The Disciplinary Process-What to Expect
If you have received a letter from the office of Student Judicial Affairs, it will detail the reason why you were contacted. In most instances, the letter will inform you if you have been accused of a conduct violation or of an act of academic dishonesty. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you work your way through the disciplinary process.
I received a letter, now what?
- Read the letter carefully and be sure that you understand the allegations made against you. There are usually two types of letters we send to students:
- Notification of Incident and Request for a Meeting with, and
- Notification of Incident and Written Reprimand against you.
- If you are unclear about the letter, be sure to contact the office of Student Judicial Affairs at 310-434-4220 to seek clarification.
- Be sure to read any materials sent in the letter or via email. These include the College's policies that govern your alleged misconduct and your rights to due process. READ THEM CAREFULLY.
- Be sure to adhere to any deadlines noted in the letter. If you miss the deadline you may not be able to contest the allegations, and in some cases this may result in additional sanctions against you because you disregarded our request to meet with you.
- The letter will notify you if a disciplinary hold was placed on your records at SMC. This hold will prevent you from conducting many transactions at the college, including enrolling in/dropping classes, withholding transcripts, etc. Once you meet with the Disciplinarian, you will be informed if the hold will remain in place or if we will remove it.
- Be sure to schedule and keep your appointment. If you cannot keep it, be sure to call us to reschedule.
- Be sure that you prepapre a typewritten statement that discusses your involvement in the incident. Keep in mind this statement tells your "side of the story" and that it reflects you. Be sure to include all pertinent details, including how the incident happened, what you did, your admission of involvement or a statement disputing the allegation.
- If you are not required to meet with the disciplinarian, but you dispute the allegations leveled against you, be sure to contact our office and schedule a meeting. We will apprise you of your options as elaborated upon in Administrative Regulations 4410, 4411, or 4412 (as applicable).
What will happen during the meeting with the disciplinarian?
- The disciplinarian will briefly discuss with you the incident report and what you are being accused of violating.
- You will have the opportunity to present your "side of the story."
- You will be given the opportunity to admit or not admit the alleged violation.
- You may be asked several questions about the incident, your involvement, your remorse.
- You may be asked to complete some assignments before a final decision on your case is made, as well as the consequences for not completing these assignments.
- You may be tentatively informed of the actions our office will take against you. These could include issuing a written reprimand, temporarily removing you or suspending you from class(es), activities, or from the college, placing you on disciplinary probation, or if suspension/expulsion proceedings will be initiated to remove you from the college.
- If you contest the alleged violations, you will be informed of the next steps. Generally speaking, if the allegation is contestable, you may appeal to either the Honor Council Hearing Board or the Student Conduct Appeals Committee (depending on the circumstances).
What will happen after my meeting with the disciplinarian?
- You may be asked to complete an assignment.
- You will be informed in writing and via your SMC email account the disposition of your case and any consequences or sanctions imposed by the college against you, and how these sanctions will be carried out.
- You will be warned that continued misconduct may result in the imposition of additional sanctions.
What sanctions may be imposed for conduct violations?
- Possible sanctions will be determined by the College Disciplinarian upon full review of your case. This may entail speaking to you, to the professor or staff member that referred you, and reviewing any evidence presented to us. Every case is decided individually. However, sanctions may include:
Verbal or written reprimand, disciplinary probation, removal from class, ineligibility to participate in
extracurricular activities, temporary disciplinary holds, suspension for the remainder of the semster or for a longer period of time, and expulsion.
Repeated and/or multiple infractions may lead to a greater disciplinary sanctions.
In some cases related to academic dishonesty, you may be required to attend a disciplinary hearing before the SMC Honor Council Hearing Board.
What if I want to appeal a sanction imposed upon me?
- If the sanction imposed is appealable, you may initiate the appeal procedure through our office. The letter we send you will inform you if the sanction we impose is appealable or not. If it is appealable, simply contact us and you will be informed how to proceed. In cases involving violations of the Rules for Student Conduct, the appeal may be heard by the Student Conduct Appeals Committee. Most appeals pertaining to academic dishonesty will be heard by the Honor Council Hearing Board.
How should I prepare for a hearing?
- Our best advice is for you to be fully informed about how the appeal process works and that you understand the full nature of the allegations made against you. You may consider following some of the suggestions below:
- Inform the Student Judicial Affairs office of your intent to appeal within 2 days following reciept of our initial letter. You may do this by calling 310-434-4220 or coming in person to our office. Once you inform us, you will have an additional five days to prepare and submit a written statement of your account. This statement should be different than the one you gave to the Disciplinarian at your first meeting. Turn it in to the SJA office.
- Schedule your hearing. Be sure to arrive on time. Bring the required number of copies of any documents you wish the Appeal Committee or Honor Council to review.
- If you are being represented by an attorney, you must notify our office within the specified time period before the hearing date.
- You may bring witnesses.
- Once the hearing is called to order, you will be given an opportunity to present your case. Keep in mind that the panel will already have read your written statement. Thus in presenting your case, you may add to it. You may be asked questions by the hearing panel. If you are presenting witnesses, you must do so during your allotted time. Your witnesses cannot participate in the hearing unless you call on them to testify during your allotted time.
- Be sure you follow protocol and refrain from interrupting the proceedings in any way.
- Once the hearing concludes, you will be informed of its outcome in writing within a few days.