I. Purpose of the Student Conduct System
II. Statement of Values
III. Statement on Freedom of Expression
IV. Scope of Authority
VI. Student Organizations
VIII. Acts of Misconduct
IX. Student Rights
X. University Conduct Process
XII. Student Case Resolution Process
XIII. Organization Case Resolution Process
XIV. Responsibilities of Hearing Bodies and Officers
XV. The Community Adjudication Board (CAB)
XVI. Special Procedures for Alleged Violations of Sexual Misconduct
XVIII. Appeal Procedures
XIX. Special Procedures in Emergencies
XX. Discipline Records
XXI. Record Elimination Policy
XXII. Revisions to the Code of Student Conduct
As a public institution of higher education, George Mason University has as its primary mission the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, and the development of its students into productive citizens who contribute to the well-being of society. It is the purpose of the University Conduct System to foster a supportive climate by protecting the community from conduct that is disruptive of the community and by encouraging conduct that is supportive of the teaching/learning environment.
Underlying the University’s mission are basic values which must be respected if these goals are to be achieved. These indispensable community values include:
George Mason University believes that through active participation in an intellectually and culturally diverse learning community, students will be better prepared to deal with the issues they will face in a rapidly changing ethnically diverse society.
In the presentation of ideas, the University encourages a balanced approach and respect for contrary points of view. Being open to the ideas and opinions of other members of the community will lead to discussion that is characterized by courtesy, mutual respect, and charity.
Congruent with these ideas is the principle that all members of the George Mason University community enjoy the right to freedom of speech and expression.
The right to free speech and expression does not include unlawful activity or activity which endangers or threatens to endanger the safety or well-being of any member of the community. Further, it does not include any activity which materially interferes with the education or well-being of other students or the mission of the institution.
It is expected that members of the community will actively participate in programs and activities of the University and will support efforts to foster the identified values of the community. All members of the community are expected to abide by local, state, federal, and international laws.
The University Conduct System has authority in all non-academic disciplinary matters. Academic discipline is adjudicated according to procedures established in the George Mason University Honor Code. The University reserves the right to discipline students and/or organizations for acts of misconduct wherever they occur. All members of the community are expected to abide by local, state, federal, and international laws. The University, at its sole discretion, may pursue disciplinary action against a student while the student is also subject to criminal proceedings. The University reserves this right even if criminal charges are pending, reduced, or dismissed.
The Code of Student Conduct and all applicable processes apply to undergraduate, graduate and professional students as well as all those individuals who are not officially enrolled for a particular term, but who have a continuing relationship with the university. Students will also be held accountable for their conduct at all times including behavior that may have occurred before classes began, after classes ended, or if it was discovered after the student graduates. Additionally, inappropriate behavior during the academic year, between academic terms or during periods of suspension or dismissal is not permitted. All policies, processes and procedures outlined in the Code shall also apply to a student’s conduct even if the student withdraws from school while a disciplinary matter is pending.
The Code of Student Conduct and all applicable processes apply to recognized student organizations. Student organizations shall be responsible for the conduct of its members from the time of application for recognition until such time as they are no longer recognized by the University. Organizations and/or its individual members shall be held accountable for their conduct, even though the behavior may have occurred before classes began, after classes ended, or if it was discovered after the student graduates. Additionally, inappropriate behavior during the academic year, between academic terms or during periods of suspension or dismissal is not permitted. The Code shall apply to an organization even if the organization disbands while a disciplinary matter is pending.
1. Acts of Misconduct – Any behavior that is inconsistent with University policy or as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct or other University publication.
2. Administrative Hearing – A process in which the facts of an alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct are presented an administrative hearing officer to determine if a violation(s) took place and what sanction(s) are appropriate.
3. Administrative Hearing Officers – University staff, faculty or graduate students designated by the Director of Student Conduct and trained to adjudicate violations of the Code of Student Conduct.
4. Appellate Process – The appellate process is designed to ensure the integrity of the deliberations and decisions of the University hearing board(s) and/or the decisions of an administrative hearing officer.
5. Complicity – Complicity is condoning, supporting, or encouraging any violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Students who anticipate or observe any violation of the Code are expected to remove themselves from association or participation in any such inappropriate behavior. Individuals who fail to do so may be subject to the disciplinary process for the alleged violations.
6. Fundamental Fairness – A standard that includes minimally the right to receive notice of the alleged violation(s) and the time, date and location of the opportunity to be heard.
7. Community Adjudication Board (CAB) – A group of trained students, faculty, or staff who determine if a violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct took place and what appropriate sanction(s) should be assigned.
8. Preponderance of Information – A standard of proof that indicates that the information provided leads an administrative hearing officer or CAB to decide that “more likely than not” a violation did or did not occur.
9. Sanction – An outcome imposed for the violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Generally, sanctions are educational in nature and intended to modify the student’s behavior as well as build an awareness of personal responsibility and community standards. Sanctions may also be given to protect the Mason community and preserve a safe educational environment for all members.
10. Sexual Misconduct – Any attempt or actual unwanted sexual contact, physical or nonphysical, in the absence of clear and voluntary consent. Clear and voluntary consent is consent that is given freely and actively in mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent is not clear or voluntary if it results from the use of physical force, threats, intimidation, or coercion. It is a violation of policy to have sexual contact with someone who is known to be, or should be known to be incapable of making a rational, reasonable decision.
11. Student – An individual who has applied to the university and/or is taking courses at George Mason University on a full-, part-time, or non-degree seeking basis. Student status lasts until conferral of degree or certificate, or is permanently separated from the university for academic or non-academic reasons. Also included are those individuals who are not officially enrolled for a particular term, but who have a continuing relationship with the university.
12. Student Organization – The term “Student Organization” means any number of persons who have complied with the formal requirements for George Mason University recognition.
13. University Official— Any individual who is employed, contracted with or appointed and performing administrative or professional responsibilities within the scope of his/her authority by the university.
14. University Premises—The premises of George Mason University includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of, owned, used, managed, or controlled by the University (including adjacent streets and sidewalks).
Acts of misconduct include, but are not specifically limited to, the following:
1. Possession, use, manufacture, distribution, or sale of alcohol in violation of university policy or law, impairment which can be attributed to the use of alcohol, possession of alcoholic beverages in designated “dry areas”, or other violation of the University Alcohol Policy;
2. Possession, use, distribution, manufacture, or sale of drugs, narcotics, chemicals and/or drug paraphernalia in violation of university policy or law, or other violation of the University Drug Policy;
3. Illegal gambling;
4. Breach of peace or disorderly conduct;
5. Trespassing and/or any unauthorized entry;
6. Acts of dishonesty included but not limited to knowingly furnishing false information, including fabrication, forgery, alteration, or misuse of University documents, identification and keys or access cards;
7. Infliction of or threat of physical harm to any person(s), including self, or their property;
8. Any unwelcome sexual behavior and/or all forms of sexual misconduct including but not limited to: a) Deliberate touching or penetration of another person without consent; or b) Requests for sexual favors; or c) Conduct of a sexual nature that expressly or implicitly imposes conditions upon, threatens, interferes with, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning environment for an individual’s participation in any aspect of university life;
9. All hostile, threatening, or intimidating behavior that by its very nature would be interpreted by a reasonable person to threaten or endanger the health, safety or well-being of any person is contradictory to the University’s mission and therefore not acceptable. Examples of such behavior may include, but are not limited to: a) An act(s) that alarms or seriously disrupts another person’s ability to participate in any aspect of University life is prohibited; or b) Communicating verbally either directly or indirectly through another party, by telephone, regular or electronic mail, voice mail or any verbal, mechanical, electronic or written communication in a manner likely to cause causes injury, distress, or emotional or physical discomfort is also prohibited;
10. Any form of harassment, including sexual harassment or harassment based on perceived or actual identities;
11. Invasion of Privacy: The recording, filming, photographing, viewing, transmitting or producing the image or voice of another person without his/her knowledge and expressed consent while in an environment that is considered private or where there is an expectation of privacy are actions that are strictly prohibited. In such circumstances, the use of undisclosed and/or hidden recording devices is prohibited, as is the storing, transmission and/or distribution of any such recordings. (This policy pertains to areas on campus that are considered private or where there is an expectation of privacy, including but not limited to a residence, restroom, shower, office, locker room, or gym. This policy does not pertain to the recording of public events or discussions or recordings made for law enforcement purposes.);
12. Theft, attempted theft, possession, sale or barter of, or damage to property;
13. Possession or use of firearms, fireworks, other weapons, or chemicals which are of an explosive or corrosive nature on university property or at university functions;
14. The instigation of false fire/explosion, or emergency alarms, bomb threats, tampering/misusing or damaging fire extinguishers, alarms or other safety equipment;
15. All forms of hazing such as any action taken or situation created, intentionally, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, ridicule, or possibly cause mental or physical harm or injury to any person on or off the university campus, participant’s consent is notwithstanding. Hazing is a broad term that encompasses a multitude of actions or activities. The term hazing refers to any actions or activities that do not contribute to the positive development of a person or an organization; which cause mental or physical harm; or which subject individuals to harassment, embarrassment, ridicule, or distress. Examples of situations that are considered hazing include but are not limited to tests of endurance, physical abuse, psychological abuse, morally degrading of humiliating activities, forced ingestion of any substance, activities which interfere with academic pursuits, and servitude. Hazing is typically associated with membership selection and initiation into an organization. It is possible for hazing to occur before, during and after membership selection and initiation.;
16. Non-recognized student groups attempting to function on the campus or in the name of George Mason University;
17. Failure to comply with the direction of, and/or present identification to any University official when that official has identified him or herself and is acting expressly within their authority to uphold a University policy. University officials include faculty and staff of the University. Also included are student employees who are carrying out assigned work responsibilities. Failure to comply with a verbal or written directive given by a University official, including obligations associated with any disciplinary sanction(s);
18. Misuse, abuse, and unauthorized use of technology, and/or use of technology for unauthorized purposes;
19. Interfering with the normal operation of the teaching/learning environment.
20. Violation of written University policy or regulations contained in any official publication or administrative announcement of George Mason University (i.e., University Catalogue, Resident Student Handbook, etc.);
21. Violation(s) of any local, state, federal law or international whether on University premises, or off-campus when such violation of the law has or may have an adverse impact upon the University community or its members.
22. Attempting to commit and/or complicity in any prohibited act(s) of the Code of Student Conduct including the failure to remove one’s self from incriminating situations and/or report the incident to proper authorities.
23. Bias Related Incidents: Any violation of the Code motivated by a consideration of race, sex (including gender identity, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation may subject the student to the imposition of a sanction more severe than would be imposed in the absence of such motivation.
24. Retaliation against another student or member of the Mason community for their participation in any portion of the referral or student conduct process. This includes referring a student out of concern for their well-being.
The following procedural rights are provided to any student who is participating in the University disciplinary process.
A. Respondent Rights
1. The right to receive notification of the alleged violation and the date, time, and place of any meeting or hearing on the alleged violation.
2. The right to challenge the objectivity or fairness of any of the persons serving on a administrative or conduct hearing panel. The decision to uphold any challenge made by the accused rests with the chair of the proceedings.
3. The right to introduce documents, to call witnesses, and present other evidence. The right to call witnesses is accompanied by the obligation to provide the name of and rationale for each witness, in writing, at least two business days in advance of a meeting or hearing to the officer or CAB Chair.
4. The right to be provided access to any information that may be used by a hearing panel or at an administrative proceeding. Access will be provided to such materials in advance of a meeting/hearing upon request to the Office of Student Conduct.
5. To pose questions of witnesses presented against the student at the hearing or administrative proceedings. All questions posed by the respondent are to be directed towards the Chair of the proceedings. In certain circumstances, at the sole discretion of the Chair, questioning may be done outside the physical presence of those participating in the conference or hearing.
6. The right to not be compelled to be a witness against oneself or to have his or her silence taken as an indication of responsibility for a violation.
7. The right to a decision of responsibility or not based on the preponderance of evidence and to be notified of such decision in writing.
8. The right to not be issued sanctions unless the student is found responsible for the violation.
9. The right to be accompanied in a disciplinary proceeding by an advisor of his or her own choosing and at his or her own expense. Advisors may only consult with the respondent and are not permitted to speak on the respondent’s behalf or address the hearing board or officer.
10. The right to request postponement of a disciplinary proceeding if circumstances warrant. In most cases, a postponement will only be granted due to an academically related commitment. The decision to postpone a disciplinary proceeding rests with the hearing officer or designee of the Office of Student Conduct.
11. The right to appeal the decision of a disciplinary proceeding in accordance with University Appeal procedures.
B. Complainant Rights
1. The right to be accompanied in a disciplinary proceeding by an advisor of his or her own choosing and at his or her own expense. Advisors may only consult with the respondent and are not permitted to speak on the respondent’s behalf or address the hearing board or officer.
2. The right to decide whether or not to notify local law enforcement authorities and/or to file a report with the Office of Student Conduct.
3. The right to be provided with information about victim advocacy, counseling, mental health or medical services available on campus.
4. The right to know how to report retaliation or harassment as a result of reporting acts of misconduct.
5. The right to be kept informed of the status of proceedings throughout the process.
6. The right to request the ability to answer questions posed by the accused outside of the physical presence of the accused. The director or designee will determine if such a request will be granted.
7. The right to submit, orally or in writing, an impact statement to any conduct body after the respondent has been found responsible for one or more of the alleged violations.
8. The right to receive timely notification of any decision made (only in sexual harassment and physical assault cases).
9. The right to be granted, if these changes are reasonably available, a change in living assignment, academic arrangement, or other steps necessary to prevent unnecessary or unwanted contact.
*In Cases of Sexual or Physical Harm or Harassment*
A Complainant who reports an alleged violation of sexual or physical harm or harassment is provided the following additional rights:
1. The right to answer questions posed by the respondent outside of the physical presence of the accused.
2. The right to remain present throughout the entire hearing except deliberations.
3. The right to not have his/her past behavioral history discussed during the hearing. The hearing chair shall determine the relevance of each question.
4. The right to be granted a reasonable change in living assignment, academic arrangement, or other steps necessary to prevent unnecessary or unwanted contact.
5. The right to be informed, in writing, of the outcome of any administrative or CAB hearing decision and any sanction(s) that may have been assigned.
6. The right to appeal the decision of a hearing or conference in accordance with University procedures.
All non-academic discipline matters fall under the authority of the Office of Student Conduct. The Director of Student Conduct may appoint an appropriate number of University staff to serve as an administrative hearing officer, and to provide supervision and/or administrative support for the George Mason University Conduct System. The model for disciplinary procedures is that of a University administrative proceeding, rather than criminal or civil trial. Therefore, formal rules of evidence and procedures akin to what takes place in such trials are not applicable. The hearing body shall have discretion to interpret, vary, and adjust procedural requirements in order to promote a fair and just decision.
The primary responsibility for maintaining order lies with the hearing officer or hearing chair, however all members of the hearing body have a duty to assert the power to assure an orderly and fair proceeding. It is the duty of the hearing officer or hearing chair to make sure that presentations to the board, by any hearing participant, are relevant and that matters raised by complaint, appeal, petition or other business before the body is fully and reasonably developed.
It is also the duty of the hearing officer or board adviser to manage the mechanics of the hearing; to coordinate schedules, paperwork and reports with the Director of Student Conduct; to speak for the body in all exchanges with counsel, parties, and others (except when the bodies are engaged in general conference with their advisor present); to control the proceedings and maintain order; to instruct persons before the body on the appropriate procedures of that hearing body; to declare the rulings and orders of the hearing body; to ensure proper completion and filing of all papers; and to perform other duties as necessary.
A system of hearing bodies can be effective only to the extent that the cooperation of all participants assures an orderly and fair development of testimony and arguments. All parties appearing before the various hearing bodies are expected to show consideration for one another so that the fact finding and analysis may proceed in a reasoned and reliable way. The hearing chair or administrative hearing officer shall have the authority to remove any participant from the hearing room or to inform any disorderly and disruptive person(s) that if their behavior does not subside, such acts of contempt may result in disciplinary action against the offenders.
Confidence is placed in the character and judgment of the board members, and they should hear, examine, and consider all testimony and evidence relevant to the specific issues before the body. Members should feel free to require counsel of the board advisor, the University, or the respondent to explain testimony. Members are expected to commit themselves diligently and in good faith to the business of the board and to disqualify themselves, if necessary. Finally, members are reminded that all matters before the hearing board concerning identifiable individuals are strictly confidential and cannot be revealed to, or discussed with, persons outside the hearing body in which the matter arises. Violation of this expectation may result in disciplinary action.
Any person may file a complaint against a student or organization for misconduct. The complaint must be prepared in writing, signed (in ink or electronically), and directed to the Office of Student Conduct. All complaints should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place.
Upon receipt of a complaint, a representative from the Office of Student Conduct will review the report to determine if there is enough information present to proceed with the process. If, based on the review, there is not sufficient information to substantiate the complaint, the complaint will be dismissed.
The Office of Student Conduct professional staff members will assist students accused of violating the Code in the preparation of the paperwork required by providing them with information on procedures, by notifying them of meetings and hearings, and by informing parties seeking to file complaints about their options, rights and procedures.
In addition, the Director or designee has the power and authority to review all complaints submitted to the Office of Student Conduct, and may refer or file formal complaints with the proper hearing body. The Director will have the authority to review complaints, settle cases on behalf of the University, and exercise other such reasonably provided powers and authority.
When the University is the complainant, the Director of Student Conduct, or his or her designee will personally present the interest of the University to the appropriate hearing body.
The Director of Student Conduct will work closely with all members of the University community to evaluate, maintain and facilitate a fair and effective student conduct process and campus environment that is conducive to academic learning and growth.
Students notified of an alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct have the option of having their case heard before a student hearing board (CAB) or before an administrative hearing officer. Depending on the nature and severity of the infraction, and the impact on the community, the University reserves the right to administratively hear cases of alleged student misconduct. Community Adjudication Board hearings are subject to availability. All hearings are closed to the public.
Registration as an official organization with the University is voluntary. By doing so the organization voluntarily assumes the responsibilities associated with recognition.
If, during an individual student’s hearing, it is determined that the alleged violation is an organizational offense, charges may also be brought against the organization within the university’s disciplinary process. A student organization is subject to the disciplinary process in the following situations:
1. An alleged offense was committed by one or more members of an organization and was done so on behalf of the organization.
2. An alleged offense was committed by one or more members of an organization and was sanctioned by an officer.
3. An alleged offense was committed by one or more members of an organization and organization funds were used to finance the venture.
4. An alleged offense was committed by one or more members of an organization and was supported by a majority of the organization’s membership.
5. An organization has chosen to protect one or more individuals who were members or guests of the organization.
6. The hearing officer/body deems that the offense, by its nature, was an organization offense and not the actions of the individual members.
7. An alleged offense occurred as a result of an organization sponsored function.
Violations of University rules and regulations by an organization will be adjudicated through the University’s Conduct System.
Each person involved in the administration of the student conduct system at George Mason University will set as a goal the fair, objective, and humane approach to the resolution of all incidents of misbehavior. While consistent and equitable treatment in the disciplinary process is another goal, each case will be dealt with based on the circumstances of that particular situation. Those involved in the conduct system should also be aware that their efforts are directed toward:
The CAB is organized to provide the student community at George Mason University an opportunity to serve the University through the adjudication of cases of alleged violations of the University Conduct Code for which the community, students included, has set as the behavior expectations for those students who voluntarily enter its doors.
CAB hearings shall have jurisdiction over violations of all university-wide, non-academic regulations that may result in eviction from the residence halls and/or suspension or expulsion from the institution.The Community Adjudication Board (CAB) shall be composed of five (5) members of the University student community. Quorum to conduct a CAB hearing shall be no less than three (3) students, one of whom shall serve as the Chair.
The Chair(s) of CAB will be designated by the Director of Student Conduct. The Director of Student Conduct or designee shall serve as the advisor. The advisor should attend and advise the board at all hearings. The advisor may ask questions as he or she feels are appropriate.
Upon becoming aware that an act of sexual misconduct is alleged, the Director of Student Conduct or designee will initiate an investigation and take actions deemed necessary to protect the emotional well-being of the students involved, as well as the educational environment of the University. These actions may include, but are not limited to; changes of residence hall room assignment, placing restrictions on entrance into certain campus areas or buildings, or forbidding contact between the complainant and the respondent. These actions are subject to appeal to the Dean of Students or designee, and will remain in effect until resolution of the alleged misconduct unless explicitly continued as a sanction imposed by the hearing board.
The Office of Student Conduct may take actions deemed necessary for the reasonable operation of George Mason University. The following sanctions are provided for and may be imposed upon any student or an organization that has been found responsible for a violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct.
Changes in the status of a student or organization that are not disciplinary in character, intended neither as punishment nor as censure, but required by administrative, academic, or security interests of the University and its community are not governed by these disciplinary procedures.
1. Warning – Notice that continuation or repetition of conduct found wrongful in the indefinite future may be cause for more severe disciplinary actions.
2. Educational Sanction – An order requiring the student or student organization to perform mandated service or to participate in an educational program or activity, including, but not limited to, an educational seminar, a treatment program for alcohol or drug abuse, psychological counseling, or other program/task designed to assist the student in learning more about how their behavior impacted themselves and/or the community.
3. Probation – A period during which a student must behave in a manner acceptable to the University. Under the status of disciplinary probation, a student is encouraged to seek advice and counsel from appropriate University officials. Conditions of probation may be set forth which restrict the student’s participation in co-curricular activities. Established proof of a violation of the terms of probation, or of a further incident of misconduct while on probation, may result in separation from the University for no less than one academic term.
4. Restitution – Requires a student to pay for damages to property, or the property of members or of visitors to the University, or for misappropriation of University funds, or for other expenses incurred as a result of violations of the Code of Student Conduct. Such reimbursement will be charged to any student who alone, or through group activities, organizes or knowingly participates in the events causing the damages or costs.
5. Loss of Privilege – The withdrawal of a privilege, use of a service, participation in a program, event, or activity for a specific period of time. The loss of privilege may prohibit a student or organization from participating in co-curricular activities, continuing a degree program, being present in or using certain campus facilities or services, and/or prohibit a student from enrolling in a class or classes.
6. Termination of Recognition – An order terminating University recognition of a registered student organization for a specific or indefinite period of time.
7. No Contact Order – No contact orders are designed so that students involved in a campus conduct process do not have any communication with each other to help minimize further altercations between those involved. Students who have no contact orders are not to contact each other using ANY means. This includes, but is not limited to comments, words or gestures in person, through postal mail, email, social networking sites, or by having others (friends, acquaintances, family members, etc.) act on his/her behalf.
8. Interim Suspension – In certain circumstances, the Dean of Students or his/her designee has the authority to suspend a student or student organization from the University on an interim basis, pending a disciplinary hearing. A student or organization will be suspended on an interim basis to ensure the safety and well-being of members and/or property of George Mason University, ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being, or protect the community if the student poses a threat to the normal operations of the university. The hearing will be held according to the procedure set forth in in the Code of Student Conduct.a. In the event the student committed the violation for which he/she was notified of, any sanction imposed shall take effect from the date of the interim suspension. The fact of interim suspension and subsequent disciplinary action shall become part of the student’s disciplinary record. If the hearing body concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support a finding that the student committed the violation for which he or she was notified of, no record of the interim suspension shall be maintained.
9. Interim Housing Suspension – In certain circumstances, the Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life or his/her designee has the authority to suspend a student from all residential communities on an interim basis, pending a hearing. A student may be interim suspended from all residential communities to ensure the safety and well-being of members and/or property of George Mason University, ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being, or protect the community if the student poses a definite threat to the normal operations of the University.
10. Suspension – An action which excludes the student from registration, class attendance, residence in University-owned or -managed housing, and use of University facilities for a specified period of time. The privilege of the use of University facilities/property is withdrawn by this action unless specific written permission otherwise is obtained from the conduct officer.
a. When the suspension action is decided upon during the last full week of classes for a term and the presence of the student on campus is deemed not to be a threat, the suspension may be deferred until the end of the term at the discretion of the hearing panel or Director. Should the student be readmitted, established proof of a further incident of misconduct will result in additional suspension periods, dismissal, or expulsion. Additionally, the failure to observe the terms and conditions of a suspension may cause the extension of the suspension period or in further disciplinary action.
b. Any student who is suspended is entitled to a refund of fees in accordance with the University refund schedule. Furthermore, a notation will be placed on a student’s transcript indicating disciplinary suspension for the entire duration of the student’s suspension. Lastly, upon completion of the period of suspension and fulfillment of all disciplinary requirements, the student must comply with all academic admission standards then in effect in order to re-register.
11. Deferred Suspension – This sanction is a suspension that is delayed pending specified behavioral performance. A definite period of observation and review occurs during deferred suspension. If a student is again found responsible of violating the Code of Student Conduct, the suspension will take place immediately without appeal.
12. Expulsion – The permanent loss of the privilege of registration, class attendance, and residence in University owned or managed housing. The privilege of the use of University facilities or property is also withdrawn by this action. A student who has been expelled is not eligible for readmission. Any student who is expelled may be entitled to a refund of fees in accordance with the University refund schedule as published in the quarterly class schedule. Lastly, a notation will be placed on a student’s transcript indicating disciplinary expulsion.
Depending on the nature of the alleged misconduct, interim measures may be taken as deemed necessary for the reasonable operation of George Mason University. Examples include, but are not limited to, administrative trespasses from specific buildings, the entire campus, and administrative no contact orders between individuals or groups.
A. Interim Suspension
Normally, following an alleged act of student misconduct and until final disposition of the alleged violation, the status of a student shall not be altered or the student’s right to be present on campus and to attend classes suspended. Exceptions to this would be the need to impose an interim suspension to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, or to protect the property and/or normal operations of the University from damage or disruption.
The interim suspension may be enacted by the Assistant Dean of Students or his/her designee. When an interim suspension is enacted, the student will be provided a written notice of the alleged violations and given the opportunity to discuss the incident with a University Official.
The Assistant Vice President of University Life or his/her designee shall reserve the right to review any such action if appealed to that office in writing within 24 hours of the suspension. The written appeal must concisely set forth all objections to the suspension. The suspension shall take effect notwithstanding the appeal, unless and until the Vice President for University Life or his/her designee directs otherwise. A copy of any appeal and subsequent decision will be forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct for inclusion in the student’s disciplinary record.
Other University Measures
In addition to non-punitive actions, University administrators and faculty members may take actions that are punitive in character but which are not so serious as to justify referral to the University Conduct System. Examples of this are the withdrawal of minor privileges upon administrative determination of misconduct, or the privilege of using the Student Unions for individuals or organizations that do not conform to the regulations affecting the building. Actions of this kind are necessary for the reasonable operation of the University.
The purpose for an appellate review is to insure all parties that the original findings of fact, the reasoned integration of them, and an opinion and imposition of sanctions or other solutions directed by the hearing body are consistent with University policies and procedures.
Any persons submitting an appeal will within five working days (or in the case of reason #1, below, 30 days) from the date of the decision submit a written statement outlining the specific issues and rationale for the appeal. Requests for appeal will be considered only when based on one or more of the following:
Once received, appeals will be assigned to an administrative appeal officer, who typically supervises the original hearing officer within the student conduct system. The appeal officer will first determine if the student or organization has grounds for appeal, based on the criteria above. If there are grounds for appeal, then the administrative appeal officer may choose to modify the finding of responsibility, modify the sanctions, or modify both; remand the case for a new hearing; or uphold the original decision. Appellants will typically be notified of the decision within 21days of its submission.
To facilitate the prompt adjudication of disciplinary cases, a special hearing committee may be appointed to hear the case upon recommendation from the Assistant Dean of Students, an administrative hearing may be authorized, or the case may be dismissed by authority of the Assistant Vice President of University Life.
George Mason University maintains a record of students who have been found in violation of University rules and regulations. Student conduct records are maintained separately from the student’s official academic records, except in cases involving outcomes of suspension or dismissal. In these cases, notations are made on the academic record of the student. Conduct matters handled by the Office of Student Conduct will be maintained in the Office of Student Conduct.
Information about the status of a student’s conduct records will be handled in compliance with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. In accordance with these provisions, no information will be released to external authorities or to others outside of the conduct system unless the student has provided written permission authorizing such release or unless such release is authorized by law.
Students may request that conduct records be reviewed and eliminated. These requests will be considered based upon the severity and outcome of the disciplinary process. Requests made be made after a minimum of five years from the original conduct decision. The written request should be directed to the Dean of Students Office, and include rationale and reflection for consideration of the review.
This Code shall take effect as of the first day of the opening of the residence halls in the Fall semester. It is the general duty of all persons affiliated with the university conduct system to advise the Director of Student Conduct of modifications that should be considered in order to improve the fairness and effectiveness of the system. The Director of Student Conduct will bear the responsibility for identifying and considering any proposed revisions to the Code of Student Conduct. The Director will present such proposals in the form of a draft for consideration and action by the Dean of Students. George Mason University reserves the right to make changes to the Code of Student Conduct as deemed appropriate.
Revised: 8/25/92, 8/33/99, 7/9/03, 6/24/04, 8/23/06, 8/7/07, 8/26/11, 8/22/2012
It is the mission of the Office of Student Conduct and the Student Conduct System at George Mason University to turn potential incidents of misconduct into opportunities for the facilitation of education and student development. It is our goal that as student makes their way through the adjudication process, they will leave that process as better educated students, better all around members of the University community, and better global citizens.