Skip to navigation menu

Skip to main content

Civility Policies > Student Misconduct Policy

Site Navigation

Civility Policies

Student Misconduct Policy

1.6.   Advisors: Advisors can help students involved in disciplinary proceedings to understand the disciplinary process, respect and comply with the provisions of this policy, and deal with all aspects of the process.

1.6.1.      An advisor may accompany any complainant, witness, or respondent to, and may participate in, any meeting regarding a disciplinary complaint. Advisors also may accompany complainants, respondents, and witnesses to hearings, but generally may not participate directly in such hearings. Advisors to respondents may, however, quietly advise the respondent(s) during the hearing and may also make a brief statement at the conclusion of the hearing, before the panel begins its deliberations.

1.6.2.      The advisor must be a TC faculty member, staff member, or student in good academic and disciplinary standing. The advisor may not be an attorney. 

1.6.3.      A student shall select an advisor whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled hearing dates and times because delays will not normally be allowed due to advisor scheduling conflicts.  A group of potential advisors will be trained by the Office of the President in this policy and the nature of its proceedings from which the student may select.

2.      Academic Integrity Policy

2.1.   Professional and Ethical Standards: TC hosts an academic community whose most fundamental purpose is the pursuit of knowledge.  High principles of academic integrity are essential to the functioning and continued growth of this community. Students, as well as faculty, are responsible for adhering to these principles, and TC will not tolerate any abuse of academic integrity. Those who violate academic and professional ethics can expect sanctions up to or including dismissal from TC.

2.2.   Responsibilities of Community Members: Every member of the TC academic community is responsible for upholding the standards of professionalism and ethics declared by this policy. 

2.2.1.      Each academic program/department is responsible for being aware of these principles and the range of academic dishonesty practices.  Additionally, academic programs/departments should endeavor to teach students about these standards as part of the orientation of new students.

2.2.2.      Professors are responsible for maintaining a professional academic environment.  Faculty members shall ensure that a statement reflecting the TC policy routinely appears on course syllabi. If a student is unsure whether his or her actions constitute a violation of academic integrity, he or she has the responsibility to consult with the instructor about any ambiguities.

2.2.2.1.Suggested statement for placement on all syllabi:  Students who intentionally submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to the original source, fabricate data or other information, engage in cheating, or misrepresentation of academic records may be subject to charges.  Sanctions may include dismissal from the college for violation of the TC principles of academic and professional integrity fundamental to the purpose of the College.

2.2.3.      Decisions regarding academic evaluation in all aspects of students' work at TC, including course work, certification examinations, clinical or field experiences, and preparation of dissertations, are within the sole jurisdiction of the faculty concerned, including as appropriate, the department or program staff members. 

2.3.   Violations of academic integrity include but are not limited to:

2.3.1.      Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized assistance, material, or study aids in examinations or other academic work;

2.3.2.      Plagiarism: using the ideas, data, or language of another without specific or proper acknowledgement.

2.3.3.      Fabrication: submitting contrived or altered information in any academic exercise, such as making up data, citing nonexistent articles, contriving events and sources of information;

2.3.4.      Duplicate submissions: submitting any work submitted to fulfill another assignment without appropriate revision to meet the instructional goals of the current course.  In cases of uncertainty or ambiguity, a student should check with his/her professor;

2.3.5.      Misrepresentation of academic records, or attempting to tamper with transcripts or any portion of a student's academic record;

2.3.6.      Facilitating academic dishonesty by knowingly helping another student to violate academic integrity;

2.3.7.      Unfair advantage through attempting to gain unauthorized access to examination materials, or obstructing another student's efforts.

2.3.8.      Violations of copyright law: copying, distributing, sharing, or storing information or material on the Internet or otherwise which will infringe the copyright for that information.  This includes music, film, video, software, television, etc. which are protected by copyright.

3.      General Misconduct Policy

3.1.   Professional and Ethical Standards: TC expects its members to observe traditional canons of scholarly discourse, academic behavior and due process. All members of the TC community are expected to exhibit the high level of personal integrity which society demands from professionals.

3.2.   The policies and procedures laid out here do not comprise a legal system.  TC disciplinary proceedings are not civil or criminal litigation. Thus, they operate under different rules, standards, and procedures, and seek to achieve ends different from criminal or civil proceedings. 

3.4.   Any member of the TC community may bring a complaint about student conduct to the attention of the SCC.  Doing so in no way limits a complainant(s)'s rights or obligations to bring such matters to the attention of other College offices, officers, or resources, including the Office of the Ombudsman or the respective Associate Dean, or to seek recourse outside the College through civil or criminal legal proceedings.

3.5.   Violations of General Misconduct: TC insists on the greatest degree of freedom of inquiry, teaching, learning, and expression for all of its members. However, in order to ensure a harmonious environment at TC, students will be subject to disciplinary action if they violate TC policy by committing an infraction of general misconduct, including but not limited to:

3.5.1.      Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, TC procedures and activities, or other authorized activities on TC premises, including public service functions on or off the premises.

3.5.2.      Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, stalking, harassment, coercion or other conduct that may endanger the health or safety of members of the TC community

3.5.3.      Sexual misconduct (Please also refer to the TC Harassment Panel for guidance)

3.5.4.      Unauthorized entry or use of TC facilities or unauthorized possession or use of TC property or property of others

3.5.5.      Disorderly conduct or obscene conduct or expression

3.5.6.      Threats of violence against another person, stalking, or physical or verbal intimidation that unreasonably impairs the security or privacy of another person

3.5.7.      Forgery, alteration, or misuse of TC documents, records, or identification, furnishing false information to TC, or possession of any false identification or identification belonging to another person

3.5.8.      The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs, unlawful drug paraphernalia, and alcohol, including public intoxication

3.5.9.      Failure to comply with authorized directions of, or furnishing false information to, TC officials or representatives of the SCC acting in performance of their duties.

3.5.10.  Failure to engage in responsible social conduct that reflects credit upon TC and to model good civil conduct and citizenship.

3.5.11.  Violation of any TC policy, rule or regulation published in hard copy or available on the TC website

3.5.12.  Violation of any federal, state or local law

3.5.13.  Theft or other abuse of computer facilities and resources including but not limited to: any violation of College computer use policy, using computing facilities and resources to send obscene or abusive messages, or other unauthorized use of computing facilities and resources.

3.5.14.  Identity theft: Identity theft occurs when someone possesses or uses your name, address, Social Security number (SSN), bank or credit card account number, or other identifying information without your knowledge with the intent to commit fraud or other crimes.

4.      Applicable Informal Procedures: When an issue arises involving the academic or general conduct of a student, TC offers several possible avenues by which to resolve the complaint informally: personal resolution or mediation.  These steps are recommended but are not required.

4.1.   Personal Resolution: It is recommended that complaints begin with the person against whom the complaint is being made.

4.1.1.      In cases of alleged academic misconduct, an instructor will apprise the student of this suspicion and refer the student to the appropriate TC policies.  The instructor shall also provide the student with the opportunity to discuss the nature and validity of the charges and the possible institutional responses to the charges.  If, in discussion with the student, the instructor decides that the violation was minor and due to unintentional sloppy scholarship, the instructor can impose appropriate sanctions.  If the student does not agree with the sanctions, he or she follow the several options laid out in this document (see Section on Mediation, 4.2, or Formal Resolution, 5).

4.1.2.      In cases of alleged general misconduct, parties are encouraged to pursue personal resolution. 

4.1.3.      A complainant is permitted to bypass this or any step, as she or he should feel comfortable and safe throughout the process.

4.2.   Mediation: TC encourages mediation whenever practical and appropriate.  Mediation shall take place if either involved party is not satisfied with the outcome of attempts at personal resolution or if either party does not wish to pursue personal resolution. 

4.2.1.      In order to resolve a disciplinary matter by mediation, both the complainant and the respondent must agree to participate in the mediation and to the proposed resolution.  If the complainant does not wish to pursue informal resolution, the charge in writing shall be submitted within 14 days of the alleged incident (Days include weekends and weekdays).

4.2.2.      For alleged academic misconduct, the instructor and the student both have 7 days after their discussion to approach the department chair or program coordinator.  A meeting between the instructor, chair/coordinator, and student shall convene 14 days within the instructor's conversation with the student.  Sanctions may be agreed on at this meeting.  If the instructor or the student wishes to further discuss the outcome or sanctions of this meeting, they have 7 days to send written documentation to the respective Associate Dean, including the steps taken to date and the complete details of the charges. The respective Associate Dean will have 14 days from receipt of a written appeal to call a meeting with the instructor and the student to attempt to mediate the situation, and, where appropriate, determine disciplinary action mutually agreeable to the parties involved.

4.2.3.      For instances of alleged general misconduct, any involved party has 7 days to approach the respective Associate Dean with written documentation of the steps taken to date and the complete details of the charges. The respective Associate Dean will have 14 days from receipt of this written documentation to attempt to mediate the situation, and, where appropriate, determine disciplinary action mutually agreeable to the parties involved.

4.2.4.      The respective Associate Dean is permitted to attempt to conduct an informal investigation in the case of informal mediation.

4.2.5.      The Ombudsperson and the Mediation Clinic at Columbia Law School are also options for mediation.

4.2.6.      All sanctions allowed under this policy are available to the SCC as part of a resolution by voluntary agreement to sanctions. By agreeing to such a resolution, a respondent waives further proceedings under this policy.

4.2.7.      If the student declines to participate in the meeting with the respective Associate Dean, or if a student fails to comply with the terms of a mediation agreement, or if no mutually satisfactory agreement between the student and the complainant is reached at that meeting, a hearing shall be scheduled before a panel drawn from the SCC.

5.      Applicable Formal Procedures

5.1.   If this attempt at mediation fails or any member of the community wishes to bypass mediation and directly file a formal complaint, the respective Associate Dean must be notified in writing.  He/she has 14 days from notification to constitute a Hearing Panel from the members of the SCC.  The respective Associate Dean shall cause to be delivered to the student a complete statement of the charges being brought against the student, the student's rights in the proceeding, and potential consequences. 

5.2.   The SCC Hearing Panel will be comprised of at least one student, one professional staff member, and one faculty member, one of whom will serve as chair, as appointed by the respective Associate Dean.  The chair is responsible for ensuring that the process occurs in a timely fashion in reasonable accordance with proposed deadlines.  No member of the Hearing Panel who is otherwise interested in the particular case shall sit in judgment of the proceedings.

5.3.   Disciplinary hearings are not trials, and they are not constrained by technical rules of procedure, evidence, or judicial formality. They are designed to encourage open discussion among the participants that promotes the Hearing Panel's understanding of the facts, the individuals involved, the circumstances under which the incident occurred, the nature of the conduct, and the attitudes and experience of those involved. The rules of evidence applicable to legal proceedings do not apply to disciplinary hearings. Information, including hearsay evidence, may be considered if it is relevant, not unduly repetitious, and the sort of information on which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs.

5.4.   In all matters regarding the hearing, the following procedures apply:

5.4.1.      The student appearing before the SCC Hearing Panel has the right to be assisted in his or her defense by a non-legal advisor.

5.4.2.      The burden of proof rests upon the officials bringing the charge.

5.4.3.      All materials that will be presented at the hearing must be shared with the Hearing Panel, the respective Associate Dean, and all involved parties before the hearing is convened. 

5.4.4.      The accused may testify, bring evidence, present witnesses, and hear and question adverse witnesses.  The Hearing Panel will not consider statements against the student unless he or she has been advised of their content and of the names of those who made them, and has been given an opportunity to rebut unfavorable inferences which might otherwise be drawn.

5.4.5.      Written witness statements, which obviate the need for testimony at a hearing, can be submitted only if the accused does not contest them.

5.4.6.      All matters upon which the decision may be based must be introduced into evidence at the proceeding.  The decision shall be based solely upon such matters.  Improperly acquired evidence shall not be admitted. 

5.4.7.      The student shall be informed, in writing, of the reasons for the proposed disciplinary actions with sufficient particularity to insure opportunity to prepare for the hearing.  At least 7 days notice of the hearing shall be given to the student.

5.4.8.      There shall be a single official record, such as a tape recording, of all hearings.  Deliberations shall not be recorded.  The record shall be the property of the College.

5.5.   If the accused fails to appear at the hearing, proceedings will continue.  Information in support of charges shall be presented and considered even if the accused is not present.

5.6.   A hearing may be expedited in circumstances, including disciplinary matters involving students who have been placed on mandatory temporary leave of absence or conditional attendance, graduating students, or students who are about to take a leave of absence or to leave campus to study elsewhere.  Students who withdraw from the College may still be subject to a hearing.

5.7.   The Hearing Panel will presume a respondent innocent unless proven responsible for a violation by clear and convincing evidence. All decisions of the Hearing Panel require a majority vote.

5.8.   The majority decision of the SCC Hearing Panel shall be communicated, in writing, within two business days of the decision to the student and to all parties involved.  This decision shall be binding unless the student wishes to appeal the decision of the Hearing Panel. 

5.9.   If the Hearing Panel finds that a student is responsible for a violation of TC rules or regulations, it will recommend appropriate sanctions to the respective Associate Dean. Only the respective Associate Dean, acting on behalf of TC, may actually impose a sanction on a student. The Associate Dean will not impose a sanction until after any appeal of the Hearing Panel's decision has been decided.

5.10.                    Appeals are to be directed in writing to the President within 14 days following written notification of the decision of the SCC Hearing Panel.  The Office of the President shall be presented with evidence supporting the appeal, and will conduct its own investigation of the charges.  The Office of the President has 14 days to notify the student in writing of its final decision.  If the President is party to a dispute, his/her function with respect to that appeal shall be discharged by a full professor who will be selected by lot from professors of that category.  There shall be no change in the status of the accused until the appeals process is complete, except as otherwise provided herein.

5.11.                    In an emergency or other extraordinary situation, the President or Dean of the College may take such disciplinary action as is necessary to deal appropriately with the situation pending a hearing by the SCC, which shall take place as soon as practicable but in no case more than 7 days from the date of the imposition of such disciplinary action.

6.      Disciplinary Sanctions: Disciplinary sanctions recommended by the SCC Hearing Panel may include more than one of the following but are not limited to this list:

6.2.   Restitution: repair or replacement of TC property when loss or damage is part of the offense

6.5.   Suspension: dismissal from TC or its residence halls for a specified time. Suspension, pending a hearing, may be imposed when there is reason to believe the action is necessary to maintain TC functions or to protect the safety of individuals.

6.6.   Expulsion: permanent dismissal from TC or its residence halls

6.7.   Revocation: Withholding or repealing admission or a degree award based on fraud or misrepresentation

6.8.   Counseling, evaluation, and treatment programs: in some cases of misconduct, such as those committed under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, participation in an evaluation and/or treatment program by an approved counseling service may be required as a part of a sanction. Such treatment may also be a condition of readmission to TC or a condition for remaining in TC.

7.      Disciplinary Records and Confidentiality

7.1.   Records of all complaints, disciplinary proceedings, mediations, and voluntary agreements to sanctions are maintained by the respective Office of the Associate Dean.   No record of the disciplinary proceedings will be entered in the student's file until a final disciplinary sanction is found to be warranted.

7.2.   All disciplinary proceedings, the identity of individuals involved in particular disciplinary matters, and all disciplinary files, testimony, and findings are confidential, in accordance with federal law concerning the confidentiality of student records. Upon graduation or withdrawal from TC, student academic and disciplinary records are maintained for a period of seven years, after which time they may be destroyed.

We would like to thank Vanderbilt University, Harvard University New York University, and University of Pennsylvania for the use and adaptation of their policies. This policy will be reviewed by the SCC on an annual basis at the beginning of each academic year.