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Definitions and Disciplinary Process

Disciplinary Process

The disciplinary process at Azusa Pacific University is designed to hold students accountable in a manner that is respectful, developmental, and redemptive. When a student acts in a way that violates university policy, he/she is subject to the disciplinary process, which is based on the assumption that accountability procedures, when required, will be educational. Therefore, all alleged violations of community standards are reviewed through “educational meetings” with students and not through efforts intended in any way to mimic court or legal proceedings, and the focus is both on helping maintain community values and assisting members to learn from any issues that may arise from their choices.

As such, students are expected to be active participants in their learning experience, to be honest and engaged throughout the investigation, hearing, and any sanctioning processes. Disciplinary sanctions are designed to help students develop individual responsibility and encourage self-discipline, to foster a respect for the rights of others, and to protect the rights, freedoms, and safety of members of the university community.

Decisions made regarding an alleged violation are ultimately based upon what the university would consider to be “a reasonable belief” of what occurred and not upon “rules of evidence” similar to that of a court legal system. Because of the nature of the accountability process, students are expected to fully participate, in order to benefit from the educational and redemptive nature of the process.

With the exception of some appeals, all violations of the Student Standards of Conduct are processed by an administrative hearing. The disciplinary process involves three components: information gathering, hearing, and the imposing of sanctions. Depending on the severity and location of the offense, the disciplinary process will be administered by a university official.

Information Gathering and Hearing

An information gathering process involves an initial report and an inquiry into an incident or matter by university officials and may involve interviewing community members involved in the case and verifying information regarding the alleged violation.

It should be noted that information gathering may include information from anonymous sources and confidential reporters.

The hearing may be scheduled to allow the accused student an opportunity to hear and present information related to disciplinary process. All hearings are closed and the proceedings may be kept confidential at the discretion of the university. Hearing maybe recorded by the discretion of the university without the consent of the student.

Be aware that information gathering and hearing processes may occur simultaneously.

Information gathered from anonymous (i.e. unknown) sources may be used in the student accountability hearing and as a part of the decision making process.

Although hearings are closed, students who wish to have a support person present at the meetings may request one in writing to the adjudicating officer, no less than three days prior to the meeting. The support person cannot be family members or any legal counsel, and they may not actively participate in proceedings. The decision regarding the request will be communicated in writing by the adjudicating officer and this must be done before the support person may attend the hearing.

The Imposing of Sanctions

At the end of the information gathering and hearing process, the adjudicating officer will communicate their decision in writing to the accused student. The written decision will include, where appropriate, summation of findings. Sanctions are imposed when there is information indicating that the accused student violated the Student Standards of Conduct. This determination is made by an APU official responsible for the administration of the disciplinary process. The following are sanctions that may be imposed by a university official upon any student for violating the Student Standards of Conduct (not listed in a prescribed order):


Students wishing to appeal the disciplinary process must do so, in writing, to the supervisor of the staff member who imposed the sanction on the student, or his/her designee. Students will have only one opportunity to appeal. All appeal meetings are closed and the proceeding may be kept confidential at the discretion of the university. Appeal meetings may be recorded by the discretion of the university without the consent of the student.

The appeal shall consist of one or more of the following exclusive grounds for appeal:

  1. New Information — There is new and significant information that has not yet been considered. Information would be considered “new” if it was discovered after the student’s hearing.
  2. Excessive Sanctions — Sanctions imposed are excessive to the violation(s) relative to sanctions imposed for similar violations under similar facts and circumstances as determined by the Student Standards of Conduct.
  3. Procedural Irregularity — The student did not have opportunity to present information at the hearing.

Guidelines for the letter of appeal:

  1. Students must submit a written appeal to the supervisor of the judicial officer or designee within three school days of the date of the written decision. Written appeal must reflect the guidelines as listed in the following point.
  2. The petition must include:
    1. Names of the parties involved
    2. Clear statement of the nature of the appeal (must consist of one or more of the following exclusive grounds):
      • New information
      • Excessive sanctions
      • Procedural irregularity
    3. A narrative of the incident including:
      • Why it occurred
      • How it occurred
      • Where it occurred
      • Who was present
      • The information on which the appeal is based
    4. The desired outcome

The supervisor (or designee), may, in response to the written appeal and upon review of all information and testimony presented, revise or confirm an earlier disciplinary process. The decision of the appeal may be made with or without meeting with students. After a decision has been reached, the student will be notified in writing by the supervisor. Decisions made in the appeal process are final and may not be addressed through the “Grievance Process” set forth in the catalog.

Only in case of sexual misconduct issues, both the complainant and the respondent will have the right to appeal the decision made through the process. Decisions made in the appeal process are final and may not be addressed through the grievance process.

Student Conduct Review Committee

In cases that result in university suspension or expulsion, the student may choose to have an appeal presented to either the Chief Judicial Officer or his/her designee, or the Student Conduct Review Committee. In addition, the Chief Judicial Officer or designee has the discretion to defer any appeal requests to the Student Conduct Review Committee. The Chief Judicial Officer or his/her designee will chair the Student Conduct Review Committee as a nonvoting member. If practicable, the committee shall consist of two faculty members, two staff members, and two students (each selected by the Chief Judicial Officer or designee).

The following process is such that after review of information, interview of witnesses, and deliberation, the committee will make a recommendation to the Chief Judicial Officer or his/her designee whose decision is final. In the case of a tie or deadlock, the chair will not vote and the decision will be notified to the Chief Judicial Officer. There must be a minimum of three members present to constitute a quorum (excluding the chair). If the student behavior resulting in the disciplinary process involved violent or dangerous behavior, the committee shall be required to consider the safety of the APU community in its deliberations and recommendation, and any sanction imposed on the student shall not be stayed pending the appeal.


To make the process as clear as possible for all involved, a glossary of terms is provided.

The Dean of Students, the Associate Vice President for Student Life/Chief Judicial Officer, the Associate Deans of Student Life, the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Communiversity, the Department of Campus Safety, Director of the Study Abroad Programs, and student services personnel on satellite campus programs (such as High Sierra, L.A. Term, and South Africa) have been specifically designated by the university to be responsible for the administration of the Student Standards of Conduct.

Any member of the community may request a hard copy of the Student Standards of Conduct or any other campus policies by contacting the Associate Dean of Students Office at (626) 815-2067.

Rights and Freedoms

Right to the Privacy of Records

With certain exceptions provided by law, Azusa Pacific University cannot release information concerning students, other than directory information, from their education records to anyone other than university officials without the written consent of the student. Students and alumni applying for jobs, credit, graduate school, etc., can expedite their applications by providing the university with written permission to release specific records and to which parties the releases should be made.

Right of Access to Judicial File

Students must request to see their judicial file in writing to the Chief Judicial Officer. Access will be granted no later than 45 days after the request. View APU’s student records policy.

Right to Process

Students whose behavior violates the Student Standards of Conduct will be treated justly and fairly. This means that the disciplinary process of the case will be in a timely and reasonable manner. The process involves three components:

Right to Notify

The student’s written consent is not required for the disclosure of grades, disciplinary action, or other information to parents of students who are dependents for federal income tax purposes. Parents requesting information regarding dependent students must demonstrate federal income dependency by submitting their most recent federal income tax return.

In addition, the university may disclose to the parents of a student the student’s violation of any federal, state, or local law or any rule adopted by the university governing the possession or use of alcohol or a controlled substance if the student is under age 21.

If the university determines that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of the student or other individuals, the university may disclose information from the student’s education records to appropriate parties (including parents of the student) whose knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or other individuals. The university must keep a record of the threat and the parties to whom the information was disclosed.

Further, the university may disclose information received under a community notification program about a student who is required to register as a sex offender.

Administrative Discretion

The university reserves the rights to disqualify, discontinue, exclude, or involuntarily withdraw any student from the university at the discretion of the Associate Vice President for Student Life/Chief Judicial Officer or designee, as deemed necessary for the safety or well-being of the student or others.

Handbook Amendment

The university reserves the right to amend this handbook at any time. Students will receive email notifications related to any changes to the Student Standards of Conduct. View the current version of the handbook. The current handbook, last revised August 2014, supersedes all previous handbooks, but in all disciplinary proceedings the language in the handbook that existed at the time of any alleged misconduct will be controlling all student conduct issues.


Any disciplinary outcome resulting in university suspension or expulsion may be reported to the student’s professors, other university officials, and the registrar.

The university will, upon written request, disclose to the alleged victim of any crime of violence (as that term is defined in section 16 of title 18, United States Code), or a nonforcible sex offense, the report on the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the university against a student who is the alleged perpetrator of such crime or offense with respect to such crime or offense. If the alleged victim of such crime or offense 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.

Time Limitations

APU may also extend its jurisdiction to misconduct that occurs prior to, but is not reported until after the graduation of the offender. There is no time limit on reporting of violations of the Student Standards of Conduct. However, the longer someone waits to report an offense, the harder it becomes for APU to obtain information and witness statements, and to make a determination regarding alleged violations.