Samford University

Student Handbook: Students' Rights and Responsibilities

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Values Violation Process

The purpose of the values violation process is to give fundamental fairness to a student or an organization that has possibly violated a Samford University Code of Values. Fundamental fairness means a student or an organization is given an opportunity to present what took place at an event/activity and question the evidence that led to a belief a values violation occurred. The opportunity is given to the student or organization before a decision is made about the violation and a sanction imposed.

Any student, faculty, staff, parent or guest must present a written report of the facts regarding the alleged violation before the values violation process formally begins. Written reports are referred to the Assistant Dean for Student Services and Values Advocate. When the Values Advocate believes there is substantial evidence to support the alleged violation, the Values Advocate arranges a meeting with the student. At the discretion of the Values Advocate, some incidents may be handled by the Residence Life Community Standards Council.

The student or organization will receive notification of the alleged violation along with evidence that supports the values violation. Within 48 hours, the student must return a Value Violation Response Form to the University Values Advocate indicating whether or not the student admits committing the values violation. Failure to respond to a values notification may result in additional sanctions.

If the student or organization admits to committing a values violation, the student or organization’s representative will meet with the University Values Advocate to receive a sanction, guidance and counseling. If the student does not admit a value has been violated, the University Values Advocate has the option of choosing to conduct an administrative hearing or referring the incident to the Values Council for a more formal hearing. The University Values Advocate will inform the student or organization’s representative of which option is chosen and the process and procedure to be followed. Regardless of the option chosen, the student or organization will have the opportunity to be heard.

Minimum sanctions for most values violations have been established. However, in some instances, if the hearing agent deems a more rigorous sanction is in order, harsher penalties can be imposed. A student or organization may appeal a decision and sanction of the University Values Advocate or the Values Council within 48 hours of the notification of outcome and sanctions being received or sent. The only exception is if a student has admitted committing a values violation and a minimum sanction has been assessed. The reason(s) a student or organization may appeal a decision is (are): 1) procedures were not followed; 2) evidence did not justify the results; 3) sanction was not consistent with the nature of the violation; and/or 4) there is new evidence (not available or withheld at the hearing).

A student or organization that wishes to appeal a decision initiates the process in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. The Appeal Council has the option of hearing or not hearing the appeal. Should the Appeal Council refuse to hear the appeal, the original decision and sanction will be implemented.

The Appeal Council may, after hearing an appeal, 1) affirm the original decision and sanctions; 2) affirm the original decision and modify the sanctions; or 3) reverse the decision. A decision of the Appeals Council is final unless the president of the university requests a review.