Code of Conduct/Grounds for Disciplinary Action
Effective Date August 1, 2019
Grounds for disciplinary action may include one of the following: a) active violation, b) attempt to violate, or c) solicitation of or aiding another in the commission of a violation. Disciplinary action may be taken in any case in which an individual or group is found in violation of any of the following:
- University Policies—Violation of published university regulations or policies established for any area or academic unit by those having jurisdiction over it, including, but not limited to, parking, Security, Residence Life and Housing, Financial Aid, Health Services, Evans Library and Information Technology.
- Physical Abuse—causing physical harm to any person or causing reasonable apprehension of such harm.
- Endangering or Threatening Conduct—Any conduct that imperils or jeopardizes the health and safety of any person or the university community or communicates a serious expression of intent to harm any person or the university community.
- Harassment—Any action, verbal or nonverbal, in conflict with the university’s policy on harassment as stated in the Student Handbook. This may include a single action or a series of actions.
- Hazing—Any action, verbal or nonverbal, in conflict with the university’s policy on hazing as stated in the Student Handbook. This may include a single action or a series of actions.
- Hacking—Gaining or attempting to gain unauthorized access to a computer system, whether through damage or destruction of data or programs, or through disruption of operational practices.
- Weapons—Unauthorized use, possession or storage of any weapon or explosive material, including, but not limited to, fireworks, firearms, air guns, paint pellet guns, knives, ammunition, martial arts weapons or bombs on university premises or at university-sponsored activities.
- Failure to Evacuate—Failure to immediately evacuate a university building on the sounding of the fire alarm. Occupants must evacuate a building to points sufficient to ensure their safety. Occupants and/or residents may not re-enter the building at any time or for any reason while the alarm is sounding, unless instructed to do so by the university staff, security and/or local officials.
- Disorderly Conduct—Disorderly, disruptive or obscene conduct or breach of peace that intentionally or recklessly interferes with normal university-sponsored activities or the rights of other community members on or off university property. Activities include, but are not limited to, studying, teaching, research, university administration, university-sponsored or supervised activities or fire, police or emergency services.
- Freedom of Expression—Interfering with the freedom of expression of others.
- Compliance—Failure to comply with the directives of university officials or agents acting in good faith performance of their duties.
- Fraudulent Behavior—Forgery, falsification, unauthorized alteration or misuse of university documents, records or identification, including but not limited to, electronic software and records.
- False Information and Impersonation—Furnishing false information to the university, impersonating another person, using another person's identity, or manufacturing or possession of false identification.
- Academic Dishonesty—All forms of academic dishonesty, including cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty or plagiarism.
- Controlled Substances—Use, consumption, possession, sale, manufacture, trafficking or transfer of any illegal drug or controlled substance, as defined by state or federal law. Use and/or possession of drug paraphernalia. Actions in conflict with university policy and Residence Life policies on illegal drugs as outlined in the Student Handbook and other university publications.
- Theft—unauthorized possession of property of another and/or the university; misappropriation, unauthorized use, access, or reproduction of property, data, records, equipment or services belonging to the university or belonging to another person or entity.
- Damage—Intentionally or recklessly damaging or destroying university property or the property of others.
- Public Indecency—Engaging in, but not limited to, public indecency, intoxication and indecent exposure.
- Facilities Usage—Unauthorized entry or use of university premises, facilities or property.
- Alcohol—Conduct in conflict with alcohol usage policy as stated in the Student Handbook.
- Responsibility for Guests—Students are responsible for informing their guests, both student and non-student, about university policies and are held accountable for the behavior of their guests.
- Stalking—Engaging in a course of conduct directed to a specific person or persons that causes substantial emotional distress in such person(s) and serves no legitimate purpose. Course of conduct means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose.
- Violent Behavior—Engaging in the use of physical force or violence to intimidate or to inflict harm to others or the property of the university, such as but not limited to, fighting or physical violence.
- Sexual Misconduct—Any sexual activity without consent given. Sexual misconduct includes sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.
- Online Course Conduct and Etiquette—Students participating in online and hybrid programs or courses are expected to conduct themselves professionally when interacting with fellow students, faculty, and staff. Respectful dialog exchanges facilitate proper discourse critical to fostering and maintaining positive learning environment. Students are to strive to maintain an open mind. Respect for one another is critical toward proper discussion of contrary or controversial viewpoints and ideas in discussion boards, group communication forums, and other venues of the online class environment. Posts and communications are expected to further academic discussion relevant to the topic and academic objective. Posts or comments deemed disruptive or inappropriate to the learning environment may be deleted. Communications related to the online classroom deemed disrespectful, inappropriate, unnecessarily disruptive, threatening, or abusive are inappropriate and subject to discipline.
- Email and Electronic Communications—Mutual respect and civility are expected in all email and electronic communications. All students, on campus and online, are expected to adhere to professional netiquette when communicating with other students, faculty, and staff. Emails and other electronic communication should be reviewed in advance of transmission to ensure they are mindful and respectful of the person receiving the communication. Email and electronic communications deemed unprofessional, unduly argumentative, confrontational, hostile, threatening, offensive, or harassing are inappropriate and subject to discipline.
- Violations of local, state and federal laws.
Disciplinary actions that may be taken as a consequence of student misconduct, either by individuals or groups, include, but are not limited to:
- Disciplinary Hold—A change in student status that may preclude student from attendance, registering, altering an academic schedule, receiving transcripts or graduating.
- Fines—A mandatory restitution and/or fines may be levied for any infraction.
- Disciplinary Warning—Issued to indicate that behavior is in violation of university regulations and that continued misconduct or repetition of the behavior may bring more serious consequences.
- Alternative Action—Alternative action may be required as part of a penalty and includes, but is not limited to, sanction in abeyance, educational programming and training, counseling assessment, restriction or loss of privileges, restitution, apology, residential relocation and/or community service. Community service will be unpaid and benefit a charitable or nonprofit organization, including Florida Tech.
- Removal from University Housing—A student’s housing contract is voided and he/she is required to vacate university residential facilities permanently or for a specified period of time. The student receives no refund of housing charges and forfeits the housing deposit.
- Disciplinary Probation—A serious warning that defines a situation where further disciplinary action may result in either suspension or expulsion from the university.
- Disciplinary Suspension—Separation from Florida Tech for a specified period of time and is required to leave the university. Return to campus may occur only with prior notification and approval of the Dean of Students.
- Expulsion—Permanent separation from the university without opportunity for readmission at anytime and required to leave the university within the time determined and cannot be on university property without the prior notification and permission of the Dean of Students.
Procedures for Handling Alleged Violations of the University Rules and/or Regulations
- Any individual member of the university community may initiate disciplinary proceedings for an alleged violation of the Code of Conduct. The complaint must be submitted in writing to the Student Conduct Office.
- After a preliminary investigation, the Student Conduct Office determines if there is sufficient information to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
- Disciplinary proceedings are initiated by the Student Conduct Office sending a formal disciplinary letter to the student or student group.
- The disciplinary conference shall take place no earlier than 48 hours from the date of notification, unless agreement to an immediate disciplinary conference.
- Cameras, camera phones and audio/video recording devices other than those belonging to the university are not permitted at a disciplinary conference.
- At the conclusion of the disciplinary conference, the conduct officer or hearing panel may dismiss all disciplinary charges or make a judgment and assign a sanction. The standard by which decisions are made regarding whether a student is found responsible for a violation of university policy is based on a preponderance of information rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
- A letter confirming the decision will be sent to the student or group and a copy placed in the disciplinary file in the Student Conduct Office.
- If there is a disagreement with the decision of the conduct/hearing officer or hearing panel, he or she may request an appeal to the Student Conduct Office.
- Appeals must be submitted in writing within five business days of the student receiving notification of the decision in the violation.
- All written appeals must state specific reasons/rationale for requesting an appeal.
- Students may request an appeal on the grounds that 1) information not available at the time of the disciplinary conference is now available and could reasonably have altered the outcome of the violation; 2) the university disciplinary procedures were violated in a way that could have substantially affected the outcome of the violation; or 3) the sanction was disproportionately harsh and not justifiable when compared to the nature of the violation.
- The Student Conduct Office will inform the student of the decision in writing. This decision is the final decision of the university.
- Pending action by the Student Conduct Office on conduct violations, the status of the student shall not be altered or his/her right to be present on campus and attend classes suspended. However, because situations may arise and may not be fully covered by this code, the Dean of Students is granted the authority to exercise his/her good judgment in emergency situations.
- All Title IX violations will be conducted before a hearing officer selected by the University from a panel of attorneys and retired judges. All other disciplinary conferences will typically be conducted administratively before a conduct officer. However, either the student or the conduct officer may request that the non-related Title IX violation be heard by the University Disciplinary Committee (UDC).
- The UDC is composed of five (5) students and two (2) faculty/staff members. Five (5) members shall constitute a quorum.
- The student members shall be appointed by the President of the Student Government, through a process he/she shall determine. All student members must be in good academic and disciplinary standing and must have indicated a willingness to serve on the committee.
- Each student committee member is appointed for a maximum term of one (1) academic year.
- The faculty/staff member shall be appointed by the Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer/Provost.
- Should vacancies occur in the membership, replacements will be made in accordance with the above procedures.
- A chair shall be elected from among the membership to preside at all UDC disciplinary conferences and shall rule on all questions of procedure or relevancy of information.
- The records of the committee shall be maintained by the Student Conduct Office.
- A representative from the Student Conduct Office will present the violation to the University Disciplinary Committee.
- Immediately following the disciplinary conference, the UDC will meet in private to determine if the student or student group is responsible for a violation of university policy. This finding is based on a “preponderance of information” and determined by majority vote of the committee. If the student is found in violation, the representative of the Student Conduct Office will present any information about previous disciplinary action taken against the student or student group. The UDC will then decide on the appropriate sanction.
- The Student Conduct Office shall inform the student of the findings of the disciplinary hearing panel, as well as the right to appeal the action.
- The student has the right to appeal the action of the hearing panel to the Student Conduct Office.
- The student has the right not to attend a disciplinary conference or to attend the disciplinary conference and make no statement. Neither circumstance will be taken into consideration when determining the outcome of the disciplinary conference.
- The student has the right to be assisted by an advisor who must be a current member of the Florida Tech faculty, staff or student body. An advisor, however, is not eligible to participate in the disciplinary conference (e.g., by presenting the student’s information about the violation or questioning witnesses or the victim). Disciplinary conferences are not legal proceedings and as such, attorneys are not permitted, except in violations that fall under the laws of Title IX, where advisors can be any person chosen by the student.
- The student has the right to present information and witnesses in his/her behalf and the right to examine witnesses presented by the university. Requests to present/examine witnesses must be made in writing to the Student Conduct Office at least 48 hours before the scheduled disciplinary conference.
- A student who withdraws from the university after being charged with a violation will not be exempt from campus disciplinary action and will be unable to re-register pending resolution of disciplinary charges.
- A student who is charged with a violation and who is a graduating senior will be ineligible to graduate until disciplinary action on the violation has been completed and eligibility to graduate is confirmed by the Student Conduct Office. If the disciplinary action results in suspension, the student will be ineligible to graduate until the term of the suspension has been served.
- A student who is charged with a violation before the end of a semester, where there is not sufficient time to hold a disciplinary conference before the semester ends, will be given a disciplinary conference as soon as possible, but no later than the second week of the next semester in which the student is registered.
- All disciplinary conferences are closed. A student who is charged with a violation may request, in writing, permission from the Student Conduct Office for the disciplinary conference to be open to a particular person or persons. If, in the opinion of the Student Conduct Office, the presence of said persons will cause substantial disruption to the disciplinary conference or if the number of persons exceeds the space limitations of the room, the request may be denied.
- In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the university may release information pertaining to individual’s disciplinary conferences to appropriate college personnel, to the parents of dependent students, to parents of students under the age of 21 involved in alcohol or drug violations and to victims of crimes of violence or non-forcible sex offenses. (See “Release of Student Disciplinary Records” below. With those exceptions, information from the student’s disciplinary file will not be made available to anyone other than the student, without that student’s written consent. The disciplinary file is not part of the academic record of a student and no disciplinary decision (other than expulsion or suspension) may be recorded on the academic transcript.
- Individuals who have been suspended or dismissed and who are found on campus without permission as granted by the Dean of Students or designee will be subject to arrest for trespass.
Release of Student Disciplinary Records to Third Parties
A student’s written disciplinary record will be maintained for a period of five years from the date of last entry, except in matters of suspension or dismissal, in which case the record is maintained indefinitely.
Information in a student’s disciplinary record will only be released to third parties in the following circumstances:
- The individual(s) requesting the information is a university official with a legitimate educational interest in such records.
- The individual(s) requesting the information is the parent of a dependent student or a student under the age of 21 involved in a campus alcohol or drug violation. This information may be released to parents whether or not a formal disciplinary conference has been held, if in the opinion of the university the behavior presents a danger to the health and safety of the student or other members of the community.
- The individual(s) requesting the information has obtained a subpoena from a duly authorized law enforcement agency or a written waiver from the student whose records are being requested.
- The individual is the victim of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and is requesting the final results of the disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator of said crime or offense.
In all of the above cases, the only information released will be the name of the student involved in the disciplinary proceeding, the violation committed and any sanction imposed by the institution on that student.