At the Board of Regents meeting on Friday, July 15, the Board passed a new policy that provides more clarity for students involved in disciplinary proceedings at Utah’s public colleges and universities.
Essentially, the policy makes it clear that students are allowed to have an advisor—whether that be an advocate or legal representative—when involved in a disciplinary proceeding where the alleged infraction could result in either a suspension of 10 days or more or an expulsion from the institution. Although advisors may be present during the investigative portion of the process, they may not actively participate. During a formal hearing, the policy allows advisors to advocate on behalf of the student, but with limitations: Specifically, advisors may give opening statements, may submit questions to the hearing committee chair who will then address the questions to witnesses for a response, and may issue a closing statement.
The policy also allows institutions to proceed with the disciplinary processes, even if one of the parties chooses not to participate. It also stipulates that students be informed of the allegations against them, and give them an opportunity to obtain counsel from an advisor. The policy applies to all institutions in the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE), but will not apply to law enforcement activities nor academic disciplinary actions.
Why is this policy needed?
Under Title IX, any higher education institution receiving federal aid is required to ensure it is providing a safe environment for its students on campus. In order to ensure this, students are held accountable to the institution’s student code of conduct. An infraction against this code results in a hearing if the school could take action against the student. All USHE institutions have hearing processes in place, but they differ from each other; this policy creates minimum standards for student disciplinary processes at USHE institutions.