Definitions and Disciplinary Process
Student Accountability and 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 “more likely than not” 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. The hearing may be recorded at the discretion of the university upon advance notice in writing to participants in the hearing.
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 a family member 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 or any other disciplinary-related meetings.
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):
- Admonition – An oral statement to the student that s/he is violating or may be violating university policies. The university official will review the policy and rationale and explore resources/supports for the student.
- Warning — Verbal or written warnings may be given for unacceptable behavior and the student is advised to change the behavior. (Disclaimer: This sanction may be given without a hearing.)
- Restitution/reimbursement or fine — Damage or misuse of university property or failure to follow university policy or procedure may require a student to make restitution or pay a fine.
- Discretionary sanctions — Some students may be required to perform community service, write a paper, or perform any other activity deemed appropriate for the violation of the Student Standards of Conduct or any other university policies.
- Loss of privileges — Some students may lose privileges such as visitation, leadership opportunities, living on campus, campus employment, cocurricular activities, parking, etc., appropriate to the violation of the Student Standards of Conduct or any other university policies.
- Student conduct probation — A student may be placed on student conduct probation for a specified period of time. During this time, further violations of university policy may result in the student’s suspension or expulsion from the university. Any student upon whom sanctions are imposed and/or is placed on probation may become immediately ineligible for service as an athlete, student leader, and/or student representative. Students who fail to comply with the terms and conditions of a sanction are subject to additional judicial action.
- Interim suspension — Imposed immediately when the seriousness of the offense is such that the members of the community, including the accused student, may be threatened by his/her continued presence. (This suspension will be for a stated period of time and followed by a student hearing.)
- University suspension — Separation of the student from the university for a specified period of time. A student may not be on campus or at university events while suspended without written permission from the Chief Judicial Officer or designee. (Conditions for readmission may be required.)
- University expulsion — Permanent separation of the student from the university. A person may not be on campus or at university events if expelled without written permission from the Chief Judicial Officer or designee.
Students wishing to appeal the disciplinary process must do so, in writing via email or hard copy, 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. The appeal meeting may be recorded at the discretion of the university upon advance notice in writing to participants in the hearing.
The appeal shall consist of one or more of the following exclusive grounds for appeal:
- 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.
- 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.
- Procedural Irregularity — The written procedure was not followed through the disciplinary process (e.g., the student did not have opportunity to present information at the hearing).
Guidelines for the letter of appeal:
- 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.
- The petition must include:
- Names of the parties involved
- 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
- 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
- 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 cases of sexual misconduct issues, both the complainant and the respondent will have the right to appeal the decision made through the process. Refer to the Sexual Harassment, Stalking, and Sexual Violence Appeal Process for more information.
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 is an ex officio nonvoting member of the Student Conduct Review Committee. If practicable, the committee shall consist of three faculty or staff members (each selected by the Chief Judicial Officer or designee).
The following process is such that after review of information and deliberation, the committee will make a written recommendation to the Chief Judicial Officer or his/her designee, whose decision is final. In the case of a tie or deadlock, the decision will be given in writing to the Chief Judicial Officer. There must be a minimum of three members present to constitute a quorum (excluding the Chief Judicial Officer). 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.
- “Anonymous source” refers to an individual who reports information related to an incident and their identity is not known to anyone.
- “Confidential reporter” refers to an individual who reports information related to an incident where their identity is not disclosed to anyone else but the adjudicating officer(s) and other university officials.
- “Faculty member” means any person hired by the university to conduct classroom activity.
- “Grievance” does not include those complaints that have gone through other accountability appellate processes.
- “Guests” applies to all guests of APU community members whose hosts may be held accountable for the conduct of said guests.
- “Member of the university community” refers to any student, faculty member, university official, volunteers, or other person employed by the university.
- “Off-Campus Behavior” refers to student behaviors and actions that take place away from official campus grounds or APU-sponsored events. The Student Standards of Conduct is based on shared values, and as such, sets a range of expectations for the APU student no matter where or when their conduct may take place.
- “Policy” is defined as the written regulations of the university found in but not limited to the student handbook and university catalogs.
- “Student” includes all persons taking undergraduate courses at the university, both full- and part-time. For the purposes of university policy, a student is one who is enrolled in a degree or nondegree program at the university or is representing the university between regular academic semesters (including summer break). Student is considered to be enrolled at the university unless he/she has completed an official university withdrawal process or graduated from the university.
- “University” refers to Azusa Pacific University.
- “University official” includes any person employed by the university.
- “University premises” refers to all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, leased, used, or controlled by the university (including adjacent streets or sidewalks).
- “University sponsored events/programs” refers to any events planned or sponsored by the University.
- “Violation” refers to any behavior that is unacceptable as described in the Student Standards of Conduct.
The Vice President for Student Life, the Associate Vice President for Student Life/Chief Judicial Officer, the Associate Deans of Student Life/Judicial Administrator, the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Communiversity, the director of the study away programs, and student services personnel on satellite campus programs (such as L.A. Term and South Africa Semester) have been 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 Vice President for Student Life’s office at (626) 815-3890.
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. See the Student Record Release Authorization (PDF).
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:
- Notification — A student has the right to proper notice of the policy he/she allegedly violated and when his/her case will be heard. However, based on the information gathered through the disciplinary process (i.e., during the hearing process), a student may be held responsible to additional violations that what was originally listed in the notification letter.
- Right to be heard — A student has the right to present his/her viewpoint and position and provide supporting information, and to have it considered by a university official.
- Findings/Decisions — Decisions in a student conduct case are based on reasonable and available supporting information.
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.
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. Such removal will be followed by a decision made under the Student Conduct Procedure described below.
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 latest handbook 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 in 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.
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.