Charter of the Student Disciplinary System
University of Pennsylvania
Effective July 1, 1996
Code of Academic Integrity
Charter of the University of Pennsylvania Student Disciplinary System
Statement on Faculty Authority in Grading and Academic Integrity
To the University Community The development of the Code of Academic Integrity and the Charter of the Student Disciplinary System grew out of a recommendation from the Commission on Strengthening the Community, which called for a revised student disciplinary system that made greater use of mediation services to resolve disputes, and a new code of integrity that placed greater attention on educating students and faculty about issues of academic integrity.
The two documents that follow are the result. Based initially on the work of the Student Judicial Reform Oversight Committee, development of these documents also included input from such groups as the Undergraduate Assembly, GAPSA, the Senate Executive Committee, the Committee on Pluralism, the Women's Center, the First Amendment Task Force, and the University Council, as well as individual students, faculty, and staff.
The new code and disciplinary system have been adopted by the four undergraduate schools as well as by several of the graduate and professional schools (see listing below). They went into effect on July 1, 1996. We are now in the process of developing the mediation program that is called for under the new charter.
Stanley Chodorow, Provost
They also will apply to all graduate students in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Nursing School and to Ph.D., MBA and Executive MBA students in the Wharton School in whatever instances may arise when their own codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures do not apply.
The Schools of Law, Medicine, Dental Medicine and the graduate programs of SEAS have their own codes and disciplinary systems.
The Graduate School of Education has its own Code of Academic Integrity and applicable procedures but will use the University's disciplinary system for conduct infractions.
The remaining schoolsAnnenberg, Fine Arts, and Veterinary Medicinehave not yet decided whether to accept the new code and disciplinary system, while the Biomedical Graduate Studies program has accepted the code and is considering the adoption of its own disciplinary system.
Since the University is an academic community, its fundamental purpose is the pursuit of knowledge. Essential to the success of this educational mission is a commitment to the principles of academic integrity. Every member of the University community is responsible for upholding the highest standards of honesty at all times. Students, as members of the community, are also responsible for adhering to the principles and spirit of the following Code of Academic Integrity.
Academic Dishonesty Definitions
Activities that have the effect or intention of interfering with education, pursuit of knowledge, or fair evaluation of a student's performance are prohibited. Examples of such activities include but are not limited to the following definitions*:
* If a student is unsure whether his action(s) constitute a violation of the Code of Academic Integrity, then it is that student's responsibility to consult with the instructor to clarify any ambiguities.
The Code of Student Conduct sets forth the responsibility of all students at the University of Pennsylvania to exhibit responsible behavior regardless of time or place. This responsibility includes, but is not limited to, the obligation to comply with all provisions of the Code of Student Conduct; with all other policies and regulations of the University, its Schools, and its Departments; and with local, state, and federal laws.
The Code of Academic Integrity, and similar codes adopted by some of the University's Schools, set forth the standards of integrity and honesty that should be adhered to in all student academic activities at the University of Pennsylvania.
Violations of the Code of Academic Integrity or School regulations are also violations of the University's Code of Student Conduct. Further, violations of local, state, and federal laws may be violations of the Code of Student Conduct. Therefore, throughout the Charter references to violation(s) or alleged violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct include violations of these other policies and laws.
The University disciplinary process at Penn may involve the following stages:
Resolving a Complaint by Mediation
Investigating a Complaint
Filing Charges by the University Against a Student
Resolving Charges by Voluntary Agreement to Sanctions
Resolving Charges by Disciplinary Hearing
Appealing the Decision of a Hearing Panel
Imposing Sanctions on a Student
Fulfilling Sanctions Imposed by the University
Under the University's Student Disciplinary System, charges are brought on behalf of the University, not on behalf of the complainant(s) who brought the matter to the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) or the party(ies) who may have been directly or indirectly harmed by the alleged violation of University regulations. Therefore, complainants who wish to maintain greater control over the investigation and resolution of their complaints, such as is sometimes appropriate in cases of sexual offenses or in cases involving serious cultural or communicative differences, or those who wish merely to create a record of their complaint without necessarily beginning a formal disciplinary process, may wish to bring their complaint to other University resource offices, particularly the Office of the Ombudsman, which are equipped to handle cases in this manner. Such offices may, when appropriate and helpful in an individual case, consult with relevant campus communities or other resource offices in the process of investigating and resolving a complaint and are able to work closely with both complainants and respondents in resolving such matters. If such efforts fail to arrive at a satisfactory resolution, the complainant still has the option of bringing a complaint to the OSC.
Through the University Conduct Council and the University Honor Council, students play a major role in the Student Disciplinary System by advising the Director of the Office of Student Conduct and the Provost on matters of policy and the operation of the System, and by sitting as members of disciplinary hearing panels. Students also serve as advisors and mediators within the System.
The System places great emphasis on the mediation of disputes, as is appropriate in a University community.
A. Statement of Purpose
The purpose of the Student Disciplinary System is to further the educational mission of the University of Pennsylvania by providing a fair and effective mechanism for investigating and resolving disputes involving students and alleged violations by students of the University's rules, regulations, and policies.
B. Jurisdiction of the Student Disciplinary System
Except as provided below, the Student Disciplinary System has jurisdiction in all disciplinary matters arising under the regulations of the University against registered students, whether they be undergraduates, graduate or professional students, or others, including students who are on unexpired leaves of absence. Approved or unapproved absence from the University is not a bar to the conduct or completion of disciplinary proceedings under this Charter.
In general, a student is any individual who has been admitted, matriculated, enrolled, or registered in any academic program or other educational activity provided by the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania.
The Student Disciplinary System does not handle complaints against graduate and professional students when such cases lie within the jurisdiction of a hearing board or other disciplinary body established by the School of the University in which the student is enrolled. When such a School-based disciplinary procedure exists, it should be the recourse of first resort for the resolution of an alleged violation of University or School regulations, unless the OSC decides, in consultation with the Provost, that it is appropriate in light of the circumstances for the Student Disciplinary System to handle the matter. Schools with such procedures are encouraged to refer disciplinary matters (excluding academic integrity matters) to the University Mediation Program whenever appropriate. When an alleged violation of University regulations by a graduate or professional student is not within the jurisdiction of a disciplinary system established by the student's School, the Student Disciplinary System will have jurisdiction over the matter.
The Student Disciplinary System does not handle alleged violations of the University's parking regulations.
Alleged violations of the University's Residential Living policies and contracts are ordinarily handled under the procedures of the Department of Residential Living but, if serious enough to warrant sanctions beyond those which the Department of Residential Living is authorized to impose, may be referred by the Director of Residential Living to the OSC. The fact that proceedings have been held and sanctions imposed under Residential Living policies does not preclude proceedings under this Charter.
The Director of the Office of Student Conduct decides all questions of jurisdiction of the Student Disciplinary System arising under this Charter, consulting with the Provost (or designee) and with the University's General Counsel when necessary. When appropriate, the OSC may refer a complaint to another University office or disciplinary process.
C. General Principles of the Disciplinary System
Any member of the University community--trustees, faculty, staff or registered students--may bring a complaint about student conduct or academic integrity to the attention of the Office of Student Conduct. Doing so in no way limits a complainant(s)'s rights or obligations to bring such matters to the attention of other University offices, officers, or resources, including the Office of the Ombudsman and appropriate Deans, or to seek recourse outside the University through civil or criminal legal proceedings.
In all cases, the University reserves the right to determine how to process a disciplinary complaint. Once a complaint is brought to the attention of the Office of Student Conduct, the OSC, on behalf of the University, will decide how the complaint will be handled, including whether disciplinary charges should be brought against a student.
It is expected that most matters brought to the OSC can and should be resolved through mediation and will not result in charges or disciplinary hearings. However, because of their seriousness within an academic community, alleged violations of the Code of Academic Integrity will not be referred for mediation. Thus, except in academic integrity matters and matters that warrant treatment as serious violations of the Code of Student Conduct or other University policies, the initial response by the OSC may be to refer the complainant and respondent to the University's Mediation Program. Only if mediation fails or is inappropriate will the OSC begin the more formal disciplinary processes outlined in this Charter.
All members of the University communitytrustees, faculty, staff or registered students are required to cooperate with the Student Disciplinary System. Those individuals who may be interviewed or called as witnesses in a disciplinary matter (including respondents and complainants) are obligated to provide honest and complete statements to the OSC and to the Hearing Panel. While in some circumstances a respondent may choose not to answer questions or provide information because of pending civil claims or criminal charges arising out of the same or other events, the respondent's decision not to answer questions or provide information will not be a reason to delay or defer an investigation or proceedings under this Charter. A student who fails, without good cause, to appear for a hearing after receiving notice, or to cooperate with the investigation conducted by the OSC, may be charged with a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Repeated disruption of disciplinary hearings or the disciplinary process by a student or the student's advisor may result in charges against the student of non-cooperation with the Student Disciplinary System or exclusion of the student or advisor from disciplinary proceedings, including disciplinary hearings. Such exclusion is not a bar to the completion of disciplinary proceedings involving that student.
D. Organization of the Disciplinary System
The University Mediation Program (UMP) recruits, screens, and trains members of the University community to serve as mediators. The UMP uses the volunteer services of faculty, students, and staff members who have been trained in mediation and dispute resolution and may also use resources available in the University's Law School, in University resource offices such as the Office of the Ombudsman, or outside the University.
Every two years, the Provost, after consultation with the UCC, the UHC, and the chairs of the Faculty Senate, will appoint a tenured member of the Standing Faculty of the University of Pennsylvania as Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO), preferably from among those faculty who have experience with the Student Disciplinary System. The DHO selects members to serve on Disciplinary Hearing Panels; determines the time, location, etc., of hearings; and presides over all disciplinary hearings held under this Charter. The DHO is responsible for overseeing the procedural integrity of disciplinary hearings. The DHO will, for example: consider and resolve pre-hearing challenges to the authority or procedures of a Disciplinary Hearing Panel; rule on all disqualification requests and objections to individual panel members; assist parties to adhere to the basic principles of fairness prior to, during, and subsequent to disciplinary proceedings; and may consult at any time with students, faculty members, the University's General Counsel, or others about procedural issues. The DHO also participates in the training of prospective faculty and student members of Disciplinary Hearing Panels. The DHO serves and may be reappointed at the discretion of the Provost, but his or her removal or reappointment may not occur without prior consultation with UCC, the UHC, and the chairs of the Faculty Senate.
Every two years, the Provost, after consultation with the UCC, the UHC, and the chairs of the Faculty Senate, will appoint a tenured member of the Standing Faculty of the University of Pennsylvania as a Disciplinary Appellate Officer (DAO), preferably from among those faculty who have experience with the Student Disciplinary System. The DAO decides appeals of findings and recommended sanctions made by Disciplinary Hearing Panels based on the record of such proceedings and written submissions from the relevant parties. The DAO serves and may be reappointed at the discretion of the Provost, but his or her removal or reappointment may not occur without prior consultation with the UCC, the UHC, and the chairs of the Faculty Senate.
A. Bringing a Complaint to the Office of Student Conduct
The OSC promptly evaluates each complaint it receives to determine whether the University's Code of Student Conduct, Code of Academic Integrity, or other applicable rules, regulations, or policies may have been violated. When the OSC determines that no such violation may have occurred, it may dismiss the matter without further investigation, or it may refer the parties to the University Mediation Program or elsewhere to resolve their dispute. When the OSC determines that a violation may have occurred, it may refer the matter for mediation or undertake an investigation that may lead to the filing of formal charges against a student or students.
When a complaint is filed, the OSC promptly gives written notice of the complaint and its allegations to the student(s) alleged to have violated University rules. A copy of the Charter will be included with the notice, as well as a list of potential advisors who have received training from the OSC.
B. Resolving a Complaint by Mediation
It is within the sole discretion of the OSC to determine whether a disciplinary complaint is suitable for mediation. If mediation fails or new information comes to light about an unresolved matter then in mediation, the OSC may proceed with an investigation and the filing of disciplinary charges. The OSC may also set a date after which it will begin to investigate the original complaint or file charges if a matter has not been successfully mediated.
If the OSC refers a complaint for mediation and both parties to the dispute agree to participate, the UMP will assign a trained mediator and advise the complainant(s) and respondent(s) in advance of the date, time and place set for mediation. In order to resolve a disciplinary matter by mediation, both the complainant and the respondent must agree, first, to participate in the mediation and, second, to the proposed resolution.
If a student fails to comply with the terms of a mediation agreement, the OSC may take steps to enforce the agreement (including use of a Disciplinary Hold or the filing of new charges under the Code of Student Conduct) or may investigate the original complaint and bring disciplinary charges under this Charter.
C. Investigating a Complaint
In the course of its investigation, the OSC may interview any witnesses, including the respondent(s) or potential respondent(s). The OSC will inform each witness that anything they say in such interviews may be introduced as evidence at a hearing.
D. Filing Charges by the University Against a Student
E. Resolving Charges by Voluntary Agreement to Sanctions
A resolution by voluntary agreement to sanctions may be entered into by written agreement at any time after a complaint has been filed and prior to a disciplinary hearing. All sanctions allowed under this Charter are available to the OSC as part of a resolution by voluntary agreement to sanctions. By agreeing to such a resolution, a respondent waives further proceedings under this Charter.
Complainants and complainants'advisors are not parties to voluntary agreements to sanctions.
If, in the judgment of the OSC, a voluntary agreement to sanctions is not reasonably in prospect, or if the respondent(s) reject a proposed sanction, the OSC may bring the disciplinary matter to a hearing.
F. Resolving Charges by Disciplinary Hearing
Notice of Hearing Panel Decision
The Hearing Panel will promptly transmit its decision, including its findings and recommendation regarding sanctions, in writing to the DHO, the OSC, the respondent(s) and the Provost as soon as possible after the end of the hearing.
G. Appealing a Hearing Panel's Decision
Only respondent(s) may appeal the Hearing Panel's findings of responsibility except where applicable laws or regulations may extend this right to complainants. Both the respondent(s) and the OSC may appeal the Hearing Panel's recommendation of sanction(s). An appellant must submit any appeal to the DAO in writing within 10 days after the Hearing Panel has rendered its opinion. The appeal must state in detail the specific grounds upon which it is based and must be sent to the OSC or respondent(s), as appropriate.
When the appeal is received, the OSC provides the Disciplinary Appellate Officer with a copy of the respondent's charge letter, a copy of the Hearing Panel's findings, a verbatim transcript or tape recording of the Disciplinary Hearing, and any exhibits considered by the panel in reaching its recommendations. The respondent and the OSC have 10 days from the date of the appeal to submit to the DAO a written response to the appeal.
Appellate review is limited to allegations of material and prejudicial procedural error in the conduct of hearings, error in the interpretation or application of relevant University regulations, consideration of new evidence sufficient to alter the Hearing Panel's findings or severity of the recommended sanctions. If the DAO finds sufficient basis, he or she may reverse or modify the Hearing Panel's findings or proposed sanctions, or may remand the disciplinary matter for further investigation by the OSC or a new hearing before a new Hearing Panel. However, the DAO may not recommend a more severe sanction(s) unless the OSC has appealed the sanction(s) recommended by the Hearing Panel.
After considering an appeal, the Disciplinary Appellate Officer will promptly issue his or her decision in writing and will provide copies to the OSC, the DHO, the Provost, and the respondent(s).
H. Imposing Sanctions on a Student
A Reprimand is written censure for violation of the University's rules, regulations, or policies, given by the OSC on behalf of the University, which includes notice to the student that continued or repeated conduct violations will result in the imposition of more serious sanctions.
A monetary Fine may be levied as a disciplinary sanction and is payable to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. (Not appropriate in cases of academic integrity violations).
Restitution is reimbursement for the damage, loss, or misappropriation of University, private, or public property or compensation for injury to individuals. Restitution may take the form of monetary payment, property, or appropriate service. (Not appropriate in cases of academic integrity violations).
Disciplinary Probation may be imposed for a specified period or in-definitely (i.e., for as long as and whenever a student is a full- or part-time student at the University of Pennsylvania). Probation may be imposed for a single instance of misconduct or for repeated minor misconduct. Any future conduct or academic integrity violation by a student on Disciplinary Probation, found to have occurred during the probationary period, may be grounds for suspension or, in especially serious instances, expulsion from the University.
Withdrawal of Privileges is the denial of specified privileges or the ability to participate in specified activities for a designated period of time.
Suspension is the termination of student status and separation from the University until a specified date. Suspension means the loss of all rights and privileges normally accompanying student status. While on disciplinary suspension, students may not obtain academic credit at Penn or elsewhere toward completion of a University of Pennsylvania degree. Students are eligible to return to the University after the specified suspension term has elapsed. Suspension is imposed in instances of serious misconduct; it is generally the minimum sanction imposed for a violation of the Code of Academic Integrity.
An Indefinite Suspension is termination of student status and separation from the University for an unspecified period, without an automatic right of return to the University as a student (though specific conditions for return as a student may be specified). When the conditions of an Indefinite Suspension have been fulfilled, the student must make a formal request, as specified in the conditions, to return to student status. Indefinite suspension is imposed in instances of extremely serious misconduct or in instances of continued serious misconduct following the imposition of probation or suspension for a specified period.
Expulsion is a permanent termination of student status and permanent separation from the University of Pennsylvania. Expulsion is imposed in instances of the most serious misconduct or in instances of continued serious misconduct following the imposition of probation or suspension.
In addition to the sanctions defined above, students may be required to perform a designated number of hours of University or other community service or to utilize University or other educational or counseling services related to the nature of the misconduct.
Sanctions may be imposed alone or in combination with other sanctions. The Disciplinary Hearing Panel or the DAO may recommend whether the sanctions should appear on the transcript of a respondent, and, if so, for how long.
I. Fulfilling Sanctions Imposed by the University
The OSC monitors the implementation and fulfillment of sanctions. In performing this duty, the OSC will have the cooperation of the Division of University Life, the respondent(s)'s Dean, and other appropriate University offices. No sanction will be enforced while an appeal is pending.
When circumstances warrant, the OSC may take such administrative steps as may be necessary and feasible to effect the prompt resolution of a disciplinary matter, including, but not limited to, tape recording the testimony of witnesses who may be unavailable at the time of hearing; making special arrangements to ensure the attendance of complainants, respondents, witnesses, or other participants at a hearing; and scheduling hearings outside of the normal academic year.
In any disciplinary matter in which a member of the Student Disciplinary System cannot perform her or his duties under this Charter, an alternate may be designated by the Provost using the procedures appropriate to that individual's position in the system. In addition, when the Provost determines that circumstances warrant, such as (but not limited to) when a conflict of interest or a particularly complex or controversial disciplinary matter arises, the Provost may appoint a special OSC staff member, a special Disciplinary Hearing Officer, or a special Disciplinary Appellate Officer using the procedures appropriate to the position.
B. Reports to the University Community
With the approval of the Provost, the OSC may also make extraordinary reports to the University community concerning the outcome of certain exceptional disciplinary matters, subject to the limitations imposed by law and the University's policies on the confidentiality of student records and information.
C. Disciplinary Holds
At any time after the filing of a complaint, the OSC, after consulting with the student's academic dean, may place a "Disciplinary Hold" on the academic and/or financial records of any student for the purpose of preserving the status quo pending the outcome of proceedings, enforcing a disciplinary sanction, or ensuring cooperation with the Student Disciplinary System. A Disciplinary Hold may prevent, among other things, registration, the release of transcripts, and the awarding of a degree.
D. Mandatory Leave of Absence and Conditional Attendance
In extraordinary circumstances, when a student's presence on campus is deemed by the University to be a threat to order, health, safety, or the conduct of the University's educational mission, the Provost (or designee), in consultation with the student's Dean or Associate Dean, may place the student on a mandatory temporary leave of absence or impose conditions upon the student's continued attendance, pending a hearing of disciplinary charges. When reasonably possible, the student will be provided with an opportunity to be heard before a decision is made by the Provost (or designee) to impose a mandatory temporary leave of absence or conditions on the student's attendance. At the respondent's request, and where feasible, the OSC may expedite the investigation of a complaint and the disciplinary hearing against a student placed on a mandatory temporary leave of absence or conditional attendance.
E. Civil or Criminal Proceedings
The University may proceed with disciplinary proceedings against a student under this Charter regardless of possible or pending civil claims or criminal charges arising out of the same or other events. The OSC, with the concurrence of the Provost and after consultation with the University's General Counsel, will determine whether to proceed with charges against a student who also faces related charges in a civil or criminal tribunal. If the University defers proceeding with disciplinary charges against a student in light of related charges in a civil or criminal tribunal, the University may at any subsequent time proceed with disciplinary proceedings against that student under this Charter irrespective of the time provisions set forth in this Charter.
F. Disciplinary Records
Except as may be otherwise provided by applicable law, all disciplinary proceedings, the identity of individuals involved in particular disciplinary matters, and all disciplinary files, testimony, and findings are confidential, in accordance with University policies and federal law concerning the confidentiality of student records. However, no provision of this Charter or the University's on confidentiality shall be interpreted as preventing a student from seeking legal advice.
Failure to observe the requirement of confidentiality of a disciplinary hearing by any member of the University community, other than the respondent, constitutes a violation of University rules and may subject the individual to the appropriate procedures for dealing with such violations. The respondent may disclose confidential information pertaining to him- or herself but may not violate the confidentiality of others. If the respondent discloses, causes to be disclosed, or participates in the disclosure of information that is confidential, any person whose character or integrity might reasonably be questioned as a result of such disclosure shall have the right to respond in an appropriate forum, limited to the subject matter of the initial disclosure.
G. Release of Information on Disciplinary Proceedings
As required by law, in disciplinary matters involving allegations of sexual offenses, the complainant(s) will be informed of the outcome of disciplinary proceedings, including voluntary agreements to sanctions.
H. Reportability of Sanctions
Resolution of disciplinary charges by voluntary agreement to sanctions is treated like a finding of responsibility and is reportable in the same manner as sanctions imposed following a Disciplinary Hearing.
I. Amendment of the Charter
Amendments to this Charter may be recommended by the UCC, UHC, OSC, University Council, Faculty Senate Executive Committee, or other appropriate members of the University community and proposed by the Provost. Amendments take effect upon the approval of the Council of Deans, except that the Council of Deans may at its discretion refer proposed amendments to the Deans and faculties of the individual Schools for approval.
The Disciplinary Charter rests on the principle that faculty members have wide authority to judge the academic work of students and have a general responsibility for the academic progress of students, so much as lies within the power of faculty. Furthermore, the charter assumes that violations of the norms of academic integrity fall along a continuum from minor to major and that not all violations need to be treated as disciplinary cases. The authority and responsibility of faculty members require them to judge the relative severity of a violation. Good individual judgment and institutional practice will help faculty members make the judgment about when to treat a case as requiring disciplinary action.
The distinction between academic evaluation and disciplinary action is also important. Faculty members have the authority to make academic judgments in relation to their students and to make decisions in the interests of furthering their students' education. Only the institution, acting through its formal processes, may discipline a student. Grades are not sanctions, even if they arise from a judgment that a student has violated a norm of academic integrity. In such cases, the grade may reflect the faculty member's view that a piece of work was done inappropriately, but it represents a judgment of the quality of the work, not a record of discipline for the behavior. There are many ways to do work inappropriately or badly, resulting in low or failing grades. The policy of the charter is to preserve the faculty member's right to grade work on the basis of all of its qualities and to make the decision to pursue disciplinary action a separate matter.
Students who believe that they have been graded unfairly have recourse of appeal through the grade appeal procedures established by each school. The charter explicitly recognizes the right of students to appeal grades. The appeal of a grade given because a faculty member believed that the student violated the norms of academic integrity is, for the purposes of the charter, no different from other grade appeals.
--Stanley Chodorow, Provost
Volume 43 Number 3
September 10, 1996
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