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Student Handbook

Student Code of Conduct

Purpose

SWOSU provides students with a safe learning environment that is conducive to academic success. The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to sustain policies and procedures that support student development. To achieve this, the institution provides the following Code of Conduct to outline expectations of behaviors and policies that are fundamental to student life at SWOSU.

Learning Outcomes

SWOSU supports an educational process. The Code of Conduct procedures were developed under specific learning outcomes. These learning outcomes include:

  1. Evaluate the impact of behaviors upon one’s self, others, and the community.
  2. Better understand the conduct process and its purpose.
  3. Apply what was learned from the conduct process to future decisions in order to increase positive outcomes.
  4. Repair any harm done to others.

Non-Discrimination Statement

SWOSU does not discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, alienage or national origin, citizenship status, age, sex (gender), gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes, but is not limited to, admissions, employment, financial services, residential life, educational programs, and other activities the University operates.

Jurisdiction

To best serve the SWOSU community and ensure the safety and development of all students, the university may enforce its conduct standards in all actions defined as misconduct under the Definitions section in the Student Code of Conduct regardless if the misconduct occurred outside of university land.

Standard of Proof

A Preponderance of the Evidence standard shall be used for conduct investigations when determining if a party is responsible for misconduct. Preponderance of the Evidence is defined as whether the evidence shows that it is more likely than not that misconduct occurred.

Definitions

The following definitions are to be applied under the student Code of Conduct:

  1. Hostile Environment: Sufficiently serious conduct that denies or limits someone’s ability to participate or benefit from programs and activities. A hostile environment may be created by a single or isolated incident, if sufficiently severe, or by persistent or pervasive conduct.
  2. Complainant: The Complainant refers to the individual claiming to have been the victim of misconduct.
  3. Consent: Consent is permission that is given:
    1. by someone who is of legal age;
    2. without force or coercion (a real or reasonably perceived threat of violence);
    3. without a vulnerability due to age, mental impairment, or disability status;
    4. without being unconscious;
    5. without being sufficiently impaired by drugs or alcohol to render an individual unaware of their decisions
  4. Days: For the purpose the procedures outlined within the Student Code of Conduct, the term “days” refers to full 24-hour calendar days in which the university is officially open. Weekends, holidays, and closings are not considered “days” for the purposes of this Code of Conduct.
  5. Deputy Title IX Officer: a faculty, staff, or administrator designated by the university to assist the Title IX Officer in the administration and implementation of Title IX compliance efforts.
  6. Interim Measures: temporary restrictions or rules set in place by the university to protect students after a complaint has been submitted.
  7. Investigator: an individual designated by the university to investigate instances of conduct violations.
  8. Process Advisor: assigned by an Investigator or the Title IX Officer, the Process Adviser is the person designated to explain the conduct process and the Code of Conduct policies.
  9. Respondent: The Respondent refers to the individual accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct.
  10. Sanction: refers to a purposefully educational consequence following a misconduct investigation. Appropriate disciplinary action may include a range of actions up to and including dismissal and/or expulsion.
  11. Sexual Misconduct: any conduct of sexual harassment, sexual assault, non-consensual touch, stalking, domestic violence, and/or dating violence.
  12. Student: The term “student” includes all persons enrolled at the university, both full-time and part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate or professional studies. Persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a relationship with the university are considered “students.” This definition includes but is not limited to incoming freshmen, transfer students, anyone participating in university sponsored programs and activities for students, and persons who enroll for courses from time to time, and participants in third party programs. Failure to observe the following regulations will subject the student to disciplinary action.
  13. Title IX Officer: an individual or individuals designated by the university to be responsible for the administration and implementation of Title IX compliance efforts.
  14. Title IX Team: an investigation review team comprised of the Title IX Officer, Deputy Title IX Officer, and one other faculty, staff, or administrator designated by the Vice President of Student Affairs, Title IX Officer and Deputy Title IX Officer.

Non-Academic Misconduct

Any student that has committed any of the following misconduct is subject to disciplinary sanctions outlined within the Disciplinary Sanctions section of the Student Code of Conduct:

  1. Unsafe Conduct: Any action which endangers or threatens the safety of oneself or another person.
  2. Sexual Assault: Engaging in non-consensual penetration of genitals or anus with an object or body part, or engaging in non-consensual oral penetration for sexual gratification.
  3. Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment shall be defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in the following context:
    1. When submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing;
    2. When submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual; or
    3. When such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.
  4. Non-consensual touch:
    1. deliberate non-consensual touch of another person’s genitals, buttocks, or breasts; or
    2. the use of genitals, buttocks, or breasts to deliberately touch another person without their consent; or
    3. non-consensual and deliberate touching of another person’s body for the purpose of sexual gratification
  5. Stalking: Engaging in two or more acts intended to follow, monitor, observe, surveil, threaten, or communicate to or about a person, or interfere with a person’s property. Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would reasonably cause someone to:
    1. Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or
    2. Suffer substantial emotional distress.
  6. Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. 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.
  7. Domestic Violence: A reasonably perceived threat or direct act of violence committed:
    1. by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; or
    2. by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; or
    3. by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; or
    4. by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred; or
    5. by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.
  8. Harassment: Engaging in two or more acts that targets another individual with the intention of causing serious distress.
  9. Threat or Physical Assault: any action used to intimidate another and cause reasonable fear, or any action which would cause physical harm to another person.
  10. Illegal use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance: any use, possession, or distribution of alcohol or controlled substance except as permitted by law.
  11. Use, possession, or distribution of marijuana: any use, possession, or distribution of marijuana is prohibited.
  12. Unauthorized use of property/: the unauthorized use of university property, and/or.
  13. Damage to property: any physical damage done to the university or its property.
  14. Theft: taking the possession of another without consent, with the intention of depriving them of their property.
  15. Vandalism: defacing or damaging any property within the boundaries of university lands.
  16. Disturbing the Peace and Destruction of Property: No student or group of students shall disturb the peace, injure any person, (including hazing), damage or remove university property, or disrupt the functions of the university including its teaching, research, administration, or disciplinary proceedings, public-service functions or other authorized university activity, or interfere with its faculty or staff in the performance of their duties. No student shall encourage or in any way participate in the formation or prolonging of such a gathering.
  17. Hazing: an activity which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental health or physical safety of a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization operating subject to the sanction of the public or private school or any institution of higher education in this state.
  18. Weapons: The possession or firing of firearms, fireworks, explosives or weapons including but not limited to bows, knives, or guns by students is prohibited on campus, in any student residence, sorority, fraternity, approved private housing or university operated facility, except as they are used in officially approved university programs.
  19. Violation of criminal law: any violation of municipal, state, or federal law.
  20. Technology Theft and/or Abuse: Technology theft or other abuse of computer resources and facilities, including but not limited to the following is not permitted:
    1. Unauthorized entry into a file, to use, read, or change the contents, or for any other purpose.
    2. Attempts to circumvent established security procedures or to obtain access privileges to which the user is not entitled.
    3. Unauthorized transfer of a file.
    4. Use of another’s identification and password.
    5. Use of computing facilities to interfere with the work of another student, faculty member, or university official.
    6. Use of computing facilities to send obscene or abusive messages.
    7. Use of computing facilities to willfully publish, distribute or exhibit any obscene expression.
    8. Use of computing facilities to interfere with normal operation of the university computing system.
    9. Use of computing facilities and resources in violation of copyright laws.
  21.  Disruption of university activities: actions which impede or disrupt a university authorized activity, or conduct which would impede a student’s access or participation in a university authorized activity.
  22. Violation of university rules: any action which would cause a violation of any published university rules, regulations, or policies.
  23. Noncompliance with sanctions: conduct which would violate any sanction or requirement imposed by a previous disciplinary procedure.
  24. Refusal to comply: a refusal to comply with law enforcement or university official in performance of his or her duties.
  25. Acts of Dishonesty: No student shall commit acts of dishonesty, including but not limited to the following:
    1. Cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty.
    2. Furnishing false information to any university official, faculty member, or office.
    3. Forgery, alteration or misuse of any university document, record, or instrument of identification.
    4. Falsifying or participating in the falsification of any university record.
    5. Assuming the identity of another.
    6. Any other act of dishonesty which adversely affects the university or the pursuit of its objectives.

Marijuana Prohibited

In June 2018, State Question 788 was approved by the voters of Oklahoma and became law. The state question legalized medical marijuana in the state. Despite the passage of this initiative, it is important to know that the use, possession, sale or distribution of marijuana (including medical marijuana and products containing marijuana) on any SWOSU owned/controlled property or event is illegal and against SWOSU conduct guidelines. Additionally, it is prohibited to attend class or work impaired or under the influence of a prohibited substance. Violations of these laws and policies may result in disciplinary action.

Even though medical marijuana is now legal under Oklahoma law, it remains illegal under federal law and the policies of SWOSU’s governing board – Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO). As a recipient of federal funding, SWOSU must abide by the Controlled Substances Act, the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, and the Drug Free Workplace Act. Any deviation from these federal statutes and rules will place SWOSU’s federal funding, including student financial aid, in jeopardy.

Disciplinary Sanctions

Sanctions following a violation of the code of conduct may include, but is not limited to, one or more of the following:

  1. Warning: A verbal and/or written notice to the student that they are violating or has violated university regulations.
  2. Specified Restrictions and/or Requirements: The imposing of specified restrictions, including but not limited to: letter of apology, program participation, presentation of a workshop, preparation of a research paper project, social probation, community service, assessment or evaluation, counseling sessions, restitution for damages, punitive fines, residence hall transfer, eviction from residence halls, loss of privileges (i.e., visiting privileges in housing or denial of access to computer services), or any combination of the above, and any other appropriate educational expectation.
  3. Conduct Probation: Conduct probation is a formal probation. A second violation means that disciplinary action will be based on both charges. The record of conduct probation is kept in the student's disciplinary file and the disciplinary hold on his or her record is removed at the discretion of the DOS.
  4. Temporary Suspension:
    1. The Investigator may impose a university or university housing temporary suspension prior to the student conduct conference.
    2. Temporary suspension may be imposed only:
      1. To ensure the safety and well-being of members of the university community or preservation of university property;
      2. To ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being; and/or
      3. If the student poses an ongoing threat of disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the university.
    3. During the temporary suspension, a student may be denied access to university housing 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 Investigator may determine to be appropriate.
    4. The temporary suspension does not replace the regular process, which shall proceed on the normal schedule, up to and through a student conduct conference, if required.
    5. The student shall be notified in writing of this action and the reasons for the temporary suspension. The notice shall include the time, date, and place of a subsequent show cause meeting at which the student may show cause why his or her continued presence on the campus or in university housing does not constitute a threat.
  5. Suspension: A student may be suspended for reasons of conduct for a defined period of time not less than the remainder of the current semester in which he or she is enrolled. The student who has been suspended may apply for readmission at the close of the period for which he or she was suspended. A suspension hold will be placed on the transcript during the period of the suspension.
  6. Indefinite Suspension: A student may be indefinitely suspended from the University, which includes a denial of admission or re-admission for an indefinite period of time. Readmission may be granted only under exceptional circumstances. A suspension hold will be placed on the transcript.
  7. Expulsion: When a student is expelled, a record of this action will be made a part of the student's permanent record in the Office of the Registrar. A student who is expelled will not be allowed to re-enter the university.
  8. Rescission of Credit or Degree Revocation: For those students found to have violated University policy, the University may elect to rescind credit for a specific course or program. Likewise, for those students who are found in violation of University policy and who have already graduated, the University may elect to revoke the degree(s) of a given student. When a degree is revoked or credit rescinded, a record of this action will be made a part of the official record of the student or graduate in the Office of the Registrar.
  9. Disciplinary Hold: A disciplinary hold may be placed on records of students who have been placed on suspension or expulsion. A disciplinary hold may also be utilized to ensure compliance with other sanctions or requests to appear.

Sexual Misconduct

SWOSU has the following procedures to provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of student complaints pursuant to Title IX.

1. Title IX Report

Any Title IX report should be submitted using the reporting form located on the Dean of Students webpage, or by direct report to the Dean of Students.

Complaints may be resolved informally or may proceed through the applicable formal complaint proceedings.

Investigation Procedure

The following procedure will be initiated once the university is aware of an alleged conduct violation:

  1. Interim measures will be implemented as needed.
  2. The Title IX officer will inform the Respondent of the allegations made against them. The Title IX Officer will assign Process Advisors.
  3. The Process Advisors will invite the Complainant and Respondent to explain the investigation process and campus policies.
  4. The Title IX officer will begin an investigation.
  5. The Investigator will interview the parties and witnesses and collect evidence.
  6. A Title IX Conduct report will be written and shall include a review of the relevant evidence, determination of responsibility, and any recommended sanctions.
  7. The Title IX Team will convene to review the Title IX report and evaluate the recommended findings and sanctions of the Title IX Report. The Title IX team may request supplemental information to assist with determining the outcome of the investigation.
  8. The Investigator will concurrently inform the Complainant and Respondent of the investigation findings and any sanctions, as needed. The Complainant and Respondent will also be informed of appeal procedures.
  9. Appeal procedures will begin, if initiated.

Interim Measures

Victims of sexual harassment are entitled to a prompt and equitable resolution of student complaints that end the harassment, eliminate the hostile environment, prevent the harassment from recurring, and, as appropriate, remedy its effects. Examples of Interim Measures include:

  1. Assistance in filing a police report.
  2. Reasonable arrangements for ongoing safety.
  3. Connection to support services on campus and in the community.
  4. Put a “No Contact Order” in place between Complainant and Respondent.
  5. Make arrangements with academic classes.
  6. Change residence hall assignments.
  7. Change parking.
  8. Change work schedules.

Retaliation Policy

SWOSU prohibits retaliation against anyone who has submitted a complaint for discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct under this policy or local, state, or federal laws. SWOSU also prohibits retaliation against someone assisting an investigation, or assisting another to submit a complaint of discrimination or harassment.

If you are experiencing retaliation or aware of retaliation, please notify the Title IX Officer.

Appeal Request

The decision of the Investigator in Non-Academic Misconduct investigations shall be final and not appealable except in cases of suspension, expulsion or degree revocation which may be appealed to a Committee on student conduct.

Appeals will be granted only under the following circumstances:

  1. A procedural or substantive error occurred in either the investigative or adjudicatory process that significantly impacted the outcome of the Hearing (e.g. substantial bias, material deviation from established procedures, the findings and decision are contrary to the great weight of the evidence, etc.); or
  2. The sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation found.

Appeal Process

To initiate an appeal, a student must make the request. The request and reason for appeal shall be submitted to the Investigator in writing, or delivered via facsimile or email, and include the date of submission. The appeal request must be delivered to the Investigator within 3 days after the disciplinary decision was sent by the university.

The Investigator will provide the student appeal request and the corresponding report to the Vice President for Student Affairs and all members of the Appeals Committee at least 5 days prior to the appeal Hearing. Within thirty (30) days of a request, a Hearing will be scheduled unless unanticipated circumstances prevent this.

If the student appeals a decision of suspension, expulsion, degree revocation, or rescission of credit, the decision will not become effective until after a Hearing before the Committee unless a temporary suspension remains in place in accordance with the policies herein.

Non-Academic Misconduct Hearing Appeals Committee

The Appeals Committee will have no less than three members. The Committee will include the Vice President of Student Affairs as the Committee Chair. Two other members may include any number of other administrators, faculty, and staff, and may include no more than one student. The chair of the Committee will decide any questions or objections to Hearing procedures that are raised during the Hearing.

Hearing Advisor

During the Hearing, a Complainant and Respondent may be accompanied by an advisor of the student’s choice so long as the availability of the advisor does not hamper the timeliness of the Hearing. The student may choose to have an attorney serve as advisor; however, the advisor does not represent the student in a student conduct Hearing and the student will be expected to speak for him or herself at all times.

The Committee may be accompanied by a Hearing Advisor. The Hearing Advisor will not question witnesses or evaluate evidence. The Hearing Advisor shall be responsible for the effective implementation of policies and procedures throughout the Hearing.

Appeal Hearing Procedure

No more than thirty (30) days following the request of an appeal, the Committee shall convene for an appeal hearing. All hearings are closed and information presented in them and all supporting documents are confidential.

No request for new witnesses and/or evidence may be presented at the Hearing unless the Chair receives notification and approves the request at least 5 days prior to the scheduled Hearing. During the Hearing, the student has the opportunity to offer information on their own behalf and to review all information, statements, or evidence presented.

This Hearing will have the following procedure:

  1. The Chair will explain to the appealing student their rights under the terms and conditions of the Hearing rules and regulations. The Chair will then read a statement explaining the allegations made as well as the misconduct violation and its definition. The Chair will then read the Preponderance of Evidence definition used when determining outcomes of misconduct.
  2. The Chair will then explain the Hearing procedure.
  3. The Investigator will describe the evidence collected, the rationale used to make their determination, and the rationale used when determining the sanctions assigned.
  4. The appealing student will then have an opportunity to ask questions of the Investigator and their investigation process.
  5. The Committee may ask questions of the Investigator and the appealing student.
  6. The appealing student will then describe their reason for appeal. The appellant may then question any witnesses. The Committee will have an opportunity to question witnesses presented by the appellant.
  7. The Committee may then ask any questions of the Investigator and the appealing student.
  8. Witnesses and other students involved during the conduct investigation may then be called and questioned by the Committee. The appellant will have an opportunity to question witnesses presented by the Committee.
  9. After the chair has determined that all necessary information has been presented and questions answered, the Committee will go into closed session and all other persons will be excused. The chair may reconvene the Hearing if the Committee decides that essential information has not been presented. The Committee will determine whether or not it believes the accused student is responsible for a violation of the regulations and, if so, whether the penalties determined by the Investigator are reasonable. The Committee Hearing will result in one of two outcomes:
    1. that the Investigator’s determination is affirmed; or
    2. that the Investigator’s determination is modified or reversed.

The Committee’s decision shall be final unless, within 3 days following the entry thereof, the student lodges an appeal with the president of the university. Appeals with the president shall relate to procedural matters only.

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