required to meet with an individual designated by the Department of Student Life (“administrator”) to discuss the complaint. The notice of complaint to the respondent shall include the following:

1. The specific policy, ordinance, or regulation that has allegedly been violated;

2. The time, place, and specific description of the alleged violation;

3. The name of the individual who is filing the complaint;

4. Notice of the opportunity to review the complaint in person;

5. A list of campus resources available to both parties; and

6. The deadline by which the respondent is required to meet with the administrator.

D. Administrative Meeting

1. The respondent will meet with the administrator, who will advise the respondent of his/her rights and responsibilities under this document. At that time, the respondent will be provided with a copy of the complaint and may admit or deny the alleged violation.

2. If the respondent fails to meet with the administrator or fails to admit or deny the alleged violation within five class days[16] of meeting with the administrator, the administrator may take one of the following actions:

a. Place a hold on the respondent’s registration until the respondent meets with the administrator.

b. Refer the case to the appropriate hearing board for a formal hearing.

c. Render a decision on the complaint, provided that the administrator may not impose the sanctions of suspension or dismissal. If the administrator renders a decision on the complaint, the respondent shall have five class days from the date of the administrator’s decision to request a formal hearing before the appropriate hearing board. Such a request must be made in writing and filed with the administrator. Such a request voids the administrator’s decision, which will not be shared with the hearing board that hears the complaint. In the absence of such a request, the administrator’s decision on the complaint will be final.

3. A respondent who admits his/her violation waives his or her right to a hearing on the matter of responsibility. In such a situation, the respondent may request that the administrator determine the sanction for the violation or request that the appropriate hearing board determine the sanction.

4. If the respondent denies the violation alleged in the complaint, the complaint will be referred to the appropriate hearing board. The hearing should follow in a timely manner.

E. Hearing Procedures

1. At least five class days prior to a hearing, both the complainant and respondent shall receive written notification of the hearing from the appropriate hearing board. This notice of hearing shall include:

a. A copy of the notice of complaint;

b. The date, time, and location of the hearing;

c. The names of the hearing board members conducting the hearing;

d. The names of the complainant’s witnesses and advisor (if known).

2. The chair of the hearing board shall take necessary precautions to avoid any conflict of interest on the part of the hearing board’s members.  The complainant and the respondent shall have two class days from receiving the hearing notice to challenge any hearing board members for cause.[17]

3. The complainant and respondent shall have two class days from receiving the hearing notice to provide the chair of the hearing board with the names of his/her witnesses or advisors, if such names are not already listed on the hearing notice.  The complainant and respondent will receive a second notice containing this information no less than one class day prior to the hearing.

4. Either party may request, for good cause, that the hearing be postponed.[18] The chair of the hearing board may grant or deny such a request.

5. The hearing shall be closed unless the respondent requests an open hearing.  If the complainant is a student or the complaint was filed on behalf of a student, both the respondent and complainant must agree to an open hearing. The hearing board may close an open hearing at any time to maintain order or protect the confidentiality of information.[19] An open hearing is open to any member of the University community.

6. The complainant and respondent shall be expected to appear at the hearing to present their cases. If appearance in person is not feasible, the hearing board may permit either party to present his/her case through other communication channels (phone, webcam, video conference, etc.).  If the complainant fails to appear, the hearing board may either postpone the hearing or dismiss the case. If the respondent fails to appear, the hearing board may either postpone the hearing or hear the case in the respondent’s absence. The respondent’s failure to appear does not mean the respondent may be presumed to have committed the violation in the complaint.

7. The complainant and respondent shall be entitled to:

a. Receive a timely hearing.

b. Call witnesses on their behalf. Witnesses must be members of the University community, unless the hearing board determines that they have direct knowledge of the alleged behavior in question. Witnesses may be present in the hearing only when testifying. Witnesses may submit written statements to the hearing board in lieu of attending only with the written permission of the chair of the hearing board. Expert or character witnesses are generally not allowed. The hearing board may limit the number of witnesses.

c. Submit information in support of their positions.

d. Be accompanied to the hearing by an advisor, who must be a member of the faculty, staff, or student body of the University. The respondent may have an attorney who is not a member of the faculty, staff, or student body at the hearing as his/her advisor if criminal charges related to the alleged violation are pending. If the respondent is criminally charged with a sex offense related to the alleged violation when the hearing occurs, the complainant may have an attorney present at the hearing as his/her advisor. The advisor/attorney may be present throughout the hearing but has no voice in the hearing unless the chair of the hearing board grants the attorney/advisor permission to participate.[20]

e. Question any witness who appears at the hearing.

8. The hearing board shall determine whether each allegation has been supported by a preponderance of the evidence[21]. If an allegation is not supported by a preponderance of the evidence, the respondent shall be found “not responsible” for that allegation. If the allegation is supported by a preponderance of the evidence, the hearing board may impose one or more of the sanctions listed in Section H of this Article.

9. The hearing board shall prepare a written report within five class days of the hearing.  The report shall include rationale for the hearing board’s decision and notification of the right to appeal. A copy of the report shall be provided to the complainant and respondent, who will be required to maintain the confidentiality of the document.

F. Appeals

1. The University Student Appeals Board has jurisdiction over all appeals of decisions made by an administrator or hearing board under this Article.

2. A respondent may appeal an adverse decision on the basis that the information presented at the hearing does not support the decision reached by the hearing board or the sanction imposed or recommended by the hearing board.

3. Either the complainant or respondent may appeal on the basis that applicable procedures were not followed or there was a conflict of interest with a member of the hearing board.

4. A written appeal must be filed with the chair of the University Student Appeals Board within five class days after the date on which the hearing board’s decision was sent to the parties. Any sanctions imposed will be held in abeyance while the appeal is pending.

5. The chair of the University Student Appeals Board shall take necessary precautions to avoid any conflict of interest on the part of the appellate board’s members. Upon receipt of the appeal, the chair shall provide the complainant and respondent with written notice of the names of the members of the University Student Appeals Board. Both the complainant and respondent shall have two class days from receiving such notice to challenge any member for cause.

6. The University Student Appeals Board shall review the case and the procedures used, request additional information if needed, and then do one of the following:

a. Reject the appeal for lack of jurisdiction[22].

b. Affirm or reverse the original decision.

c. Direct the original hearing board to rehear the case or to reconsider or clarify its decision.

d. Conduct a hearing of its own, from which the University Student Appeals Board may affirm, reverse or modify the original decision.

7. The University Student Appeals Board shall issue a written decision, including the rationale for its decision, within ten class days of convening to consider the appeal or conducting a hearing. A copy of the decision shall be provided to the complainant and respondent, who will be required to maintain the confidentiality of the document.

8. Either party may file a written request with the Vice President to review a decision by the University Student Appeals Board within five class days of the appellate board’s decision. A request filed by the respondent must allege that the information presented at the appellate hearing does not support the decision reached by the University Student Appeals Board or the information presented at the hearing does not support the sanction imposed.  Either the complainant or the respondent may file a request alleging that the applicable procedures were not followed or there was a conflict of interest with a member of the hearing board. The Vice President’s decision is final.

G. Requests for Reconsideration

Each hearing board shall make provision to allow a complainant or respondent to request reconsideration of a case within 30 calendar days of its decision on the basis that new information has arisen.[23] An exception to the 30-day time limit may be granted by the appropriate hearing board only upon a showing of good cause.

H. Sanctions for Personal Misconduct

Disciplinary sanctions imposed should be based on a consideration of all circumstances in a particular case, including a student’s prior record of misconduct, if any. Such sanctions may include any one or more of the following:

1. Warning:  An official written statement expressing disapproval of the behavior and notifying the student it must not occur again.

2. Probation:  An official written statement establishing a period of time for observing and evaluating a student’s conduct and indicating that any additional violations may result in more severe disciplinary action. This period may be accompanied by stipulations, including but not limited to restitution, participation in an educational program, or loss of specified University privileges.

3. Restitution:  A requirement that a student pay for property damages or losses resulting from acts committed by the student, with the date by which the restitution must be completed.

4. Change of Residence:  The student shall be required to move from his or her current on-campus residence, either to an off-campus location or to another location within the University housing system.

5. Other:  The student may be required to participate in an educational program deemed appropriate to a specific case or set of behaviors or lose specified University privileges.

6. Suspension:  A suspension is temporary removal from the University for a particular period of time, at the conclusion of which the student is eligible to apply for readmission.  A suspension may also be a conditional suspension, in which case the student must demonstrate that he/she has fulfilled stated conditions prior to applying for readmission.

7. Dismissal:  A dismissal is a permanent removal from the University.

Dismissal and suspension sanctions may be imposed only by the Vice President or Provost.  A decision by the Student Faculty Hearing Board or University Student Appeals Board that includes the sanction of dismissal or suspension must be approved and implemented by the Vice President or Provost, as appropriate.

I. Urgent Disciplinary Cases

If the Vice President is presented with credible information that a student’s continued presence at Michigan State University poses a clear and present  danger[24] to the health or safety of persons or property, the Vice President or his/her designee may temporarily suspend a student from the University. Before temporarily suspending a student, the Vice President will make a reasonable attempt to notify the student of the potential interim suspension and offer the student an opportunity to present information that he/she does not pose a threat to persons or property.

The interim suspension shall not preclude, render irrelevant, or predetermine the outcome of subsequent disciplinary action relating to conduct on which the interim suspension is based. Nor shall an interim suspension create a presumption of guilt. Students placed on interim suspension may petition for reinstatement at any time, with the following guidelines.

1. Such petitions will be considered by either the Vice President or the Provost (or their designees) as requested by the petitioner.

2. Within five class days after receipt of a student’s petition, the Vice President or the Provost (or their designees) shall meet with the student for the sole purpose of deciding whether to continue the interim suspension or grant reinstatement.

3. The outcome of the meeting shall not preclude, render irrelevant, or predetermine the outcome of subsequent disciplinary action.

Students placed on interim suspension shall face disciplinary action for the underlying conduct pursuant to this Article, regardless of where the conduct occurred.

II. Non-Academic Student Grievances

Any student (the “grievant”) may file a grievance against a registered student organization, student governing group, or University employee alleging a violation of this document or a violation of the student group’s constitution, bylaws, or policies. Any student may also file a grievance pursuant to this section to challenge a University policy or regulation as being inconsistent with the guidelines established in this document.[25] Such grievances should be filed in writing with the Vice President.

A. Informal Resolution

Prior to filing a student grievance, the grievant should first attempt to resolve the grievance informally.

B. Jurisdictional Findings

A designee of the Vice President shall review the grievance and forward it to the appropriate hearing board to determine whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case. The hearing board shall then forward a copy of the grievance to the respondent and invite a written response. After considering all submitted information, the hearing board may:

1. Schedule a hearing.

2. Reject the request for lack of jurisdiction[26] and provide a written explanation for that decision.

3. Invite all parties to meet with the hearing board for an informal discussion of the issues. Such a discussion shall not preclude a subsequent hearing.

C. Hearing Procedures

1. At least five class days prior to a hearing, the parties shall receive written notification of the hearing from the appropriate hearing board. This notice of hearing shall include:

a. The date, time, and location of the hearing;
b. The names of the hearing board members; and
c. The names of the parties’ witnesses and advisors (if known).

2. Both the respondent and grievant shall have two class days from receiving the hearing notice to challenge any hearing board members for cause.[27]

3. The parties shall have two class days from receiving the hearing notice to provide the chair of the hearing board with the names of their witnesses and advisors, if such names are not already listed on the hearing notice. Both parties will receive a second notice containing this information no less than one class day prior to the hearing.

4. Either party may request, for good cause, that the hearing be postponed.[28]  The chair of the hearing board may grant or deny such a request.

5. The hearing shall be open unless the hearing board determines that the hearing should be closed to protect the confidentiality of information.  An open hearing is open to any member of the University community. The hearing board may close an open hearing at any time to maintain order or protect the confidentiality of information.

6. Both parties are expected to appear at the hearing to present their cases. If appearance in person is not feasible, the hearing board may permit either party to present its case through other communication channels (phone, webcam, video conference, etc.).  If the grievant fails to appear, the hearing board may either postpone the hearing or dismiss the case. If the respondent fails to appear, the hearing board may either postpone the hearing or hear the case in the respondent’s absence. The respondent’s failure to appear shall not result in any presumption favoring the grievant.

7. Both parties shall be entitled to:

a. Receive a timely hearing.

b. Call witnesses on their behalf. Witnesses must be members of the University community, unless the hearing board determines that they have direct knowledge of the matter at issue. Witnesses may be present in the hearing only when testifying. Witnesses may submit written statements to the hearing board in lieu of attending only with the written permission of the chair of the hearing board. Expert witnesses are generally not allowed. The hearing board may limit the number of witnesses.

c. Submit information in support of their positions.

d. Be accompanied by an advisor, who must be a member of the faculty, staff, or student body of the University. The advisor may be present throughout the hearing but has no voice in the hearing unless the chair of the hearing board grants the advisor permission to participate in the hearing.[29]

e. Question any witness who appears at the hearing.

8. The hearing board shall determine whether the allegation has been supported by a preponderance of the evidence[30]. If the allegation is not supported by a preponderance of the evidence, the grievance shall be decided in favor of the respondent.  If the allegation is supported by a preponderance of the evidence, the hearing board may impose one or more of the sanctions listed in Section D below.

9. The hearing board shall prepare a written report within five class days of the hearing.  The report shall include the rationale for the hearing board’s decision and notification of the right to appeal.  The hearing board will send a copy of its report to both parties, who will be required to maintain the confidentiality of the document.

D. Sanctions

1. Warning:  An official written statement expressing disapproval of the behavior and notifying the respondent it must not recur.

2. Warning Probation:  An official written statement establishing a period of time for observing and evaluating a student group’s conduct and indicating that further violations may result in more severe consequences. This probation may be accompanied by conditions.

3. Revocation of privileges for a registered student organization or student governing group.

4. Revocation of registration of a student organization.

5. Other action deemed appropriate to the specific case.

6. A formal recommendation to the appropriate administrator to correct the action, policy, or regulation in question.

E. Appeals

Either party may appeal the decision of the hearing board on the basis that (1) the information presented does not support the decision reached by the hearing board, (2) the information presented does not support the sanction imposed or recommended by the hearing board, or (3) the procedures described above for adjudicating the case were not followed. A written appeal must be filed with the chair of the University Student Appeals Board within five class days after the hearing board’s report has been sent to the parties. Any sanctions imposed will be held in abeyance while the appeal is pending.

F. Temporary Restraining Actions

1. The codes of operation for student judiciaries described in Article 4 of this document shall include provisions for expedited consideration of urgent cases in which a restraining action is sought because (1) a group action allegedly threatens immediate and irreparable harm through action contrary to the constitution of any undergraduate or graduate student governing group within the judiciary’s jurisdiction; or (2) a regulation or administrative decision allegedly threatens immediate and irreparable harm through infringement of rights defined by this document.

2. Upon receipt of such a request, the relevant hearing board shall conduct a preliminary review to determine whether a temporary restraining action is appropriate. This review should include opportunity for both the grievant and the respondent to present information, either in writing or in person at the discretion of the hearing board. The purpose of the review is to consider the nature and potential extent of irreparable harm and other alternatives to remedy the situation. The review shall not preclude, render irrelevant, or predetermine the outcome of the ultimate decision of the hearing board on the grievance in question.

3. If the hearing board decides to take a temporary restraining action, the appropriate individual,  group, or administrative unit shall be required to postpone or withdraw the action in question pending a hearing on the merits of the grievance by the appropriate hearing board.

4. The hearing board shall make every reasonable effort to meet whatever exigencies of time may exist in such a case. If necessary, the hearing board may announce its decision regarding a temporary action without a written statement of its reasons, provided that such a statement of its reasons shall be made available to the parties as soon as is reasonably possible.

([15] Notices sent via electronic mail will be sent to the individual’s official MSU e-mail account.)

([16] A “class day” is a day on which classes are held, including the days of Final Exam Week but excluding weekends.)

([17] The standard the chair of the hearing body shall follow in ruling on challenges for cause is whether, in light of the challenged person’s knowledge of the case or personal or professional relationships with the complainant, respondent, or a witness, the challenged person would be able to fairly and impartially hear the case. If the challenge is to the chair of the hearing body, the challenge shall be decided by the Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Services.)

([18] ”Good cause” includes, but is not limited to, circumstances outside of a party’s control, such as illness, death in the family, or a class conflict.)

([19] The hearing board described in this document should refer to University policies and applicable laws regarding confidentiality of information.)

([20] The chair shall normally grant permission for a student representative from the undergraduate student defender program to have voice in the hearing.)

([21] A preponderance of the evidence is defined as that which is more convincing, more credible, and of a greater weight.)

([22] The appellate body must reject the appeal for lack of jurisdiction if the written appeal does not articulate one of the permissible bases for appeal or if the appeal deadline had already elapsed when the appeal was filed.)

([23] For the purposes of this document, “new information” is defined as relevant information or documents previously unavailable to the party, although the party acted with due diligence to obtain such information.)

([24] A “clear and present danger to the health or safety of persons or property” is defined as an immediate and significant danger.)

([25] A designee of the Vice President will identify the appropriate respondent in grievances that are filed to challenge a University policy or regulation.)

([26] The hearing board must reject the grievance for lack of jurisdiction if the grievance does not articulate one of the appropriate bases for a grievance.)

([27] The standard the chair of the hearing body shall follow in ruling on challenges for cause is whether, in light of the challenged person’s knowledge of the case or personal or professional relationship with a party or a witness, the challenged person would be able to fairly and impartially hear the case. If the challenge is to the chair of the hearing body, the challenge shall be decided by the Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Services.)

([28] “Good cause” includes, but is not limited to, circumstances outside of a party’s control, such as illness, death in the family, or a class conflict.)

([29] The chair shall normally grant permission for a student representative from the undergraduate student defender program to have voice in the hearing.)

([30] A preponderance of the evidence is defined as that which is more convincing, more credible, and of a greater weight.)