University as Complainant
As necessary, Dominican University reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by the victim of misconduct.
Dominican University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.
When members of groups, individuals acting collusively, or members of an organization act in concert in violation of any policy, they may be held accountable as a group, and a hearing may proceed against the group as joint accused students. In any such action, however, determinations will be made with respect to the involvement of each accused individual.
Immunity for Victims
Dominican University encourages the reporting of conduct code violations and crimes by victims. Sometimes victims are hesitant to report to college officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. It is in the best interests of this community that as many victims as possible choose to report to university officials. To encourage reporting, Dominican University pursues a policy of offering amnesty from policy violations related to the incident.
The welfare of students in our community is of paramount importance. At times, students on and off campus may need assistance. Dominican University encourages students to offer help and assistance to others in need. Sometimes, students are hesitant to offer assistance to others for fear that they may get in trouble themselves. Dominican University pursues a policy of limited immunity for students who offer help to others in need. While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the university will provide educational options, rather than punishment, to those who offer their assistance to others in need.
Dominican University reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations. The university may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations. Where a student is non-dependent, Dominican University will contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a health and/or safety risk. Dominican University also reserves the right to designate which university officials have a need to know about individual conduct complaints pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Notification of Outcomes
The outcome of a campus hearing is part of the educational record of the accused student and is protected from release under a federal law, FERPA. However, Dominican University observes the legal exceptions as follows:
- Complainants in sexual misconduct and sexual harassment incidents, as well as other incidents as deemed by the dean of students or his/her designee, have a right to be informed of the outcome and sanctions of the hearing, in writing, without condition or limitation.
- The university may release publicly the name, nature of the violation and the sanction for any student who is found in violation of a college policy that is a crime of violence, including: arson, burglary, robbery, criminal homicide, sex offenses, assault, destruction/damage/vandalism of property and kidnapping/abduction. The university may release this information to the complainant in any of these offenses regardless of the outcome, but complainants are cautioned that FERPA does not permit them to re-release this information to others.
It has become common for students accused of policy violations to try to defend their actions with excuses, such as prescription drug interactions, self-defense, disabilities, etc. The college’s policy on defenses is clear. Defending your actions is admitting to a policy violation. While your defense will not excuse your actions, Dominican University will take the legitimacy of your defense into consideration in addressing the proper sanction.
Students are cautioned that behavior conducted online can subject them to college conduct action, such as harassment delivered by email. Students must also be aware that blogs, web pages, social networking websites and similar online postings are in the public sphere and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations, if evidence of policy violations is posted online. The university does not regularly review this information, but will take action if and when such information is brought to the attention of college officials.