“We never educate directly, but indirectly by means of the environment. Whether we permit chance environments to do the work, or whether we design environments for the purpose makes a great difference.” (John Dewey 1933, p. 22)
ARTICLE I: PREAMBLE
Bryant University is committed to educating students to discover their passion and become leaders of character who make a difference around the globe. Another goal of ours is to encourage students to develop a sense of self-worth, an understanding of the behavior of themselves and others, an awareness of ethical issues, and a commitment to their own responsibility for upholding and strengthening community standards at Bryant. Students are expected to obey the policies of Bryant University as well as applicable local, state and federal laws and are not entitled to greater immunity or privilege before the law than that enjoyed by ordinary citizens. As they prize rights and responsibilities for themselves, students are expected to respect the rights and responsibilities of others. For infractions of laws, regulations, policies and standards, students may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the University. Such disciplinary action may be imposed for violations which occur off campus when the violation may have an adverse effect on the University.
The following selected terms are defined in an effort to facilitate a more thorough understanding of The Student Code. This list is not intended to be a complete list of all the terms referenced in The Student Code that might require interpretation or clarification. The Assistant Dean of Community Standards or designee shall make the final determination on the definition of any term found in The Student Code.
- “Accused student” means any student accused of violating the Student Code.
- “Administrative Hearing Officer” or “student conduct officer” means a University staff member who is authorized to determine the appropriate resolution of an alleged violation of The Student Code, and/or to impose sanctions or affect other remedies as appropriate. Subject to the provision in this code, an administrative hearing officer as well as a student conduct officer is vested with the authority to, among other duties, investigate a complaint of an alleged violation of The Student Code; decline to pursue a complaint; refer identified disputants to mediation or other appropriate resources; establish The Student Code alleged violations regarding an accused student; approve an administrative agreement developed with an accused student; conduct an administrative hearing; impose sanctions; approve sanctions recommended by another hearing body; chair and/or advise a hearing or Probation Review Committee; and conduct an appellate review.
- “Appellate body” means any person or persons authorized by the Vice President for Student Affairs, or designee to conduct a review of a decision reached by a hearing body.
- “Business day” means any day, Monday through Friday, in which the University is open.
- “Complainant” means any person who submits an allegation that a student violated The Student Code. When a student believes that they have been a victim of another student’s misconduct, the student who believes they have been a victim will have the same rights under The Student Code as are provided to the complainant, even if another member of the University community submitted the charge itself.
- “Consent” Consent is a clear, informed and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. Consent requires an outward demonstration, through understandable words or behavior, that conveys a clear willingness to engage in sexual activity. Consent to one type of sexual activity does not equal consent to other types of sexual activity. Consent can be withdrawn at any point during sexual activity and the sexual activity must stop immediately. A verbal “no” establishes lack of consent. Silence, without clear actions demonstrating permission, cannot be assumed to indicate consent – the absence of “no” does not equal “yes.” Consent cannot be obtained by coercion, threat or force. Consent cannot be given by someone if they are mentally or physically incapacitated. Engaging in sexual activity with a person whom you know — or reasonably should know — to be incapacitated constitutes sexual misconduct. A person also is incapable of giving valid consent to sexual activity if they are under the legal age of consent (age 16 in Rhode Island). Although consent does not need to be verbal, verbal communication is the most reliable form of asking for and gauging consent. Talking with sexual partners about desires and limits may seem awkward, but serves as the basis for positive sexual experiences shaped by mutual willingness and respect. Presumptions based upon contextual factors (such as clothing, alcohol consumption, or dancing) are unwarranted and do not constitute evidence of consent.
- “Designee” refers to a staff or faculty member who has responsibility for implementing the student conduct process or administering the student conduct system, in part or in whole.
- “Assistant Dean of Community Standards” refers to that person in Student Affairs, designated by the VP for Student Affairs to be responsible for the overall coordination of the University student conduct system, including the development of policies, procedures, and education and training programs. The Assistant Dean of Community Standards may serve as an administrative hearing officer, student conduct officer and/or an appellate body.
- “Hearing/Board Advisor” means an administrative hearing officer who observes a hearing body or the Probation Review Committee throughout the hearing/meeting and during the hearing body’s/committee’s private deliberations for the purpose of providing information and interpretations relative to the University student conduct system and The Student Code.
- “Hearing Body” means one or more members of the University community authorized by the Assistant Dean of Community Standards or designee to determine whether a student has violated The Student Code and to impose sanctions as warranted.
- “Maxient database” means the electronic database used to track an incident and the response taken.
- “Instructor” means any faculty member, teaching assistant or any other person authorized by the University to provide educational services (e.g., teaching, research, or academic advising).
- “May” is used in the permissive sense.
- “Member of the University community” includes any person who is a student, instructor, or University staff member; any other person working for the University, either directly or indirectly (e.g., private enterprise on campus); or any person who resides on University premises. A person’s status in a particular situation shall be determined by the Assistant Dean Community Standards.
- “Policy” is defined as the written regulations, standards, and student conduct expectations adopted by the University and found in, but not limited to, The Student Code; The Terms and Conditions of the Occupancy and Board Contract; the Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs, the Policy on Harassment; graduate and undergraduate catalogs; and other publicized University notice
- “Probation Review Committee” shall review University Probation removal petitions upon the request of a student or registered student organization at least six months after the student is placed on University Probation. The Probation Review Committee shall typically consist of at least two University community members. Generally, a Probation Review Committee shall have an advisor. Probation Review Committees do not conduct hearings of alleged violations.
- “Shall” and “Will” are used in the imperative sense.
- “Student” means any person admitted, registered, enrolled, or attending any University course or University conducted program; any person admitted to the University who is on University premises or University-related premises for any purpose pertaining to his or her registration or enrollment.
- “Student conduct file” means the printed/written/electronic file which may include but is not limited to incident report(s), correspondence, academic transcript, witness statements, and student conduct history.
- “Student organization” means an association or group of persons that has complied with the formal requirements for University recognition.
- “Support person” means any person who accompanies an accused student, a complainant, or a victim to an administrative hearing for the limited purpose of providing support and guidance. A support person may not directly address the hearing body, question witnesses, or otherwise actively participate in the hearing process.
- “University” means Bryant University.
- “University official” includes any person employed by the University to perform administrative, instructional, or professional duties.
- “University premises” includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the University, either solely or in conjunction with another entity.
ARTICLE II: STUDENT CODE AUTHORITY
- The Assistant Dean of Community Standards or designee shall determine the composition of Student Conduct Boards and determine which Student Conduct Board, Student Conduct Administrator and Appellate Board shall be authorized to hear each matter.
- The Assistant Dean of Community Standards or designee shall develop policies for the administration of the student conduct system and procedural rules for the conduct of Student Conduct Hearings that are not inconsistent with provisions of the Student Code.
- Decisions made by a Student Conduct Board and/or Student Conduct Administrator or designee shall be final, pending the normal appeal process.
ARTICLE III: PROSCRIBED CONDUCT
A. Jurisdiction of the University Student Code
The University Student Code shall apply to conduct that occurs on University premises, at University sponsored activities, and to off-campus conduct that adversely affects the University Community and/or the pursuit of its objectives. Each student shall be responsible for their 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 terms of actual enrollment (and even if their conduct is not discovered until after a degree is awarded). The Student Code shall apply to a student’s conduct even if the student withdraws from school while a disciplinary matter is pending. The Assistant Dean of Community Standards or designee shall decide whether the Student Code shall be applied to conduct occurring off campus, on a case by case basis, in their sole discretion.
B. Conduct—Rules and Regulations
1. Abuse of the Student Conduct System, including but not limited to:
a. Failure to obey the notice from a Student Conduct Hearing Process or University official to appear for a meeting or hearing as part of the Student Conduct System.
b. Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a Student Conduct Hearing Board or Officer.
c. Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a Student Conduct proceeding.
d. Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participating in, or use of, the student conduct system.
e. Attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of a Student Conduct Board prior to, and/or during the course of, the Student Conduct Board proceeding.
f. Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a Student Conduct Board prior to, during, and/or after a student conduct code proceeding.
g. Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under the Student Code.
h. Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the student conduct code system.
2. Abusive Conduct, physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person including but not limited to:
a. Sexual misconduct.
b. Sexual harassment.
c. Sexual exploitation.
d. Bullying/Cyber bullying.
e. Threats of violence.
f. Domestic violence.
h. Emotional, mental, or psychological abuse.
i. Use of technology or social media to target groups or individuals.
3. Abuse of Computer Facilities or theft or other abuse of computer facilities and resources, including but not limited to:
a. Unauthorized entry into a file, to use, read, or change the contents, or for any other purpose.
b. Unauthorized transfer of a file.
c. Use of another individual’s identification and/or password.
d. Use of computing facilities and resources to interfere with the work of another student, faculty member or University Official.
e. Use of computing facilities and resources to send obscene or abusive messages.
f. Use of computing facilities and resources to interfere with normal operation of the University computing system.
g. Use of computing facilities and resources in violation of copyright laws.
h. Any violation of the University Computer Use Policy.
4. Abusive language or other behavior that is inappropriate, threatening and directed toward University staff.
5. Alcohol – Possession/Use – The use, possession, being in the presence of, manufacturing, or distribution of alcoholic beverages (except as expressly permitted by University regulations), or public intoxication. Alcoholic beverages may not, in any circumstance, be used by, possessed by or distributed to any person under twenty-one (21) years of age anywhere on University Property or off-campus establishments.
6. Arson or interference with or misuse of the fire safety systems, or repeated fire safety violations.
7. Bias Incident or Hate Crime
a. A bias incident is an act of bigotry, harassment or intimidation toward a person, property or group based on the person’s or group’s actual or perceived race, religion, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, status as a protected veteran, pregnancy, marital status, or any other category protected by law. It can be an event, image, utterance, or behavior that demeans or degrades an individual or group from a protected category. This could occur physically, verbally, in writing or via social media or electronic means. A bias incident can occur whether the act is intentional or unintentional and may or may not be an unlawful act.
b. A hate crime is any crime motivated by bigotry and bias, including, but not limited to threatened, attempted, or completed acts that appear after investigation to have been motivated by racial, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression or disability prejudice or motivated by prejudice against a person who is homeless or is perceived to be homeless (RI Gen. Laws, § 42-28-46(a)(2)).
8. Breach of peace; or aiding, abetting, or procuring another person to breach the peace on University premises or at functions sponsored by, or participated in by, the University or members of the academic community.
9. Damage or Vandalism- deliberative or accidental to property of the University or property of a member of the University community or other personal or public property, on or off campus.
10. Dangerous Items- Illegal or unauthorized possession of firearms, explosives, other weapons, ammunition, fireworks, BB or pellet guns, paintball guns, knives longer than 3 inches, martial arts weapons or dangerous chemicals on University premises or use of any such item, even if legally possessed, in a manner that harms, threatens or causes fear to others.
11. Demonstrations – Participating in an on-campus or off-campus demonstration, riot or activity that disrupts the normal operations of the University and/or infringes on the rights of other members of the University community; leading or inciting others to disrupt scheduled and/or normal activities within any campus building or area.
12. Disorderly Conduct – conduct that is disorderly, lewd, or indecent; disorderly conduct includes but is not limited to: Any unauthorized use of electronic or other devices to make an audio or video record 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. This includes, but is not limited to, surreptitiously taking pictures of another person where there is reasonable expectation of privacy, i.e. residence hall room, locker room, or restroom.
13. Disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, other University activities, including its public service functions on or off campus, or of other authorized non-University activities when the conduct occurs on University premises.
14. Drugs- Possession/Use – The use, possession, manufacturing, or distribution or being in the presence of marijuana, prescription drugs other than intended use, narcotics, or other controlled substances except as expressly permitted by law. Possession of drug related paraphernalia is also prohibited e.g., rolling papers, grinders, bongs, or pipes.
15. Failure to comply with directions of University officials or law enforcement officers acting in the performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so.
16. False Information – Any student found to have committed or to have attempted to commit the following misconduct is subject to the student code sanctions.
a. Furnishing false information to any University official, or office.
b. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any University document, record, or instrument of identification;
c. Possession of any form of false identification.
17. Gambling – Any of the following activities on University-owned or controlled property: taking or receiving gambling bets; receiving and or extorting money for gambling debts; distributing gambling material. Placing bets of any kind on University-owned or controlled property or at any University or University organization sponsored or supervised function.
18. Guiding Principles – Violations of any kind of the University’s Guiding Principles and Pledge.
19. Hazing, defined as an act which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or which destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, a group or organization. The express or implied consent of the victim will not be a defense. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts; they are violations of this rule.
20. Obstruction of the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on University premises or at University sponsored or supervised functions.
21. Theft -attempted or actual theft of property of the University or property of a member of the University community or other personal or public property, on or off campus.
22. Unauthorized possession, duplication or use of keys or Bryant ID card to any premises or unauthorized entry to or use of University premises.
23. Violation of any University policy, rule, or regulation published in hard copy or available electronically on the University website.
24. Violation of any federal, state or local law.
25. Violation of University policies, rules or regulations as published in the Student Handbook, or other official University publications.
C. Violation of Law and University Discipline
- University disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with conduct that potentially violates both the criminal law and this Student Code (that is, if both possible violations result from the same factual situation) without regard to the pendency of civil or criminal litigation in court or criminal arrest and prosecution. Proceedings under this Student Code may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus at the discretion of the Assistant Dean of Community Standards.
- Determinations made or sanctions imposed under this Student Code shall not be subject to change because criminal charges arising out of the same facts giving rise to violation of University rules were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of or against the criminal law defendant. When a student is charged by federal, state, or local authorities with a violation of law, the University will not request or agree to special consideration for that individual because of his or her status as a student. If the alleged offense is also being processed under the Student Code, the University may advise off-campus authorities of the existence of the Student Code and of how such matters are typically handled within the University community. The University will attempt to cooperate with law enforcement and other agencies in the enforcement of criminal law on campus and in the conditions imposed by criminal courts for the rehabilitation of student violators (provided that the conditions do not conflict with campus rules or sanctions). Individual students and other members of the University community, acting in their personal capacities, remain free to interact with governmental representatives as they deem appropriate.
ARTICLE IV: STUDENT CONDUCT CODE PROCEDURES (Excluding reported Title IX violations)
A. Charges and Student Conduct Board Hearings
- Any member of the University community may file charges against a student for violations of the Student Code. A charge shall be prepared in writing and directed to the Assistant Dean of Community Standards. Any charge should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place, preferably within two weeks.
- The Assistant Dean of Community Standards may conduct an investigation to determine if the charges have merit and/or if they can be disposed of administratively by mutual consent of the parties involved on a basis acceptable to the Student Conduct Administrator. Such disposition shall be final and there shall be no subsequent proceedings. If the charges are not admitted and/or cannot be disposed of by mutual consent, the Assistant Dean of Community Standards may later serve in the same matter as the Student Conduct Board or a member thereof. If the student admits violating institutional rules, but sanctions are not agreed to, subsequent process, including a hearing if necessary, shall be limited to determining the appropriate sanction(s).
- All charges shall be presented to the Accused Student in written form, which includes a written copy or an email. A time shall be set for a hearing, not less than five nor more than fifteen calendar days after the student has been notified. Maximum time limits for scheduling of Hearings may be extended at the discretion of the Assistant Dean of Community Standards.
- Hearings shall be conducted by a Student Conduct Board/Administrator according to the following guidelines:
a. Hearings normally shall be conducted in private.
b. The Complainant, Accused Student and their advisors, if any, shall be allowed to attend the entire portion of the Hearing at which information is received (excluding deliberations). Admission of any other person to the Hearing shall be at the discretion of the Assistant Dean of Community Standards or designee.
c. In Hearings involving more than one Accused Student, the Assistant Dean of Community Standards, in their discretion, may permit the Hearings concerning each student to be conducted either separately or jointly.
d. The Complainant and the Accused Student have the right to be assisted by an advisor they choose, at their own expense. The Complainant and/or the Accused Student is responsible for presenting their own information, and therefore, advisors are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any Hearing. A student should select as an advisor a person whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled date and time for the Hearing because delays will not normally be allowed due to the scheduling conflicts of an advisor.
e. The Complainant and the Accused Student have the right to request a redacted copy of Public Safety Reports through the Department of Public Safety.
f. The Complainant, the Accused Student and the hearing officer may arrange for witnesses to present pertinent information at the hearing. The University will try to arrange the attendance of possible witnesses who are members of the University community, if reasonably possible, and who are identified by the Complainant and/or Accused Student at least two weekdays prior to the hearing. Witnesses will provide information to and answer questions from the Hearing Officer. Questions may be suggested by the Accused Student and/or Complainant to be answered by each other or by other witnesses. This will be conducted by the hearing officer with such questions directed to the hearing officer, rather than to the witness directly. This method is used to preserve the educational tone of the hearing and to avoid the creation of an adversarial environment. Questions of whether potential information will be received shall be resolved in the discretion of the hearing officer.
g. Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements (including Student Impact Statements) may be accepted as information for consideration by the chairperson or the hearing officer.
h. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the hearing officer.
i. After the portion of the hearing concludes in which all pertinent information has been received, the Hearing Officer shall determine whether the Accused Student has violated each section of The Student Code which the student is charged with violating.
j. The hearing officer’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not (the preponderance of the evidence standard) that the Accused Student violated The Student Code.
k. Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in Student Code proceedings.
- If an Accused Student, with notice, does not appear at Hearing, the information in support of the charges shall be presented and considered even if the Accused Student is not present
- The Hearing may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the Complainant, Accused Student, and/or other witness during the hearing by providing separate facilities, by using a visual screen, and/or by permitting participation by telephone, closed circuit television, video conferencing, videotape, audio tape, written statement, or other means, where and as determined in the sole judgment of Assistant Dean of Community Standards to be appropriate.
ORDER OF THE HEARING
The following is an outline of the process of a hearing. Any questions relative to the process should be directed to the Assistant Dean of Community Standards.
- Reading of the complaint.
- Opening statement of the accused student.
- Presentation of the complainant’s case, including presentation of witnesses.
- Questions of the complainant by the judicial body or officer.
- Questions of the complainant when present by the accused presented through the Chair or officer.
- Presentation of the accused student’s case, including presentation of witnesses.
- Questions of the accused by the judicial body or officer.
- Questions of the accused by the complainant when present, presented through the Chair or officer.
- Closing statement by complainant.
- Closing statement by accused student.
- Adjournment. –The decision will generally be communicated the next school day.
A. The following sanctions may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the Student Code:
- Warning—A notice in writing to the student that the student is violating or has violated institutional regulations.
- Probation—A written reprimand for violation of specified regulations. Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student is found to violate any institutional regulation(s) during the probationary period.
- Loss of Privileges—Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.
- Fines—Previously established and published fines may be imposed.
- Restitution—Compensation for loss, damage, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
- Discretionary Sanctions—Work assignments, educational reflections, essays, service to the University, or other related discretionary assignments.
- 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. Students suspended from residence halls shall receive no refund of room or board.
- Residence Hall Eviction—Permanent separation of the student from the residence halls. Students evicted from residence halls shall receive no refund of room or board.
- University Suspension—Separation of the student from the University for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Suspended students are required to schedule a review meeting with the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs to be considered for readmission to the University. Students suspended from the university shall receive no refund of tuition, room, board or other fees.
- University Expulsion—Permanent separation of the student from the University. Students expelled from the university shall receive no refund of tuition, room, board or other fees.
- Revocation of Admission and/or Degree—Admission to or a degree awarded from the University may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violation of University standards in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation.
- Withholding Degree—The University may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in this Student Conduct Code, including the completion of all sanctions imposed, if any.
*More than one of the sanctions listed above may be imposed for any single violation.
Student conduct sanctions shall not be made part of the student’s permanent academic record, but shall become part of the student’s conduct record. Upon graduation, the student’s conduct record may be expunged of student conduct actions other than residence hall expulsion, University suspension, University expulsion, or revocation or withholding of a degree, upon application to the Assistant Dean of Community Standards. Cases involving the imposition of sanctions other than residence hall expulsion, University suspension, University expulsion or revocation or withholding of a degree shall be expunged from the student’s confidential record five years after final disposition of the case.
In situations involving both a Respondent(s) (or group or organization) and a Complainant of another student’s conduct, the records of the process and of the sanctions imposed, if any, shall be considered to be the education records of both the Respondent(s) and Complainant because the educational career and chances of success in the academic community of each may be impacted.
The following sanctions may be imposed upon groups or organizations:
- Those sanctions listed above: Warning, Probation, Loss of Privileges, Fines and Restitution.
- Loss of selected rights and privileges for a specified period of time.
- Deactivation. Loss of all privileges, including University recognition, for a specified period of time.
In certain circumstances, the Assistant Dean of Community Standards or a designee, may impose a University or residence hall suspension prior to the Hearing. Students on interim suspension shall receive no refund of tuition, room, board or other fees.
- Interim suspension may be imposed only: 1) to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University community or preservation of University property; b) to ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being; or c) if the student poses an ongoing threat of disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the University.
- During the interim suspension, a student shall be denied access to the residence halls and/or to the campus (including classes) and/or all other University activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the Assistant Dean of Community Standards may determine to be appropriate.
- The interim suspension does not replace the regular process, which shall proceed on the normal schedule, up to and through a Hearing, if required.
1. A decision reached by a Hearing Officer or a sanction imposed by the Director of Community Standards may be appealed by the Accused Student(s) to the Vice President of Student Affairs or designee within five (5) school days of the decision. Such appeals shall be in writing and shall be delivered to the Director of Community Standards or his or her designee.
2. Except as required to explain the basis of new information, an appeal shall be limited to a review of Hearing and supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes:
a. To determine whether the Student Conduct Board Hearing was conducted fairly in light of the charges and information presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures giving the complaining party a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present information that the Student Code was violated, and giving the Accused Student a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present a response to those allegations. Deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant prejudice results.
b. To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate for the violation of the Student Code which the student was found to have committed.
c. To consider new information, sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original Hearing.
3. If an appeal is granted by the Appellate Body, the Appellate Body has the right to make the following decisions based on the appeal hearing: 1) to accept and enforce the original sanction given to the accused student; 2) to make the original sanction more stringent; 3) to lower or lessen the original sanctions; 4) or order a new hearing for the accused.
The appeals officer shall notify the student in writing of his or her final decision within five class days unless special circumstances make that impossible.
ALCOHOL AND/OR DRUG USE AMNESTY FOR REPORTERS OF INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE
The health and safety of every student at Bryant University is of utmost importance. Bryant University recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that an incident of violence occurs, including, but not limited to, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. Bryant University strongly encourages students to report incidents of violence to institution officials. A bystander acting in good faith, or a reporting individual acting in good faith, who discloses any incident of violence to Bryant University’s officials or law enforcement will not be subject to Bryant University’s code of conduct action for violations of alcohol- and/or drug-use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the incident of violence.
ALCOHOL AND/OR DRUG USE AMNESTY FOR REPORTERS OF MEDICAL EMERGENCIES
The physical health and safety of every student at Bryant University is of utmost importance. Students are expected and highly encouraged to alert emergency responders (DPS) or university officials (Resident Assistants, Community Directors) for themselves or others in situations where medical attention is needed due to intoxication or drug ingestion. Bryant University recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. Bryant University encourages reporting behavior and will treat the situation as a medical issue, instead of a conduct issue. The student who requests and receives medical attention for themself will be required to meet with the Assistant Director of Community Standards and engage in educational and/or counseling programs. The student is still responsible for any fees related to their medical care and education. A bystander acting in good faith, or a reporting individual acting in good faith, who discloses any medical emergency to Bryant University’s officials or law enforcement will not be subject to Bryant University’s code of conduct action for violations of alcohol- and/or drug-use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the medical emergency. Regardless of the medical emergency, students may be held accountable for other policy violations that occurred adjacent to the medical response (e.g., property damage, disorderly behavior, violence towards responders.)
Bryant University is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming educational and working environment for all members of its campus community. Consistent with these values and applicable law, including Tile IX, the Clery Act and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, the University maintains a comprehensive program designed to protect members of the University community from discrimination on the basis of sex or gender, which includes sexual misconduct such as sexual harassment and sexual assault, stalking and intimate partner violence.
Bryant’s Title IX Coordinators are responsible for coordinating Bryant’s compliance with Title IX. Bryant’s Title IX Coordinators are:
Meaghan Trayner, Associate Director, Human Resources
Mailee Kue, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs
Bryant University’s Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Policies
The University’s policy on sexual misconduct and title IX procedures are part of its broader prohibition against harassment or other discrimination on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, gender transition, religion, disability, age, genetic information, marital status, or protected veteran status. This commitment to non-discrimination applies to admissions, financial aid, academic matters, career services, counseling, housing, employment policies, scholarship programs, medical services, and all other programs and activities available at Bryant.
The student conduct process for dealing with complaints is described in The Student Code of Conduct. which provides additional information regarding sexual misconduct complaints. Individuals are strongly encouraged to read The Student Code of Conduct to fully understand the process.
Upon receiving a report of sexual misconduct, the Office of the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Community Standards may initiate an interim administrative action(s) as allowed by The Student Code of Conduct. Such action may be taken when, in the professional judgment of a University official, a threat of imminent harm to persons or property exists. Interim administrative action is not a sanction. It is taken in an effort to protect the safety and well-being of the complainant, the responding student, of others, of the University, or of property. Interim administrative action is preliminary in nature; it is in effect only until a student conduct matter has been resolved. Actions may include, but are not limited to, no contact instructions, modification of residence hall status, limited access to campus, or interim suspension. The Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs may also impose interim measures or remedies that are not limited by The Student Code of Conduct.
After receiving a complaint, the designated investigator(s) will immediately begin to investigate and strive to reach a resolution within 60 days of notification; however, there are circumstances that may extend this resolution timeline (e.g., gathering witness information, scheduling). Incidents resulting in an administrative review/hearing are typically conducted within fifteen days of the accused student being formally notified of the actual alleged violations. Regular updates as to the progress of the investigation will be provided to the complainant and the responding student by the investigator(s). Both the complainant and the responding student will be notified in writing of the outcome within 24 hours of the conclusion of the investigation or administrative review/hearing, whichever is later. Either party may request an appeal by submitting a request in writing within five business days of notification. Appeals are limited to a review of the process as outlined in The Student Code of Conduct.
Both the complainant and accused student are afforded the same rights as outlined in The Student Code of Conduct. This includes participating in the student conduct process, being accompanied by a support person, notification of the outcome, and the opportunity for appeal. The complete list is available in Part IV of The Student Code of Conduct.
Bryant University is dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive community as one of its strategic objectives. Racism, anti-Semitism, and all expressions of intolerance and hate are in direct opposition to Bryant’s commitment to equality and inclusion and have no place on our campus. Bryant is committed to educating students to be leaders with character. This policy describes prohibited bias incident, identifies resources and support provided to individuals who may have experienced such conduct, establishes procedures for reporting incidents, and outlines the process for handling bias incidents. A bias incident is a violation of the Bryant Student Code of Conduct and is subject to the same jurisdiction, regulations, conduct procedures, and sanctions as defined in the Student Code of Conduct and/or highlighted below.
All members of the Bryant University community are accountable for compliance with this policy. Bryant University is committed to eliminating bias incidents and hate crimes, wherever they occur in the University community, by taking corrective action as a result of violations of this policy. Violations may lead to disciplinary action up to and including separation from the university.
Violations of this policy may impact an individual(s) and/or the Bryant University community. After receiving a report of an alleged violation of the Bias Incident, the University will determine the appropriate next steps in accordance with our policy. In most cases the University will allow the complainant to determine if and when to initiate the bias incident process or any other relevant process. However, in instances where extensive harm has occurred or there is risk to an individual(s) or the campus community, Bryant may proceed with the student conduct process with the University serving as the complainant.
Bias Incident Definition
A bias incident is an act of bigotry, harassment or intimidation toward a person, property or group based race, religion, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, status as a protected veteran, pregnancy, marital status, or any other category protected by law. It can be an event, image, utterance, or behavior that demeans or degrades an individual or group and can occur physically, verbally, in writing or via social media or electronic means. A bias incident can occur whether the act is intentional or unintentional and may or may not be an unlawful act.
In identifying a bias incident, the focus is on behavior that impacts an individual (or individuals) or the Bryant University community. Such acts may result in creating a hostile environment and may have a negative psychological, emotional, or physical impact on an individual, group, and/ or community. Not every behavior rises to the level of a policy violation and yet some may be addressed to the extent it is inconsistent with our values. The determination whether an incident rises to a policy violation is dependent upon the behavior and context in which it occurred.
Hate Crimes Definition
Hate crimes are defined and adjudicated by federal, state, and local governments. The U.S. Federal and Rhode Island State Codes follow below. Bryant University encourages complainants to file reports with local police and to press charges if warranted. However, the decision of whether to do that rests with the complainant. If the complainant does decide to work with local law enforcement, Bryant University will provide appropriate support to the individual in the process.
U.S. Federal Code § 249(1) Offenses involving actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin.—Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person.
RI Gen. Laws, § 42-28-46(a)(2) A hate crime is any crime motivated by bigotry and bias, including, but not limited to threatened, attempted, or completed acts that appear after investigation to have been motivated by racial, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression or disability prejudice or motivated by prejudice against a person who is homeless or is perceived to be homeless.
Examples of Prohibited Conduct
Prohibited conduct may include (but not limited to), among other things, making offensive or derogatory remarks, telling racist or sexist jokes about another person’s age, color, creed, disability, gender identity/expression, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status, or membership in another protected class.
Additional examples of prohibited conduct that might be found to be a bias incident include degrading, public tirades from a student, faculty, or staff member; deliberate, repeated humiliation, including deliberate humiliation on the basis of one of Bryant’s protected classes; interference with the life or work of a person with a disability; desecration of religious articles or places; interference with the reasonable pursuit of religion; insults about loss of personal and professional competence addressed to an older person; using a racial, ethnic, or other slur directly toward someone, to identify someone, or to target someone such as leaving a message on a door; imitating someone with any kind of disability, or imitating someone’s cultural norm or practice; drawing or creating pictures that imitate, stereotype, or belittle/ridicule someone because of their association (real or perceived) with one of Bryant’s protected classes; racist or derogatory graffiti or images/drawings; vandalizing the personal property of someone who is a member of one of Bryant’s protected classes.
Prohibited conduct may occur through:
- Direct oral expression and/or physical gestures or actions;
- Notes, letters, and other forms of written communication distributed via U.S. mail, campus mail, or otherwise made visible to the public;
- Phone calls, phone messages, or other forms of electronic verbal communication;
- Email, text messages, instant messaging, social networks, or other means of electronic communication.
Students have the right to report violations of this policy and participate as a witness in an investigation or hearing without fear of retaliation. Retaliation includes threats, intimidation, or reprisals. For example, it would be retaliatory to intimidate a witness or to shun a person from a student organization in retribution for the person having made complaints. It would also be retaliatory to use social media to negatively influence the reporting student or witnesses. Good faith reports of violations of Bryant University policy will generally not be considered retaliatory.
Bryant University strictly prohibits retaliation by any student, staff, or faculty member against a person who makes a report, assists someone with a report, or participates in any aspect of the investigation or resolution of a report.
Acts of retaliation by students are subject to the standard disciplinary procedure set forth in the Student Code of Conduct and, in certain cases, may result in suspension. Acts of retaliation by other members of the community, such as faculty or staff, are subject to sanction as set forth in the respective Faculty or Staff Handbooks.
As appropriate, the University will implement initial remedial and responsive actions upon notice of alleged violation of this policy. Such actions are determined by the context of the situation and will be based upon ensuring the student who filed the complaint has full access to their educational resources. A complainant need not necessarily pursue disciplinary or other action against the respondent in order to have access to remedial measures.
A member of the Office of Community Standards, in consultation with the Vice President for Student Affairs, shall determine any interim measures. The Vice President for Student Affairs may also determine and implement interim measures.
Resources and Support Services
Bryant University will make every effort to safeguard the identities of students and Bryant University community members who seek help and/or report complaints of bias incidents. While steps are taken to protect the privacy of individuals involved, the University may need to investigate an incident and take action once an allegation is known, whether or not the complainant chooses to pursue a complaint. Files related to complaints of bias incidents will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need for a thorough investigation.
How to Report a Bias Incident?
If you have been a victim of a bias incident or hate crime, or have witnessed a situation, please report it immediately, anonymous reports are permitted. Do not touch any evidence; keep the voice mail message or e-mail message; do not wash away the graffiti; do not clean up the vandalism. If a reporter identifies an affected individual(s), a member of the Bias Incident Committee will meet with the individual(s) to gather more information and discuss options to aid them in moving forward. Though the University may elect to pursue a complaint, deference is usually given to the complainant’s decision when they do not wish to proceed with a formal complaint.
As part of the University’s commitment to an inclusive campus community, the Bias Incident Committee has been developed to address incidents that occur on-campus or at any Bryant-sponsored events. We urge all community members to familiarize themselves with the Protection from Harassment Policy and to promptly report any incidents that violate the standards that we as a community seek to uphold.
For more information about the Bias Incident Committee and its members go to https://info.bryant.edu/bias-incident-committee.
How will the University respond?
Students who report a bias incident can expect that their report will be acknowledged within 48 hours, and that a Bias Incident Committee member will be assigned to meet with the student to discuss options for addressing the issue and next steps of the process.
Once an incident has been reported, the Bias Incident Committee will discuss the report at the next weekly meeting or sooner if necessary. Based on the nature of the incident, the Committee can recommend appropriate next steps. Recommendations can include, but not limited to, investigation by members of the Bias Incident Committee, investigation by the Department of Public Safety, a conversation with impacted individual(s), etc. Once all information about the incident has been gathered, the Committee will meet to review and discuss findings and make recommendations to VPSA or designee and VPHR or designee. Due to confidentiality laws, the University may not be able to reveal all the information related to the investigation. Conduct found to be in violation of the Student Code of Conduct will be referred for action through existing disciplinary procedures.
Parents or legal guardians of dependent students (as defined under Section 99.31 (a)(8) of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) may be notified of judicial action taken against a student. Parents or legal guardians may be notified of violations of any drug and/or alcohol policy violations. This notification would not be made in cases where a student can demonstrate financial independence.
Disciplinary records are maintained by the Director of Residential Life, Associate Dean of Students or the Vice President for Student Affairs/ Dean of Students. These records are normally maintained for a period of five years from the time of the hearing. While disciplinary records, files and decisions are confidential, information may be shared with other University departments on a need-to-know basis, as determined by the Vice President/Dean of Students.
ENFORCED MEDICAL WITHDRAWAL
The University reserves the right to suspend a student temporarily from the institution for a psychological or medical condition when there is reason to believe they are a risk to themselves or others and/ or may disrupt the community. Such action by the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or their designee, will be done with appropriate professional consultation, and normally after consultation with the student involved. These policies and procedures supersede all previous statements and policies with respect to student rights, responsibilities and disciplinary procedures including, but not limited to, the policy statement contained within the undergraduate course catalog.
FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT (FERPA)
The on campus contact for FERPA is the Registrar: 401-232-6080
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a Federal law which states (a) that a written institutional policy must be established and (b) that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students be made available. The law provides that the institution will maintain the confidentiality of student education records. Bryant University accords all the rights under the law to its students. No one outside the institution shall have access to nor will the institution disclose any information from the students’ education records without the written consent of students except to personnel within the institution, to officials of other institutions in which students seek to enroll, to persons or organizations providing students financial aid, to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, to persons in compliance with a judicial order, and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. These exceptions are permitted under the Act and a record of disclosure is maintained. Within the Bryant University community, only those members, individually or collectively, acting in the students’ educational interest are allowed access to student education records. These members include personnel in the Office of Academic Records, Financial Aid, Admission, Bursar, Student Affairs, Public Safety, and Graduate and Undergraduate Programs and academic personnel within the limitations of their need to know.
At its discretion, the institution may provide Directory Information in accordance with the provisions of the Act to include: student name, address, telephone number, email address, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, honors, degrees and awards received including dates, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, schedule of classes, and weight and height of members of athletic teams. Students may withhold Directory Information by notifying the Registrar/Academic Office in writing within two weeks after the first day of class for each fall term, as non-disclosure requests may only be honored for one academic year at a time.
The law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their educational records, and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if they feel the decision of the hearing panels to be unacceptable. The Registrar at Bryant University has been designated by the institution to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for most student education records. The Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students coordinates the inspection of all disciplinary records. Students wishing to review their education records must make written request to the Registrar. 401-232-6237 https://info.bryant.edu/registrar
Records covered by the Act will be made available within forty-five days of the request. Students may have made at their request of their records with certain exceptions (e.g., a copy of the academic record for which a financial “hold” exists). Education records do not include records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute, records of the law enforcement unit, student health records, employment records or alumni records. Health records, however, may be reviewed by physicians of the students’ choosing.
Students may not inspect and review the following as outlined by the Act: financial information submitted by their parents; any records to which they have waived their rights of inspection and review; or education records containing information about more than one student in which case the institution will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student. The institution is not required to permit students to inspect and review confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files prior to January 1975, provided those letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality and were used for the purpose for which they were collected.
Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights may discuss their problem informally with the Registrar. If the decisions are in agreement with the students’ request, the appropriate records will be amended. If not, students will be notified within a reasonable period of their right, under the law, to a hearing. Student request for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the individual designated, who within a reasonable period of time, will inform students of the date, place, and time of hearing. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the students’ expense. The hearing panels which will adjudicate such challenges will be the individuals designate, (e.g., Vice President for
Academic Affairs and representative of the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, etc.) Decisions of the hearing panels will be final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decisions, and will be delivered to all parties concerned.
The education records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decisions of the hearing panels, if the decisions are in favor of the student. If the decisions are unsatisfactory to the students, the students may place within the education records statements commenting on the information in the records, or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decisions of the hearing panels. The statement will be placed in the education records, maintained as part of the students’ records, and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.
Students who believe that the adjudications of their challenges were unfair, may request in writing assistance from the President of the Institution.
Further, students who believe that their rights have been abridged may file complaints with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office (FERPA), Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC 20201, concerning the alleged failures of Bryant University to comply with the Act.
ACADEMIC STUDENT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES
(Grievances may include, among others, sexual harassment or assault and/ or discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, or disability.)
Any Bryant student or recognized student group may file a grievance in writing to the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students when it appears that a personal right or guaranteed privilege has been violated by an employee of the University. The Vice President/Dean will decide if the grievance has sufficient merit to pursue using formal or informal procedures.
Formal grievance procedures are heard by an ad hoc committee appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students and will mirror the procedures and protections in place for the University Disciplinary Committee with any adaptation of those procedures or protections requiring approval of the Vice President/Dean and notification to all involved parties.
APPEALS PROCEDURES FOR STUDENT FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS
Location: Unistructure, 2nd Floor
Questions regarding a student’s financial account with the University that are not resolved after discussion with the Bursar may be appealed to the Associate VP for Business Affairs. The student should submit a written memorandum of his/her complaint to the Associate VP for Business Affairs within three business days after receiving the Bursar’s decision. The Associate VP for Business Affairs will schedule a meeting with the student within five business days after receiving the memorandum. The Associate VP for Business Affairs’ decision may be appealed to the Vice President for Business Affairs and the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students and must be requested by the student within three business days of the Associate VP for Business Affairs’ decision. Once requested, the hearing will be scheduled within five business days. All decisions made by the Vice Presidents will be final and shared with the student, Bursar and Associate VP for Business Affairs.
INTERPRETATION AND REVISION
Any question of interpretation or application of the Student Code shall be referred to the Assistant Dean of Community Standards or their designee for final determination. You may contact the Assistant Dean of Community Standards at 401-232-6140.