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The student conduct process is not attempting to determine whether a student has violated the law, but whether a student has violated the Standards for Student Conduct. Because of this, the outcome of a court proceeding has no bearing on the outcome of the conduct process. Further, the concept of “double jeopardy” does not apply, as criminal proceedings do not offer exemption from civil or administrative proceedings.
Student Conduct Code proceedings are independent from court or other administrative proceedings. Discipline may be instituted against a Student also charged in civil or criminal courts based on the same facts that constitute the alleged violation of the Student Conduct Code. The Campus may proceed before, simultaneously with, or after any judicial or other administrative proceedings, except in cases involving a 1097 issue.
A significant body of case law has been established that outlines constitutional requirements in a student disciplinary process. At Cal Poly, students may accept all charges and sanctions issued at a disciplinary conference (referred to as a Resolution Agreement). Alternatively, if a student does not accept the terms of the settlement agreement at the disciplinary conference, the student's case automatically goes to a hearing. The student receives "notice" through a "charge letter" that is e-mailed to the student's Cal Poly e-mail. The student receives "the opportunity to be heard" at the disciplinary conference and/or at the hearing.
Formal rules of evidence applied in courtroom proceedings (e.g., California Evidence Code) do not apply in the hearing. All information that responsible persons are accustomed to rely upon in the conduct of serious affairs is considered. Hearsay may be considered and will be given the weight appropriate under all of the circumstances. Unduly repetitive information may be excluded.
Student participation is always valued and encouraged. If a students declines to participate or speak in a conference or hearing, the disciplinary process will proceed without student involvement. A decision will be reached based on the information available to the conduct officer or hearing officer. In a hearing, the burden of proof is upon the University to establish that the student is responsible by a preponderance of the evidence. All reasonable evidence, including hearsay, is admissible. The preponderance of the evidence burden applies in ALL cases, regardless of what the parallel criminal proceeding standard is. A student does NOT have the right to:
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