Student Organization Conduct
Procedures for Filing Complaints of Alleged Violation of University Policies & Complaint Disposition
Statement of Principles
SF State is a learning community in which student organizations play a valuable role. As part of this role, leaders of student organizations must fully recognize their responsibilities as well as their rights and privileges. These procedures have been developed to ensure that matters of student organization conduct are handled consistently and fairly, and that they are resolved in accordance with the educational purpose of the University and due process standards. Student Involvement & Career Center staff shall consult faculty, staff and students, including representatives from Associated Students, in the revision of these procedures except when such revisions result from changes to system wide policies or are specifically mandated by law. Any member of the campus community may submit written proposals to change the provisions of this procedure to the Student Involvement & Career Center at any time.
The following procedures delineate the conduct process for non-academic violations of University policies and campus regulations by recognized student organizations.
Conduct Procedures/Due Process
- The term ‘working day’ shall mean any day during the academic year, summer session, and special session other than a Saturday, Sunday or academic holiday of a campus as that term is used in Section 42800 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations. (EO 628)
- In lieu of pursuing the formal conduct process against a student organization that has allegedly violated any University policy or procedure, the Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center may issue a letter of warning. A letter of warning is written notice to the student organization that a violation of University policy or multiple policies has occurred. This letter will be warning that further violations could result in more severe disciplinary action. It will be a part of the organization’s file for a period of one year from the date of the letter.
- Before informal resolution procedures as set forth in this process take place, the student organization must be advised of its right to due process pursuant to this procedure, including the right to have an advocate present during the process (attorneys cannot serve as advocates in this process) and a review. This is to ensure that the student organization is aware of its procedural rights before making an admission to a violation of University policies and procedures.
Filing of Complaint and Investigation of Allegations
- A complaint alleging non-academic misconduct by a student organization may be filed by anyone, but must be in writing, signed, dated and submitted to the Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center. These complaints must be submitted within seven working days of the alleged violation, and include any supporting evidence, documentation and names of witnesses.
- The Student Involvement & Career Center and University officials may also initiate complaints within seven working days following witnessing possible violations by student organization representatives.
- The Student Involvement & Career Center will investigate all complaints and will keep on file for a minimum of five years a signed, dated and reasoned decision explaining its determination of complaints investigated.
- In cases involving sexual harassment, the Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures will be followed.
- After a complaint is filed against a student organization, that organization may remain active on campus until a review of the complaint is completed by the Student Organization Conduct Board (SOCB), or until an informal review is completed by the Student Involvement & Career Center. In complaints against a student organization that could be criminal in nature, the University president or designee reserves the right to suspend the campus activity or revoke recognition of that student organization until a review or investigation can be completed by the SOCB or the Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center.
Notification of Complaint and Alleged Violations
- The Student Involvement & Career Center shall initiate the investigation/review by either:
- Delivery in person of a written notification of alleged violation(s).
- Delivery by certified mail, return receipt requested within two working days of receipt of the written complaint.
- E-mail communication.
- The University policy or campus regulation that was allegedly violated.
- The factual basis for the complaint including, wherever possible, the date, time and location of the alleged offense.
- The requirement to meet with the Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center or designee to discuss the complaint.
- If a student organization fails to meet with the Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center or designee as required in the notification of alleged violation(s), the student organization will be automatically suspended pending completion of the SOCB review and deliberation.
- A statement of the accused student organization’s right to have an advocate at any stage of the conduct process. Attorneys will not be permitted as advocates in this process.
Informal Resolution of Complaint (Optional)
At the discretion of the Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center, a meeting may be convened with representatives of the organization charged and the complaining party, to reach an informal resolution to be agreed upon by both parties. The meeting will occur within three (3) working days of the date of the notification of complaint letter. If the representatives of the student organization charged and the complaining party reach a mutually acceptable agreement, the matter shall be closed. If no agreement is reached within five (5) working days of the notification of charges letter, the matter will proceed to SOCB for review and determination.
Formal Disciplinary Proceedings
All allegations of misconduct against a recognized student organization, when not resolved with an informal resolution as stated above, shall be subject to formal review by SOCB. All allegations of misconduct against a recognized student organization that could be criminal in nature shall be subject to formal review by the Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center following the same process as the SOCB.
Student Organization Conduct Board (SOCB)
The Student Organization Conduct Board is comprised of campus students, faculty and staff for the purpose of hearing student organization violations and determining sanctions.
- Composition of Board—The board shall consist of five (5) voting members: two (2) students (ASI appointments), one (1) staff member (Vice President for Student Affairs/Enrollment Management appointment), and two (2) faculty members (Academic Senate appointments). The SOCB members serve a one-year term and the Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center convenes the Board. The Dean of Students appoints the Chair of SOCB.
- Appointment of Board Members—Associated Students Inc. (ASI) provides three (3) names including two SOCB representatives and an alternate (should one of the appointed representatives not be able to serve on the board). ASI provides the Dean of Students each student's name and contact information at the end of ASI elections (no later than May 15). The Academic Senate provides three (3) names including two SOCB representatives and an alternate (should one of the appointed representatives not be able to serve on the board). The Chair of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) is automatically appointed to SOCB. The second Academic Senate representative, as well as an alternate, shall also be members of SAC and appointed to SOCB by the end of May. Senate representatives serve for 2 years. The Vice President for Student Affairs/Enrollment Management appoints the Student Affairs representative.
- Quorum—Quorum shall consist of a simple majority of voting members. If at the time the SOCB receives a case for review and all members are not available to participate, the process shall proceed with quorum (3).
Timing and Notice of Review
The Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center will provide written notification to the student organization regarding either: (1) Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center’s decision to offer an informal resolution, or (2) The decision to immediately refer the complaint to SOCB. If an informal resolution occurs, the outcome notice will be provided to the student organization by the Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center. If an informal resolution does not occur, the notice will include the information that the SOCB process will begin within seven working days. The SOCB will contact the student organization providing the specific information on the date, time and location of the review. If the SOCB is unable to convene within a three (3) week period after being provided the Investigative Report by the Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center, the Dean of Students or designee will review the complaint/investigation and make a decision regarding policy violation(s) and if so, appropriate University corrective actions.
Consolidated Complaint Assignments
Where more than one student organization is charged with a complaint arising out of a single occurrence or out of connected multiple occurrences, and if the SOCB and the student organization consent, a single review may be held for all of the student organizations accused of violating policy. Student organizations may request that their case be consolidated with others or separated. The SOCB shall make determinations regarding consolidation. All such determinations shall have the review subject to revision by the SOCB. In the event of a revision, all complaints affected shall be rescheduled. The separation of one or more complaints from a group of complaints previously set for a consolidated review shall not be considered to affect the remaining complaints in the group.
- The accused student organization may request access to and/or copies of all the documented information that will be presented in support of the complaint at the review and a list of witnesses that may be called by the SOCB at the review. Any such information will be made available for inspection as soon as practicable but at least five (5) working days before the review.
- At least four (4) working days prior to the review, the accused student organization must provide the SOCB with its information and documentation refuting the complaint and a list of witnesses that the student organization may call at the review.
- The complainant may request access to and/or copies of all the documented information that will be presented in refutation of the complaint at the review. Any such information will be made available for inspection as soon as practicable but at least three (3) working days before the review.
- It is expected that the SOCB will select some witnesses to interview but it is not required to call all witnesses to interview on behalf of the complainant or the student organization accused.
- Admissible information shall be the sort upon which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs, and is not restricted to evidence admissible under the strict rules of evidence of a court of law. No information which has been determined by the SOCB to have been obtained by fundamentally unfair means may be taken into consideration.
Representation at Review
The accused student organization may have representation present during any stage of the process. The role of the representative may be limited during the review by SOCB. Attorneys will not be allowed as representatives in this process.
Record of Review
The SOCB will make an official recording of the review, a copy of which must be made available to the accused student organization upon request.
Closure of Review
Reviews shall be closed and not open to the public.
- The SOCB shall make decisions on all questions of procedure and information, including but not limited to the order of presentation of information, admissibility of information, applicability of regulations to a particular case, and relevance of interviews. If a challenge arises concerning the constitutionality or legality of an application of any such regulations or policies to a particular case, the process shall continue and the challenge may be submitted in writing to the Dean of Students, who shall seek legal advice from the University’s legal counsel.
- Unless otherwise determined by SOCB, information shall be submitted in the following order: information submitted in support of the complaint, information submitted by the accused student organization, rebuttal information in support of the complaint, rebuttal information submitted by the student organization, and closing statements. Reviews need not be conducted according to formal rules of procedure and evidence.
- No person shall be required to provide information against him or herself in any review process.
- All information upon which the SOCB’s decision in the process may be based must be introduced at the review in the presence of the accused student organization, except where the student organization (a) fails to appear after appropriate notice has been given or (b) otherwise waives the right to be present. No communication of information regarding the merits of the case or its disposition may be made to SOCB without the adverse party being afforded an opportunity to respond.
Decision of the Student Organization Conduct Board
- After the review, the SOCB shall make findings of fact and conclusions about whether the facts demonstrate a violation of the University policy with which the student organization is accused of violating. The SOCB’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the student organization charged violated the University policy (i.e., by a preponderance of evidence).
- After having made its determination, SOCB shall submit a written report to the Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center, which includes a determination as to whether the student organization violated University policy and if so, corrective action(s) imposed. The SOCB’s report shall be submitted to the Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center within 10 working days of the conclusion of the review. For complaints against a student organization that could be criminal in nature, the Director of the Student Involvement & Career Center follows the same timeline, submitting the written report to the Dean of Students which includes a determination as to whether or not the accused student organization violated University policy and, if so, recommendation of corrective actions. The Dean of Students makes the final decision within 5 working days.
- The decision will be final.
Notification to relevant campus parties
Not limited to these campus offices, the Student Involvement & Career Center shall give written notice of any sanctions against a student organization to the following; Office of the President, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs/Enrollment Management, Office of the Dean of Students, Associated Students, Inc., and the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Written notice will also be sent out by the Student Involvement & Career Center when any corrective actions are lifted or when the duration of any corrective action ends.
Corrective actions may include, but are not limited to, a letter of warning, censure, probation, suspension, or revocation of the organization’s recognition. Each disciplinary measure is dependent on the severity of the violation.
- Letter of warning—A letter of warning is a written notice to the student organization that a violation of University policies has occurred. This letter will be warning that further violations could result in more severe disciplinary action. It will be a part of the organization’s file for a period of one year from the date of the letter.
- Censure—Censure is a written reprimand for violations of University policies and is considered more severe than a letter of warning. It also includes notice to the organization that continued or repeated violations will result in more severe disciplinary action. It will be a part of the organization’s file for a period of one year from the date of the letter.
- Probation—Probation is a period of supervision imposed for a specific length of time. Organizations on probation may continue with all or some of the rights and privileges of student organizations for the specified period of time as identified in the sanction. Any violations within the time period shall result in the immediate loss of all organizational privileges. The organization shall be closely monitored by the Student Involvement & Career Center during the probation period.
- Suspension—Suspension is the loss of all rights and privileges of a student organization during the specified suspension period.
- Revocation of recognition—Revocation of recognition involves the expulsion of a student organization from the University campus and all University activities, including the revocation of all student organization rights and privileges.
Interference with the SOCB process
The complainant and/or the accused are not permitted to correspond with SOCB committee members prior to or during the process unless otherwise outlined in the policies.