All judicial meetings/hearings shall be fair and reasonable in keeping with the fundamental concept of due process. Along with the right to privacy and the right to protection against discrimination, guaranteed to all University of Florida students, if you are accused of policy violations, you will also have the rights listed in the UF Student Rights and Responsibilities brochure.
Rights of the Accused
- The right to be notified in writing of the charges against him/her with sufficient detail and time to prepare for a hearing.
- The right to a timely notice of a hearing, including written notice of charges, usually within ten business days after the report of the incident.
- The right to question adverse witnesses, unless waived for an informal hearing.
- The right to know the nature and source of the evidence that will be used against him/her.
- The right to present evidence and witnesses relevant to his/her defense, unless waived for an informal proceeding. The disciplinary body may determine the number of witnesses.
- The right to remain silent or to not attend a hearing. If you choose to exercise this right, a hearing will still be conducted. Evidence in support of the charges will be presented and considered and a decision will be made based on that evidence.
- The right to an advisor for the purpose of consultation, but not to speak on your behalf or to participate directly in the hearing except as permitted by the disciplinary body.
- The right to receive a decision in writing generally no more than five business days after a hearing.
- The right to request an appeal to a finding of “responsible” and/or sanctions imposed. The request for an appeal must be made in writing no more than ten business days after receipt of the decision in writing.
Rights of the Victim
In some situations, not only does a student’s conduct violate residence hall policy, but also victimizes another member of the University community. Examples of these situations include theft, damage to personal property, intimidation, harassment, academic misconduct, physical and/or sexual assault, sexual harassment, and behaviors that endanger personal safety. The University community includes, but is not limited to, students, staff, faculty, parents, campus neighbors, campus visitors, and any agency that is engaged in a legitimate business transaction with the University (e.g., vendors). When someone is identified as a victim, the judicial process affords him or her certain rights. When a complaint is filed against a student, it is important to remember that the student is being charged with violating a specific University or housing policy; therefore, the University is ultimately responsible for determining what charges are appropriate, the proper hearing official, and the resolution of the situation. If a victim withdraws the complaint, the University may or may not proceed with the case.
Victims are entitled to the following rights:
- The right to information concerning the status of the case as it proceeds through the student judicial process.
- The right to treatment in a dignified and compassionate manner by representatives of the University community.
- The right to have the ability to remain present throughout the evidentiary portion of the judicial hearing after his/her testimony.
- The right to have the presence of a person who agrees to accompany the victim throughout any investigation or campus judicial proceeding for the purpose of providing support.
- The right to, with a licensed health care professional’s recommendation, in cases of sexual assault, the ability to testify from another room, provided that it does not interfere with the accused student’s right to question the accuser or a witness
- The right to have the ability to submit proposed questions for all witnesses in advance of the hearing with the understanding that the hearing officer/chair will determine the appropriate questions to be asked.
- The right to exclusion of previous, unrelated sexual behavior from the student judicial hearing.
- The right to submit a written impact statement to the hearing body to be considered during sanctioning, if the charged student is found responsible.
- The right to the creation of a sensitive environment for the victim throughout the student judicial process.
- The right to be informed of the results of the student judicial hearing. ADVISORS A student involved in the residence hall judicial process has the right to have an advisor present at all meetings with University staff. An advisor may be anyone with whom the student feels most comfortable: friends, family members, faculty, attorneys, etc. While these advisors cannot speak for the student in any meeting or question witnesses during formal proceedings, they can offer students advice, moral support, and assistance. The student(s) involved in the process may need to sign a waiver in order for the adviser to be present. The Office of the DSJA or the Office of the CRJP may be contacted if more information regarding this subject is needed or if you would like to contact an advisor.
Students are entitled to request an appeal for each incident. The criteria for filing an appeal are limited to:
- The student’s rights were violated in the hearing process.
- There is new material evidence, which could not have been discovered at the time of the hearing.
- The evidence did not support the decision.
- The sanctions imposed were not appropriate for the violation.
Appeals of the decision from the Housing and Residence Life staff should be directed to the Director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (SCCR). Appeals must be submitted in writing with ten days of the date on the decision letter. A student is not at risk of a more severe sanction when filing an appeal. While an appeal is pending, sanctions are suspended until the Appeal Officer has acted upon the request and a final resolution has been reached. An exception may occur when a potentially volatile or dangerous situation exists. When the student files the appeal, s/he must schedule an appointment for the appeal to be heard.
The Appeal Officer in the appeal may:
- Uphold or modify the original decision.
- Uphold or modify the sanction.
- Remand the case back to be reheard or reconsidered in cases where there is new information or a procedural error.
Confidentiality of Records
In order to protect your rights as a resident and University student, the Office of the Conduct and Community Standards will maintain written records on all disciplinary action. Access to these records is restricted to the student, individuals who have the expressed written consent of the student to review the records, and University officials who have a legitimate educational interest in reviewing a student’s records.
The names of the persons involved in a particular case are not public information and as such are subject to the same restraints. All records are kept for a period of six years from the student’s date of matriculation (the date the student entered the university) in the Dean of Student’s Office. Disciplinary Records, Academic Records, Conduct records, honor violations, and law violations are kept in Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.
These files are separate from academic transcripts and are confidential.
In extreme cases where suspension or expulsion are involved, an overlay will be placed on the academic transcripts for as long as the sanction is in force. Records in Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, excluding records of students who are expelled, are maintained for six years from the time of matriculation to the University. A student may, at the time of graduation, request in writing that his/her disciplinary record be destroyed. The record will be evaluated by the Director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution who will make the decision concerning the keeping or destruction of that record. This decision will be made in accordance with provisions set forth in sections 6CI-4.26(3) of the Florida Administrative Code which stipulates that records of students who have serious offenses or two or more offenses will not be destroyed until six years from matriculation. Records of students who are expelled are permanent.
FERPA (The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) & The Buckley Amendment
The Buckley Amendment
In this day of concern over privacy in every form, the University of Florida assures the confidentiality of student educational records in accordance with State University System rules, state statutes, and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (aka The Buckley Amendment.)
Basically, the Buckley Amendment states that access to confidential information, beyond that required for normal business of the University of Florida, may be granted only to the student. The only information that may be publicly released is directory information, which includes items such as name, class, college, major, and telephone number. Non-directory information, such as grades and/or disciplinary records, will not be released to a third party without express written consent of the student. The exception to this rule is for parents of dependent students, as defined by the IRS. Upon presentation of proof, noting this exception, to the University Registrar’s Office, parents have the same rights as their students. All students, however, will be notified of the release of the information to a third party.
The following policy is in effect to notify parents or guardians of students involved in alcohol and other drug cases at the University of Florida. For the following situations, the Division of Student Life may notify the student’s guardian: If a student who is claimed as a dependent by his or her parents or guardians pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code is found responsible for violating the campus conduct code’s underage consumption, possession, or drug rules twice during the same term or for a third time regardless of the length between violations, the student’s parent/guardian will be notified in writing.
If a student is transported to an emergency medical treatment center for drug use or intoxication, the student’s parent/guardian may be notified by telephone. Parent Notification Policy for Drug, Alcohol, and Campus DUI Cases
The following policy is in effect to notify parents or guardians of students in alcohol and other drug cases in the University of Florida.
If a registered student is claimed as a dependent by his or her parents or guardians pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code is found responsible for violating the campus conduct code’s underage consumption, possession, or drug rules twice during the same term or for a third time regardless of the length of time between violations, the student’s parents or guardians may be notified in writing by the Division of Student Life.
If a registered student is transported to an emergency medical treatment center for drug use or intoxication, the student’s parents or guardians may be notified by a telephone call from the Division of Student Life if necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
The Associate Vice President for Student Life will be making the telephone calls to the parents or guardians to avoid any conflict with the student disciplinary procedure in which the Dean of Students and the Vice President for Student Life hear judicial appeals.