A. Report

Reports of student organization misconduct may be filed by following the steps outlined in Section 7, Reporting a Violation of the Code of Community Standards. All reports of student organization misconduct will be reviewed as outlined in Section 7, Reporting a Violation of the Code of Community Standards.

When reporting an incident, the reporting party is not required to provide their name or contact information, however, it is recommended in the event clarifying information is needed by the Office of Community Standards (OCS) or ECPD. The failure of a reporting party to produce their name and contact information may impair the ability of the College to process the report. Should the reporting party provide their name and contact information, the information will be handled in compliance with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  

An individual may submit a report directly to the OCS by filling out an incident report on the OCS website or communitystandards [at] emerson.edu (sending an email) to the OCS directly.

B. Review of Report 

All reports will be reviewed in accordance with Section 7B, Reporting A Violation of the Code of Community Standards.

When the Office of Community Standards concludes that a report should be investigated prior to referral to the Student Conduct Process, the Office of Community Standards will follow the Investigative Process below.

Interim Measures:

If upon review of a report or during an investigation, the College determines that a student organization or student organization member is considered an imminent threat to the community, or when advisable to protect the physical, social, or emotional well-being of the College community, the Assistant Dean for Campus Life or designee may automatically invoke interim administrative measures which can include but are not limited to, College directives, immediate residence hall relocation or suspension; or immediate suspension of the organization or individual student  from the College, pending the outcome of the investigation Student Conduct Process. When interim measures are assigned, students and student organizations are required to comply with the directions of the interim measure(s).

Prohibition Against Retaliation:

The College strictly prohibits retaliation against any member of the Emerson community for making a report of a violation of the College’s Community Standards or for participating in the investigation of such a report. Students who violate the prohibition on retaliation will be subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal from the College. Students that believe they are a subject of retaliation should immediately contact the Office of Community Standards communitystandards [at] emerson.edu (by email) or at 617-824-8620.

C. Notice of Investigation

The Office of Community Standards or designee will inform, in writing, all members representing the organization in the investigation (the Respondent(s)), of the following information: 

  1. Allegations of misconduct being investigated. 
  2. Rights of the involved parties, including the right to an advisor (see “Rights of an Organization”).
  3. Name of the Investigator(s).
  4. Date, time and location of the Investigative interviews. 
  5. Advise each of the investigation process.
  6. Inform each that they are permitted to submit relevant documentary evidence and a list of witnesses to the Investigator.
  7. Advise each of their option to request resources, such as but not limited to support from confidential resources, support from ECPD, and that the College take steps to prevent unnecessary or unwelcome contact or communication with another member of the Emerson community.
  8. Advise each of the College’s Retaliation Policy.

D. Investigation

The Investigator(s) (typically a staff member within the Division of Student Affairs) will follow the below steps and typically complete the investigation within 5 calendar days.

  1. The Investigator(s) will review all relevant documents provided by the Office of Community Standards.
  2. The Investigator(s) will interview the Complainant(s) (or reporting parties), if possible.  
  3. The Investigator(s) will interview the Respondent(s), current members and potential new members (See Interview Process)
  4. The Investigator(s) will make reasonable attempts to interview any witnesses (or other parties) identified by the Complainant(s), Respondent(s), or relevant documents who may have any relevant information regarding the case.**
  5. The Investigator(s) will review any additional documentary evidence submitted by the Complainant(s), Respondent(s), or witnesses.
  6. The Investigator(s) will gather and assess any other relevant evidence available to the College.
  7. After reviewing any witness statements, documentary evidence and other relevant evidence, the Investigator(s) will, if applicable and possible, conduct follow-up interviews with the Complainant(s), Respondent(s), and witnesses.  
  8. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator(s) will submit a report summarizing all information obtained by the Investigator(s). The report will not contain conclusions of whether the Respondent(s) did or did not violate the Code of Community Standards, however it will contain a recommendation on Resolution option. 

**Participation by the Complainant or any witness in an investigation is welcomed but not required.  The failure of a Complainant or witness to participate may impair the ability of the College to fully investigate the report. Information provided by any party participating in an investigation will be handled with sensitivity and privacy that is in compliance with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  

Interview Process: All requested members will meet at the designated time and location.

  1. All requested members are expected to be present during the entirety of the interview process.
  2. Each member will be called individually for their interview with the investigator(s). 
  3. Each member will be allowed to use computers, but will not be permitted to use chat features or cellular devices during the interview sessions.
  4. A Hearing Administrator will be assigned to oversee and explain the interview process, field any additional questions and assist students while present in the interview space.  
  5. All organization members requested to be interviewed are expected to comply with the process.

E. Review of Investigative Report & Resolution

Within two (2) calendar days of receiving the investigative report, the Office of Community Standards or designee will review the investigative report, determine if it supports a charge of the Code of Community Standards and determine the appropriate resolution option. 

Resolution Options:

  1. No Action: If the investigative report does not support a charge of the Code of Community Standards, the Respondent(s) will be notified in writing by the Office of Community Standards or designee of such outcome and the matter will not be referred to the Student Conduct Process.
  2. Informal Conduct Process: If the investigative report: (1) Supports a low level charge of the Code of Community Standards after consultation and review by staff in Community Standards and Student Engagement and Leadership (2) Displays clear corrective measures that could resolve the allegations and (3) The organization has no history of previous misconduct the Respondent(s) will be referred to the Informal Conduct Process. The Office of Community Standards will have two (2) calendar days to review the Investigative Report and present an informal resolution in writing to the Respondent(s) for their consideration. Respondent(s) will have two (2) additional calendar days to agree or disagree with the Informal Resolution. If signed, the Respondent(s) would agree to the findings of Responsible for violation(s) of Community Standards, as well as agree to the outlined sanctions, conditions and restrictions. Once an Informal Resolution has been agreed to, there is no appeal available. Respondent(s) that fail to complete the requirements as stated in the Informal Resolution will be referred to the Student Conduct Process.
  3. Formal Conduct Process:If the investigative report does support a charge of the Code of Community Standards, the Respondent(s) will be referred to the Student Conduct Process.  The Respondent(s) will be notified in writing by the Office of Community Standards or designee of such outcome and provided information relating to the Student Conduct Process described in Section 8 of the Code of Community Standards.  Reports referred to the Student Conduct Process will be reviewed by an impartial hearing officer, conduct board, or resolution panel. The Investigator(s) will not serve as a hearing officer, conduct board member, or resolution panel member.

Rights of an Organization

All Respondent rights (including the rights of organizations) detailed in section 8-B of the Code of Community Standards apply to student organization members referred to an investigation.  Should the student organization members select an advisor, the advisor may accompany the student organization members at all investigation meetings. Student organization members may contact the Office of Community Standards for assistance in identifying an advisor.

Student Conduct Process

Please refer to Section 8, Student Conduct Process of the Code of Community Standards for Student Conduct Process resolution procedures.

Appeals

Please refer to Section 8.I., Hearing Findings & Appeals for Student Conduct Process resolution procedures.

Criteria for Individual vs Organizational Responsibility

Student organizations and their leaders and members may be held both collectively and individually responsible for violations of the Code of Community Standards. The Office of Community Standards will determine appropriate charges. 

Criteria to determine if alleged violations should be considered organizational may include but are not limited to: The incident occurred at or in connection with an organization-sponsored event or activity or at an event or activity that would reasonably be associated with the student organization; The organization’s leaders and/or members encouraged or consented to the alleged behavior; The number of members, including alums, involved in the incident; If actions or lack of actions by the student organization contributed to the incident.