Area Disciplinary Systems

Unit-Specific Procedures

Each academic unit—the College, graduate divisions, professional schools, and the Graham School—has written procedures for student discipline. Those procedures may be obtained from the Office of the Dean of Students of the academic unit. General procedures for area discipline follow the outline of the procedures described below.

Students in the College should consult the Office of College Community Standards (collegestandards@uchicago.edu) for details of College-specific disciplinary procedures.

Sources and Routing of Reports of Alleged Policy Violations

Conduct involving possible violation of University policies and regulations and other breaches of standards of behavior expected of University students should be brought promptly to the attention of the Dean of Students of the academic area of the respondent. Conduct involving violation of the Policy on Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct should be brought promptly to the attention of the Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity Programs and/or the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs in Campus and Student Life.

Reports from the University Police about student misconduct will routinely be brought to the area Dean of Students for possible disciplinary action. Furthermore, the area Dean of Students may investigate and recommend disciplinary action based on reports from third parties of arrests, citations, or other conduct from external parties that come to the attention of the area Dean of Students.

Policy Violations Addressed by Area Discipline

Such violation and breaches of standards include but are not limited to: plagiarism, cheating on examinations, falsifications of documents or records, theft, vandalism, violation of computing policies, violation of the alcohol and other drug policy, hazing, physical or verbal abuse that threatens or endangers the health or safety of others, violation of an administrative department's regulations, failure to comply with directives of University officials including the University Police, and violation of the terms of imposed disciplinary sanctions.

Overview of Area Discipline Process

Generally, the person bringing the allegation of misconduct first will discuss the allegation with the Dean of Students (or designee) of the academic area of the respondent. The Dean of Students (or designee) will notify the accused student of the complaint via e-mail and, to the extent possible (based on the available facts), provide the student with a brief description of the reported behavior, the related policy and the name of the complainant. From the date of the e-mail, the respondent will generally have up to 5 business days to schedule a meeting with the Dean of Students (or designee) to discuss the reported behavior and the options for resolution.

The Dean of Students (or designee) will simultaneously conduct an inquiry into the facts, which may include but is not limited to interviews and obtaining written statements from pertinent other people. Based on the inquiry the Dean of Students has the discretion and authority to dismiss the complaint, or to (a) resolve the complaint informally with the parties, (b) to resolve the complaint administratively (without a hearing), or (c) to refer the complaint to the Academic Dean with a recommendation to convene an Area Disciplinary Committee.

(a) Informal Resolution

If the area Dean of Students resolves an allegation of misconduct informally, the area Dean of Students may give the respondent an official warning and suspend specific student rights and privileges for a designated period of time. A copy of the written notice warning the respondent that they are violating or have violated University policies or regulations will be placed in the student's educational record and retained according to the retention polices delineated above (see the section on “Record Maintenance”). If the Dean of Students later finds that the student has engaged in additional misconduct, the Area Disciplinary Committee may be informed of the earlier warning. If the Area Disciplinary Committee is informed of the earlier warning the Committee must consider it in determining further sanctions.

(b) Administrative Resolution

In situations where an individual student has acknowledged responsibility for misconduct and the most likely outcome for that misconduct would be a sanction of warning or disciplinary probation if the Area Disciplinary Committee were to be convened, the area Dean of Students (or designee) may offer to resolve the allegation of misconduct administratively without referral to an Area Disciplinary Committee. In such matters, the area Dean of Students can propose the sanction of an official warning or place the student on disciplinary probation for a specified period of time (e.g., a quarter, a year, for the duration of the student’s enrollment, etc.). The student will be given the option to accept or reject this offer for resolution in writing. If the student rejects this offer for resolution, then the area Dean of Students may refer the complaint to the Academic Dean with a recommendation to convene an Area Disciplinary Committee. If the student accepts the area Dean of Students’ offer for administrative resolution, the decision becomes final and unreviewable within the University, with one exception: If the area Dean of Students later receives new information that materially changes their evaluation of the case, then the area Dean of Students may withdraw the administrative resolution and refer the complaint to the Academic Dean with a recommendation to convene an Area Disciplinary Committee. If the Dean of Students later finds that the student has engaged in additional misconduct, the Area Disciplinary Committee may be informed of this resolution. If the Area Disciplinary Committee is informed of this resolution, the Committee must consider it in determining further sanctions.

(c) Area Disciplinary Committee Resolution

If the area Dean of Students refers the case to the area Academic Dean with a recommendation to convene an Area Disciplinary Committee and the Academic Dean decides that an Area Disciplinary Committee is to be convened, the Dean of Students of the academic area of the respondent will send written notification to the respondent and complainant (if applicable). The Dean of Students will ask the complainant to submit in writing the allegation as well as any available documentation supporting the allegation. The Dean of Students will subsequently inform the respondent of the allegation, including the date, time and place of the alleged policy violation and, as applicable, a list of individuals allegedly involved in and/or affected by the student’s actions; additionally, the Dean of Students will provide a copy of the academic unit’s disciplinary procedures and ask the student to prepare a written response to the accusation and provide any relevant exonerating materials. The respondent is expected to provide this written response within 5 business days. If there were witnesses to the alleged misconduct, the Dean of Students may ask pertinent witnesses to come before the disciplinary committee to answer questions and/or may ask witnesses to submit a written statement.

A complainant should make every effort to include in the complaint all germane facts known at that time and provide all available supporting materials. Normally, once a disciplinary committee is convened, the complaint will not be revised to include new or different allegations or supporting materials.

However, once a disciplinary committee is convened, the area Dean of Students may decline to investigate, or recommend that the same disciplinary committee or another disciplinary committee should decide new or different allegations based on facts that were known or should have been known to the complainant at the time of the initial complaint, or that were discovered in the course of the investigation.

When a respondent makes a counter-complaint against a complainant, the Dean of Students may investigate the respondent’s complaint at or about the same time the Dean of Students investigates the complainant’s original complaint. The Dean of Students may decline to recommend that a disciplinary committee hear either complaint or both of the complaints. The Dean of Students also may recommend that both complaints be simultaneously heard by a single disciplinary committee or heard separately by the same or different disciplinary committees.

Area Disciplinary Committee Procedures for Allegations of Misconduct by an Individual

The Academic Dean (or designee) will appoint the members of the Area Disciplinary Committee. All members of the Area Disciplinary Committee are expected to maintain independent judgment and open-mindedness about the alleged misconduct, free from material bias and conflicts of interest, or they should recuse themselves. The Dean of Students (or designee) will notify the respondent of the members of the Area Disciplinary Committee as soon as practicable before the hearing. The respondent may request a substitution if the participation of any individual on the Committee poses a conflict of interest. Such requests must be made to the Dean of Students within 2 business days of receiving notice of the members of the Area Disciplinary Committee. Requests must identify with specificity the alleged nature of the conflict of interest. Using reasoned judgment, the Chair of the Area Disciplinary Committee will decide whether the alleged conflict is genuine and material and, if so, whether it compels the Committee member’s replacement.

The Area Disciplinary Committee ordinarily consists of three faculty members; one student; the Dean of Students (or designee); and a representative from Campus and Student Life. At the discretion of the Academic Dean, up to two of the faculty appointees may be senior lecturers, clinical faculty or other equivalent academic appointees. The three faculty members, senior lecturers, clinical faculty or other equivalent academic appointees, the Dean of Students (or designee), and the representative from Campus and Student Life constitute a quorum. Both the Dean of Students (or designee) and the representative from Campus and Student Life attend the Area Disciplinary Committee meeting in a non-voting, advisory capacity. The Area Disciplinary Committee will meet to consider the incident as soon as practicable.

When an Area Disciplinary Committee is convened, the respondent will be informed in writing of the date, time, and place of the Area Disciplinary Committee proceedings no later than 7 business days prior to the hearing. The Area Disciplinary Committee may convene before the hearing to discuss procedural matters. If the respondent has been accused of misconduct before, the Dean of Students may inform the Area Disciplinary Committee of the previous accusation, other pertinent information related to the previous allegation, and of any disciplinary action. The respondent will be provided with a copy of all the written material furnished to the Area Disciplinary Committee no later than 5 business days prior to the hearing. The respondent has 5 business days to submit an optional response statement (including any additional exonerating material beyond that already provided to the Area Disciplinary Committee).

The Area Disciplinary Committee will seek to reach a complete and fair understanding of the facts of the incident at issue. The chair of the Area Disciplinary Committee reminds all present that disciplinary proceedings are distinctly different from the legal-judicial processes of the general society; that the relation of collegiality and trust that binds all members of the University community entails an obligation of candor on the part of anyone involved in a disciplinary proceeding; that disciplinary proceedings and their outcome are to remain confidential. The chair then restates the allegation into which the Area Disciplinary Committee is inquiring to determine what may have happened and whether sanctions are to be imposed. The respondent may be asked to provide opening and closing statements in response to the allegation before the Area Disciplinary Committee and provide answers to the committee members’ questions. If the proceedings involve multiple students accused of participation in the same misconduct, the respondents will each be heard separately and not in the presence of the other accused students. The Area Disciplinary Committee may also ask or summon the complainant and others to appear before the Committee to answer questions of the Area Disciplinary Committee. During the proceedings, if the Area Disciplinary Committee hears other individuals, the respondent may choose to be present when those individuals are heard. Only the Area Disciplinary Committee may ask questions of the respondent and others who appear before the Committee. If the respondent refuses to appear before the Area Disciplinary Committee, the Area Disciplinary Committee shall proceed without the respondent.

At the completion of the inquiry, all present who are not members of the Area Disciplinary Committee will be asked to leave while the Committee members deliberate on the allegation and inquiry, possible sanctions and implications of those sanctions, and come to a decision.

The Area Disciplinary Committee decides, by majority vote and in consideration of all of the information before it, whether it is more likely than not that the respondent’s conduct violated University policies and regulations or breached standards of behavior expected of University students.

Disciplinary sanctions available to the Area Disciplinary Committee are set forth in the sections below.

When the Area Disciplinary Committee reaches its decision, the Dean of Students will inform the respondent as soon as practicable and will subsequently send a formal hearing outcome letter in which both the decision and the request for review process are delineated. The action of the Area Disciplinary Committee is reported to Campus and Student Life. Decisions of disciplinary suspension or expulsion will be recorded on the student's transcript and 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 and Residence Life, University Registrar, etc.) are to be notified if the action taken by the Area Disciplinary Committee affects those offices. Where appropriate, and as permitted by law, the Dean of Students may disclose allegations of misconduct and the outcomes of disciplinary proceedings to third-parties, including to external organizations.

A written record of the disciplinary incident will be kept by the Office of the Dean of Students as part of the student's educational record with a copy furnished to Campus and Student Life. This record should include all materials provided to the Area Disciplinary Committee, a copy of the outcome letter sent to the respondent, a statement of the main findings which were relevant to the final outcome of the disciplinary proceedings and to the sanctions imposed, as well as any considerations of the possible implications of the sanctions. This record will be maintained according to the retention policies for student records (see the section above on “Record Maintenance”).

If the Area Disciplinary Committee imposes a sanction, the respondent may submit a request for the Area Disciplinary Committee's decision to be reviewed. Request for Review procedures are set forth in the Review Process section.

Support Person

The respondent may bring one person of their choice to required meetings with the Dean of Students (or designee) or have them attend and provide support to the respondent during phone calls or other interactions related to the investigation and adjudication of the incident. This support person can also accompany the respondent to the proceedings and be present during the hearing. The support person may confer quietly with the respondent during the proceedings and offer advice and other support during breaks. The support person can also assist with the review and preparation of materials, although authorship of statements should be the respondent’s alone. The support person may not speak for the respondent during the proceedings and is not allowed to direct questions to the complainant, witnesses or Committee members.

The respondent should inform the Dean of Students at least 3 business days before the Area Disciplinary Committee is to meet if a support person will be attending the proceedings. If the person providing support is a lawyer, a representative of the University's Office of Legal Counsel also will attend the proceedings.

Area Disciplinary Committee Procedures for Allegations of Misconduct by a Group

If an area Dean of Students receives a complaint alleging misconduct of a student group, the Area Disciplinary procedures will be invoked with the following clarifications and modifications. Misconduct of a student as a member of a group may have consequences for the individual student, for the group, as well as for the group leadership. Any member or members of a group and/or group leadership may also be held accountable for the misconduct if they were involved in the misconduct. Group members and/or leadership may also be held accountable if they:

  • knew about the intended misconduct and failed to take appropriate steps to prevent it;
  • should have anticipated the misconduct and taken appropriate steps to prevent it; or
  • failed to disclose all information relevant to an investigation of misconduct of a group member or guest.

If the area Dean of Students is informed of misconduct of a group and believes that the circumstances warrant it, the Dean of Students will arrange for a meeting with the group, group’s leadership, or individual members as soon as practicable. In the meeting, the Dean of Students will inform the student(s) of the alleged misconduct and will discuss the allegation. When a group member or leader has knowledge that the misconduct is attributable to a specific member, members, guest, or guests of the group, the student is expected to promptly identify the group member(s) or guest(s) to the Dean of Students.

The Dean of Students will conduct an inquiry into the facts. The inquiry may include interviews with cognizant other people or obtaining written statements. Based on the inquiry the Dean of Students has the discretion and authority to dismiss the complaint, resolve the complaint informally with the parties, to resolve the complaint administratively, or refer the complaint to the area Academic Dean with a recommendation to convene an Area Disciplinary Committee for the individual group member, more than one group member (including the leaders), and/or for the whole group.

An Area Disciplinary Committee convened to examine the allegation(s) of misconduct involving multiple students should follow, as much as reasonably possible, the procedures outlined for a hearing when an individual student is brought forward. Confidentiality of the individuals (including keeping them from knowing that others also are accused of misconduct and prohibiting them from colluding in responding to the allegations) should be given high priority.

If in the disciplinary process it becomes clear that hearing the students together would help to reach a complete and fair understanding of the facts, the respondents may be informed that other students are involved in the same alleged misconduct. The Dean of Students will ask each student if they will agree to appear before the committee in the presence of the other student(s). If all of the respondents agree, they will be informed of the identity of the other students and asked to appear before the disciplinary committee each to speak in the presence of the other accused students.

If a respondent declines the opportunity to appear before the Area Disciplinary Committee in the presence of other accused students, the Area Disciplinary Committee will hear that student separately. The committee will meet as a group with those respondents who have agreed to be heard in the presence of the other students.

When students are heard in the presence of each other, they are obligated to maintain confidentiality of the proceeding and must not communicate about the proceeding with others or each other outside of the committee hearing.

Sanctions for Misconduct of Individual Students

Sanctions delineated here are imposed on individual students for misconduct whether the misconduct involved only the student or the student as part of a group. An area Dean of Students who resolves a case administratively, or an Area Disciplinary Committee, may combine different sanctions in a given decision. A Review Board may make use of all the alternative forms of sanctions.

Warning

The area Dean of Students who resolves an incident administratively, or the Area Disciplinary Committee, may give the respondent an official warning. A copy of the written notice warning the student that they have violated University policies or regulations will be placed in the student's educational record. This record will be maintained according to the retention policies for student records (see “Record Maintenance”).

If the Dean of Students later finds that the student has engaged in additional misconduct, the Area Disciplinary Committee may be informed of the earlier warning and the circumstances related to the warning. If the Area Disciplinary Committee is informed of the earlier warning, the Area Disciplinary Committee must consider it in determining further sanctions.

Disciplinary Probation

The area Dean of Students who resolves an incident administratively, or the Area Disciplinary Committee, may place the accused student on disciplinary probation for a specified period of time (e.g. a quarter, a year, for the duration of the student’s enrollment, etc.). The Area Disciplinary Committee may stipulate whether the disciplinary probation status will be noted on the official transcript and for how long. A student on disciplinary probation is not considered to be a student in good disciplinary standing at the University for the period of the disciplinary probation status. The area Dean of Students who resolves a case formally or the Area Disciplinary Committee may specifically stipulate which, if any, of the normal rights and privileges enjoyed by students will be withheld during the period of disciplinary probation.

Loss of Privileges

The area Dean of Students who resolves an incident administratively, or the Area Disciplinary Committee, may suspend specific student rights and privileges for a designated period of time.

Discretionary Sanctions

The area Dean of Students who resolves an incident administratively, or the Area Disciplinary Committee, may assign the student specific academic work, community service for a specific number of hours, or other appropriate discretionary assignments to be completed by a specific date, or impose restitution or fines.

Disciplinary Suspension

Only the Area Disciplinary Committee may impose a disciplinary suspension, which will never exceed nine quarters. During the period of suspension the student is prohibited from exercising any rights and privileges of a student in the University. Unless the Area Disciplinary Committee specifically states otherwise in its decision, at the expiration of the period of suspension the student may resume active status as a student without any action on their part other than what would be required of any student who has, for a comparable period, interrupted their residence in the University for any other reason. However, a student under suspension who has been charged with another offense may not resume active status as a student until final action has been taken on such charge by the area Dean of Students or the Area Disciplinary Committee.

Disciplinary Expulsion

Only the Area Disciplinary Committee may expel a student. A student who has been expelled automatically forfeits all rights and privileges as a student in the University. Ordinarily, the University will not consider a re-application for eleven quarters following the date of expulsion.

Revocation of the Degree

The Area Disciplinary Committee may recommend revocation of the degree for misconduct that occurred before the degree was awarded.

Sanction for Misconduct of a Student Group

Sanctions delineated here are imposed on a student group. An area Dean of Students who resolves a case administratively, or an Area Disciplinary committee, may combine different sanctions in a given decision. A Review Board may make use of all the alternative forms of sanction.

As previously noted, every student bears responsibility for their misconduct, regardless of whether the misconduct occurred in a group setting or as a member of a group. Misconduct by individual members of a group thus may also become a matter for disciplinary action and sanctions against the individuals.

Warning

The area Dean of Students who resolves an incident administratively, or the Area Disciplinary Committee, may give the group an official warning. A copy of the written notice warning the group that it has violated University policies or regulations will be forwarded to Campus and Student Life and the Center for Leadership and Involvement.

If the Dean of Students later finds that the group has engaged in additional misconduct, the Area Disciplinary Committee may be informed of the earlier warning and the circumstances related to the warning. If the Area Disciplinary Committee is informed of the earlier warning, the Area Disciplinary Committee must consider it in determining further sanctions.

Disciplinary Probation

The area Dean of Students who resolves an incident administratively, or the Area Disciplinary Committee, may place the group on disciplinary probation, during which time the group continues to enjoy all the rights and privileges of a group except as the Area Disciplinary Committee may specifically stipulate.

If, during the period of disciplinary probation, an area Dean of Students finds that the group has engaged in additional misconduct, the Area Disciplinary Committee will be informed of the group’s probationary status and the circumstances related to the group’s probationary status. The Area Disciplinary Committee must consider the probation in determining further sanction.

Loss of Privileges

The area Dean of Students who resolves an incident administratively, or the Area Disciplinary Committee, may suspend specific group rights and privileges for a designated period of time. Such loss of privileges may include but is not limited to loss of University funding, suspension or revocation of the privilege to apply for University funding, suspension or revocation of the privilege to use University space or facilities, suspension or revocation of the privilege to sponsor, co-sponsor and/or participate in any social event or other activity, and the suspension of revocation of the privilege to raise funds or recruit new members for the group.

Discretionary Sanctions

The area Dean of Students who resolves an incident administratively, or the Area Disciplinary Committee, may assign the group specific academic work, community service for a specific number of hours, or other appropriate discretionary assignments to be completed by a specific date, reporting to local and national organizations of the misconduct, or impose restitution or fines.

Disciplinary Suspension

Only the Area Disciplinary Committee may impose a disciplinary suspension of Recognized Student Organization status which will never exceed nine quarters. During the period of suspension the group is prohibited from exercising any rights and privileges of a Recognized Student Organization in the University. Unless the Area Disciplinary Committee specifically states otherwise in its decision, at the expiration of the period of suspension the group may resume active status as a Recognized Student Organization without any action on the part of the group. However, a group under suspension who has been charged with another misconduct violation may not resume active status as a Recognized Student Organization until final action has been taken on such allegation by the area Dean of Students or the Area Disciplinary Committee.

Disciplinary Withdrawal

Only the Area Disciplinary Committee may withdraw Recognized Student Organization status. A group whose Recognized Student Organization status has been withdrawn automatically forfeits all rights and privileges as a Recognized Student Organization in the University. Ordinarily, the University will not consider a re-application of Recognized Student Organization status for eleven quarters following the date of withdrawal.