The Office of Judicial Education serves the Mercer University community by defining, interpreting, enforcing and educating students on the university's judicial policy and procedures while promoting intellectual growth, social responsibility, healthy behaviors, and respect for the community through its process.
Community of Respect
Mercer's Judicial System is designed to ensure that Mercer University remains a Community of Respect:
Mercer University strives to be a Community of Respect where everyone is held in mutual high regard. Because every human being is created in the image of God, each person deserves to be treated with respect and civility. Standards of conduct are based on the values of mutual respect:
Respect for Academic Integrity
We value a community that encourages an academic atmosphere. We believe that honesty is important to learning.
Respect for Other Persons
We value the worth of every individual in the community and we respect the dignity of each member in the community. We take responsibility for the consideration of the rights of others.
Respect for the University Community
We value showing respect for the rights and property of others. We take responsibility to act to maintain university property.
Respect for Community Authority
We acknowledge and value our privileges and rights as members of the University community. We take responsibility for acting to uphold community standards.Student Code of Conduct
Changes may be made to the Student Code of Conduct during the school year. The most up-to-date version can be found on the Student Affairs' Judicial Education site.
Click on the links below to jump to the individuals sections:
The Community of Respect ensures certain rights of its members. The university values the following student rights:
1. Free inquiry, expression, and assembly as long as conducted in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others.
2. Freedom from unreasonable invasion of the privacy of the individual’s person, residence, papers, personal effects, and university records.
3. Right to due process and equal protection under the university judicial system.
4. Freedom to pursue educational goals, the right to the free exchange of ideas, thoughts, and viewpoints.
5. Freedom of association for students who meet the university’s standards for participation in co-curricular and extracurricular activities.
Mercer University is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and learning and to the development of ethically responsible persons. University students are expected to uphold appropriate standards of behavior and to respect the rights and privileges of others. The university invites students to participate in the formulation of behavioral policies and to share in the responsibility for judicial decisions. These standards and procedures have been established to protect the university’s educational purpose, to foster a sense of responsibility to the community, to provide for orderly conduct of its activities, to protect the members of the university from disrespect, and to safeguard the interest of the university community. Student conduct is expected to be lawful and in accordance with all federal, state, and local laws, and university regulations.
In keeping with Mercer University’s values, sanctions imposed on students found to be in violation of the Student Code of Conduct are designed to promote the university’s educational mission, restore community standards, and promote individual civility and positive growth.
Sanctions are also intended to maintain the safety of the university environment and the integrity of the University community. The processes for adjudicating violations of federal, state and local laws and violations of the Student Code of Conduct are separate and may be pursued independently of one another.
The University distinguishes its responsibilities for student conduct from the control functions of the wider community. The conduct of students both on campus and in the wider community is ordinarily of University concern when (a) the conduct interferes with the University’s responsibility for ensuring members of the University full and equal opportunity to obtain their educational objectives, (b) the conduct interferes with the University’s responsibility to protect the health, safety and general welfare of persons in the University community, or (c) the conduct negatively impacts the University’s image and/or academic integrity.
The Student Code of Conduct applies to the Macon campus of the University and all international programs. The Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) may modify non-substantive procedures in the effort to adjudicate violations in these programs when necessary.
Cases involving student organizations are adjudicated through the Office of Judicial Education as well. Student organizations will be held responsible for the behavior of their members, alumni or guests-when their actions evolve from or are in any way related to their association with or activities of the organization. Student organizations may be given joint responsibility for such violations. Student organizations that condone or encourage behavior that violates University or state regulations may be given joint responsibility for such violations.
Authority for student discipline ultimately rests with the University President. For cases involving non-academic conduct violations, the President delegates this authority to the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee), who in turn delegates it to other appropriate staff, including the Office of Housing and Residence Life, to review and pursue violations of the Student Code of Conduct.
The Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) has the authority to notify the person listed as the student’s emergency contact (or other appropriate person) in cases of emergency or life-threatening incidents involving students.
The Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) may order any student to cease and desist from any activity adjudged to be disruptive to the University. If the student fails to cease and desist from such activity, the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) may immediately suspend the student pending a judicial hearing.
Formulation of Regulations & Code of Conduct
Any student, faculty member, or administrator may initiate any revision of, or addition to, the University’s standards of conduct. Recommendations should be submitted to the Vice President of Student Affairs who, in consultation with appropriate parties, shall ensure discussion of the proposed change. When all parties have had an opportunity to comment on the proposal, the Vice President for Student Affairs shall make the determination whether the suggestion warrants a modification of the Student Code of Conduct.
University. Mercer University. This includes the main campus, all branch campuses and University international programs.
Student. Includes all persons either registered or taking courses at Mercer University, both full-time and part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or professional studies and those who attend post-secondary educational institutions other than Mercer University and who reside in Mercer University residence halls. This includes non-degree seeking students. Persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with Mercer University are considered students.
Charged Student. Any student who has been formally charged with an alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
Faculty Member. Any person hired by Mercer University to conduct classroom activities.
Staff Member. Any person hired by Mercer University in a professional position to conduct University activities.
Member of the Mercer University Community. Any person who is a student, faculty member, or employed by Mercer University.
Mercer University Premises. Includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by Mercer University (including adjacent streets and sidewalks).
Organization. Any group who has been formally recognized by Mercer University as an organization.
Hearing Body. Any Mercer University official or panel authorized to review and evaluate student conduct charges, and to impose sanctions upon students found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct.
Appellate Body. Any person or persons authorized by the Vice President for Student Affairs to consider an appeal from a hearing body’s determination that the student has violated the Student Code of Conduct.
Student Judiciary. Student members are trained and experienced in due process rights, in the procedures of the judicial system, in the mechanics of preparing a case. They are assigned cases on a rotational basis.
Shall. Is used in the imperative sense.
May. Is used in the permissive sense.
All students and student organizations are expected to adhere to the standards of a Community of Respect. In affirmation to these standards, every student subscribes to the following pledge:
"Having been accepted as a member of the Community of Respect of Mercer University, I pledge myself: to hold each person in high mutual regard; to uphold, respect, and defend the rights of every individual in the community; and to respect the community as a whole. I further pledge that I will not allow to go unreported any violation of the standards of our community."
Each student is responsible for reporting any and all infractions of the standards valued by the Community of Respect. All students accept this responsibility when they enroll. If a student sees, knows, or hears of a violation, he/she is responsible for reporting the suspected violation to Mercer Police, the Vice President of Student Affairs, or an appropriate faculty/staff member of Mercer University.
Organizations are expected to investigate and self-report any violations of the student code of conduct. Please refer to Campus Life web page at http://studentaffairs.mercer.edu/campuslife/studentorgs.cfm.
Procedure for Reporting Title IX Violations
Students are expected to abide by all federal, state, and local laws. Behavior that violates external laws may also adversely affect our University community and may lead to disciplinary actions by the University regardless of the outcome of external legal proceedings. Disciplinary action at the University will normally proceed without regard to the status of any civil or criminal proceeding. Hearings and appeal proceedings conducted as part of this process are not courts of law and they are not subject to many of the rules of civil or criminal hearings.
Under Title IX, individuals reporting allegations related to sexual harassment or sexual misconduct have the right to prompt resolution of their complaint, to have the University conduct a thorough investigation, and to have interim steps taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the individuals involved and the University community.The University will communicate regular investigatory updates to the complainant and the respondent.Mercer University does not tolerate or condone retaliation of complaints and will not only take steps to prevent retaliation, but will evaluate responsive actions, as necessary, for any retaliatory acts that occur.
Under Title IX, individuals reporting sexual harassment and/or sexual misconduct have the right to proceed formally with criminal and/or judicial action at any point, and may file a report with the University Title IX Coordinator:
Ms. Rhonda Lidstone
Associate Vice President
or to file a formal complaint with the United States Department of Education:
Office of Civil Rights
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Phone: (800) 421-3481
Each individual college and/or campus implements the values outlined in the "Community of Respect" statement through individual student codes of conduct.Links to these various supplemental policies are located on the Provost's web page (see http://www.mercer.edu/provost/handbooks).However, the following regulations apply to all processes:
·A charged student will be provided basic due process to include written notice of the charges against him or her and the opportunity to respond to those charges.
·In cases involving sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, both the complainant and respondent will have an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other evidence, similar and timely access to information used at the hearing, equal representation, and to have their cases adjudicated using the preponderance of the evidence standard.The University will notify both parties in writing of the outcome of a sexual harassment or sexual misconduct charge and both parties will have equal opportunity to appeal, if permitted, in the process.
Absent a stated policy on any campus or program, the Student Code of Conduct and procedures found at http://www.mercer.edu/studentaffairs/judicial would apply.
The Associate Dean of Students (or designee) shall make charging decisions for non-academic misconduct. These designees include staff from the Office of Housing and Residence Life (herein after designated as “the University”). This process for review is initiated by either (1) the filing of a police report with Mercer University Police Department (or other law enforcement agency), (2) providing a signed written statement directly to the Vice President of Student Affairs (or designee), or (3) by filing an incident report or written statement with the Office of Housing and Residence Life. This information will then be reviewed by the Associate Dean of Students and the Office of Judicial Education to determine the most appropriate action to be taken. This may result in conducting further investigation into the incident, resolving the conflict in an informal manner, referring the case to housing, or initiating charges in accordance with the procedures contained in this code. Charges should be filed within ten (10) working days after receipt of all available information regarding the complaint. Charges cannot be filed that exceed one (1) year after the discovery of the incident.
When a determination to charge is made, the Office of Judicial Education shall notify the student in writing of the charge(s) and the allegation(s) on which the charge(s) are based. This notice shall inform the student that he or she has five (5) regular business days in which to contact the Office of Judicial Education to schedule an informational session and to select the type of hearing. the informational session is a courtesy to students. If a student does not contact the university during this time, the University shall make a determination regarding the choice of hearing.
The charged student may have charges heard by a University panel or by a designated University administrator, who will then review the case and make a determination with regard to responsibility and sanctioning. In electing one hearing, the student waives the right to the other. The University retains the right to pre-select the hearing forum at any point in the process.
When two or more individual cases stem from the same incident, the same hearing body shall hear all cases. In such cases, the University may either pre-select the hearing or consult with the students involved before making the determination. This hearing body may hear individual cases together or separately. Procedural modifications are permitted when cases are heard together. In cases involving multiple students charged from the same incident, information obtained at one hearing may be used at another hearing provided that the charged student involved has the full opportunity to review and to respond to any information that will be used against them.
For cases handled by the University’s Office of Judicial Education, the designated board is composed of students and faculty/staff members. The hearing board consists of one non-voting faculty or staff member to serve as chairperson, one voting faculty/staff member, and three voting students. Decisions of the hearing board are recommendations to the Associate Dean of Students, who in the interest of fairness, clarity, or consistency may choose to accept or modify the recommendations as necessary.
For cases handled by a hearing officer, the designated staff member is appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee).
All hearings are governed by the following procedures. Procedures may be modified to expedite the proceeding as long as they do not jeopardize the charged student’s fundamental rights or the fairness of the hearing.
1. Burden of Proof. The burden of proof rests with the university. The standard of proof shall be the “preponderance of the evidence.” This standard means that the evidence, taken as a whole, supports that it is more likely than not that the violation occurred.
3. Decisions. Decisions of “responsible” or “not responsible” on the charge(s) shall be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing.4. Confidentiality. All hearings shall be closed and confidential unless specifically requested otherwise by the charged student in writing. This request must be received three regular business days in advance of the hearing and cannot impede the university’s ability to comply with state and federal laws regarding confidential information. In cases involving alleged victims and competing interest, the Associate Dean of Students will make the final determination regarding open and closed hearings. Information can be conveyed from one hearing to the other in cases with multiple charged students.
5. Failure to Appear. If the student fails to appear at the hearing, the hearing may proceed in the student’s absence and a decision rendered provided that the student has been properly notified of the hearing.
6. Official Record. A record of the hearing shall be made by the presiding hearing officer. The record may be in written form or in any other form capable of being converted into written form within a reasonable time. Any student who wishes to have an audio copy of the hearing must notify the Office of Judicial Education at least five (5) regular business days in advance. A service fee will be incurred for audio copies.
7. Deliberations. Deliberations are closed and shall include only those members involved in the decision making process.
8. Notice of Decision. A written decision shall be available to the student within five (5) regular business days following the hearing. This time may be extended in cases in which additional time is necessary for deliberations. If additional time is necessary, the charged student shall be notified. The decision letter shall contain a decision on each charge, the finding of fact and any recommended sanctions (if applicable).
9. Hold on Student’s Records. The university may place a hold on the records or registration of any student who fails to respond to a judicial notice or to ensure resolution of the case prior to transfer or graduation. All pending judicial matters must be resolved prior to a student’s graduation, transfer from, or continued education at Mercer University.
10. Disabilities. Any student with a documented disability may request that reasonable accommodations be provided during the judicial process. This request must be made at least three (3) regular business days in advance of the hearing, and the accommodations must be approved by the Office of Student Support Services and the Associate Dean of Students.
11. Advisement Students are permitted to bring an advisor of their choice to the hearing. Advisors shall serve as consultants, and cannot speak on behalf of the student during the proceedings. Students are required to address the hearing body in person, on their own behalf. Consultation must take place in a manner that does not disrupt the proceedings. The advisor shall not serve as a witness or be charged in the case. Students must notify the Office of Judicial Education during their information meeting :(or at least five class days prior to the hearing) if they will be bringing an attorney as an advisor.
12. Testimony. Students shall not be forced to present self-incriminating testimony. The university is not required to postpone disciplinary proceedings pending the outcome of any criminal proceeding.
2. Hearing. Students shall be entitled to a prompt hearing. Students will be given an opportunity to present information, including witnesses during a fair and impartial hearing. The student may inspect all documentary evidence presented at the hearing, may hear and question all available adverse witnesses testifying at the hearing, and may present evidence and call witnesses. If a called witness does not appear, the hearing body may consider their written or taped statements; the statement shall be weighted accordingly by the hearing body as the charged student has no opportunity to cross examine the witness making the written or taped statement. Student questioning of witnesses may be modified in cases involving victims of crimes or protected student information. Witnesses for the hearing will be required to wait outside of the hearing until their point of participation.
Complainant's rights to apply to cases involving sexual misconduct, stalking, intimate relationship violence (in cases involving physical assault), and (in cases related to harassment of sexual nature) threatening behavior violations. Should formal action be initiated through the University judicial process, the rights of the complainant within that system would include the following:
Access to information. To have timely access to any information to be used at the hearing prior to the hearing (all information is subject to FERPA guidelines).
Advisement. To have an advisor accompany the complainant when presenting information to the hearing body and to any other relevant meetings held through the disciplinary process. Note: Role limited to advisement only during hearings.
Witnesses and evidence. To present witnesses and/or evidence to the hearing body that may provide information pertinent to the case. The complainant should notify the University Judicial Office of such witnesses and/or evidence at least one week prior to the hearing.
Complainant Impact Statement. To submit an impact statement to the hearing body. This information would only be used if the respondent is found responsible and in the sanctioning phase of deliberations. The impact statement consists of how the complainant was impacted by the incident and may contain recommendations for possible sanctions. The hearing body is not bound by these recommendations.
Past behaviors. To have unrelated past behavior excluded from the hearing. The hearing body is charged with determining what information is relevant during the hearing.
Questions. To submit potential questions to the hearing body. The hearing body will consider posing those questions to the charged student.
Limited Privacy. To testify in limited privacy, as long as the process does not compromise the charged student's right to confront and question the witness. This option must be requested at least three (3) regular business days in advance of the hearing. Questions by the charged student to the complainant may be asked through the hearing body. Follow-up questions by the charged student through that body are permitted.
Notification. To be notified of the decision and the sanctions in writing once a decision is rendered.
Opportunity to Appeal. To appeal the decision of the hearing body as per the appeal guidelines found in the Student Code of Conduct.
Violation of any of the following, or the aiding, abetting, condoning, or attempting to commit these offenses by a student constitutes an offense that will result in disciplinary action.
1.Forgery. Alteration or misuse of documents or records.
A. Possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages including empty containers or alcohol paraphernalia on Mercer University property or at university-sponsored events.
B. Any conduct taken under the influence of alcohol that endangers one's own health or safety or the safety of others.
C. Buying, selling or distributing alcoholic beverages to individuals under the age of 21.
D. Possession and/or consumption of alcohol or alcohol paraphernalia by individuals under the age of 21.
3.Threatening and Harassing behavior.
A. Threatening Behavior. This is the Intimidation, hostility, coercion, or threats of physical abuse.
B. Harassment. This refers to a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in a person. It is considered the excessive annoyance of or the use of verbally abusive language directed towards another person on University-owned or controlled property, or, while in attendance of university-sponsored or supervised events. The scope of any form of harassment includes language and/or physical acts which degrades, insults, taunts, or challenges another person by any means of communication, so as to provoke a violent response, communication of threat, defamation of character, use of profanity, verbal assaults, derogatory comments, sexist remarks, racist remarks or any behavior that places another member of the university community in a state of fear or anxiety.
C. Stalking. Following or otherwise contacting another person repeatedly, so as to put that person in fear for their personal safety and/or when the contacting person knows or should know that the contact is unwanted.
A. Intentionally or recklessly endangering or causing physical harm (including any form of fighting) to any person.
B. Action(s) that endanger one's own health or safety.
A. Non-consensual Sexual Intercourse. Any form of sexual intercourse regardless of how slight, using force or threat of force, with any object, by a person to another person where the victim does not or is not capable of giving consent.
B. Non-Consensual Contact. Any sexual touching that is intentional, regardless of how minor, with any object, by a person upon a person that is without consent and/or by force.
C. Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcomed and unsolicited sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal, visual or physical conduct or communication with sexual overtones that the victim deems offensive, severe, persistent or pervasive. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to unsolicited, deliberate or repeated sexual flirtation, advances or propositions; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; display of sexually suggestive pictures or objects; and/or offensive or abusive physical contact of a sexual nature.
D. Sexual Exploitation. This occurs when a student takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or to benefit or advantage anyone other then the one being exploited. Examples include, but are not limited to, non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity, invasion of privacy, etc.
6.Destruction/Damage to Property. Destruction, damaging or misuse of public or private property.
7.Theft or Possession of Stolen Property. Taking, possessing, or using property without proper authorization or permission.
A. Possession and/or consumption of drugs or any controlled substance prohibited by law.
B. Manufacturing, buying, selling or distributing drugs or any controlled substance prohibited by law.
C. Possession of drug paraphernalia.
9.Possession and/or Use of Weapons, Firearms, Fireworks, and Explosive Devices. Unauthorized possession or use of weapons, firearms, fireworks, or explosive devices (except for use in the Department of Military Science and in the rifle range).This includes-but is not limited to-BB guns, stun guns, air rifles, air pistols, paintball guns, edged weapons, bow and arrows, and martial arts weapons. Weapons may be stored at Mercer Police. They may not be left in personal vehicles.
10.Cruelty to Animals. Intentionally or recklessly causing physical abuse or any form of suffering to animals.
11.Gambling. Games of chance or bets in which participants commit money, or anything of value, in order to participate.
12.Computer Misuse/Unauthorized access.Any misuse of or unauthorized access to a computer, computer system, network, software or data; or the unauthorized alteration, copying or distribution of software or data.
13.Unauthorized Entry or Use of Facilities. The unauthorized access to an area, room or building.
14.Hazing. Any act which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or which destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, a group or organization. The express or implied consent of the victim will not be a defense, and apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing is a violation of this rule. Specific examples of hazing include, but are not limited:
A. Acts that embarrass harass or ridicule an individual
B. Acts that create excessive fatigue
C. Physical or psychological shocks
D. Morally degrading or humiliating games or activities
E. The wearing of signs or advertisements
F. Activities that involve late or early work sessions
G. Quests, treasure or scavenger hunts
H. Acts of servitude
Further information about Hazing can be found in the Office of Campus Life.
15.Fire Alarms and Fire Safety Misconduct.
A. Inappropriate activation of any emergency warning equipment or the false reporting of any fire emergency.
B. Removal, damage or tampering with fire safety or other emergency warning equipment belonging to a student, student organization, the University or the Macon community.
C. Initiating and/or igniting of a fire.
D. Failure to evacuate during a fire alarm.
16.Furnishing False Information. Knowingly providing false or misleading information to a university official, to a hearing body, on a university document, or to a law enforcement agent or agency.
17.Failure to Comply. Noncompliance with the reasonable direction of university officials acting in the performance of their duties.
18.Campus Elections and Referendums Misconduct. Casting more than one ballot in any campus election or referendum, or otherwise circumvent the prescribed procedures in an election process.
19.Student Identification Misconduct. Failure of a student to carry their Mercer identification cards at all times or to allow anyone else to use their identification card.
A. Identity Theft. Deceptively using another student, or faculty/staff member's identification to access resources on or off campus, which includes ID cards, credit cards, email addresses, passwords, etc.
20.Refusal to Vacate. Refusal to vacate a building, sidewalk, driveway, or private facility being used by the University for a student or department-sponsored activity when directed to do so by an authorized officer of the University.
21.Advertising/Media Misuse. Circulation or display of any media (i.e. electronic or paper) that contains matter that violates or is contrary to University policies or community values. This includes, but is not limited to, the display or promotion of alcoholic liquors, wines, or beers. This also includes displaying materials or information without proper approval from the University.
22.Solicitation/Fundraising. The solicitation of sales, services, memberships or gifts on campus without the permission of the Office of Campus Life.
23.Unauthorized Visitation/Campus Housing. No unauthorized student, group of students, or organization shall enter or remain in restricted areas of residential facilities during non-visitation hours, as published in the Housing Handbook.
24.Contempt and/or Disregard for Judicial Procedures.
A. Failure to fully comply with all instructions of the university judicial system and Honor Council.
B. Coercing a student or organization member to give false information.
C. Engaging in conduct that disrupts the proceedings, lessens their authority or dignity, or otherwise obstructs justice on campus.
25.Unsanitary or Unsafe Facilities. Failure to maintain a student organization, facilities, property, or surrounding property so as to prevent a potential danger to the health and safety of members of the University community.
26.Disorderly/Disruptive Conduct. Any action which can reasonably be expected to disturb the academic pursuits or infringe upon the privacy, rights, privileges, health or safety of students, faculty, staff, or organizations. This includes actions that reasonably interfere with another student's ability to sleep and study effectively in his/her room, or a faculty's ability to teach class.
27.Conduct Unbecoming. Any conduct which is determined to be potentially detrimental to the University's reputation or otherwise violates the rights of other individuals, groups, or organization. This includes the display of indecent or offensive materials or engaging in indecent or lewd conduct, or statements or actions that are bias-related and involve a preformed negative attitude toward a person or group of persons because of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or national origin, or disability. This also includes failure to report a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
28.Violation of Published University Regulations. Violation of any published Mercer University policies, rules or regulations. This includes-but is not limited to, housing policies, computer policies or other university policies directly related to departments, organizations or clubs.
29.Violation of Local, State, or Federal Law. Any violation of any local, state, or federal law.
The determination of sanctions is made in light of the unique facts and circumstances surrounding each individual case and the previous conduct history of the student.
The Students found responsible of violations(s) of the Student Code of Conduct will be subject to one or more of the following sanctions:
1. Warning: Formal written notice to the student and official recognition that a violation has occurred.
2. Counseling Assessment: A recommendation to be evaluated by psychological services to help the student deal more effectively with his/her conduct.
3. Community Service: Performance of a preapproved service location for a prescribed number of hours to the local or university community.
4.Creative/Educational Sanctions: Attendance at educational programs, interviews with appropriate officials, planning and implementing educational programs, research papers and other educational activities related to the violation.
5. Restriction: The withdrawal of specified privilege(s) for a definite period of time. Restrictions may include, but are not limited to requirements such as: not entering certain areas of housing or the campus, not contacting a certain individual or group, or not operating a motor vehicle on campus.
6. Fines: Not to exceed $150 per individual or $150 per individual member of an organization.
7. Restitution: A payment of financial injury in cases involving theft, destruction or property or deception.
8. Probation: A period of time during which any further violations of the Student Code of Conduct may impact or jeopardize the student’s status in a specific manner. The four types of probation that can be imposed are as follows:
A. Conduct Probation. A specified period of time in which any future violations of the Student Code of Conduct can result in increased sanctions being imposed that exceed those of a student who is not on conduct probation.
B. Housing Probation. A specified period of time in which any future violations of the Student Code of Conduct will result in the termination of housing privileges and access to any university owned housing facilities.
C. Social Probation. Notice to an organization that all or a portion of social functions must cease for a designated period of time.
D. University Probation. A specified period of time during which any further violation of the Student Code of Conduct puts the student’s or organization’s status with the university in jeopardy. Additional violations of the Student Code of Conduct that occur during this period of probation may result in suspension or dismissal. Students may be restricted from holding office in any student organization. Students cannot represent the university in any official capacity during the term of university probation. Continued enrollment depends on the maintenance of satisfactory conduct during the period of probation.
9. Forced Change of Residence. The temporary or permanent relocation of a student within housing.
10. Eviction from University Housing. Permanent removal from the housing system.
11. Suspension. The termination of the student's attendance at the university for an indefinite or specified period of time. A suspension means that students may not be on University property at any time without prior approval from the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee. Conditions that must be met before re-enrollment is considered, may be placed on a student as part of this sanction.
12. Expulsion. The permanent separation of the student from the University.
For cases involving non-academic appeals, a student may appeal the original decision to the Vice President for Student Affairs within three (3) working days after receipt of the written decision (additional time may be requested for extenuating circumstances). The Vice President may choose to hear the appeal or designate an appropriate staff member to review the appeal and make a recommendation. No person may hear or decide an appeal if he or she participated in the hearing process. The appeal shall consist of a review of the prior proceedings; it shall not be another hearing. The student or organization shall receive a written decision regarding the appeal.
Grounds for appealing a decision are:
1. An error in procedural due process, which prejudiced the accused to the extent that the student or organization was denied a fundamentally fair hearing as a result of the error. Procedural flaws alone are not grounds for an appeal. Significant procedural errors that may have affected the verdict or sanction will be considered.
2. The emergence of new evidence that could not have been previously discovered and that, had it been represented at the initial hearing, would have substantially affected the original decision of the hearing body.
3. The imposition of sanctions that are disproportionate to the offense.
Student status. The student’s status on campus will remain unchanged pending the final decision and appeals process, except in cases involving interim suspensions (see Immediate Suspension).
The Vice President shall have the authority to act de novo to determine the issues of both responsibility and sanction(s). The decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs is final.
In certain circumstances involving a student’s actions that may affect the safety, health, or general welfare of the student or the university community, the Vice President for Students Affairs or the Associate Dean of Students may impose an immediate suspension prior to the student’s conduct hearing. The Director of Campus Life, Vice President of Student Affairs, or the Associate Dean of Students may immediately suspend student organizations. (The Vice President of Student Affairs, the Associate Dean of Students, and the Director of Housing and Residence Life has the authority to cancel a student’s university housing contract under a separate process).
An immediate suspension means that a student cannot be on university property, cannot attend classes, and cannot use university facilities unless otherwise stipulated. An immediate suspension requires that the student be notified in writing by the university.
The student has the right to request a hearing on the immediate suspension with the Vice President for Student Affairs. If requested, the hearing will be conducted within three (3) regular business days from the receipt of the student’s written request by the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee. The scope of this hearing is solely on whether the immediate suspension should continue until a hearing is conducted on the facts of the case. Disciplinary charges will be filed either when the immediate suspension is imposed or as soon thereafter as possible.
For cases in which a student is immediately suspended, but subsequently found not responsible for all violations, the university will take the following steps: (1) correct any record of the change in enrollment status in the student’s permanent records and reports in a manner compliant with state and federal laws; and (2) refund to the student a pro rata portion of any fees, charges for tuition, or other university specific fees and charges, as appropriate due to the temporary change in enrollment status.
The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs is the official custodian of all records involving non-academic misconduct.
Student files involving cases that do not result in suspensions or expulsions shall be expunged seven (7) years after a decision is reached on a charge. Cases that result in suspensions or expulsions will be kept permanently. Statistical data and database information may be kept permanently at the university. Students have the right to view their files.
Students found “not responsible” or cases in which charges are dropped are considered not to have a judicial record.
This policy applies to financially dependent students under the age of 21 except for incidents which constitute health and safety emergencies. Parental notification may occur in health and safety emergencies regardless of the age or financial dependency of the student.
1. Mercer students, under the age of 21, found responsible for first time minor offenses involving alcohol in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct will be dealt with directly, without notification of their parents. “Minor offenses” are defined as non-life-threatening, non-threatening to the community, and not involving any other significant violations of the law or the Code of Conduct.
2. Enrolled students, under the age of 21, found responsible for two offenses involving alcohol will result in parental notification. The process of adjudication these violations will be handled in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct.
3. Enrolled students found responsible for offenses involving drugs will result in parental notification. The process of adjudicating these violations will be handled in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct.
4. Incidents related to alcohol and/or drugs that are determined to be life threatening to the student, threatening to the community, or involving other significant violations of the law or the Code of Student Conduct may result in parental notification regardless of the number of the offense. An incident in which a student is transported to the hospital as a result of alcohol and/or drug alcohol and/or drugs may be determined to constitute a threat to the campus community depending on the circumstances.
5. The Vice President for Student Affairs or designee will be the responsible University official to contact the parent. Students whose parents are divorced or separated have the option of designating the parent to be contacted. The Vice President for Students Affairs or designee may use discretion regarding parental notification in those incidents where it is determined that extenuating circumstances exist which would directly and conclusively negatively impact the situation. Alternative guardian contact determinations will be made by the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee.