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Code of Student Conduct

  1. Student Rights and Responsibilities
    1. Preamble
      Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. 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 teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus, and in the larger community. Students should exercise their freedom with responsibility. The responsibility to secure and respect general conditions conducive to the freedom to learn is shared by all members of the community. The present code is designed to establish policies and procedures which provide and safeguard this freedom.
    2. Purpose
      Towson University 's mission to the community at large is one of academic excellence and achievement. To that end, its campus community must be one wherein respect for the individual pursuit of academic excellence and achievement is given priority. In order to foster this environment, it is incumbent upon students to conduct themselves within the framework of the reasonable rules and regulations designed to enhance and protect the academic environment of the university. By specifying behavioral standards and by establishing fair and efficient processes for adjudicating conflict, the university seeks to protect the environment in which learning is nurtured and respect for that goal is continually afforded.
    3. Individual Rights and Responsibilities
      1. Access to higher education
        1. Within the limits of its facilities, the institution and its courses, programs and activities shall be open to all applicants who are qualified, according to its admission requirements.
          1. The institution shall, in the university Undergraduate Catalog , make clear to the students the standards of its programs.
          2. Admission to Towson University shall be in compliance with federal and state laws and regulations that prohibit illegal discrimination.
      2. Classroom Expression
        1. Discussion and expression of all views relevant to the subject matter are permitted in the classroom, subject only to the responsibility of the instructor to maintain order and reasonable academic progress.
          1. Faculty comportment shall be in accordance with standards set forth by the American Association of University Professors.
          2. Students shall not be penalized for expressing controversial views relevant to the subject matter in class.
        2. Evaluation of a student's academic performance shall be neither prejudiced nor capricious.
      3. Personal Expression
        1. Discussion and expression of all views is permitted within the institution subject only to requirements for the maintenance of order. Support of any cause, by orderly means which does not disrupt the operation of the institution, is permitted.  Refer to Towson UniversityPolicy on Time, Place, and Manner (06-04.11)
        2. Students, groups and campus organizations may invite to hear any persons of their own choosing, subject only to the requirements of the use of institutional facilities and regulations of the university and the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland .
        3. Students' dress and grooming, of any style, are permitted subject to legal prohibitions.
        4. Students, groups, or organizations may distribute written material on campus, providing such distribution does not disrupt the operations of the institution.
        5. The right of assembly is granted within the institutional community. The institution retains the right to assure the safety of individuals, the protection of property, and the continuity of the educational process.
        6. Orderly picketing and other forms of peaceful protest are permitted on institutional premises. Interference with entrances to institutional facilities, intentional interruption of classes or damage to property exceeds permissible limits.
        7. Orderly picketing and orderly demonstrations are permitted in public areas within institutional buildings subject to the requirements of non-interference.
        8. Every student has the option to be interviewed on campus by an organization authorized to recruit at the institution.
      4. Privacy
        1. Students have the same rights of privacy as any other citizens and surrender none of those rights by becoming members of the academic community.
        2. Information about student views, beliefs and political associations acquired by faculty and staff in the course of their work as instructors, advisers and counselors is confidential and is not to be disclosed to others unless under legal compulsion or with permission of the student.
        3. The privacy and confidentiality of all student records shall be preserved. Official student academic records, supporting documents and other student files shall be maintained only by full-time members of the institution's staff employed for that purpose and students employed by them who may have access in line of employment. Separate files shall be maintained for the following: academic records, supporting documents and general educational records, records of disciplinary proceedings, medical and psychiatric records, and financial aid records.
        4. No entry may be made on a student's academic record and no document may be placed in the student's file without actual notice to the student .
        5. Every student is guaranteed the right to inspect and review all information in his or her own files maintained by the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education, subject only to reasonable regulations as to time, place and supervision. However, the student may not have copies of items in a file .
          1. A student may challenge the accuracy or presence of any item by following the standard appeal process (see Appeal Procedures below).
          2. When a case is referred, a disciplinary file may be developed in the name of the charged student.
          3. The file will be voided if the charges against the student are not substantiated .
          4. The file, including any university hearing audio recordings, will be retained for seven years if the charges are substantiated. Disciplinary records may be retained for longer periods of time or permanently if the sanction is suspension or expulsion from the university or university housing .
          5. Any record, file or incident report to which the student has access and an opportunity to respond, or records of previous hearings, may be taken into consideration by the decision-maker in arriving at an appropriate decision.
          6. Pursuant to recent changes in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as revised, the Office of Student Conduct & Civility Education reserves the right to notify parents of students under the age of 21 who are found responsible for alcohol or drug violations of the Code of Student Conduct .
        6. No record may be made in relation to any of the following matters except upon the express written request of the student: religion, political or social views, and membership in any organization other than honorary and professional organizations directly related to the educational process .
        7. Agencies of the university which keep student records must make students aware of how and to whom those records may be divulged. No information in any student file may be released to anyone except with prior written consent of the student concerned or as stated below .
          1. Administrators may have access to student records for internal educational and administrative purposes.
          2. Members of the faculty may have access to academic records for internal educational and administrative purposes.
          3. Non-academic records shall be routinely available only to administrators and staff charged with their maintenance. Faculty and staff may have access to all records for statistical purposes.
          4. Directory information, as defined in Appendix F, may be released to any inquirer unless the student has specifically asked the registrar to withhold that information.
          5. Unless under legal compulsion, all other information regarding students' records shall be denied to any person making an inquiry .
        8. Upon graduation or withdrawal from the institution, the records and files of former students shall continue to be subject to the provisions of this code .
    4. Rights and Responsibilities of Campus Organizations
      1. Organizations, groups and NCAA teams may be established within the institution for any legal purpose. Their recognition will be in accordance with established guidelines .
      2. Membership in all institution-related organizations, within the limits of their facilities, shall be open to any fee-paying member of the institution community who is willing to subscribe to the stated aims and meet the stated obligations of the organization .
      3. Individual members, as well as the organization, group or team itself, can be charged with violations of the Code of Student Conduct, including those actions defined in the “Hazing Policy” section of this document.
      4. Use of university facilities shall be granted to recognized student organizations. Student organizations shall be given priority for use of space as outlined in procedures established by Event & Conference Services and the Student Government Association .
      5. The authority to allocate institutional funds derived from student fees for use by organizations shall be delegated to a body in which student participation in the decision-making process is assured .
        1. Approval of requests for funds is conditional upon submission of budgets to and approval by this body.
        2. Financial accountability, in full accordance with university and state policies, regulations, procedures and practices, is required for all allocated funds, including statement of income and expenses on a regular basis.
        3. Otherwise, organizations shall have independent control over the expenditure of allocated funds .
      6. The student press is to be free of censorship. The editors and managers shall not be arbitrarily suspended because of student, faculty, administration, alumni or community disapproval of editorial policy or content. Similar freedom is assured oral statements of views on institution-controlled and student-operated radio or television stations. This editorial freedom entails a corollary obligation under the canons of responsible journalism and applicable regulations of the Federal Communications Commission.
      7. All student communications shall explicitly state that the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the institution or its student body
    5. Rights of Students in Institutional Government
      1. All constituents of the institutional community are free, individually and collectively, to express their views on issues of institutional policy and on matters of interest to the student body. Clearly defined means shall be provided for student expression on all institutional policies affecting academic and student affairs.
      2. The role of student government and its responsibilities shall be made explicit. There should be no review of student government actions except where review procedures are agreed upon in advance, or where actions of the government are either potentially illegal or present a clear danger to either individual or institutional rights.
      3. On questions of educational policy, students are entitled to a participatory function. Students shall be designated as members of standing and special committees concerned with institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs, including those concerned with curriculum, discipline, admission, academic standards, university governance and allocation of student funds .
    6. Student Grievance Procedures
      1. Any student or group may file a grievance against an administrative official or faculty member for violation of student rights as listed above.
      2. Students choosing to file a grievance should contact the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education, who will serve as a resource to the student.  The Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education will direct the student to the appropriate university department based on the nature of the student's grievance.
  2. Code of Student Conduct
    1. Rationale
      The primary purpose for the imposition of discipline in the university setting is to protect the campus community. Consistent with that purpose, reasonable efforts will also be made to foster the personal, educational and social development of those students who are held accountable for violations of university regulations. However, the university must commit its policies and procedures first of all to protect and promote the academic enterprise. Consequently, it may be necessary to suspend or expel students who have been found responsible for violations of this Code, or who otherwise pose a substantial danger to the campus community .
    2. Definitions
      1. The terms “university” and “institution” mean Towson University (TU).
      2. The term “student” includes all persons taking courses at the university, both full-time and part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, professional, certificate or continuing studies. Persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the university are considered “students.”
      3. The terms “faculty member” and “instructor” mean any person hired by the university to conduct classroom activities.
      4. The term “university official” includes any person employed by the university, performing assigned administrative, professional or paraprofessional responsibilities (including student resident assistants and building managers).
      5. The term “member of the university community” includes any person who is a student, faculty member, university official, or any other person employed by the university.
      6. The term “university premises” includes all land, buildings, facilities and other property in the possession of or owned, used or controlled by the university (including adjacent streets and sidewalks).
      7. The term “organization” means any number of persons who have complied with formal requirements for university recognition (including SGA, Greek and NCAA).
      8. The term “group” means a number of persons who are associated with each other but who have not complied with university requirements for registration as an organization.
      9. The term “Hearing Board” means the hearing officer and student conduct aides authorized by the director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education to determine whether a student has violated the Code of Student Conduct.
      10. The director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education is that person designated by the university president to be responsible for the administration of the Code of Student Conduct.
      11. The term “policy” is defined as the written regulations of the university as found in, but not limited to, the Code of Student Conduct, the Policies for University Housing, the Faculty Handbook, the Undergraduate Catalog, the Towson University Procedures for Alcohol Events, Student Organization Handbook and the Event & Conference Services Guide for Student Organizations.
      12. The term “interim disciplinary action” means discipline which is imposed pending the outcome of a court case for off-campus behavior.
      13. The term “banned from campus” means that a student is prohibited from coming onto university property. A student who is banned from campus may be allowed to finish current course work off campus, if appropriate, and a tuition refund may be granted. As a result of a ban, the student will not have a permanent file in the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. A ban will normally only be issued after the student has been offered a meeting with a representative of the Office of Student Conduct & Civility Education.
      14. The USM Policy on Sexual Misconduct can be found at:
      15. The term "harassment" is defined as conduct directed at a specific person or persons which seriously alarms or intimidates such persons and which serves no legitimate purpose. Such conduct may include: threats, including gestures which place a person in reasonable fear of unwelcome physical contact or harm; following a person about in a public place or to or from his or her residence; making remarks in a public place to a specific person which are by common usage lewd, obscene, expose a person to public hatred or that can reasonably be expected to have a tendency to cause acts of violence by the person to whom the remark is addressed; or any other conduct which is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to interfere with or limit a person's ability to participate in, or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by the university.
      16. The term "event-related misconduct" is defined as serious misconduct that is related to university-sponsored events, including athletic events.  Event-related misconduct includes rioting, vandalism, fire-setting, or other misconduct related to a university-sponsored event, occurring on or off-campus, that results in harm to persons or property or otherwise poses a threat to the stability of the campus community.
      17. Preponderance of evidence is that evidence which, when fairly considered, produces the stronger impression, has the greater weight, and is more convincing as to its truth when weighted against the evidence in opposition thereto.
      18. The accused and the complainant may each be accompanied by a friendly observer.  A friendly observer is someone who provides support, guidance, and/or advice to the accused or the complainant during the University Hearing process, however this individual cannot speak or directly participate in the hearing proceedings.  The friendly observer cannot serve as a witness for either the accused or the complainant.  The friendly observer may remain in the room with the accused or complainant for the duration of the hearing.  This individual may be a family member, friend, faculty member, staff member, or other advisor/support.  This party may not act as legal counsel, but may advise the accused or complainant through written communication methods.  Should a friendly observer not adhere to these expectations, or attempt to play an active role in the University Hearing, the Hearing Officer, at his/her discretion, may remove the friendly observer from the University Hearing.
    3. Scope
      1. Generally, student or group conduct subject to institutional discipline is limited to: on-campus actions; off-campus actions which affect the university community or the university's pursuit of its mission, policies or procedures; off-campus actions by officially sponsored organizations, groups, or NCAA teams; or actions on university property which is leased to, or managed by, an entity other than the university .
      2. However, a student charged with a violation of federal, state, or local laws for off-campus behavior may be disciplined by the university without a university hearing or informal investigation when: the student is found guilty by a court of law; the student pleads guilty or nolo contendere to the charges; or, the student is given probation before judgment.
        Allegations of off-campus event related misconduct (see definitions) must be supported by a report, statement or accusation from a law enforcement agency in whose jurisdiction the misconduct is alleged to have occurred.
        Additionally, interim or final disciplinary action may be taken before any court action is completed. Examples of charges that may result in action include acts of violence, drug- and alcohol-related violations, and a citation for a disorderly house. Such action will be taken only after a limited investigation by the Office of Student Conduct & Civility Education.  The student will be offered a meeting with a university official to discuss the incident.
        In situations where a student is not able to meet with a university official, interim action may still be taken pending a meeting with the student.
        Any interim action shall be reviewed, and appropriate final action taken, at the student's request or at the university's discretion, when a final court decision is rendered or when the university receives additional persuasive evidence .
      3. Some conduct clearly disturbs only the campus environment; when such behavior occurs, the university shall take internal action.
      4. When there is evidence that a student has committed a crime on campus, disciplinary action at the university will normally proceed independently of pending criminal charges, including when charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or dropped. The student may then be subject to civil authorities as well as internal disciplinary action.
      5. When a student is charged with a violation of one or more provisions of this Code, a letter listing the charges will be given or sent to the student within a reasonable amount of time. At a meeting with a representative of the Office of Student Conduct & Civility Education, the student will be informed of :
        1. Specific violation(s)
        2. Description of alleged incident
        3. Hearing or informal investigation procedure
        4. Rights of appeal
    4. Prohibited Conduct
      The following misconduct is subject to disciplinary action:
      1a. Intentionally furnishing false information to the institution; this includes lying to university officials.
      1b. Forging, altering or using instruments of identification or institutional documents with intent to defraud, or to otherwise benefit there from.
      1c. Possession of false identification (e.g., a false driver's license).
      2a. Disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, or normal university operations.
      2b. Disruption or obstruction of university-sponsored activities or events.
      2c.  Off campus conduct that is disorderly and disrupts others in the community.
      3. Lewd, obscene or indecent behavior.
      4. Physical abuse of any person.
      5a. Unwanted physical contact or threat of physical contact with a university official.
      5b. Threats of violence or placing a person in fear of imminent physical injury or danger.
      5c. Any endangering conduct that imperils or jeopardizes the health or safety of any person or persons, including oneself.
      5d. Stalking of any person.
      6. Inflicting mental or emotional distress upon a person through a course of conduct involving abuse or disparagement of that person's race, religion, sex, creed, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability.
      7. Acts that invade the privacy of another person.
      8. Violation of the Towson University Policy on Sexual Misconduct and/or the University System of Maryland Policy on Sexual Misconduct.
      9. Abuse of any person; this includes verbal, written, e-mail, or telephone abuse.        
      10. Intentionally or recklessly damaging, destroying, defacing or tampering with university, public or personal property of another.
      11a. Uncooperative behavior and/or failure to comply with proper instructions of officials acting in performance of their duties.
      11b.Event-related misconduct.  (see definitions). 
      12. Violation of published inbstitutional regulations and policies.
      13. Violation of state, federal and local laws.
      14. Unauthorized presence in institutional facilities.
      15a. The possession or use of illegal drugs, unauthorized controlled substances, or drug paraphernalia when not in accordance with established policy.
      15b. The sale, distribution or intent to distribute, and/or manufacture of illegal drugs or controlled substances when not in accordance with established policy.
      16. The possession or use of any firearms or instrument which may be construed as a weapon, without express permission of the University Police.
      17. The possession of explosives, fireworks, or pyrotechnic paraphernalia on campus.
      18a. The possession or use of alcoholic beverages in the following manner:  by any person under 21 years of age; or, possession of, or consumption from, an open container in any public area which has not been approved by Towson University; or, a person 21 years of age or older purchasing for, serving to, or otherwise distributing alcohol to any person who is under 21 years of age.
      18b. Public intoxication.
      19. The unauthorized use of or entry into university computer systems.
      20. Violation of the university housing policy.
      21. Violation of any disciplinary sanction.
      22. Charging telephone or telecommunications charges to university telephones or extension numbers without authorization.
      23. Theft, attempted theft, possession of stolen property, conspiracy to steal or misappropriation of another's property. This includes, but is not limited to, removing, possessing, concealing, altering, tampering or otherwise appropriating goods or property without authorization.
      24. Violation of the Student Academic Integrity Policy.
      25. Harassment of any person.                                                                                                 26. Unauthorized use of the name "Towson University" or the unauthorized use of any University trademark, service mark, logo or seal for advertising or promotional purposes in a manner that expressly or impliedly indicates the University's endorsement.
    5. Penalties
      The following penalties may be imposed upon students and all student organizations for violations of the Code of Student Conduct. With certain exceptions, federal regulation prohibits disclosing the outcome of disciplinary proceedings to anyone other than to the accused and to appropriate university personnel. The first exception relates to the disclosure of the final results of the University's disciplinary proceeding to a victim of an alleged crime of violence or of a non-forcible sex offense regardless of whether the University concluded a violation was committed.  In addition, the parents of students under the age of 21 may be notified when students are found responsible for violations of the University's alcohol or drug policies.
      1. CENSURE: A written reprimand for violation of specified regulations, including a warning that continuation or repetition of prohibited conduct may be cause for additional disciplinary action. This may include a specified period of probation.
      2. PROBATION: Notice to the student that any further disciplinary violation, during a specified period of time, may result in suspension or expulsion from the university and or on-campus housing.
      3. SOCIAL PROBATION: Exclusion from participation in privileged or extracurricular institutional activities, including NCAA athletic events or practice, for a specified period of time. Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed. Violations of the terms of social probation, or any other violation of this Code during the period of probation, will normally result in a fine, suspension or expulsion from the university.
      4. SUSPENSION: Suspension involves separation of the student from the university for a specified period of time and usually impairs a student's ability to pursue work at other colleges and universities. Normally, the student will also be barred from university premises during the period of suspension. Any student who is suspended shall not be entitled to any tuition or fee refund.
      5. EXPULSION: Expulsion constitutes permanent separation of the student from the university. Normally, the student will also be barred from university premises upon expulsion. Any student who is expelled shall not be entitled to any tuition or fee refund.
      6. EVENT-RELATED MISCONDUCT SUSPENSION OR EXPULSION:  In general, a student found responsible on a charge of event-related misconduct shall be suspended or expelled.  Any decision to impose a sanction less than suspension or expulsion for university-sponsored event-related misconduct (see Definitions) must be supported by written findings signed by the vice president for Student Affairs.  A record of any suspension or expulsion for university-sponsored event-related misconduct shall be noted on the student's transcript for the duration of the sanction, or longer if so specified in the final notice of sanction.  A student suspended for event-related misconduct shall not be admitted to any other institution in the University System of Maryland during the term of the suspension.  A student expelled for event-related misconduct shall not be admitted to any other institution in the University System of Maryland for at least one year from the effective date of the expulsion.  Any student who is suspended or expelled shall not be entitled to any tuition or fee refund.
      7. SUSPENSION OF GROUP: Suspension shall consist of the withdrawal of an organization's recognition by the university, for a stated period of time, when an organization is found to have violated regulations. Suspension shall result in complete suspension of activities of the group during the stated period of time and may also include conditions for removal of suspension.
      8. ORGANIZATIONAL DISSOLUTION: Organizational dissolution is a sanction imposed only upon student organizations guilty of serious and/or repeated violations of these standards. The sanctions involve permanent withdrawal of recognition by the university, denial of the use of university facilities or funds, and official dissolution of the organization on the campus.
      9. RESTITUTION: Restitution may be imposed on students whose violation has involved monetary loss or damage. Fines may be imposed in addition to restitution. Restitution becomes a financial obligation to the university and either full payment or an agreement for partial payment according to a schedule agreed to by the director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education is required before a student may register for classes again, or in the case of seniors, before the student may graduate or before the diploma is released.  The University typically does not issue restitution to third parties, including other students, as part of a disciplinary action.
      10. REMOVAL FROM ON-CAMPUS HOUSING: This sanction prohibits a student from residing in on-campus housing for a stated period of time.  Any student who is removed from on-campus housing shall not be entitled to any refund of housing costs.  In addition to removal, students are typically banned from being in or around (as determined by university staff) all on-campus residence halls.
      11. FINES: Fines of varying amounts may be imposed for certain violations.  Fines issued to students for misconduct typically start at $100 and may increase incrementally for subsequent violations or instances when the student is found responsible for multiple charges related to the same incident.  These increases are typically in increments of $50.  It should be noted that the severity of the incident may also impact this fine resulting in a higher amount charged.  Additionally, students with a prior disciplinary record may receive higher fines if their prior history supports such action.  Fines must be paid prior to the end of the current term, otherwise a student's registration privileges will be withheld or prior registration canceled.
      12. OTHER SANCTIONS: Other sanctions may be imposed instead of or in addition to those specified above. For example, students may be required to participate in and complete an approved alcohol or drug educational/treatment program, students may be subject to restrictions upon or denials of university parking privileges for violations involving the use or registration of motor vehicles on campus; community service hours or research projects may be assigned; educational sanctions or workshops may be assigned; or the university housing contract may be placed on probation.
    6. Standards and Procedures of Due Process
      1. Students subject to suspension or expulsion from the university will be entitled to a university hearing, except as described in section C.2. With the exception of allegations of academic dishonesty (see the section below: Student Academic Integrity Policy), students subject to any other sanction will typically be entitled to an informal investigation.
      2. The purpose of a disciplinary proceeding is to provide a fair evaluation of an accused's responsibility for violating disciplinary regulations. Although formal rules of evidence need not be applied, procedures shall comport with standards of fundamental fairness. Harmless deviations from the prescribed procedures shall not necessarily invalidate a decision or proceeding unless significant prejudice to an accused student or the university may result.
      3. Any person may refer students or student groups or organizations suspected of violating this Code to the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. Allegations of violations occurring within on-campus housing should be referred to the Department of Housing and Residence Life. Those referring cases are normally expected to serve as a witness and to present relevant evidence in disciplinary hearings or informal investigations. The director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education may appoint a member of the campus community to serve as an adviser to university witnesses. The role of the adviser shall be limited to consultation with the witnesses.
      4. Suspensions and expulsions from the university will be made by the vice president for Student Affairs or designee. All other sanctions will be determined by the director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education, or designee. In all cases, the accused will be notified in writing of any sanctions to be imposed and of his or her rights of appeal .
    7. Informal Investigation and University Hearing Procedure
      1. Informal Investigation: The informal investigation is designed to reduce unnecessary proceduralism and potential contentiousness in disciplinary proceedings. An informal investigation will normally begin with an informal, non-adversarial meeting between the accused and a university administrator, as designated by the director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. The university shall consider all matters that reasonable persons would accept as having probative value, including documentary evidence, written statements and hearsay. The accused will be given access to documentary evidence and written statements in advance or during the initial meeting and allowed to respond to them. Accused are also allowed to submit the names of appropriate and relevant witnesses.  The accused will be found responsible if the university administrator decides that a preponderance of evidence supports the charges.
        The following procedural protections are provided to respondents in the informal investigation :
        1. Written notice of the specific charges prior to or at the initial meeting
        2. Reasonable access to the case file during the informal investigation or at the student's request
        3. An opportunity to respond to the evidence and call appropriate and relevant witnesses .
      2. University Hearing:  University hearings are scheduled when a student disagrees with the charge(s) against him/her.  The following procedural guidelines shall be observed for all hearings held by the University Hearing Board. The University Hearing Board will be composed of the hearing officer, who shall preside and make the final decision, and student conduct aides. In the absence of the student conduct aides, the hearing officer may hear and decide the case alone. A case may not be heard if the hearing officer is not in attendance. The hearing officer shall be responsible for submitting the hearing panel's report to the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education.
        1. The accused shall be given notice of the hearing date and the specific charges against him or her at least three business days in advance and shall be accorded reasonable access to the case file, which will be retained in the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. (In some cases, the accused may choose not to wait three days for a hearing to take place.)
        2. The hearing will be audio recorded.
        3. The accused will be present for the hearing. If more than one student is charged with the same incident, the university may hold a combined hearing. If the accused fails to appear, this will be stated for the record and the hearing will continue.
        4. The accused and the complainant may be accompanied by a friendly observer. This party may not be or act as legal counsel, except when concurrent criminal charges have been filed. In this situation, counsel may not participate in the hearing, but may advise the accused.
        5. The hearing officer shall exercise control over the proceedings to avoid needless consumption of time and to achieve orderly completion of the hearing. Any person, including the accused, who disrupts a hearing may be excluded by the hearing officer.
        6. The accused will be found responsible if the hearing officer decides that a preponderance of evidence supports the charges.
        7. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable in disciplinary proceedings conducted pursuant to this Code. The hearing officer shall admit all matters into evidence that reasonable persons would accept as having probative value, including documentary evidence, written statements, and hearsay. Repetitious or irrelevant evidence may, however, be excluded. Documentary evidence and written statements shall only be admitted into evidence if available to the accused before or during the hearing.
        8. The director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education may appoint a special hearing panel member in complex cases. Special panel members may question all parties, participate in hearing panel deliberations, and offer advice to the hearing officer.
        9. The hearing officer's report will be presented to the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. The student may view the hearing officer's written report by appointment.
        10. The accused will receive the decision in writing from the vice president for Student Affairs or designee .
    8. Disciplinary Procedures for Student Organizations, Groups, and NCAA Teams
      1. Student organizations, groups and NCAA teams (referred to here collectively as “group”) may be charged with violations of the Towson University Code of Student Conduct.
      2. When one or more members of a group are charged with a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, the university may charge the group as well. A student group and its officers may be held collectively and individually responsible when violations of this Code by those associated with the group have received the consent or encouragement of the group or of the group's leaders or officers.
      3. A position of leadership in a student group entails responsibility. Student officers or leaders cannot knowingly permit, condone or acquiesce in any violation of this Code by the group. This section of the Code is designed, in part, to hold a group and its officers accountable for any act of hazing. The express or implied “consent” of the victim or participant is not a defense.
      4. The officers, leaders or any identifiable spokesperson for a student group may be directed by the vice president for Student Affairs or designee, to take appropriate action designed to prevent or end violations of this Code by the group. Failure to make reasonable efforts to comply with the vice president for Student Affairs' directive shall be considered a violation of this Code, both by the officers, leaders or spokesperson for the group and by the group itself.
      5. An informal investigation, or whenever appropriate, a university hearing, for student groups will be conducted in a manner similar to the procedures listed above. Conferences shall be conducted with one spokesperson representing the group, usually the president. Any sanction listed in the Code of Student Conduct may be imposed on a group and its individual members. If individual members are subject to suspension or expulsion from the university for actions of the group, those individuals will be offered a university hearing .
      6. A group may be held responsible for violations of the Code of Student Conduct resulting from the actions of its members, if the actions:  arose out of activities related to the group; were encouraged, fostered or condoned by the group; were known or should have been known by members of the group; or were activities that the group could have prevented ("Group Misconduct"). 
      7. To be held responsible for Group Misconduct, it is not necessary that the misconduct be approved by the entire group nor is it necessary that more than one group member be involved in the misconduct. 
      8. In determining whether a group is responsible, the university may consider, among other factors, whether the misconduct would have occurred if the participating individuals were not members of the group or whether the misconduct was encouraged, fostered or condoned by the group or whether the misconduct could have been prevented by the collective action of the group.
    9. Emergency Suspensions
      1. When there is evidence that the continued presence of a student on the university campus poses a substantial threat to him/herself or others, or to the stability and continuance of normal university functions, the vice president for Student Affairs or designee, may immediately suspend a student from any or all university activities, including university housing, for an interim period pending a hearing or medical evaluation. Such an emergency suspension may become effective immediately without prior notice.
      2. An emergency suspension may be imposed only :
        1. to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the university community;
        2. to ensure the student's own physical or emotional safety and well-being;
        3. if the student poses a definite threat of ,disruption of, or interference with the normal operations of the university .
      3. A student issued an emergency suspension shall be denied access, as determined appropriate by the vice president for Student Affairs or designee, to :
        1. The entire campus, including classes;
        2. university housing and dining facilities;
        3. all other activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible .
      4. In these cases, a university hearing or medical evaluation will be scheduled as soon as is practicable .
    10. Appeal Procedures
      1. Any disciplinary determination resulting in expulsion or suspension from the university may be appealed to :
        1. the Student Appeals Committee
        2. the president of the university
      2. Any disciplinary determination resulting in removal from on-campus housing may be appealed to: the Student Appeals Committee.
      3. Any disciplinary determination resulting in any lesser sanction except as provided below may be appealed to: the vice president for Student Affairs or designee.
        The basis for appeal of a disciplinary sanction must be one of the following :
        1. a flaw in the student's right of due process
        2. evident bias in the decision of the hearing board or the individual conducting an informal investigation
        3. inconsistent or overly severe sanction imposed
        4. new evidence or insufficient consideration of all aspects of the situation
        Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education by the deadline indicated in the sanction letter.  Failure to appeal within the allotted time will render the original decision final and conclusive. Appeals shall be decided upon the record of the original proceedings, written letters submitted by the parties, and any further information requested by the committee, vice president for Student Affairs, or designee. The imposition of sanctions will not be deferred during the appeal process unless the student presents a compelling reason to the vice president for Student Affairs or designee.
      4. When a student has a dispute about a grade or substantive academic matter, the appeal process is :
        1. instructor
        2. department chairperson
        3. college dean
        4. Student Appeals Committee
        In cases involving the awarding of grades, the Student Appeals Committee normally reviews whether a grade was determined in accordance with the terms set forth at the beginning of the term by the instructor, normally as outlined in the course syllabus. Disputes regarding the grading of a particular piece of work shall be assigned to the appropriate chairperson who shall establish impartial means to conduct a review of the grade. Grade appeals must be initiated within one year .
      5. When a student appeals a course-related sanction for academic dishonesty, the appeal process is:
        1. instructor
        2. department chairperson
        3. college dean
        4. Student Appeals Committee
          Note: please see the complete Student Academic Integrity Policy.


updated June 8, 2015







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