The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, under the direction of the Vice President for Student Affairs, assists in cases of alleged misconduct involving students across communities (e.g., between an undergraduate and a graduate student). The University Judicial Board has jurisdiction over these cases, as well as cases arising under the Pickets, Protests, and Demonstrations Policy. Described below is an overview of the university's disciplinary system, with more specific information about the University Judicial Board.
The Judicial System of Duke University
The judicial system of the university shall consist of the University Judicial Board and a judicial board for each of the communities hereafter defined. (The undergraduate disciplinary system is part of the larger university judicial system.)
Authority Over Policies and Procedures
Responsibility for prescribing and enforcing rules and regulations governing student conduct rests ultimately with the Board of Trustees of Duke University and, by delegation, with administrative officers of the university and of the college and school.
The policies and procedures governing the conduct of undergraduate students may be amended at any time by the vice president for Student Affairs and may be implemented with adequate notice to the university community.
Community Judicial Boards
There shall be an undergraduate community consisting of the undergraduates in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the Pratt School of Engineering; a Divinity School community; a Fuqua School of Business community; a Law School community; a Medical School community; an Allied Health community consisting of all degree and certificate (i.e., paramedical, nondegree) students in the School of Allied Health; a Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences community; a School of Nursing community; and a Graduate School community. Each community shall have such judicial system as its governing body may provide.
The University Judicial Board
The jurisdiction of the University Judicial Board shall be limited to cases arising out of the pickets and protests regulations and cases involving more than one of the communities as determined by the vice president for Student Affairs in consultation with the president and the chair of the University Judicial Board.
The University Judicial Board shall have jurisdiction over members of the student body, members of the faculty, and administrative personnel of the university not subject to the Personnel Policy Manual.
Filing of Charges; Responsibilities of Vice President for Student Affairs
- The Office of the Vice President/Vice Provost for Student Affairs shall have responsibility for receiving complaints, conducting investigations, and preferring charges concerning offenses within the jurisdiction of the board.
- The University Judicial Board shall hear no case without a finding of probable cause made by the Vice President/Vice Provost for Student Affairs (VPSA), whose signature to the charge or charges shall constitute sufficient evidence of such finding.
- To assist the Vice President/Vice Provost for Student Affairs in the investigation of complaints, the gathering of evidence, and the preparation of charges, investigative and judicial aides may be appointed by the vice president and shall serve at the pleasure of the VPSA and under the direction of the VPSA. The number and specific duties of such aides shall be determined by the vice president for Student Affairs, who shall be fully responsible for all duties performed by them in their capacity as aides.
- The Vice President/Vice Provost for Student Affairs shall subpoena witnesses as directed by the University Judicial Board.
- The Vice President/Vice Provost for Student Affairs may delegate all or any portion of their duties as regards these judicial procedures to an aide or aides. The Vice President/Vice Provost for Student Affairs shall be responsible for the discharge of all duties thus delegated.
The University Judicial Board shall consist of a chair appointed by the president, five faculty members (two of whom shall be from the Law School) appointed by the Executive Committee of the Academic Council, and two student members from each of the communities (except in the case of the undergraduate community where there should be four members) elected by each community’s judicial board. The chair of the board shall select five-person panels consisting of a chair and an equal number of students and faculty. Cases referred to the board shall be assigned to the panels in rotation, provided that a member of a panel may, at the member's request, be excused from sitting on a case by the chair of the board, who may appoint a substitute from among the other members of the board. Each panel shall be known as a “Hearing Committee of the University Judicial Board.”
Terms of Members
Faculty members shall normally serve for two-year terms, but are eligible for reappointment. The terms should be staggered in order to provide continuity. Two of the initial appointees shall be appointed for one-year terms. Student members shall serve for one-year terms, although they may be eligible for re-election. The board has the right to remove any member of the board for cause by a vote of a two-thirds majority of all members. The vacancy shall be filled promptly according to the original procedure.
Conduct of the Hearing
- The hearing will be conducted in private unless the accused requests an open hearing. If any objection is raised to conducting an open hearing in any particular case, the Hearing Committee of the University Judicial Board will decide the issue by majority vote. If the decision is made not to hold an open hearing, the accused shall be informed in writing of the reasons for the decision.
- The university and the accused may be represented by an adviser of their choice.
- The board shall promulgate its own rules of procedure consistent with academic due process and all provisions of this document.
- The accused has the right to challenge on the grounds of prejudice any member of the Hearing Committee sitting on their case. If an accused makes such a challenge, the Hearing Committee shall deliberate in private to determine whether cause exists. By a majority vote of the members of the tribunal (excluding the member being challenged), a member shall be removed from the case and replaced by a member of the board designated by the chair of the Judicial Board. In addition, the accused may exercise a challenge directed at the entire panel, in which case the challenge shall be made to the chair of the University Judicial Board, who shall excuse the panel challenged and refer the accused’s case to the next panel in rotation.
The Right of Appeal
- In cases heard by the University Judicial Board, there will be no appeal when the accused is acquitted, except in cases of harassment or discrimination, in which case a complainant may appeal the accused's acquittal.
- A student or administrator who is not a member of the faculty convicted by the University Judicial Board may appeal to the president, or in the president's absence, the provost, in which case such appeal shall be solely on the record of the proceedings before the Hearing Committee. Argument or appeal shall be on written submission, but the president may, in addition, require oral argument. A member of the faculty convicted by the University Judicial Board may appeal to the Faculty Hearing Committee authorized under the provisions for Academic Freedom and Tenure of Duke University.
Status of the Accused
Charges must be prepared without delay following the alleged commission of the offense. Pending final verdict on charges against the accused (including appeal), their status shall not be changed, nor their right to be on campus to attend classes suspended, except that the president or provost may impose an interim suspension upon any member of the university community who demonstrates, by their conduct, that their continued presence on the campus constitutes an immediate threat to the physical well-being or property of the members of the university community or the orderly functioning of the university. The imposition of interim suspension requires that the suspended individual shall immediately observe any restriction placed upon them by the terms of the suspension. The suspended individual shall be entitled to a hearing within three (3) days before the Hearing Committee on the formal charges. If the individual requires additional time to prepare their case before the Hearing Committee, they shall be entitled to an informal review of the decision imposing interim suspension by a three-person committee chosen from the members of the University Judicial Board by its chair. Interim suspension is an extraordinary remedy which will be invoked only in extreme cases where the interest of the university and members of its community require immediate action before the Hearing Committee can adjudicate formal charges against the suspended individual. If interim suspension is imposed and the accused is later found innocent, the university shall seek restitution as provided by the Hearing Committee with respect to the student’s academic responsibilities incurred during the period of suspension.
Civil and Criminal Courts
Members of the university community may be subject to civil or criminal proceedings in a local court. The president may initiate legal action seeking injunctive or other civil relief, or file criminal charges, when it is necessary to protect the person or property of members of the university community, or the orderly functioning or property of the university. Such action may be in addition to the filing of formal charges before the University Judicial Board and/or interim suspension.
A Hearing Committee of the University Judicial Board shall have the power to impose the following penalties upon students:
- Expulsion. Dismissal from the university with the recommendation that the person never be readmitted.
- Suspension. Dismissal from the university and from participation in all university activities for a specified period of time after which the subject may apply for readmission.
- Disciplinary Probation. Placing a student on a probationary status for a specified period of time, during which conviction of any regulation may result in more serious disciplinary action.
- Exclusion from participation in extracurricular activities. Without limiting the generality of that penalty, such restrictions might involve participation in any collegiate athletics, or any public participation or performance in the name of the university. However, a hearing committee may not exclude a person from performance of the duties of an elective office, but may make such a recommendation to the appropriate organization. This penalty may be imposed by itself or in addition to any of the other enumerated penalties.
- Censure. Written reprimand for violation of the specified regulation, including the possibility of more severe disciplinary sanction in the event of conviction for the violation of the same or one of equal seriousness within the period of time stated by the reprimand.
- Admonition. By an oral statement to the offender that they have violated the university rules or have been in contempt of the board.
- Restitution. Payment for all, or a portion of property damage caused during the commission of an offense. This penalty may be imposed by itself, or in addition to any of the other penalties.
- Fines. Payment of reasonable sums to be determined by a hearing committee. This penalty may be imposed by itself, or in addition to any of the other penalties.
- Exclusion from social activities where the nature of the violation so indicates including, but not limited to, curfews or other revocation of upperclass privileges.
A Hearing Committee of the University Judicial Board shall have the power to impose the following penalties upon faculty members and administrative personnel not subject to the provisions of the Personnel Policy Manual.
- Dismissal. Dismissal or termination of appointment.
The Hearing Committee may recommend to the university that it seek restitution with respect to the accused’s university responsibilities incurred during a period of suspension or during the period when a hearing has been conducted or shall make such other nonpunitive recommendations with respect to the accused as it shall
The board shall promptly arrange a policy of keeping its own records, subject to the university policy on confidentiality.
Excusal of Members of the University Community from University Obligations
Any member of the university community whose presence is required at a hearing shall be excused from the performance of any university responsibilities which would normally be performed at the time when their presence is required before the Hearing Committee.