Judicial System

Preface
The purpose of the judicial system at Augustana College is educational, not punitive. It is intended to foster the growth and development of each individual as well as enhance and enrich the entire college community. The philosophy, principles, and procedures of the system are reflective of this attitude and spirit, and it is expected that each person who becomes involved with it in any way will reflect the same.

The judicial system has been established to deal with all inappropriate behavior and unacceptable activity, whether specified or unspecified. It is not intended to be a duplicate of the criminal proceedings of a court of law, but rather a fair and equitable process of developing responsible citizenship and protecting the rights and property of the individual members of the Augustana College campus community.

Organizational Structure
The judicial system involves all levels of the campus community and consists of administrative hearings and College Review Board hearings.

Administrative Hearings
The administration and faculty of the College will typically serve as an initial level of judicial response.  College personnel responsible for activities, programs and facilities will in most cases assume responsibility to investigate, to review the facts, and to exact consequences if necessary and appropriate. Incidents of academic misconduct will be reviewed using procedures outlined in the Honor Code. If reports of sexual misconduct have merit, an adminstrative hearing board composed of staff and/or faculty (Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board) will be convened by the Dean of Students or designate.

Administrative hearings will respond to most incidents when there is concern for  inappropriate disclosure, at times of extreme emergency, or when immediate action is warranted either for the sake of the individual or the college community.
 
During times when the College Review Board cannot be convened  (i.e., the end of an academic year or end of a semester, summer school, etc.) the administration may act on all disciplinary matters.

College Review Board
Jurisdiction - Reviews incidents involving violations of policies, rules, and regulations under the authority of the judicial system including violations of the Code of Student Conduct and incidents of repeated violations which may result in recommendations of suspension or expulsion.  The College Review Board reviews appeals and referrals from administrative hearings.

Composition - Three students selected by the Augustana College Student Association President, three faculty and one administrator.  The Dean of Students or a  designee will serve as the non-voting advisor.  College Review Board hearings will be chaired by a faculty member on a rotating basis.  Student membership qualifications are as follows:

  • Must be a full-time student at Augustana College.
  • Must have attended Augustana for at least two semesters.
  • Must not be on academic probation or have ever been placed on disciplinary probation or suspended/ dismissed from the college for any reason.
  • Must not hold a staff position with the  residence life program.

Quorum - One student, two faculty/administrative representatives, and the non-voting advisor constitute a quorum.

Sanction Authority - The College Review Board may recommend to the Dean of Students that a student be suspended or expelled, or may impose other sanction(s).

Complaint and Initial Investigation
The Complaint:  Any member of the Augustana community may file charges against a student for misconduct.  Charges shall be prepared in writing and delivered to the Dean of Students Office.  It is recommended that the complaint be submitted within ten class days from the date the complainant first attempted to resolve the charges against a student for violation of college rules or other inappropriate behavior. The written complaint shall be filed with the Dean of Students Office.

The InvestigationThe Dean of Students Office may conduct an investigation to determine whether the complaint has merit and/or whether it can be addressed administratively, by mutual consent of the parties involved or, by the College Review Board.  In cases involving an alleged violation of the Honor Code, the faculty member or Honor Board will direct the initial investigation.

Interim Suspension:  In certain circumstances, the Dean of Students or a designee may impose an interim suspension prior to a hearing in order to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the college community, protect personal and/or college property, ensure the student's own physical or emotional safety and well being, or respond in a preventive way to a student who poses a threat of disruption or interference with the normal operations of the College.  During an interim suspension, the student may be denied access to college facilities including attendance at classes or other college activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible.

Right to a Hearing

Every effort will be made to provide counseling, conciliatory, and educational measures for students against whom complaints are being made–hereafter referred to as the respondent or responding student.

  • The respondent shall be entitled to an expeditious hearing of the case.  The hearing shall be conducted in such a manner as to provide substantial justice but shall not be unduly restricted by rules of legal procedure or legal evidence.
  • If brought before the judicial system as a member of a group, the respondent has the right to have the case heard individually.
  • The responding student shall be informed of the reasons for the hearing with sufficient information and sufficient time to ensure opportunity to prepare for the hearing. 
  • Hearings shall be conducted in private in order to protect the confidential nature of the proceedings.  If at any time during the conduct of a hearing, invited attendees are disruptive of the proceedings, the chairperson may exclude such persons from the hearing room. In those cases, the chairperson may direct that the hearing be recessed and that the remainder be conducted in closed session.
  • Because some forms of misconduct may constitute both a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and criminal activity, the College will not in most cases delay its own investigation and judicial response while a criminal investigation or other proceedings are underway.
  • In cases heard by the College Review Board, the  student(s), accused and/or complainant, may with statement of cause, successfully challenge the seating of up to two review board members.  A quorum of four members must include at least one student member and two faculty/administrative members.

Right to an Advisor
Students have the right to be accompanied by an advisor whose participation shall be limited to advising the student.  The advisor may not conduct or direct cross-examination, make opening or closing statements, or engage in argument.

Standard of Proof
All judicial determinations shall be made based upon a preponderance of evidence standard, “it is more likely than not” that a violation occured.

Evidence, Testimony, and Witnesses
The hearing shall be of an informal nature and need not adhere to formal rules of procedure or technical rules of evidence followed by courts of law.

  • The respondent shall be entitled to appear in person to present a defense and may call witnesses.
  • The complaining and responding students shall be entitled to refuse to answer questions or may elect not to appear before the judicial body.  Should a student elect to not appear, the hearing shall be held in their absence.  No student may be found to have violated the Code of Student Conduct solely because he/she failed to appear at a judicial hearing.  In all cases, the evidence in support of the charges shall be presented and considered.
  • Both complainant and respondent shall be entitled to ask questions of the judicial review board and witnesses.

Record of the Proceedings
A complete file of all documents, evidence, charges, and correspondence shall be retained for the record.  The record shall be the property of Augustana College and it will be filed with the Dean of Students Office.  Judicial records will be maintained for a period of seven calendar years beyond a student’s last date of enrollment.

The Decision
The respondent shall be advised in writing of the judicial decision.  The complainant shall also be notified of the judicial hearing’s outcome. 

Appeal Procedures
Judicial decisions of an administrative hearing or a College Review Board hearing are subject to a request for appeal by either the respondent or the complainant within ten class days, or within two calendar weeks if classes are not in session following notification of the decision.  Appeal requests shall be in writing and delivered to the Dean of Students Office.

The appeal request must specify grounds that would justify consideration.  General dissatisfaction with the outcome of the decision shall not be accorded as a basis for consideration of an appeal.  A basis for considering an appeal is the presentation of facts that indicate:

  • An error in procedural due process that denies the student a fundamentally fair hearing because of the error.
  • Harshness of sanction to show an abuse of discretion by the original judicial decision.

A request for appeal based upon new evidence will not be granted. New evidence that could not have been previously discovered and that, had it been presented at the initial hearing, would have substantially affected the original decision will be treated as grounds for a new hearing by the original judicial body.

No review by appeal may result in a more severe sanction than that imposed by the original judicial hearing.

The original sanction shall not be invoked until the appeal process is finalized and the case closed.

The appeal decision is final and shall be implemented immediately by the Dean of Students, the President or a designee.  During times when the College Review Board, or faculty, or administrator who conducted the original hearing cannot be convened, the Dean of Students and/or the President of the College or their designees will act on all requests for appeal and their decision will be final.