The Student Conduct system is an administrative process for reviewing alleged violations of the University’s Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures; it is not a civil or criminal court process. The process utilizes formal investigation and hearing procedures to adjudicate alleged violations of University policy and procedures, as determined by the preponderance of the evidence standard. The Office of Student Conduct (OSC) is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the process.
The Student Conduct system uses the following process for resolving alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures:
A verbal or written report is submitted by the Complainant or other reporting party.
Reports are forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct for initial review. Incident Reports found to have alleged violations of the Student Code, Residence Life Handbook, or other University policies are assigned to the appropriate Hearing Officer/Investigator. The Hearing Officer/Investigator will setup an initial meeting with the Complainant (accuser), as needed.
The assigned Hearing Officer/Investigator conducts an investigation (if needed) and has an initial meeting (preliminary hearing) with the Respondent. The Respondent is presented with their rights and options for hearings. The Respondent must decide whether to go before an individual Hearing Officer, Student Conduct Board (SCB), or Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (TUAPA) Administrative Law Judge.
The case is heard before an individual Hearing Officer, SCB, or TUAPA Administrative Law Judge. All available information is reviewed and witnesses interviewed. A resolution as to whether the Respondent is Responsible or Not Responsible is determined by the Hearing Officer, SCB, or TUAPA Administrative Law Judge. If found responsible, the Hearing Officer, SCB, or TUAPA Administrative Law Judge will determine the appropriate sanctions.
In cases heard before a Hearing Officer or SCB, the Hearing Officer or SCB will generate a letter outlining the decision and any sanctions assigned. The letter is given to the Respondent, as well as placed in their conduct file. In cases involving an alleged violation of the Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, or Stalking (SMRVS) policy, the letter is provided to both the Complainant and Respondent.
In cases heard before a TUAPA Administrative Law Judge, the Administrative Law Judge will generate a letter outlining the decision and any sanctions assigned. The letter is given to both the University’s and the Respondent’s attorneys. In cases involving an alleged violation of the Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, or Stalking (SMRVS) policy, the letter is provided to the University, Complainant (via the University), and Respondent.
The assigned Hearing Officer and/or Office of the Dean of Students will follow up with the Respondent in regard to any assigned sanctions.
In cases heard before a Hearing Officer or SCB, there are three successive levels of appeal: 1. Vice Chancellor for Student Development; 2. Chancellor of the University; 3. President of the University system. Only the Respondent may appeal in these hearing types, with the exception of cases involving the Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, or Stalking (SMRVS) policy in which either the Complainant or the Respondent may appeal.
In cases heard by a TUAPA Administrative Law Judge, there are three successive levels of appeal: 1. Reconsideration by the Administrative Law Judge; 2. Chancellor of the University; 3. Chancery Court. The Complainant, Respondent, and University may appeal in this hearing type.
The University has three different types of hearings for alleged non-academic violations.
- University Hearing Officer: A case is heard before a University Hearing Officer, selected by the Vice Chancellor
for Student Development. University Hearing Officers have education and training related
to the University hearing process.
- Student Conduct Board: A case is heard before a Student Conduct Board, which is comprised of students,
faculty and staff. These individuals receive basic training from the Office of the
Dean of Students. A quorum of at least three students and three faculty/staff are expected
for any hearing.
- Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act: A case is heard before an Administrative Law Judge, who is appointed by the University. The Respondent may be represented by an attorney in this process; the University is represented by the Office of General Counsel.