The steps in a non-academic misconduct proceeding
- Kate Mitchell
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Queen’s University has different policies that outline different kinds of misconduct. The procedure the university follows depends on which policy applies.
Many complaints are resolved under the Student Code of Conduct, which outlines the process to follow for misconduct classified as category 2:
- Notice of the complaint. The Case Manager will notify the respondent of the alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct and provide a summary of the Incident Report.
- Initial meeting with the Case Manager. The Case Manager may scheduled a meeting with the respondent to ask for a written response or review the respondent’s written response. Respondents may have an advisor (including a lawyer) present at the meeting.
- Informal resolution. If the respondent accepts responsibility for non-academic misconduct and agrees to fulfill the sanctions or requirements, then the case can be resolved at any point. The resolution agreement may outline the actions that will be taken if the agreement is breached. Informal resolution discussions are not admissible if the matter proceeds to adjudication.
- Formal investigation. If informal resolution isn’t possible, then an investigation may commence. This usually starts within 15 business days after receiving the Incident Report, and it should be complete within 10 business days after the interviews are conducted. A Notice of Investigation will be sent to the respondents, which will outline the allegations and invite the respondent to meet with the Case Manager. Interviews are typically conducted with the complainant(s), witnesses, and the respondent(s). Interviews and investigations are confidential and not to be discussed with others. If the information does not support a category 2 misconduct, then the case may be closed or referred to another unit for disposition.
- Adjudication. If the Case Manager finds that the information supports a Category 2 non-academic misconduct and informal resolution isn’t possible, then the matter is referred to adjudication. Respondents normally get to choose to have their case heard by an Administrator (the default option) or a Student Conduct Panel composed of two University employees and one student (not available if the alleged behavior resulted in significant harm, if it would be inappropriate to share details with multiple individuals, or during exams or the summer term). Respondents will typically get 10 business days’ written notice of the hearing.
- Decision. Within 10 days of the hearing, a written decision will be provided outlining the reasons and sanctions.
The process can occur quickly, so it is important to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.