Article IX, Section 5 of the By-laws and Policies of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning states that the President of Delta State University is charged with the responsibility of maintaining appropriate standards of student conduct and is authorized to expel, dismiss, suspend, and place limitations on continued attendance and to levy penalties for disciplinary violations subject to procedures of due process.
Disciplinary hearings at Delta State University are utilized in order to arrive at decisions regarding student behavior. These decisions affect the student and his relationship with the University. The Administration of discipline is an educational process, and the procedures are determined by students and educators. Such procedures will give full cognizance to tests of fairness, justice, truth, and the requirements of due process. The requirements for due process will include notice of charges, a fair hearing, and an opportunity to appeal.
The disciplinary process has been delegated by the President to the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA). The VPSA, or his designee, may be assisted in this process by councils/boards/panels which hear cases assigned to them by the VPSA. These councils/boards/panels include the SGA Student Court and Appellate Committee. Violation of local, state, or federal law can also be assigned to local law enforcement authorities. Other bodies recognized by the VPSA as disciplinary entities include the Subcommittee on Fraternities and Sororities, the I.F.C. Judicial Board, the Panhellenic Judiciary Committee, and the Pan-Hellenic Judiciary Board. However, these entities may only sanction organizations for the behavior of individual members - not the individuals demonstrating said behavior.
The established hearing bodies, as well as those created by the VPSA, are empowered by the President of the University to hear various types of judicial cases. These bodies have the authority to levy fines, punishments, and work assignments when a student is found guilty as charged. In addition, such bodies may be charged by the VPSA with interpreting the Constitution of the Student Government Association and/or policies, rules and/or regulations established by Delta State University. Such bodies may also recommend to the VPSA that a defendant be suspended or expelled.
Residence Hall Councils handle minor residence hall infractions and consist of hall officers and a representative from each floor or unit of the residence hall. This council may convene as a Judicial Council to assist in the disciplinary process.
The SGA Student Court is comprised of justices appointed by the SGA president as outlined in the Student Government Association Constitution. The following procedures for initiating judicial procedures shall apply to the Student Court:
1. The student-defendant shall be given notification in writing of the specific charges against him, and the date, time, and place of the hearing.
2. Service of the notice shall be either by personal carrier or regular mail. If the service is personal, appropriate certification of receipt shall be made by the one who served the student-defendant notice. Service of the notice of the hearing must be presented at least five days prior to the hearing by the appropriate council. This minimum time limitation may be waived in writing by the student- defendant; however, the student may also request in writing a delay of the hearing.
3. The letter of notification will inform the student-defendant that he may bring any
witnesses to the hearing to testify in his behalf.
4. The letter of notification will further inform the student that he may be accompanied and represented by an advisor of his choosing during any time that he might appear before a council. The advisor may speak only at the discretion of the Chairman of the Council.
Members of the Appellate Committee are appointed by the President of Delta State. The Appellate Committee consists of seven members, four faculty members, and three stu dents, one of whom is the president of the SGA. Any three of the members appointed by the chairman of this committee may sit as a panel for the committee.
Cases may be assigned to the Residence Hall Council, Student Court, or Appellate Committee by the VPSA based on the type of violation, location of the violation, and/or the student’s current disciplinary status. The VPSA will, at his discretion, assign cases to hearing officers and/or committees/panels for original adjudication and, if appealed, assign cases to other bodies which he deems appropriate. The VPSA also has the right to immediately suspend a student from any or all university property or activity, pending a hearing, if the circumstances and/or seriousness of the alleged violations warrants such action. The VPSA will serve as the final appeal, prior to the President of the University, unless the VPSA is otherwise excessively involved in a lower decision. The VPSA may also interject his authority in a judicial matter (before or after a decision has been rendered) if he determines the safety and/or welfare of the defendant(s) and/or university population is threatened.
A student found guilty of any violation of University regulations has the right of appeal. For original adjudication cases, he/she has five days in which to accept or appeal the decision rendered in the case. After original adjudication cases, the limit of time in which to appeal will be established by the VPSA. The decision to appeal must be communicated to the judicial officer hearing the case or to the VPSA. This appeal must be made to the SGA Chief Justice if the case was heard by the student court, or appeal to the Director of Housing and Residence Life if the case was heard by the Residence Hall Council. The VPSA may refuse to allow an appeal after the original adjudication, if he determines that there is no merit in the case. Such a decision may be appealed to the President of the University.
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