SECTION 15.0. PREAMBLE.
Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth,
the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Student participation,
responsibility, academic freedom, and due process are essential to the operation of
the academic enterprise. As members of the academic community, students should be
encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained
and independent search for truth.
Freedom to learn and to explore major social, political, and economic issues are necessary
adjuncts to student academic freedom, as is freedom from discrimination, as set forth
in the university's non-discrimination policy.
Freedom to learn and freedom to teach are inseparable facets of academic freedom.
The concomitant of this freedom is responsibility. If members of the academic community
are to develop positively in their freedom; if these rights are to be secure, then
students should exercise their freedom with responsibility.
SECTION 15.1. CONDUCT STANDARD DEFINED.
Each student enrolled or in attendance in any college, school or unit under the control
of the board and every student organization, association, publication, club or chapter
shall obey (1) the laws of the city, state and nation; (2) the bylaws and resolutions
of the board, including the rules and regulations for the maintenance of public order
pursuant to article 129-a of the education law ("Henderson rules"); and (3) the governance
plan, policies, regulations, and orders of the college.
Such laws, bylaws, resolutions, policies, rules, regulations and orders shall, of
course, be limited by the right of students to the freedoms of speech, press, assembly
and petition as construed by the courts.
SECTION 15.2. STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS.
Any group of students may form an organization, association, club or chapter by filing
with the duly elected student government organization of the college or school at
which they are enrolled or in attendance and with an officer to be designated by the
chief student affairs officer of the college or school at which they are enrolled
or in attendance (1) the name and purposes of the organization, association, club
or chapter, (2) the names and addresses of its president and secretary or other officers
corresponding in function to president and secretary.
The board recognizes that students have rights to free expression and association.
At the same time, the board strongly believes that respect for all members of the
university's diverse community is an essential attribute of a great university.
Extra-curricular activities at each college or school shall be regulated by the duly
elected student government organization to insure the effective conduct of such college
or school as an institution of higher learning and for the prevention of activities
which are hereafter proscribed or which violate the standards of conduct of the character
set forth in bylaw 15.1. Such powers shall include:
The power to charter or otherwise authorize teams (excluding intercollegiate athletics),
publications, organizations, associations, clubs or chapters, and, when appropriate
in the exercise of such regulatory power, the power to refuse, suspend or revoke any
charter or other authorization for cause after hearing on notice.
The power to delegate responsibility for the effective implementation of its regulatory
functions hereunder to any officer or committee which it may appoint.
Any person or organization affiliated with the college may file a complaint with the
chief student affairs officer if there is reason to believe that a student organization
has violated any of the standards of conduct set forth in section 15.1 above. The
chief student affairs officer shall promptly notify the affected organization, investigate
any complaint and report the results of that investigation along with a recommendation
for appropriate action to the complainant and the student government which shall take
action as it deems appropriate, except that in the case of a complaint against the
student government itself, the chief student affairs officer shall report the results
of the investigation and the recommendation for appropriate action directly to the
The complainant or any student organization adversely affected pursuant to paragraph
above may appeal to the president. The president may take such action as he or she
deems appropriate, and such action shall be final.
Each college shall establish a student elections review committee in consultation
with the various student governments. The student elections review committee shall
approve the election procedures and certify the results of elections for student governments,
and student body referenda. Decisions of the student elections review committee may
be appealed to the college president, whose decision shall be final. An appeal from
the decision of the student elections review committee must be made in writing to
the President within ten (10) calendar days of the decision. The President shall consult
with the student elections review committee and render a decision as expeditiously
as possible which may affirm, reverse, or modify the decision of the student elections
Student government elections shall be scheduled and conducted, and newly elected student
governments shall take office, in accordance with policies of the board, and implementing
SECTION 15.3. THE UNIVERSITY STUDENT SENATE.
There shall be a university student senate responsible, subject to the board of trustees,
for the formulation of university-wide student policy relating to the academic status,
role, rights and freedoms of the student. The authority and duties of the university
student senate shall not extend to areas of interest which fall exclusively within
the domain of the student governments of the constituent units of the university.
Consistent with the authority of the board of trustees in accordance with the education
law and the bylaws of the board of trustees, the university student senate shall make
its own bylaws providing for the election of its own officers, the establishment of
its own rules and procedures, for its internal administration and for such other matters
as is necessary for its existence. The university student senate shall have the full
rights and responsibilities accorded student organizations as provided in these bylaws.
The delegates and alternate delegates to the university student senate shall be elected
by their respective constituencies, or by their student governments from the elected
members of the respective student governments.
SECTION 15.4. STUDENT DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES
- Complaint Procedures
- A University student, employee, visitor, organization or department who/which believes
she/he/it is the victim of a student's misconduct (hereinafter "complainant") may
make a charge, accusation, or allegation against a student (hereinafter "respondent")
which if proved, may subject the respondent to disciplinary action. Such charge, accusation,
or allegation must be communicated to the chief student affairs officer of the college
the respondent attends. Any charge, accusation, or allegation which is made against
a student must be submitted in writing with complete details regarding the situation
to the Office of Student Conduct in a timely manner. Complaints can come in the form
of incident reports and disciplinary referrals.
- The chief student affairs officer of the college or her or his designee shall conduct
a preliminary investigation in order to determine whether disciplinary charges should
be preferred. The chief student affairs officer or her or his designee shall advise
the respondent of the allegation against her or him, explain to the respondent and
the complainant their rights, consult with other parties who may be involved or who
have information regarding the incident, and review other relevant evidence. The preliminary
investigation shall be concluded within thirty (30) calendar days of the filing of
the complaint, unless: (i) said complaint involves two or more complainants or respondents;
or (ii) said complaint involves a matter that is also under investigation by law enforcement
authorities. In those cases, the preliminary investigation shall be completed within
sixty (60) calendar days. Further, if the matter has been previously investigated
pursuant to the Board of Trustees Policy Against Sex-Based Harassment and Sexual Violence,
the chief student affairs officer shall dispense with a preliminary investigation
and rely on the report completed by the Title IX Coordinator. Following the completion
of the preliminary investigation, the chief student affairs officer or designee shall
take one of the following actions:
- Dismiss the matter if there is no basis for the allegation(s) or the allegation(s)
does not warrant disciplinary action. The individuals involved shall be notified that
the complaint has been dismissed;
- Refer the matter to mediation (except in cases involving allegations of sexual assault,
stalking or other forms of sexual violence); or
- Prefer formal disciplinary charges.
- In the event that a respondent withdraws from the college after a charge, accusation
or allegation against a respondent has been made, and the college prefers formal disciplinary
charges, the respondent is required to participate in the disciplinary hearing or
otherwise to resolve the pending charges and shall be barred from attending any other
unit of the university until a decision on the charges is made or the charges are
otherwise resolved. If the respondent fails to appear the college may proceed with
the disciplinary hearing in absentia, and any decision and sanction shall be binding.
- Mediation Conference
- The college may offer the respondent and the complainant the opportunity to participate
in a mediation conference prior to the time the disciplinary hearing takes place in
an effort to resolve the matter by mutual agreement (except in cases involving sexual
assault, stalking and other forms of sexual violence). The conference shall be conducted
by a qualified staff or faculty member designated by the chief student affairs officer.
The following procedures shall be in effect at this conference:
- An effort shall be made to resolve the matter by mutual agreement.
- If an agreement is reached, the faculty or staff member conducting the conference
shall report her/his recommendation to the chief student affairs officer for approval
and, if approved, the complainant and the respondent shall be notified, and a written
memorandum shall be created memorializing the resolution and any consequences for
- If no agreement is reached within a reasonable time, or if the respondent fails to
appear, the faculty or staff member conducting the conference shall refer the matter
back to the chief student affairs officer who may prefer disciplinary charges.
- If a student fails to attend the mediation conference the student conduct officer
will do one or more of the following:
- Place a Dean of Student Affairs hold on a student's account until the situation is
- Proceed with charging the student formally through the Faculty- Student Disciplinary
Committee for a formal hearing.
- The faculty or staff member conducting the mediation conference is precluded from
testifying at a College hearing regarding information received during the mediation
conference, or presenting the case on behalf of the college.
- Notice of Hearing and Charges
- Notice of the charge(s) and of the time and place of the hearing shall be personally
delivered to the respondent, or sent by certified or overnight mail and email to the
respondent's CUNY-assigned email address. Notice shall also be sent in a similar manner
to the complainant to the extent the charges relate to her/him/it. The chief student
affairs officer is also encouraged to send the notice of charges to any other e-mail
address that he or she may have for the respondent and the complainant. The hearing
shall be scheduled within a reasonable time following the filing of the charges or
the mediation conference. Notice of at least seven (7) calendar days shall be given
to the respondent in advance of the hearing unless the respondent consents to an earlier
hearing. The respondent is permitted one (1) adjournment as of right. Additional requests
for an adjournment must be made at least five (5) calendar days prior to the hearing
date, and shall be granted or denied at the discretion of the chairperson of the faculty-student
disciplinary committee. If the respondent fails to respond to the notice, appear on
the adjourned date, or request an extension, the college may proceed in absentia,
and any decision and sanction shall be binding.
- The notice shall contain the following:
- A complete and itemized statement of the charge(s) being brought against the respondent
including the rule, bylaw or regulation she/he is charged with violating, and the
possible penalties for such violation.
- A statement that the respondent and the complainant have the right to attend and participate
fully in the hearing including the right:
- to present their side of the story;
- to present witnesses and evidence on their behalf;
- to cross-examine witnesses presenting evidence;
- to remain silent without assumption of guilt; and
- to be represented by an advisor or legal counsel at their expense; if the respondent
or the complainant request it, the college shall assist in finding a legal counsel
- A warning that anything the respondent says may be used against her/him at a non-college
- At least five (5) calendar days prior to the commencement of a student disciplinary
hearing, the college shall provide the respondent and the complainant and/or their
designated representative, with similar and timely access to review any documents
or other tangible evidence that the college intends to use at the disciplinary hearing,
consistent with the restrictions imposed by Family Education Rights and Privacy Act
("FERPA"). Should the college seek to introduce additional documents or other tangible
evidence during, or some time prior to, the disciplinary hearing, the respondent and
the complainant shall be afforded the opportunity to review the additional documents
or tangible evidence. If during the hearing the respondent submits documentary evidence,
the chairperson may, at the request of either the college or the complainant, direct
the respondent to produce such other documents as may be necessary in the interest
- Emergency Suspension:
- The president or her/his designee may in emergency or extraordinary circumstances,
temporarily suspend a student pending an early hearing as provided in this bylaw section
15.4. to take place within not more than twelve (12) calendar days, unless the student
requests an adjournment. Such suspension shall be for conduct which impedes, obstructs,
impairs or interferes with the orderly and continuous administration and operation
of any college, school, or unit of the university in the use of its facilities or
in the achievement of its purposes as an educational institution. Prior to the commencement
of a temporary suspension of a student, the college shall give the student oral notice
(which shall be confirmed via email to the address appearing on the records of the
college) or written notice of the charges against her/him and, if she/he denies them,
the college shall forthwith give the student an informal oral explanation of the evidence
supporting the charges and the student may present informally her/his explanation
or theory of the matter. When a student's presence poses a continuing danger to person
or property or an ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process, notice and opportunity
for denial and explanation may follow suspension, but shall be given as soon as feasible
thereafter. The complainant shall be notified in the event that an emergency suspension
is imposed against a student, and/or when the suspension is subsequently lifted to
the extent that the suspension involves the complainant in the same manner notice
is given to the student.
- Faculty-Student Disciplinary Committee Structure:
- Each faculty-student disciplinary committee shall consist of two (2) faculty members
or one (1) faculty member and one (1) member of the Higher Education Officer series
(HEO), and two (2) student members and a chairperson, who shall be a faculty member.
A quorum shall consist of the chairperson and any two (2) members, one of whom must
be a student. Hearings shall be scheduled promptly (including during the summers)
at a convenient time and efforts shall be made to insure full student and faculty
- The president shall select in consultation with the head of the appropriate campus
governance body or where the president is the head of the governance body, its executive
committee, three (3) members of the faculty of that college to receive training and
to serve in rotation as chairperson of the disciplinary committee. The following schools
shall be required to select two (2) chairpersons:, CUNY School of Law, Guttman Community
College, CUNY School of Professional Studies, and the CUNY School of Journalism. If
none of the chairpersons appointed from the campus can serve, the president, at her/his
discretion, may request that a chairperson be selected by lottery from the entire
group of chairpersons appointed by other colleges. The chairperson shall preside at
all meetings of the faculty-student disciplinary committee and decide and make all
rulings for the committee. She/he shall not be a voting member of the committee but
shall vote in the event of a tie.
- The faculty members shall be selected by lot from a panel of six (6) elected biennially
by the appropriate faculty body from among the persons having faculty rank or faculty
status. CUNY School of Law, Guttman Community College, CUNY School of Professional
Studies, and the CUNY School of Journalism shall be required to select four (4) faculty
members. The HEO members shall be selected by lot from a panel of six (6) HEO appointed
biennially by the president. CUNY School of Law, Guttman Community College, CUNY School
of Professional Studies, and the CUNY School of Journalism shall be required to select
four (4) HEO's. The student members shall be selected by lot from a panel of six (6)
elected annually in an election in which all students registered at the college shall
be eligible to vote. CUNY School of Law, Guttman Community College, CUNY School of
Professional Studies, and the CUNY School of Journalism shall be required to select
four (4) students. In the event that the student or faculty panel or both are not
elected, or if more panel members are needed, the president shall have the duty to
select the panel or panels which have not been elected. No individuals on the panel
shall serve on the panel for more than four (4) consecutive years. Notwithstanding
the above, in cases of sexual assault, stalking and other forms of sexual violence,
the president shall designate one (1) chairperson, two (2) faculty/HEO members, and
two (2) students, who shall be specially trained, and who shall constitute the faculty-student
disciplinary committee in all such cases.
- In the event that the chairperson cannot continue, the president shall appoint another
chairperson. In the event that a seat becomes vacant and it is necessary to fill the
seat to continue the hearing, the seat shall be filled from the respective faculty,
HEO, or student panel by lottery.
- Each academic year, the chief student affairs officer, and her or his designee, shall
appoint/identify one or more college employees to serve as presenters for the hearings.
This list shall be forwarded to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs,
and the Office of the General Counsel and Sr. Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs prior
to the first day of the academic year.
- Persons who are to be participants in the hearings as witnesses or have been involved
in preferring the charges or who may participate in the appeals procedures or any
other person having a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing shall be disqualified
from serving on the committee.
- The chairperson shall preside at the hearing. The chairperson shall inform the respondent
of the charges, the hearing procedures and her or his rights.
- All faculty student disciplinary committee hearings are closed hearings, but the respondent
has the right to request an open public hearing. However, the chairperson has the
right to deny the request and hold a closed hearing when an open public hearing would
adversely affect and be disruptive to the committee's normal operations, or when the
complainant in a case involving allegations of sexual assault, stalking, or other
forms of sexual violence requests a closed hearing. In the event of an open hearing,
the respondent must sign a written waiver acknowledging that those present will hear
the evidence introduced at the hearing.
- After informing the respondent of the charges, the hearing procedures, and her or
his rights, the chairperson shall ask the respondent to respond. If the respondent
admits the conduct charged, the respondent shall be given an opportunity to explain
her/his actions before the committee and the college shall be given an opportunity
to respond and present evidence regarding the appropriate penalty. If the respondent
denies the conduct charged, the college shall present its case. At the conclusion
of the college's case, the respondent may move to dismiss the charges. If the motion
is denied by the committee, the respondent shall be given an opportunity to present
her or his defense.
- Prior to accepting testimony at the hearing, the chairperson shall rule on any motions
questioning the impartiality of any committee member or the adequacy of the notice
of the charge(s). Subsequent thereto, the chairperson may rule on the admissibility
of the evidence and may exclude irrelevant, unreliable or unduly repetitive evidence.
In addition, if either party wishes to question the impartiality of a committee member
on the basis of evidence which was not previously available at the inception of the
hearing, the chairperson may rule on such a motion. The chairperson shall exclude
from the hearing room all persons who are to appear as witnesses, except the respondent
and the complainant.
- The college shall make a record of each fact-finding hearing by some means such as
a stenographic transcript, an audio recording or the equivalent. The college must
assign a staff member for each hearing, with the sole responsibility of ensuring that
the hearing is recorded in its entirety. No other recording of the proceedings may
be permitted. A respondent who has been found to have committed the conduct charged
after a hearing is entitled upon request to a copy of such a record without cost upon
the condition that it is not to be disseminated except to the respondent's representative
or attorney. In the event of an appeal, both the respondent and the complainant are
entitled upon request to a copy of such a record without cost, upon the condition
that it is not to be disseminated except to their representatives or attorneys.
- The college bears the burden of proving the charge(s) by a preponderance of the evidence.
- The role of the faculty-student disciplinary committee is to listen to the testimony,
ask questions of the witnesses, review the testimony and evidence presented at the
hearing and the papers filed by the parties and render a determination. In the event
the respondent is found to have committed the conduct charged, the committee shall
then determine the penalty to be imposed.
- The college, the respondent and the complainant are permitted to have lawyers or other
representatives act on their behalf during the pendency of a disciplinary action,
which shall include the calling and examining of witnesses, and presenting other evidence.
Any party intending to appear with an attorney shall give the other party 5 (five)
calendar days' notice of such representation.
- The chairperson of the faculty-student disciplinary committee retains discretion to
limit the number of witnesses and the time of testimony for the presentations by any
party and/or their representative.
- In the event that the respondent is charged with a sexual assault, stalking or other
forms of sexual violence, neither the respondent nor the complainant shall be permitted
to cross-examine the other directly. Rather, if they wish to, the respondent and the
complainant may cross-examine each other only through a representative. If either
or both of them do not have a representative, the college shall work with them to
find a representative to conduct such cross-examination. In the alternative, either
party may provide written questions to the chairperson to be posed to the witness.
- At the end of the presentations, the respondent and the complainant may introduce
individual character references. The college may introduce a copy of the respondent's
previous disciplinary record, including records from any CUNY institution the respondent
has attended, where applicable, provided the respondent was shown a copy of the record
prior to the commencement of the hearing. The previous disciplinary record shall be
submitted to the committee in a sealed envelope, bearing the respondent's signature
across the seal, and shall only be opened if the respondent has been found to have
committed the conduct charged. The previous disciplinary records, as well as documents
and character evidence introduced by the respondent, the complainant, and the college
shall be opened and used by the committee for dispositional purposes, i.e., to determine
an appropriate penalty if the charges are sustained.
- The committee shall deliberate in closed session. The committee shall issue a written
decision, which shall be based solely on the testimony and evidence presented at the
hearing and the papers filed by the parties.
- The respondent shall be sent a copy of the faculty-student disciplinary committee's
decision within seven (7) calendar days of the conclusion of the hearing, by regular
mail and e-mail to the address appearing on the records of the college. In cases involving
two or more complainants or respondents, the respondent shall be sent a copy of faculty-student
disciplinary committee's decision within fourteen (14) calendar days of the conclusion
of the hearing. The chief student affairs officer is also encouraged to send the decision
to any other e-mail address that he or she may have for the respondent. The decision
shall be final subject to any appeal. In cases involving a crime of violence or a
non-forcible sex offense, as set forth in FERPA, the complainant shall simultaneously
receive notice of the outcome of the faculty-student disciplinary committee's decision
as it relates to the offense(s) committed against the complainant, in the same manner
as notice is given to the respondent.
- When a disciplinary hearing results in a penalty of dismissal or suspension for one
term or more, the decision is a university-wide penalty and the respondent shall be
barred from admission to, or attendance at, any other unit of the university while
the penalty is being served.
- Disciplinary penalties shall be placed on a respondent's transcript unless a mediation
agreement, the committee's decision, or the decision on any appeal under section 15.4(o)
below, expressly indicate otherwise. For all undergraduate students, a penalty other
than suspension or expulsion shall be removed from the respondent's transcript upon
the request of the respondent after at least four (4) years have elapsed since the
penalty was completed, unless the respondent has been found to have committed a subsequent
violation pursuant to this Article. The chief student affairs officer shall be responsible
for having any penalty removed from a student's transcript as provided above.
- A respondent or a complainant may appeal a decision of the faculty-student disciplinary
committee to the president on the following grounds: (i) procedural error, (ii) newly
discovered evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the hearing,
or (iii) the disproportionate nature of the penalty. The president may remand for
a new hearing or may modify the penalty either by decreasing it (on an appeal by the
respondent) or increasing it (on an appeal by the complainant). If the president is
a party to the dispute, her/his functions with respect to an appeal shall be discharged
by an official of the university to be appointed by the chancellor or her or his designee.
If the penalty after appeal to the president is one of dismissal or suspension for
one term or more, a respondent or a complainant may appeal to the board committee
on student affairs and special programs. The board may dispose of the appeal in the
same manner as the president.
- An appeal under this section shall be made in writing within fifteen (15) calendar
days after the delivery of the decision appealed from. This requirement may be waived
in a particular case for good cause by the president or the board committee as the
case may be. Within three (3) calendar days of the receipt of any appeal, either to
the president or the board committee on student affairs and special programs, the
appealing party shall be sent a written notice of the other party's appeal. In addition,
the respondent and/or the complainant shall have the opportunity to submit a written
opposition to the other party's appeal within fifteen (15) calendar days of the delivery
of the notice of receipt of such appeal.
- The president shall decide and issue a decision within fifteen (15) calendar days
of receiving the appeal or within fifteen (15) calendar days of receiving papers in
opposition to the appeal, whichever is longer. The board committee shall decide and
issue a decision within five (5) calendar days of the meeting at which it hears the
SECTION 15.5. ACTION BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES.
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this article, the board of trustees reserves
full power to suspend or take other appropriate action against a student or a student
organization for conduct which impedes, obstructs, or interferes with the orderly
and continuous administration and operation of any college, school, or units of the
university in the use of its facilities or in the achievement of its purposes as an
educational institution in accordance with procedures established by the board of
SECTION 15.6. COLLEGE GOVERNANCE PLANS.
The provisions in a duly adopted college governance plan shall not be inconsistent
with the provisions contained in this article.
For more information regarding the procedural standards in the Office of the Vice
President of Student Affairs, please visit the CUNY Bylaws, Article 15.
For help preparing for a formal hearing with the Faculty-Student Disciplinary Committee,
please refer to our page, Tips for Preparing for a Board Hearing.