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The Process Steps

 

Students that are facing a charge of misconduct will follow through the Student Conduct Process. This process is meant to be educational and equitable to ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn and grow. The steps below outline this process.

 


Written Notice

For the first step of the Student Conduct Process, a student will receive written notice to their university email from the office of Student Conduct & Community Standards (SCCS) letting the student know a report has been filed. A written notice is not a determination of responsibility. The burden rests with the University to prove that more likely than not a violation took place.

 

If a student receives a notice of an Educational Conference, it will include:

  • Notice that an investigation has started.
  • Brief Description of the Standards of Conduct that are involved.
  • Notice about the right to an advisor.
  • Date/Time/Place of your Educational Conference (see next tab).
  • Consequences of failing to comply with the process.
  • Links to the Fundamental Rights and Student Code of Conduct.

 

 


Educational Conference

An educational conference is a one-on-one meeting with an SCCS staff member to discuss the case and allow the student to share their response to the allegations. The purpose of an educational conference is to allow students to share their story while also recognizing the SCCS mission.

 

During this meeting the following elements may be discussed:

  • SCCS orally informs the Respondent of allegations and fundamental rights.
  • The Respondent has an opportunity to respond to allegations, present information, and identify witnesses.
  • Both SCCS and the Respondent may ask questions and seek clarifying information.

It is possible during or after this meeting to determine that there is not enough evidence to support the allegation of misconduct. In this case, the case will be closed with a no action determination and this would be the last step of the process.

 


Resolution

If a student is found responsible for violating a standard of conduct, a Notice of Allegations, Notice of Sanctions, and a Resolution Options Form will be presented to the student.

  1. The Notice of Allegations: details the Standard(s) of Conduct allegedly violated and a brief summary of the situation.
  2. The Notice of Sanctions: includes the recommended sanctions by SCCS. For more information on possible sanctions please visit our Sanctions Page.
  3. The Resolution Option Form: gives the student the chance to agree to the sanctions or to request a formal hearing (see step 4).

When a student receives these three (3) documents, they are expected to fill them out and sign each document within five (5) business days. Signatures of these documents signify that the student understands the forms and chooses a resolution option, which could be a formal hearing (see next step). If a student fails to complete these forms within the designated period of time, SCCS will conclude the case without them. This will result in SCCS imposing the recommended sanctions.

Resolution Agreement

If a student chooses to accept responsibility and the sanction recommendations the process will end when the student completes the three (3) signed documents and the recommended sanctions. This option is called a Resolution Agreement and includes the student waiving their right to a formal hearing. Please feel free to reach out to our staff with any questions you have about this process (studentconduct@utk.edu).

Alternative Resolution

It is possible that a student and an SCCS staff member may mutually agree to come to an Alternative Resolution. This resolution is reached by agreeing to a process or sanction that is not explicitly described in the code. Examples include, but are not limited to: mediation, facilitated dialogue, conflict coaching, and restorative justice.


Formal Hearings (Optional)

To ensure an equitable and consistent process, every student has the right to a formal hearing according to the Fundamental Rights. There are three (3) options of formal hearings.

  1. Student Life Hearing Officer: Any case can be resolved through this option if the student requests it. This option will involve a third party university-trained employee that will determine whether the student violated a Standard of Conduct and determine the appropriate sanctions to be imposed.
  2. Student Conduct Board Hearing: This option is available to students who receive a recommended sanction of deferred suspension or greater, or for students wishing to appeal their imposed grade penalty for academic misconduct. The Student Conduct Boards consists of Students, Faculty, and Staff members of the University community. The student portion of the board will always be equal to or greater than the staff or faculty members. In this option, an SCCS staff member will present their case to the board along with a student’s defense. The board will determine if a student is responsible and what appropriate sanctions will be imposed.
  3. Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) hearing: This option is also only available to students who receive a recommended sanction of deferred suspension of greater. This type of hearing will be conducted by an administrative law judge and attorneys will be permitted to advocate for both the student and the university.