Jun 30, 2022  
2021-2022 Student Handbook 
    
2021-2022 Student Handbook

II. General Conduct Policies and Procedures



A. Prohibited General Conduct

The following types of behaviors constitute violations of the Code of Conduct. Any Student who is found responsible for any of the following misconduct is subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in Section II.B.8.

  1. Violation of the Code or any university policies, rules or regulations.
  2. Conduct which is obscene or indecent.
  3. Disruption or obstruction of teaching, instructional, research, disciplinary, public service, administration, or other university activities.
  4. Harassing a person through unwanted conduct directed at them that causes reasonable fear for safety (e.g., Stalking) or is sufficiently severe, pervasive and persistent that it interferes with the person’s university employment or ability to participate in or benefit from university programs.
  5. Threatening physical abuse, intimidation, coercion, Retaliation, and/or conduct which threatens the health or safety of others.
  6. Physical abuse, intimidation, coercion and/or other conduct which Endangers the health or safety of others.
  7. Attempted or actual theft of and/or damage to property belonging to the university, any Member of the University Community or others.
  8. Possession of property the Student knows or has reason to believe may be stolen or misappropriated.
  9. Use, possession, display or storage of any weapon, dangerous instrument, explosive device, fireworks, or dangerous chemical unless specifically authorized by university officials, or local, state or federal law.
  10. Public intoxication or use, possession, consumption, Distribution or sale of alcoholic beverages except as expressly permitted by the university’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy (see G. Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy ).
  11. Use, consumption, possession or Distribution of any narcotic, dangerous drug or Controlled Substance or possession of drug paraphernalia that would violate the university’s Alcohol and Other Drug Policy and/or the law (see G. Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy ).
  12. Falsification, forgery, alteration, Fabrication or misuse of university records, data, forms or other documents.
  13. Providing any false statement or misleading information, including by omission, to or about the university.
  14. Providing or gaining unauthorized access to or use of University Property, resources or facilities.
  15. Operating a non-registered/unrecognized organization on any property belonging to the university.
  16. Engaging in, supporting, promoting or sponsoring Hazing (see I. Hazing Policy ).
  17. Gambling as prohibited by local, state, or federal law.
  18. Engaging in any Sexual Misconduct (see H. Sexual Misconduct Policy ).
  19. Commission of any offense prohibited by local, state, or federal law.
  20. Failure to comply with directions of university officials or law enforcement officers acting in the performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so.
  21. Knowingly filing a complaint comprised in whole or part of false accusations.
  22. Failure to respond as directed by the Dean of Students regarding any matter including, but not limited to, a request to meet concerning an issue, or a notice alleging a violation of the Code.
  23. Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

B. Process for Resolving General Conduct Matters

1. Overview

a. Due Process

Students or Student Organizations referred for misconduct are provided due process (notice and the right to be heard) through procedures designed to result in a fair, meaningful and just decision. Students referred for a General Conduct violation of the Code may seek guidance through the Office of the Dean of Students at deanofstudents@gsu.edu or 404-413-1515.

b. Recusal/Challenge for Bias

The Respondent and/or Complainant may challenge the participation of any university official, employee or student panel member in the process on the grounds of personal bias by submitting a written statement to the Dean of Students setting forth the basis for the challenge. The written challenge should be submitted within a reasonable time of discovering the identity of the university official, employee, or student panel member whose involvement the alleged offender and/or Complainant wishes to challenge. The Dean of Students will determine whether to sustain or deny the challenge, and if sustained, the replacement to be appointed.

2. Jurisdiction

The Code applies equally to Students and Student Organizations and applies to all Student conduct on University Property, at University-Sponsored Activities and programs including those in remote and international locations, at student organization activities, and to conduct that otherwise violates the university’s student conduct policies, regardless of where such conduct occurs. The Code continues to apply to student conduct while a conduct matter is pending, even if the Student withdraws from school.

3. Official Means of University Communication

The university’s official means of communication with a student is by email to their GSU student email address. An email sent by the university to a student at their GSU student email address is considered received by the student on the date sent. Written communication by students with the university should be submitted in the manner instructed, which most commonly will involve email or online submissions.

4. Reporting Violations

  1. Where to Report: Student violations of the Code may be reported online at https://deanofstudents.gsu.edu. Complaints of Sexual Misconduct or discrimination by university faculty or staff should be reported to Opportunity Development/Diversity Education Planning (ODDEP) by email to equalopportunity@gsu.edu. Incidents may also be reported to the police.
  2. What to include in Report: A report of misconduct should provide as much information as possible to enable the Dean of Students to decide whether further fact-finding is necessary (e.g. name(s), a description of the alleged misconduct, contact information for the Respondent and individuals with knowledge of the incident, dates, times, locations, a description of available evidence, and whether a criminal complaint has been made).
  3. Confidentiality: The university will consider requests by Complainants that their identity be withheld or the allegation(s) not be investigated but confidentiality cannot be guaranteed and will not prohibit the university from reporting information or statistical data as required by law (e.g. under the Clery Act). When considering requests for confidentiality, the university will taking into account whether or not such request(s) may be honored while still promoting a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the university, and conducting an effective review of the allegations.
  4. Retaliation: Persons who make a report or complaint, provide information, assist, participate or refuse to participate in any investigation or resolution under applicable Board or university policy shall not be subjected to Retaliation. Persons who believe they have been subjected to prohibited Retaliation should promptly report the matter at https://deanofstudents.gsu.edu. University Community members found to have engaged in prohibited Retaliation shall be subject to disciplinary action pursuant to the Code or other applicable university policy.
  5. False Complaints/Statements: Knowingly giving false statements to a university official is prohibited. Any person found to have knowingly submitted False Complaints, accusations, or statements, including during a hearing, shall be adjudicated pursuant to university policy and subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
  6. Amnesty: Students are encouraged to come forward and report violations of the Code even if the circumstances involve their having consumed alcohol or drugs. The university will not charge the reporting student under the code of conduct for having consumed alcohol or drugs, nor will the university seek to report the consumption to law enforcement. Nevertheless, these students may be required to meet with university staff regarding the incident and may be required to participate in appropriate educational program(s). Required participation in an educational program under this Amnesty procedure is not a sanction. Nothing in this Amnesty provision shall prevent a university staff member from reporting information or statistical data as required by law.
  7. Consolidation of Issues: In the event that Sexual Misconduct occurs in connection with any other Code violation, the Sexual Misconduct Policy will take precedence and all issues presented in the matter will be heard via the adjudication process for Sexual Misconduct.

5. Initial Evaluation of Student Conduct Reports

The university will ensure a prompt, fair, and impartial review and resolution of reported student misconduct. Reports of student misconduct will be reviewed by the university to determine whether the allegations describe conduct in violation of the Code or other policies and, if so, whether charges against the Respondent should be brought.

Reports of conduct that would not be a violation of the Code or other policies, even if true, will be dismissed.

Any report that involves allegations of conduct that could lead to the suspension or expulsion of the Respondent(s) will be promptly reported by the university to the System Director of Equity & Investigations (“System Director”). If an allegation is not initially identified as one that could lead to suspension or expulsion of the Respondent(s), but facts arise during the course of the investigation that would require notice to the System Director, then the university shall report that case to the System Director or their designee prior to proceeding.

6. Access to Advisors

Both Respondent and Complainant have the right to an Advisor of their choosing, at their own expense. The Advisor may but does not have to be an attorney, and may accompany the Respondent or Complainant at meetings and proceedings during the investigatory and/or resolution process for the express purpose of providing advice and counsel to the student. The Advisor may advise their advisee in any manner, including providing questions, suggestions, and guidance on responses to any questions posed to the advisee, but may not advocate or participate directly during the investigation or hearing process.

7. Interim Measures

Interim measures are designed to protect any student or other individual in the USG community and may be implemented at any point after the university becomes aware of alleged student misconduct and the conduct process has or will be initiated (i.e interim measures may not substitute for initiating the student conduct process for determining responsibility and sanctions). Where feasible, interim measures should be imposed in a manner that minimizes the burden on both the Complaint and the Respondent. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Change of housing assignment;
  2. Issuance of a “no contact” directive;
  3. Restrictions or bars to entering certain University Property;
  4. Changes to academic or employment arrangements, schedules, or supervision;
  5. Interim suspension; and
  6. Other measures designed to promote the safety and well-being of the parties and the University Community.

As the most significant interim measure that may be imposed, interim suspension is only implemented when necessary to maintain safety and when the Respondent poses a serious and immediate danger or threat to persons or property. When determining whether to impose an interim suspension, the university will consider the existence of a significant risk to the health or safety of the Complainant or the University Community; the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability of potential injury; and whether less restrictive means can be used to significantly mitigate the risk. The terms of an interim suspension take effect immediately.

  1. Notice of Interim Measures. The Student will be sent written notice of the interim measures, the reasons for the interim measures, and the related Code violations the Student was reported to have violated. The Dean of Students will make all reasonable effort to give the Student the opportunity to be heard prior to implementing the interim measures. The interim measures take effect immediately as of the date of the written notice and will remain in effect until the General Conduct process has been concluded (by dismissal of the report or final decision on Code charges) or until the Dean of Students determines that the interim measures are no longer warranted, whichever occurs first.
  2. Student Response. The Student shall have three (3) Business Days following the date of the notice of interim measures to respond to the reasons given by the university for having imposed the interim measures, and to show that interim measures are not necessary to protect a student or other member of the USG community. In the case of interim suspension, the Student must show the Student does not pose an immediate danger or threat to the safety and well-being of the University Community.
  3. Determination. The university will determine whether the interim measures should continue within three business days of receiving a response from the Respondent.

8. Investigation

  1. Rights. Parties to an investigation and resolution proceeding shall receive written notice of the alleged misconduct, shall be provided an opportunity to respond, and shall be allowed to remain silent or otherwise not participate in or during the investigation and resolution process without it resulting in an adverse inference. If a party chooses to remain silent or otherwise not participate in an investigation, the investigation may still proceed and policy charges may still result and be resolved. Timely and equal access to information that will be used during the investigation will be provided to the Complainant and Respondent.
  2. Investigation of Misconduct that will not result in Suspension or Expulsion. The Dean of Students will conduct a prompt, fair and impartial initial investigation of all reports of Code violations to determine whether there is sufficient basis to believe that a violation of the Code may have occurred. An initial investigation may consist of requesting additional Information, and interviewing the Complainant, Respondent, Reporter and/or Witnesses. The initial investigation of reported general misconduct will continue in a timely manner until the Dean of Students concludes that the initial investigation is complete.
  3. Investigation of Misconduct that may result in Suspension or Expulsion.
    1. Any report that involves allegation(s) of conduct that could lead to the suspension or expulsion of the Respondent(s) will be promptly reported to the System Director of Equity & Compliance (“System Director”) by the university. If an allegation is not initially identified as one that could lead to suspension or expulsion of the Respondent(s), but facts arise during the course of the investigation that would require notice to the System Director, then the university will report that case to the System Director or their designee prior to proceeding.
    2. Respondent shall be provided with written notice of the complaint/allegations, pending investigation, possible charges, possible sanctions, available support services and the name of the investigator(s). A copy of the notice will be sent to the Complainant where applicable.
    3. The Respondent will be given five (5) business days to respond in writing to the notice with an admission or denial of the allegations, a written statement of the facts, the names and contact information of any Witnesses together with and documents in support of Respondent’s position. A non-response by the Respondent will be considered a general denial of the alleged misconduct.
    4. The Complainant will be given five (5) business days to respond in writing to the notice.
    5. If the Respondent admits responsibility, the process may proceed to the sanctioning phase or may be informally resolved, if appropriate.
    6. If at any point the investigator determines there is insufficient evidence to support a charge or to warrant further consideration of discipline, then the complaint will be dismissed.
    7. The Respondent and Complainant may be accompanied by an Advisor throughout the student conduct process.
    8. The investigation will consist of interviews of the Respondent, the Complainant, Witnesses who have relevant Information about the involved incidents, the collection and review of documents or other Information, and such other steps as appropriate. The investigator will retain written notes and/or obtain written or recorded statements from each interview. The investigator will also keep a record and written explanation regarding any proffered Witnesses not interviewed.
    9. The investigation shall be summarized in an initial investigative report and provided to the Respondent and Complainant via student university email address. The summary will clearly indicate any recommended charges (or the recommendation of no charges where applicable) together with the facts and evidence in support of the charges (e.g. Witness statements) and possible sanctions. For purposes of this Policy, a charge is not a finding of responsibility, but indicates that there is sufficient evidence to warrant further consideration and adjudication.
    10. If the initial investigative report states that the Respondent will ultimately be charged with violations of the Code, the parties will be given the opportunity to respond in writing to the investigative report within five (5) business days of the date of the investigative report. The Respondent’s written response must indicate whether the Respondent does or does not accept responsibility for the charges, together with any response to the report and included facts and evidence. No response by the Respondent will be considered a denial of responsibility for the charges.
    11. Based upon the responses of the Respondent and Complainant, the investigator may conduct a further investigation and update the investigative report.
    12. The final investigative report will be provided to a hearing board or the Dean of Students Designee assigned to the case for their consideration when adjudicating the charges. A copy will also be provided to the Respondent and Complainant before any hearing. The investigator may be a Witness before the hearing board regarding the investigation and findings, but will have no part in the hearing process and will not attempt to influence the panel outside of providing testimony during the hearing.

9. Charges or Dismissal

Based on a review of the report, and initial investigation, the Dean of Students will determine whether to initiate charges, or to dismiss a case administratively if there is insufficient support for the claim, factually or in the Code. If the Dean of Students determines that there is sufficient basis to believe that a violation of the Code may have occurred, then the Dean of Students will initiate charges against the Respondent for the alleged Code violations and will promptly send the Respondent a charge letter identifying all charges against the Respondent for alleged violations of the Code. The charge letter will specify allegations of misconduct in sufficient detail to enable the Respondent to respond.

10. Administrative Conference

  1. The Respondent will be required to attend an Administrative Conference with the Dean of Students within five (5) Business Days from the date of the charge letter. If the Respondent fails to schedule or attend the required Administrative Conference, the case may proceed in the Respondent’s absence, including making an administrative decision about the Respondent’s responsibility for the alleged Code violations.
  2. At the Administrative Conference, the Dean of Students will review the Code of Conduct with the Respondent and provide the following:
    1. an explanation of charges;
    2. a copy of the Code, upon request;
    3. a copy of the complaint;
    4. a review of the Respondent’s due process rights:
      • the right to a notice of all charges; and
      • the right to be heard through a fair and impartial conduct resolution process;
    5. an explanation of the General Conduct process including:
      • the opportunity to admit or deny responsibility for the alleged violation, and choose between having the Dean of Students resolve the case administratively or having a formal hearing;
      • the opportunity to appear in person at a hearing or not to appear with assurance that the failure to appear shall not be construed as indicative of responsibility;
      • the opportunity to select an Advisor of their choice to accompany and advise the Respondent during any part of the conduct process;
      • the opportunity to call Witnesses to present Information relevant to the facts of the case;
      • the right to a list of Witnesses who will appear against the Respondent;
      • the opportunity to ask the Hearing Panel to pose specific questions to any Witness;
      • the opportunity to receive a copy of the record of a hearing; and
      • the opportunity to appeal the decision as provided in the Code.
    6. notice that if, during the course of an administrative resolution or a hearing, new Information is introduced which indicates that additional alleged violations of the Code may have occurred, the Dean of Students will conduct a separate investigation to determine whether or not to initiate charges.
    7. notice that all new charges will be adjudicated after a separate investigation has occurred.
  3. At the Administrative Conference the Respondent must choose one of the resolution routes described in this policy for the general conduct case.

11. Resolution – General Student Conduct (not including Title IX and non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct)

  1. Resolution Options
    1. Mediation:
      With the prior written consent of the Dean of Students, the Respondent in a General Conduct matter may elect to have the matter informally resolved through mediation in the Georgia State University Office of the Ombudsperson. If meaningful resolution of the matter is not achieved through mediation, then the matter will be referred to and resolved through the Georgia State University General Conduct process as described in the Code. Mediation is not available in some cases of alleged Sexual Misconduct.
    2. Restorative Justice:
      With the prior written consent of the Dean of Students, the Respondent in a General Conduct matter who accepts responsibility for the involved charges may elect to have the matter informally resolved through a restorative justice process in the Office of the Dean of Students. If meaningful resolution of the matter is not achieved through the restorative justice process (such as if the Student does not sincerely engage in the process), then the matter will be referred to and resolved through the Georgia State University General Conduct process as described in the Code. Restorative justice is not available in some cases of alleged Sexual Misconduct.
    3. Administrative Resolution:
      The Respondent may choose to have the case resolved administratively by the Dean of Students without a formal hearing. The Dean of Students may decide to personally resolve the case or designate another impartial adjudicator to resolve the matter.
    4. Formal Hearing:
      The Respondent may choose to have the case resolved through a formal hearing before a panel.
  2. Process for Administrative Resolution
    1. The Dean of Students will meet with the Respondent who will have the opportunity to provide a statement regarding the alleged misconduct along with any other supporting Information including the names of Witnesses, who have relevant information about the facts of the case, to be interviewed. The Respondent may bring an Advisor to their meeting(s) with the Dean of Students, however the Advisor may only confer with the Respondent and may not participate directly in the proceedings.
    2. The Dean of Students will also meet separately, as necessary, with the Complainant and Witnesses to gather additional Information. A good faith effort will be made to contact and obtain a statement from Witnesses who may have relevant Information. The Dean of Students will keep a record of any proffered Witnesses not interviewed together with a brief written explanation documenting why they were not interviewed.
    3. At the conclusion of all meetings, using a standard of the Preponderance of Information, the Dean of Students will determine whether it is more likely than not that a violation of the Code occurred and, if so, the appropriate disciplinary sanction(s) to apply. A decision to suspend or expel will be supported by substantial evidence. In determining the sanction(s), the Dean of Students will consider any mitigating or aggravating factors, including prior violations of the Code.
    4. The Dean of Students will inform the Respondent of the decision In Writing. The written decision will include a statement of the charges, the determination of responsibility, the sanction(s) to be imposed, if any, the evidence in support of the sanction, and will list the factors for determining sanctions. In cases of crimes of violence, the Complainant will also receive written notice of this information.
  3. Process for Panel Hearings - Non-Sexual Misconduct Cases:
    Student Judicial Board (SJB) Hearing Panels conduct formal hearings for general student conduct cases, with the exception of sexual misconduct cases which are heard by the Sexual Misconduct Board. Each SJB Hearing Panel is comprised of three students. One (1) member, designated the chairperson, serves as the presiding Officer. The university provides annual training for members of the Student Judicial Board. The Board establishes its own rules to govern the selection process for Hearing Panel members.
    1. Pre-Hearing Procedures:
      1. SJB Hearing Panel members are notified of their selection.
      2. The chairperson will convene the Hearing Panel as soon as possible following receipt of the Respondent’s selection of a hearing route.
      3. The SJB Chief Justice, who may be assisted by the Student Judicial Board Advisor, will prepare and send a written notice to the Respondent and the Complainant no less than five (5) Business Days prior to the date set for the hearing. The notice will include a statement of the date, time, location and nature of the hearing; a copy of the charges; the names of all Hearing Panel members, and the GSU student email address of the chairperson.
      4. Hearings shall be conducted in-person or via video conferencing technology.
      5. If the Respondent or the Complainant cannot attend the hearing on the date scheduled for the hearing due to extraordinary circumstances, they must notify the Dean of Students with a written request to reschedule, including the reasons for the request, no later than three (3) Business Days prior to the hearing. If the Hearing Panel determines that a party or Witness is unable to be present due to extraordinary circumstances, the hearing officer or panel may establish special procedures for providing testimony from a separate location. In doing so, the hearing officer or panel must determine whether there is a valid basis for the unavailability, ensure proper sequestration in a manner that ensures testimony has not been tainted, and make a determination that such an arrangement will not unfairly disadvantage any party. Should it be reasonably believed that a party or Witness who is not physically present has presented tainted testimony, the hearing officer or panel will disregard or discount the testimony. If the Hearing Panel determines the party does not have extraordinary circumstances preventing their attendance, the hearing may move ahead as scheduled and a determination on responsibility and sanctions may be made without the party’s attendance.
      6. No later than three (3) Business Days prior to the hearing, the parties will submit the following Information in writing to the chairperson for exchange between the parties:
        • A list of the names of the Witnesses who have with relevant information about the incidents and may be called to speak at the hearing, together with a concise summary of the anticipated statement for each respective Witness.
        • Copies of all documents or statements to be presented at the hearing.
        • The name and title of the Complainant’s Advisor, if any.
        • The name and title of the Respondent’s Advisor, if any.
      7. Both the Respondent and the Complainant may challenge the participation of any member of the Hearing Panel on the grounds of personal bias by submitting a written statement to the Dean of Students setting forth the basis for the challenge no later than three (3) Business Days prior to the hearing. The Dean of Students will determine whether to sustain or deny the challenge. If the challenge is sustained, a replacement member will be appointed to serve on the Hearing Panel. If a challenge is filed against the chairperson, the Dean of Students will determine whether to uphold or deny the challenge.
      8. Members of the university community will be expected to comply with any request or directive issued by the chairperson in connection with a student conduct proceeding, unless compliance would result in significant personal hardship or substantial interference with normal university functions.
    2. Hearing Procedures:
      1. All hearings regarding charges against individual Students will be closed in accordance with FERPA to maintain the confidentiality of Student education records.
      2. The Respondent and Complainant shall have the right to present witnesses and evidence to the hearing officer or panel. Witness testimony, if provided, must pertain to information and facts directly associated with the case being heard.
      3. The chairperson will preside at the hearing and will rule upon all procedural matters. The formal rules of evidence will not apply, although challenges to the introduction of specific statements or documents may be considered by the chairperson on the basis of relevance to the charges. At the determination of the chairperson, the questioning may take place through the submission of written questions to the panel for consideration. Advisors may actively assist with drafting questions. The panel shall ask all submitted questions as written and will limit questions only if they are unrelated to determining the veracity of the charge against the Respondent. The panel will document the reason for not asking any particular questions. Information regarding prior misconduct will not be considered for the purpose of determining responsibility but may be considered after a finding of responsibility has been made, for purposes of determining appropriate sanctions.
      4. The Complainant will present Information (e.g. Complainant’s description of the incident, Witness statements and documentation) which supports the Code charges.
      5. The Respondent will present Information (e.g. the Respondent’s description of the incident, Witness statements and documentation) which supports the denial of responsibility for the alleged Code violations.
      6. All Information, including Hearsay, may be considered by the Hearing Panel, however the Hearing Panel may exclude Information during the Hearing if it is not reasonably linked to the alleged Code violation(s).
      7. Both the Respondent and the Complainant may be assisted throughout the proceeding by an Advisor. The Advisor may only communicate with the party being advised and not directly to the Hearing Panel or other parties involved.
      8. Witnesses will be excluded from the hearing except during their specific Witness testimony.
      9. The Respondent and the Complainant shall have the right to question any Witness, including the other party, by submitting written questions to the hearing officer for consideration. Advisors may actively assist the party being advised with drafting questions.
      10. Documentation shall be maintained of the Hearing, which may include written findings of fact, transcripts, audio recordings, and/or video recordings. A copy of the record is available to the Respondent or the Complainant upon payment of the cost of the reproduction.
      11. Student cases may be combined and heard jointly for matters arising from the same set of circumstances or events.
      12. Any student found to have knowingly submitted False Complaints, accusations, or statements, including during a hearing, shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action (up to and including suspension or expulsion) and adjudication under the student conduct policy.
      13. If, during the course of the hearing, new Information is introduced which indicates that additional alleged violations of the Code may have occurred, the Dean of Students will conduct a separate investigation to determine whether or not to initiate charges.
      14. Upon the conclusion of the Information stage of the hearing, the Hearing Panel will adjourn to review the Information and determine whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent is responsible for having violated the Code and appropriate sanctions, if any. During deliberations, the Hearing Panel will determine the weight and credibility of the Information presented by the parties. The deliberation stage of all hearings shall be closed to all but Hearing Panel members.
      15. After deliberating, the Hearing Panel, using a standard of the Preponderance of Information, shall forward the determination to the Dean of Students within five (5) Business Days of the hearing regarding the responsibility for the violation(s) and appropriate sanction(s).
      16. Following the hearing, both the Respondent and Complainant (where applicable) shall be simultaneously provided the written decision via GSU email of the outcome and any resulting sanctions. The written decision will summarize the evidence relied on in support of the outcome and the rationale for the resulting sanction. It will also include details on how to appeal.

C. Process for Resolving Sexual Misconduct Matters (Title IX and Non-Title IX)

Initial Evaluation of Sexual Misconduct Reports: Upon notice of the alleged sexual misconduct the Title IX Coordinator (“Coordinator”) will assess whether a formal investigation, informal resolution, or dismissal would be appropriate. In making this determination, the Coordinator will assess whether the allegation(s), if true, would rise to the level of prohibited conduct, whether a Formal Complaint must be filed, whether an investigation is appropriate in light of the circumstances, whether the parties prefer an informal resolution, and whether any safety concerns exist for the campus community. The need to issue a broader warning to the community in compliance with the Clery Act shall be assessed in compliance with federal law.

Confidentiality: Where a Complainant requests that their identity be withheld or the allegation(s) not be investigated, the Coordinator should consider whether or not such request(s) can be honored while still providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the institution. The institution should inform the Complainant that the institution cannot guarantee confidentiality and that even granting confidentiality shall not prevent the institution from reporting information or statistical data as required by law, including the Clery Act. However, there are persons on campus who serve as confidential reporters in the Office of Student Victim Assistance and the Counseling Center to whom Complainants may report alleged sexual misconduct without having their identity or the circumstances reported (beyond the statistical data required by law).

Retaliation: Anyone who has made a report or complaint, provided information, assisted, participated, or refused to participate in any manner in the sexual misconduct process, shall not be subjected to retaliation. Anyone who believes that they have been subjected to retaliation should immediately contact the Coordinator or their designee. Any person found to have engaged in retaliation in violation of this Policy shall be subject to disciplinary action.

False Complaints/Statements: Individuals are prohibited from knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information to a system or institution official. Any person found to have knowingly submitted False Complaints, accusations, or statements, including during a hearing, in violation of this Policy shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action (up to and including suspension or expulsion) under the appropriate institutional process.

Amnesty: Students should be encouraged to come forward and to report sexual misconduct notwithstanding their choice to consume alcohol or to use drugs. Information reported by a student during the sexual misconduct process concerning use of drugs or alcohol will not be used against the particular student in a disciplinary proceeding or voluntarily reported to law enforcement; however, students may be provided with resources on drug and alcohol counseling and/or education, as appropriate. Nevertheless, these students may be required to meet with staff members in regards to the incident and may be required to participate in appropriate educational program(s). The required participation in an educational program under this Amnesty procedure will not be considered a sanction.

Nothing in this Amnesty provision shall prevent an institution staff member who is otherwise obligated by law (the Clery Act) to report information or statistical data as required.

Jurisdiction: Each institution shall take necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of its community. Accordingly, Sexual Misconduct should be addressed when such acts occur on institution property, at institution-sponsored or affiliated events, or otherwise violates the institution’s student conduct policies, regardless of where such conduct occurs.

Access to Advisors

  1. For Formal Title IX Complaints: Both the Complainant and the Respondent, as parties to the matter, shall have the opportunity to use an Advisor (who may or may not be an attorney) of the party’s choosing. The Advisor may accompany the party to all meetings and may provide advice and counsel to their respective party throughout the sexual misconduct process, including providing questions, suggestions and guidance to the party, but may not actively participate in the process except to conduct cross-examination at the hearing as outlined in the Resolution/Hearing section below. If a party chooses not to use an Advisor during the investigation, the institution will provide an Advisor for the purpose of conducting cross-examination on behalf of the relevant party.

    All communication during the sexual misconduct process will be between the institution and the party and not the Advisor. The institution will copy the party’s Advisor prior to the finalization of the investigation report when the institution provides the parties the right to inspect and review directly related information gathered during the investigation. With the party’s permission, the Advisor may be copied on all communications.
  2. For non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Reports: Both the Complainant and the Respondent, as parties to the matter, shall have the opportunity to use an Advisor (who may or may not be an attorney) of the party’s choosing at the party’s own expense. The Advisor may accompany the party to all meetings and may provide advice and counsel to their respective party throughout the sexual misconduct process but may not actively participate in the process. All communication during the sexual misconduct process will be between the institution and the party and not the Advisor. With the party’s permission, the Advisor may be copied on all communications.

Interim Measures: Interim measures may be implemented at any point after the institution becomes aware of an allegation of sexual misconduct and should be designed to protect any student or other individual in the USG community. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the recipient’s educational environment, or deter sexual misconduct and retaliation. Interim measures must be provided consistent with the provisions in applicable Board and institutional policies and procedures.

An interim suspension should only occur where necessary to maintain safety and should be limited to those situations where the Respondent poses a serious and immediate danger or threat to persons or property. In making such an assessment, the institution should consider the existence of a significant risk to the health or safety of the Complainant or the campus community; the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability of potential injury; and whether less restrictive means can be used to significantly mitigate the risk.

Before an interim suspension is issued, the institution must make reasonable efforts to give the Respondent the opportunity to be heard on whether their presence on campus poses a danger. If an interim suspension is issued, the terms of the interim suspension take effect immediately. The Respondent shall receive notice of the interim suspension and the opportunity to respond to the interim suspension. Within three business days of receiving the challenge the institution will determine whether the interim suspension should continue.

Process for Investigating and Resolving Sexual Misconduct Reports

Investigation

Throughout any investigation and resolution proceeding, a party shall receive written notice of the alleged sexual misconduct, shall be provided an opportunity to respond, and shall be allowed the right to remain silent or otherwise not participate in or during the investigation and resolution process without an adverse inference resulting.

If a party chooses to remain silent or otherwise not participate in the investigation or resolution process, the investigation and resolution process may still proceed, and policy violations may still result. A party’s choice to remain silent or otherwise not participate will be considered a general denial.

Until a final determination of responsibility, the Respondent is presumed to have not violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy. Prior to the finalization of the investigation report, timely and equal access to information directly related to the allegations that has been gathered during the investigation and may be used at the hearing will be provided to the Complaint, the Respondent, and a party’s Advisor (where applicable). Formal civil rules of evidence do not apply to the investigation process, additionally the standard of review throughout the sexual misconduct process is a preponderance of the evidence.

  1. The parties shall be provided with written notice of the: report/allegations with sufficient details, pending investigation, possible charges, possible sanctions, available support services and interim measures, and other rights under applicable institutional policies. For the purposes of this provision sufficient details include the identities of the parties involved, if known, the conduct allegedly constituting sexual misconduct, and the date and location of the alleged incident, if known. This information will be supplemented as dictated by evidence collected during the investigation. The notice should also include the identity of any investigator(s) involved. Notice should be provided via institution email to the party’s institution email.
  2. Upon receipt of the written notice, the parties shall have at least three business days to respond in writing. In that response, the Respondent shall have the right to admit or deny the allegations, and to set forth a defense with facts, Witnesses, and supporting materials. A Complainant shall have the right to respond to and supplement the notice. Throughout the sexual misconduct process the Complainant and the Respondent shall have the right to present Witnesses and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence.
  3. If the Respondent admits responsibility, the process may proceed to the sanctioning phase or may be informally resolved, if appropriate.
  4. An investigator shall conduct a thorough investigation and should retain written notes and/or obtain written or recorded statements from each interview. The investigator shall also keep a record of any party’s proffered Witnesses not interviewed, along with a brief, written explanation of why the witnesses were not interviewed.
  5. An investigator shall not access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s records made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional made in connection with the party’s treatment unless the party has provided voluntary written consent. This also applies to information protected by recognized legal privilege.
  6. The initial investigation report shall be provided to the Complainant, the Respondent, and a party’s advisor (if applicable). This report should fairly summarize the relevant evidence gathered during the investigation and clearly indicate any resulting charges or alternatively, a determination of no charges. For purposes of this Policy, a charge is not a finding of responsibility.
  7. The Complainant and the Respondent shall have at least 10 calendar days to review and respond in writing to the initial investigation report and directly related information gathered during the investigation. The investigator will review the Complainant’s and the Respondent’s written responses, if any, to determine whether further investigation or changes to the investigation report are necessary.
  8. The final investigation report should be provided to the Complainant, the Respondent, and a party’s Advisor, if applicable, at least 10 calendar days prior to the Hearing. The final investigation report should also be provided to all Hearing Panel members for consideration during the adjudication process.

Resolution/Hearing

The Respondent and the Complainant, as parties to the matter, may have the option of selecting informal resolution as a possible resolution in certain cases where the parties agree, and it is deemed appropriate by the institution. Where a matter is not resolved through informal resolution the case shall be set for a hearing before a 3-person Hearing Panel of the Sexual Misconduct Board which is comprised of faculty and staff members. The university provides annual training for members of the Sexual Misconduct Board.

All sexual misconduct cases shall be heard by a panel of faculty and/or staff. All institutional participants in the sexual misconduct resolution process shall receive appropriate annual training as directed by the System Director or Coordinator and required by the Clery Act and Title IX.

In no case shall a hearing to resolve a sexual misconduct allegation take place before the investigation report has been finalized. The investigator may testify as a Witness regarding the investigation and findings but shall otherwise have no part in the hearing process and shall not attempt to otherwise influence the proceedings outside of providing testimony during the hearing. All directly related evidence shall be available at the hearing for the parties and their advisors to reference during the hearing.

Relevant facts or evidence that were not known or knowable to the parties prior to the issuance of the final investigative report shall be admissible during the hearing. The institution will determine how the facts or evidence will be introduced. The admissibility of any facts or evidence known or knowable by the parties prior to the issuance of the final investigative report, and which were not submitted during the investigation, shall be determined by the institution in compliance with the obligation to provide both parties an equal opportunity to present and respond to Witnesses and other evidence.

Notice of the date, time, and location of the hearing as well as the selected hearing panel members shall be provided to the Complainant and the Respondent at least 10 calendar days prior to the hearing. Notice shall be provided via institution email to the parties’ institution email. Parties may attend the hearing with their Advisor.

Hearings shall be conducted in-person or via video conferencing technology. Where the institution determines that a party or Witness is unable to be present in person due to extenuating circumstances, the institution may establish special procedures to permit that individual to provide testimony from a separate location. In doing so, the institution must determine whether there is a valid basis for the individual’s unavailability, require that the individual properly sequester in a manner that ensures testimony has not been tainted, and make a determination that such arrangement will not unfairly disadvantage any party. Should it be reasonably believed that the individual presented tainted testimony, the hearing panel will disregard or discount the testimony. Parties may also request to provide testimony in a separate room from the opposing party, so long as no party is unfairly disadvantaged, and they have the opportunity to view the testimony remotely and submit follow-up questions.

At all times participants in the hearing process, including parties, a party’s Advisor, and institution officials, are expected to act in a manner that promotes dignity and decorum throughout the hearing. Participants are expected to be temperate, respectful to others, and follow procedural formalities outlined by this Policy and the institution. The institution reserves the right to remove any participant from the hearing environment if the participate refuses to adhere to established rules of decorum.

Each institution shall maintain documentation of the investigation and resolution process, which may include written findings of fact, transcripts, audio recordings, and/or video recordings. Any documentation shall be maintained for seven years.

The following standards will apply to Title IX and Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct hearings:

  1. Title IX Hearings
    1. Where a party or a Witness is unavailable, unable, or otherwise unwilling to participate in the hearing, including being subject to cross-examination, the hearing panel shall not draw an adverse inference against the party or witness based solely on their absence from the hearing or refusal to subject to cross-examination.
    2. The parties shall have the right to present Witnesses and evidence at the hearing.
    3. The parties shall have the right to confront any Witness, including the other party, by having their Advisor ask relevant questions directly to the Witness. The Hearing Officer shall limit questions raised by the Advisor when they are irrelevant to determining the veracity of the allegations against the Respondent(s). In any such event, the Hearing Officer shall err on the side of permitting all the raised questions and must document the reason for not permitting any particular questions to be raised.
    4. Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior, shall be deemed irrelevant, unless such questions and evidence are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the alleged conduct or consent between the parties during the alleged incident.
    5. The hearing panel shall not access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s records made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional made in connection with the party’s treatment unless the party has provided voluntary written consent. This also applies to information protected by recognized legal privilege.
    6. Formal civil rules of evidence do not apply to the resolution process and the standard of evidence shall be a preponderance of the evidence.
    7. Following a hearing, the parties shall be simultaneously provided a written decision via institution email of the hearing outcome and any resulting sanctions or administrative actions. The decision must include the allegations, procedural steps taken through the investigation and resolution process, findings of facts supporting the determination(s), determination(s) regarding responsibility, and the rationale for any sanction or other administrative action. The institution shall also notify the parties of their right to appeal as outlined below.
  2. Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Hearings
    1. The parties shall have the right to present Witnesses and evidence at the hearing. Witness testimony, if provided, shall pertain to knowledge and facts directly associated with the case being heard.
    2. The parties shall have the right to confront any Witnesses, including the other party, by submitting written questions to the Hearing Officer for consideration. Advisors may actively assist in drafting questions. The Hearing Officer shall ask the questions as written and will limit questions only if they are irrelevant to determining the veracity of the allegations against the Respondent(s). In any such event, the Hearing Officer shall err on the side of asking all submitted questions and must document the reason for not asking any particular questions.
    3. Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior, shall be deemed irrelevant, unless such questions and evidence are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the alleged conduct or consent between the parties during the alleged incident.
    4. The hearing panel shall not access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s records made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional made in connection with the party’s treatment unless the party has provided voluntary written consent. This also applies to information protected by recognized legal privilege.
    5. Formal civil rules of evidence do not apply to the resolution process and the standard of evidence shall be a preponderance of the evidence.
    6. Following a hearing, the parties shall be simultaneously provided a written decision via institution email of the hearing outcome and any resulting sanctions or administrative actions. The decision must include the allegations, procedural steps taken through the investigation and resolution process, findings of facts supporting the determination(s), determination(s) regarding responsibility, and the evidence relied upon and rationale for any sanction or other administrative action. The institution shall also notify the parties of their right to appeal, as outlined below.

D. Sanctions for General Conduct Violations and Sexual Misconduct

  1. The severity of sanctions or corrective actions will be determined taking into account the severity, frequency and/or nature of the offense, history of past conduct, the Respondent’s willingness to accept responsibility, previous university response to similar conduct, strength of the evidence, and the wellbeing of the University Community.
  2. Students or Student Organizations who are found responsible for violating university rules, procedures or policies may be subject to one or more of the sanctions outlined below, which may be imposed on a temporary or permanent basis.
  3. Sanctions take effect as soon as notification is sent to the student and remain in effect for the period imposed unless and until overturned on appeal.
  4. Repeated violations of the Code may result in the imposition of progressively more severe sanctions, although any sanction may be imposed as appropriate under the circumstances.
  5. Types of Sanctions:
    1. Written Reprimand - A written statement that the Student has violated regulations and is a notice that continuation or repetition of Code violations may result in more severe action.
    2. Educational Sanctions - Sanctions assigned by the Dean of Students such as alcohol awareness programs, risk management programs, community service, educational workshop, essays or research papers.
    3. Disciplinary Probation - Removal of the Student from good disciplinary standing. Additional restrictions may also be imposed. Probation will last for a stated period of time and until specific conditions, if imposed, have been met. Any violation of these rules, the conditions of probation or other university rules committed during the probationary period will subject the Student to further discipline, including suspension or expulsion.
    4. Restriction - Restricted from accessing a specific campus location or using a specific student service for a defined period of time.
    5. Suspension - Temporarily banned from attending classes and other student privileges for a defined period of time. Course credit earned at other institutions while on suspension cannot be transferred to Georgia State University. Students who are placed on suspension (including interim suspension from the university) will be administratively withdrawn from their courses and assigned grades of W or WF (depending on whether they have exceeded their maximum number of withdrawals allowed).
    6. Expulsion - Termination of Student status in the University Community. This means that a Student is permanently banned from all classes, services, events, and property owned or controlled by Georgia State University. Students who are expelled will be administratively withdrawn from their courses and assigned grades of W or WF (depending on whether they have exceeded their maximum number of withdrawals allowed).
    7. Transcript Annotation - Temporary for a period of five years or permanent, as design.
  6. Additional Sanctions Applicable to Registered Student Organizations:
    1. Suspension of University Registration - Temporary severance of the organization’s relationship with the university for a specific period of time. The period of time and any requirements which must be satisfied prior to re-registration must be specified.
    2. Recommendation for Registration Revocation - An official request to a national office that the local chapter’s Registration be revoked.
    3. Revocation of University Registration - Permanent severance of the organization’s relationship with the university.

E. Appeals in General Conduct and Title IX and Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Matters

The Respondent (and in Sexual Misconduct, discrimination and harassment cases, both the Respondent and Complainant) shall have the right to appeal the outcome on any of the following grounds: (1) to consider new information, sufficient to alter the decision, or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing or appeal, because such information was not known or knowable to the person appealing during the time of the hearing or appeal; (2) to allege a procedural error within the hearing process that may have substantially impacted the fairness of the hearing or appeal, including but not limited to whether any hearing questions were improperly excluded or whether the decision was tainted by a conflict of interest or bias by the Title IX Coordinator, Conduct Officer, investigators, decision makers; or (3) to allege that the finding was inconsistent with the weight of the information.

The appeal must be made in writing, and must set forth one or more of the bases outlined above, and must be submitted within five business days of the date of the final written decision. The appeal shall be a review of the record only, and no new meeting with the Respondent or any Complainant is required.

  1. University
    An appeal of a sanction imposed that includes a suspension or expulsion (even for one held in abeyance) may be made to the President or designee by electronically submitting a letter to deanofstudents@gsu.edu, within five (5) Business Days after the decision is made (as determined by the date of the decision letter). The President may affirm the original finding and sanction, affirm the original finding but issue a new sanction of greater or lesser severity, remand the case back to the decision maker to correct a procedural or factual defect, or reverse or dismiss the case if there was a procedural or factual defect that cannot be remedied by remand. The President’s decision shall be simultaneously issued in writing to the Respondent and the Complainant (where applicable) within a reasonable time period. The President’s decision shall be the final decision of the institution.
  2. To the Board of Regents
    Should the Respondent or Complainant (where applicable) wish to appeal the university decision, they may request review by the Board of Regents in accordance with the Board of Regents’ Policy on Discretionary Review.

    Appeals received after the designated deadlines above will not be considered unless the institution or Board of Regents has granted an extension prior to the deadline. If an appeal is not received by the deadline the last decision on the matter will become final.

F. Parental/Guardian Notification of Alcohol and Other Drug Offenses

As permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Office of the Dean of Students may notify the parents/guardians of students under the age of 21 who are found responsible for alcohol or other drug violations of the Code.

G. Student Conduct Records

Student conduct records are educational records governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). As educational records, student conduct records are generally not subject to release without written authorization by the Student or a lawfully-issued subpoena. However, in cases of Sexual Misconduct and crimes of violence, FERPA permits Georgia State University to release the final results to the alleged victim without written authorization by the Respondent. For cases of Sexual Misconduct and crimes of violence which result in the Respondent being found responsible, the final results may be disclosed to anyone. Registered Student Organization records are not education records and are subject to disclosure upon request under the Georgia Open Record Act. The Office of the Dean of Students permanently retains records of suspension and expulsion. All other student conduct records are retained on file by the Office of the Dean of Students in accordance with Board of Regents policies.

Adopted - Student Life Committee - April 15, 1992
Amended - Student Life Committee - March 18, 2002; April 15, 2003; September 18, 2003; January 15, 2004; March 18, 2004; April 15, 2004
Amended - University Senate - October 21, 2004
Amended - Student Life Committee - August 26, 2006; February 22, 2007
Amended - University Senate - April 5, 2007; April 17, 2008
Amended - Student Life Committee - August 27, 2009
Amended - University Senate - January 27, 2011; April 14, 2011; October 27, 2011
Amended - Administrative Council - January 16, 2013; May 1, 2013; May 7, 2014
Amended - Student Life Committee - March 17, 2016
Amended - Administrative Council - December 11, 2017
Amended - Administrative Council - February 3, 2021
Amended - Student Life Committee - March 25, 2021
Amended - Administrative Council - June 2, 2021