What are my rights in the discipline process?
Your rights are outlined in the Code of Conduct, Section J, “Rights in all Disciplinary Proceedings” found in the Student Handbook available online on the Office of Student Conduct website.
How do you make your decision about if I violated a College policy?
A Standard of Evidence is the measuring stick by which we make a decision. Ramapo College uses Preponderance of Evidence in order to find a student in violation of policy. The student is not responsible for violating policies unless proven otherwise; however, unlike a court of law, the standard of evidence which must be met in order to prove that a student violated policy is less stringent. If you imagine weighing the evidence on some imaginary scale, it must be more than 50% convincing that a policy was violated. Another way of stating it is “Is it more likely than not that a policy was violated?”
Does a student who has been charged with a violation need an attorney?
Any student (Accused, Victim, Witness) who appears at a disciplinary proceeding may have an advisor accompany him/her. The advisor may provide advice but will not be permitted to question witnesses or to present information at the meeting. (Having an attorney serve, as an advisor does not change the role of the advisor.) A student who wishes to have an attorney as an advisor must inform the Office of Student Conduct in writing or by telephone at least three business days prior to the scheduled proceeding.
If an incident is being handled in the courts, may the College also take action?
Yes, students sometimes find that their involvement in an incident is reviewed by two or more jurisdictions (e.g., the College discipline system and the civil and criminal justice systems.) The fact that an incident is being examined from more than one perspective does not mean that the student has been placed in “double jeopardy.” The purpose of the student discipline process is to determine if a person shall remain a member of this academic community and, if so, under what conditions.
But admitting a violation will ruin my life – I’m afraid the violation will go on my record and keep me from going to professional or graduate school, or from getting a job!
A single violation will NOT ruin one’s life. As an educational institution, a primary goal of the campus disciplinary process is to help students learn from their mistakes. Usually, no permanent records are retained, and nothing goes on a student’s transcripts regarding the disciplinary action. Only if the sanction involves Expulsion is it noted on transcripts. In all but a very few cases, a student discipline record will not prevent one from applying and being admitted to medical, law, dental, or other professional or graduate schools.
But I was not aware of the rules; I did not mean to do anything wrong!
Every student is responsible for knowing what the rules are. This is why it is important to ask questions if one is unsure of the standards that apply. For example, if a student does not know the proper rules for citing sources in a paper, or do not know whether or to what extent students can work together on a homework assignment, the student must ask questions about the rules BEFORE completing and submitting the assignment. Ignorance is not an excuse. If you find yourself worrying about whether something is OK or not, don’t ignore your instincts-ask for clarification.
Most answers to questions about the student judicial process can be found in the Student Handbook found on the Office of Student Conduct website. If you do not find the information you are looking for, you can send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call the Office of Student Conduct at (201) 684-7869.