Oct 01, 2022  
2022-2023 Student Handbook & University Policies 
    
2022-2023 Student Handbook & University Policies

Student Disciplinary Process


LIFE University Student Disciplinary Process 

LIFE University Responsible Action Protocol 

LIFE University considers the health and safety of its students a priority concern.  As members of the LIFE family, students are expected to take active steps to care for one another.  The University is aware that when faced with an alcohol and/or other drug emergency, students may not want to seek help for themselves or other students for fear they may face sanctions by the University.  In an effort to create a culture of care and encourage students to seek emergency help for themselves or others, the Responsible Action Protocol has been created.   

The Responsible Action Protocol (RAP) provides alternative resolution options for students who seek help themselves or for other students with alcohol and/or other drug related emergencies. 

In situations involving alcohol or drug related emergencies, students are generally expected to:    

•  Contact an appropriate resource (i.e. Campus Safety/law enforcement or University staff/faculty) for assistance or on behalf of a drugged or intoxicated student; 

•  If calling on behalf of another student, remain with that student until help arrives. 

•  Cooperate with emergency officials, including providing Life University student identification and any additional information requested on the student needing assistance. 

•  Schedule and complete a meeting with Conflict Resolution and Accountability within 5 business days of the initial report and agree to complete any additional assessments or treatment requested by Conflict Resolution            and Accountability.   

If the student complies with the above-mentioned guidelines, in most cases, no formal University disciplinary actions or sanctions will be imposed for alcohol or drug infractions, but the incident will be documented, and educational, community, and health initiatives — as well as contact with a student’s parents or family in the case of some underage individuals — may be required as a condition of deferring disciplinary actions or sanctions. Students who are referred to educational, community, and health initiatives but fail to meet and complete the recommendations in their entirety may be subject to further action.  

Failure to follow the above protocol may result in the RAP being revoked and may result in sanctions for violating University policy. 

The RAP does not apply to individuals experiencing an alcohol or drug related emergency who are found by law enforcement or University Personnel (Resident Assistants, staff, faculty, campus safety officers, etc.). 

If a student who has used the RAP has any subsequent incidents, these may be handled through the regular student conduct process.  If a violation is found to occur, prior records, including involvement in the RAP, will be considered for sanctioning purposes.  

The University reserves the right to adjudicate any case in which the reported behavior is repeated, flagrant, or egregious. 

Students should be aware that the RAP does not affect action by local, state and federal authorities. 

STUDENT DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES  

Introduction 

LIFE University recognizes the importance of protecting the rights of students who have been charged with, but not yet found responsible for violation(s) of the LIFE University Standards of Conduct.  Balanced against this responsibility is the right of students, faculty and employees of LIFE University to continue their educational, academic and professional endeavors free from the threat of harassment, abuse, retaliation and/or violence. 

INTERIM SUSPENSION 

Interim Suspension: In certain circumstances, a LIFE University official may impose an interim suspension prior to a hearing. During an interim suspension, a student or student organization is denied access to LIFE University property, activities and/or privileges to prevent the disruption of or interference with the normal operations of LIFE University and to comply with legal requirements. 

LIFE University may take whatever measures it deems necessary to protect the safety, security, and/or integrity of a complainant, a respondent, LIFE University, and/or any member(s) of its community. Such measures include but are not limited to: involuntary removal from a course, clinic, program, activity, University housing, and/or the campus pending a hearing.  Additional measures may include modifications to living arrangements in LIFE University properties; and/or reporting incidents to law enforcement or other non-LIFE University agencies. Conflict Resolution and Accountability, in consultation with the appropriate faculty, staff, and/or other administrators, shall be empowered to impose any appropriate interim measures. 

Informal Resolution: 

Conflict Resolution and Accountability will hold informal discussions prior to the presentation of any sanctions and the conduct officer may resolve complaints and impose sanctions following discussions with both the complainant and respondent. This process may involve the Deans or other LIFE University officials to facilitate an Informal Resolution. 

  1. If seeking and obtaining an informal resolution, the respondent waives their right to a formal hearing and right to appeal. Conflict Resolution and Accountability will conduct fact-finding with both the complainant and respondent to make an informed decision. When there are alleged LIFE University Sexual Harassment or Gender-Based Harassment violations, the matter will be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and the procedures under that Policy will be the exclusive avenue for resolution of the allegations.  
  2.  If a Respondent chooses to resolve a case through an Informal Resolution, they must indicate this by signing the Information Session form provided by Conflict Resolution and Accountability. 
  3. The following apply to an informal resolution: 

a. The meeting(s) will not be recorded. 

b. The written decision will serve as the official record of informal proceedings. 

c. Sanctions, if applicable, will be developed after the respondent has had an opportunity to address any alleged violations of the LIFE University Honor Code and Standards of Conduct.   

d. The written decision will be sent to the Respondent within two business days after the conclusion of the Informal Resolution. 

Once an Informal Resolution has been agreed upon, the Respondent forfeits their right to both a formal hearing and appeal.   

Formal Resolution 

Conflict Resolution and Accountability is further empowered to initiate formal hearings as necessary for all types of complaints, except for complaints of sexual harassment or gender-based harassment. Formal hearings will be held by either an Administrative Hearing Officer or the Conduct Review Board (CRB).  When there are suspected LIFE University Sexual Harassment or Gender-Based Harassment violations, the matter will be referred and resolved as described above.  

 

THE ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING OFFICER AND CRB 

Authority | Composition | Eligibility | Hearing Procedures | Sanctions 

A. Authority 

The Administrative Hearing Officer and CRB have the authority to conduct hearings to determine if an accused member of the LIFE University student community is in violation of the Standards of Conduct, and to impose sanctions as appropriate, up to and including expulsion from LIFE University. 

B. Composition 

The Administrative Hearing Officer is a faculty or staff member designated by Conflict Resolution and Accountability and must meet the same eligibility requirements as CRB members stated in section “C” below. 

The CRB shall be composed of three (3) voting members, selected by Conflict Resolution and Accountability from a pool of qualified individuals, and one non-voting Chairperson. Conflict Resolution and Accountability shall designate the Chairperson.   

For hearings that include academic misconduct violations, one (1) voting member shall be a staff member, one (1) voting member shall be a faculty member, and one (1) voting member shall be a student.  For hearings that do not include academic misconduct violations, two (2) voting members shall be University employees and one (1) voting member shall be a student.     

In the event that the complainant and/or the respondent fail(s) to appear as scheduled, the Chair of the CRB may choose to conduct or reschedule the hearing.  

If the CRB involves more than one Respondent, Conflict Resolution and Accountability may permit the CRB concerning each student to be conducted either separately or jointly if all Respondents agree. 

C. Eligibility 

In order to be eligible to serve as an Administrative Hearing Officer or on the CRB, individuals must meet the following requirements: 

1. Students must be registered as full-time in good academic (cumulative GPA of 2.0) and disciplinary standing, and have completed at least one (1) quarter of full-time coursework at LIFE University.  

2. Faculty must have been employed by LIFE University for a minimum of one (1) academic quarter and have taught at least one course 

3. Staff must be currently employed and must have been employed  by LIFE University for at least one 1 complete quarter. 

Conflict Resolution and Accountability shall be responsible for recruiting, selecting, and training members of the CRB. It is expected that members of the CRB shall recuse themselves from a particular hearing if there is the likelihood that their objectivity may be compromised. 

Due to exams and end of quarter assignments, CRB hearings may not be available after Week 9. Respondents will only be allowed to have Administrative Hearings during that period of time or postponed until the start of the following quarter.   

D. Hearing Procedures 

1. The Administrative Hearing Officer or Chair will have all participants execute confidentiality agreements. 

2. The Administrative Hearing Officer or Chair will call the hearing to order and state the date and time. 

3. The Administrative Hearing Officer or Chair will state the conditions of the hearing, including: 

* The hearing will be recorded and/or transcribed. 

* The hearing will be closed, with participation limited to the respondent(s), the complainant(s), and any advisor(s) and/or witness(es). Witnesses will remain outside the hearing until asked to provide information. 

* All statements, testimony and evidence will be restricted to matters directly relevant to the case, as determined by the Administrative Hearing Officer or Chair. The Administrative Hearing Officer or Chair will not be          obligated to follow the rules of evidence as applied in a court of law. 

* Any person disrupting, interfering with, or failing to abide by the rulings of the Administrative Hearing Officer or Chair may be removed from the hearing in the sole discretion of the Administrative Hearing Officer or          Chair. 

* Advisors, if present, will be restricted to consulting with their advisees. Advisors may not address witnesses, the Administrative Hearing Officer, or members of the CRB unless invited to do so.  

* Deliberations will not be recorded. The level of proof required to determine whether or not a respondent is responsible for the allegations will be “by clear and convincing evidence.” 

* The hearing and its final outcome will be considered part of the respondent’s educational record, and as such will be kept confidential, except as provided under federal and state law. 

4. The Administrative Hearing Officer or Chair shall ask the complainant(s) and the respondent(s) at this time if there are any objections to proceeding with the hearing. They shall be solely responsible for deciding if such objections are reasonable and/or what measures should be taken to address them. 

5. The Administrative Hearing Officer or Chair will present the complaint and state the charge(s). 

6. The Administrative Hearing Officer or Chair will read any response submitted by the respondent(s). 

7. The complainant(s) will be given the opportunity to make an opening statement and present evidence supporting the charge(s). 

8. The respondent(s) will be given the opportunity to make an opening statement and present evidence challenging the charge(s). 

9. The complainant(s) will be given the opportunity to present additional evidence and/or call witnesses. The complainant(s) will have the first option of questioning their witness(es), followed by the respondent(s), then the           Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB,. 

10. The respondent(s) will be given the opportunity to present additional evidence and/or call witnesses. The respondent(s) will have the first option of questioning their witness(es), followed by the complainant(s), then the            Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB. 

11. The complainant(s) will be given the opportunity to make a closing statement. 

12. The respondent(s) will be given the opportunity to make a closing  statement. 

13. The Administrative Hearing Officer or Chair will conclude the hearing. 

14. The Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB will enter closed deliberations. All findings of fact and any determination(s) of violation(s) will be decided by a majority vote, based on clear and convincing evidence. 

15. The Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB will determine if the respondent(s) is in violation of the Standards of Conduct. In a CRB hearing, determination of responsibility is decided by a majority vote.  

16. If the respondent is found to be in violation, appropriate sanctions will be assigned. Conflict Resolution and Accountability will inform the Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB of the respondent’s prior conduct history            and will review the sanction recommendations made by the Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB. Conflict Resolution and Accountability has final approval of the sanction recommendations and can modify or change as        appropriate.      

E. Sanctions 

The Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB shall select at least one of the following sanctions to impose upon a respondent found in violation of the Standards of Conduct: 

1. Disciplinary Reprimand: the respondent receives a written statement that they have violated the Standards of Conduct, and that further similar violations will result in stronger sanctions. 

2. Disciplinary Probation: the respondent receives a written statement that they have violated the Standards of Conduct, and that further similar violations may result in suspension or expulsion. The length of the probationary period is recommended by the Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB for implementation by Conflict Resolution and Accountability as appropriate. 

3. Disciplinary Suspension: the respondent is informed that they are separated (for a minimum of one (1) academic quarter) from LIFE University property and participation in any LIFE University activities. This sanction is recorded on the respondent’s academic transcript during the period of suspension. A respondent who is suspended from the University is not eligible for tuition and or registration fee reimbursement except as provided by university policies. The respondent will be administratively withdrawn from courses and will lose respective credit hours. 

4. Disciplinary Expulsion: the respondent is informed that they are permanently separated from LIFE University property and participation in any/all LIFE University activities with no possibility of readmission. This sanction is permanently recorded on the respondent’s academic transcript.  A respondent that is expelled from the University is not eligible for tuition and/or registration fee reimbursement except as provided by university policies. The respondent will be administratively withdrawn from courses and will lose respective credit hours. 

5. Additional Sanctions: During the resolution process other educational sanctions, restitutions and/or restrictions may be imposed, including, but not limited to; 

* Discretionary Sanctions: Denial of academic credit, exclusion from privileged or extracurricular activities, essays or research papers, online education courses, work and/or community service assignments. 

* Clinic Suspension: Separation of the Respondent from the clinic for a definite period of time, determined by the Administrative Hearing Officer or the CRB. 

* Exclusion from University Housing. 

* Educational Workshops 

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF PARTICIPANTS 

A. Respondents and Complainants 

Throughout their involvement in the disciplinary process, a respondent has the following rights and responsibilities: 

1. Fair Treatment 

* Both parties have the right to be treated with dignity and respect by all persons involved in the disciplinary process. 

* Both parties have the right to be considered not responsible for all charges until they accept or are determined by the Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB to be in violation of the Standards of Conduct. This right should not be construed to prevent LIFE University from taking necessary interim measures. 

* Both parties have the right to information regarding the disciplinary process and their role in that process. In addition, both parties have the right to access all records contained in their conduct file upon written request.   

* Both parties have the right to object to and/or request that any one member of the CRB recuse themselves from a hearing. The reason for the requested recusal must be stated clearly in writing and demonstrate the reason for the requested recusal (conflict of interest, demonstrable bias). This request will be reviewed, and a decision made by the Conflict Resolution and Accountability. The request must be submitted to Conflict Resolution and Accountability at least three (3) business days prior to the hearing. 

* Both parties have the responsibility to notify Conflict Resolution and Accountability, or the Senior Director of Student Administrative Services and Compliance, if and when they feel that they have not received fair and equitable treatment. 

2. Privacy 

* Both parties have the right to privacy throughout the disciplinary process with respect to all uninvolved parties in accordance with all applicable privacy laws, including but not limited to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). 

* Both parties have the right to be free from intimidation and/or harassment, and the right, upon request, to have reasonable measures taken by LIFE University to prevent unnecessary or unwanted contact with the complainant(s). 

* Both parties have the responsibility to notify Conflict Resolution and Accountability, or the Senior Director of Student Administrative Services and Compliance, if and when they feel reasonable measures need to be taken in order to protect these rights. 

3. Presence of an Advisor 

* Both parties have the right to confer with an advisor of their choice (excluding those persons directly involved in the dispute) throughout the conduct process.  

* The advisor may be present, but may not actively participate in the hearing, and may not serve as a witness. Should the advisor be an attorney, the respondent must notify Conflict Resolution and Accountability in writing at least three (3) business days prior to any scheduled hearing.  

* Advisors, if present, shall be restricted to consulting with their advisees. Advisors may not address the other party, witnesses, the Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB unless invited to do so. 

* Both parties have the responsibility to notify the advisor of the time, date, and location of any conduct proceeding. Proceedings will not be rescheduled to accommodate an advisor.  

4. Notice 

* Both parties have the right to timely and proper notification (via e-mail, telephone, or personal contact) of any interview to be conducted with them as part of an inquiry. This notice shall include the following: 

1.  The time, date, and location of the interview. 

2. The consequences of failure to appear at the interview. 

and 

3. The procedures for requesting a change in the time and/or date of the interview. 

* Both parties have the right to proper written notification of any hearing conducted as a result of a complaint. This notice shall be provided no less than three (3) business days prior to the scheduled hearing, and shall include the following: 

1. The time, date, and location of the hearing. 

2. The consequences of failure to appear at the hearing. 

3. A written copy of the complaint, including the name(s) of the reporting party/parties, the complainant(s), the respondent(s), and the charges being considered. 

4. The names of members of the CRB and those who can serve as hearing officers. This information is provided to both parties with the clear understanding that they are not to contact any members of the CRB or hearing officers prior to the hearing. 

5. The procedures for requesting a change in the time and/or date of the hearing. 

* Both parties have the responsibility to ensure that LIFE University has been provided with accurate mailing address, Phone number and other contact information so that notification is not unduly delayed. 

* Both parties have the responsibility to ensure access to and check their university provided email address for all correspondences from Conflict Resolution and Accountability.   

5. Hear and Provide Testimony 

* Both parties have the right to hear, question, and respond to all witnesses and/or information presented during a hearing. This does not include the right to directly question the other party and/or the other party’s witnesses, although permission to do so may be granted by the Administrative Hearing Officer or the Chair.  

* Both parties have the right to present information and/or witnesses that they feel are relevant to the complaint. The number of witnesses allowed to be called is limited to three (3). Only witnesses who can testify as to material facts may be called; neither party may call witnesses who can only testify as to their character, the character of the other party, or the character of other witnesses. Character witnesses are not allowed.  

* The Respondent party has the right not to present evidence against themselves. This includes the respondent’s right not to answer questions. Refusal to present evidence or answer questions should not be interpreted as an admission of responsibility. This right should not be construed to allow the respondent to consciously and/or deliberately present false or misleading testimony. 

* The Complainant has the responsibility not to consciously and/or deliberately present false or misleading testimony. 

* Both parties have the responsibility to attend any hearing conducted as the result of a complaint.  

* Both parties have the responsibility to respond to any witnesses or information at the time such evidence is presented.  

* Both parties have the responsibility to inform any witnesses they wish to call of the time, date, and location of the hearing, and to have on hand all evidence they wish to present at the time of the hearing. 

6. Written Disposition and Appeal 

* The Respondent has the right to proper written notification of the results of their disciplinary hearing within two business days of the Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB’s decision. The Complainant party has this right only in cases involving violent behavior. This notice shall include the following: 

1. The finding(s) of fact on each charge; 

2. The rationale supporting the finding of fact; 

3. The sanction(s) imposed (if applicable); and 

4. The procedure for filing an appeal. 

* If made available as limited above, the Complainant has the responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of the Respondent’s disciplinary records. Failure to do so will be considered a violation of LIFE University’s Standards of Conduct and/or federal law. 

* The Respondent party has the right to appeal the outcome of the hearing unless this right has been waived or forfeited as allowed for elsewhere in these procedures (e.g. Informal resolution). 

* The Complainant party has the right to appeal the outcome of the hearing only in cases involving violent behavior.  

* The Respondent party has the responsibility to comply with all sanctions imposed as the result of a disciplinary hearing.  

  1. Once an appeal is requested, the sanctions will be stayed and will not take effect until the appeal process has been completed. If no appeal is requested, the sanctions will take effect immediately.  
  2. In a case in which interim sanctions have been imposed, they will continue until the appeal has been decided. 

B. Parental Notification 

LIFE University considers disciplinary records to be part of a student’s educational record, and as such LIFE University complies with all applicable privacy laws, including but not limited to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Furthermore, LIFE University’s primary relationship is with its students, and not with their parents or guardians. 

However, LIFE University recognizes that parents and/or guardians maintain an interest in their dependent student’s academic status. Therefore, LIFE University may, at the sole discretion of Conflict Resolution and Accountability, notify the parents or guardians of any dependent student under the age of eighteen (twenty-one in cases of alcohol and/or drug violations) who is found responsible for a violation of the Standards of Conduct.  

C. Appeals 

All respondents have the right to appeal any decision made by the Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB. Complainants in cases involving acts of violence have the right to appeal any decision made by the Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB.  Neither respondent nor complainant can appeal an Informal Resolution. 

An appeal must be submitted in writing and must be received by Conflict Resolution and Accountability within five (5) business days of the date of notification of the Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB’s decision. An extension to this deadline may be granted at the sole discretion of Conflict Resolution and Accountability. Conflict Resolution and Accountability shall then refer the appeal to the appellate officer. 

A decision on an appeal may not be rendered until the filing deadline has passed. Appellate decisions should be rendered, and proper written notification provided to Conflict Resolution and Accountability no later than five (5) business days after the filing deadline. Conflict Resolution and Accountability shall notify all respondents and appropriate other parties of the results of the appeal. 

1. Appellate Officer. The appellate officer shall be the Vice President of Academic Affairs for academic misconduct violations and the Vice President of Student Affairs for all other conduct violations or their designees. 

2. Appeal Criteria. Appeals shall be considered only in the following circumstances: 

* The existence of procedural errors so substantial that the respondent was denied a fair hearing; 

* A finding of fact by the Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB clearly not supported by the evidence; 

* The imposition of a sanction that is disproportionate, arbitrary and/or capricious. 

* New information exists that was not available at the time of the hearing. 

3. Available Actions. The appellate officer is limited to taking one of the following actions for each respondent: 

* Affirm the finding(s) of fact and sanctions imposed by the Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB. 

* Affirm the finding(s) of fact but modify the sanction(s) imposed. 

* Remand the complaint for a new hearing before a new hearing body. 

Under no circumstances shall the appellate officer supplant the function of the Administrative Hearing Officer or CRB; the appellate process exists solely to review the procedures used in disciplinary proceedings, and not to decide a complaint on the merits. 

Appeals can be submitted online at: https://www.life.edu/campus-life-pages/conflict-resolution-and-accountability/appeal-process/  

The decision of the appellate officer is final. 

D. Records 

Documentation of all conduct matters, including individual student cases and student organization cases, will be maintained by Conflict Resolution and Accountability. 

The release of conduct records will be governed by applicable federal and state laws regarding the privacy of education records. Conflict Resolution and Accountability may place a hold on the account of any student who has a pending conduct matter, including any outstanding sanctions Other than disciplinary expulsion, disciplinary sanctions will not be made part of the student’s permanent academic record, but will become part of the student’s disciplinary record. Upon graduation, the student’s disciplinary record may be expunged of disciplinary actions upon application to Conflict Resolution and Accountability. Cases involving the imposition of sanctions other than disciplinary suspension or expulsion will be automatically expunged from the student’s confidential record 7 years after final disposition of the case. 

All the necessary forms regarding the Honor Code may be found online at https://www.life.edu/campus-life-pages/conflict-resolution-and-accountability/or obtained from Conflict Resolution and Accountability.