I have been asked to serve as an advisor in a student conduct proceeding. Do I need to let the university know?
The Student Conduct Code states that students have the right to have one person serve as a personal advisor/counselor to consult during the student conduct proceedings. A personal advisor or counselor (who in some cases may be an attorney) may appear at student conduct proceedings with the accused student to provide advice, but may not represent the accused student or directly question or cross-examine witnesses, except in a case where the university is represented by an attorney. Attorneys may serve as advisors in our process if an accused is also the subject of a pending subsequent criminal matter arising out of the same circumstances or their case involves sexual misconduct, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence or related retaliation. There is no restriction on who a student may consult or seek advice from, the restriction pertains to the student conduct proceedings only.
It is the responsibility of the student to inform the university that you will be serving as an advisor. This notification may happen at any time prior to your involvement in the student’s case.
Students who have advisors will be asked to complete a privacy release form so that information from that student’s conduct file maybe shared with his/her advisor. Students may complete this form at any time by coming to the Student Conduct Office.
Can I attend any meetings and/or conduct conferences regarding my student’s case?
Yes. Advisors are allowed to attend any meetings and/or conduct conferences involving their student. Students are encouraged to schedule an information session prior to their conduct conference and are required to be present during all conduct conference proceedings.
Why can the university take action when an incident occurred off campus?
The General Order on Judicial Standards of Procedure and Substance in Review of Student Discipline in Tax Supported Institutions of Higher Education, 45 F.R.D. 133, 145 (1969) states, “In the field of discipline, scholastic and behavioral, an institution may establish any standards reasonably relevant to the lawful missions, processes, and functions of the institution…Standards so established may apply to student behavior on and off campus when relevant to any lawful mission, process, or function of the institution. By such standards of student conduct, the institution may prohibit any action or omission which impairs, interferes with, or obstructs the missions, processes, and functions of the institution.”
As it pertains to Texas A&M University, the University, through the authority of the Vice President of Student Affairs, reserves the right to investigate and adjudicate incidents occurring off campus which may violate the Code of Student Conduct. Some examples of behaviors which may warrant the university taking action include situations in which a student has demonstrated flagrant disregard for any person or persons; or when a student’s or student organizations’ behavior is judged to threaten the health, safety, and/or property of any individual or group; or any other activity which adversely affects the University community and/or the pursuit of its objectives.
If the Vice President for Student Affairs determines that the offense affects the University as stated above, the Student Conduct Office (SCO) in the Offices of the Dean of Student Life, or if the student is a member of the Corp of Cadets, the Office of the Commandant, shall hold an administrative conduct conference to consider whether the offense is consistent with the standards set out above, consider whether the student committed the violation, and take appropriate action. The action of the university administrative conduct officer(s) shall be made independent of any off-campus authority. Please refer to Texas A&M University Student Conduct Code 24.3 for further information.
What is the standard of proof in the student conduct process?
Texas A&M University uses a standard of proof called Preponderance of the Information to determine if a violation of the Student Rules has occurred.
Preponderance of the Information means it is more likely than not that a particular behavior or event took place. This is a different, and less strict, standard of proof than is used in the criminal court system. The student conduct conferences at Texas A&M University are not criminal proceedings, nor do they follow the same guidelines as a criminal proceeding.
What will happen if my student refuses to participate in the student conduct process?
A decision on whether your student is responsible for the pending charges may be made in the student’s absence based on the contents of the student’s conduct file. The student may also be charged with a violation of Texas A&M University Student Rule 24.3.18, failure to appear for a university conduct proceeding. Typically, the University will place a block on the student’s registration and mandate that the student attend a conduct conference before being allowed to register for future semesters.
Can my student delay the student conduct proceedings until the criminal matter is resolved?
Since the university student conduct proceeding is separate from the criminal court proceeding and the outcome of a criminal court case has no bearing on the outcome of a university student conduct proceeding, the university will not delay a conduct proceeding from this reason.
What if my student has an academic commitment, funeral to attend or illness that conflicts with the scheduled student conduct conference?
Should your student need to reschedule the conduct conference for an academic commitment not noted on the student’s class schedule, funeral, or illness please have them contact the Student Conduct Office at 979-847-7272 to discuss their concern and request an alternative conference time.
What other rights are afforded in the Student Conduct process?
A complete listing of rights that students have in the University’s student conduct process can be found on the Texas A&M University Student Rules website at: http://student-rules.tamu.edu/rule26.