Virginia Tech’s  Office of Student Conduct, a department within the Division of Student Affairs, announces revisions to the Hokie Handbook regarding the office’s student conduct procedures, alcohol policy, and zero-tolerance drug policy. 

The office also has initiated an electronic notification system that will post conduct meetings and the outcomes of those meetings to the “Student Conduct Notifications” tab on Hokie SPA. Students will no longer receive letters in the mail notifying them of their conduct meetings. The changes will take effect in the 2011-12 academic year.

The Hokie Handbook is an online resource containing all the policies students are responsible for learning and following, including the Student Code of Conduct and University Policies for Student Life.

The changes in the Hokie Handbook will provide students more options for resolving disciplinary violations and expand the university’s options when dealing with possession of illegal substances by students. For students who engage in positive bystander behavior when there is an alcohol/drug related emergency, that may serve as a mitigating factor in his or her conduct meeting.

The changes are summarized as follows.

Student Conduct Procedures

  • Agreed Resolution: Students and student organizations can now opt for an agreed resolution rather than a formal hearing. This would allow the student or organization an informal meeting to discuss an immediate resolution. If students accept responsibility for the actions and agree to the proposed sanctions, they can opt out of a formal hearing.
  • Formal Hearings: A student or organization can indicate a preference for either an administrator or student conduct committee hearing, absent special circumstances. Not receiving the requested hearing is not a basis for a formal appeal.
  • Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Harassment Hearings: These will be adjudicated by a mixed-gender team of university student conduct officers or a student conduct committee, and will be investigated by the university’s Title IX coordinator. The information gathered by the coordinator will be the basis of the conduct referral. A formal hearing will usually occur within 30 days of receiving the information. Student conduct officers or the students involved may call witnesses, and either student involved may file an appeal.
  • Student Conduct Formal Hearing Appeals: When suspension, dismissal, or denial of housing/network access results from a formal hearing, the student or organization may appeal by filing a written request with Student Conduct. They must state the specific grounds for appeal, and must submit it to the office by the end of the seventh business day following notification of the decision in their case. In cases of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment, both students can file an appeal, and they must follow the same appeal guidelines as in any other case. Appeals must be based on denial of procedural guarantees, significant and relevant new evidence, or unduly harsh or arbitrary sanctions.

Zero-Tolerance Drug Policy

  • Self-Reporting and Bystander Intervention: Immediate action should always be taken when someone’s health or safety is in danger due to drug or alcohol consumption. If a student reports a drug- or alcohol-related medical emergency that results in the reporting student incriminating himself or herself, Student Conduct will take that into account when determining appropriate sanctions.
  • Zero Tolerance: While illegal substances are strictly prohibited on campus, the university will move toward an individualized approach to sanctioning rather than a zero-tolerance policy.  Drug possession can result in suspension for a first offense, but the nature of each student’s unique incident will factor into the final decision.

Mission and Vision Statements

  • Mission: Student Conduct will promote a civil learning environment fostering personal growth and development of life skills by holding students and student organizations accountable for their conduct.
  • Vision: Student Conduct will be known for interacting with students to promote deep and reflective conversations about their environments, choices, and interpersonal relationships.

For complete information on the policy revisions, other policies, and all non-academic standards, visit the Hokie Handbook website.

 

 

Written by Jennifer Gibson.