Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Responding to the Initial Appointment Letter
1. What does it mean that I received an Initial Appointment Letter from Student Conduct? It means that you are alleged to have been involved in some type of behavior or misconduct that is in violation of Louisiana Tech University’s policies.
2. Do I have to respond to my Initial Appointment Letter? You do not have to do so; unfortunately, if you do not respond, a determination on your responsibility for the alleged violation(s) will be rendered based on the information available and without the benefit of your participation. In this scenario, the student conduct officer has only one side of the incident. As a result, it is in your best interest to contact the Student Conduct office and schedule an appointment by the deadline stated in the Initial Appointment Letter.
3. What if I was not aware my actions went against Tech’s policy, and I did not mean to do anything wrong? Every student is responsible for knowing the policies outlined in Louisiana Tech University’s Student Handbook. Ignorance of a policy will not serve as justification for a violation.
4. What if I did nothing wrong? Go ahead and make an appointment by the deadline stated in your Initial Appointment Letter to meet with the Student Conduct officer. During your pre-hearing meeting, state the facts about your level of involvement and your knowledge about what happened.
5. Since I did nothing wrong, why should I attend the pre-hearing meeting with the Student Conduct officer? Once you are charged with a conduct violation, a decision of responsible or not must be rendered whether you participate in the process or not. If you choose not to respond, your side of the story will not be heard or taken into account. By not responding to your Initial Appointment Letter, you waive your right to a hearing. Should you choose this option and be found responsible for the misconduct, your only recourse would be to appeal your sanctions, not the rendering.
Rights and Responsibilities
1. What are my rights under Louisiana Tech University’s Code of Student Rights? As outlined in Louisiana Tech University’s Student Conduct Code, you have the right to due process.
- If in a hearing you are found responsible for a violation, you have the right to appeal the decision regardless of the type of hearing. If you admit in the pre-hearing meeting that you are responsible, then you may not appeal your own admission.
- All sanctions, whether you accepted responsibility or not, are appealable. In other words, regardless of how you are sanctioned, you have the right to appeal the sanctions.
- A student may appeal a rendering if any of the following apply:
A. Procedural error
B. New evidence
C. Unsupported conclusion
D. Disproportionate sanction
2. What are my responsibilities as they relate to being a student at Louisiana Tech University? You are responsible for knowing all of your responsibilities as outlined in the Louisiana Tech University Student Handbook.
Can Tech students be sanctioned for misconduct occurring off-campus? Yes. As representatives of the University, Tech students can be held accountable for personal misconduct off-campus and thus can be sanctioned accordingly.
1. Where do I go for my pre-hearing meeting? All pre-hearing conduct meetings are held in the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, which is located in Keeny Hall 326. You should schedule an appointment by calling the Student Conduct office at 318-257-3396.
2. What will happen during the pre-hearing meeting with Student Conduct? You will meet with a Student Conduct officer, who will ask you to explain what happened from your point of view. The Student Conduct officer will ask you follow-up questions, so he or she may develop a clear understanding of what occurred. The important thing to remember is to be completely honest.
3. Can I bring an advisor, such as a parent or lawyer, to my pre-hearing meeting? A parent, lawyer, or even a friend may accompany you to the Student Conduct office.
4. What should I do if I am responsible for the alleged violation? You should accept ownership, and tell the truth. It is not easy to admit mistakes, but having enough courage and personal integrity to admit your mistake is the first indication that you have already learned something. Telling the truth will not eliminate the consequences that will result from the misconduct; however, not telling the truth in order to misrepresent the incident can result in greater consequences. In short, if you are wrong, admit it, learn from it and move forward.
1. If I deny the charge and select a hearing, how should I prepare for the hearing? Before the hearing, think through how you will present your side and gather all relevant supporting documentation. Anticipate the types of questions you may be asked, and think about how you would answer these questions. If you plan to bring witnesses, contact them as soon as possible to let them know about the hearing. Remember to only bring witnesses who have firsthand knowledge of the incident. Finally, keep in mind that a hearing is not a legal proceeding, and hearings are not intended to be adversarial.
2. What is the purpose of the two types of committees? Both the Behavioral Standards Committee and Honor Council consist of a panel of faculty/staff and students. The Student Conduct official presents the case to the committee. The outcome of the hearing does not vary according to the type of committee. The only purpose a hearing serves is to make a determination regarding the student’s responsibility. In other words, the only outcome of either hearing is: responsible or not responsible for the alleged misconduct.
3. What is the Standard of Proof used in a committee hearing? The standard of proof refers to the quantity or level of evidence needed to make a decision. The standard of proof used is the preponderance of the evidence. Essentially, imagine the weight of evidence on some imaginary scale, where committee members must be more than 50 percent sure that the student violated the policy to find him/her responsible. Committee members do not have to be 100 percent or even 75 percent sure, just more than 50 percent sure. In other words, is it more likely than not that the student violated a university policy based on the evidence presented.
4. Will the Student Conduct Committee be aware of a student’s previous disciplinary history? If a student is currently on Administrative Probation, then the committee will automatically be made aware of the student’s disciplinary history. In the absence of Administrative Probation, then the Committee is not made aware of a student’s conduct or disciplinary history during the hearing unless evidence from past misconduct shows a pattern of behavior that has bearing on the case being heard.
5. Can I bring an adviser, such as a parent or lawyer, to the Student Conduct (Behavioral Standards or Honor Council) hearing? You can bring one adviser, but he/she cannot represent you and directly address the committee in the hearing. You may quietly confer with your adviser.
6. Can I bring witnesses? You are encouraged to bring witnesses to either type of hearing as long as they have first hand knowledge of the incident. Prior to the hearing, you should inform the Conduct Officer that you have witnesses. It is your responsibility to make sure your witnesses are present and on time. Witnesses will be asked into the room to answer committee questions at the appropriate time, and then they will be dismissed from the hearing. Witnesses may not stay for the full hearing.
7. How are decisions of guilt or innocence made? Decisions are made based on the” Standard of Proof.” The final finding can only be responsible or not responsible instead of guilty or innocent.
8. What happens after a decision is made? It depends on the decision. If you are found not responsible for the misconduct stated in your Initial Meeting Letter, then the charges against you will be dropped, and your case will be closed. You will receive an official letter from Student Conduct stating “Not Responsible.” If you are found responsible, then you will be sanctioned. You will receive a Sanction Letter that explains each sanction in detail.
Rendering and Sanctions
1. How will the committee determine sanctions, if I am found responsible? Renderings are often based in part on, but are not limited solely to the following:
- The nature of the violation (What you did)
- Prior violations/previous disciplinary history (What have you done before)
- Mitigating circumstances surrounding the violation (Unusual circumstances)
- Your motivation for the behavior (Why you chose to do what you did)
2. What are some typical sanctions? Typical sanctions can include, but are not limited to the following:
- Administrative Probation: Probationary status for a definite period of time.
- Suspension: Termination of student status at the University for a specified period of time.
- Expulsion: Termination of student status at the University permanently or for an indefinite period of time.
- Eviction: Restriction or removal from residence halls or other campus facilities.
- Restitution: Requirement to reimburse or compensate another for damage or loss of property resulting from a student’s misconduct.
- Counseling and/or Community Service: Requirement to attend case-specific counseling and/or certain number of community service hours to complete.
- Academic Sanctions (Honor Code violations specific): “F” grade in course, failing grade/score on assignment or exam in question, or participation in University SMART HABITS Academy.
3. Will I be suspended or expelled? It depends on the offense committed. When your behavior of misconduct is determined to be harmful to the University community (including self) or interrupts the educational or administrative processes of the University, suspension or expulsion may be an imposed sanction. Repeat offenses, such as repeat alcohol offenders, cases involving illegal drugs, sexual misconduct, assault, and theft are some examples of offenses that may result in suspension or expulsion.
4. What happens if I do not complete a sanction by the required deadline? If your sanctions are not completed by the required deadline, then a registration hold will be placed on your student account. You will not be allowed to register for classes until your sanctions are completed. In some cases, a transcript hold may be placed on a student’s account which means Louisiana Tech University will not issue the student a transcript until all sanctions are completed. If a student fails to complete sanctions for an Honor Code violation, he/she will be automatically referred to the Behavioral Standards Committee.
5. Will I have a record with the Office of Student Conduct? If you are found responsible for misconduct, you will have a disciplinary file in the Office of Student Conduct. Disciplinary records are kept separate from Academic records.