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Student Conduct Procedures

Should an alleged violation of the ACM Code of Student Responsibility occur, ACM faculty and/or staff will investigate the situation and review any responsible student’s status with the program.

This review will be conducted by the on-site director or other ACM staff in the model of an educational/administrative process, not a proceeding of a criminal or civil court. These policies and procedures are designed to ensure a productive learning environment for all students.

The following process for an initial conduct review is designed to assure that the student receives appropriate due process:

  1. The student will be notified verbally and/or in writing of the incident/alleged violation and the time and place of the review meeting.
  2. At the review meeting, the student will have the opportunity to share her/his perspective of the incident and present any witnesses or documentation relevant to the incident/alleged violation.
  3. The student may be accompanied at the review by a third party. Since this is not a case before a court of law, however, the third party may not be legal counsel.
  4. After discussing the incident/alleged violation and the circumstances, the student will be given an opportunity to admit or deny involvement in the situation.
  5. Given the information, the ACM faculty or staff reviewer will make a decision regarding the student’s responsibility for violation of the Code of Student Responsibility based on a preponderance of evidence.
  6. Within five working days from the date of the review meeting, the student will be notified in writing of the decision and any relevant sanctions and deadlines for completion of those sanctions. This notification will also include the procedure a student can follow to appeal this decision (see below).
  7. Repeat or more serious incidents may involve review by staff in the Off-Campus Study unit of the ACM Chicago office and may include notification of the student’s home school.

Sexual Harassment/Assault Grievance Procedure

Due to the often complex nature of sexual harassment or assault investigations, ACM has instituted a more elaborate procedures for review and management of these claims. This section outlines that procedure.

Any individual who believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment/assault has recourse to informal and formal grievance procedures designed for the purpose of investigation and resolution of such allegations.

As a preliminary matter, any individual who believes that she or he has been sexually harassed/assaulted should report the incident promptly to any of the following:

  • Director of the program in which the student is enrolled or other appropriate local staff or faculty member
  • Michael Vertovec, Special Projects Coordinator
  • Betsy Hutula, Chief of Staff

Assistance in presenting a grievance may be obtained from another employee or student. However, attorneys or other third persons may not participate in any facet of the grievance procedure unless ACM and all interested parties otherwise agree.

Informal Procedure

An informal procedure is designed to resolve sexual harassment/assault allegations without having to invoke the formal grievance procedure. This can be initiated through contact with any of the staff named above. The goal is to resolve the problem through discussion with the student, the alleged offender, and any other relevant persons. The student and/or staff member grievance officer may elect to terminate the informal procedure if it appears that no progress is being made in resolving the dispute and initiate a formal procedure.

Formal Procedure

  1. Students who wish to lodge a formal complaint should contact any of the staff members named above.
  2. Thereafter, the President of ACM (or if the President is the alleged offender, the Chair of the Board of Directors) shall assign a grievance officer to investigate the complaint and report his/her findings to a grievance board comprised of the President, the investigating grievance officer, and one other grievance officer selected by the President. No employee accused of harassment may serve on the grievance board.
  3. The investigation shall include interviews with the complainant, the alleged offender, who shall be informed of the allegations against him/her, and other relevant persons. The grievance board may supplement the investigating officer's investigation by itself conducting interviews and reviewing relevant evidence.
  4. Within 21 working days after the investigation concludes, the grievance board shall decide by majority vote whether the complaint allegations are supported by a preponderance of credible evidence. It shall then inform the complainant and alleged offender of its decision.
  5. Any disciplinary or other corrective action resulting from a violation of this policy shall be determined in accordance with ACM disciplinary procedures.

Third Party Harassment

Any student who has been sexually harassed/assaulted by a third party (i.e., vendor, member of host family, guest speaker, internship setting) should report the incident promptly to an ACM staff member who will then report to ACM’s Special Project Coordinator or Chief of Staff working with ACM programs to initiate an investigation and attempt to resolve the problem.

Confidentiality

Be advised that ACM is obligated to review complaints or investigations of potential abuse, harassment, or assault. All ACM staff members are required to report incidents of sexual harassment or assault. Therefore, ACM cannot generally receive a confidential complaint and promise to do nothing. However, ACM will endeavor to handle all complaints and investigations of sexual harassment/assault in a discreet manner; grievances and documents will be maintained separately from other student files.

Non-Retaliation

Complaints made in good faith under this policy shall not result in any adverse action against the complainant, nor shall any person who participates in good faith in an investigation be treated adversely because of such participation.

Nothing in this policy precludes an individual from pursuing any legal remedies available to him/her, and ACM encourages all complainants to file police reports to initiate a separate investigation by law enforcement authorities.

Interim Suspension

If a student’s behavior constitutes an immediate, severe, or direct threat to self or others or if there is evidence of egregious misconduct and violation of ACM policies, the on-site director, in consultation with the Chief of Staff, may immediately remove a student from the program and/or housing until a review can occur. During that interim suspension, the student will not be allowed to participate in program activities or utilize program resources. Alternate housing arrangements may be necessary and will be the responsibility of the student. Any additional violations of ACM policies while on interim suspension will result in immediate dismissal from the program.

Sanctions

In keeping with the nature of the institutions comprising the ACM Consortium, sanctions are designed to be educational in nature whenever possible. Depending on the severity of the policy infringement, however, the ACM reserves the right to impose a sanction beyond a warning for a first violation if deemed appropriate. Multiple sanctions can be issued as appropriate. Failure to complete any assigned sanctions may delay the release of grades from the ACM program to the home campus.

  1. Written warning – A warning is given and provided in written form to the student outlining the violation of the ACM Code of Student Responsibility and that any additional violations may result in more serious action during the time of warning.
  2. Restitution – The student may be required to pay for any damages caused or repair or replace any property damaged or stolen.
  3. Loss of privileges – The student may have privileges for use of a resource or participation in certain activities withdrawn for a certain period of time.
  4. Housing change or termination – The student may be required to leave their housing and either move to alternative housing or obtain independent housing accommodations.
  5. Disciplinary probation – A final warning is provided to the student in writing indicating that any further violation within the probationary period may result in dismissal from the program. A student’s home campus will be notified if a student is placed on disciplinary probation.
  6. Dismissal – The student is permanently removed from the program. Once dismissed, the student will not be permitted any further association with the program and will forgo any of the benefits that the program provides including insurance coverage and visa sponsorship. The student will leave the program site and discontinue contact with the program. The student will be responsible for making his/her own travel arrangements from the site. A student’s home campus will be notified if a student is dismissed from the program.

Helping Your Peers

As a part of your off-campus study experience, you will be one member of a specific learning community, a group that you will help to define and foster throughout the program. As a part of a community, you will be thrilled to discover the great benefits that come from the contributions of others, but you should also recognize the obligations that come from being part of a group of people studying together off-campus. ACM students are encouraged to look out for each other, advocate appropriately for each other, and work together toward your community’s educational goals.

This commitment to helping others out can sometimes put you in difficult situations. If you feel hesitant to seek physical or mental medical attention for a friend (out of concern that by asking for help, ACM staff might discover that your friend’s behavior or your own behavior has been in violation of the ACM Code of Student Responsibility), please know that the responsibility and care that you demonstrate by taking the appropriate action to ensure the safety and wellbeing of another member of the community will be considered in determining what action, if any, is taken against you when reviewing the matter with ACM staff.

Appeals

Students may request an appeal of a student conduct decision made by the on-site director or other reviewer. The appeal must be received within five (5) working days of the issuance of the decision. The student should direct this appeal request to the Special Projects Coordinator for Off-Campus Study in the ACM Chicago office.

The appeal request must be received in writing and should include a statement giving relevant facts and the reason for the appeal. In order for any appeal to proceed, the student must demonstrate that at least one of these three reasons for appeal exists:a. There was a procedural error in the initial review that substantially impacted the rights of the student and had a reasonable possibility of affecting the outcome. b. New information can be presented that was not previously available, despite reasonable diligence, which has a substantial likelihood of directly impact the review decision. c. The sanction(s) imposed are perceived as excessive.

The Special Projects Coordinator for Off-Campus Study will gather all materials, documents, and previous communications related to the student conduct review and forward that information to the Chief of Staff. The Chief of Staff will review the materials and determine within five working days of receipt of the materials whether any of the three above grounds for appeal exist in this case.

If the Chief of Staff determines that no grounds for an appeal exist, the student will be notified and the decision of the initial review will be final. If the Chief of Staf determines that grounds for an appeal do exist, the Chief of Staff will convene an ad hoc committee consisting of the Off-Campus Study Director from the student’s home campus, another ACM Off-Campus Study Director, and the Chief of Staff. This committee will review and discuss the student’s petition to determine if there are grounds for an adjustment of the student conduct decision.

The Special Projects Coordinator for Off-Campus Study will report the decision of this ad hoc committee to the student in writing, ordinarily within 15 working days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of this committee is final.