University-wide Disciplinary System

A complaint that a student engaged in a violation of the University’s Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct should be brought promptly to the attention of the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs or the Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity Programs. 

The University is committed to providing a prompt and thorough investigation of all complaints alleging a violation of the University’s Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct, notwithstanding any external investigative and legal processes. The University's investigation thus may occur alongside, rather than in lieu of, an independent law enforcement investigation or civil action.

Interim protective measures and accommodations may be available to any complainant pending the resolution of a complaint, after a complaint is resolved, and/or if a student chooses not to move forward with a formal disciplinary process. These measures can include (but are not limited to) issuing a no- contact directive, housing accommodations, and academic accommodations. For additional information regarding interim protective measures and accommodations, see the Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct, or contact the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students or the Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity Programs & Title IX Coordinator for the University.

Generally, the person bringing the allegation of misconduct first will discuss the allegation with the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs (or designee). 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 with pertinent other people. The respondent will be notified of the complaint via e-mail and, to the extent possible, will be informed of the date, time and location of the alleged behavior, the nature of the alleged 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 Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs to discuss the reported behavior and the resolution process. Regardless of their level of involvement in the inquiry, both the complainant and the respondent will be able to offer evidence that tends to exonerate or prove the culpability of the respondent, and to suggest witnesses on their respective behalves, subject to the limitations set forth in the Policy on Unlawful Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct (e.g., sexual history) and at the discretion of the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs and University-Wide Disciplinary Committee. Based on the inquiry and in consultation with and the approval of the Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity Programs (or designee), the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs has the discretion and authority to dismiss the complaint, or, as explained below, to (a) resolve the complaint administratively with the parties, or (b) to refer the complaint to a University-Wide Disciplinary Committee to hear the incident.

Throughout the investigation and any subsequent disciplinary and review proceedings, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs (or designee) will provide the complainant and the respondent with periodic and timely updates and provide, as necessary, an explanation for any divergence from the process timeline.

(a) Administrative Resolution of Complaints

At the request of the complainant, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs has the authority to resolve allegations of discrimination, unlawful harassment, or sexual misconduct administratively. As outlined above, both the complainant and respondent will have the ability to present information and suggest witnesses related to an allegation of misconduct. 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 conclude if the respondent is in violation of the University’s Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct.

If the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs concludes the respondent is in violation of the University’s Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will apply an appropriate sanction, including but not limited to, an official warning, disciplinary probation, and/or the suspension of specific student rights and privileges for a designated period of time (this may include administratively moving a residential student and/or removing a student from housing). The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs cannot issue a disciplinary sanction of suspension, expulsion, or revocation of a degree through the administrative process. A copy of the written outcome and notice that the respondent has violated University policy or regulations will be placed in the student’s educational record. In instances where the alleged behavior is included in the sexual misconduct portion of the University Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct, the complainant and respondent will receive written notification of the outcome.

If the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs later finds that the student has engaged in additional misconduct, the University-wide Disciplinary Committee may be informed of the earlier outcome and sanction. If the University-wide Disciplinary Committee is informed of the earlier outcome and sanction, the Committee must consider it in determining further sanctions.

Either the complainant or respondent may at any time ask that the matter be referred to a Disciplinary Committee rather than resolved administratively. The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs may at any time discontinue the administrative resolution process and refer the matter to the Committee for resolution.

Mediation

Mediation is an attempt to come to a mutually acceptable or agreed-upon resolution to a complaint. All involved parties must voluntarily agree to mediation in order for it to occur. Mediation is not appropriate, even on a voluntary basis, in matters involving allegations of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.

Remedies and Other Measures

As mentioned above, a complainant is not required to pursue University discipline to be eligible for remedies related to an incident of sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking. The Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students can work with a complainant to explore these options which include, but are not limited to, no-contact directives, housing accommodations, and academic accommodations.

(b) University-wide Disciplinary Committee Resolution of Complaints

If the Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity Programs (or designee) agrees that a disciplinary committee should be convened, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs (or designee) will notify the complainant and respondent, via e-mail, of the date, time and location of the disciplinary hearing no later than ten days prior to the hearing. In this same notification, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs (or designee) will ask the complainant and respondent to submit written statements (and any additional supporting materials that exonerate or prove the culpability of the respondent) within 5 business days If there were witnesses to the alleged misconduct, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs may ask pertinent witnesses to come before the University-wide 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 University-wide Disciplinary Committee is convened, the complaint will not be revised to include new or different allegations or supporting materials.

However, once a University-wide Disciplinary Committee is convened, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs may decline to investigate, or recommend that that University- wide 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.

Ordinarily, the respondent and complainant will be given access to the investigation file prepared by the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs (or designee) no later than ten business days prior to the hearing. Both parties may submit a written optional response statement to the investigation file within 5 business days of the hearing.

When the respondent makes a counter-complaint against the complainant, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs may investigate the respondent’s complaint at or about the same time they investigate the complainant’s complaint. In consultation with the Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity Programs (or designee), the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs may decline to recommend that a University-wide Disciplinary Committee hear either complaint or one of the complaints. The Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity Programs (or designee) and Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs also may recommend that both complaints be simultaneously heard by a single University-wide Disciplinary Committee or heard separately by the same or different University-wide Disciplinary Committee.

Composition and Training of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee

The University-wide Disciplinary Committee includes faculty and students drawn from academic divisions and schools at the University and staff representing the academic divisions and schools and Campus and Student Life. A University-wide Disciplinary Committee consists generally 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 Disciplinary Committee meeting in a non-voting, advisory capacity. Generally, faculty, students and staff serving on a University-wide Disciplinary Committee do not come from the academic unit(s) of either the complainant or the respondent. A Faculty Chair of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee, one additional faculty member and either a student or staff person constitute a three-member quorum.

All members of the University-wide Disciplinary 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 should recuse themselves. The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs will notify the complainant and the respondent of the members of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee as soon as practicable before the hearing. Either party 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 Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs within two business days of receiving notice of the members of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee. Requests must identify with specificity the alleged nature of the conflict of interest. Using reasoned judgment, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs, in consultation with the Faculty Chair of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee, will decide whether the alleged conflict is genuine and material and, if so, whether it compels the Committee member’s replacement.

The University determines the identity of all individuals who will resolve complaints of alleged violations of the Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct, including members of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee. All individuals whose duties include resolution of complaints of student violations of the Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct shall receive a minimum of 8 hours of annual training on issues related to sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking and how to conduct the University’s complaint resolution procedures, in addition to annual survivor-centered and trauma-informed response training.

The University shall have a sufficient number of individuals trained to resolve complaints so that (1) a substitution can occur in the case of a conflict of interest or recusal; and (2) any request for review brought by a complainant or respondent will be determined by an individual or individuals with no prior involvement in the initial determination of whether a violation occurred.

Format and Order of Proceedings

The general format and order of proceedings of a University-wide Disciplinary Committee follow those presented in the Appendix.

To accommodate concerns for the well-being of the complainant and/or the respondent, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs may make appropriate arrangements enabling participation of the complainant and respondent without a face-to-face interaction. The complainant and the respondent may not directly interrogate one another, but may, at the direction of the Faculty Chair of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee, submit questions to be posed by the committee and respond to the other party (see Appendix). Such questions will be permitted if they help elucidate details of the incident and/or the actions of involved parties in a way that helps the Committee arrive at an informed decision. The Faculty Chair of the Committee, using reasoned judgement, will have final authority on which questions submitted by the complainant or respondent will be permitted.

During the hearing, if the University-wide Disciplinary Committee hears from other individuals, both the respondent and the complainant may be present. The University-wide Disciplinary Committee will apply a preponderance of evidence standard in making its determinations. Namely, the University-wide Disciplinary Committee will decide whether, in consideration of all of the information before it, it is more likely than not that the alleged misconduct occurred, or that the respondent breached standards of behavior expected of University students. Decisions are made by majority vote.

In connection with the hearing, the complainant and the respondent will receive the same materials, subject to compliance with FERPA, which may require redaction of certain identifying information. As stated in the University Policy on Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct, the complainant’s and/or respondent’s sexual history with others will generally not be sought or used in determining whether sexual assault has occurred. However, in certain circumstances the sexual history between the parties may have limited relevance to explain context (see Policy for further details).

Both the complainant and the respondent may bring a person of their choice to any meetings with the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs (or designee) or have them attend and provide support during phone calls or other interactions related to the investigation and adjudication of the incident. The complainant and respondent can also be accompanied by their respective support persons to any proceedings and be present during the hearing. The support person may confer quietly with the complainant or 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 complainant’s and/or respondent’s alone. Support persons may not speak for the complainant and/or respondent during the proceedings and are not allowed to direct questions to the respondent, complainant, witnesses or Committee members. If a support person violates the limitations regarding their role or engages in behavior or advocacy that harasses, abuses, or intimidates either party, a witness, or an individual resolving the complaint, the support person will be required to leave the hearing.

The complainant and/or respondent should inform the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs (or designee) at least 3 business days before the University-wide Disciplinary Committee is to meet if a support person will be attending the hearing. If the person providing support is a lawyer, a representative of the University's Office of Legal Counsel also will attend the hearing.

During the hearing, the University-wide Disciplinary Committee will generally allow the complainant or respondent to be present when the other party is heard. If the complainant or respondent requests it, the University shall arrange for the other party to hear the other speak to the University-wide Disciplinary Committee by an accepted virtual means, e.g., telephone, video conferencing, etc. Similarly, if an order of protection or other injunction has been issued by a court, is in effect at the time of the hearing, and directs one or both of the parties to have no contact with the other party, the complainant or the respondent may be present in an accepted virtual means.

If the respondent has been accused of misconduct before, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs may inform the University-wide Disciplinary Committee of the previous accusation, other pertinent information related to the previous allegation, and of any disciplinary action.

Notification of Outcome and Requests for Review

The complainant and respondent will receive simultaneous formal and written notification of the outcome, including information regarding requesting review, within 7 days of the hearing. Decisions of disciplinary suspension or expulsion will be recorded on the student'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 and Residence Life, University Registrar) are to be notified only if the action taken by the University-wide Disciplinary Committee affects those offices, and then only the action itself is transmitted. Where appropriate, and as permitted by law, the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs 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 Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs as part of the student's educational record. This record should include all materials furnished to the University-wide Disciplinary Committee, a copy of the outcome letter sent to the respondent, a statement of the main findings that 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”).

The complainant and the respondent both may request a review of the outcome within fifteen days of being informed, in writing, of the decision. For additional information about requesting a review of the outcome, please see: https://studentmanual.uchicago.edu/review.

Confidentiality

For information regarding the confidentiality of investigations conducted pursuant to this policy and the proceedings (including the outcome), please see Section VII of the University's Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct (http://harassmentpolicy.uchicago.edu/page/policy#VII.%20Important%20Principles).

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. The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs who resolves an incident administratively, or a University-wide Disciplinary Committee may combine different sanctions in a given decision. A Review Board may make use of all forms of sanctions.

Warning

The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs who resolves an incident administratively, or the University-wide Disciplinary Committee may give the respondent an official warning. A copy of the written notice warning the respondent that they have violated University policies or regulations will be placed in the student's educational record. If the respondent’s Dean of Students or the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs later finds that the student has engaged in additional misconduct, the appropriate Disciplinary Committee may be informed of the earlier warning and the circumstances related to the warning. If the Area or University-wide Disciplinary Committee is informed of the earlier warning, it must consider it in determining further sanctions.

Disciplinary Probation

The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs who resolves an incident administratively, or the University-wide Disciplinary Committee may place the respondent on disciplinary probation during which period the student continues to enjoy all the rights and privileges of a student except as the University-wide Disciplinary Committee may specifically stipulate. If, during the period of disciplinary probation, an Area or University-wide Disciplinary Committee finds that the student has engaged in additional misconduct, the Area or University-wide Disciplinary Committee will be informed of the student's probationary status and the circumstances related to the student's probationary status. The Area or University-wide Disciplinary Committee must consider the probation in determining further sanction.

Loss of Privileges

The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs who resolves an incident administratively, or the University-wide Disciplinary Committee may suspend specific student rights and privileges for a designated period of time.

Discretionary Sanctions

The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs who resolves an incident administratively, or the University-wide Disciplinary Committee may assign the student specific academic work, community service for a specific number of hours, remedial education, or other appropriate discretionary assignments to be completed by a specific date, or impose restitution or fines.

Disciplinary Suspension

Only the University-wide Disciplinary Committee may impose a disciplinary suspension, never exceeding nine quarters, during which period the student is prohibited from exercising any rights and privileges of a student in the University. Unless the University-wide 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 his or her part other than what would be required of any student who has, for a comparable period, interrupted his or her 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 a University-wide Disciplinary Committee.

Disciplinary Expulsion

Only the University-wide 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 University-wide Disciplinary Committee may recommend revocation of the degree for misconduct that occurred before the degree was awarded.

Sanctions for Misconduct of a Student Group

Sanctions delineated here are imposed on a student group. The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs who resolves an incident administratively, or a University-wide Disciplinary Committee may combine different sanctions in a given decision. A Review Board may make use of all forms of sanctions.

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 Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs who resolves an incident administratively, or the University-wide 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 respondent’s Dean of Students or the Associate Dean of Students in the University-wide Disciplinary Committee may be informed of the earlier warning and the circumstances related to the warning. If the University-wide Disciplinary Committee is informed of the earlier warning, it must consider it in determining further sanctions.

Disciplinary Probation

The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs who resolves an incident administratively, or the University-wide Disciplinary Committee may place the group on disciplinary probation, during which period the group continues to enjoy all the rights and privileges of a group except as the University-wide Disciplinary Committee may specifically stipulate. If, during the period of disciplinary probation, an Area or University-wide Disciplinary Committee finds that the group has engaged in additional misconduct, the Area or University-wide Disciplinary Committee will be informed of the group’s probationary status and the circumstances related to the group’s probationary status. The Area or University-wide Disciplinary Committee must consider the probation in determining further sanction.

Loss of Privileges

The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs who resolves an incident administratively, or the University-wide 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 for the group.

Discretionary Sanctions

The Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs who resolves an incident administratively, or the University-wide Disciplinary Committee may assign the group specific academic work, community service for a specific number of hours, remedial education, 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 University-wide Disciplinary Committee may impose a disciplinary suspension of Recognized Student Organization status, not exceeding nine quarters, during which period the group is prohibited from exercising any rights and privileges of a Recognized Student Organization in the University. Unless the University-wide 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 an Area or University-wide Disciplinary Committee.

Disciplinary Withdrawal

Only the University-wide 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.