The purpose of a Review Meeting is to determine whether a student has failed to follow the standards governing student conduct at Pacific Lutheran University. As educators and as peers, the Conduct Body’s responsibilities include:
(a) reviewing Incident Reports and determining whether, or to what extent, students were involved in the reported misconduct;
(b) assisting students toward responsible conduct; and
(c) determining appropriate sanctions when necessary.
Review Meetings are neither formal court trials nor formal administrative hearings. Rather, they are structured educational discussions that focus on the student's behavior in association with the university community. Review Meetings provide an opportunity to identify concerns, to explore and discuss the area of misconduct, to challenge the student's commitment to membership in PLU's educational community, and to make recommendations for change. The following is an overview of Review Meeting guidelines and procedures:
A. Notice of Meeting
The Associate Director for Student Conduct notifies Conduct Body members and students named on an Incident Report of the date, time, and place for the Review Meeting (see Section IV – subsection A) for detailed information on notification procedures and attendance requirements).
B. Timing of Process
The Review process is designed to meet the need for individual investigation and consideration of each Incident Report, so time frames must necessarily be established with flexibility. Most Review processes are completed within a few business days, and all but the exceptional case is completed within 60 days. Other time estimates are set out in these procedures for context, but they are summarized here. They are general guidelines only, and if missed by PLU, will not keep the Review process from continuing. Once the timing is established for a Review process, students must either comply with the established timeline, or request an extension to a date certain in writing (via email, etc.) and setting forth the reason for needing additional time.
Efforts to process Incident Reports will begin promptly and will be complete as soon as is practicable given considerations around scheduling, investigation, etc.
- Review Meetings are usually scheduled within four business days, but this time can vary depending on requests for extension of time by the students involved, Review Officer schedules, campus exigencies, etc.
- Reasonable efforts will be made to provide documents to be used in the Review Meeting at least 24-hours before it begins, but please see Section IV – subsection B for additional information on the receipt and use of documents.
- Reasonable efforts will be made to send out determination letters within 72-hours after the close of the Review Meeting.
- The determination letter on each incident will include a deadline for appealing the determination. That time is typically 72 hours after the determination is made. A decision on the appeal is usually made within 10 days after it is filed.
- When a student is found responsible for violating PLU’s Sexual Misconduct policy, the responsible finding will be referred to PLU’s Title IX Coordinator for additional investigation, if appropriate, and a determination of whether Title IX has been violated. Section XII Subsection D - Special Considerations in Sexual Misconduct Cases. That determination will generally be made within 60 days of the referral to the Title IX .
PLU may, in its sole discretion, shorten or extend any of the timelines set out here or elsewhere in these Procedures. Reasonable efforts will be made to notify students of alteration of timelines.
C. Order of Review Proceedings
1. The Conduct Body reviews the written material prior to the meeting and determines appropriate questions.
2. The Conduct Body gathers information in the following ways:
- The Conduct Body hears from all persons involved in an incident to determine the facts.
- The Conduct Body may ask questions to determine what occurred, why it occurred, how others may perceive it, and whether the behavior fits within the university standards.
- The Conduct Body reviews all written information submitted with regard to the incident.
3. All Review Meetings are audio recorded.
1. Witnesses may be requested by the Conduct Body and/or students who are named in the Incident Report. The Conduct Body reserves the right to determine the relevancy of witnesses and excuse them if the information shared is deemed to be unproductive or irrelevant. Conduct Body members may limit witness testimony to the facts of the situation.
2. Witnesses may attend Review Meetings only to hear procedures and to present information. They are excused as soon as their testimony is completed.
3. Conduct Bodies may invite as witnesses, persons who submit Incident Reports or other persons who may have firsthand information about the incident.
4. Any member of a Conduct Body may question the student or the witnesses. All questions must be pertinent to the report and the purposes of the meeting.
5. As a general rule, students alleged to have violated the Student Code of Conduct (responding students) may be present during the Review Meeting when the board or Review Officer is receiving information from witnesses. Certain exceptions to this general rule may occur, however, when in the discretion of the Associate Director for Student Conduct, circumstances warrant. Examples, without limitation, are as follows:
- Complainant or witnesses may be permitted to attend the Review Meeting via electronic means, or may be separated from the Respondent by a screen or other appropriate means.
- Students alleged to have violated the Student Code of Conduct who are alleged to present a threat to the community may be required to attend via alternative means.
- Students who create excessive disruption may be required to attend by alternative means.
- When more than one student alleged to have violated the Student Code of Conduct is involved in the same incident, the Conduct Body may consider each student's involvement separately and exclude the other students from the meeting.
Under any such circumstance, each responding student shall be given the opportunity to review and respond to all information considered at the Review Meeting concerning her/his misconduct.
6. While discussing an incident with one student, the Conduct Body may receive information that may affect another student. In this event, the Conduct Body shall inform the other student and provide the other student with the opportunity to respond before the Conduct Body deliberates. If the information received could result in sanctions under the Conduct Procedures, the Conduct Body may, in their discretion, complete an Incident Report based on the new information, thus beginning the process for the student who is not the subject to the original meeting.
7. During the Review Meeting, the Conduct Body may receive information which may result in further violations to be considered for a student involved in the incident. Further, additional Incident Reports may result from information received during the Review Meeting.
8. After all witnesses have spoken the responding student may make a summary statement. The Conduct Body may limit the summary as to time and content and may terminate it if the Conduct Body believes the summary is not relevant.
E. Lawyers/Legal Counsel
Lawyers/legal counsel are not permitted at Review Meetings or to be involved with any portion of the university process. The university expects that community members possess the skills and resources to manage conduct issues.
F. Complainants AllegingSexual Misconductand/or Physical Assault
1. Complainants alleging Sexual Misconduct and/or Physical Assault will be offered the opportunity to be present at all Review Meeting proceedings. Respondents are also offered the opportunity to attend all meetings. If the Complainant and/or the Respondent in such incidents choose not to be present at all proceedings, then both shall be given the opportunity to hear and/or read all information presented during the process. If a student chooses to participate but not attend, arrangements must be made at least 24-hours prior to the Review Meeting time. Complainants of other incidents (i.e. Concern for Self and Others, Property Damage, etc.) may be involved in review proceedings at the discretion of the Conduct Body.
2. In any meeting involving PLU’s Sexual Misconduct and/or Physical Assault policies, the Complainant will receive information about the outcome of the meeting and any sanctions imposed on the Respondent that directly relate to the Complainant (e.g., no-contact orders, etc.) Such disclosures will be made consistent with the Family Education and Privacy Rights Act (“FERPA”).
G. Deliberation and Decision Making
1. The Conduct Body deliberates privately. The Advisor and/or the Associate Director for Student Conduct may be called upon to advise on procedural matters.
2. Deliberations generally take the following form:
- Review of information obtained during Review Meeting.
- Decision reached by majority vote.
- Students who are found responsible for a violation are sanctioned according to the nature of the misconduct and review of their conduct history.
H. Notification of Decision
If the Conduct Body reaches a decision in deliberations immediately after the meeting, the Conduct Body recalls the student(s) and announces the decision accompanied by a brief rationale. A decision becomes official when confirmed in writing to the student.
Those students who do not attend a Review Meeting receive notification of the decision via email.
If the Conduct Body cannot reach a decision during the meeting, it will generally render a decision within 72-hours, excluding weekends and holidays, of the conclusion of the meeting. In the event that additional time for review, further investigation and/or deliberation is necessary, the student will be notified via email of the revised timeline.
I. Disqualification of Board Members
1. After reviewing the documents related to an incident, any Conduct Body member who has personal knowledge of the situation must share this knowledge with the other members. The members shall discuss the matter and decide by majority vote whether that member should be excluded from the meeting. Whether or not a member knowledgeable of the situation is excluded from the meeting, that member must provide the Complainant and Respondent with all information shared with the Conduct Body.
2. Review Officers who have prior knowledge of an assigned case must report that knowledge to the Associate Director for Student Conduct. If that Officer reviews the case, s/he must inform the student(s) of the prior knowledge before the Review Meeting begins.
3. A Respondent or Complainant may, before a Review Meeting begins, request the disqualification of any Conduct Body member who he/she believes to be biased against him/her. The burden of substantiating the charge of bias rests with the student. The final determination is made by the Conduct Body, in consultation, if necessary, with the Associate Director for Student Conduct. Students are asked to contact the Associate Director for Student Conduct at least 24 hours prior to the review meeting to report concerns about bias with respect to assigned Review Board members. Failure to do so may impact the Conduct Body’s determination as to whether the meeting should continue.
4. If disqualification results in the loss of a quorum, the CRB or URB shall postpone the meeting until a quorum can be reconstituted, unless the student agrees to proceed with the Review Meeting.
J. Reconstituting a Quorum
When, because of Board member disqualification, less than a quorum remains, the Review Meeting may continue if the student is willing to proceed. If agreement to continue is not reached, the Review Meeting shall be postponed and the Associate Director for Student Conduct shall reschedule the meeting.