Student Handbook – Code of Student Conduct
I. APPROACH OF THE CODE
As an academic community, it is necessary for Rice University to articulate and enforce standards of behavior. Such standards are not intended merely to prohibit misbehavior and to punish violations of regulations but to educate about behavior and character traits that the community wishes to promote or discourage; to protect members of the community from harm or unwarranted interference; to hold individuals and groups responsible for their actions and the consequences of their behavior; and to cultivate an environment conducive to our community’s primary purpose — education.
This Code is not a substitute for criminal or civil judicial proceedings and it is not intended to restrict or discourage any complainant or potential complainant from using criminal or civil justice systems. Disciplinary action under this Code does not preclude sanctions or remedies under criminal or civil laws. Rice University and individual complainants or victims may, wholly apart from this Code, refer suspected criminal law violations to the criminal justice system, pursue available remedies through civil court proceedings, and avail themselves of other forms of dispute resolution.
The information contained in this Code is intended to aid efforts to ascertain the facts of a disciplinary matter or allegation and to reach a just decision. The Code is not intended to, and does not, confer any contractual rights on any individuals involved. Circumstances can differ greatly between matters, and the Assistant Dean of Student Judicial Programs may modify the procedures in a particular matter in order to reach a timely and just decision.
The life and work of a Rice University student should be based on integrity, responsibility, and consideration for others. In all activities each student is expected to be respectful of the rights and interests of the community and of others in the community and to be personally honest. Rice University, through appropriate policies and rules, encourages mature and responsible behavior of its students and holds students responsible for behavior that violates the standards and expectations of the community. All students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the University’s function as an educational institution and with the rights of all members of the University to attend, make use of, and enjoy the facilities and benefits of the University without undue interruption or disruption.
By entering Rice University, students accept several responsibilities: to respect the welfare of all persons in the University community and their guests, to refrain from misusing or harming property which belongs to the University or members of this community, to maintain an atmosphere conducive to education and scholarship, and other responsibilities as outlined in the Student Handbook. Failure to fulfill these responsibilities may result in the suspension of specific privileges, the withdrawal of the student’s privilege of attending the University, or the imposition of other sanctions.
This Code and philosophy apply generally to the non-academic conduct of all categories of students, including undergraduate, graduate, visiting, exchange, continuing studies and any other category of students. Academic conduct is addressed by the University’s Honor Code, though the two systems may overlap at times and the processes in this Code can be used to effectuate Honor Code sanctions; suspensions for Honor Code violations are also disciplinary suspensions. Certain other areas and departments of the University (such as the library, parking and traffic enforcement, and Housing and Dining) also maintain additional rules and regulations that students are responsible for observing. Any department or office may refer a violation of University rules or policies to the student disciplinary system.
C. THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM
Rice University advocates self-governance among students. The University imposes as few rules as possible; however, as in any community, certain rules of behavior and conduct are necessary.
The standards of conduct set out in this Code shall apply to all undergraduate students, transfer students, graduate students, and professional students registered at Rice University, as well as visiting students, Class III students, Second Degree students, and Auditors from the time they arrive on campus for orientation until they have graduated, permanently withdrawn, or resigned from the University and applies to behavior on or off campus, including that which affects the University community’s reputation, safety, or security. Student organizations and clubs are also subject to this Code and may be sanctioned under this Code. All enrolled students are subject to Rice University policies, rules and regulations, including this Code whether they are on or off campus. All prospective students and guests are subject to Rice University policies, rules and regulations whenever they are on the Rice University campus or attending a Rice University function (even those away from the campus). Any member of the Rice community may file a charge against a student for violation of the Code. The Assistant Dean of Student Judicial Programs (Assistant Dean) will determine if there is sufficient basis for charges to be considered under the Code.
This Code of Conduct and non-academic disciplinary actions are implemented by a judicial system that is composed of several officials and judicial bodies: the individual College Courts, the College Masters, the University Court, the Judicial Affairs Committee, the Assistant Dean, the Dean of Undergraduates, and the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. This Code remains in effect throughout the calendar year, regardless of whether the University is in session. The College Courts, University Court, and Judicial Affairs Committee may enact their own procedures for implementing this Code, with the approval of the Master or Assistant Dean as appropriate, as long as such procedures are fair, reasonable and not inconsistent with this Code. The Assistant Dean and the Masters may enact their own procedures for implementing this Code as long as such procedures are consistent with the principles and purposes of this Code.
The Dean of Undergraduates has general authority over the student disciplinary system. The Dean of Undergraduates, among other things, provides consultation as needed to the Assistant Dean and others involved in the Rice Judicial System. The Office of Student Judicial Programs is the primary administrative office concerning matters under the Code of Conduct and the Assistant Dean is the primary disciplinary official administering the disciplinary process under this Code.
The Masters, the Assistant Dean, Dean of Undergraduates, and the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may appoint designees in their discretion. The Assistant Dean may refer appropriate matters to professional staff in Student Judicial Programs or the Dean of Undergraduates Office for consideration.
Provisions of this Code may be reviewed and amended at any time by the Dean of Undergraduates and the Assistant Dean, and are effective when approved by both. In addition, the Code shall be presented to the Rice University Board of Trustees for review at least every four years.
D. RICE UNIVERSITY JUDICIAL OFFICIALS AND JUDICIAL BODIES
Rice University judicial officials and judicial bodies are not designed to and should not be expected to function as courts of law. The procedures are designed to treat all matters as individually and informally as possible and strive for fairness and reasonableness in all considerations.
1. Assistant Dean of Student Judicial Programs (Assistant Dean)
The Assistant Dean, a judicial official, is the primary disciplinary official of the University. The Assistant Dean receives complaints and charges under the Code and decides which judicial body, if any, will consider a matter. Decisions issued by judicial bodies under this Code are recommendations to the Assistant Dean to be enforced under his or her authority.
The Assistant Dean, at his or her discretion, may assume authority over a matter directly rather than refer it to a judicial body. These matters are likely to include matters where personal privacy is of a special concern (including but not limited to sexual misconduct allegations), matters with unusual or complicated factual situations, matters that require complicated, sensitive, or extensive investigative activities, matters that are particularly serious and may, if substantiated, reasonably be foreseen to subject a student to suspension or expulsion from the University or other severe penalty, matters where the student charged or the complainant or the University Court requests the Assistant Dean consider the matter, or other matters as appropriate and at the discretion of the Assistant Dean. The Assistant Dean may also assume authority in times when the University Court docket is congested and requires assistance, including where there is a need to timely adjudicate allegations against graduating seniors before graduation can occur.
The Assistant Dean, at his or her discretion, may also choose to remove or refer matters before the College Courts to the University Court or the Judicial Affairs Committee as appropriate. The Assistant Dean, at his or her discretion, may choose to remove or refer matters normally handled by the University Court to the Judicial Affairs Committee as appropriate.
In addition to the other roles and responsibilities described in this Code, the Assistant Dean may immediately expel or suspend a student either on an interim or final basis or proscribe the student’s privileges or movement on campus or require that a student receive a psychological or psychiatric assessment. The expulsion, suspension, interim suspension, proscription, or assessment may be on the following basis:
• to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University community or preservation of University property;
• to ensure the student’s own safety or well-being;
• to maintain the reputation of the University; or
• if the student poses a threat of disruption or interference to an individual or with normal University operations.
The Assistant Dean’s action may be imposed on a permanent basis or interim basis pending further proceedings under this Code. In either case, the Assistant Dean’s action may be appealed by an undergraduate student to the Dean of Undergraduates or by a graduate student to the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, who shall decide the appeal within 7 days. During the appeal, the expulsion, suspension, or proscription shall remain in effect except as provided by the Assistant Dean in writing.
Any other matters over which the Assistant Dean has assumed authority for initial handling may be appealed, for a first and final appeal, directly to the Dean of Undergraduates (for matters concerning an undergraduate student) or to the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (for matters concerning a graduate student), though these matters need not be decided within 7 days.
Any College Court, Master, University Court, or the Honor Council handling a matter involving academic or disciplinary misconduct shall, inform the Assistant Dean of the names of the students charged with a violation.
2. University Court
The University Court is a judicial body of students, composed of two justices from each class, three at-large representatives, and four graduate student representatives.
a. Membership: The justices are elected through campus-wide undergraduate or graduate student elections, as appropriate. In addition to election of justices in the spring, freshman justices may be appointed or elected. If vacancies occur or an insufficient number of students run for election, the Assistant Dean may appoint members to fill vacancies on the court.
b. Jurisdiction: The University Court shall hear matters referred to it by the Assistant Dean involving Class I disciplinary matters (discussed below) and any other matters referred to it.
The University Court may defer assuming authority over a matter, in which case the matter is returned to the Assistant Dean.
Violations of college rules (College Infractions) are handled by the colleges as specified below. However, the College Courts or Masters may (with the consent of the Assistant Dean) refer matters to the University Court.
Violations of academic regulations are handled by the Honor Council, although appropriate matters may be referred to the Assistant Dean and enforcement of all University disciplinary sanctions is handled by the Assistant Dean.
Appeals from the University Court shall go to the Assistant Dean and then, if necessary, to the Dean of Undergraduates or Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (depending on whether the student charged is an undergraduate or graduate student).
c. Student Ombuds: Each year ombuds are chosen to serve the University Court in advisory capacities. The ombuds monitors the meeting and process in a judicial matter before the University Court. The ombuds duties include informing the student charged of what to expect at the meetings and to answer any questions the student may have. However, the ombuds does not act as an advocate at the meeting. The ombuds is responsible for pointing out any procedural errors and advising the student charged if grounds for appeal should arise. Otherwise, the ombuds should be an impartial observer of the University Court.
3. College Courts
College Courts are judicial bodies that may be established and operated by the Colleges. The College Chief Justice is head of the College Court and may act for the Court when permitted by the College Court procedures. If established and operational, a College Court has authority over certain infractions occurring on the College grounds or at the College’s functions. These are College Infractions and a student charged with such infractions shall usually have a meeting before the College Court or other proceedings as determined by the College.
A College Court may choose to refer matters otherwise within its authority to the College Master, the Assistant Dean or the University Court (with the Assistant Dean’s consent).
Appeals from actions by the College Courts or other College actions are handled by the Master, with a final appeal to the Assistant Dean; appeals to the Dean of Undergraduates are not available for these matters.
In instances where the Housing & Dining Department believes that a student has caused damage to a building or other University property, the department may send a bill for the damage to the student’s college. The College Court may assume responsibility for the matter and file an appropriate charge against a particular student or students to pay such damage. The College Court may also refer handling of the matter to the Assistant Dean, Master, or to the University Court (with the Assistant Dean’s consent). When students fail to fulfill college sanctions or damage assessments duly imposed by the College judicial system, the College Chief Justice or Master may ask the Assistant Dean to enforce the sanction, such as by placing a Judicial Hold on the students’ academic accounts until the sanction is fulfilled.
4. Judicial Affairs Committee
The Judicial Affairs Committee, a judicial body, acts at the request of and on behalf of the Assistant Dean. The Judicial Affairs Committee also serves an advisory function to the Assistant Dean, the Dean of Undergraduates, and the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
The Judicial Affairs Committee is composed of faculty, Masters, student affairs or other University staff, and undergraduate and graduate students, and it is appointed by the Assistant Dean in consultation with the Dean of Undergraduates.
The Assistant Dean may refer any matter under his or her authority to a subcommittee (i.e., a panel) of the Judicial Affairs Committee for determination
of the facts. The subcommittee’s recommended factual determinations, as well as any recommended sanctions, are then provided to the Assistant Dean, who decides the matter and imposes any sanctions.
A subcommittee panel will be composed of at least three members (including at least one student whenever reasonably possible) who are selected by the chair of the Judicial Affairs Committee in consultation with the Assistant Dean. (In exceptional matters, the chair of the Judicial Affairs Committee in consultation with the Assistant Dean may decide to appoint a subcommittee without a student member. Notice of such action shall be provided to the Dean of Undergraduates.)
If sufficient faculty or staff members of the larger committee are not available to serve on a subcommittee, the chair of the Judicial Affairs Committee, in consultation with the Assistant Dean, may appoint temporary members to a subcommittee. If a student member from the larger committee is not available for service on a subcommittee, the chair may appoint a temporary student member to the subcommittee.
The subcommittee shall adopt procedures for considering matters before it and shall make those procedures available to all students and witnesses before any meeting. The procedures should include the process for notice to the student of the matter under consideration and should include an explanation of the procedures of a meeting, if any, including the procedures for witnesses, if necessary. All procedures must be approved by the Assistant Dean.
Because matters considered by a subcommittee remain matters under the authority of the Assistant Dean, appeals from these matters are appeals of the actions by the Assistant Dean and are referred directly to either the Dean of Undergraduates or the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, whose decision is final.
College Masters are appointed by and derive their authority from the President of Rice University, and report to the Dean of Undergraduates. They are responsible for all aspects of student life in the colleges, including the responsibility to support and advise the College Court. The Masters may appoint designees as necessary.
Masters, as judicial officials, may assume authority over any matter within their
College whenever the health (including psychological health) and/or safety of a student is at issue. When a Master assumes authority over such matters, the Master will inform the Assistant Dean as soon as practical of the name of the student and the actions taken by the Master. To ensure continuity, the Master may, after his or her initial action, refer such matters to the Assistant Dean for implementation. This may be particularly helpful for matters that require consistent follow-up or tracking of student behavior.
Masters may bring matters to the attention of the College Court. Masters may also assume jurisdiction over matters before the College Court, or refer matters before the College Courts to the Assistant Dean.
In addition to all other judicial powers and authority assigned to them in other sections of this Code, Masters shall have the authority to summarily rusticate a student who is a member of that Master’s college. Masters shall also have the authority to summarily ban a student who is a member of another college from the grounds and activities of the Master’s college. Such a ban will be treated procedurally in the same manner as rustication for purposes of this code. Masters shall notify the Assistant Dean and the Dean of Undergraduates of the names of these students and the terms of the rustication or ban.
Appeals from decisions of Masters other than rustication are to the Assistant Dean, with a final appeal, if available and necessary (see section (III)(F)), to the Dean of Undergraduates. Appeals from a Master’s decision to rusticate or ban a student shall go directly to the Dean of Undergraduates.
II. CONDUCT AND SANCTIONS
A. STANDARD OF CONDUCT
Students are expected to govern their conduct by standards of considerate and ethical behavior so as not to harm or discredit themselves, the University, or any other individual. Moreover, just as the learning environment does not end at the classroom door, neither is the exercise of individual responsibility, civility, and honor limited to the academic domain.
Rice University reserves the right to take official notice of criminal convictions of and accusations against a student, whether the crime is committed on or off campus. This may then result in appropriate sanctions, including that student’s expulsion from the University.
Some matters may involve allegations of violations of both Rice University rules or regulations and civil or criminal law. In these instances, proceedings concerning possible Code violations may progress on campus without regard to off-campus proceedings. Proceedings under this Code may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off-campus. The University does not presume to advise students accused of criminal law violations, and such students should seek advice from a lawyer. Rice University provides no sanctuary from the consequences of illegal acts.
B. PROSCRIBED CONDUCT
The following are specific examples of acts and behaviors considered irresponsible behavior that may be destructive to oneself, another community member, or the University community in general. All these acts and behaviors are unacceptable within the University community. This list is not all-inclusive. Additional rules exist in the Student Handbook, the Rice Alcohol Policy, the Rice Honor Code, the General Announcements, in the policies published by the University and by administrative departments. These rules and policies may be enforced by the procedures under this Code and the authority of this Code, the Assistant Dean, the Dean of Undergraduates, and the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
1. Class I Violations
a. Mental or Bodily Harm, Reckless Action or Disregard: Intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict mental or bodily harm on any person, including on the charged student; taking any reckless action, or showing reckless disregard, from which mental or bodily harm could result to any person, including to the charged student. This includes, but is not limited to, actual or attempted behavior that includes physical abuse of all types, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, relationship violence, stalking behavior, physically restraining any person (including but not limited to restraint by rope, handcuff, plastic tie, duct tape or other types of restraint), driving while intoxicated or under the influence (whether on or off campus), use or distribution of dangerous substances (whether legal or illegal), and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the physical or mental health or safety of any person.
b. Violations of Published University Policies, Rules or Regulations, and Agreements, including but not limited to the Rice Sexual Harassment Policy, the Rice Weapons Policy, Housing and Dining Policies, and other housing agreements with Rice University.
c. Violations of Criminal Law.
d. Property Violations: Attempted or actual theft of property or services and/or damage to property of the University, a member of the University community, or any business or person which is located on University premises, or knowing possession of stolen property.
e. Fire Safety Violations: including but not limited to creating a fire safety hazard in any University building, setting false fire alarms.
f. Possession of Weapons or Other Dangerous Devices: possession of weapons, including all firearms (including legally registered ones), compressed air-guns, pellet guns, BB guns, clubs, illegal knives, other bladed weapons (including those intended for ceremonial or decorative uses), dangerous chemicals, or explosive devices (including fireworks) of any description. None of these items may be possessed in the residential colleges and none may be possessed on campus (other than as part of official ROTC activities conducted under supervision) except as registered and stored at the Rice University Police Department. Students should also be aware of, and act in compliance with, Rice University General Policy No. 835-96 (please refer to Rice Weapons Policy) and Texas state law.
g. Disruption/Obstruction: Obstructing or interfering with teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, or other University functions or activities. This includes on campus or off campus functions and also includes authorized non-University activities occurring on campus.
h. Discrimination: Intentional discrimination against a person on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation, except where such distinction is required by law.
i. Unauthorized Entry or Trespass: Unauthorized entry (whether forcible or otherwise) to any building, structure, construction site or facility, including an individual’s room and/or unauthorized entry to or use of University grounds.
j. Manufacture, Distribution, Sale, Offer for Sale, Possession, or other Unauthorized Use of Controlled Substances. This includes marijuana, illegal drugs, and unauthorized possession, distribution, sale, offer for sale, or use of prescription drugs.
k. Unauthorized Use of Parking Permits, University ID Cards, or Meal Cards.
l. Misuse of University Property or Equipment, including misuse of University Purchasing Cards.
m. Misuse or Abuse of Computational Facilities, including:
i. unauthorized entry into a file to use, read, or change the contents, or for any other purpose;
ii. unauthorized transfer of a file;
iii. unauthorized use of another individual’s identification and/or password;
iv. use of computational facilities to interfere with the work of another;
v. use of computational facilities to send obscene, abusive, harassing or threatening messages or to engage in stalking behavior or to repeatedly send unwanted email to individuals;
vi. use of computational facilities, including the Rice network facilities, to download or possess child pornography;
vii. use of computational facilities to interfere with the normal operation of the University’s computing systems;
viii. use of computational facilities for file sharing or downloading in violation of copyright laws; or
ix. violation of policies of University computational facilities or networks.
n. Falsification of Records; Giving False Information; Use of False Identification: Altering, tampering, forging, or knowingly using falsified documents or records (including Rice parking permits and identification cards as well as false or fictitious state-issued identification); being party to falsification; giving or providing false statements, written or oral, and/or providing false information during any university proceeding or to any university administrator or official, using false identification or identification that is not one’s own to deceive university officials, including university police.
o. Violations of the Rice University Alcohol Policy: including without limitation intentionally circumventing the spirit and/or purpose of the Alcohol Policy (available in the Student Handbook); violations by an organization, group or an individual hosting an event; minor in possession; and the use or possession of a false driver’s license or other type of identification (including wrist bands) in order to procure or consume alcohol, and providing false or misleading information on Rice Alcohol Policy forms.
p. Alcohol Violations: including without limitation, Public Intoxication, Minor in Possession, Driving While Intoxicated, Minor Driving under the Influence, and other alcohol related violations.
q. Unauthorized Access to University Records: regardless of where such records are located.
r. Unauthorized Access: Unauthorized possession, duplication, or use of keys or access devices to any University premises, facilities or equipment, or unauthorized entry to or use of any University premises.
s. Unauthorized Use of the Rice University Name or Logo.
t. Failure to Comply or Identify: Failure to comply with directions of University officials or law enforcement officers acting in the performance of their University duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so.
u. Hazing and/or Abusive Affiliation: Any act, whether on or off campus, which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or which encourages or leads to conduct that otherwise violates the Code or Rice policies, or which a reasonable person would perceive is purposefully demeaning or humiliating to the students who are the object of the conduct, or which destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of membership in, affiliation with, and/or association with a group, including pressuring students to engage in hazing conduct. Consent of the participants or objects of the hazing conduct is not a defense to a charge of hazing. The individual student(s) conducting the hazing, the group(s) associated with the hazing, the group’s leadership, or others with knowledge of the planning of hazing activity and who do not notify the Assistant Dean may all face sanctions under the Code. Students should also be aware that Texas state law also criminalizes hazing, as defined in the Texas Education Code § 37.151-37.152.
v. Disorderly Conduct: Disorderly, Lewd, or Indecent Conduct; Breach of Peace.
w. Unauthorized Surveillance/Photography: Making unauthorized video or photographic images of a person in a location in which that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, including (but not limited to) shower/locker rooms, residence hall rooms, and restrooms, is prohibited. Also prohibited is the storing, sharing, and/or other distribution of such unauthorized images by any means.
x. Abuse of the University Judicial System: including but not limited to:
i. failure to appear before a judicial body or University official when requested;
ii. falsifying, distorting, withholding, or misrepresenting information before a judicial body or University official;
iii. disruption of or interference with the orderly conduct of a judicial proceeding;
iv. knowingly instituting a judicial proceeding without cause;
v. attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in or use of the judicial system;
vi. attempting to influence the impartiality of a witness, student participant, University official, or member of a judicial body in connection with a judicial proceeding;
vii. harassment and/or intimidation (verbal or physical or electronic) of a University Official or member of the judicial body or witness before, during, or after a judicial proceeding;
viii. influencing or attempting to influence another person to abuse the judicial system.
y. Commercial Use of Class Materials: Sale of class notes or other course-generated material for commercial collection or commercial purpose.
z. Failure to Fulfill Sanctions Imposed in an Earlier Proceeding.
aa. Repeated College Infractions or Failure to Fulfill College Infraction sanctions.
bb. Aiding and Abetting in Any of the Above Violations.
2. College Infractions
A College Infraction involves inappropriate behavior within the Colleges and on their grounds which, though inappropriate, does not rise to a Class I disciplinary violation because it is relatively minor and primarily involves violation of college rules.
College Infractions by themselves are not considered disciplinary violations on students’ internal transcripts. Charging a student with a College Infraction does not mean the student will not be charged with a Class I violation if it is later revealed that the matter should have been treated as a Class I violation, in which case the matter will be handled using Class I procedures.
a. Unauthorized Use of Property or Services Within the Colleges and Their Grounds.
b. Disorderly Conduct: Disorderly, lewd, or indecent conduct; breach of peace on college grounds or at college functions.
c. Failure to Comply or Identify within College Boundaries or at a College Function.
d. Public Intoxication within College Boundaries or at a College Function.
e. Violating College Rules: College rules are available from the college governments.
f. Unauthorized Possession or Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages on College Grounds or at College Functions.
g. Abuse of College Judicial System.
h. Destruction of College Property.
i. Aiding and Abetting in Any of the Above Violations.
When possible, sanctions are intended to be not only punitive but also to be corrective or educational. Students found in violation should be challenged to evaluate their behavior and reflect on their actions and its effect on the community.
In matters handled by a judicial body where a student is found to have violated the Code, that judicial body will recommend sanctions, as appropriate, to the Assistant Dean. Subject to the procedures for appealing rustication decisions (in (II)(C)(4)), the Assistant Dean may impose a different sanction from that recommended by the judicial body, or in the case of an appeal, different from that imposed by the judicial official or body. In matters handled by the Assistant Dean or referred by the Assistant Dean to a Judicial Affairs subcommittee for fact-findings, the Assistant Dean determines the appropriate sanction when a violation is found. In assessing an appropriate sanction, the Assistant Dean may consider sanctions that the student has received for prior academic or disciplinary violations. Any judicial body may recommend appropriate sanctions, including expulsions. The Master, in the case of rustication or College Infractions, or Assistant Dean administers the sanctions.
When a student receives a sanction listed in a – g below, a notation of the sanction will appear on the internal transcript; sanctions listed in a – b below, as well as unauthorized withdrawals (see Section (III)(G)), will be reflected on the official Rice transcript.
The circumstances giving rise to a judicial complaint under this Code may also result in a Master’s rustication in addition to any other disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed under this Code. A Master’s decision to rusticate is separate from the decision to bring charges under the Code.
1. Sanctions for Class I Violations
The following sanctions (in any combination) may be imposed on any student who is found to have committed a Class I violation:
a. Expulsion. Permanent Separation from the University. Under this Code, this penalty can be imposed only by the Assistant Dean and/or the Dean of Undergraduates or Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
b. Disciplinary Suspension from the University: for a specified time or until specified conditions are met. Readmission following disciplinary suspension, including suspension for Honor Code violations, requires approval of the Assistant Dean. Readmission after the term of the suspension is not automatic and can be denied, for example, when the specific terms of the suspension have not been fulfilled. The Dean of Undergraduates or Assistant Dean may specify or a judicial body may recommend that the suspended student not be allowed to transfer academic credit back to Rice that is obtained from another college or university during the time of suspension. Readmission from suspension may be accompanied by additional requirements to ensure the safety, success and well-being of the student. Suspended students must leave the University within 48 hours of being informed of the decision. While suspended, students cannot attend classes or live on campus. Participation in student activities on and off campus and use of Rice facilities, including the student center, the colleges, the playing fields and recreational facilities, and computer labs are limited to enrolled students.
c. Permanent Loss or Suspension of Privileges for a Specified Time: The student may, among other things, be prohibited from attending particular functions or entering a particular campus area, facility, residence, or college (i.e., a judicial proscription), including a judicially proscribed rustication (i.e, a rustication by a judicial official or body other than the Master) where the student is prohibited from living in a college (or all colleges) and/or participating in college life and activities.
d. Disciplinary Probation: A written notice from the Assistant Dean that further violations may result in suspension or other serious sanction and that the student may not be a candidate for or hold elective or appointive office in any University organization during the term of the probation. The term of the probation may be a specified period of time or remain indefinite. For students on disciplinary probation for a semester-specific amount of time, the probation remains in effect until the beginning of the first semester subsequent to the probation semester(s). Students on disciplinary probation may be required to meet regularly with appropriate university officials.
e. Disciplinary Warning: a written warning to the student that the student is violating or has violated this Code and that further violations may result in probation or suspension.
f. Written Reprimand.
g. Fines or Equivalent Work Penalty: all fines will be collected by the Office of Student Judicial Programs and are payable to the University. The nature and terms of an equivalent work penalty, when used, will be specified by the Assistant Dean.
h. Restitution: in money, or in kind, to the University, college, or individual for a loss caused by the student or organization found in violation.
i. Required Community Service or Work Assignment: the student (or organization) is required to engage in service to the community, an agency, an institution, or the University, or to participate in special educational programs or projects. At the discretion of the Assistant Dean or judicial body, a corresponding work assignment may be substituted for or added to a monetary fine.
j. Mandatory Evaluation: the student will be referred for a mandatory evaluation session with the Rice Counseling Center, Student Health Service, or an agency recommended by them.
k. Mandatory Educational Session/Counseling: the student will be required to complete an educational program or counseling program.
l. Mandatory Written Apology: the student or group is required to write an appropriate letter of apology, which must be approved by the Chair of the Court,
Master, or Assistant Dean (as determined by the judicial actor or body considering the matter).
m. Discretionary Sanctions: additional educational activities, work assignments, such as community service, and any other related discretionary sanctions.
2. Sanctions for College Infractions
A student found to have committed a College Infraction may be subject to a monetary fine, restitution, and loss or suspension of privileges within the Colleges (other than rustication) for a specified time. Fines for College Infractions will be paid to the University as specified in section II.C.1(g).
3. Result of Failure to Fulfill Imposed Sanctions
A student’s failure to fulfill sanctions imposed may result in further proceedings and additional sanctions, including suspension or expulsion from the university. This is in addition to the imposition of any judicial holds and in addition to the original sanctions.
4. Master’s Rustication
In addition to all other judicial powers and authority assigned to them in other sections of this Code, Masters shall have the authority to summarily rusticate a student who is a member of that Master’s college. Rustication by a college Master shall extend to all colleges unless alternative arrangements are approved by the Committee of Masters and by the Assistant Dean. Masters shall also have the authority to summarily ban a student who is a member of another college from the grounds and activities of the Master’s college. Such a ban will be treated procedurally in the same manner as rustication for purposes of this code.
Rustication is a social sanction apart from other sanctions described in this Code and derives from the Master’s role in making decisions for the welfare of the college and its students. It involves revocation of some or all of the privileges of living within the college system. Masters may rusticate a member of the Master’s college
from all colleges, grounds and functions. The Masters shall notify the Assistant Dean, the Dean of Undergraduates and the other Masters when a student is rusticated. Under his or her authority, the Assistant Dean may also add prohibitions or proscriptions, including those that affect a student’s participation in academic and non-academic activities on the campus.
Rustication as a summary social sanction is imposed only by the Master but may be recommended to the Master by other University officials or judicial bodies, including the Assistant Dean. A complaint may be filed under this Code against a student who has been rusticated even if the complaint arises from the events or behavior giving rise to the rustication. In such a circumstance, the judicial official or body considering the complaint may, but need not, take into consideration that rustication has occurred in determining any appropriate sanctions if the student is found in violation. The terms of the rustication cannot be lessened by that judicial official or body. Appeals from a Master’s decision to rusticate a student may be made directly to the Dean of Undergraduates.
5. Judicial Holds
The office of the Assistant Dean may place a Judicial Hold on a student with the Office of the Registrar for not completing required sanctions, for nonpayment of college fines or other assessments after college judicial action, for not completing the Honor Council orientation required of incoming students, for not affirming the intent to follow the Honor Code, Code of Conduct, and Alcohol Policy, for not cooperating with the judicial process under this Code, for having pending Honor Council or Code of Student Conduct allegations, and for other causes as necessary. In general, students with Judicial Holds may not register for classes, receive copies of their transcripts or grades, have their transcript released to other parties, or, in some instances, graduate. The Judicial Hold is an administrative action authorized by the Assistant Dean and is not a disciplinary sanction under the Code for purposes of the internal records of the student.
6. Mandatory Assessments and Evaluations
The Assistant Dean may require a student to receive an assessment or evaluation from the Rice Counseling Center, Student Health Center, or other appropriate provider. This may be done in conjunction with the sanctions for a student found in violation of this Code, but should not be viewed as a punitive sanction under this Code. The Assistant Dean, Dean of Undergraduates, or Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may also require an assessment or evaluation of any student when, in their judgment, the behavior of the student is cause for concern, regardless of whether the student has been found in violation of the Code. If appropriate after an assessment or evaluation is completed under this section, the Assistant Dean, Dean of Undergraduates, or Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies can require that the student receive necessary assistance or follow up, or the Assistant Dean, Dean of Undergraduates, or Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies can take other action if necessary to protect the health, safety, or welfare of any member of the Rice community.
7. Interim Separation or Suspension
The Assistant Dean may interimly separate or suspend a student pending further disciplinary action under the Code. Interim separation or suspension may be used when the behavior of a student meets any of the criteria previously explained in section I.D.1. The action is taken pending further action under Code. Interim suspensions may also be put in place when a student has withdrawn from the University before process under the Code could be completed; in these cases, the interim suspension must be resolved before the student can return to Rice from the withdrawal. Students on interim separation or suspension cannot attend classes, live on campus, or access the facilities at Rice which are reserved for enrolled students. Separated or suspended students, including interimly separated or suspended students, must leave the University within 48 hours of being informed of the decision. Participation in student activities on and off campus and use of Rice facilities, including the student center, the colleges, the playing fields and recreational facilities, and computer labs are limited to enrolled students. An interim separation or suspension action may be appealed by an undergraduate student to the Dean of Undergraduates or by a graduate student to the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, who shall decide the appeal within 7 days. During the appeal, the interim separation or suspension shall remain in effect except as provided by the Assistant Dean in writing.
8. Medical Amnesty
Any student may bring an intoxicated or drug-impaired person to Rice University Health Services or seek assistance from the Rice Emergency Medical Services or the Rice University Policy Department. Neither the student who is impaired nor the student assisting the impaired student will face disciplinary action under this Code for the possession, use, or provision of alcohol or the possession or use of other drugs, so long as the student(s) receiving the amnesty complete a mandatory follow-up with their Residential College Master or the master’s designee or the Dean of Undergraduates or the office’s designee. The designee in either case may be the University Counseling Center or the University Wellness Center. The amnesty does not apply to other prohibited conduct, including but not limited to, assault, violence, property damage, or the distribution of dangerous substances, whether legal or illegal.
A. CHARGES, JUDICIAL BODY MEETINGS, AND CONSIDERATION BY JUDICIAL OFFICIALS
The procedures used in a judicial body meeting (that is, in a University Court, College Court, or a Judicial Affairs subcommittee meeting) or before a judicial official are not those used in court cases and are not intended to create contractual rights, including any rights to due process as that phrase is used in courts of law. Formal rules of evidence and jurisprudence do not apply. The Procedures under this Code are not adversarial processes but rather procedures for determining the facts regarding a charge and arriving at a fair and informed resolution of a charge.
All parties have a duty to bring all pertinent information concerning the matter to the attention of the Assistant Dean or the University Court, College Court, or Judicial Affairs Committee so that an informed and fair decision can be made. Students who withhold information or who are not truthful to the Assistant Dean, Master, College Court, University Court, or Judicial Affairs Committee may be found in violation of Abuse of the University Judicial System under this Code.
The Assistant Dean or the Master (in the case of College Infractions) may assume authority over a matter when either the student charged or the complainant so requests or at the Assistant Dean’s or Master’s discretion. Examples of situations that may lead to the Assistant Dean assuming authority at his or her discretion are listed in section I.D.(1), above. The Assistant Dean will notify the Dean of Undergraduates of matters over which the Assistant Dean assumes authority and in which the Assistant Dean imposes a sanction of suspension or expulsion.
1. To encourage persons who wish to file a complaint, the University provides several channels of communication and both informal and formal procedures. The filing of a formal charge is required for the matter to proceed under this Code, except when noted otherwise. When an allegation that a violation has occurred reaches the Assistant Dean, the Assistant Dean may write the charge on behalf of the University.
2. The charge shall be prepared in writing and directed to the Assistant Dean in order to initiate the Code’s procedures. The charge should contain a detailed description of the conduct alleged to violate the Code. A complainant (whether University authorities or an individual or group) should submit a charge as soon as practical after the event occurs.
3. As soon as practical, the Assistant Dean or University Court, College Court or Judicial Affairs Committee (whichever has authority over the matter) shall conduct an investigation sufficient to determine if there is enough information suggesting a violation to proceed to a meeting (if before a judicial body) or substantive consideration (if before the Assistant Dean). If there is sufficient reason to proceed, the student charged shall be notified in writing of any subsequent proceeding by the judicial body, its date and place and the charge. If the matter is before the Assistant Dean, the student shall be notified of the charge(s) and the student will have an opportunity to respond to the charge(s) verbally and/or in writing.
4. For matters before the University Court, College Court, or Judicial Affairs Committee, if the student requests it or the University Court, College Court, or Judicial Affairs Committee considers it useful, a preliminary meeting may be held by the judicial body. At that stage, the student charged may accept the charge and the judicial body’s recommended sanction. Otherwise, the student may contest the charge or the sanction and the matter will then go to a subsequent meeting before the judicial body. If the Assistant Dean's designee from Student Judicial Programs or the Dean of Undergraduates Office is considering a referred matter, they may also utilize a preliminary meeting to determine if a student charged accepts the charge and recommended sanction. If the charge or sanction is not accepted, the matter can proceed to consideration by the Assistant Dean or Assistant Dean's designee, or be referred to another judicial body.
5. At any time before the University Court, College Court, or Judicial Affairs Committee holds a meeting on the merits of a charge (other than a preliminary meeting), either the student charged or the complainant may request the Assistant Dean to assume authority over the matter. When such a request is made, the Assistant Dean shall assume authority over the matter.
6. Where the student charged contests the charge and also asks the Assistant Dean to assume authority over the matter, or where the complainant requests the Assistant Dean to assume authority over the matter, the Assistant Dean may request that a subcommittee of the Judicial Affairs Committee make recommended fact-findings to the Assistant Dean (as previously described).
7. Meetings shall be conducted by the University Court or college courts according to the following guidelines:
a. The chair of the judicial body shall set the date, time, and place for the meeting and notify the students charged in writing.
b. The chair of the judicial body shall make clear to all participants the procedures under which the meeting is to be conducted, explaining that the meeting is not based on a courtroom adversarial approach.
c. The chair shall remind the student charged of the provisions of the Student in Disciplinary Proceedings. The chair shall also read the charge.
d. As requested by the student charged or the judicial body, the judicial body will summon witnesses and require presentation of relevant documents and information.
e. If the judicial body so chooses, a non-voting member or a non-voting designee of the judicial body, in addition to the student charged, shall present witnesses and/or information sufficient to establish the facts surrounding the alleged violation. The witnesses may be asked follow-up questions by either the judicial body or the student charged. At the chair’s discretion, the student’s questions may be handled by having the student submit them in writing to the chair and the chair will then pose the questions to the witnesses.
f. All meetings are confidential. A student may obtain a public meeting, however, if the student charged, the complainant, all witnesses, and all members of the judicial body consent to the meeting. If, during a public meeting, new witnesses are discovered, these witnesses cannot be required to appear but may on their own volition agree to participate.
g. The judicial body or designee or the student charged may also, at the chair’s discretion, present pertinent records or documents for consideration.
h. The judicial body can decide not to hear certain information or witnesses offered, such as character evidence, if it decides that such information is not relevant to the proceeding.
i. After the meeting, the judicial body determines by majority vote whether the student has committed the Code violations charged. The determination is based on the information presented at the meeting, and the judicial body may consider and possibly draw negative inferences from the decision by a student charged not to participate as a witness on her or his own behalf.
j. If the judicial body finds a violation, it imposes or recommends, as appropriate, a suitable sanction to be enforced by the Assistant Dean. Prior to recommending or imposing its sanction, the judicial body may be notified by the Assistant Dean of any prior instances where the student was found to have committed an academic or non-academic violation.
k. A single record shall be made of a meeting, and this record shall be the property of the University.
l. The student charged and the complainant shall be notified in writing of the decision of the College Courts, the Master or the Assistant Dean and the appropriate procedures for appeal. A copy of the written notification shall be sent to the Master and the Assistant Dean.
m. Any procedural questions are subject to the decision of the chair.
n. Decisions shall be based on whether the information shows the student charged is more likely than not to have committed the violation.
o. The Assistant Dean may conduct a sanction meeting in as informal a manner as appropriate, though the student charged is allowed to be present.
8. The Judicial Affairs Committee may adopt procedures for its meetings and, if adopted, shall make those procedures available to all students and witnesses before any meeting. The procedures should generally be consistent with the approach under the Code and should include the process for notice to the student of the matter under consideration and should include an explanation of the process of the meeting, including the procedures relating to witnesses, postponements, and outside participants. The procedures must be approved by the Assistant Dean. As an alternative, the Assistant Dean may establish the procedures for a given matter and may also handle the notification of students and witnesses and other procedural and administrative functions.
9. Notwithstanding other procedures in this Code, in cases involving relationship violence, sexual violence, or extreme sexual harassment, the Office of Student Judicial Programs will conduct an investigation and may files charges under this Code, regardless of the complainant’s decision to initiate internal disciplinary action. This investigation serves to uphold the safe environment of the Rice campus. An investigation by Student Judicial Programs shall commence within 10 business days of reasonable notice to that office that a violation involving relationship violence, sexual violence, or extreme sexual harassment may have occurred, with a decision about whether to file a formal charge in the case made within 20 business days of the notice. Further investigation and adjudication shall be completed with 30 business days of a formal charge. Both parties will be notified of the outcome. In the case that a disciplinary action is pursued against the alleged perpetrator, both parties will be permitted to appeal the finding. An appeal will be decided within 20 business days of its filing.
B. THE STUDENT IN UNIVERSITY COURT OR COLLEGE COURT PROCEEDINGS
A student charged and called before University Court or a College Court may:
a. receive a statement specifying the nature of the alleged violation within a reasonable time before a meeting;
b. receive a postponement of the meeting if the request for postponement is reasonable;
c. ask that the court summon witnesses or require presentation of relevant documents or other information, offer information, and argue in support of her or his position;
d. present relevant information and witnesses bearing on the charge;
e. have a student ombuds and an adviser (who must be a member of the University community or the student’s immediate family) present for moral support. Other than to consult with the student charged, the adviser may not participate in the proceedings.
f. not have legal representation present in any meeting though students may consult an attorney outside of the meeting setting.
g. be present throughout the meeting, including the presentation of any information;
h. challenge the fairness or objectivity of a voting member of the court, if done before a meeting begins or any factual information is considered. (A challenged member may disqualify herself or himself and will be replaced by another member. Otherwise, the Assistant Dean will determine whether the challenge is valid, and, if so, the challenged member will be replaced by another member.)
i. know the outcome of any disciplinary meeting and her or his right to appeal; and
j. appeal the outcome.
All participants involved in a particular matter under this Code are expected to keep the matter confidential in order to maintain the integrity of the proceedings. Authorized members of the University administration and/or faculty with a need to know may have access to information regarding disciplinary proceedings and results. The University may also be required to release such information in response to duly issued subpoenas in criminal, civil or administrative proceedings.
If any participant in the proceedings chooses to make public the process and/or the decision of any judicial official or body, the judicial official or body may respond.
The University Court shall publish and make available abstracts of matters that have reached their final resolution under the judicial system. College Courts are encouraged to prepare and make available abstracts of their matters.
All records pertaining to matters involving Class I violations shall be kept in the office of the Assistant Dean for a period of ten years after final resolution of the violation. Sanctions a-g in Section (II)(C)(1) issued will be recorded on an internal Rice transcript which remains confidential and accessible by members of the Rice administration and faculty, such as the Assistant Dean’s office and the appropriate Masters, only on a need to know basis. All notations of sanctions shall remain noted for a period of ten years on the internal Rice transcript after the final resolution of the violation.
The official Rice University transcript shall indicate any expulsion, suspension or unauthorized withdrawal (as defined below).
Disciplinary records supporting violations that are noted on the official Rice University transcript shall be maintained for a maximum of ten years after final resolution of the violation. These records may also be discarded sooner than ten years if the notation is expunged as a result of a student petition. A student petition for expunction must normally be made while the student is actively enrolled at Rice. Such a petition is heard by the Assistant Dean and can be further appealed to the Dean of Undergraduates. Expunction of a disciplinary violation or an unauthorized withdrawal can be granted at the discretion of either the Assistant Dean, the Dean of Undergraduates, of the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies but shall be done so only under extraordinary circumstances.
Appropriate matters may be referred by the Assistant Dean or a judicial body (as appropriate) for mediation. Students involved in incidents referred to mediation must attend a mediation session and make a good faith effort to resolve the dispute. If the matter is successfully mediated, such a result is final, and there shall be no subsequent proceedings. If the matter is not resolved by mediation, the judicial official or body may continue with disciplinary proceedings on the matter.
Decisions may be appealed by the student charged or the complainant for any of the following reasons. If the appeal is not based on one of these reasons, the appellate official may dismiss the appeal, at the official’s discretion.
1. to determine whether the original meeting by the University Court, College Court, or Judicial Affairs Committee or consideration by the Assistant Dean or his or her designee was conducted fairly in the light of the charges and information presented;
2. to consider new information that would have altered the result but which was unknown to the University Court, College Court, or Judicial Affairs Committee or the Assistant Dean or his or her designee and could not have been reasonably discovered at the time of the original meeting;
3. if the information submitted to the University Court, College Court or Judicial Affairs Committee or the Assistant Dean or his or her designation did not support the decision; or
4. if the sanctions imposed were inappropriate.
Except as otherwise noted, a student eligible to appeal and who wishes to appeal must do so, in writing, within 10 business days of the date of the written notification of the Assistant Dean or judicial body’s decision. The student appealing shall explain the basis of the appeal in writing. The judicial official or body may respond in writing. Normally there are no oral presentations during the appeals process; the appellate decision is made based on the written presentations and the record of the proceedings. An oral presentation may be made if the person deciding the appeal believes an oral presentation would be helpful; the student found to have committed a violation may be present at any oral presentation that is allowed. The path of appeals varies based on the decision-maker:
1. University Court and Assistant Dean Designees: All appeals from a decision by the University Court or by a designee of the Assistant Dean (whether the designee is from Student Judicial Programs or the Dean of Undergraduates Office) are made to the Assistant Dean. A second appeal, to either the Dean of Undergraduates (for matters concerning an undergraduate) or to the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (for matters concerning a graduate student), is available when the sanction involved is suspension or expulsion. Otherwise, the Deans normally do not hear appeals already decided by the Assistant Dean, though either official may hear such an appeal at his or her discretion.
2. College Court: All appeals from the College Courts are handled by the Master. A second appeal, to the Assistant Dean is allowed.
3. Masters: All appeals from a decision of the Master are handled by the Assistant Dean, except that a decision by a Master to rusticate a student may be appealed only to the Dean of Undergraduates. Otherwise, secondary appeals of Master’s decisions to the Dean of Undergraduates or the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies are not available.
4. Assistant Dean: Matters over which the Assistant Dean assumes authority may be appealed directly to the Dean of Undergraduates (for matters concerning an undergraduate) or to the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (for matters concerning a graduate student).
5. Judicial Affairs Committee: Where the Assistant Dean takes action based on the recommendations or findings of the Judicial Affairs Committee, any appeal is an appeal of the Assistant Dean’s action and is handled by appealing to the Dean of Undergraduates or the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as appropriate. There is no further appeal.
If an appeal is found meritorious, the Master, Assistant Dean, Dean of Undergraduates, or Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (as the case may be) may decrease (but not increase) the sanction or refer the matter back to the judicial official or body originally meeting about the matter for a reopening of the meeting or to allow reconsideration of the original determination or sanction, as appropriate.
Decisions made by a judicial official or body are considered final, pending the appeal process. Sanctions other than rustication by a College Master may be set aside by the Assistant Dean until the appeal process is resolved. Only the Dean of Undergraduates may set aside a Master’s rustication during the appeal process.
A student charged, or where a charge is imminent, who leaves the University without permission to withdraw will be considered to have resigned. Students who resign under these circumstances are not usually considered for readmission. Withdrawal without permission will be noted on the face of the official Rice transcript. Students who are readmitted may petition to have such notation expunged from their record under the procedure in Records. Students who withdraw with or without permission while charged or where a charge is imminent may be placed on interim suspension until the charge is cleared.
Any question of interpretation regarding this Code shall be referred to the Assistant Dean or her or his designee for final determination.
Students electronically agree to be bound by this Code, as well as other Rice policies including the Rice Alcohol Policy and the Rice Honor Code, each time they register for classes; even where an electronic agreement is not executed, the University assumes that a student’s registration signifies agreement to be bound by the Code, and retain the rights guaranteed and accept the responsibilities prescribed therein.