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  1. ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES POLICY
  2. DAMAGE TO PROPERTY
  3. DISORDERLY ASSEMBLY
  4. DISORDERLY CONDUCT
  5. STUDENT HOUSING
  6. DRUGS
  7. FALSIFICATION OF RECORDS
  8. EXPLOSIVES
  9. FIRE SAFETY
    1. WEAPONS (Other Than Firearms)
    2. FIREARMS OR GUNS
  10. HAZING
  11. JOINT RESPONSIBILITY FOR INFRACTIONS
  12. STUDENT IDENTIFICATION CARDS
  13. THEFT
  14. UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY OR USE OF UNIVERSITY FACILITIES
  15. GAMBLING
  16. SMOKING
  17. STUDENT ELECTIONS
  18. REPEATED VIOLATIONS
  19. VIOLATION OF OUTSIDE LAW
  20. CONTEMPT
  21. FAILURE TO COMPLY
  22. STUDENT CONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS AND PROCEEDINGS
  23. CONDUCT BOARDS
  24. DISCIPLINARY MEASURES
  25. APPEALS
  26. AA. RECUSAL/CHALLENGE FOR BIAS
    BB. ACADEMIC INTEGRITY
    CC. SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY
    DD. MEDIATION PROCESS

The Student Conduct Code is a listing of responsibilities for students at Georgia Southwestern State University. The violation of any item in this section represents an offense and could lead to disciplinary action by the University. The written expectation for student conduct in no way removes or reduces the responsibility of each student's observance of regulations and sanctions established by university officials in such areas as financial responsibility to the University, library, residence halls, parking, etc. All violations of the Student Conduct Code should be reported within 15 business days to appropriate personnel. This time limit does not apply to sexual misconduct violations.

The Georgia Southwestern State University Student Conduct Code shall apply to conduct that occurs on University premises and at University-sponsored activities. The Student Conduct Code shall also apply to off-campus conduct that adversely affects the University community and/or the pursuit of its objectives, or pertains to a specific Student Conduct Code. Each student shall be responsible for his/her conduct from the time of application for admission through the actual awarding of a degree, even though conduct may occur before classes begin or after classes end, as well as during the academic year and during periods between semesters of actual enrollment. The Student Code shall apply to a student's conduct even if the student withdraws from school while a disciplinary matter is pending. Any activity that occurs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YikYak or any other social-networking website also falls within the jurisdiction of the Student Conduct Code.

A. ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES POLICY

  1. Alcoholic beverages may only be possessed or consumed on campus by students of the legal drinking age and only in the privacy of the individual’s residence hall room or at an event that has been approved through the Director of Campus Life’s office.
  2. Possession, use, or consumption of alcohol when under the legal drinking age is not permitted by state law or university policy.
  3. No student or student group shall furnish or cause to be furnished any alcoholic beverage to any person under the legal drinking age.
  4. No student or student group shall furnish or cause to be furnished any alcoholic beverage to any person in a state of noticeable intoxication.
  5. The transportation of all alcoholic beverages on campus shall be in unopened, wrapped or bagged containers. 
  6. Each student is completely liable for all of his or her own actions at all times  regardless of his or her mental or physical state, even if altered by alcoholic beverages.
  7. Driving while intoxicated is a violation of federal and state laws.
  8. Public drunkenness is prohibited.
  9. Students who have consumed alcoholic beverages and who are involved in disruptive activities at public functions or in public places must leave the area  upon request of a university official. Failure to comply may subject the student to disciplinary action or arrest.

 

B. DAMAGE TO PROPERTY

Malicious or unwarranted damage or destruction of property belonging to the University; items leased, rented or placed on campus at the request of the institution; or items belonging to students, faculty, staff, or guests is prohibited. Students are obligated to pay for all property damage caused by improper use or carelessness.

C. DISORDERLY ASSEMBLY

  1. No student or student group shall assemble on campus for the purpose of creating riot, destruction, or disorderly diversion that interferes with the operation of the University. This section should not be construed so as to deny any students the right of peaceful, non disruptive assembly.
  2. No student or group of students shall obstruct the free movement of other persons about the campus or interfere with the use of University facilities and the normal operation of the University.
  3. The abuse or unauthorized use of sound amplification equipment indoors or outdoors is prohibited.  Any use of sound amplification equipment must be approved by the Director of Campus Life.

D. DISORDERLY CONDUCT

  1. Disorderly or obscene conduct or breach of the peace on university property, or at any function sponsored or supervised by the University or any recognized university organization, is prohibited.
  2. Physical assault is prohibited.
  3. Conduct or expressions which harass, demean, degrade, intimidate, or discriminate against an individual or a group of persons at the University are prohibited.
  4. Conduct on university property, or at functions sponsored or supervised by the University or any recognized university organization, that interferes with the normal operation of the University is prohibited.
  5. No student shall enter or attempt to enter any dance, social, athletic, or other events sponsored or supervised by the University or any recognized university organization without the credentials for admission (ticket, identification card, invitation, etc) or in violation of any reasonable qualifications established for attendance, by the sponsors.
  6. Conduct or expressions which are obscene or which are patently offensive to the prevailing standards of an academic community are prohibited.
  7. No student or student group shall interfere with or fail to cooperate with any properly- identified university faculty, administration, or staff personnel (including student staff members) while these persons are in the performance of their duties.
  8. No student shall recklessly drive or operate any vehicle on campus.
  9. Any behavior that disrupts the learning environment in classrooms, residence halls, or any other facility is prohibited.  This includes behavior on email, GeorgiaView, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, You Tube, Lifesize Video, Proctor U or any academic-related or social internet activity.
  10. No student shall act in a manner that can reasonably be expected to disturb the academic pursuits or infringe upon the privacy, rights, privileges, health, or safety of other persons.
  11. Obstruction of the free flow of pedestrian of vehicular traffic on University premises or at a University sponsored function is prohibited.
  12. Any unauthorized use of electronic devices to make an audio or video recording of any person while on University premises without his/her prior knowledge or without his/her effective consent when such a recording is likely to cause injury or distress is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, surreptitiously taking pictures of another person in a gym, locker room, restroom, residence hall room, or other locations.
  13. The use, possession, or storage of the following or similar devices is prohibited on ALL Georgia Southwestern property and in ALL GSW facilities: Hover boards, Segways, Swagways, IO Hawks, Skywalkers, and other similar personal mobility devices (PMD’s).

E. STUDENT HOUSING

Students shall abide by all policies and procedures published by the Residence Life Office and the Department of Auxiliary Services.

F. DRUGS

The possession, use (without valid medical or dental prescription), manufacturing, distribution, furnishing, or sale of any narcotic or dangerous drug controlled by federal or Georgia law is prohibited. Drug paraphernalia is also prohibited.

G. FALSIFICATION OF RECORDS

  1. No student shall alter, counterfeit, forge, or cause to be altered, counterfeited, or forged, any records, form or document used by or submitted to the University; nor shall any student knowingly use any such altered, counterfeited, or forged record, form, or document.
  2. Giving false or misleading information to any university official or to an official hearing body is prohibited. This includes both oral and written information, including all forms and documents.

H. EXPLOSIVES

No student shall possess, furnish, sell, or use explosives of any kind on university property or at functions sponsored or supervised by the University or any recognized university organization.

I. FIRE SAFETY

  1. No student or student group shall tamper with fire safety equipment.
  2. The unauthorized possession, sale, furnishing, or use of any incendiary device is prohibited.
  3. No student or student group shall set, attempt to set, or cause to be set, any unauthorized fire or explosion in or on university property.
  4. The possession or use of fireworks on university property or at events sponsored or supervised by the University or any recognized university organization is prohibited. Fireworks are defined as any substance prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, or detonation.
  5. No student or student group shall make or cause to be made a false fire alarm.
  6. All occupants of a building must leave the building whenever the fire alarm sounds.

J.  WEAPONS

The University System of Georgia (USG) prohibits all weapons on property owned or leased by the USG and its institutions, except as specially provided herein or provided in federal or state law.

Exceptions:

  1. Prohibited weapons do not include sporting equipment possessed for legitimate use in formal or informal athletic activities.
  2. Law enforcement officers, active military personnel, and other similar personnel may possess weapons as authorized by federal or state law to do so.
  3. Any person who is 18 years of age or older or currently enrolled in classes in a USG institution may possess an electroshock weapon on the campus of that institution but many only make use of such electroshock weapon in defense of self or others.
  4. Weapons carry license holders may possess weapons while under the license holder's physical control in a motor vehicle, in a locked compartment in a motor vehicle, or in a locked firearms rack in a motor vehicle.
  5. A weapons carry license holder may carry a handgun in any abuilding or on any real property owned or leased by the USG and its institutions; provided, however that such exception shall:

 

  1. Not apply to buildings or properly used for athletic sporting events or student housing, including, but not limited to, fraternity and sorority houses;
  2. Not apply to any preschool or childcare space located within such buildings or real property;
  3. Not apply to any room or space being used for classes related to a college and career academy or other specialized school as provided for under Georgia Code Section 20-4-37;
  4. Not apply to any room or space being used for classes in which high school students are enrolled through a dual enrollement program, including, but not limited to classes related to the "Move on When Ready Act" as provided for under Georgia Code Section 20-2-161.3;
  5. Not apply to faculty, staff, or administrative offices or rooms where disciplinary proceedings are conducted;
  6.  Only apply to the carrying of handguns which a licensee is licensed to carry pursuant to subsection (e) of Georgia Code Section 16-11-126 and pursuant to Georgia Code Section 16-11-129; and
  7. Only apply to the carrying of handguns which are concealed.

 

Definitions:

 

The terms listed below are dfined for purposed of this Policy as follows:

"Weapon" means and includes any pistol, revolver, or any instrument designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind; or any kirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, or any other knife having a blade of two or more inches; straight-edge razor; razor blade; spring stick; knuckles, whether made from metal, thermoplastic, wood, or other similar material; blackjack; any bat, club, or other bludgeon-type weapon; any flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain; any disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart or any instrument of like kind; and any stun gun or taser as defined is subsection (a) of Georgia Code Section 16-11-106.  This paragraph excludes any of these instruments used for classroom work authorized by the faculty member.

"Handgun" means a firearm of any description, loaded or unloaded, from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged by an action of an explosive where the length of the barrel, not including any revolving, detachable, or magazine breech, does not exceed 12 inches; provided, however, that the term "handgun" shall not include a gun which discharges a single shot of .46 centimeters or less in diameter.

"Electroshock weapon" means a stun gun or taser or similar commercially available device that is powered by electrical charging units and designed exclusively to be capable of incapacitating a person by electrical charge.

"Concealed" means carried in such a fashion that does not actively solicit the attention of others and is not prominently, openly, and intentionally displayed except for purposes of defense of self or others.  Such term shall include, but not be limited to, carrying on one's person while such handgun is substantially, but not necessarily completely, covered by an article of clothing which is worn by such person, carrying within a bag of nondescript nature which is being carried about such person, or carrying in any other fashion as to not be clearly discernible by the passive observation of others.

"Preschool or childcare space" means any room or continuous collection of rooms or any enclosed outdoor facilities which are separated from other spaces by an electronic mechanism or human-staffed point of controlled access and designated for the provision of preschool or childcare services, including, but not limited to, preschool or childcare services licensed or regulated under Article 1 of Chapter 1 of Title 20 of the Georgia Code.

 

 

K. HAZING

Georgia Southwestern State University does not condone hazing in any form. Hazing is defined as any intentional, negligent or reckless action, activity or situation which causes another pain embarrassment, ridicule or harassment, regardless of the individual's willingness to participate. Such actions and situations include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Forcing or requiring the drinking of alcohol or any other substance.
  2. Forcing or requiring the consumption of food or any other substance.
  3. Calisthenics (push-ups, sit-ups, jogging, runs, etc.)
  4. Treeing
  5. Paddle swats
  6. Line-ups
  7. Theft of any property
  8. Road trips
  9. Scavenger hunts
  10. Causing fewer than six (6) continuous hours of sleep per night
  11. Conducting activities which do not allow adequate time for study
  12. Nudity at any time
  13. Running personal errands for the members (driving them to class, cleaning their individual rooms, serving meals, etc.)
  14. Forcing or requiring the violation of University, Federal, State, or local law.
  15. Any Physical Contact

L. JOINT RESPONSIBILITY FOR INFRACTIONS

  1. Students or student groups who knowingly act in concert to violate university regulations have individual and joint responsibility for such violation, and such concerted acts are prohibited.
  2. Students or student groups are responsible for the conduct of their guests on or in University property and at functions sponsored by the University or any registered University organization.

M. STUDENT IDENTIFICATION CARDS

  1. Lending, selling, or otherwise transferring a student identification card or any official University materials is prohibited.
  2. The use of a student identification card by anyone other than its original holder is prohibited.
  3. No student or student group shall obtain under false pretenses any official University materials or student identification cards.

N. THEFT

  1. No student shall sell a textbook that is not her/his own without written permission of the owner.
  2. Without proper authorization, no student or student group shall take, attempt to take, or keep in her/his possession items of university property; items or services rented, leased, or placed on campus at the request of the institution; or items belongings to faculty, students, staff, student groups, or visitors to the campus.

O. UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY OR USE OF UNIVERSITY FACILITIES

  1. No student or student group shall make or attempt to make unauthorized entry into any university building, office, or other facility; nor shall any person remain without authorization in any building after normal closing hours.
  2. No student or student group shall make or attempt to make unauthorized use of any university facility.
  3. Being in the living quarters, hallways, or common area of a residence hall at a time not specified for visitation or without being escorted by a resident of that hall is prohibited.

P. GAMBLING

The playing of cards or any other game of skill or chance for money or other items of value is prohibited.

Q. SMOKING

In accordance with Board of Regents’ Tobacco and Smoke-Free Campus Policy for all University System of Georgia institutions:

  1. The use of all forms of tobacco products on property owned, leased, rented, in the possession of, or in any way used Georgia Southwestern State University is expressly prohibited. “Tobacco Products” is defined as cigarettes; cigars; pipes; all forms of smokeless tobacco; clove cigarettes; and any other smoking devices that use tobacco, such as hookahs; or devices that simulate the use of tobacco, such as electronic cigarettes and vapor devices.
  2. The use of tobacco products is prohibited in all vehicles—private or public—located on GSW properties.
  3. Advertising, sale, or free sampling of tobacco products on GSW properties, unless specifically stated for research purposes, is prohibited. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, all areas indoors and outdoors and buildings and parking lots owned, leased, rented, or otherwise used by GSW.
  4. All events hosted by a GSW shall be tobacco-free. All events hosted by outside groups on behalf of GSW shall also be tobacco-free.
  5. This policy applies to all persons who enter the areas described above, including but not limited to: students, faculty, staff, contractors and subcontractors, spectators, and visitors. 

R. STUDENT ELECTIONS

  1. No student shall cast or attempt to cast more than one ballot in any election or referendum conducted on campus.
  2. No student or student group shall interfere with any election held on campus. 

S. REPEATED VIOLATIONS

Repeated violations of published rules or regulations of the University, cumulatively indicating an unwillingness or inability to conform to the institution's standards for student life, are prohibited.

T. VIOLATION OF OUTSIDE LAW

Violation of local, state and federal law, on or off campus, is prohibited. Violations will be adjudicated through the university student conduct system at the discretion of the Vice President of Student Affairs or his/her designee.

U. CONTEMPT

  1. All students shall fully comply with the instruction of the hearing officers and panels of the Georgia Southwestern State University student conduct system.
  2. No student shall commit perjury.
  3. No student shall engage in conduct that disrupts the proceedings of the Georgia Southwestern State University student conduct system or otherwise obstructs justice or abuses the student conduct system on this campus. Abuse of the  student conduct system, includes, but is not limited to:
    • a. Intentionally submitting a false complaint.
    • b. Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a  student conduct board or hearing officer.
    • c. Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a student conduct proceeding.
    • d. Attempting to discourage an individual's proper participation in, or use of, the student conduct system.
    • e. Attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of a student conduct board or Student Conduct Officer prior to, and/or during the course of, a conduct proceeding.
    • f. Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a student conduct board of Student Conduct Officer prior to, during, and/or after a student conduct proceeding.
    • g. Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the student conduct system.
    • h.  Retaliation for anyone who reports student misconduct, participates or cooperates in, or is otherwise associated with any investigation.

V. FAILURE TO COMPLY

Failure to pay fines, make restitution, complete assigned sanctions, follow instructions given by university personnel while officially performing duties associated with their position, or observe restrictions imposed as a result of a disciplinary hearing shall subject the student to further, more severe, disciplinary action.

W. STUDENT CONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS AND PROCEEDINGS

Georgia Southwestern State University students whose activities may subject them to disciplinary action shall be afforded due process as outlined in the Standards of the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regent’s Policy Manual, 4.6.5. Standards for Institutional Student Conduct Investigation and Disciplinary Proceedings.

All student misconduct reports or complaints other than those of academic integrity (See Section BB.) or sexual misconduct (See Section CC.) will follow the following procedures:

    1.  Regardless of how an institution becomes aware of misconduct, it shall ensure a prompt, fair, and impartial review and resolution of complaints alleging student misconduct. The Student Conduct Officer shall review the complaint to determine whether the allegation(s) describes conduct in violation of the code of conduct. If the reported conduct would not be a violation, then the report should be dismissed. Otherwise, a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation and review shall be conducted into each complaint received to determine whether charges against the accused student should be brought. Unrelated charge and case shall be investigated separately, unless the accused student consents to having them aggregated.
    2.  Complaints to the appropriate department and/or person(s) should include as much information as possible such as: (1) the type of misconduct alleged; (2) the name and contact information of the accused student; (3) the date(s), time(s), and place(s) of the misconduct; (4) the name(s) and contact information of any individual(s) with knowledge of the incident; (5) whether any tangible evidence has been preserved; and (6) whether a criminal complaint has been made. Information from complaint may be shared as necessary to investigate and to resolve he alleged misconduct. The need to issue a broader warning to the community in compliance with the Clery Act shall be assessed in compliance with federal law.
    3. Requests for confidentiality for anyone reporting a possible student misconduct will be honored to the point that it does not impact the ability for the institution to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment. Confidentiality cannot, however, be guaranteed. An anonymous report of any misconduct may be made via this link: https://gsw.alertline.com/gcs/welcome
    4. Individuals should be encouraged to come forward and to report student misconduct notwithstanding their choice to consume alcohol or to use drugs. Information reported in good faith by an individual during an investigation concerning use of drugs or alcohol will not be used against that individual in a disciplinary proceeding and will not be voluntarily reported to law enforcement; however, individuals may be provided with resources on drug and alcohol counseling and/or education, as appropriate. https://gsw.edu/campus-life/campusliving/publicsafety/medical-amnesty-law
    5.  In some cases that involve disorderly conduct or conflicts between two or more students (except in cases where it is deemed inappropriate by the Vice President for Student Affairs, his or her designee, or the University System of Georgia System Director for Equity and Investigations), all parties involved may have the option of selecting mediation as a possible resolution. Both parties must agree in writing to forgo a formal hearing in favor of mediation. (See Section DD. of the Student Conduct Code for more information regarding mediation.)
    6.  The accused student/respondent shall be provided with written notice of the complaint/allegations, pending investigation, possible charges, possible sanctions, option of mediation (where applicable and requested by the alleged victim/complainant), and available support services. The notice should also include the identity of any investigator(s) involved. Notice should be provided by the Student Conduct Officer to the student via the campus email system. Where applicable, a copy shall also be provided to the alleged victim/complainant via the same means.
    7.  Upon receipt of the written notice, the accused student/respondent shall be given at least three business days to respond in writing. In that response, the accused student/respondent shall have the right to accept responsibility for violations or to deny the allegations and request an investigation and hearing. A student who admits to responsibility of alleged charges will be offered the opportunity to accept the proposed sanctions. In doing so, this student will waive his/her rights to an administrative or formal hearing and will waive his/her rights to appeal the sanctions. A student who denies allegations or does not accept the proposed sanctions will be offered an administrative hearing with a hearing officer or a formal hearing with a conduct board. The accused student/respondent may set forth a defense with facts, witnesses, and documents – whether written or electronic – in support. A non-response will be considered a general denial of the alleged misconduct and will result in a hearing.
    8. Each case involving possible suspension or expulsion from the University, will be promptly reported to the USG System Director for Equity and Investigations by the institution. The USG System Director for Equity and Investigations will work with the institution to determine whether any interim measure(s) are necessary, to assign an investigator and will collaboratively supervise the investigation with the appropriate institution professional. 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 oversight from the USG System Director for Equity and Investigations, then the institution shall report that case to the USG System Director for Equity and Investigations or her designee prior to proceeding.
    9. Infractions of the Student Conduct Code that do not involve possible suspension or expulsion shall be addressed by the appropriate Student Affairs staff member or hearing officer or the by a conduct board. (See Section X) All cases involving academic integrity will be heard by the Academic Integrity Board. In the case of minor violations of the Student Conduct Code occurring in the residence hall or a violation of the residence hall policies (i.e. visitation violation, noise violation, etc.), a Residence Life staff member may be the hearing officer for a case.
    10. Interim measures may be provided at any point during an investigation and will be designed to protect the alleged victim and the community. To the extent interim measures are imposed, they will minimize the burden on both the alleged victim and the respondent, where feasible. 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 institution 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 institution’s community.
      An interim suspension will only occur where necessary to maintain safety and will 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 will consider the existence of a significant risk to the health or safety of the alleged victim 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 will make all reasonable efforts to give the respondent the opportunity to be heard on whether his or her presence on campus poses a danger. If an interim suspension is issued, the terms of the suspension take effect immediately. Upon request, the respondent will have an opportunity to be heard by the respective conduct officer, Title IX Coordinator, or USG System Director for Equity and Investigations, as appropriate, within three business days in order to determine whether the interim suspension should continue.
    11. The accused student/respondent and alleged victim/complainant (where applicable), as parties to these proceedings, shall have the right to use an advisor (including an attorney) of his or her choosing, and at his or her own expense, for the express purpose of providing advice and counsel. The advisor may be present during meetings and proceedings during the investigatory and/or resolution process at which his or her advisee is present. The advisor may advise his or her advisee in any manner, including providing questions, suggestions, and guidance on responses to any questions of the advisee, but shall not participate directly. Each student is also allowed up to two family members to be present for any investigations or hearings.
    12. Throughout any investigation and resolution proceedings, the accused student/respondent shall receive notice of the alleged misconduct, shall be provided an opportunity to respond, and shall be allowed to remain silent during the investigation and resolution process, without an adverse inference resulting. If the accused student/respondent chooses to remain silent, the investigation may still proceed and policy violation charges may still result, and may be resolved against the accused student.
    13. An investigation shall be coordinated by the Student Conduct Officer but may include interviews and reports from other designated officials of whom the accused student and alleged victim (where applicable) have been notified. It shall consist of interviews of the accused student/respondent, the complainant, the alleged victim (where applicable), and witnesses; and the collection and review of documents or other physical or electronic information. The investigator/interviewer shall retain written notes and/or obtain written or recorded statements from each interview. The investigator shall also keep a record of any proffered witnesses not interviewed, along with a brief, written explanation.
    14. The investigation shall be summarized in writing in an initial investigation report and provided to the accused student/respondent and the alleged victim/complainant (where applicable) in person or via email. This summary should clearly indicate any resulting charges (or alternatively, a determination of no charges), as well as the facts and evidence in support thereof, 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.
    15. To the extent the accused student/respondent is ultimately charged with any violation, he or she shall also have the opportunity to respond in writing. The accused student/respondent’s written response to the charge(s) shall be due three business days following the date of the initial investigation report. The report should outline his or her plea in response to the charge(s), and where applicable, his or her defense(s), and the facts, witnesses, and documents – whether written or electronic – in support. A nonresponse to the charge(s) by the accused student/respondent will be interpreted as a denial of the charge(s).
    16. The investigator shall conduct further investigation and update the investigative report as warranted by the accused student’s response.
    17. The final investigative report should be provided to the conduct board or hearing officer for consideration in adjudicating the charges brought against the accused student/respondent. A copy shall also be provided to the accused student/respondent and alleged victim/complainant (where applicable) before any hearing. 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.
    18. Notice of the date, time, and location of the hearing, shall be provided to the accused student/respondent and alleged victim/complainant (where applicable) at least five business days prior to the hearing. Notice shall be provided via institution email.
    19. The accused student/respondent shall have the right to present witnesses and evidence to the hearing officer or conduct board, as well as to ask questions to any witnesses. At the determination of the hearing officer or board, this questioning may take place through the submission of written questions to the board or hearing officer for consideration; however, the parties’ advisors may still actively advise and assist in drafting those questions. The hearing officer or board shall ask the questions as written, and will limit questions only if they are unrelated to determining the veracity of the charge against the accused student(s). Where the hearing officer or board determines that a party or witness is unavailable and unable to be present due to extenuating circumstances, the hearing officer or board may establish special procedures for providing testimony from a separate location. In doing so, the hearing officer or panel must determine 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. In sexual misconduct cases, the hearing officer reserves the right to allow a party to testify in a separate room, so long as no party is unfairly disadvantaged by this procedure. A party must still give testimony in the presence of the Panel, and the opposing party must have the opportunity to view the testimony remotely and to submit follow-up questions.
    20. Formal civil rules of evidence do not apply to the investigatory or resolution process.
    21. The standard of review shall be a preponderance of the evidence; however, any decision to suspend or to expel a student must also be supported by substantial evidence at the hearing.
    22. Institutions should maintain documentation of the proceedings, which may include written findings of fact, transcripts, audio recordings, and/or video recordings.
    23. Following a hearing, both the accused student/respondent and alleged victim/complainant (where applicable) shall be provided a written decision via institution email of the outcome and any resulting sanctions. The decision will include details on how to appeal, and will summarize the evidence in support of the sanction.

X. CONDUCT BOARDS

The conduct boards of the University are the Faculty-Student Conduct Board, the Student Conduct Board, the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel, and the Academic Integrity Board

    1. The Faculty-Student Conduct Board of Georgia Southwestern State University shall consist of seven members, of whom four shall be faculty members appointed by the President of the University and three shall be regularly-enrolled students appointed by the President of the University upon recommendation of the President of the Student Government Association and the Student Conduct Officer of the University. All appointments shall be for one-year terms, but members shall be eligible for reappointment provided that no faculty member shall serve longer than five consecutive years. None of the committee members shall be officers or members of any institutional governing council. Members of the Faculty-Student Conduct Board shall select one of their own members to act as the Presiding Officer. Decisions by the Faculty-Student Conduct Board shall be made by majority vote. In cases involving any Title IX issue, the faculty members only of this board will adjudicate the case.
    2. The Student Conduct Board of Georgia Southwestern State University shall consist of nine members, the Chief Justice, who is the Vice President of Academic Affairs of The Student Government Association, and eight students nominated by the Student Government Association and appointed by the President of Georgia Southwestern State University. The Student Conduct Board may be utilized at the discretion of the Student Conduct Officer in hearing nonsuspendable matters. Decisions by the Student Conduct Board shall be made by majority vote.
    3. The Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel shall consist of the Title IX Coordinator and five (5) faculty and/or staff members. The investigator(s) of the case shall not serve on the panel nor shall any students. This hearing panel will be used in all cases that have any sexual misconduct as described in Section CC.
    4. The Academic Integrity Board will consist of five teaching faculty appointees, one appointed by the dean of each College or School, and three students and three alternates, appointed by the Student Government Association. The Vice President of Academic Affairs will appoint one academic administrator from dean or lower rank to act as committee chair. Serving on the AIB is a serious commitment that may require significant time and training. Faculty members will serve a term of 3 years, and will agree to complete training in judging academic integrity violations and recommending additional sanctions annually. Student members will serve a term of one year, as long as they maintain a GPA of at least 2.75 and are not on any sanction (higher than Warning) resulting from any type of conduct code violation, and will agree to complete training in judging academic integrity violations and recommending additional sanctions annually. The Chair of the AIB will serve in that capacity for a one year period with the possibility of yearly renewal.
  1. Any member of a conduct board shall disqualify himself/herself if his/her personal involvement in the case is of such a nature as to prevent a fair and impartial hearing.
  2. All board members shall receive training and advisement.
  3. Appeals involving traffic fines must be entered at the Public Safety Office within three days (excluding weekends and holidays) of issuance of citation and shall be heard by the Student Conduct Board when in session. If the Student Conduct Board is not in session, the appeal will be heard by the Student Conduct Officer. Decisions in traffic appeals shall be final.

Y. DISCIPLINARY MEASURES

Upon finding that a student or student organization has violated a code of conduct, the appropriate University official or board may recommend one or more disciplinary measures within the restrictions provided in stated rules and procedures. In determining the severity of sanctions or corrective actions the following should be considered: the frequency, severity, and/or nature of the offense, history of past conduct, an offender’s willingness to accept responsibility, previous institutional response to similar conduct, and the institution’s interests.

For students:

  1. Expulsion--permanent disciplinary removal of the student from the University. During an expulsion period, a student may not visit the campus for reasons other than clarification of academic or behavior record.
  2. Probated Expulsion--notice that further major violation(s) of University policy shall result in expulsion.
  3. Suspension--mandatory disciplinary removal of the student from the University for a specified period of time. During a suspension period, a student may not visit the campus for reason other than clarification of academic or behavior record. No transfer credit from another institution which is earned during the suspension period will be accepted as credit toward a degree at Georgia Southwestern State University.
  4. Probated Suspension--notice that further violation(s) of University policy shall result in suspension or expulsion. This sanction may be accompanied by the restrictions and restitutions as defined below.
  5. Disciplinary Probation--notice to the student that further disciplinary violations(s) may result in suspension or expulsion. This sanction is assigned a specified period of time.
  6. Disciplinary Warning--a written reprimand regarding behavior that violates the Student Conduct Code or University policy, which can include restriction, restitution or community service as defined above. This sanction is assigned a specified period of time.
  7. Community Service--assignment to work a specific number of hours on a university program or project within a specific time frame. The assignment must be related to the nature of the code violation. Referral for professional assessment to the Counseling Center or off-campus professionals or organizations--which might include other mandated programs such as addiction counseling or anger management might be assigned.
  8. Social Responsibility Class—program curriculum including decision-making, responsible versus risky behaviors, alcohol, drug, tobacco, social media responsibility, sexual responsibility, sexual harassment, etc.
  9. Fine--in addition to the preceding disciplinary measures, appropriate fines may be imposed by the proper authority based on the severity of the infraction.
  10. Mandatory withdrawal from the course and/or department within which the offense occurred. Credit for the course may or may not be recorded.
  11. Residence Hall Suspension--separation of the student from the residence halls for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified.
  12. Residence Hall Expulsion--permanent separation of the student from the residence halls.
  13. Residence Hall Reassignment.
  14. Loss of Institutional Privileges
  15. Delays in administrative services such as holds on transcripts or delaying registration.
  16. No contact orders.
  17. Change of classes.

For Student Organizations:

  1. Revocation of Recognition--permanent severance of the student organization's relationship with the University.
  2. Probated Revocation of Recognition--notice that further major violation(s) of University policy shall result in revocation of recognition. This sanction may be accompanied by restriction, restitution, and/or community service.
  3. Suspension of Recognition--severance of the student organization's recognition by the University for a specific period of time. This sanction may be accompanied by restriction, restitution, and/or community service.
  4. Probated Suspension--notice that further violation(s) of University policy shall result in suspension. This sanction may be accompanied by restriction, restitution, and/or community service.
  5. Disciplinary Probation--notice to the student organization that further disciplinary violation(s) may result in suspension. This sanction may be accompanied by restriction, restitution, and/or community service.
  6. Disciplinary Warning--a written reprimand regarding behavior that violates the Student Conduct Code or University policy, which can include restriction, restitution or community service.
  7. Notification of regional or national officers of the action taken by the University and entry into the record of the student organization.
  8. Fine--in addition to the preceding disciplinary measures, appropriate fines may be imposed by the proper authority based on the severity of the infraction.

Z. APPEALS

Where the sanction imposed includes a suspension or expulsion (even for one held in abeyance), the following appellate procedures are provided to the accused student. The accused student/respondent 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, because such information was not known or knowable to the person appealing during the time of the hearing;
  2. To allege a procedural error within the hearing process that may have substantially impacted the fairness of the hearing, including but not limited to whether any hearing questions were improperly excluded or whether the decision was tainted by bias;
  3. To allege that the finding was inconsistent with the weight of the information.

The appeal must following the following procedures:

  1. 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 should be made to the Vice President for Student Affairs or his/her designee.
  2. The appeal shall be a review of the record only, and no new meeting with the accused student/respondent or any alleged victim/complainant is required.
  3. The Vice President, or his/her designee, may affirm the original finding and sanction; affirm the original finding but issue a new sanction of 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.
  4. The Vice President or his/her designee shall then issue a decision in writing to both the accused student/respondent and the alleged victim/complainant (where applicable) within a reasonable time period.
  5. The decision of the Vice President or his/her designee may be appealed in writing within five business days (as determined by the date of the decision letter) to the President of the institution solely on the same three grounds set forth above.
  6. The President may affirm the original finding and sanction; affirm the original finding but issue a new sanction of 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.
  7. The President’s decision shall be issued in writing to both the accused student/respondent and alleged victim/complainant (where applicable) within a reasonable time period. The President’s decision shall be the final decision of the institution.
  8. Should the accused student wish to appeal the President’s decision, he or she may appeal to the Board of Regents in accordance with the Board of Regents Policy 8.6. Application for Discretionary Review.

Any student or employee in the University System aggrieved by a final decision of the president of an institution may apply to the Board’s Office of Legal Affairs (“Legal Affairs”) for a review of the decision. Review of the decision is not a matter of right, but is within the sound discretion of Legal Affairs. If granted, the discretionary review shall be limited to the record from the institutional appeal process. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to extend to any party substantive or procedural rights not required by employment, admission, or additional due process rights. This policy is not part of the due process rights afforded to students or employees of the University System; those rights have been fully afforded upon the decision of the president. The Board reserves the right to change this policy at any time, and to make such changes effective retroactively to any pending application.

Each application for review shall be submitted in writing to Legal Affairs within a period of twenty calendar days following the decision of the president. Legal Affairs shall determine whether the application for review shall be granted. Legal Affairs may at its discretion refer a matter for mediation, arbitration, reconsideration, or evaluation of settlement options.

If an application for discretionary review is granted, a Committee shall review the decision of the president. Said Committee shall consist of the Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs or his or her designee, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs or his or her designee, the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources or his or her designee, and any other person or persons deemed appropriate by the Committee. Legal Affairs may issue guidelines governing the process for review. The decision of the Committee shall be final and binding for all purposes. There shall be no recourse to the Chancellor or the Board of Regents from such decision; provided, however that the Committee on Organization & Law retains the authority to make an exception to this policy in its discretion.

AA. RECUSAL/CHALLENGE FOR BIAS

Any party may challenge the participation of any institution official, employee, or student panel member in the process on the grounds of personal bias by submitting a written statement to the Vice President of Student Affairs setting forth the basis for the challenge. The details of the basis for the challenge should be clearly stated and documentation should be provided to support the challenge. The written challenge should be submitted within a reasonable time after the individual reasonably should have known of the existence of the bias. The Vice President of Student Affairs will determine whether to sustain or deny the challenge, and if sustained, the replacement to be appointed.

BB. ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

The following are violations of University’s academic integrity standards:

  1. Plagiarism--Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, asking someone to write part or all of an assignment, copying someone else's work (published or unpublished), inadequately documenting research, downloading material from electronic sources without appropriate documentation, or representing others' works or ideas as one’s own.
  2. Cheating on Examinations--Cheating on an exam includes, but is not limited to, giving or receiving unauthorized help before, during, or after an in-class, out-of-class, or online exam. Examples of unauthorized help include using unauthorized books or notes in either hard copy or electronic form, viewing another student's exam, taking pictures of exams with cell phones or other electronic devices, accessing unauthorized browsers or software programs during an exam, allowing another student to view one's exam, and discussing an exam or sharing information on an exam’s content with other students after the exam has occurred in one section but not in another.
  3. Unauthorized Collaboration--Unauthorized collaboration includes giving or receiving unauthorized help for work that is required to be the effort of a single student, such as the receiving or giving of unauthorized assistance in the preparation of a laboratory or writing assignment, on-line exams, etc.
  4. Falsification--Falsification includes, but is not limited to the fabrication of citations or sources, of experimental or survey results, and of computer or other data.
  5. Multiple Submissions--A student may not submit substantial portions of the same work for credit more than once without the explicit consent of the faculty to whom the work is submitted for additional credit. If a work product is to be substantially revised or updated, the student must contact the faculty member in advance to discuss necessary revisions. In cases where multiple submissions are approved, faculty members will require copies of the original documents for comparison.

Responsibility of Community Partners for Upholding the Values of Academic Integrity

Responsibility of the Faculty Member:

Students do not always come to the GSW community knowing the principles of academic integrity and therefore teaching students to exercise these principles is the duty of the faculty. Given that the parameters of academic integrity are defined by the goal of an assignment or activity, the type of assessment being used, and the standards of the particular discipline, faculty members should be explicit about their expectations of students. To that end, faculty members should state in their syllabi the expectations for 1) attribution of ideas, 2) collaboration on assignments, 3) collection of data, and 4) quizzes, tests and examinations.

Responsibility of the Student

As partners in their own learning, students are responsible for making themselves aware of how the principles of academic integrity apply in each academic setting they enter. While the faculty member is responsible for setting expectations, it is the student’s responsibility to seek guidance from the faculty member, especially when unsure of how to apply the principles in a particular situation. When in doubt, seek guidance from the instructor.

Instances of academic dishonesty are a serious violation of community standards for academic integrity and may result in suspension or expulsion from GSW.  While faculty members have the primary responsibility for establishing the parameters of academic integrity in the academic situations they supervise, it is the responsibility of all members of the GSW academic community to report suspected instances of academic dishonesty. Therefore, any member of the GSW academic community can lodge an academic dishonesty complaint with GSW’s Student Conduct Officer.

Any member of the academic community who has evidence of academic dishonesty should report his or her suspicion and evidence to the faculty member of the student(s) believed to be in violation of the policy.  The faculty member is then responsible for responding, and if she or he has adequate evidence, may file an Academic Dishonesty Violation Report with the Student Conduct Officer.

 Process for Resolving Academic Dishonesty or Integrity Issues

Instances of academic dishonesty are a serious violation of community standards for academic integrity and may result in suspension or expulsion from GSW.  While faculty members have the primary responsibility for establishing the parameters of academic integrity in the academic situations they supervise, it is the responsibility of all members of the GSW academic community to report suspected instances of academic dishonesty. Therefore, any member of the GSW academic community can lodge an academic dishonesty complaint with GSW’s Student Conduct Officer.

Any member of the academic community who has evidence of academic dishonesty should report his or her suspicion and evidence to the faculty member of the student(s) believed to be in violation of the policy.  The faculty member is then responsible for responding, and if she or he has adequate evidence, may file an Academic Dishonesty Violation Report with the Student Conduct Officer.

Faculty Reporting

If an instructor discovers a case of academic dishonesty, he or she may impose whatever penalty is deemed appropriate by the faculty member, given the standards and expectations shared with students in that course (including but not limited to rewriting assignments, failure on the assignment, or failure in the course). The faculty member’s syllabus policies will establish how the violation will be handled in his or her own classroom if the student does not contest that a violation has occurred. In addition, the faculty member’s syllabus policies will establish how the violation will be handled in his or her own classroom if the Academic Integrity Board confirms that a violation has occurred.

All incidents of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Student Conduct Officer using the Academic

Integrity Violation Report Form which asks for a description of the incident, a copy of the faculty member’s written policy on academic dishonesty, evidence that a violation has occurred, the penalty imposed by the faculty member, and the student’s signature indicating the faculty member met with the student about the incident and explained the consequences. 

The Student Conduct Officer will keep on file all Academic Integrity Violation Report forms. When a new report is received, the Student Conduct Officer will review the record to determine if the student has any other academic integrity violations on file. A first violation will be filed, but no action will be taken by the University unless the student chooses to dispute that a violation has occurred.  If a student disputes that a first violation of this policy has occurred or the student has more than one violation on file, the Student Conduct Officer will call for a hearing of the Academic Integrity Board, and the faculty member may be asked to submit further documentation of the violation. All hearings of the Academic Integrity Board will be held in accordance with the due process procedures as specified in GSW’s Conduct Code.

The Academic Integrity Board’s first responsibility in a hearing is to determine if a violation of the academic integrity policy has occurred.  In cases where a student is exonerated of accusations of academic dishonesty by the Academic Integrity Board, the student may appeal the faculty member’s penalty through the regular grade appeal process.  If the Academic Integrity Board determines the student to be in violation of the academic integrity policy and it is the student’s first violation, no further action will be taken by the Student Conduct Officer.  If the Academic Integrity Board determines the student to be in violation of the academic integrity policy and the Student Conduct Officer informs the Board that the student has previously violated the academic integrity policy, then the Board may consider recommending further sanctions. Recommended sanctions may be educational, such as assignments which require the student to research the topic of academic integrity or speaking to the UNIV 1000 classes about academic integrity, or may include probation, suspension, or expulsion.  The Academic Integrity Board will provide in writing its recommendations on the case and sanction recommendations to the Vice President for Academic Affairs within five business days of the hearing. 

The Vice President for Academic Affairs will notify the faculty member, who referred the case, of the Academic Integrity Board’s recommendations, including any University sanctions imposed, within five business days, excepting any days when the Vice President of Academic Affairs is travelling on university business. After this communication with the faculty, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will issue the final outcome letter to the student, with a copy to the faculty, as well as any other appropriate academic records file, within five (5) days following the communication with the faculty.  If sanctions include suspension or expulsion, the student’s Department Chair or Dean will also be notified. A student may not withdraw from the course in which an accusation has been made during the student conduct process. Students accused of academic dishonesty are entitled to the due process rights outlined in the Conduct Policy. A student has the right to appeal the Vice President of Academic Affairs’ decision to the President of the University.

Academic Integrity Board (AIB)

Responsibilities

This board hears all matters relating to academic integrity violations and oversees   the procedures and appeals associated with referred Academic Dishonesty cases.

The responsibilities of the Academic Integrity Board (AIB) would be:

  1. to determine whether violations of the Academic Integrity Policy have occurred;
  2. to investigate violations when the student disputes that a violation occurred;
  3. to make recommendations to the Vice President of Academic Affairs for further sanctions when a student has been found to have committed two or more violations of the Academic Integrity Policy;
  4. to review periodically the functioning of the Committee, including Standards of Academic Integrity and   Procedures and Appeals to determine if changes are needed.

Membership

The AIB will consist of five teaching faculty appointees, one appointed by the dean of each College or School, and three students and three alternates, appointed by the Student Government Association.  The Vice President of Academic Affairs will appoint one academic administrator from dean or lower rank to act as committee chair. Serving on the AIB is a serious commitment that may require significant time and training. Faculty members will serve a term of 3 years, and will agree to complete training in judging academic integrity violations and recommending additional sanctions annually. Student members will serve a term of one year, as long as they maintain a GPA of at least 2.75 and are not on any sanction (higher than Warning) resulting from any type of conduct code violation, and will agree to complete training in judging academic integrity violations and recommending additional sanctions annually. The Chair of the AIB will serve in that capacity for a one year period with the possibility of yearly renewal.

Hearings

Hearings may be conducted by a quorum comprised of the AIB Chair, three faculty members, and two student members. A member of the AIB may be excused from a particular hearing when a conflict of interest is disclosed to the chair. In the event that an academic integrity violation is filed against a senior just prior to graduation and the student disputes that a violation has occurred, the chair of the AIB is empowered to convene an emergency hearing with all due speed.

Recommendation & Outcome Notification Process

The Academic Integrity Board will provide in writing its recommendations on the case and sanction recommendations to the Vice President for Academic Affairs within five business days of the hearing. 

Appeal Process

A student has the right to appeal the Vice President of Academic Affairs’ decision to the President of the University.

CC.  SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY AND PROCEDURES

Georgia Southwestern State University will abide the Standards of the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regent’s Policy Manual, 4.1.7. 

4.1.7 Sexual Misconduct Policy

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), the University System of Georgia (USG) does not discriminate on the basis of sex in any of its education programs or activities or in employment. The USG is committed to ensuring a safe learning and working environment for all members of the USG community. To that end, this Policy prohibits sexual misconduct, as defined herein.

In order to reduce incidents of sexual misconduct, USG institutions are required to provide prevention tools and to conduct ongoing awareness and prevention programming and training for the campus community. Such programs will promote positive and healthy behaviors and educate the campus community on consent, sexual assault, alcohol use, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, bystander intervention, and reporting.

When sexual misconduct does occur, all members of the USG community are strongly encouraged to report it promptly through the procedures outlined in this Policy. The purpose of this Policy is to ensure uniformity throughout the USG in reporting and addressing sexual misconduct.

Reporting Structure

All Equal Opportunity directors and others having responsibility for coordination of Title IX (”Coordinators”) at USG institutions shall have a direct reporting relationship to both the institution’s President or the President’s designee and the USG System Director for Equity and Investigations (“System Director”). The President of each institution shall determine the organizational and operating reporting relationships for the Coordinators at the institution and exercise oversight of institutional issues relating to sexual misconduct. However, the System Director shall have authority to direct the Coordinators’ work at each institution as needed to address system-wide issues or directives. The President of each institution shall consult with the System Director on significant personnel actions involving Coordinators, to include but not be limited to, appointment, evaluation, discipline, change in reporting structure, and termination.

4.1.7.1 Definitions and Prohibited Conduct 

Community: Students, faculty, and staff, as well as contractors, vendors, visitors and guests.

Complainant: An individual lodging a complaint. The complainant may not always be the alleged victim.

Consent: Words or actions that show a knowing and voluntary willingness to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent cannot be gained by force, intimidation or coercion; by ignoring or acting in spite of objections of another; or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another where the respondent knows or reasonably should have known of such incapacitation. Minors under the age of 16 cannot legally consent under Georgia law.

Consent is also absent when the activity in question exceeds the scope of consent previously given. Past consent does not imply present or future consent. Silence or an absence of resistance does not imply consent.

Consent can be withdrawn at any time by either party by using clear words or actions.

Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the alleged victim. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence: Violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the alleged victim; by a person with whom the alleged victim shares a child in common; by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the alleged victim.

Incapacitation: The physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. It can result from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, status as a minor under the age of 16, or from intentional or unintentional taking of alcohol and/or other drugs. Whether someone is incapacitated is to be judged from the perspective of an objectively reasonable person.

Nonconsensual Sexual Contact: Any physical contact with another person of a sexual nature without the person’s consent. It includes but is not limited to touching (or penetrating) of a person’s intimate parts (such as genitalia, groin, breasts, or buttocks); touching (or penetrating) a person with one’s own intimate parts; or forcing a person to touch his or her own or another person’s intimate parts.

Confidential Employees:Institution employees who have been designated by the Institution’s Coordinator to talk with an alleged victim in confidence. Confidential Employees must only report that the incident occurred and provide date, time, location, and name of alleged respondent (if known) without revealing any information that would personally identify the alleged victim. This minimal reporting must be submitted in compliance with Title IX and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”). Confidential Employees may be required to fully disclose details of an incident in order to ensure campus safety.

Privileged Employees: Individuals employed by the institution to whom a complainant or alleged victim may talk in confidence, as provided by law. Disclosure to these employees will not automatically trigger an investigation against the complainant’s or alleged victim’s wishes. Privileged Employees include those providing counseling, advocacy, health, mental health, or sexual-assault related services (e.g., sexual assault resource centers, campus health centers, pastoral counselors, and campus mental health centers) or as otherwise provided by applicable law. Exceptions to confidentiality exist where the conduct involves suspected abuse of a minor (in Georgia, under the age of 18) or otherwise provided by law, such as imminent threat of serious harm.

Respondent: Individual who is alleged to have engaged in conduct that violates this Policy.

Responsible Employees: Those employees who must promptly and fully report complaints of or information regarding sexual misconduct to the Coordinator. Responsible Employees include any administrator, supervisor, faculty member, or other person in a position of authority who is not a Confidential Employee or Privileged Employee. Student employees who serve in a supervisory, advisory, or managerial role are in a position of authority for purposes of this Policy (e.g., teaching assistants, residential assistants, student managers, orientation leaders).

Sexual Exploitation: Taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or for the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the one being exploited.

Examples of sexual exploitation may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Invasion of sexual privacy;
  2. Prostituting another individual;
  3. Non-consensual photos, video, or audio of sexual activity;
  4. Non-consensual distribution of photo, video, or audio of sexual activity, even if the sexual activity was consensual;
  5. Intentional observation of nonconsenting individuals who are partially undressed, naked, or engaged in sexual acts;
  6. Knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another individual through sexual activity;
  7. Intentionally and inappropriately exposing one’s breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals in non-consensual circumstances; and/or
  8. Sexually-based bullying.

Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct, based on sex or on gender stereotypes, that is implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of employment or status in a course, program, or activity; is a basis for employment or educational decisions; or is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to interfere with one’s work or educational performance creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment, or interfering with or limiting one’s ability to participate in or to benefit from an institutional program or activity.

Sexual Misconduct:Includes, but is not limited to, such unwanted behavior as dating violence, domestic violence, nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment and stalking.

Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with person’s property. Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

4.1.7.2 Reporting Sexual Misconduct

A complainant of sexual misconduct may, but need not, file a criminal complaint with law enforcement officials; file a misconduct report with a Responsible Employee or Coordinator; or file both. A report may be filed anonymously, although anonymous reports may make it difficult for the institution to address the complaint. Any individual who believes that he or she has been a victim of sexual misconduct is encouraged to report allegations of sexual misconduct promptly.

All reports of sexual misconduct alleged to have been committed by a student must be handled consistently with requirements set forth in Section 4.6.5, Standards for Institutional Student Conduct Investigation and Disciplinary Proceedings.

All reports of sexual misconduct alleged to have been committed by a non-student member of the institution community will be addressed and/or resolved through the institution’s and the Board of Regents’ applicable policies for discipline of non-students.

4.1.7.2 (A) Institutional Reports

Complainants of sexual misconduct who wish to file a report with the institution should notify a Responsible Employee or the Coordinator. Responsible Employees informed about sexual misconduct allegations involving any student should not attempt to resolve the situation, but must notify and report all relevant information to the Coordinator as soon as practicable. Confidential Employees are not bound by this requirement but may be required to report limited information about incidents without revealing the identities of the individuals involved to the Title IX Coordinator, consistent with their ethical and legal obligations. All members of the University System of Georgia institutions’ communities are encouraged to report incidents of sexual misconduct promptly.

The Coordinator’s identity and contact information shall be published by each institution prominently on the institution’s website, as well as in any relevant publication. Each institution may choose to have Deputy Title IX Coordinators to whom reports may be made, as well. Institutions should encourage complainants to report their complaints in writing, though oral complaints should also be accepted, taken seriously, and investigated, to the extent possible. While complaints should be made as quickly as possible following an alleged incident of sexual misconduct, all reports should be accepted regardless of when reported.

The Coordinator shall refer to the System Director any allegation(s) of sexual misconduct that could, standing alone as reported, lead to the suspension or expulsion of the respondent(s). The System Director will work with the institution to determine whether any interim measure(s) are necessary and to assign an investigator who will work under the direction of the System Director or designee, if directed by System Director. If an allegation is not initially identified as one that would lead to the suspension or expulsion of the respondent(s), but facts arise during the course of the investigation that would require transfer to the System Director, the Title IX Coordinator shall transfer oversight to the System Director or designee. The System Director shall have the discretion to retain oversight or transfer oversight to the institution.

4.1.7.2 (B) Law Enforcement Reports

Because sexual misconduct may constitute criminal activity, a complainant also has the option, should he or she so choose, of filing a report with campus or local police, for his or her own protection and that of the surrounding community. The institution may assist the complainant in reporting the situation to law enforcement officials.

Complainants considering filing a report of sexual misconduct with law enforcement should preserve any evidence of sexual misconduct, including, but not limited to, the following:

    1. Clothing worn during the incident including undergarments;
    2. Sheets, bedding, and condoms, if used;
    3. Lists of witnesses with contact information;
    4. Text messages, call history, social media posts;
    5. Pictures of injuries; and/or
    6. Videos.

 

4.1.7.2 (C) Anonymous Reports

Each institution shall provide a mechanism by which individuals can report incidents of alleged sexual misconduct anonymously. Complainants should understand, however, that it will be more difficult for the institution to investigate and to take action upon anonymous reports.

4.1.7.2 (D) Retaliation

Anyone who, in good faith, reports what he or she believes to be misconduct under this Policy, or who participates or cooperates in, or is otherwise associated with any investigation, shall not be subjected to retaliation. Anyone who believes that he or she has been the target of retaliation for reporting, participating, cooperating in, or otherwise being associated with an investigation should immediately contact the Coordinator for the institution. Any person found to have engaged in retaliation in violation of this Policy shall be subject to disciplinary action.

4.1.7.2 (E) False Complaints

Individuals are prohibited from intentionally giving false statements to a system or institution official. Any person found to have intentionally 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) and adjudicated under the student conduct policy.

4.1.7.2 (F) Amnesty

Individuals should be encouraged to come forward and to report sexual misconduct notwithstanding their choice to consume alcohol or to use drugs. Information reported by an individual during an investigation concerning use of drugs or alcohol will not be used against the particular individual in a disciplinary proceeding or voluntarily reported to law enforcement; however, individuals may be provided with resources on drug and alcohol counseling and/or education, as appropriate.

4.1.7.3 Handling Reports of Sexual Misconduct

4.1.7.3 (A) Support Services

Once a student or employee makes a complaint or receives notice that a complaint has been made against him or her, or the coordinator otherwise learns of a complaint of sexual misconduct. The complainant, respondent and alleged victim (where applicable) should receive written information about support services, such as counseling, advocacy, housing assistance, academic support, disability services, health and mental services, and legal assistance, available at the student’s institution.

Information on support services will be provided regardless as to whether an individual elects to go forward with filing a formal complaint of sexual misconduct or with notifying law enforcement. Information on support services will also be provided to students and employees, regardless of where the alleged misconduct occurs.

Available support services should also be listed on the institution’s Title IX website.

4.1.7.3 (B) Interim Measures

Interim measures may be undertaken at any point after the institution becomes aware of an allegation of sexual misconduct and should be designed to protect the alleged victim and the community.

Before an interim suspension is issued, the institution must make all reasonable efforts to give the respondent the opportunity to be heard, consistent with the provisions in Policy 4.6.5.

4.1.7.3 (C) Jurisdiction

Each USG institution shall take necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of its community. Sexual misconduct allegedly committed by a student are addressed by this Policy when the misconduct occurs on institution property, or at institution-sponsored or affiliated events, or off-campus, as defined by the institution’s student conduct policies.

4.1.7.3 (D) Advisors

Both the alleged victim and 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 for the express purpose of providing advice and counsel, pursuant to the provisions of Policy 4.6.5.

4.1.7.3 (E) Informal Resolutions

Allegations of sexual misconduct may be resolved informally, without a determination of misconduct, if all of the following are met:

    1. When complainant(s) and respondent agree to an informal resolution;
    2. When the initial allegation could not result in expulsion;
    3. When the complainant(s) and respondent(s) agree to the terms of the informal resolution; and
    4. When the investigator concludes that informal resolution is in the best interest of the parties and the institution’s community.

The alleged victim(s) and respondent(s) have the option to end informal resolution discussions and request a formal process at any time before the terms of an informal resolution are reached. However, matters resolved informally shall not be appealable.

4.1.7.3 (F) Timeframe

Efforts will be made to complete the investigation within a reasonable timeframe, which will be determined based upon the allegations, availability of witnesses and/or evidence, etc. in a particular case. When the timeframe will extend past the reasonable timeframe, the parties will be informed of the delay and the reason for the delay. The investigator shall keep the parties informed of the status of the investigation.

4.1.7.4 Investigations

All sexual misconduct investigations involving a student respondent, whether overseen by the institution’s Coordinator or the System Director, shall follow the investigation process set forth in Section 4.6.5, Standards for Institutional Student Conduct Investigation and Disciplinary Proceedings.

4.1.7.5 Hearings, Possible Sanctions and Appeals

All sexual misconduct hearings, sanctions, and appeals involving a student respondent, whether overseen by the institution’s Coordinator or the System Director, shall follow the investigation process set forth in Section 4.6.5, Standards for Institutional Student Conduct Investigation and Disciplinary Proceedings.

All sexual misconduct adjudication involving an employee respondent, shall be addressed utilizing the institution’s employment policies and procedures.

DD.  MEDIATION PROCESS

In some student misconduct cases where there is a conflict between two or more students or student groups, students may choose to go through the mediation process. Mediation cases are not available for any cases involving sexual misconduct.

Mediation is defined as a structured and voluntary intervention in which an impartial and neutral third party helps facilitate a mutually agreeable settlement of a conflict between two students. It is the responsibility of the students involved in the conflict to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The role of the mediator is to assist students in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement, help identify the issues involved in the conflict and to facilitate a resolution of the conflict.

The procedures for mediation are:

  1. Students must meet with the Student Conduct Officer, for an in-take process. At that time, it will be determined if the case is appropriate for the mediation process.
  2. Once the Student Conduct Officer determines that this case can be mediated, the student(s) choose a mediator from a list of university officials that have been trained in mediation or are assigned an off-campus mediator from the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.
  3. Both students must agree in writing to participate in mediation.
  4. The mediator and the students will sign a written contract outlining agreed upon behavior.
  5. A violation of the contract may result in an investigation and further student conduct procedures.

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