We strive to instill the University’s Core Values—Truth, Love, Respect, Opportunity, Excellence, and Service—and to encourage the development of character and fortitude to live by these values. In such an environment, it is essential that students learn to look critically at their behavior and to accept responsibility when their behavior violates the policies and precepts of conduct at the University. The system for determining alleged violations must be fair and should involve students. Ultimately the system of discipline at St. John’s University is designed to promote a healthy learning environment and to promote human dignity and potential.
The Student Conduct Process is designed to resolve instances of alleged violations of University policies and regulations, and to investigate matters of student conduct in a manner that reflects the Vincentian tradition and the educational mission of St. John’s University. This process is applicable to all students and student organizations, as defined below. Students and student organizations are responsible for their actions as well as the actions of their guests while on the St. John’s campus, and sanctions may be imposed on the host when the guest violates the Student Code of Conduct.
This Student Conduct Process pertains to University discipline for non-academic infractions. It is not exclusive and does not preempt or preclude independent disciplinary action that may be taken by any member of the University community, including (but not limited to) the Title IX Coordinator, Deans of academic units, organization advisors and other University entities. This student conduct process uses a “preponderance of the evidence” standard to determine responsibility for alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct.
- Section A: Student Conduct Process Authority
- Section B: Violations of Law
- Section C: Notice of Non-Discrimination
- Section D: Statement on Inclusivity
- Section E: Rights of St. John's Students
- Section F: Student Bill of Rights
- Section G: Student Privacy Rights
- Section H: Record Maintenance
- Section I: Definitions
Section A: Student Conduct Process Authority
Ultimate authority over student discipline is vested in the President of the University, who may exercise it at his/her discretion whenever it is determined that the interests of the University warrant it. The President may impose any penalty, including expulsion. In exercising such plenary authority, the President will afford the student an opportunity to know the charges against him or her, and to offer his or her version of the events. Action taken by the President is final and closes the matter. The President may designate an appropriate senior administrator to exercise this authority whenever it is deemed it necessary or convenient.
As an ordinary matter, the President has delegated authority over student discipline to the Senior Student Affairs Officer at the University, who may exercise it consistent with these procedures. Currently, the Senior Student Affairs Officer is the Vice President for Student Affairs.
The Student Conduct Administrator administers the Student Conduct Process. The Dean of Students or designee will designate and maintain oversight of the Student Conduct Administrators on each of the University’s campuses, both domestic and international. The Student Conduct Administrator is responsible to ensure that all student conduct proceedings are carried out in accordance with University policy and procedures.
The Senior Student Affairs Officer, in collaboration with the Dean of Students or designee, shall determine the composition of the University Conduct Board, the Student Conduct Board, and the University Appeal Board. The Dean of Students or designee will determine if a University Conduct Board, a Student Conduct Board or a Student Conduct Administrator shall be authorized to hear a student conduct matter. The composition of the University Conduct Board, the Student Conduct Board, and the University Appeal Board shall be selected as set forth herein. Decisions made by a University Conduct Board, a Student Conduct Board or a Student Conduct Administrator shall be final, pending the normal appeal process.
This Student Conduct Process does apply to all locations of the University including all domestic and international campuses. The University may also address student behavior that occurs off campus, if that behavior may be considered a violation of any University policy. An individual may still be subject to the Student Conduct Process even if the individual withdraws from the university, is no longer enrolled in classes, or subsequently fails to meet the definition of a student while a disciplinary matter is pending.
Section B: Violations of Law
All members of the University community are subject to federal, state, and local laws. Students are subject to such reasonable disciplinary action as deemed appropriate, including suspension and expulsion, for breach of federal, state or local laws when such conduct is likely to have an adverse effect on the University or on the educational process at the University or affects the student’s suitability as a member of the University community. A link to the New York State Penal Code can be found at www.nycourts.gov/judges/cji/2-PenalLaw/cji3.shtml.
Section C: Notice of Non-Discrimination
St. John’s University is committed to preventing and responding to incidents of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence and/or stalking by providing the necessary safety and support services so that students can remain at St. John’s University, meet academic standards, obtain necessary health/mental health treatment, and maintain social relationships. This addendum is written for all students and includes additional information regarding the University response to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. Sexual misconduct can be committed by individuals of any gender, and it can occur between individuals of the same gender or different genders. It can occur between strangers or acquaintances, as well as people involved in intimate or sexual relationships. This policy is applicable to all students and student organizations.
Section D: Statement on Inclusivity
At St. John’s University, we are fortunate and proud to reside in one of our country’s most diverse places — New York City. Our Mission and strong commitment to our Core Values support and direct the University’s response to bias-related incidents. It is imperative for St. John’s University to be an institution where all members of our community feel safe to acquire knowledge and to pursue their academic interests. In order to support the learning environment appropriately, St. John’s University shall not tolerate bias-related offenses in our community.
The definition of a bias incident reflects our values to create and sustain an inclusive, safe and productive University community. The University defines a bias related offense as a verbal or physical action committed against or directed toward a person or the property of another because of the person’s actual or perceived race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and gender expression, disability, religion, age, veteran status, or any other legally protected basis. Bias incidents may include, but are not limited to, acts, words (written or verbal) or conduct targeting a person or group. Examples may include, but are not limited to, name calling, use of epithets, slurs or degrading language directed toward the targeted person or group, vandalism, symbols and other offenses against property involving graffiti or degrading images, threats or harassment. Incidents of bias may contribute to a hostile campus environment and can occur even if the act itself is unintentional or delivered as a joke, prank, or with humorous intent.
As in all matters involving alleged Code of Conduct violations, both the accused student and the complainant have rights that are protected throughout the Student Conduct Process.
If a student is found responsible for a Code of Conduct bias violation, he or she shall be subject to one or more of the sanctions listed in the Student Conduct Process, including but not limited to suspension, dismissal or expulsion.
Section E: Rights of St. John’s Students
The following are the rights of all St. John’s students participating in the student conduct process. All students have the right to:
Notice: Students will be informed via their St. John’s e-mail account of any alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct; hearing information (which includes the location and time of the meeting); and the outcome of their conduct matter. For more information, please refer to the procedures listed in the section regarding the Initiation of the Student Conduct Process.
A Fair and Unbiased Hearing: Students have the right to have their conduct matter heard by a fair and impartial hearing body – either a student conduct administrator or a trained Conduct Board.
Participation: Students have the right to fully participate in investigation and the conduct process. Students also have the right to participate by submitting a written statement, or not to participate in any or all parts of the conduct process.
Non-participation does not indicate responsibility for violation of a policy; however, non-participation cannot be later used as grounds for appeal. Students who elect not to participate shall have their conduct matter adjudicated regardless of their level of participation. Students are still expected to abide by all decisions made by the Office of Student Conduct and comply with any sanctions imposed. Failure to attend a hearing is not grounds for appeal.
Advisor: Students who have been referred to a University or a Student Conduct Board have the right to request an advisor to assist them through the conduct process. Please refer to the Student Code of Conduct section regarding Advisors for more information.
Witnesses and Relevant Evidence: Students have the right to present information or witnesses on their behalf for consideration during their conduct process. Please refer to the Student Code of Conduct section regarding Witnesses for more information.
Incident Report Review: Students have the right to review the incident report generated regarding an alleged violation and make suggested corrections as he/she sees fit. Incident reports may be reviewed with a student conduct admininstrator by appointment. Students shall not be permitted to keep a physical copy of the incident report.
Appeal: Students have the right to an appeal of their conduct decision. Please refer to the Student Code of Conduct section regarding Appeals of Behavioral Hearing Outcomes or Appeals of University and Student Conduct Board Hearings for more information.
Non-Discrimination: Students have the right to be free from discrimination or biased related to their gender, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, age, political affiliation, religious affiliation, marital status, veteran status, or disability in the conduct process.
Freedom from Retaliation: Students shall not be subject to retaliation as a result of a referral to the conduct process. Students who elect not to participate in the process shall not be retaliated against for non-participation. Students who engage in, or encourage others to engage in, retaliatory behaviors towards another student for any reason shall be referred to the conduct process. For more information, please refer to the Retaliation clause in the Student Code of Conduct.
Section F: Student Bill of Rights
St. John’s University is committed to providing options, support and assistance to reporting individuals of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking to ensure that they can continue to participate in University-wide and campus programs, activities, and employment. All reporting individuals of these crimes and violations, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction, have the following rights, regardless of whether the crime or violation occurs on campus, off campus, or while studying abroad.
Reporting individuals have many options that can be pursued simultaneously, including one or more of the following:
- Receive resources, such as counseling and medical attention;
- Confidentially or anonymously disclose a crime or violation;
- Make a report to an employee with the authority to address complaints, including (but not limited to) the Title IX Coordinator, a Student Conduct employee, or a Human Resources employee; Public Safety; local law enforcement; and/or Family Court or Civil Court.
All students have the right to:
- Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police;
- Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault treated seriously;
- Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the student conduct process and/or criminal justice process free from pressure from the University;
- Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard;
- Be treated with dignity and to receive from the University courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available;
- Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual is at fault when these crimes and violations are reported, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations;
- Describe the incident to as few University representatives as practicable and not to be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident;
- Be free from retaliation by the University, the responding individual, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the University;
- Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination;
- Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual or a responding individual throughout the conduct process, including during all meetings and hearings related to such process;
- Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or conduct process of the University.
Additional resources regarding the University’s response to sexual misconduct or gender discrimination complaints can be found here.
Find out more about the resources available at St. John’s University, as well as detailson how to make a report, by visiting stjohns.edu/sexualassault.
Section G: Student Privacy Rights
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) articulates the privacy rights regarding a student’s education record. This includes information regarding any violations of University policy, including the Student Code of Conduct.
However, FERPA permits disclosure without a student’s consent when disclosure is determined to be necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or others. FERPA also gives the University discretion to disclose to any parent or legal guardian of a student under the age of 21 information about a Student Code of Conduct violation regarding Alcohol or Drugs, or when a student is listed as a dependent on their parent’s most recent tax return.
Section H: Record Maintenance
The Office of Student Conduct maintains both paper and electronic files as part of a student’s education record. These files may be retained by the Division of Student Affairs for seven (7) years after a student leaves the University, at which time all records may be destroyed except records that support a suspension or expulsion.
Section I: Definitions
The term “University” means St. John’s University.
The term “student” includes all persons taking courses at the University, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or professional studies. Persons who withdraw after allegedly violating the Student Code of Conduct, who are not officially enrolled in a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the University, or have accepted an offer of admission, are considered students.
The term “student organization” means any group comprised of St. John’s University students with a common purpose, including (but not limited to) all Student Government Inc.-recognized student groups, Greek letter organizations, and athletic teams.
The term “member of the University community” includes any person who is a student, faculty member, University official, employee of a University vendor or any other person employed by the University.
The term “University premises” includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other properties in the possession of or owned, used, leased or controlled by the University (including adjacent streets and sidewalks). The term includes property the University leases from third parties or contracts with third parties for the use of, including shuttle buses.
The term “organization” means any number of person or persons who have complied with the formal requirements for University recognition.
The term “University Conduct Board” means any person or persons authorized by the Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee to determine whether a student has committed a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
The term “Student Conduct Board” means any person or persons authorized by the Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee to determine whether a student has violated the Student Code of Conduct.
The term “University Appeal Board” means any person or persons authorized by the Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee to address appeals of decisions made by the University Conduct Board.
The term “University Advisor Panel” means a group of persons at the University who are selected to appear to act as advisor to either the respondent or complainant (where applicable) at a hearing before a Student Conduct Board or University Conduct Board.
The term “Appeal Board Panel” means the group of persons at the University from which the appeal panel is selected in each matter.
The term “Student Conduct Administrator” means a member of the University community authorized on a case-by-case basis by the Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee to impose sanctions on any student(s) found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct.
The term “policy” means the written regulations of the University as found in, but not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct, Residence Life Handbook, the University web page, sexual misconduct policy, Title IX, and computer use policies and graduate/undergraduate catalogs.
The term “reporting individual” means any person who submits a charge alleging that a student violated this Student Code of Conduct and the term shall encompass the terms victim, survivor, complainant, claimant, witness with victim status and any other term used by the University to reference an individual who brings forth a report of a violation. The University may also bring an incident forward and serve as the complainant or reporting individual.
The term “accused” means a person who has not yet entered the University’s student conduct process.
The term “respondent” means a person who is accused of a violation who has entered the University’s student conduct process.
The term “bystander” means any person who observes a crime, impending crime, conflict, potentially violent or violent behavior, or conduct that may be in violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
The term “shall” is used in the imperative sense.
The term “may” is used in the permissive sense.