Conduct Guidelines and Grievance Procedures for Students
The Montana State University Billings community seeks to foster a campus environment that is conducive to academic inquiry, productive campus life, and thoughtful study and discourse. The student conduct program at MSU Billings is an educational and developmental process that balances the interests of individual students with the interests of the academic community.
Students are essential members of the MSU Billings community and are expected to uphold and abide by certain standards of conduct that form the basis of the Code of Student Conduct. The student conduct process at MSU Billings is not intended to punish students; rather, it exists to challenge those whose behavior is not in accordance with our policies and to protect the interests of the community. Sanctions are intended to improve the students’ moral and ethical decision-making and to help them learn more about what is expected as members of our community. In cases where students fail to live by the conduct standards or pose a threat to the continuing safety of the academic or campus community, the conduct process may determine that the student should no longer share in the privilege of being a member of this community.
Students should be aware that the student conduct process is quite different from criminal and civil court proceedings. Procedures and rights in student conduct process are conducted with fairness, but do not include the same protections of due process afforded by the courts in criminal cases. Due process, as defined within these procedures, assures written notice and a hearing before a hearing officer. No student will be found in violation of the MSU Billings Code of Student Conduct without determination that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred. Any sanctions will be proportionate to the severity of the violation and to the cumulative conduct history of the student.
Students at Montana State University Billings are responsible to read and abide by this Code of Student Conduct. Annually, students are provided a link to this Code of Student Conduct on the University website.
JUDICIAL AUTHORITY AND JURISDICTION
- The Code of Student Conduct and the student conduct process apply to the conduct of individual students, both undergraduate and graduate, and all University affiliated student organizations. For the purposes of student conduct, the University considers an individual to be a student when an offer of admission has been extended and during the student’s attendance.
- The University retains conduct jurisdiction over students who 1) are on University holidays and during summers between enrolled semesters; and/or 2) choose to take a leave of absence, withdraw or have graduated for any misconduct that occurred prior to the leave, withdrawal or graduation. If sanctioned, a hold may be placed on the student’s ability to re-enroll, obtain official transcripts, or graduateand all directives and/or sanctions must be satisfied prior to re-enrollment eligibility. If serious misconduct was committed while the student was enrolled but reported after the accused student has graduated, the University may invoke these procedures. Should the former student be found responsible, the University may revoke that student’s degree.
- The Code of Student Conduct applies to behaviors that take place on the campus, at University-sponsored events and may also apply off-campus when the Dean of Student Engagement or designee determines that the off-campus conduct affects a substantial University interest. A substantial University interest is defined to include:
- Any situation where it appears that the student’s conduct may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of him/herself or others;
- Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
- Any situation that is detrimental to the educational mission and/or interests of the University.
- The Code of Student Conduct may be applied to behavior conducted online, via email or other electronic medium. Students should also be aware that online postings such as blogs, web postings, chats and social networking sites are in the public sphere and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations if evidence of policy violations is posted online. The University does not regularly search for this information but may take action if and when such information is brought to the attention of University officials.
- Students who commit offenses against the laws of the city, state or United States are subject to prosecution by those authorities and may be subject to disciplinary action under this code if the offenses are also violations of this code. University disciplinary proceedings may precede, follow, or take place simultaneously with criminal investigations or proceedings and will not be subject to challenge on the ground that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or reduced.
- When a student has been charged by a civil authority for a violation of law, the University will neither request nor agree to special consideration for the student solely because of his or her status as a student.
- When a complaint is filed with appropriate University officials charging a student with violating the Code of Student Conduct, the University is responsible for conducting an investigation, initiating charges and adjudicating those charges. Charges under the Code of Student Conduct that are filed by the University are brought forward by the University and not an individual complainant. If the complainant decides to withdraw the complaint, the University may proceed with the case.
- University email is the University’s primary means of communication with students. Students are responsible for all communication delivered to their designated University email address.
- PROSCRIBED CONDUCT - Any student found to have committed a violation of the Code of Student Conduct is subject to disciplinary sanctions outlined in Part IX, D. The following offenses
constitute violations of the Code of Student Conduct and can lead to serious disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion from
- ACTS OF DISHONESTY - Acts of dishonesty include, but are not limited to:
- Cheating, plagiarism or other breaches of academic integrity, such as fabrication,
facilitating or aiding academic dishonesty; theft, unauthorized possession or use
of instructional materials or tests; unauthorized access to or manipulation of laboratory
equipment or experiments; alteration of grades or files; misuse of research data in
reporting results; use of personal relationships to gain grades or favors, or otherwise
attempting to obtain grades or credit through fraudulent means.
Cheating – giving, using, or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids or other devices in any academic exercise including unauthorized communication of information. Examples of cheating include copying from another student’s paper or receiving unauthorized assistance during a quiz, test or examination; using books, notes or other devices such as calculators, unless authorized; acquiring without authorization copies of tests or examinations before the scheduled exercise; or copying reports, laboratory work or computer programs or files from other students.
Falsification/fabrication – the invention or unauthorized alteration of any information or citation in an academic exercise. Examples of fabrication include inventing or counterfeiting data or research procedures to give the appearance of results being achieved from procedures that were not undertaken. Examples of falsification include the false citation of a source of information; altering the record of, or reporting false information about practicum or clinical experiences; or altering grade reports or other academic records.
Tampering – inferring with, altering or attempting to alter university records, grades, assignments, laboratory experiments or other documents without authorization. Examples of tampering include using a computer or false-written document to change or affect the grade recorded for a student/ forging the signature of a university official on a drop/add sheet or other official university record; erasing records or information of a student; unauthorized access to a university record by computer or unauthorized entry into an office or file; or obtaining information from the university without proper authorization.
Plagiarism – presenting the work of another as one’s own without proper acknowledgment. Examples include: submitting as one’s own work the work of another student, ghost writer or commercial writing service; directly quoting from a source without acknowledgement; paraphrasing or summarizing another’s work without acknowledging the source; or using facts, figures, graphs, charts or information without acknowledging the source. Plagiarism may occur orally or in writing an may involve computer programs and files, research designs, distinctive figures of speech, ideas and images or any other information that belongs to another person and is not acknowledged as such. In advertent or unintentional misuse or appropriation of another’s work (such as relying heavily on source material that is not expressly acknowledged) is still considered plagiarism.
Facilitating academic misconduct – giving assistance or attempting to assist another in the commitment of academic misconduct.
- Knowingly furnishing false information to any University official, faculty member or office.
- Forgery, alteration or misuse of University documents, records, instruments of identification,
computer programs or accounts.
When academic dishonesty is alleged to have occurred, the instructor has the right and obligation to take appropriate action, which may include a verbal or written reprimand or warning, a grade of “F” (failure) for the assignment or test involved or a grade of “F” for the course. To initiate this process, the instructor must discuss the alleged violation with the student at the time of discovery and prior to taking formal action so the student has an opportunity to respond. If a student wishes to appeal his/her grade, he/she must follow the grade appeal guidelines outlined in Part IV, L. of the Student Handbook.
When misconduct of a behavioral nature occurs in the classroom (onsite or online), the instructor has the right and obligation to take appropriate action, which may include a verbal or written reprimand or warning that the behavior may be in violation of the Code of Student Conduct Part IX, B, 2 (Actions Against Persons or Groups or Disorderly conduct or behavior). Furthermore, failure to comply with a request to cease the disorderly behavior may result in an additional violation Part IX, B,16 (Failure to comply with Directions of University Officials). In such case that disorderly behavior continues in the classroom, the instructor may elect to refer the incident for institutional, review.
- Cheating, plagiarism or other breaches of academic integrity, such as fabrication, facilitating or aiding academic dishonesty; theft, unauthorized possession or use of instructional materials or tests; unauthorized access to or manipulation of laboratory equipment or experiments; alteration of grades or files; misuse of research data in reporting results; use of personal relationships to gain grades or favors, or otherwise attempting to obtain grades or credit through fraudulent means.
- ACTS OF DISHONESTY - Acts of dishonesty include, but are not limited to:
- ACTIONS AGAINST PERSONS OR GROUPS
- Harassment includes, but is not limited to, verbal, psychological, graphic and/or written abuse
directed at another, beyond a reasonable expression of opinion, which:
- is threatening or carries with it the intention to do bodily harm; or
- disrupts or undermines a person's exercise of his/her responsibilities as a student,
faculty or staff member including unreasonably interfering with a person’s educational
or work performance.
Harassment which is based upon discrimination as defined in Montana State University’s Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking Policy is also proscribed conduct; that type of harassment is covered in Part IX, B, 3 below; it is a separate offense from Harassment under this section and such conduct is addressed as provided in Part IX, 2.G.
- Hazing includes, but is not limited to, any conduct or method of initiation, admission or
condition of continued membership in any student organization which:
- endangers the physical or mental health or safety of any student or other person, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest; forced consumption of food, liquor, beverage, or drugs; beating or branding; involuntary confinement or imprisonment; or
- destroys, vandalizes or removes public or private property.
- Bystanding includes, but is not limited to:
- Complicity with or failure of any student to appropriately address known or obvious serious violations of the Code of Student Conduct or law; or
- Complicity with or failure of any organized group to appropriately address known or obvious serious violations of the Code of Student Conduct or law by its members.
- Assault and harm to persons:
- Physical assault which includes, but is not limited to: physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature or physical interference with a person which prevents the person from conducting his/her customary or usual affairs, puts the person in fear for his/her physical safety, or causes the person to suffer actual physical injury.
- Threatening Behaviors
- Threat - Written or verbal conduct that causes a reasonable expectation of injury to the health or safety of any person or damage to any property.
- Intimidation is defined as implied threats or acts that cause a reasonable fear of harm in another.
- Bullying and Cyberbullying are repeated and/or severe aggressive behaviors that intimidate or intentionally harm or control another person physically or emotionally, and are not protected by freedom of expression
- Disorderly Conduct or Behavior
- Hate Actions – actions against an individual or individuals which assault, trespass upon, or cause damage to the property or injure physically or emotionally another person or persons because of such person’s race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or national origin.
- DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, DATING VIOLENCE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, AND STALKING POLICY OFFENSESViolation of Montana State University Billings’ Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual, Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking (Discrimination Policy) is a violation of this Code of Student Conduct. The definitions of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, and stalking are contained in the Discrimination Policy: http://www.montana.edu/policy/discrimination. Violations of the Discrimination Policy include retaliation against an individual for taking any of the actions in support of the Discrimination Policy as defined in Section 128.00 of the Discrimination Policy.
- Harassment includes, but is not limited to, verbal, psychological, graphic and/or written abuse directed at another, beyond a reasonable expression of opinion, which:
- ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, AND DRUG OFFENSES
At Montana State University Billings, we value the safety, health and well-being of our students, employees and campus visitors. Because of our values, we proactively create safe environments through appropriate policies and programs that help students make healthy choices. While we enforce state and federal laws concerning alcohol and drugs, students who commit violations are supported through educational and counseling resources. In addition, we expect our students to respond promptly when a medical emergency occurs due to overconsumption of alcohol or other drugs. MSU Billings’ medical amnesty policy outlined below reinforces our commitment to provide a safer environment for students.
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages on University premises or at University-sponsored activities except as permitted in University policies. Students will also be held accountable for any violation of state or local laws regarding alcohol use or possession.
- The University does not allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons not of legal age at functions sponsored by Montana State University Billings organizations. Organizations will be held responsible for the conduct of their members at functions sponsored by the organization and may be charged under this Code for failure to comply with Montana state laws related to alcoholic beverages.
- If a student agrees with and signs a release of information form, Montana State University Billings may notify parents when their underage (under 21) student has a second or third time violation of campus alcohol and drug policies or state laws. Parents may be notified on first time violations if the violation includes a medical emergency, vandalism, any violence or gross disrespect of residence hall staff, University officials or law enforcement officials.
- Narcotics or Drugs
The unlawful use, possession, manufacture, sale, or distribution of marijuana or any narcotic, drug, drug paraphernalia, medicine, chemical compound, or other controlled substance defined as illegal under federal, state, or local laws. Although Montana state law permits the use of medical marijuana, i.e., use by persons possessing lawfully issued medical marijuana cards, federal laws prohibit marijuana use, possession and/or cultivation at educational institutions and on the premises of other recipients of federal funds. Possession of a valid and appropriately held Medical Marijuana Permit identification card does not authorize a student to possess, use, or distribute marijuana in any university-owned property or in any public area of the university.
- Medical Amnesty Policy - We adamantly encourage students to seek help for themselves or others regardless if they have misused or abused alcohol or drugs. Please click this link for full details which are in alignment with the MSU policy.
- Alcoholic Beverages
- FIREARMS, EXPLOSIVES AND WEAPONS OFFENSES
Montana State University Billings restricts the possession and use of firearms on the campuses of Montana State University Billings. Montana State University Billings will maintain an armory within the University Police office. This armory is free and available only to students in good standing with the university. The armory is provided to accommodate students with an interest in recreational activities requiring the use of firearms and other weapons.
Illegal or unauthorized possession or use of firearms, explosives, weapons or dangerous chemicals on University premises, including:
- Carrying a concealed weapon and/or firearm;
- Discharging firearms on campus;
- Possessing firearms or ammunition on campus except when in transport to the Armory at University Police.
- Possessing dangerous chemicals on campus, except as authorized by law and University policy;
- Possessing, using, or distributing explosives (including fireworks and ammunition);
- Possessing, using, or distributing weapons or dangerous objects such as arrows, axes, machetes, nun chucks, throwing stars, or knives with a blade of longer than six (6) inches; and
- Storage of any item that falls within the category of a weapon in a vehicle parked on University property.
- ILLEGAL AND DISRUPTIVE CONDUCT
- Violation of federal, state or local law on University premises or at University-sponsored activities; violation of published University policies, rules or regulations.
- Acting to impair, interfere with or obstruct the orderly conduct, processes and functions
of the University, including but not limited to:
- Violence or threat of violence against self or any member or guest of the University community.
- Interference with the freedom of movement of any member or guest of the University.
- Interference with the rights of others to enter, use or leave any University facility, service or activity.
- Obstruction or disruption of teaching, learning, research, administration, disciplinary procedures or other University activities, or of other authorized activities on University premises.
- Use of public address systems on the campus outside of University buildings except with written permission of the Center for Engagement.
- Failure to comply with directions of law enforcement officers and University officials acting in the performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to those persons when requested.
- Failure to comply with any authorized Code of Student Conduct sanction(s)/ condition(s).
- Trespassing or unauthorized entry into University buildings or property.
- Unauthorized use (including misuse) of University or organizational names, trademarks, and images.
Any form of illegal gambling or wagering.
- False Alarms
Entering false reports of fire alarms or bomb threats, tampering with fire extinguishers, alarms, or other safety equipment.
- Traffic and Parking
Repeated or flagrant violations of the rules as set forth in University Traffic and Parking Regulations.
Tampering with or removal of barricades, traffic cones, ticket machines, parking permits, or traffic control devices.
- Housing Regulations
Violations of the rules and regulations which govern behavior in the campus residence halls and set forth in the Residence Hall Policies and Procedures.
- Recreational Activities Regulations
Repeated or flagrant violations of the rules and regulations of Recreational Activities.
- University Rules and Regulations
Repeated or flagrant violations of University rules or regulations contained in this Handbook, the General Bulletin, and other official policy statements and publications of the University or created by any official, campus administrator or committee acting within the scope of their authority.
- Failure to Respond to Directives of University Officials
Failure by a student or organization to respond to notification to appear to a meeting with a Hearing Officer during any stage of a misconduct investigation or proceeding. Failure to appear will not prevent proceeding with misconduct action in the absence of the student or student organization with the provisions outlined in Section IX, C (Student Conduct Adjudication Procedures).
- Failure to Present Student Identification
Failure to present student identification to any member of the University faculty, staff, administration, or police, on request, when that person is acting in the performance of his/her duty.
- Misuse or Abuse of Computer Equipment, Programs, or Data
- Unauthorized use of computing resources or use of computing resources for unauthorized purposes.
- Accessing or copying programs, records or data belonging to the University or another user without permission.
- Attempting to breach the security of another user’s account or deprive another user of access to the University’s computing resources.
- Using the University’s computing resources for personal or financial gain.
- Transporting copies of University programs, records or data to another person or computer site without written authorization.
- Attempting to destroy or modify programs, records or data belonging to the University or another user.
- Disrupting the learning environment in any online class or chat room.
- Using computing facilities to communicate harassing or abusive images or messages.
- Information shared on public social networking websites can be used by university officials during the investigation if the information alleges potential violation of university rules, policies, and the Student Code of Conduct.
Retaliation or the threat of retaliation or attempt to prevent the reporting of sexual misconduct or other misconduct is prohibited.
- Violation of State, Federal, or Local Laws
Any act or omission that constitutes a violation of federal, state, or local laws or regulations and which is not otherwise covered in this Code.
- Violation of Misconduct Sanctions
Violation(s) of the terms and/or conditions imposed as a result of previous misconduct procedures.
- Shared Responsibility for Infractions
- Students who act individually or in concert to violate University regulations may be given joint responsibility for such violation(s).
- Students and organizations are responsible for the conduct of their guests on or in University property and at functions sponsored by the University or any registered University function.
- Student organization member(s) who act individually or in concert to violate University regulations may be given joint responsibility along with their respective student organization for such violations.
- Organizations shall be held responsible for the actions of their member(s), alumni, and advisor(s).
- THEFT/MISUSE OF PROPERTY
- Theft, attempted theft, unauthorized possession, use or removal of University property or the property of any member of the University community.
- Defacing, tampering, damaging or destroying University property or the property of any member of the University community.
- Unauthorized presence in or use of University grounds, facilities, or property.
- Theft or other abuse of computer facilities, capabilities and/or computer time, including
but not limited to:
- Unauthorized entry into a file to use, read, or change the contents, or for any other purpose.
- Unauthorized transfer of a file.
- Unauthorized use of another individual's identification or password.
- Use of computing facilities to interfere with the work of another student, faculty member or University official.
- Use of computing facilities to send harassing or abusive messages.
- Use of computing facilities to interfere with the normal operation of the computing system.
- Unauthorized use of computer resources, or the unauthorized use or copying of computer data or software. Examples of unauthorized use or copying include: attempts to alter systems, unauthorized access or copying of data or software, attempts to release data, text, files or software in violation of copyright protection and the condoning, approving or directing of unauthorized use or copying.
- Unlawful downloading and distribution of copyrighted digital media via peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing applications including, but not limited to video (movies) and sound (music) files.
- Attempts to circumvent or defeat any University-owned system, firewall or any other mechanism put in place to manage the network.
- Misuse of Electronic Devices
Cellular phones, pagers and other electronic devices shall not be used in a manner that causes disruption in the classroom, library or within any college owned or college operated facility. Abuse of cellular devices with photographic capabilities, use of devices for purposes of photographing test questions or other notes and materials is prohibited. Photographing individuals in secured areas such as bathrooms, locker rooms or other areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, and/or taking photographs of any person without expressed permission is strictly prohibited. Use of electronic devices to bully another student, as determined by University Officials, is not permitted.
- Falsification of Records
Knowingly furnishing false information to the University, or forging, altering, misusing, mutilating, or making unauthorized use of a University document, record, or identification. Specifically, for the purpose of this Code, falsification of records includes falsely making, or falsely altering a document issued by the University; conveying or obtaining a document that is known to be false or procuring or aiding such conduct; using as genuine a falsely made or falsely altered document that the user knows is false; making a false written statement about certification achievement in an application for employment, award, or to induce another to issue a diploma, certificate, license or transcript; or furnishing false information to a university official during an investigation.
- Inappropriate Attempt to Influence University Processes
Influencing or attempting to influence the academic or any University administrative process through explicit or implied bribery, threats, sexual behavior, etc. Organizations shall be held responsible for the actions of their individual members, alumni, and advisers.
- Obtaining University Services by False Pretenses
Obtaining University services by false pretenses including, but not limited to, misappropriation or conversion of University funds, supplies, equipment, labor, material, space, facilities, or services.
- OTHER PROSCRIBED CONDUCT
- Fire Safety - Violation of local, state, federal or campus fire policies including, but not limited
- Intentionally or recklessly causing a fire which damages University or personal property or which causes injury;
- Failure to evacuate a University building during a fire alarm;
- Improper use of University fire safety equipment; or
- Tampering with or improperly engaging a fire alarm or fire detection/control equipment while on University property. Such action may result in a local fine in addition to University sanctions.
- Wheeled Devices - Skateboards, roller blades, roller skates, bicycles, hover boards and similar wheeled devices are not permitted inside University buildings, residence halls or on tennis courts. Additionally, skateboards and other wheeled items may not be ridden on railings, curbs, benches, or any such fixtures that may be damaged by these activities, and individuals may be liable for damage to University property caused by these activities.
- Abuse of Conduct Process - Interference with, or failure to comply in, University conduct and academic misconduct
hearings including, but not limited to:
- Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information;
- Failure to provide, destroying or concealing information during an investigation of an alleged policy violation;
- Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the conduct system;
- Harassment (verbal or physical) or intimidation of witnesses or a member of a conduct hearing board prior to, during or following a conduct proceeding;
- Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed by the conduct program;
- Influencing, or attempting to influence, another person to commit an abuse of the campus conduct system.
- Failure to Comply with the reasonable directives of University officials or law enforcement officers during the performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so.
- Financial Responsibilities - Failure to promptly meet financial responsibilities to the institution, including, but not limited to: knowingly passing a worthless check or money order in payment to the institution or to an official of the institution acting in an official capacity.
- Arrest - Failure of any student to accurately report an off-campus arrest by any law enforcement agency for any crime (including non-custodial or field arrests) to the Office of the Dean of Student Engagement within seventy-two (72) hours of release.
- Fire Safety - Violation of local, state, federal or campus fire policies including, but not limited to:
STUDENT CONDUCT PROGRAMS - The University shall establish appropriate procedures to adjudicate alleged violations
of the Code of Student Conduct under the direction of the Dean of Student Engagement
in a unified manner. All conduct programs must adhere to the procedures as outlined
the Code of Student Conduct.
RESIDENCE LIFE STUDENT CONDUCT PROGRAM
- In addition to this Code, students who reside in the Residence Halls are subject to the conduct requirements set forth in the Residence Life Handbook. Residence Life staff are hereby delegated responsibility for investigating and adjudicating allegations that involve violations of the Residence Life Handbook in accordance with the procedures in this Code of Student Conduct.
- The Associate Dean of Students will coordinate the delegated Residence Life Conduct Program and will work closely with the Dean of Student Engagement to assure consistency.
DEPARTMENT OF ATHLETICS
- In addition to the requirements of this Code of Student Conduct, student athletes are also subject to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics conduct requirements found in team rules, NCAA policies, and the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct. The Director of Athletics, or designee, will coordinate the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct for alleged violation of departmental conduct requirements and may impose sanctions related to a student’s participation in intercollegiate athletics.
- The Director of Athletics will refer allegations of violations of the University’s Code of Student Conduct to the Dean of Student Engagement for processing under the Code of Student Conduct. Additional University sanctions by the Dean of Student Engagement or designee may be in addition to, or in lieu of, the process outlined in the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct.
- STUDENT CONDUCT ADJUDICATION PROCEDURES
- General Provisions
The Dean of Student Engagement or designee stall investigate and gather information about reported academic, personal or organizational misconduct and shall evaluate the accuracy, credibility, and sufficiency of the information. The Dean of Student Engagement shall ensure that the requirements of due process are fulfilled in accordance with the following procedures.
- Review of Complaints
- A complaint alleging misconduct against any student or organization at the University
may be filed by anyone to the Dean of Student Engagement. A complaint alleging violations
of MSU Billings’ policy on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence,
Domestic Violence, and Stalking Policy (http://www.montana.edu/policy/discrimination/) may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator.
Students, faculty members, administrators and other employees of the University shall have concurrent authority to request the commencement of the educational proceedings provided for all in this section. A person filing a complaint shall be complainant of record.
- Process for other Complaints
- When a complaint or report is filed, the student or organization named in the complaint may be asked to appear, within 10 business days, before a Hearing Officer, appointed by the Dean of Student Engagement. The Hearing Officer will initiate an educational hearing to discuss the allege(d) violation(s) and possible sanction(s).
- Any student or organization charged in a complaint shall receive written notification
from the Dean of Student Engagement or designee. Such notice shall:
- Inform the student or organization that a complaint has been filed alleging that the student or organization violated specific provisions of the Code of Student Conduct and the date of the alleged violation(s);
- Set forth those provisions allegedly violated;
- Specify a time and date the student is required to meet with the designated Hearing Officer;
- The right of the student or organization to be accompanied by an advisor; and
- Inform the student that failure to appear at the set administrative hearing time may subject the student to further disciplinary action, have the case heard in absentia, and/or a hold on all registration and transcripts.
- During the educational hearing, the student or organization shall be informed of the
- The nature of the complaint(s) filed, including a statement of the rule or regulation allegedly violated and the alleged act(s) committed.
- The source of each complaint which has been filed.
- The sanctions which may be imposed if a charge is proven.
- The freedom of the student or organization from any obligation, at any time, to make any statement relevant to the accusation.
- The fact that any statement(s) made by the student or organization may be used against the student or organization.
- Upon completion of the review with the student, the Hearing Officer may:
- Drop the charge(s) when they appear to be invalid, without substance or capricious;
- Issue a verbal warning
- Apply any of the sanctions if such is warranted by the evidence;
- Invoke the temporary suspension or interim action procedure when deemed appropriate;
- Issue other sanctions as determined appropriate.
- Witnesses and/or complainant may be asked to appear before the hearing officer(s) at any time during the review process.
- Per the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Montana State University Billings has the right to release information relating to a misconduct procedure to an alleged complainant of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense or to university officials that are responsible for the safety of the students in their building(s).
- Transcripts of academic records will not include information concerning misconduct. Information from misconduct and counseling files will not be made available to unauthorized persons, except as set forth in Part III, Student Records, of the Student Policies and Procedures Handbook.
- A complaint alleging misconduct against any student or organization at the University may be filed by anyone to the Dean of Student Engagement. A complaint alleging violations of MSU Billings’ policy on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking Policy (http://www.montana.edu/policy/discrimination/) may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator.
- Implementation of Sanctions
The misconduct sanctions shall begin once the sanctions have been issued. . If the student or organization wishes to appeal, sanctions will remain in effect until the outcome of the appeal has been determined. Exceptions are made only in cases for which, in the judgement of the Dean of Student Engagement, the physical or emotional well-being of the student, the organization, other students, or other members of the campus community might be endangered. In such cases, the Dean of Student Engagement may implement temporary suspension or interim actions/measures.
- Temporary Suspension or Interim Actions/Measures
- The Dean of Student Engagement or designee may impose interim residence hall restrictions or University temporary suspension or other interim measures upon a student pending the resolution of disciplinary proceedings if there is reason to believe that the student’s conduct poses an imminent and substantial threat of injury to or interference with persons or property.
- Temporary Suspension and Interim Actions may include, but are not limited to, the
- Residence hall and/or University suspension;
- Assignment to alternate housing for students residing in University housing;
- Limitation of access to University housing facilities, other campus facilities, or University Property in general;
- Restriction of communication with named individuals or groups within the University community;
- The requirement to secure advance authorization to engage in a specified activity; and/or
- Professional evaluation, intervention and/or treatment.
- The official imposing the temporary restrictions shall notify the student in writing of the restrictions imposed and hsall schedule a hearing with the student after the imposition of the temporary restrictions. The time limitations set forth in this section may be expanded upon the consent of the student or if further investigation is required.
- Misconduct Holds
Misconduct holds on registration will be used as necessary to insure that the hearing process is completed and that pertinent sanctions are upheld. Specifically, holds will be placed when a misconduct case has not been resolved, when a sanction has not been completed or when the sanction is suspension. Misconduct holds for case or sanction completion may include, but will not be limited to the following actions: prohibit the release of transcripts, prohibit the ability to register for classes, prohibit participation in commencement exercises and/or withhold institutional endorsement for teaching certification. Misconduct holds for suspension will not be removed during the period of suspension; students who have completed the duration of the suspension must request readmission.
- F.INVESTIGATION AND ADJUDICATION OF ALLEGATIONS OF DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT, SEXUAL
MISCONDUCT, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, DATING VIOLENCE AND STALKING POLICY VIOLATION OFFENSES
- Complaints against student(s) accused of violations of MSU’s Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking Policy (Discrimination Policy) will be referred to the Title IX Coordinator or designee who will follow the procedures for reports and complaints of Discrimination Policy violation in accordance with MSU’s Discrimination Grievance Procedures. The Student Conduct Adjudication Procedures, Appeals, and Interim Sanctions found in Part IX, C “STUDENT CONDUCT ADJUDICATION PROCEDURES”, Section E. “APPEALS,” and Section F “INTERIM RESTRICTIONS” shall not apply in allegations of such Policy Violations and shall be replaced by MSU’s Discrimination Grievance Procedures.
- When a student is found to have engaged in Discrimination Policy violations, the Dean of Student Engagement will determine and impose sanctions as allowed by the Code of Student Conduct in Part IX, D., including suspension or expulsion from the University. The Dean of Student Engagement’s sanction is the final University decision and shall not be subject to the appeal right and procedures found in Part IX, E. of the Code of Student Conduct. The Student may appeal under the provisions of Policy 203.5.2 (https://mus.edu/borpol/bor200/203-5-2.pdf) of the Montana Board of Regents Policies and Procedures Manual.
- Individual Sanctions - In determining a sanction, the Dean of Student Engagement or designated Hearing Officer may consider the student's present and past disciplinary record, including Residence Hall disciplinary record, the nature of the offense, the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from the violation, and other factors relevant to the case.
- If the student is found to have violated the Code of Student Conduct, the Dean of
Student Engagement or Designated Hearing Officer may impose one or more of the following
- Expulsion - Permanent separation of the student from the University. The student may also be barred from University premises.
- Suspension - Separation of the student from the University for a specified period of time, but not less than the remainder of the semester. Eligibility for return to the University may be contingent upon satisfaction of specific conditions noted at the time of suspension. The student is required to vacate the campus within twenty-four (24) hours of notification of the action, though this deadline may be extended upon application to, and at the discretion of, the Dean of Student Engagement. During the suspension period, the student is banned from University property, functions, events and activities without prior written approval from the Dean of Student Engagement. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary.
- Conduct Probation/Suspension Warning - A status that is imposed for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or expulsion, if the student is found to have violated the Code of Student Conduct during the period.
- Disciplinary Reprimand - A formal reprimand which may be imposed either in verbal or written form for violating the Code of Student Conduct and a warning that further misconduct may result in more severe disciplinary action.
- Restitution - Compensation for actual loss, damage or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
- Residence Hall Sanctions - Disciplinary action for violations in the residence halls may consist of, but is not limited to a Warning, Residence Hall Probation, Restrictions of Residence Hall Privileges, Restitution, Constructive Work Projects, Removal from Floor, Hall, or Residence Hall System, or a combination of sanctions.
- Community or University Service Requirements – Completion of a specific, supervised University or community service.
- Loss of Privileges - The student will be denied specified privileges for a designated period of time.
- Other Sanctions - Other sanctions may be imposed instead of, or in addition to, the sanctions specified above, such as work requirements, restrictions, loss of privileges, withholding registration, limitation of access to University housing facilities or other property, imposition of mandatory educational or counseling requirements or other sanction appropriate under the circumstances.
- Group Sanctions - The following sanctions may be imposed upon sororities, fraternities,
groups or organizations registered with the University:
- Those sanctions listed in subparagraphs 3 – 5 and 7-9 above.
- Deactivation - Loss of all privileges, including University recognition or registration, for a specified period of time.
- The student or organization who is found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct may appeal the decision of the Dean of Student Engagement or Hearing Officer following
a student conduct hearing by emailing a letter of appeal to the Vice Chancellor for
Student Affairs within five (5) business days of the official’s decision. The appeal
is not intended to afford a full rehearing of the case, but to serve as a method of
reviewing the record of the case and the procedures followed in its adjudication.
The letter of appeal shall specifically allege and factually support one or more of
the following grounds:
- The student's rights as set forth in this procedure were violated (i.e., there was an error in the procedure or the interpretation of the Code of Student Conduct which substantially affected the student's ability to receive a fair hearing);
- New evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, has been discovered that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included in their letter of appeal.
- If a sufficient claim is presented under one or more of the specified grounds, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee shall accept the appeal and request a copy of the record of the hearing. If sufficient claim is not presented, the appeal shall be dismissed.
- Within fifteen (15) business days from receipt of the record, the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee shall review the entire record and render a written decision. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee may remand the case to the original Hearing Officer for further findings of fact or clarification.
- The decision of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs shall be based on the record only and is the final decision of the University. A copy of the decision shall be sent to the charged student, the complainant (if any) and included in the record, which shall be returned to the Office of the Dean of Student Engagement.
- The student or organization who is found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct may appeal the decision of the Dean of Student Engagement or Hearing Officer following a student conduct hearing by emailing a letter of appeal to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs within five (5) business days of the official’s decision. The appeal is not intended to afford a full rehearing of the case, but to serve as a method of reviewing the record of the case and the procedures followed in its adjudication. The letter of appeal shall specifically allege and factually support one or more of the following grounds:
- INTERIM RESTRICTIONS
- The Dean of Student Engagement or designee may impose interim Residence Hall restrictions or University suspension or other restriction(s) upon a student pending the resolution of disciplinary proceedings if there is reason to believe that the student's conduct poses an imminent and substantial threat of injury to or interference with persons or property.
- Interim restrictions may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Residence Hall and/or University suspension;
- Assignment to alternate housing for students residing in University housing;
- Limitation of access to University housing facilities, other campus facilities or University property in general;
- Restriction of communication with named individuals or groups within the University community;
- The requirement to secure advance authorization to engage in a specified activity and/or professional evaluation, intervention and/or treatment.
- The official imposing the interim restrictions shall notify the student in writing of the restrictions imposed and shall schedule a meeting with the student to be held within two (2) working days after the imposition of the interim restrictions. If the student is unable to attend for good cause, the meeting will be held as soon as the student is able to attend.
- At the meeting, the student shall be informed of the basis of the allegations that led to the imposition of the Interim Restrictions and shall be offered the opportunity to explain his or her position regarding the charges and the imposition of the Interim Restrictions. If, after hearing the student's position, the official believes the imposition of the Interim Restrictions was made in error or is too restrictive, he/she may rescind or modify the restrictions. Otherwise, the restrictions shall continue until the decision is rendered in a future student conduct proceeding.
- In cases where interim restrictions have been imposed, the disciplinary hearing shall be held as soon as possible, but not later than thirty (30) days from the date of the imposition of interim restrictions.
- The time limitations set forth in this section may be expanded upon the consent of the student.
- RECORDS AND CONFIDENTIALITY
- The Office of the Dean of Student Engagement shall maintain student conduct records. Student conduct records and related information shall be made available to hearing officers to assist in recommendation of an appropriate sanction, and to other University personnel who require such information to fulfill their official duties.
- Students may arrange to review their own student conduct records and related information by contacting the Office of the Dean of Student Engagement.
- Except as provided elsewhere in this Code and/or as required by law, the University shall not communicate a student's conduct record to any person or agency without the prior written consent of the student.
- Student conduct records shall be maintained for seven (7) years from the last recorded entry, then destroyed.
- General Provisions