General Provision

The Student Conduct Process at St. John’s University is designed to promote a healthy learning environment and to promote human dignity and potential. The Office of Student Conduct strives to instill the University’s Core Values in our students and to encourage in them the development of character and fortitude to live by these values. It is essential that students learn to look critically at their behavior and to accept responsibility when their behavior violates the community standards of the University.

The Student Conduct Process is designed to resolve instances of alleged violations of University policies and regulations and to investigate student conduct concerns in a manner that reflects the Vincentian heritage and the mission of St. John’s University. This process is applicable to all students, as defined below. Students are responsible for their actions, and the actions of their guests, while on University premises; sanctions may be imposed on the host when their guest violates the Student Code of Conduct.

The Student Conduct Process pertains to the University’s response to non-academic infractions. It is not exclusive and does not preempt or preclude independent 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. The Student Conduct Process uses a “preponderance of the evidence” standard to determine responsibility for alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

Section A: 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 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 “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 and the Human Resources Policy Manual.

The term “complainant” or “reporting individual” can be used interchangeably and means any person who submits a charge alleging that a student violated any University policy. The University may also bring an incident forward and serve as the complainant or reporting individual.

The term “accused student” means a person who is accused of a violation and 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.

Section B: Student Conduct Process Authority

Ultimate authority over student discipline is vested in the President of the University, who may exercise it at their discretion whenever it is determined that the interests of the University warrant it. The President may impose any sanction, including expulsion. In exercising such authority, the President may afford the student an opportunity to know the charges against them and to offer their version of the events. However, any action taken by the President is final. 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 non-academic infractions 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 the Student Conduct Process.

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.

The Student Conduct Process applies to all locations of the University, including all domestic and international campuses. The University may also address behavior that occurs off campus, if that behavior violates 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 C: 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 violating 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 here.

Section D: Notice of Non-Discrimination

St. John’s University does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, gender or sex (including sexual harassment and sexual violence), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital or partnership status, alienage or citizenship status, disability, genetic predisposition, caregiver status, pregnancy, sexual and reproductive health decisions, status as a victim of domestic violence/sex offense/stalking, status in the uniformed services of the United States (including veteran status), arrest or conviction record, credit history, salary history, unemployment status or any other basis prohibited by law in its programs and activities as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Amendments Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VI or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies.

Section E: 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.

Bias incidents may include acts, words (written or verbal) or conduct targeting a person or group. Examples may include 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.

St. John’s University uses Policy 704 of the Human Resources Manual to address bias incidents. The Office of Human Resources may refer violations of Policy 704 to the Office of Student Conduct for further adjudication.

Section F: Rights of St. John’s Students Participating in the Student Conduct Process

The following are the rights of all St. John’s students participating in the Student Conduct Process:

Notice: Students shall 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.

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 may participate in a Behavioral Hearing and/or a Conduct Board Hearing directly by their attendance. A student may also participate remotely through video conferencing or by telephone. A student may also choose not to participate, or to submit a written statement to substitute for their presence.

Failure to attend a hearing is not 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.

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.

Witnesses and Relevant Evidence: Students have the right to present information or witnesses on their behalf for consideration during their conduct process.  However, the student conduct administrator or Conduct Board retains the ultimate discretion to exclude information or witnesses.

Incident Report Review: Students have the right to review the incident report generated regarding an alleged violation and make suggested corrections as they see fit. Incident reports may be reviewed with a student conduct administrator by appointment. Students shall not be permitted to keep a physical copy of the incident report.

Appeal: Students have the right to appeal the decision of a student conduct administrator or Conduct Board.

Non-Discrimination: Students have the right to be free from discrimination or bias 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 retaliatory behaviors toward another student for any reason, or encourage others to engage in such behavior, shall be referred to the conduct process.

Section G: Student Bill of Rights (as protected by Article 129-B)

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 details on how to make a report, by visiting the SOAR website.

Section H: Student Privacy Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) articulates the privacy rights protecting 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.

St. John’s University shall, upon written request, disclose to the alleged victim of a crime of violence, or a non-forcible sex offense, the report on the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by such institution against a student who is the alleged perpetrator of such crime or offense. If the alleged victim is deceased as a result of such crime or offense, the next of kin of such victim shall be treated as the alleged victim for purposes of this paragraph.

The term ‘‘crime of violence’’ means:

  • an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or
  • any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.

Section I: 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 regarding a suspension or expulsion.