Student Code of Conduct

Texas A&M University-Commerce has established standards of conduct to create and foster an environment that facilitates student learning and development. Students and university student groups are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that demonstrates respect for the rights and property of others and is consistent with the educational goals and mission of the university. This Code of Student Conduct (“Code”) focuses on personal responsibility and accountability for students' actions and the impact those actions may have on the greater community.

  1. Oversight. The Division of Student Affairs, as designated by the president of the university, is responsible for overseeing nonacademic cases of student conduct. The vice president of Student Affairs is responsible to the president of the university for:
    • Recommending policies relating to student conduct;
    • Formulating and recommending rules and enforcement procedures within the framework of existing policies;
    • The disposal or referral of such individual cases as may properly come before it; and
    • Recommending changes in the administration of any aspect of the Code to the president of the university.
    • Associate director of Student Rights and Responsibilities
    • Residential Living and Learning
    • c. Fraternity and Sorority Life conduct boards
    • Campus Recreation
  2. Administration. The vice president of Student Affairs may delegate jurisdiction to university officials, offices, or hearing bodies, as necessary, to administer student conduct cases. These include but are not limited to the following:
  3. The University Hearing Board (“hearing board”) is a three- or five-member panel of faculty and staff members appointed by the president of the university as advised by the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee). The hearing board has the authority to hear cases assigned to it by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or the vice president of Student Affairs.
  4. The University Appeals Board (“appeals board”) is a three- or five-member panel of faculty and staff members who hear student appeals for sanctions of conduct probation or higher, as outlined in the Student Conduct Procedures section of the Code. Appeals board members are drawn from the hearing board pool with the following requirements to serve:
    • They did not serve on the hearing board for the initial hearing.
    • They were not involved in the investigation in any way.
    • They have been trained in appeals procedures.
    • They have been vetted for conflicts of interest.

The following individuals are considered students for the purposes of the Code:

  1. A person currently enrolled at A&M-Commerce; or
  2. A person who has been accepted for admission or readmission to A&M-Commerce; or
  3. A person who has been enrolled at A&M-Commerce in a prior semester or summer session and is eligible to continue enrollment in the semester or summer session that immediately follows.

Matters of academic integrity are the exclusive province of the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and the Graduate School (See Texas A&M University-Commerce Graduate Student Academic Dishonesty policy 13.99.99.R0.10; Undergraduate Academic Dishonesty policy 13.99.99.R0.03). Students engaged in acts which may constitute both academic dishonesty and violations under the Code may be subject to sanctions under any of these authorities.

The Code applies to any behaviors that take place on the main campus of A&M-Commerce, off-campus instructional sites, and at university-sponsored events. The Code may also apply to actions that occur off campus and online when the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee) determines that the conduct affects a substantial university interest. A substantial university interest is defined to include:

  • Any conduct that is a violation of federal, state or local law.
  • Any situation where it appears that the accused individual may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of others.
  • Any situation that has a significant negative effect/impact upon the rights, property or interest of self or others.
  • Any situation that breaches the peace and/or causes a substantial disruption to the university community.
  • Any situation that is detrimental to the educational interests of the university.

In all cases of alleged violations of the Code, the standard of proof is the preponderance of the information (e.g., “more likely than not”). Reasonable belief is applied when making determinations regarding interim actions.

Students or student organizations involved in alleged violations of any federal, state or local laws may be subject to disciplinary action. These allegations will be adjudicated using the university standard of proof and procedure. Investigations, adjudications and, where appropriate, disciplinary action may be imposed by the university before, after or in addition to adjudication by any non-university authority.

The Code provides students, faculty and staff with a clear message regarding the value of students as individuals and the contributions they can make when they are given the freedom to do so. It also recognizes that a student's opportunity for education is only limited by the respect that they give to fellow students, faculty, staff and others.

  1. Students' rights are to be respected. These rights include respect for feelings, treatment with dignity, and conditions that allow students to make the best use of their time and talents. No faculty, staff or student, regardless of position, shall violate these rights; any custom, tradition or rule in conflict will not be allowed to prevail.
  2. Students are expected, at all times, to recognize constituted authority, to conform to the ordinary rules of good conduct, to be truthful, to respect the rights of others, to protect private and public property and to make the best use of their time toward obtaining an education.

The following conduct standards at the university are listed to provide students with a general notice of prohibited behaviors. These rules should be read broadly and are not designed to define prohibited conduct in exhaustive terms.

Specific Violations

Interfering in any manner with the student conduct process is prohibited. Examples of violating this process include but are not limited to:

  1. Failing to participate in a hearing or investigation; or
  2. Colluding with or intimidating witnesses; or
  3. Providing false or incomplete information that may mislead an investigation/hearing; or
  4. Intentionally omitting relevant information from an investigation or hearing.

Use of alcohol, possession of alcohol, and manufacture or distribution of alcoholic beverages (except as expressly authorized by university regulations) is prohibited on university premises and at university-sponsored events. Students are expected to comply with all state and local laws as well as all Residential Living and Learning regulations regarding the presence of alcohol in the residence halls (see University Housing Policy). Prohibited behavior includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. The possession or consumption of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21
  2. Providing alcohol or access to alcohol to anyone under the age of 21
  3. Public intoxication or drunkenness
  4. Possession of common containers (e.g. kegs, trashcans punch, etc…) on campus
  5. Operating a motor vehicle or another form of transportation while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol
  6. Violating any provision of the Code while under the influence of alcohol

Prohibited conduct includes:

  1. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly killing, torturing or causing serious bodily injury to an animal; or
  2. Failing to provide necessary food, water or care for an animal in an individual's custody; or
  3. Abandoning an animal in an individual's custody; or
  4. Transporting or confining an animal in a manner that may cause serious bodily injury to any animal without the owner's consent; or
  5. Causing one animal to fight with another animal or overworking an animal in a manner that may cause serious bodily injury.

The animal cruelty policy does not prohibit:

  1. Killing or injuring an animal within the scope of a person's employment or furthering the goals of legitimate educational curriculum as designed and approved by the university.
  2. Killing or injuring an animal when a person has a reasonable fear of bodily injury to self or others.
  3. Killing or injuring an animal when fishing or hunting in accordance with Texas Parks and Wildlife game animal regulations.

Complicity means aiding, encouraging, being an accessory to, or failing to report any act or attempted act of behavior in the Code. Complicity is prohibited.

Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing damage to property, or actions that may cause such damage, is prohibited. Examples include removal of window restrictors or security screens; dropping, throwing or causing objects or substances to fall from windows, doors, ledges, balconies or roofs; and/or unauthorized application of graffiti to property.

Damage to fire safety equipment includes any tampering, removal and/or damage to fire and safety equipment on university property (e.g., residence halls, Rayburn Student Center, Morris Recreation Center and all academic buildings, etc.). Tampering includes pulling fire alarms unnecessarily, discharging fire extinguishers unnecessarily, removing exit signs, and interfering with smoke detectors and sprinklers (See also Texas Penal Code 42.06).

Dating violence is committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.

  1. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on the reporting party's statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  2. For the purposes of this definition:
    • Dating violence includes but is not limited to sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
    • Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence. [34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10)]
  3. Dating violence is explicitly prohibited under this regulation. Aiding another in the commission of dating violence is also prohibited under this regulation. Dating violence is a form of sexual harassment or sex-based misconduct.

Discrimination is a materially adverse action or actions that intentionally or unintentionally exclude one from full participation in, deny the benefits of, or affect the terms and conditions of employment or access to educational or institutional programs because of an individual's race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other classification protected by federal, state or local law. Discrimination includes harassment (based on both a hostile environment and quid pro quo) and retaliation based on a legally protected category. Any form of discrimination is strictly prohibited.

Any interference or disruption of students, faculty, administration, staff, the educational mission or routine operations of the university is prohibited. To remain in the vicinity of activity that is disrupting normal university functions when requested to leave by a university official is prohibited. Bystanders, if their presence incites or adds to the disruption, as well as more active participants in the disruptive activity, may be in violation of this policy as well. Engaging in physical violence of any nature against any person is also prohibited. This includes fighting, assaulting, battering; using a knife, gun, or other weapon, or acting in a manner that threatens or endangers the physical health or safety of any person or causes reasonable apprehension of such harm.

Domestic violence is explicitly prohibited under this regulation. Aiding another in the commission of domestic violence is also prohibited under this regulation. Domestic violence is a form of sexual harassment or sex-based misconduct. This includes but is not limited the following:

  1. A current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
  2. A person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
  3. A person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
  4. A person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred; or
  5. Any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred. [34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8)]

Drugs are any substance that, when taken into the human body, can impair the normal use of mental or physical faculties. The unauthorized possession, use, manufacture, sale or distribution of any counterfeit, illegal, dangerous, “designer” or controlled drug, or other substance, is prohibited. The unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia includes equipment, products or materials that are used or intended for use to impair normal mental or physical faculties is strictly prohibited. Students are expected to comply with all federal and state laws regarding legal and illegal drugs. (See Health and Safety Code Chapter 481. Texas Controlled Substance Act, Texas Penal Code Chapter 49, and Texas Agric. Chapter 122.) Examples of prohibited activities include but are not limited to:

  1. Use or transport of hemp; or
  2. Use, manufacture, sale or distribution of prescription medications; or
  3. Being under the influence of a substance (intoxication) and not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties.

Any action that unduly interferes with an individual's or organization's right to engage in expressive activities is prohibited. Expressive activity is not permitted in classrooms, campus offices or residence halls as they are deemed non-public forums. In accordance with the Texas Education Code Section 51.9315, freedom of expression is of critical importance to ensure free, robust and uninhibited debate and deliberation of our students, whether the students are on or off campus. The university officially recognizes freedom of speech as a fundamental right. For the complete policy and a list of locations where expressive activity is permitted, see Expressive Activity on Campus 08.99.99.R1.

Students and student organizations are required to comply with reasonable and lawful requests of university officials in the performance of their duties. University officials include but are not limited to faculty, staff, residential advisors (RAs) and university police officers. Students are expected to appear at conduct hearings, to respond to allegations and to testify as witnesses upon reasonable notice. A failure to comply with or complete a sanction or obligation resulting from a conduct hearing or adjudication may constitute failure to comply.

Intentionally or knowingly providing false or incomplete information to a university official is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to misrepresenting the truth in a hearing or making a false statement verbally or in writing. In addition, preferred names may not be used for the purposes of fraud or misrepresentations. The university reserves the right to remove a preferred name if it contains inappropriate or offensive language.

Students are accountable for violations their guests may commit while visiting them or the university community. Guest misconduct is strictly prohibited.

Harassment includes behavior that is severe, pervasive, or persistent to a degree that
a reasonable person similarly situated would be prevented from accessing an educational opportunity or benefit. This behavior includes but is not limited to verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, and coercion. In addition, harassment may be conducted by various mediums, including but not limited to physical, verbal, graphic, written or electronic. (See University Rules and Procedures 08.01.01. R2.02 Civil Rights for Students for harassment based on a person's protected status).

Actions that cause or may cause injury, create conditions that cause injury, or cause a reasonable apprehension of physical injury are prohibited.

Hazing is any intentional knowing or reckless act that occurs on or off the campus by one or more people, is directed against a student, and endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in or maintaining membership in an organization. The act is considered hazing and is prohibited, if it:

  1. Includes any type of physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body or similar activity;
  2. Involves sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, calisthenics or other similar activity that subjects the individual to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the individual;
  3. Involves consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug or other substance, other than as described below, that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;
  4. Includes any activity that induces, causes or requires the student to perform a duty or task that involves a violation of the Penal Code; or
  5. Involves coercing the student to consume a drug or an alcoholic beverage or liquor in an amount that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the student is intoxicated. (See also, Texas Education Code, Chapter 37, Subchapter F – Hazing)

Failure to comply with university regulations and policies (see
CITE Support Center), license agreements and contracts governing network, software and hardware use; abuse of communal resources; use of computing resources for unauthorized commercial purposes or personal gain; failure to protect university-issued passwords
or accounts; breaches of computer security; harmful access to, or invasion of privacy are prohibited. Misuse and/or other abuse of computer facilities and resources is also prohibited. This includes but is not limited to:

  1. Use of another individual's identification and/or password;
  2. Use of computing facilities and resources to send obscene or threatening messages;
  3. Use of computing facilities and resources in violation of copyright laws.

Unauthorized alteration, unauthorized possession, or misuse of university documents, records, or identification cards all constitute misuse of documents and is prohibited. This includes faculty publications and laboratory materials related to the educational process.

No person may use or possess any university key, mobile credentials, or access card (including student I.D.) without proper authorization from faculty or staff who possess authority to provide permission. No student is allowed to possess a duplicated university key or access card without prior permission from faculty or staff who possess authority to provide that permission.

Recurring misconduct are incidents/behaviors that repeatedly violate university policies and are prohibited. Recurring misconduct also includes persistently irresponsible behavior that brings into question a student's serious intent to pursue an education.

Retaliation includes intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination against any individual for interfering with any right or privileges secured under civil rights laws and regulations, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing. The exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute prohibited retaliation, nor does charging an individual with a conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a grievance proceeding, provided that a determination of responsibility alone is not sufficient to conclude that any party made a materially false statement in bad faith. Any form of retaliation is strictly prohibited.

  1. In cases of retaliation related to Civil Rights/Title IX, contact the civil rights administration at [email protected]
  2. In all other cases, acts of alleged retaliation should be reported to the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee).

Theft of any kind, including seizing, receiving or concealing property with knowledge that it has been stolen, is prohibited. Sale, possession or misappropriation of any property or services without the owner's permission is also prohibited.

Unauthorized entry into, presence in or use of university facilities, equipment or property is prohibited. Unauthorized presence in non- university facilities when visiting or taking classes at the Texas A&M University- Commerce off-campus instructional sites is prohibited.

Conduct which could be interpreted as a violation of federal, state or local law while off campus, on university premises, or at university sponsored or supervised activities is prohibited.

Violation of any official university policy, rule or regulation is prohibited on or off campus. Such rules include but are not limited to Residential Living and Learning Community Standards, Athletics Student-Athlete Handbook, Morris Recreation Center Policies and Procedures, Fraternity and Sorority Life Policies and Procedures, and University Traffic and Parking Regulations.

The university prohibits the use of all forms of tobacco, including vaping products, on university property, including athletic and farm facilities/fields. The university prohibits any advertising, sale or free sampling of tobacco and vaping products on university property.

Weapons are not permitted on university premises, grounds, passenger transportation vehicles or buildings on which an activity is sponsored by A&M-Commerce, unless pursuant to written authorization by the university. This prohibition excludes a concealed handgun carried by a licensed holder in accordance with state and federal law and the A&M-Commerce campus carry rule.

  1. Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Prohibited behavior includes unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex (of a sexual nature or otherwise):
    • By an employee of the university who conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the member on an individual's participation in that unwelcome sexual conduct;
    • Determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the A&M- Commerce education program or activity; or
    • Sexual assault or dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking based on sex.
  2. Sexual Exploitation. Sexual exploitation refers to a situation in which a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his or her own advantage or benefit, or for the advantage or benefit of anyone other than the one being exploited. Examples of prohibited sexual exploitation include such actions as secretly videotaping sexual activity, voyeurism, sexually based stalking, invasion of sexual privacy, and knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection to another person.
  3. Stalking. Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person's safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress and is prohibited.

Consent is a clear, voluntary and ongoing agreement to engage in a specific sexual act. Individuals do not need to verbalize their consent to engage in a sexual act. Permission to engage in a sexual act may be indicated through physical actions rather than words. A person who was asleep or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effect of drugs, alcohol or for any other reason or whose agreement was made under duress or by threat, coercion, or force, cannot give consent.

Faculty, staff and student employees (including RAs) are considered Responsible Employees. A&M-Commerce employees who hold
a professional license who are not employed by the university
as a counselor, health service provider or an ordained minister, are considered Responsible Employee (Mandatory Reporters). A Responsible Employee must report all allegations of sexual misconduct to the civil rights administrator immediately.

Confidential reporters are employees designated or permitted by a A&M-Commerce to receive complaints of discrimination and maintain confidentiality. Confidential reporters are required to provide general non-identifying information as required to comply with the Clery Act and must report to the Title IX Coordinator any type of sex-based incident made known to them, but may not include any information that would violate that person's expectation of privacy. Exceptions to confidentiality/privacy include reports of child abuse, abuse or neglect of disabled or elderly persons, and when a party poses an imminent danger to themselves or others. To speak with a confidential employee, please contact the victim advocate via email at [email protected]. These individuals will maintain confidentiality unless there is an imminent danger to the student or to others.

When Code violations are alleged, students or student groups are subject to university disciplinary action. When a student conduct case involves a psychological or mental concern or other unusual circumstances, such as direct threat to property or well-being of others in the university community, the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee) should refer the case to the university's Behavior Intervention Team (BIT).

After the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee) receives a report or information that a student or group of students may have violated the Code, the dean (or designee) may:

  1. Take appropriate action on behalf of the university;
  2. Make a referral to the university hearing board or other hearing officers/bodies (e.g. Residential Living and Learning, Campus Recreation, etc.); or in cases of clear and present danger to the well-being of the university community or other unusual circumstances, the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee) may take interim actions with respect to a student before a disciplinary hearing is held. A hearing will be scheduled as soon thereafter as reasonable.

  1. The vice president of Student Affairs (or designee) shall notify the student or student group in writing of the allegations against them. The notification will specify whether their case will be an informal resolution, administrative hearing or administrative panel hearing. The vice president of Student Affairs (or designee) will determine which cases will be heard by the university hearing board.
  2. The student will be referred to the online Student Guidebook, which outlines the disciplinary and appeals procedures.
  3. The accused student will be given at least three university business days to prepare for a hearing, unless voluntarily waived by the student.

  1. All hearings will be closed to the public. Admission to the hearing of persons other than the parties involved will be at the discretion of the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee).
  2. In hearings involving more than one responding student, individual cases may be heard jointly. However, the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee) may permit each hearing to be conducted separately. In joint hearings, separate determinations of responsibility will be made for each responding student.
  3. A student may be accompanied by an advisor, but the student must represent himself or herself at the hearing. The advisor may not make a presentation or represent the complainant or responding student during the hearing. The advisor may confer quietly with their advisee, exchange notes, clarify procedural questions with the chair and suggest questions to their advisee.
  4. The complainant, responding student, hearing board and the
    vice president of Student Affairs (or designee) may question all present witnesses and all present parties (directly or indirectly) at the discretion of the chair and/or the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee). Unduly repetitive witnesses can be limited at the discretion of the hearing board chair and/or the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee). (NOTE: This procedure only applies to non-sexual misconduct cases. In cases of sexual misconduct or violence, all questions between the parties must be asked through the hearing officer.)
  5. The responding student may present relevant information regarding the allegations, including witness information, documents or any other information that would assist the hearing officer or hearing board to determine student responsibility. Formal rules of evidence will not be observed. The hearing officer or hearing board chair may limit the number of character witnesses presented or may accept written character statements instead.
  6. If the student fails to appear for the original hearing without good cause, the student forfeits the right to an appeal, unless the sanction results in suspension or expulsion.
  7. If a student withdraws from the university pending disciplinary proceedings, the university reserves the right to move forward with the hearing until a final determination of responsibility is made.

The university shall delay a student conduct hearing if it is made aware that the student subject to possible discipline under the Code of Student Conduct is presently detained by law enforcement or is otherwise lawfully confined or imprisoned and not subject to release within a reasonable amount of time. In these instances, the student will receive a registration hold on their student account until the student conduct case is resolved. If the student is to be detained for more than 30 days or if the student is to be detained until the end
of the current semester, A&M-Commerce will attempt to contact the student to notify them of their options regarding enrollment and withdrawal. The student may designate someone to remove their personal property from their assigned residence hall, if applicable. Should a student choose to withdraw during their detainment, a transcript hold will be placed on their registration account in addition to the registration hold. The student's conduct case will be adjudicated upon re-enrollment at the university.

The responsibility for timely withdrawal from classes remains with each student, regardless of the reason for the withdrawal. Nothing in this provision alters that responsibility.

The university may take interim actions as necessary to protect the community from a threat to the health or safety of the community as a whole, to any particular member of the community, or in cases where there may be a reasonable belief of a substantial disruption to the normal operations of the university. In all cases, the student subject to the interim action will be given an opportunity to discuss the interim actions with the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee) on the necessity of the restriction within three university business days of the issuing of the restrictions, except those involving civil rights.

These actions may include but are not limited to:

  1. Interim Suspension. A student (or organization) suspended on an interim basis is subject to all of the same restrictions as if they had been suspended as a final sanction.
  2. Interim Restriction. A student (or organization) with interim restrictions may be denied access to campus premises (including classes), specific individuals, and/or all other university activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible. These restrictions may include but are not limited to restricted access to facilities, housing and/or events; no-contact orders with specific individuals; transcript holds, etc.; or any other restrictions deemed necessary by the vice president of Student Affairs to achieve the goals stated above. (NOTE: The university will not pay for or make living arrangements for any student who is removed from campus housing on an interim basis.)

During the initial meeting with the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee), the charged student will be informed of all rights and responsibilities and provided with the following:

  1. An explanation of the charges (Note: Charges which may result in suspension or expulsion may be referred for administrative hearing);
  2. A review of due process rights and disciplinary procedures;
  3. A review of all evidence on which a charge is based; and/or
  4. A reasonable opportunity to review charges and evidence, and respond and discuss disposition of the case.

Administrative hearing procedures include the following:

  1. Notification will be provided to the student, and the student has three business days to respond by scheduling an administrative hearing.
  2. Absent good cause, the administrative hearing will be held after it is scheduled by the student. Should the student not respond within three business days, the administrative hearing will be held in the absence of the student (see below for additional details).
  3. During the administrative hearing, the student will have an opportunity to respond and present witnesses on his/her behalf. Proceedings are not judicial trials and formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but evidence submitted must be material and relevant to the issue under consideration as determined by the hearing body chair.
  4. After testimony is concluded, the hearing officer or members of the hearing board will deliberate. Determination of responsibility will be made on the basis of a preponderance of the evidence. If the respondent is not found responsible for a violation, then the hearing is concluded. If the respondent is found responsible for one or more violations of the Code, then the hearing officer or hearing board will deliberate and determine sanctions, as appropriate. The board may be informed of the student's conduct status/history with the university.

Note: If the student does not respond to meeting request to discuss the alleged allegation(s), the hearing officer may, in absentia, determine whether the student is responsible for the alleged policy violation, based upon a preponderance of the evidence and if so, issue appropriate sanctions. The student maintains the right to an appeal only if the sanction given reaches the level of suspension or expulsion.

  1. University hearing board members will consist of a group of trained faculty and staff members who serve as conduct officers during the adjudication process. Hearing board members will listen to all of the information presented during the administrative hearing and use that information to make a recommendation to the hearing officer on whether the responding student is responsible for violating the Code, and to assign appropriate sanctions.
  2. The vice president of Student Affairs (or designee) will appoint one board member as the chair for the hearing.
  3. A staff member from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities shall attend all hearings to ensure that disciplinary procedures are followed. This staff member may not be present during hearing board deliberations but may respond to procedural questions from the hearing board regarding procedure.
  4. The parties have the right to be present at the hearing; however, they do not have the right to be present during hearing board deliberations. If a student is unable to attend the hearing, he or she must notify the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities no less than three university business days prior to the scheduled hearing to arrange for another date, time and location. Except in cases of grave or unforeseen circumstances, if the responding student fails to give the required minimum three university business days' notice, or if the responding student fails to appear for the hearing, the hearing may proceed as scheduled.
  5. After the hearing, the hearing board will deliberate and determine, by a preponderance of the information, if the responding student has violated the Code. A majority vote is required. If the responding student is found responsible for violating any section of the Code, the university hearing board will determine the appropriate sanction(s). The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities is responsible for informing the hearing board of applicable precedent, any previous conduct violations, or other relevant pattern information about the responding student. The hearing board shall serve the best interests of any responding students by making use of appropriate university resources, including but not limited to University Counseling Center, Academic Success Center, etc.
  6. The chair will prepare a written report of the recommendations for the findings and sanctions, then deliver it to the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee) detailing the findings and rationale for the hearing board's decision, and any information the hearing board excluded from its consideration and why. This recommendation must include any sanctions or other actions imposed. This recommendation should not exceed two pages in length and must be submitted to the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee) within two university business days of the end of deliberations. The hearing officer will review the rationale, decision on charge(s) and sanction(s) to issue a final decision to the student(s).
  7. The responding student and complainant will be notified of the final determination in writing within three university business days of the hearing.
  8. In cases of sexual misconduct and other crimes of violence, notice of the outcome will be delivered to all parties without substantial delay between the notifications to each party.
  9. There will be a single verbatim record, such as an audio recording, for all hearing board proceedings. Deliberations will not be recorded. The record will be the property of the university and maintained according to The Texas A&M University System's record retention policy.

Allegations of sexual misconduct and non-sexual misconduct by a student will be reviewed and investigated by the university's civil rights office or other designated officials. At the conclusion of the investigation, a report will be provided to the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee) for review. After receiving a report indicating that a student or group of students may have violated sections of the Code related to sexual misconduct, discrimination, violence and/or stalking, the dean (or designee) may take action on behalf of the university.

In addition to the procedures found above in Section II: Disciplinary Procedures, the following procedures shall apply:

  1. The complainant shall attend the hearing.
  2. The complainant has the right to be assisted by an advisor of the complainant's choice; however, the complainant must present his or her own information. Cross examination must be conducted by the advisor.
  3. For sexual misconduct, discrimination and other complaints of a sensitive nature, alternative testimony options may be provided to the complainant, such as placing a privacy screen in the hearing room or allowing the complainant to testify from another room via audio or audio/video technology.
  4. The past sexual history or sexual character of a party may be admissible by the other parties in hearings 1.) to prove consent or 2.) to prove another party besides the respondent committed the alleged sexual harassment, if determined to be particularly relevant to the facts and circumstances at issue. Evidence of pattern, repeated and/or predatory behavior by the responding student in the form of previous findings in any legal proceedings or campus proceedings will always be relevant to the finding, not just the sanction.
  5. A complainant alleging sexual misconduct, other behavior falling within the coverage of civil rights, and/or a crime of violence will be notified in writing of the outcome of a hearing, any sanctions assigned, and the rationale for the decision.
  6. The proceeding must be completed within reasonably prompt timeframes as designated by the institution's policy, including a process that allows for the extension of timeframes for good cause with written notice of the delay and the reason for the delay to the complainant and the respondent.
  7. Officials who do not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against the complainant or the respondent must conduct the proceeding.

In these cases, an investigator has made a determination that the responding student is in no way involved in a violation of policy. The responding student’s name will be cleared for purposes of third-party reporting, but the record of the investigation will be retained. This finding is not subject to any appeal.

In these cases, a hearing officer or hearing board determines that insufficient evidence exists for a finding of “responsible” for any of the allegations. The case is closed and a record of the “not responsible” finding(s) is retained. In cases of sexual misconduct or other violence, complainants may accept the finding or elect to appeal.

In these cases, a hearing officer or hearing board determines that sufficient evidence exists for a finding of “responsible” for any of the alleged violations. The responding student may accept both the finding and sanctions or may elect to appeal.

One or more of the following sanctions may be imposed for a Code violation.

  1. Warning. The student is warned of possible consequences of continuing such behavior. Warnings can be verbal or written.
  2. Conduct Review. Conduct review is an official warning that the student's conduct is in violation of the Code but is not sufficiently serious to warrant conduct probation, suspension or expulsion. A student on conduct review shall have their conduct under review for a specified period. This sanction may require regular meetings with an appropriate official to ascertain and evaluate compliance with student rules. Additional restrictions or conditions may be imposed, depending on the nature and seriousness of the misconduct. Students placed on this sanction remain in good standing with the university. If there is a finding of responsibility for subsequent violations of the Code during this period, more severe sanctions may be administered.
  3. Conduct Probation. Conduct probation is a period of review and heightened scrutiny during which a student is under an official notice that subsequent violations of the Code, university rules, regulations or policies are likely to result in a more severe sanction, including suspension or expulsion from the university. While on conduct probation, a student is deemed “not in good standing.” The terms of probation may involve restrictions on student privileges and/or set specific behavioral expectations..
  4. Suspension. Suspension means that a student is separated from the university for a definite period of time. The suspension takes effect when the appeal for the offense is exhausted, waived or the time limit has passed. Suspensions may go into effect immediately or may be deferred for a period of time. If the student is found in violation of any university rule during the time of deferred suspension, the suspension takes effect immediately without further review.
  5. Expulsion. An expulsion stipulates that the student may not return to the university.
  6. Conditions/Restrictions. The university may limit a student's university privileges for a period of time or require a student to complete a specified activity. This sanction may include but is not limited to:
    • Restricted access to the campus or parts of campus;
    • A no-contact order;
    • Denial of the right to participate in university-sponsored activities;
    • Denial of the right to represent the university in any way; e. Removal from an elected or appointed university office or position;
    • Denial of campus housing or parking privileges;
    • Required attendance at a workshop;
    • Ineligibility for new member intake in a fraternity, sorority or student organization.;
    • Participation in community service; and
    • Any other privileges that are consistent with the violation and the development of the student.
  7. Other Sanctions. The university reserves the right to impose other sanctions as necessary to remain consistent with the mission and vision of the university. These may include but are not limited to mandated psychological or counseling assessment, research projects, drug/alcohol classes, restitution, etc.
  8. Parental Notification. The university may contact a student's parent, guardian or family member if deemed appropriate in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. (FERPA). More information regarding FERPA can be found on the Registrar's web page at www.tamuc.edu/admissions/ registrar/FERPA/default.aspx

For Suspension and Expulsion, the following apply:

  • International Student. Students, who are on an F-1 visa with a Form I-20 or J-1 visa with a Form DS-2019 issued by A&M-Commerce and who receive a sanction of suspension or expulsion, are subject to additional stipulations under the Department of Homeland Security. For more information click here.
  • Transcript Notation. A notation will be made on the student's academic transcript without exception or time limitation. The notation will differentiate between academic and conduct violations that lead to the assigned sanction [see TAMUS 11.99.02. R0.01 Conduct Notations for Transcripts].
  • Notation Removal. A student whose transcript notes a conduct suspension or an expulsion may request removal of the conduct notion in writing to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The request may be granted provided that:
    • The appropriate dean has determined that the student is eligible to re-enroll; or
    • Good cause exists to remove the notation.

Student organizations, societies, clubs, and living and learning communities, on or off campus, are responsible for conducting their affairs in a manner that reflects favorably upon the university.

The responsibilities are

  1. Complying with university policies, rules and regulations;
  2. Taking reasonable steps, as a group, to prevent violations of law or university regulations by members of the group or the group's guests;
  3. Addressing individual member's behavior with those members of the group whose behavior reflects unfavorably upon the university.

A group representing the student organization is defined by at least three members present, half the number of members needed to start a student organization at A&M-Commerce. This includes both active and inactive members. If an event is cosponsored between two or more organizations, a group is defined by any combination of three individuals representing the co-sponsored organizations.

Student organizations that fail to meet the responsibilities listed above will be subject to disciplinary action. Alleged student organization violations will follow the same procedures as alleged individual student violations, except for those related to organizational status only. If three or more members of the same student organization and/or collaborating student organizations were present during an alleged violation of the Code, the student organization may be subject to disciplinary action. Notification will be sent to the chief student leader of the organization and the organization's advisor.

The president of the student organization (or designee) will represent the organization throughout the duration of the conduct process. Any student organization with a regional and/or national affiliation that receives a sanction of conduct probation or higher will have their regional and national organization notified by the university.

Appeals: Any appeal from action by the hearing official that affects organizational status only (i.e., no sanctions against individuals) shall be directed to the vice president of Student Affairs (or designee).

Student organizations are subject to sanctions for failure to meet the responsibilities of group membership. These sanctions may include but are not limited to the following four consequences below.

Social Probation

Social probation includes the removal of all social privileges from an organization due to violations of the Code, including but not limited to:

  1. Participation in intramural activities and/or in yard/step shows, and
  2. Hosting events/parties under the student organization's name, new member presentations/shows, running of the hill, and/or being involved in activities that are not educational, philanthropic or providing a service to the community.

Conduct Probation

Conduct probation includes social probation and ineligibility to be considered a registered student organization on campus and/or participate in council activities and/or participate in new member intake. The student organization may still hold business meetings off campus. At the end of the probationary period, the organization must re-register as a student organization and may need to participate in a reintegration to campus process.

Suspension

Suspension includes social probation, conduct probation and ineligibility to be considered a registered student organization on campus, participate in council activities, and/or conduct meetings as an organization on or off campus. At the end of the term for suspension, the organization must re-register as a student organization and may need to participate in a reintegration to campus process.

Expulsion

Expulsion means the student organization is no longer a registered organization and is permanently removed from campus.

Scope. A student who receives a sanction of conduct probation or higher may request an appeal of the decision of the hearing officer or hearing board. The university appeals board shall hear initial appeals from hearing officers and the hearing board under these circumstances. Cases resulting in a sanction of conduct review or lower are considered final (except for cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct).

Form. All appeal requests must be typed and explain why the student believes the disciplinary action should be reviewed. Appeals are submitted to Student Rights and Responsibilities within three university business days from the date the student organization receives notification of disciplinary action. Student Rights and Responsibilities shall refer the appeal to the university appeals board for review. The request must contain the student’s full name, campus-wide ID number and a current email address and/or phone number. The request must include the specific grounds for appeal, listed below.

Appeals requests are limited to the following grounds:

  1. A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.);
  2. New evidence needs to be considered, which was unavailable during the original hearing or investigation that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included;
  3. The sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation or the cumulative conduct record of the responding student.

The sanction(s) imposed by a hearing officer will not take effect until the appeal process is complete.

In review, the original finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. The burden is on the appealing party (or parties) to show clear error. The appeals board must limit its review to the grounds presented. The appeals board will determine if the appeal requires a formal appeal hearing (meeting with the student) or if the appeals board will make a decision based on the information provided. If the appeal request is not timely or does not meet the required grounds for appeal, the original finding and sanction will stand and the decision is final.

A three- or five-member appeals board is drawn from the hearing panel pool with the following requirements to serve:

  1. They did not serve on the hearing board for the initial hearing
  2. They were not involved in the investigation in any way
  3. They have been trained in appeals procedures

On reconsideration, the appeals board may:

  1. Uphold the original decision;
  2. Modify the decision;
  3. Dismiss the charges; or
  4. Remand the case for further consideration.

When the appeal board's decision to modify the decision results in a sanction of conduct probation or lower, the decision is considered final. If the appeals board's decision to modify a decision results in a sanction of suspension or expulsion, the student may submit an appeal request to the vice president of Student Affairs/Dean of Students. Students shall submit a typed request for appeal to the vice president of Student Affairs/Dean of Students within three university business days of receiving notification of the appeals board's decision.

On reconsideration, the vice president of Student Affairs may:

  1. Uphold the original decision;
  2. Reduce or modify the decision;
  3. Dismiss the charges; or
  4. Remand the case for further consideration.

Following an appeal to the vice president of Student Affairs , the matter is considered final.

For any final appeals that result in removal from on-campus housing, the student has 48 hours to check out of their residence hall.

All cases involving allegations of civil rights must adhere to the Appeal Guidelines as outlined in the 08.0101.R2.02 Civil Rights Process for Students.

All conduct records are maintained pursuant to The Texas A&M University System Records Retention Schedule. Records of cases that result in expulsion and those that fall within the scope of Civil Rights of the Educational Amendments of 1972 (“Civil Rights”) are maintained for seven years.

A&M-Commerce is committed to a campus-wide plan to educate students and employees about alcohol and drug issues, discourage the irresponsible use of alcoholic beverages, and prohibit the unlawful use, possession or distribution of controlled substances. The university will act to ensure compliance with all local, state, and federal laws, A&M System policies, and university rules and procedures dealing with controlled substances, illicit drugs and the use of alcohol. The Code provides information on alcohol and drug rules and university sanctions.

To implement an effective drug and alcohol abuse prevention plan, the university will use both formal and informal channels of communication to:

  1. Disseminate information describing patterns of addiction and the physical, mental and emotional consequences that result from the abuse of alcohol and controlled/illegal substances;
  2. Distribute information that describes and encourages the use of counseling and treatment modalities available to both students and employees in the local and regional area; and
  3. Make available to the campus population referrals to local treatment centers and counseling programs. These referrals for students will be made within a supportive, confidential and nonpunitive environment.

The university recognizes that the fear of potential disciplinary action by the university might inhibit students from seeking emergency medical assistance for themselves or others when an alcohol or drug overdose is apparent or suspected. To remove that barrier, the university has instituted the Medical Amnesty Policy (MAP).

In accordance with MAP, students who have sought emergency assistance for others at the time of the incident and who stay on scene and cooperate with authorities will not face disciplinary action from Student Rights and Responsibilities. Here is how it works:

  1. Student(s) call 911 or 903.886.5111 when alcohol or drug overdose is present or suspected. Student(s) stays with the person and cooperates with all emergency personnel.
  2. Student(s) will be referred to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
  3. Student(s) will be evaluated for amnesty by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
  4. Students who qualify for amnesty will still be required to participate in an educational component and may be referred for an individual consultation; however, they will not face disciplinary action.
  5. Students who receive amnesty and decline or fail to attend the educational component or fail to comply with the counselor's recommendations will become subject to disciplinary action. There are limitations to medical amnesty, and inclusion in the program is not automatic.

Anyone initially reporting a student who needs medical treatment due to an alcohol or drug-related situation will not face any university sanctions and will be granted amnesty from university sanctions. Other educational consequences, such as education or treatment, may be required.
This will allow students who may also have been drinking or using drugs to care for their friends without facing the consequences of the conduct process for themselves if they qualify for medical amnesty.

Medical amnesty only applies to violations of the Code, Alcohol Procedure34.03.01.R0.01, Drug Procedure 34.02.99.R1, and SB 1331. It does not grant amnesty for criminal, civil or legal consequences for violations of federal and state law.

In order to qualify for medical amnesty, students must use the policy proactively. This means that students must take the initiative to get assistance at the time of the incident. Asking for medical amnesty after being confronted for possible policy violations will not result in application of MAP.

Students will not be granted amnesty from punitive sanctions resulting from other policies that they violate while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For example, if a student is intoxicated and injures himself because he punched a hole in a university window (or damaged any university property), a qualified student (i.e. one for whom medical amnesty has been granted) will not be subject to disciplinary action for being intoxicated, but he will still be held responsible for any criminal charges such as criminal mischief or destruction of university property.

Follow-up evaluations and counseling are fundamental components of MAP. Amnesty is only applied when students complete appropriate counseling and treatment (when recommended). Failure to complete recommended evaluation, counseling or treatment will disqualify the student from medical amnesty and will result in the imposition of punitive sanctions under the Code.

  1. Unresponsive
  2. Unable to stop vomiting
  3. Seizure-like activity
  4. Exhibiting slow, shallow or irregular breathing
  5. Incoherent and unable to make rational responses

  1. WAKE – Wake the person
  2. TURN – Turn them on their side to prevent choking or aspiration
  3. CALL – Call for emergency medical assistance (911)
  4. STAY – Stay with the person until medical personnel arrive

Medical amnesty is meant to protect the health and well-being of the A&M-Commerce community by encouraging them to receive appropriate medical attention in an alcohol- or drug-related emergency without fear of disciplinary action.

Medical amnesty can be reported by the intoxicated student or someone looking out for the best interest of the intoxicated student. To qualify for medical amnesty, the reporter, whenever appropriate, should remain with the alleged intoxicated student until law enforcement or medical personnel arrive and medical attention is administered. The reportee must cooperate with law enforcement and medical personnel. The reportee seeking medical amnesty must meet with a representative from Student Rights and Responsibilities and agree to comply with any conditions set forth by the representative. If conditions are met, the reportee will be granted medical amnesty. There will be no conduct case and the incident will not become part of the reportee's record. If the reportee fails to comply with the required stipulations, the student does not qualify for medical amnesty and is subject to the conduct process as provided by the Code. A reportee cited for an alcohol or drug violation or transported by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for an alcohol- or drug-related emergency will be required to meet with a Counseling Center professional and complete the LEAP program and/or other appropriate administrative referrals.

Failure to meet with a member of the Counseling Center professional staff and/or complete the LEAP program will result in another referral to the disciplinary process. Other penalties, including but not limited to blocked registration and/or parental notification, may be levied until the student completes all requirements.

If a Counseling Center professional requires additional follow-up, the student must also complete those requirements in order to be in compliance. The reportee will have a required time frame by which to complete the program or referral. The LEAP program screening is free to students.

A&M-Commerce's Medical Amnesty Policy's definition of abuse will be at the discretion of Student Rights and Responsibilities. A student may abuse MAP if it is determined that the primary purpose of the report was not to protect the health and safety of others but to avoid the consequences of Code violations.

A student reporter who makes a good faith report seeking medical assistance on behalf of someone else will not be subject to student conduct sanctions for the following Code violations in relation to the incident:

  1. Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages on university property.
  2. Possession or use of any illegal drugs, controlled substances or drug paraphernalia.

However, medical amnesty does not preclude the student reporter from being charged with other violations of the Code related to the incident (e.g., property damage, physical violence, disorderly conduct, possession of false identification, etc.).

An alcohol- or drug-related emergency exists when an alcohol or other drug overdose is apparent or suspected. Some possible signs and symptoms include:

  1. Unresponsiveness
  2. Constant or continuous vomiting
  3. Seizure-like activity
  4. Incoherence or the inability to communicate understandable or rational response

No. A&M-Commerce recognizes a student's safety and well-being can be compromised due to excessive use of alcohol and other drugs. The Medical Amnesty Program was put into place so students can receive appropriate medical attention without fear of “getting in trouble” or the incident appearing on the student's conduct record. MAP does not “legalize” alcohol on campus for students who are under the age of 21 or permit any illegal behavior. The policy only changes the manner in which the university addresses certain alcohol- or drug- related incidents for students' safety.

As a general rule, your parents will not be notified. However, your parents may be notified if your alcohol- or drug-related use is life- threatening or if it is deemed necessary in order to protect the health and safety of the student or other individuals.

No. MAP incidents will not be entered on the student's official academic record. Non-MAP-related incidents may become part of the student's academic record.

Commerce Police Department

911 (Emergencies)
903.886.1139 (Non-Emergencies)

Crisis Center of Northwest Texas

903.454.9999
Website

National Sexual Assault Hotline (24 Hours)

800.656.HOPE (4673)

Texas Department of Public Safety

Website

University Ethics and Compliance Office

903.886.5996
Website

University Police Department

903.886.5868
Website

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  • Halladay Student Services Building, Room 201
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