Rights of a Charged RSO, or AG
A Charged RSO, or AG will have the following rights:
- The presumption of not responsible. A Charged RSO, or AG may not be deemed responsible until the conclusion of the hearing proceedings.
- To receive a notification letter through Written Communication of any specific allegation, Charge(s), and evidence collected.
- To be provided with a reasonable amount of time to respond to the Notification Letter.
- To refuse to comment or answer questions.
- To present information or any Witness in defense of a charge per the procedures outlined in the Standards of Conduct.
- To present evidence of any issue coming before their hearing.
- To be notified prior to a hearing to inspect and review the information on which a charge is based.
- To have an Outcome imposed that is appropriate with the violation.
- To retain rights as a RSO, or AG until a final decision is issued by the hearing officer or appellate body. However, a RSO, or AG may be subject to an Interim Suspension, limitations or conditions as set forth in the Standards of Conduct.
- To appeal any interim suspension and/or hearing outcome as detailed in this Standards of Conduct.
Responsibilities of a Charged RSO or AG
A Charged RSO, or AG will have the following responsibilities before and during a hearing:
- To be honest.
- To attend the scheduled hearing on a specified date, time, and location.
- To have personal information kept private. All hearing proceedings are confidential and private. The Office of Community Standards may share information with campus partners with a legitimate educational interest of the matter.
- To conduct themselves in a manner that is respectful and honorable. Any participant that is disruptive to the hearing process will be dismissed and the process will continue in their absence.
- Only the College may record in the investigative and hearing proceedings. No other form of recording or transmission of any proceeding (including investigations) is allowed.
- A registered student organization (RSO) or Affinity group (AG) may be accused of a violation of the Standards of Conduct regardless of whether a member of the organization is individually accused of a violation arising from the same incident(s). Registered organizations and sponsored activities are subject to the same rules and regulations as individual students, and Rhodes may hold them accountable for their actions even when the College pursues charges of misconduct for the same incident against individual members of the group.
- A RSO or AG may be held accountable if any of the following situations regarding an alleged violation(s) of the Standards of Conduct apply:
- The conduct is sanctioned by the organization and/or any of its officers. “Sanctioned by” includes, but is not limited to, active or passive consent or encouragement or possessing prior knowledge that the conduct was likely to occur; and/or
- The activity involved such a significant number of members of the organization and/or the organization advertised or promoted the activity through communications associated with the organization, such that a reasonable person would conclude that the activity was affiliated with or sanctioned by the organization; and/or
- The organization, either in whole or in part, planned and/or implemented the activity, and/or advertised the activity; and/or
- The activity occurred on property (whether on campus or off) owned, controlled, rented, leased, or used by the organization or any of its members for organization activities; and/or
- The activity was related to initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in the organization; and/or
- The organization knew or should have known about the activity and failed to act responsibly in preventing it.
- In any hearing resulting from a violation by a RSO or AG in which it is determined that the violation was caused by the action of individuals rather than the official action(s) of the organization, those individuals may be referred through the Community Standards process as individuals.
- The president of the RSO/ the primary student point of contact for the AG shall represent the organization in all conduct proceedings. Rhodes College-issued email addresses are the primary means of communication with RSO or AGs and the Office of Community Standards. Officers within the RSO or AGs are responsible for all communications delivered to their Rhodes College email addresses. RSO or AG leadership should check their Rhodes College email address daily. Notices of an investigation, meetings, and hearings are only sent to Rhodes College email addresses.
- The president of the RSO/ the primary student point of contact for the AG will be notified in writing by the Director of Community Standards of the charges against the organization. The president will be further advised in writing of any outcomes the Office of Community Standards is taking against the organization.
- The Director of Community Standards, or their designee, will conduct an Administrative Hearing on the charge(s).
Interim Suspension for RSO/AG:
A RSO or AG that has been charged with a violation of the Standards of Conduct may, in the discretion of the College, be placed on interim suspension pending the investigation and/or adjudication of the charge(s). While on interim suspension, an organization may be directed to take one or more of the following actions: (1) refrain from publicizing or holding events; (2) refrain from recruiting, meeting with, or initiating new members; (3) refrain from holding meetings of its membership; or (4) any other action deemed appropriate based on the charge(s) at issue. An organization placed on interim suspension will be notified in writing of the terms of the suspension. Failure to observe the terms of the interim suspension may itself be deemed a violation of the Standards of Conduct.
Hearing Procedures (for RSO/AG)
- The Hearing Officer shall preside over the hearing.
- The Hearing Officer must act with complete impartiality. If the Hearing Officer believes their participation in any aspect of the hearing process constitutes a conflict of interest, they must recuse themselves.
- No audio or video recording of the hearing will not be made during the Administrative Hearing process. The Student may not record on their personal device.
- The president of the RSO/ the primary student point of contact for the AG (or Respondent) shares their opening statement.
- The president of the RSO/ the primary student point of contact for the AG (or Respondent) may observe all evidence presented during the hearing but shall not be present for Hearing Officer’s deliberations.
- The president of the RSO/ the primary student point of contact for the AG (or Respondent) provides their narrative about what took place during the incident.
- The OCS Administrator or designee asks the president of the RSO/ the primary student point of contact for the AG (or Respondent) questions relevant to the incident and their narrative of events.
- The president of the RSO/ the primary student point of contact for the AG (or Respondent) shares their closing statement.
- The OCS Administrator or designee concludes the hearing and deliberates on the outcome.
- Legal counsel retained by president of the RSO/ the primary student point of contact for the AG (or Respondent) or any other person participating in the hearing shall not attend the Administrative Hearing. Any advice or assistance requested of legal counsel by a student must be obtained prior to the hearing.
After the hearing has ended, the president of the RSO/ the primary student point of contact for the AG (or Respondent) will: 1) meet with the OCS Administrator, or their designee to discuss the outcome of the hearing followed by a written decision, or 2) receive a decision letter. All written decisions will be sent via the student’s Rhodes email address, informing them of the outcome, whether or not they have been found in violation, and if they have been found in violation, what the outcomes will be.
Appeal Procedures for a RSO/AG:
- Appeals for RSO (Under Interim Suspension): RSO/AG has the right to appeal an interim suspension. The appeal must be submitted to the Dean, or their designee, who is named in the interim suspension notification letter. The appeal letter must be written by the President of the RSO/the primary student point of contact for the AG. This letter must specify the basis for the appeal. The Dean, at their discretion, may uphold, modify, or overturn the interim suspension.
- Appeals (After a Hearing): All organizational conduct proceedings at Rhodes allow for an appeal of the outcome of the hearing. The appellate officer will be the Vice President for Student Life, or their designee. The Standards of Conduct Appeal Form must be completed, and is limited to three grounds:
- A hearing procedure was not followed; and/or
- The outcomes imposed were inappropriate for the violation of College policy; and/or
- New and relevant information has become available, sufficient to alter the decision, that was unknown or unavailable to them at the time of the original hearing.
Appeals that are not based on one or more of the above grounds may be dismissed without further meeting or action. As with the original hearing, legal counsel may not attend any appeals hearing. Any advice or assistance from legal counsel must be obtained prior to the hearing.
While an appeal is pending, the organization’s interim suspension status will remain active, if applicable. If no interim suspension status was imposed, the sanctions will be placed in abeyance until the appellate officer renders an outcome.
After hearing the appeal, the appellate officer may uphold, modify, or overturn the original decision. If the decision is modified the appellate officer may, at their discretion and considering the information received, impose a more severe decision and/or outcome.
Disciplinary Outcomes for RSO/AGs:
The following outcomes may be imposed when a RSO or AG has been found in violation of the Standards of Conduct:
- Warning is notifying the organization that it has violated the Standards of Conduct and is a caution that repetition of the behavior or other misconduct may result in a more severe outcomes. An organization may not receive more than two warnings for the same conduct in an academic year without more serious action being taken.
- Loss or Restriction of Privileges is limitation or removal of social privileges including, but not limited to, the opportunity to schedule social functions, to use Rhodes facilities, or to post notices.
- Educational Measure is a requirement to complete specific assignments at the organization’s expense directly related to the violation committed.
- Restitution is requiring an organization to reimburse Rhodes, appropriate individual(s), or vendor(s) for damage or misappropriation.
- Task Participation is requiring the organization’s members to participate in assigned tasks or service projects appropriate to the violation.
- Termination is removal of institutional recognition. Rhodes denies the organization all privileges associated with recognition including, but not limited to, the right to reserve space in College facilities or to use Rhodes property or resources, the right to receive student activity fees or other funding from College resources, and the right to participate in or sponsor extracurricular or social activities on campus.
- Suspension is removal of institutional recognition for a stated period of time. During the period of suspension, the organization will be denied the use of all Rhodes facilities and resources and may not in any way participate in or sponsor any extracurricular or social activity on campus. At the end of the prescribed period of time, the organization will be allowed to re-form subject to any condition(s) set forth at the time of suspension.
- Probation with Loss of Privileges is continued recognition with loss of the right to sponsor or participate in all extracurricular and/or social activities for a stated period of time. Further misconduct during the period of probation or violation of the terms of the probation will most likely result in a loss of recognition.
- Probation is continued recognition and operation with a warning that further misconduct during the period of probation or violation of the terms of the probation may result in loss of institutional recognition. Conditions may be attached as terms of continuance during the period of probation.
The officers, leaders, or any identifiable spokespersons for a RSO or AG may be directed by a member of the college staff to take appropriate action designed to prevent or end prohibited conduct by the organization or by any persons associated with the organization who can reasonably be said to be acting on the organization's behalf. Failure to make reasonable efforts to comply with the directive shall be considered a violation of the Standards of Conduct both by the individual officers, leaders, or spokespersons for the organization and by the organization itself.
Rhodes College officials may exercise the authority to cancel an organization’s event when there are concerns about an organization's ability to follow campus policies and guidelines. Cancellation notification will be through the Office of Student Engagement with rationale for the decision included. The sponsoring organization shall be notified immediately upon the decision to cancel.
In the course of an approved activity/event, the Department of Campus Safety or an acting Rhodes College official can discontinue a sanctioned activity/event when College policy is not being followed.