Disciplinary System for Disruptive Conduct

As recognized in the Report of Committee on Freedom of Expression, the University is fundamentally dedicated to the “preservation and celebration of freedom of expression as an essential element of the University’s culture.” As forms of free expression, “dissent and protest are integral to the life of the University,” and thus “should be affirmatively welcomed, not merely tolerated, by the University” (Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Protest and Dissent). The principle of freedom of expression, however, is not unlimited. The Committee on Freedom of Expression itself recognized that certain forms of expressive conduct are not protected, including violations of the law, defamation of individuals, invasion of privacy or confidentiality, and disruption of ordinary University activities. Similarly, the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Protest and Dissent observed that while “[v]ocal protest, and demonstrations in particular, are by their very nature disruptive to some degree,”[1] protesters “have reciprocal obligations of respect and constructive engagement.” These obligations confer “a responsibility to not jeopardize the University’s ability to meet its commitments and obligations.” The Report further stated that the University is “entitled to impose strict limits on protest activities that threaten especially sensitive facilities and enforce those limits if they are breached.”

Described below is a disciplinary system for “disruptive conduct” as currently defined in University Statute 21 as well as any substitutes, successors or other replacements for University Statute 21. The goal of the system is to establish a uniform set of processes and standards that ensure the fair and impartial investigation of allegations that a student has engaged in disruptive conduct, i.e., conduct that falls outside of the principles of free expression and meets the definition supplied by Statute 21. The expectation is that most matters arising under this system will be resolved informally and will include educational content designed to articulate the boundary between free expression and disruptive conduct.

Non-Students

Staff employees, academic appointees, visiting academics, postdoctoral researchers, employees of affiliates and volunteers who violate Statute 21 are not covered by this system and will be subject to discipline using the disciplinary processes applicable to each category. Employees of affiliates, volunteers, visitors or guests who violate Statute 21 will be subject to the University’s Ban (No-Trespass) Policy, which governs the process by which the University denies access to some or all University property after reaching a reasoned determination that a person has engaged in, among other things, threatening, disruptive or violent conduct. Persons who are not guests and have no affiliation with the University are also subject to the Ban (No-Trespass) Policy, which may result in permanent prohibition from University property. In addition, because some conduct that violates this policy may also constitute a crime, any person who engages in disruptive conduct that constitutes a criminal act may be arrested and prosecuted.

Initial Fact-Gathering and Notification

Anyone may make a complaint under this system. All complaints that a student has engaged in conduct that violates Statute 21 should be made in writing and brought promptly to the attention of the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs, and in any event no later than 60 days after the alleged misconduct occurred. The complaint should identify the name(s) of the person(s) involved, and state with specificity the nature of the misconduct, and the circumstances under which it may have been committed. A complainant should make every effort to include all relevant facts known at that time and provide all available supporting materials. In response, the University will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation as detailed below and will do so notwithstanding any external process, such as a law enforcement investigation or criminal prosecution.

Generally, the complainant first will discuss the allegation with the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs (or designee).[2] The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will conduct an expeditious inquiry into the facts, which may include but is not limited to interviews, information-gathering, and documentation of evidence. If warranted by the complaint and/or any other preliminary information gathered, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will summon the respondent (the accused individual) to a meeting as soon as possible, review this policy and its processes (including the respondent’s right to have a support person’s assistance throughout the process), and provide a brief written summary of the allegation. If a respondent declines to participate in the initial information-gathering process, this decision may foreclose participation during later phases of the disciplinary process, including any proceeding before the Committee.

In the meeting, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will inform the respondent of the alleged misconduct and will discuss the allegation and applicable investigatory and adjudicatory processes. Following the meeting, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will provide the complainant and the respondent with an opportunity to provide evidence and to suggest witnesses. The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will not interview witnesses whose sole purpose is to provide character information about either party.

Based on the inquiry and in consultation with the Faculty Chair of the Standing Disciplinary Committee on Disruptive Conduct, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs has the discretion and authority to dismiss the complaint. Alternatively, as explained below, the Associate Dean has the authority to resolve the complaint informally, or to refer the complaint to the Faculty Chair, who in turn may formally convene a disciplinary committee to hear the incident.

The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will also ensure that the complainant and respondent be updated throughout the investigative process, including timely notice of meetings where they may be present. More specifically, the complainant and respondent will be given the following written notices: (i) notice that a complaint was dismissed, the matter was resolved informally, or that an investigation will proceed; (ii) notice of a charge filed and any information that will be used in the hearing process; (iii) notice of the date and time of any hearing and a list of hearing panel members; (iv) notice of the hearing panel’s findings and, if applicable, sanctions, including an explanation of the review process; (v) notice of whether a request for review has been filed; (vi) notice of the outcome of the request for review, including whether the decision, or sanctions, have been modified; and (vii) notice when the decision and sanctions become final.

Informal Resolution

With the approval of the Faculty Chair, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs may resolve allegations of disruptive conduct informally. As outlined above, both complainant and respondent have the opportunity to present information and suggest witnesses related to an allegation of disruptive conduct. After considering all the information available, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will use the preponderance of evidence standard to determine if the respondent violated Statute 21. In situations involving conflicts between student organizations, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will make reasonable efforts to resolve the differences between the organizations.

If the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs concludes that by a preponderance of the evidence, the information obtained supports a finding that the respondent violated Statute 21, then, in consultation with the Faculty Chair, the Associate Dean will determine an appropriate sanction. Sanctions may include but are not limited to, a warning, disciplinary probation, and/or the suspension of specific student rights and privileges for a designated period. The Faculty Chair cannot issue an informal disciplinary sanction of suspension, or expulsion. The respondent may choose in writing to accept or reject the finding and sanction in order to reach a resolution. If the respondent rejects the finding and sanction, then the Faculty Chair will convene the Committee. If the respondent accepts the finding and sanction, the resolution of the disciplinary process becomes final and unreviewable within the University, with one exception: if the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs or the Faculty Chair later receives new information that materially changes the evaluation of the matter, then the informal resolution may be withdrawn, and the matter heard and adjudicated by the Committee. If the respondent accepts the finding and sanction, a record of such finding and sanction will be issued to the respondent.

At any time before the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs makes a finding and, if appropriate, imposes a sanction, the Associate Dean may discontinue the informal resolution process and refer the matter for formal resolution.

Formal Resolution

If the Faculty Chair decides to convene the Committee, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will ask the complainant to submit in writing the allegation as well as any available documentation supporting the allegation (to the extent such information has not already been gathered). The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will provide the respondent with written notice of the allegations, give the respondent a copy of these procedures, and ask the respondent to prepare a written response to the allegation. If there were witnesses to the alleged misconduct, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs may summon them for a meeting, ask them to submit a written statement, and summon them to appear before the Committee to answer questions. A complainant should make every effort to include in the complaint all relevant facts known at that time and provide all available supporting materials.

The University-Wide Standing Disciplinary Committee on Disruptive Conduct

The University-wide Standing Committee on Disruptive Conduct (the Standing Committee), which hears and adjudicates complaints against students, includes faculty and students drawn from all academic units, and staff representing the academic units and Campus and Student Life. In consultation with the Spokesperson of the Committee of the Council, the Provost will appoint members of the Standing Committee to three-year terms. The faculty members of the Standing Committee will be drawn from the pool of faculty serving on the Council of the University Senate and from a list of councilors who have served during the preceding five years. The Provost will appoint staff and student members of the Standing Committee after soliciting recommendations from each academic dean or their designee. At the recommendation of the Faculty Chair, an Ad Hoc Disciplinary Committee (the Committee), drawn from the Standing Committee, will convene to conduct the disciplinary proceeding. The Committee members will be selected in a manner that ensures that one faculty member will have a primary academic appointment in the school or division in which the respondent is enrolled at the time of the alleged misconduct.

The Committee convened to hear and adjudicate a particular complaint normally consists of three faculty members, one student, one staff member, and the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs (or designee). The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs (or designee) attends the Committee proceeding in a non-voting, advisory capacity. Two faculty members, including the Faculty Chair of the Committee, and one additional member (staff or student) of the Standing Committee constitute a quorum.

All members of the Committee must be able to maintain independent judgment and discharge their obligations in a fair-minded fashion, free from material bias and conflicts of interest, or they must recuse themselves. As soon as practicable before the hearing, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will notify the complainant and the respondent of names and academic affiliation of Committee members. Either party may request a replacement if the participation of any member of the Committee on the grounds that such member has a genuine and material conflict of interest. Such requests must be made to the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs within 48 hours of receiving notice of the identities of the Committee members. Requests must identify with specificity the alleged nature of the conflict of interest. Using reasoned judgment, the Faculty Chair (or designee) will decide whether the alleged conflict is genuine and material and, if so, whether it compels the Committee member’s replacement via the same process.

Format and Order of Proceedings

1. Information Considered by the Committee and the Role of the Support Person

In connection with the proceeding, the complainant and the respondent will receive the same materials, subject to compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, which may require redaction of certain identifying information), as received by the members of the Committee. With regard to persons summoned to appear before the Committee, if the Committee hears from other individuals, the respondent and the complainant both have the right to be present.

The complainant and the respondent may bring to the disciplinary proceeding a person of their choice whose role is entirely limited to providing support. The Associate Dean of Students in the University will develop a list of University academic appointees, staff employees and students who are willing to serve as support persons. Although the complainant and respondent are free to select any support person, they will be given a reasonable opportunity to select a support person from the list. The support person does not function as an advocate or participate directly in any way during the proceeding. If the support person is a lawyer, a representative of the University’s Office of Legal Counsel also will attend the hearing. Regardless of whether a complainant, respondent or witness is represented by counsel, at all times they are expected to speak for themselves, directly communicate with the University personnel involved in the investigatory and adjudicative processes, and submit their own written statements.

2. General Process

In order to reach a fair and reasonable resolution of the complaint, Committee proceedings will generally follow the outline described below:

A. The Committee presumes the innocence of the respondent, assumes no facts or conclusions, ignores any previous history of disciplinary action with respect to the student charged, and reaches its decision as to whether the respondent has engaged in the prohibited act solely on the basis of the evidence actually before it.

B. Committee proceedings are closed. The only individuals who may be present in the hearing room(s) during the proceeding are: Committee members, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs, the complainant and respondent (and their respective advisors), witnesses (when called), and necessary University personnel. The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will work with other University personnel so that any individual whose presence is required may participate in the hearing.

C. The Faculty Chair reminds all present that disciplinary proceedings are distinct from the traditional legal-judicial process, and that the collegiality and trust which binds all members of the University community entails an obligation of candor on the part of all involved in disciplinary proceedings.

D. The Faculty Chair notes that cell phones and any other recording devices may not be used during any part of the proceeding, and reminds those present that the Committee may set reasonable time limits for any part of the proceeding and will use reasoned judgment to determine the relevance of, place restrictions on, or exclude any witnesses or information.

E. The Faculty Chair restates the basic complaint at issue before the Committee to determine what happened, whether the respondent engaged in disruptive conduct within the meaning of Statute 21, and, if so, the nature of the sanction to be imposed.

F. The Committee normally asks the respondent and complainant each to make an opening statement to the Committee about the allegations. If the proceedings involve multiple respondents accused of disruptive conduct arising out of the same event or events, the respondents each will be heard separately and not in the presence of the other respondents. If the respondent refuses to appear before the Committee, the Committee shall proceed without the respondent.

G. Committee members may ask questions of the respondent and others coming before the Committee and may conduct further inquiry.

H. If the Committee hears other individuals, the respondent and complainant have the right to be present.

I. Only the Committee may ask questions of the respondent, complainant and others who appear before the Committee; the complainant and the respondent may not cross-examine or otherwise directly engage one another or others, but may, at the discretion and direction of the Faculty Chair, suggest questions to be posed by the Committee. The Committee may revise or decline to ask any or all submitted questions.

J. The Faculty Chair may decide to move forward in the proceeding at any point if, in his or her judgment, anyone’s actions cause undue delay. The Faculty Chair can require to leave the proceeding anyone who fails to respect the limitations of their role, engages in active advocacy, or harasses, abuses, or intimidates any participant in the proceeding. The proceeding will continue in their absence. The Faculty Chair will always also be mindful of the necessity of hearing reasonable and relevant points from participants, especially the complainant and the respondent.

K. To ensure the integrity of the process, when students speak to the Committee during the hearing and in the presence of one another, until the Committee renders a decision the students must maintain confidentiality regarding what was said and must not communicate about the statements with anyone participating in it or with others outside the proceeding.

L. At the conclusion of the proceeding, the Committee normally gives the complainant and respondent the opportunity to make concluding remarks of a reasonable duration.

M. At the completion of the proceeding, the Committee will deliberate confidentially to consider the information obtained in the course of the proceeding and decide whether the respondent violated Statute 21 and, if so, the appropriate sanction. In making a determination, the Committee will apply a preponderance of evidence standard. Namely, the Committee will decide whether, in consideration of all of the information before it, it is more likely than not that the respondent’s conduct violated Statute 21. Although axiomatic, it bears noting that non-disruptive protest and dissent should never be punished.

N. Decisions are by majority vote of the members of the Committee.

O. The Committee will impose sanctions that are fair and reasonable given the facts and circumstances. In deciding sanctions, normally the Committee will consider the nature of disruptive conduct; mitigating circumstances, if any; and past precedent, if any, established by the Committee. If appropriate, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will provide the Committee with the facts and circumstances of any similar, past cases and associated sanctions.

3. Sanctions

The sanctions listed below may be used singly or in combination by the Committee, which may also devise new sanctions that it deems appropriate. The same sanction options are available to the Review Board.

Warning: A letter shall be issued to the student. A prior warning related to misconduct under Statute 21 may be considered in determining a sanction for a current offense.

Disciplinary Probation: During this defined period, a student may continue to enjoy all the rights and privileges of a student except as the Committee stipulates. A prior disciplinary probation related to misconduct under Statute 21 may be considered in determining a sanction for a current offense.

Loss of University Privileges: Specific student rights and privileges, such as access to certain University buildings, events, organizations, or employment, may be suspended for a defined period.

Discretionary Sanctions: The Committee may require the completion of additional academic work, community service, or restitution/fines by a given deadline.

Disciplinary Suspension: For a period of no more than nine consecutive quarters, a student is prohibited from exercising any rights or privileges of a student at the University.

Disciplinary Expulsion: An expelled student forfeits the rights and privileges of a student at the University. Ordinarily, the University will not consider a re-application for eleven consecutive quarters following the date of the expulsion.

4. Notification of Outcome

Normally, once deliberations have concluded, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will provide the complainant and respondent with verbal or electronic notification of the outcome of the proceeding. No later than seven days after deliberations have concluded, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will provide the complainant and respondent with formal, written notification of the outcome, including information regarding a request for review. The notification will include an explanation of the basis for the finding and sanction.

Only decisions of disciplinary suspension or expulsion will be recorded on the respondent’s transcript and usually will read “Not permitted to register from [Date] to [Date]. [Name and Title of the Dean of Students in the University], [Date]” In cases of expulsion, the notation includes a statement “Must Reapply.” Other offices (e.g., Housing, University Registrar) are to be notified of the finding and sanction if the action taken by the Committee affects those offices. If required by law or authorized by the respondent, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs may disclose allegations of misconduct and the outcome of disciplinary proceedings to third parties, including to external organizations.

 5. Requests for Review

The complainant and respondent may request a review of the resolution of the disciplinary proceeding within 15 days of being informed, in writing, of the decision. The only recognized grounds are: (i) the prescribed procedures were not followed; and (ii) the discovery of new and material information unavailable to the Committee at the time of the proceeding bears significantly in the student’s favor. A Review Board consists of one faculty member (who also serves as chair), one administrator (designated by the Dean of Students in the University), and one student. Decisions are by majority vote of the members of the Committee. Members of the Review Board may not serve if they were part of the Ad Hoc Committee that decided the underlying matter.

All members of the Review Board must maintain independent judgment and an open mind about the decision under review, and none shall have a conflict of interest with either party. The Review Board’s decision is final and non-reviewable. In making a decision, the Review Board does not conduct a new disciplinary proceeding and normally does not interview witnesses or seek additional information from the student seeking review or witnesses, although the Review Board has the authority to do so and may seek additional information regarding the proceeding from the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs.

The Review Board, acting on the basis of the entire record, may sustain, reduce, modify or strike the sanctions imposed if it determines that: (i) prescribed procedures were not followed; and/or (ii) new and material information unavailable to the Committee at the time of the proceeding bears significantly in the student’s favor has been discovered. Additionally, if the Board is satisfied in its reasoned judgment that the new and material information not available to the Committee more likely than not would have resulted in a different decision, it may require the Committee to reconvene and consider the new information in the proceedings.

The complainant and the respondent shall be notified in writing of the outcome of the request for review within 7 days after the conclusion of the review. The review constitutes the final process for disciplinary proceedings, and the outcome is final and not reviewable within the University.

6. Confidentiality

The University, including its agents (e.g., those who serve on the Standing and Ad Hoc Committee), has a legal obligation under federal law to maintain the confidentiality of student education records, including records used in the disciplinary process that include identifiable student information, except as required by law, e.g., as authorized by the student or compelled by a subpoena or court order. Although respondents, student witnesses and support persons are not bound by the federal law applicable to the University and its agents, they are encouraged to use good judgment when sharing information with third-parties, as some disclosures and related statements may give rise to legal claims against them by persons who believe that the disclosures or statements are false, invade privacy rights or cause reputational damage.

Student as Employee

Nothing in this disciplinary system shall limit any student-employee’s rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The system thus would not apply to student-employees’ participation in a demonstration, including a rally or picketing, who are represented by a collective bargaining agent and the demonstration arises in the course of or is incident to a labor dispute involving the University. However, the system applies to conduct not protected by the NLRA, including the prohibitions set forth in Statute 21, such as the destruction of property, threats of physical harm to others, the occupation of University facilities, and the disruption of University events.

Other Information

Disciplinary proceedings under this system apply to anyone who has matriculated to the University, whether or not in residence, and for any graduate but only if the alleged misconduct occurred before the degree was awarded. If a complaint of disruptive conduct against a student who has applied for graduation has been brought to the attention of the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs but by the date of graduation the matter has not yet been resolved informally or a Committee has not yet convened, the Faculty Chair has the discretion and authority to decide whether the respondent may receive the degree and/or participate in convocation. If the Committee has been convened by the date of graduation but the proceedings have not concluded, the respondent shall not participate in convocation, and the student’s graduation shall be postponed until the disciplinary proceeding has concluded, and, as applicable, the completion of all sanctions.

Provision for Review of Disciplinary Procedures

The Council of the University Senate shall review, through an appropriate committee, this disciplinary system not later than the Spring Quarter, 2020.



[1] Examples might include counter-demonstrations and counter-events; marches that do not drown out speakers; silent vigils; teach-ins; protest signs that do not block the vision of the audience; boycotts of speakers or events; pointedly challenging speakers during question and answer sessions, albeit in a way that does not monopolize that portion of the event or prevent the speaker from responding.

[2] If an anonymous complaint precludes a meaningful inquiry into the facts from taking place, the complaint will be dismissed.