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 & Director of the Office 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 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 will conduct an expeditious inquiry into the facts, which may include but is not limited to interviews with pertinent other people. If warranted by the preliminary information brought forward, the Associate Dean of Students in the University will arrange for a meeting with the respondent as soon as possible. In the meeting, the Associate Dean of Students in the University will inform the respondent of the alleged misconduct and will discuss the allegation. Regardless of their level of involvement in the inquiry, both the complainant and the respondent will be given the opportunity to provide evidence and to suggest witnesses on their respective behalves. Based on the inquiry and in consultation with a Faculty Chair of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee, the Associate Dean of Students in the University has the discretion and authority to dismiss the complaint, or, as explained below, to resolve the complaint informally with the parties, or to refer the complaint to a Faculty Chair of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee who can recommend formally convening a disciplinary committee to hear the incident. 

Throughout the investigation and any subsequent disciplinary and review proceedings, the Associate Dean of Students in the University will provide the complainant and the respondent with periodic and timely updates.

INFORMAL RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINTS

Administrative Resolution

At the request of the complaining party, the Associate Dean of Students in the University has the authority to resolve allegations of discrimination, unlawful harassment, or sexual misconduct informally. 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 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 cannot issue a disciplinary sanction of suspension, expulsion, or revocation of a degree through the informal 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 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 handled formally rather than informally. The Associate Dean of Students in the University may at any time discontinue the informal resolution process and refer the matter for formal 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 Title IX Coordinator for students can work with a complainant to explore these options which include, but are not limited to, no-contact directive, housing accommodations, and academic accommodations.

FORMAL RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINTS

If a Faculty Chair of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee decides that a disciplinary committee is to be convened, 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. The Associate Dean of Students in the University will inform the respondent of the allegation, give the respondent a copy of the University-wide disciplinary procedures and ask the respondent to prepare a written response to the accusation. If there were witnesses to the alleged misconduct, the Associate Dean of Students in the University 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.

On the rare occasion that the respondent makes a 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 a Faculty Chair of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee, the Associate Dean of Students in the University may decline to recommend that a University-wide Disciplinary Committee hear either complaint or one of the complaints.  The Faculty Chair of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee and Associate Dean of Students in the University 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

At the recommendation of the Faculty Chair of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee, a University-wide Disciplinary Committee will convene to conduct the disciplinary proceedings for allegation(s) against the respondent(s) of discrimination, unlawful harassment, or sexual misconduct. 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 (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. Two faculty members and a Faculty Chair of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee constitute a quorum.

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 within 48 hours 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. 

The University shall determine the identity of all individuals who will resolve complaints of alleged violations of the Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct. 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 described in the preceding section, Area Disciplinary Systems.

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 “cross-examine” one another, but may, at the discretion and direction of the Faculty Chair of the University-wide Disciplinary Committee, suggest questions to be posed by the committee and respond to the other party.

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.  Both the complainant and the respondent may bring a person of their choice to the disciplinary hearing whose role is entirely limited to providing support, i.e., not to function as an active participant in the hearing, provided that the involvement of the support person does not result in undue delay of the hearing.  If the 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. If the person providing support to the respondent and/or the complainant 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 accused 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 & 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, 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 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 confirmation 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 the considerations of the possible implications of the sanctions.

The complainant and the accused both may request a review of the outcome within 15 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. Important Principles

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 sanctions are arranged in increasing order of severity. 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 University-wide Disciplinary Committee may give the respondent an official warning. 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. 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 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 University-wide Disciplinary Committee may suspend specific student rights and privileges for a designated period of time.

Discretionary Sanctions

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

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

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 and are arranged in increasing order of severity. 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 his or her 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 University-wide Disciplinary Committee may give the group an official warning. A copy of the written notice warning the group that it is violating or has violated University policies or regulations will be placed in the group’s file. 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 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 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 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

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

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.