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Code of Student Conduct
SIT expects its students to engage in responsible social conduct that models good citizenship and reflects our Core Values and Standards of Behavioral Integrity. Students are held accountable for behaviors that may impact the welfare and rights of others. When students fail to exemplify good conduct by engaging in violation of the following regulations, conduct proceedings are used to assert and uphold the Code of Student Conduct (heretofore referred to as ‘the Code’). The Code is not intended to punish students; rather, it exists to protect the interests of the learning community and to challenge those whose behavior is not in accordance with SIT’s values, standards and policies. Sanctions are intended to challenge students’ moral and ethical decision-making and to help them bring their behavior into accord with our community expectations.
The student conduct process is quite different from criminal and civil court proceedings:
- Procedures and rights in the student conduct process are conducted with fairness to all, but do not include the same protections of due process afforded by the courts;
- Due process, as defined within these procedures, assures written notice of a hearing before an objective decision-maker;
- No student will be found in violation of SIT standards or policies without information showing that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred;
- Any sanctions issued will be proportionate to the severity of the violation and to the cumulative conduct history of the student;
- Because not all conduct situations are of the same severity or complexity, these procedures are flexible and may not be the same in every situation–though consistency in similar situations is a priority.
SIT is the convener of every action under the code. Within that action, there are several roles:
- The responding student is the person who is alleged to have violated the Code;
- The party bringing the complaint (“complainant”), who may be a student, employee, visitor, or guest, may choose to be present and participate in the process as fully as the responding student;
- There may be witnesses, who may offer information regarding the allegation;
- There may be an investigator(s) whose role is to present the allegations and share the evidence that SIT has obtained regarding the allegations.
Who: The Code applies to the conduct of individual students–both undergraduate and graduate. For the purposes of student conduct, SIT considers an individual to be a student when an offer of admission has been extended and thereafter–if the student has a continuing educational interest in SIT. The Code applies to guests of SIT students, who may be held accountable for the misconduct of their guests. SIT guests may seek resolution of violations of the Code committed against them by SIT students. Although anonymous complaints are permitted, doing so may limit SIT’s ability to investigate and respond to a complaint.
What: The Code is available on SIT’s website; students are responsible for reading and abiding by the Code’s provisions. SIT reserves the right to make changes to this Code as necessary and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect. Students are encouraged to check on the SIT website for the updated versions of all policies and procedures. Email is SIT’s primary means of communication; students are responsible for all communication delivered to the email address they provided to SIT during the admissions process. The Code may be applied to behavior conducted online, as part of online courses, by email or using another electronic medium. Students should be aware that online postings such as blogs, web postings, chats and social networking sites 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. SIT does not regularly search for this information but may act when such information is brought to the attention of SIT officials.
Where: The Code applies to behaviors that take place wherever the program is engaged, to include but not limited to learning centers, homestays, and excursions. It may also apply at other locations when the Dean or designee determines that the conduct affects a substantial SIT interest. A substantial SIT interest is defined to include: a) any situation where it appears that the student’s conduct may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of him/herself or others; b) any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and c) any situation that is detrimental to the educational mission and/or interests of the SIT.
When: SIT retains conduct jurisdiction over students who choose to take a leave of absence, withdraw or have graduated for any misconduct that occurred prior to the leave, withdrawal or graduation. A responding student facing an alleged violation of the Code who withdraws while charges are pending may still face conduct proceedings and discipline postwithdrawal. If sanctioned, a hold may be placed on the student’s ability to re-enroll and/or obtain official transcripts; all sanctions or conditions must be satisfied prior to re-enrollment eligibility. There is no time limit on reporting violations of the Code; however, the longer someone waits to report an offense, the harder it becomes for SIT officials to obtain information, witness information, and make determinations regarding alleged violations. Those who are aware of misconduct are encouraged to report it as quickly as possible to SIT staff.
Roles: The Dean of Student Health, Safety & Wellbeing, who is vested with the authority over student conduct by the SIT President, oversees and manages the student conduct process, assumes responsibility for the investigation of an allegation of misconduct to determine if the complaint has merit, and may appoint hearing and appeals officers as deemed necessary to efficiently and effectively supervise the student conduct process. Hearing Officers are chosen from a pool of annually trained staff selected by the Dean, or designee. Decisions made, and sanctions imposed, by Hearing Officers will be final and implemented, pending the normal appeal process. At the discretion of the Dean, or designee, implementation of sanctions may be stayed pending review. Appeals Review Officers review appeal requests submitted by the Dean, or designee and are drawn from a pool of annually trained staff selected by the President, or designee, with the only requirement being that they did not serve as Hearing Officers for the initial hearing.
Mediation: The Dean, or designee, has discretion to refer a complaint for mediation or other forms of appropriate conflict resolution. All parties must agree to conflict resolution and to be bound by the decision with no review/appeal. Any unsuccessful conflict resolution can be forwarded for formal processing and hearing; however, at no time will complaints of physical sexual misconduct or violence be mediated as the sole institutional response. The Dean, or designee, may also suggest that complaints that do not involve a violation of the Code be referred for mediation or other appropriate conflict resolution.
Rules: The Dean, or designee, will develop procedural rules for the administration of hearings that are consistent with provisions of the Code. Material deviation from these rules will, generally, only be made as necessary and will include reasonable advance notice to the parties involved, either by posting online and/or in the form of written communication. The Dean, or designee, may vary procedures with notice upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this Code. The Dean, or designee, may make minor modifications to procedure that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party. Any question of interpretation of the Code will be referred to the Dean, or designee, whose interpretation is final. The Code will be updated annually under the direction of the Dean, or designee, with a comprehensive review process being conducted every three years.
Conduct & Violations of Local Law
Alleged violations of local law may be investigated and addressed under the Code. When an offense occurs over which SIT has jurisdiction, the SIT conduct process will usually go forward notwithstanding any criminal complaint that may arise from the same incident.
Interim Suspension: SIT reserves the right to exercise its authority of imposing an interim suspension upon notification that a student is facing criminal investigation and/or complaint (see additional grounds for interim action below). Interim suspensions are imposed until a hearing can be held. The suspended student may request an immediate hearing from the Dean, or designee, to show cause why the interim suspension should be lifted. This hearing may resolve the allegation or may be held to determine if the interim suspension should be continued. The interim suspension may be continued if a danger to the community is posed and SIT may be delayed or prevented from conducting its own investigation and resolving the allegation by the pendency of the criminal process. In such cases, SIT will only delay its hearing until it can conduct an internal investigation or obtain enough information independently or from local law enforcement upon which to proceed. This delay will be no longer than two weeks from notice of the incident unless a longer delay is requested in writing by the complaining victim to allow the criminal investigation to proceed before the SIT process.
Leave of Absence: Students accused of crimes may request to take a leave from SIT until the criminal charges are resolved. In such situations, the SIT procedure for a voluntary leave of absence is subject to the following conditions:
- The responding student must comply with all SIT investigative efforts that will not prejudice their defense in the criminal trial;
- The responding student must comply with all interim actions and/or restrictions imposed during the leave of absence;
- The responding student must agree that, to be reinstated to active student status, they must first be subject to, and fully cooperate with, the SIT conduct process and must comply with all sanctions that are imposed.
Preliminary: As needed, the Dean, or designee, will conduct a preliminary investigation— which usually takes between 1-7 days to complete. The Dean, or designee, will:
- Initiate any necessary remedial actions on behalf of the victim;
- Determine the identity and contact information of the party bringing the complaint (e.g. whether that person is the initiator of the complaint, the alleged victim, or a SIT proxy or representative);
- Identify an initial list of all policies that may have been violated;
- Review the conduct history of the parties;
- Determine the context of the incident, potential patterns, and the nature of the complaint.
If the victim is reluctant to pursue the complaint, the Dean, or designee, will:
- Determine whether enough independent evidence could support the complaint without the participation of the victim;
- Decide whether the complaint should still be pursued;
- Notify the victim of whether SIT intends to pursue the complaint regardless of their involvement;
- Inform the victim of their rights in the process and option to become involved if they so choose.
Comprehensive: If indicated by the preliminary investigation and authorized by the Dean, or designee, a comprehensive investigation—which usually takes between one day and two weeks—will be conducted to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that the responding student violated SIT policy and to determine what specific policy violations should serve as the basis for the complaint. The steps involved in a comprehensive investigation include:
- Meet with the party bringing the complaint to finalize the party bringing the complaint’s statement, which will be drawn up by the investigator because of this meeting;
- Commence a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation by developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended timeframe, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the responding student, who may be given notice of the interview prior to or at the time of the interview;
- Prepare the notice of alleged policy violation(s) based on the reasonable cause determination, which may be delivered prior to, during or after the responding student is interviewed, at the discretion of the investigator;
- Interview all relevant witnesses, summarize the information they can share and have each witness sign the summary to verify its accuracy;
- Obtain all documentary evidence and information that is available;
- Obtain all physical evidence that is available;
- Complete the investigation promptly by analyzing all available evidence without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline;
- Make a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not);
- Present the investigation report and findings to the responding student, who may: accept the findings; accept the findings in part and reject them in part; or reject all findings.
- Share the findings and update the party bringing the complaint on the status of the investigation and the outcome.
If there is insufficient evidence through the investigation to support reasonable cause, the allegations will be closed with no further action.
The Dean, or designee, may impose restrictions and/or separate a student from the community pending the scheduling of a hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Code when a student:
- Represents a threat of serious harm to others;
- Is facing allegations of serious criminal activity;
- To preserve the integrity of an investigation;
- To prevent disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of SIT.
Interim actions can include separation from SIT or restrictions on participation in the community for no more than ten (10) business days pending the scheduling of a hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Code. A student who receives an interim suspension may request a conference with the Dean, or designee, to demonstrate why an interim suspension is not merited. Regardless of the outcome of this meeting, SIT may still proceed with the scheduling of a campus hearing. During an interim suspension, a student may be denied access to SIT housing/homestays, facilities, and/or events. As determined appropriate by the Dean, or designee, this restriction may include classes and/or all other SIT activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible. At the discretion of the Dean, or designee, and with the approval of, and in collaboration with, the Academic Dean, alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the responding student.
The outcome of a campus hearing is part of a student’s education record and is protected from release under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), except under certain conditions.
Crime of Violence: As allowed by FERPA, when a student is accused of a policy violation that would constitute a “crime of violence” (arson; assault/stalking; burglary; criminal homicide/negligent manslaughter; criminal homicide/murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; destruction; destruction/damage/vandalism of property; kidnapping/abduction; robbery; forcible or non-forcible sex offences; non-forcible sex offences):
- SIT will inform the alleged victim/party bringing the complaint in writing of the results of a hearing regardless of whether SIT concludes that a violation was committed. Such release of information may only include the alleged student’s and responding student’s name, the violation committed, and the sanctions assigned (if applicable). In cases of sexual misconduct and other offenses covered by Title IX, the rationale for the outcome will also be shared with all parties to the complaint in addition to the finding and sanction(s).
- SIT may also release the above information publicly and/or to any third party in cases where SIT determines through the student conduct process that a student violated a policy that would constitute a “crime of violence” or nonforcible sex offense.
Sending Institutions & Parents/Guardians: Consistent with FERPA or the consent of the student, SIT reserves the right to notify the student’s sending institution and parents/guardians regarding conduct matters.
Notice of Violation
The conduct process commences with notice to SIT of a potential violation of conduct regulations. Any community member, including a victim or third party, may allege a policy violation(s) by any SIT student for misconduct under the Code. Allegations should be submitted as soon as possible after the offending event occurs. SIT has the right to pursue an allegation or notice of misconduct on its own behalf—whether a formal allegation is made or not–and to serve as convener of the subsequent conduct process.
Once notice is received from any source, a preliminary assessment occurs by the Dean, or designee, to determine whether the allegation violated the Code or if more information is needed to make that determination. The Dean, or designee, then assesses the severity of the allegation and the respondent’s conduct history and decides whether to assign a conference, hearing, or an alternative method of resolution.
An informal conference is assigned when the alleged violation is non-egregious, and the student has no or limited conduct history. Because conferences are informal, they do not necessitate advance written notification of the student. In-country staff share with the student the alleged complaint, solicit the student’s perspective, and determine an appropriate outcome/sanction.
Administrative Conference or Hearing
Basis: An administrative conference or a hearing are assigned when there is reasonable cause to believe that a more egregious conduct regulation(s) has been violated. Reasonable cause is defined as some credible information to support each element of the offense, even if that information is merely a credible witness or a victim’s statement. A complaint wholly unsupported by any credible information will not be forwarded for a hearing. Note: there are special hearing provisions for cases of sexual misconduct, discrimination and other complaints of a sensitive nature (see section below).
Notification: Once the Dean, or designee, determines that reasonable cause exists to refer a complaint for an administrative conference or hearing, notice will be emailed to the responding student’s email account. Once emailed, such notice will be presumptively delivered. The emailed notice will: include the alleged violation and notification of where to locate the Code; direct the responding student to contact the Dean, or designee, within a specified time-period to respond to the complaint; and provide a time-period of generally no less than two business days from the date of delivery of the summons email.
Administrative Conference: A meeting with the Dean, or designee, may be arranged to explain the nature of the complaint and the conduct process. At this meeting, the responding student may indicate, either verbally or in writing, to the Dean, or designee, whether they admit to or deny the allegations of the complaint. Where the responding student admits to violating the Code, the Dean, or designee, may invoke administrative hearing procedures to determine and administer appropriate sanctions without a hearing. This process is also known as an administrative conference. In an administrative conference, complaints will be heard, and determinations will be made by the Dean, or designee.
Hearing Preparation: Where the responding student denies violating the Code, a hearing will be conducted. At the discretion of the Dean, or designee, a request by one or more of the parties to the complaint for an administrative conference may be considered. Students who deny a violation for which a hearing will be held will be given a minimum of three days to prepare unless all parties wish to proceed more quickly. Preparation for a hearing is summarized in the following guidelines:
- Notice of the time, date and location of the hearing will be in writing and may be emailed to the student’s email account. Once emailed, such notice will be presumptively delivered.
- If there is an alleged victim of the conduct in question, the alleged victim may serve as the party bringing the complaint or may elect to have the SIT administration serve as the party bringing the complaint forward. Where there is no alleged victim, the SIT administration will serve as the party bringing the complaint forward.
- If a responding student fails to respond to notice from the Dean, or designee, the Dean, or designee, may initiate a complaint against the student for failure to comply with the directives of a SIT official and give notice of this offense. Unless the student responds to this notice within two days by answering the original notice, an administrative conference may be scheduled and held on the student’s behalf. As a result, the student may be administratively withdrawn from attending classes or a disciplinary hold may be placed on their SIT account, deeming them ineligible to receive a transcript until the student responds to the initial complaint.
At least three days before any scheduled hearing:
- The responding student will deliver to the Dean, or designee, a written response to the complaint;
- The responding student will deliver to the Dean, or designee, a written list of all witnesses, if any, for SIT to call at the hearing;
- The responding student will deliver to the Dean, or designee, all physical evidence, if any, that the student intends to use or needs to have present at the hearing and will indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known, so that the Dean, or designee, can arrange for its presence;
- The party bringing the complaint will deliver to the Dean, or designee, a written list of all witnesses, if any, for SIT to call at the hearing;
- The party bringing the complaint will deliver to the Dean, or designee, all items of physical evidence needed at the hearing and will indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known, so that the Dean, or designee, can arrange for its presence;
- The party bringing the complaint and the responding student will notify the Dean, or designee, of the names of any advisors/advocates who may be accompanying the parties at the hearing.
The Dean, or designee, will ensure that the hearing information and any other available written documentation is shared with the parties at least two days before any scheduled hearing. The parties will be given a list of the names of the hearing officer in advance. Should any party object to the hearing officer, that party must raise all objections, in writing, to the Dean, or designee, immediately. Hearing officers will only be unseated if the Dean, or designee, concludes that their bias precludes an impartial hearing of the complaint. Any hearing officer who feels they cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves from the proceedings.
Failing to Appear: Except for a complaint involving failure to comply with the summons of the Dean, or designee, no student may be found to have violated the Code solely because of the student’s failure to appear for a hearing. In all such instances, conduct hearings will proceed as scheduled and the information in support of the complaint will be presented to, and considered by, the Dean, or designee, or hearing officer presiding over the hearing.
At the Hearing: The hearing officer will hear from the parties and any necessary witnesses, if applicable. The investigator, if applicable, will present their investigative report to the hearing officer. The investigation report will be considered by the hearing officer, who renders an independent and objective finding.
Finding: If the hearing officer finds the responding student “not responsible” for a violation(s), the Dean, or designee, will inform the parties of this determination and the rationale for the decision in writing. The determination is subject to appeal by any party to the complaint (see section below). If the hearing officer finds the responding student “responsible” for a violation(s), the hearing officer will recommend a sanction to the Dean, or designee. The Dean, or designee, will confer with the Title IX Coordinator as necessary. The Dean will render a decision on a sanction within three days of the hearing and notify the parties in writing.
Appeal: The determination is subject to appeal by any party to the complaint. Appeal procedures are outlined below.
Special Hearing Provisions for Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination & Other Complaints of a Sensitive Nature
Alternative Testimony: Whether the alleged victim is serving as the party bringing the complaint or as a witness, alternative testimony options may be provided, such as allowing the alleged victim to testify from another location via audio or audio/video technology. While these options are intended to help make the alleged victim more comfortable, they are not intended to work to the disadvantage of the responding student.
Admissibility: The past sexual history or sexual character of a party will not be admissible by the other parties in hearings unless such information is determined to be highly relevant by the hearing officer. All such information sought to be admitted by a party, or SIT, will be presumed irrelevant until a showing of relevance is made, in advance of the hearing, to the Dean, or designee. Demonstration of pattern, repeated, and/or predatory behavior by the responding student, in the form of previous findings in any legal or conduct proceedings, or in the form of previous good faith allegations, will always be relevant to the finding, not just the sanction. The parties will be notified in advance if any such information is deemed relevant and will be introduced in the hearing.
Outcome: The party bringing any complaint alleging sexual misconduct, other behavior falling with the coverage of Title IX and/or a crime of violence will be notified in writing of the outcome of a hearing, any sanctions assigned, and the rationale for the decision.
Amnesty is an official pardon for students who might otherwise be sanctioned. SIT may provide amnesty to:
- Victims who may be hesitant to report to SIT officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of minor policy violations at the time of the incident.
- Students for minor violations when they offer help and assistance to others in need, and–on a case-by-case basis—will provide amnesty to the person receiving assistance.
- Students who are engaged in minor violations who choose to bring related serious violations by others to SIT’s attention
When amnesty is utilized, educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result. The abuse of amnesty requests can result in a decision by the Dean, or designee, not to extend amnesty to the same person repeatedly.
SIT has a Safe Harbor rule for students, believing that students who have a drug and/or addiction problem deserve help. If any SIT student brings their own use, addiction, or dependency to the attention of SIT officials (outside the threat of drug tests or conduct sanctions) and seeks assistance, a conduct complaint will not be pursued. A written action plan may be used to track cooperation with the Safe Harbor program by the student. Failure to follow the action plan will nullify the Safe Harbor protection and conduct processes will be initiated.
SIT students exemplify honesty, honor and a respect for the truth in all their dealings. Behavior that violates this principle includes but is not limited to:
- Academic Dishonesty. Acts of academic dishonesty as outlined in the Academic Integrity Policy;
- Collusion. Action or inaction with another or others to violate the Code of Student Conduct;
- Falsification. Knowingly furnishing or possessing false, falsified or forged materials, documents, accounts, records, identification or financial instruments;
- Theft. Intentional and unauthorized taking of SIT property or the personal property of another, including goods, services and other valuables, to include knowingly taking or maintaining possession of stolen property;
- Unauthorized Access. Unauthorized access to any SIT facility or unauthorized possession, duplication or use of means of access to any SIT facility.
SIT students build and enhance their community. Behavior that violates this principle includes but is not limited to:
- Damage and Destruction. Intentional, reckless and/or unauthorized damage to, or destruction of, SIT property or the personal property of another;
- Disruptive Behavior. Substantial disruption of SIT operations including obstruction of teaching, research, administration, and/or other SIT activities;
- Fire Safety. Violation of local or SIT fire policies including, but not limited to: Intentionally or recklessly causing a fire which damages SIT or personal property or which causes injury; Failure to evacuate a SIT-controlled building during a fire alarm; Improper use of SIT fire safety equipment; Tampering with or improperly engaging a fire alarm or fire detection/control equipment while on SIT property;
- IT and Acceptable Use. Violating the SIT Appropriate Use of Technology Policy and/or online learning norms/standards; o Rioting. Causing, inciting or participating in any disturbance that presents a clear and present danger to self or others, causes physical harm to others, or damage and/or destruction of property;
- Tobacco or Aerosol. Vaping, smoking, e-cigarette use, or tobacco use in any area where smoking, vaping, or tobacco use are prohibited;
- Trademark. Unauthorized use (including misuse) of SIT names and images;
- Unauthorized Entry. Misuse of access privileges to SIT premises/facilities or unauthorized entry to or use of buildings/classrooms, including trespassing;
- Weapons. Possession, use, or distribution of explosives (including fireworks and ammunition), guns (including air, BB, paintball, facsimile weapons and pellet guns), or other weapons or dangerous objects such as arrows, axes, machetes, nun chucks, throwing stars, or knives.
Social Justice & Inclusion
SIT students recognize that respecting the dignity of every person is essential for creating and sustaining a flourishing community. They understand and appreciate how their decisions and actions impact others and are just and equitable in their treatment of all members of the community. They act to discourage and challenge those whose actions may be harmful to and/or diminish the worth of others. Behavior that violates this principle includes but is not limited to:
- Abuse of Conduct Process. Abuse or interference with, or failure to comply in, SIT conduct processes including, but not limited to: Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information; Failure to provide, destroying or concealing information during an investigation of an alleged policy violation; Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the conduct system; Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a SIT conduct body prior to, during, and/or following a conduct proceeding; Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed by the conduct system; Influencing, or attempting to influence, another person to commit an abuse of the conduct system;
- “Bystanding”. Complicity with or failure of any student to appropriately address known or obvious violations of the Code or law;
- Discrimination. Any act or failure to act that is based upon an individual or group’s actual or perceived status (sex, gender, race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion, sexual orientation, or other protected status) that is sufficiently severe that it limits or denies the ability to participate in or benefit from SIT’s educational program or activities;
- Harassment. Any unwelcome conduct based on actual or perceived status including: sex, gender, race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion, sexual orientation or other protected status. Any unwelcome conduct should be reported to SIT officials, who will act to remedy and resolve reported incidents on behalf of the victim and community;
- Hostile Environment. Sanctions can and will be imposed for the creation of a hostile environment only when unwelcome harassment is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent, and objectively offensive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits or denies the ability to participate in or benefit from SIT’s educational program or activities;
- Retaliatory Discrimination or Harassment. Any intentional, adverse action taken by a responding individual or allied third party, absent legitimate nondiscriminatory purposes, against a participant, or supporter of a participant, in a civil rights grievance proceeding or other protected activity, under this Code.
SIT students show positive regard for each other and for the community. Behavior that violates this principle includes but is not limited to:
- Bullying and Cyberbullying. Bullying and cyberbullying are repeated and/or severe aggressive behaviors that intimidate or intentionally harm or control another person physically or emotionally and are not protected by freedom of expression;
- Harm to Persons. Intentionally or recklessly causing physical harm or endangering the health or safety of any person;
- Hazing. Defined as an act that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or that destroys or removes public or private property, for initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization. Participation or cooperation by the person(s) being hazed does not excuse the violation. Failing to intervene to prevent and/or failing to discourage and/or failing to report those acts may also violate this policy;
- Intimate Partner/Relationship Violence. Violence or abuse by a person in an intimate relationship with another;
- Public Exposure. Includes deliberately and publicly exposing one’s intimate body parts, public urination, defecation, and public sex acts;
- Sexual Misconduct. Includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, nonconsensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse, and/or sexual exploitation;
- Stalking. Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that is unwelcome and would cause a reasonable person to feel fear;
- Threatening Behaviors: Threat. Written or verbal conduct that causes a reasonable expectation of injury to the health or safety of any person or damage to any property; Intimidation. Intimidation defined as implied threats or acts that cause a reasonable fear of harm in another.
SIT students are given and accept a high level of responsibility to self, to others, and to the community. Behavior that violates this principle includes but is not limited to:
- Alcohol. Use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages or paraphernalia except as expressly permitted by law and SIT’s Alcohol Policy.
- Arrest. Failure of any student to accurately report to Program staff/faculty an arrest by any law enforcement agency for any crime within seventy-two (72) hours of release.
- Drugs. Use, possession or distribution of illegal drugs and other controlled substances or drug paraphernalia except as expressly permitted by law and SIT’s Drug Policy.
- Failure to Comply. Failure to comply with the reasonable directives of SIT staff or law enforcement officers during the performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested. o Financial Responsibilities. Failure to promptly meet financial responsibilities to SIT.
- Health and Safety. Failure to adhere to public health regulations; Creation of health and/or safety hazards.
- Other Policies. Violating other published SIT policies or rules, e.g. homestay regulations, attendance rules.
- Prescription Medications. Abuse, misuse, sale, or distribution of prescription or overthe-counter medications.
- Violations of Law. Evidence of violation of local laws, when substantiated through SIT’s conduct process.
All students are expected to comply with conduct sanctions within the timeframe specified by the Dean or designee. Failure to follow through on conduct sanctions by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect or any other reason, may result in additional sanctions. A primary sanction is imposed–and one or more additional sanctions may also be imposed–upon any student for violations of the Code.
Primary Sanctions: One of the following primary sanctions is assigned to students for violation of the Code:
- Warning: Notice that the student has violated SIT policies and/or regulations and that stricter sanctions may be applied should the student be involved in further violations.
- Probation: The student is put on official written notice that, should further violations of SIT policies occur during a specified probationary period, the student may face deferred expulsion or expulsion. Regular probationary meetings may also be imposed.
- Deferred Expulsion: The student is allowed a final opportunity to behave responsibly while remaining in the program under strict probationary status. Specific restrictions may also be imposed.
- Suspension: Separation/dismissal from SIT for a specified minimum period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Eligibility may be contingent upon satisfaction of specific conditions noted at the time of suspension. During the suspension period, the student is banned from SIT property and the student’s presence at any SIT-sponsored activity or event is prohibited.
- Expulsion: Permanent separation/dismissal from SIT. The student is banned from SIT property and the student’s presence at any SIT-sponsored activity or event is prohibited.
Optional Sanctions: These additional sanctions may be assigned to student for violation of the Code:
- Restitution: Compensation for damage caused to SIT or any person’s property;
- Loss of Privileges: The student is denied specified privileges for a designated period;
- Confiscation of Prohibited Property: Items whose presence is in violation of SIT policy will be confiscated and will become the property of SIT. Prohibited items may be returned to the owner at the discretion of the Dean or designee;
- Behavioral Requirement: This includes required activities including, but not limited to seeking academic counseling, mental health assessment, substance abuse screening, writing a letter of apology, etc.;
- Educational Project: Requirement to engage in an educational project related to the violation.
- Housing Reassignment: Reassignment to another SIT housing location;
Other Sanctions: Additional or alternate sanctions may be created and designed as deemed appropriate to the offense with the approval of the Dean, or designee.
Who: Any party may request an appeal of the decision of a conference or hearing by filing a written request to the Dean subject to the procedures outlined below.
What: All sanctions imposed by the original body (conference or hearing) remain in effect, and all parties should be timely informed of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration, and the results of the appeal decision. The Dean, or designee, will share the appeal by one party with the other party (parties) when appropriate under procedure or law (e.g., if the responding student appeals, the appeal is shared with the complainant, who may also wish to file a response, request an appeal on the same grounds or different grounds).
When: An appeal request must be filed in writing with the Dean, or designee, within three business days of the notice of the outcome to the hearing, barring exigent circumstances. Any exceptions are made at the discretion of the Dean, or designee, and, when appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator.
Appeal Limitations: An appeal request is limited to the following grounds:
- A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.);
- To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included;
- The sanctions imposed are substantially outside the parameters or guidelines set by SIT for this type of offense or the cumulative conduct record of the responding student.
Preliminary Appeal Process:
- The Dean, or designee, will refer the request(s) to SIT’s designated Appeal Review Officer;
- The Dean, or designee, will also draft a response memorandum to the appeal request(s), based on the Appeal Review Officer’s determination that the request(s) will be granted or denied, and why. All request-related documents are shared with all parties prior to submission to the Appeal Review Officer;
- The Appeal Review Officer will conduct an initial review to determine if the appeal request meets the limited grounds and is timely. They may consult with the Dean, or designee, and/or Title IX Coordinator on any procedural or substantive questions that arise.
- If the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, the original finding and sanction will stand, and the decision is final;
- If the appeal has standing, the Appeal Officer determines whether to refer the appeal to the Appeal Panel or to remand it to the original decision-maker(s), typically within 3-5 business days;
- Efforts should be made to use remand whenever possible, with clear instructions for reconsideration only considering the granted appeal grounds;
- Where the original decision-maker may be unduly biased by a procedural or substantive error, a new panel will be constituted to reconsider the matter, which can in turn be appealed, once;
- Full re-hearings by the Appeal Panel are very rarely used;
- Where new evidence is presented, or the sanction is challenged, the Appeal Review Officer will determine if the matter should be returned to the original decisionmaker for reconsideration or if it should be reviewed by the Appeal Panel with instruction on the parameters regarding institutional consistency and any applicable legal guidelines;
- In review, the original finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately, thus the burden is on the appealing party(s) to show clear error;
- The Appeal Panel must limit its review to the challenges presented;
- On reconsideration, the Appeal Review Officer or original decision-maker may affirm or change the findings and/or sanctions of the original hearing body according to the permissible grounds;
- Procedural errors should be corrected, new evidence should be considered, and sanctions should be proportionate to the severity of the violation and the student’s cumulative conduct record.
- All decisions of the Appeal Review Officer are to be made within five days of submission to the Appeal Review Officer and are final, as are any decisions made by the original hearing body, Dean, or designee, or Title IX Coordinator as the result of reconsideration consistent with instructions from the Appeal Review Officer.