This webpage is a guide/resource for complainants participating in Student Conduct Review Board (SCRB) hearings. This is meant as a supplement, not a replacement for the information and advice that a complainant may receive from his or her advisor. If you have additional questions, please contact the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
Philosophy of the Code of Conduct
Gettysburg College seeks to establish and maintain an environment that provides for the development of the young adult as a whole person with an emphasis on inquiry, integrity, and mutual respect. The College expects its students to conduct themselves in all places and at all times in such a manner as to show respect for themselves, others, and the community. The Gettysburg College community fosters respect for the rights and dignity of all residents, including members of both majority and minority groups. Gettysburg College students are members of the academic College community, the greater Gettysburg community, and global society and are expected to abide by the College's policies at all times.
Filing a Case
Any person who believes that a Gettysburg College student has violated a policy published in the Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities may bring a complaint forward by contacting the Department of Public Safety (DPS) at 717-337-6911. The Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) will review the complaint and determine if charges are warranted. In cases where members of the community do not file a complaint, the College may act as the complainant. The person who brings the student(s) up on charges is referred to as the "complainant," and is expected to participate in the hearing.
When a policy is violated, DPS and/or SRR will investigate and inform involved parties of alleged violations. The respondent will receive a charge letter from SRR outlining the alleged policy violations, necessary information, as well as the time, date, and location of the hearing. This information is time sensitive; therefore, you should read your charge letter right away and respond appropriately. Being charged with a violation of the code of conduct does not mean that you have been or will be found responsible for a violation. SCRB will hear the case to determine responsibility and assign sanctions. SCRB decisions may be appealed to the Dean of Students.
Please note that the findings of the hearing process are not final until the appeal is completed.
After the Director of SRR charges a student with a violation of policy:
- The Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) will contact the respondent(s) and complaint(s) where applicable, to go over details of the case and answer any questions.
- The respondent(s) and complaint(s) will be asked to provide the Director of SRR with a list if witnesses (if there are any). Those witnesses will be asked to provide statements to DPS and appear at the hearing if possible.
- The Director of SRR will request the name of the respondent’s(s) advisor. The advisor will be contacted by the Director to be certain that he or she understands their role in the hearing process. It is the respondent’s responsibility to meet with the advisor and to provide him or her with hearing materials.
- The Director of SRR will contact the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the respondent(s) to answer any questions. It is the respondent’s responsibility to provide parent(s)/guardian(s) with copies hearing materials. The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will not provide this information.
It is important to differentiate the College’s hearing process from the legal process. The hearing process is educational in nature. The process is working to determine responsibility and not guilt, and sanctions are largely educational. The chair of the hearing is an administrator of the College and will guide the hearing process. He or she will follow a script to be certain that all parties understand his or her rights and responsibilities, and have an equal opportunity to present information. The complainant (the person bringing charges forward), the respondent, and their respective advisor(s) are present for the entire proceeding. The respondent(s) will be asked to plea either responsible or not responsible for a violation of the code You should consider your plea before entering the hearing. If you need guidance on how you should plea, you should discuss with your advisor. Following the plea, the complainant(s) and respondent(s) will have the opportunity to give an opening statement, answer and ask clarifying questions, and make a closing statement. Witnesses will also provide statements during the hearing. A DPS representative may also be present during the hearing to present investigation information.
After pleas have been entered and all statements have been made, the board will excuse all parties and deliberate to determine responsibility and, if necessary, assign sanctions. The respondent(s) will receive their sanctions at this time if found responsible for a violation of the code. The chair will then call in the complainant(s) and respondent(s) separately to discuss the findings. The chair of the hearing will ask the respondent to schedule a meeting with the Director of SRR to discuss the outcome of the hearing, and the appeals process.
How does the Student Conduct Review Board determine responsibility?
The standard of proof that the Board will utilize is preponderance of information. The preponderance standard means that the Board finds it is more likely than not the respondent is responsible or not responsible for a violation of the code based on the information presented to the Board. The members of the Board are trying to take the information from the reports, as well as the statements heard in the hearing, to determine more likely than not what occurred and where responsibility should be placed.
Can my parents or attorney sit in the hearing with me?
Although the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities is willing to speak with attorneys and expects to speak with parent(s)/guardian(s), they are not permitted to attend the hearing.
What is the goal of the Student Conduct Review Board?
To maintain and promote a welcoming and safe community, with an emphasis on inquiry, integrity, and mutual respect.
What is the confidentiality policy?
The SCRB proceedings are confidential. Parties are expected to keep all reports, documents, and all information shared in the hearing confidential. Violation of this policy is a violation of the code of conduct. The members of SCRB and College officials are not permitted to share information due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For more information on FERPA, please visit http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.
What sanction will the accused student receive?
Serious violations may result in suspension or expulsion. The SCRB carefully considers the incident, and conduct records when determining a sanction.
What should I wear to the hearing?
Business casual is recommended.
What happens if I can’t find an advisor?
Any member of the Gettysburg College community who is not an attorney may serve as an advisor. Most students select a professor or administrator with whom they have an established relationship. However, there are also resources through Student Senate, or the Director of SRR can assist you in finding an advisor. You may not have a professional lawyer serve as an advisor during the hearing.
May I appeal the decision of the Board?
Yes. After a hearing where a student has been found responsible, the Director of SRR will meet with the complainant(s) and respondent(s) to thoroughly review the appeal process.
How do I withdraw charges?
Charges may be withdrawn by contacting the Director of SRR and explaining the reason why charges are being dropped. This action may result in a violation of the code of conduct for the complainant, or in more serious cases, the Director may determine that it is necessary to move forward with the hearing and allow the College to step in as the complainant.