James Madison University has established guidelines for the behavior of its student organizations in order to uphold an environment conducive to learning and growth. All student organizations are expected to conduct their affairs in a manner best designed for the university to achieve its educational mission. Violations of university policies and regulations by a student organization conducting affairs in a manner believed to be detrimental to the university’s mission will be taken through the following process. This process is modeled after the University Judicial Procedures and Restorative Practice Process, some of which can be found in the Student Handbook. This policy will adhere to all students’ rights, as outlined in the Student Handbook (http://www.jmu.edu/judicial/handbook.shtml).
Many organizations encounter issues that may not need to be dealt with through a traditional judicial process. It is very common for an organization to encounter conflict regarding issues such as tardiness, communication barriers, inappropriate behavior at meetings, respect and boundary issues, cliques, accountability issues, etc. If you experience anything related to the later mentioned or have any general concerns, the Office of Student Activities and Involvement has a process in place that may be beneficial to your organization. Please come by, call or email to discuss your concern(s) with one of the professional staff members. To contact any of our professional staff, please use this link to our website (http://info.jmu.edu/studentactivities/staff/).
Outlined below is the process for dealing with violations of campus conduct:
Any member of the university community may bring a written report giving details of the alleged harm or incident to the Coordinator of Student Activities & Involvement for Organization Development or his/her designee. The written report must include the following information:
- Detailed description of the alleged harm or incident.
- Date, time, and place of incident(s).
- Name of the organization(s) involved.
- Name of the individual(s) involved.
- Name, address and phone number of the person(s) filing the report.
**In cases involving Fraternities & Sororities, reports will be given to the Coordinator for Fraternity & Sorority Life.
**In cases involving Sports Clubs, reports will be given to the Coordinator of Sport Clubs-UREC.
The president and adviser (or official representative with similar duties) of the student organization will be informed of the report and made aware of the specific charge(s) against the organization and asked to make an appointment with the Coordinator of Student Activities & Involvement for Organization Development. At this meeting, the Coordinator of Student Activities & Involvement for Organization Development will explain the report against the organization and both parties will discuss and review. The Coordinator of Organization Development will then:
(a) Make a decision of the level of discipline.
(b) Properly notify the President and Adviser of the organization in question in regards to the decision. Proper notification shall consist of written notice mailed to the organization mailbox or mail stop code (MSC) and an email to the last known President and Adviser.
After meeting with the President of the organizations, the Coordinator of Student Activities & Involvement for Organization Development will determine:
- The validity of the report.
- Whether there are grounds for the case to be sent to a formal Hearing Board or Restorative Practice Process.
The make-up of the Hearing Board is as follows:
1) Coordinator for Student Organizations (non-voting chair).
2) A current President of an active student organization.
3) An active faculty/staff adviser.
4) A student member of an active student organization.
The organization may have a maximum of three members and their adviser present at the hearing, if so desired. The hearing will generally proceed in the following manner:
1) Introduction of all who are present
2) The statement of charges presented by the chair
3) Evidence presented against the organization; each witness is called individually
4) Evidence is presented in favor of the accused organization; each witness is called individually
5) The committee members may question the witnesses as they are called
6) A representative from the accused organization may present concluding remarks
7) All persons are excused from the hearing room except hearing board members
8) The hearing board considers only information introduced in the hearing and deliberates in executive session until a decision is reached. The decision is based on preponderance of the evidence and is decided by a simple majority vote. In case of a tie vote, the Coordinator of Organization Development holds the tie-breaking vote. Previous violations are to be considered in the assigning of appropriate sanctions
9) The decision is announced in the presence of the organization representatives and the adviser.
Things to know:
1) If a representative or representatives of the organization fail to appear at a hearing after being properly notified, the hearing board shall hear the case on the basis of the evidence accumulated as a result of the testimony of witnesses and notify the organization of the decision.
2) The chair of the hearing board shall have the right to limit the length of testimony of any witness or participant in the hearing if it appears to be repetitious or does not contribute positively to the fair and efficient adjudication of the case currently being considered.
3) If at the end of the meeting the hearing board believes that a violation of university regulations did occur, they will make a decision on the level of discipline.
4) The Coordinator of Student Activities & Involvement for Organization Development will provide the organization with proper notification of the board’s decision within one working day of the hearing.
The Office of Student Activities and Involvement strives to make dealing with conflict more healing and ideally, more transformative and to reduce the likelihood of future conflict. The values of honesty, relationships, accountability, responsibility, respect, engagement, and appreciation for diversity, which underlie Restorative Justice principles and practices, help shape the application of our approach to dealing with conflict and conduct within organizations.
To take into consideration the individual nature of each report the Office of Student Activities and Involvement has a Continuum Process of Restorative Practice. The continuum goes from the formal judicial process, to Restorative Practices, to a mutually “to be determined” outcome. This continuum ensures that the needs and obligations are addressed for all parties and are purposeful for each individual situation.
A common practice that can fall on the continuum is a Restorative Practice Circle. There are many ways to do a Restorative Practice Circle, however most will involve the two parties (or more) involved in the situation, as well as support persons, one or two facilitators (who guide the process), and other selected stakeholders involved or associated with the situation. The Circle Process can be used in place of the Hearing Process if it is determined by the Coordinator of Student Activities & Involvement for Organization Development that it is an appropriate fit. The Circle Process can also be used after going through the traditional process as a way to repair any harms done.
The goals of the Circle Process are to identify the needs, obligations, and to repair the harm(s) done. Addressing harms from both parties can help in the understanding of where the situation arose. Repairing the harm(s) and identifying obligations go hand in hand. As the Circle Process progresses, the hopes are that an understanding will be reached from both parties. This results in obligations to make things right with the situation, both to the other party, and their community. All the participants in the Circle Process will have an active role in outlining any obligations to repair any harm caused.
The decision of the Coordinator for Organization Development is final, except in those cases in which the group’s right to function as a campus organization is denied or forfeiture of any privilege(s) exceeds one semester. In such cases the organization has five working days after the issuance of the written decision of the Coordinator for Organization Development in which to appeal the decision in writing to the Associate Director of the University Unions for Student Activities & Involvement. The appeal must be in writing and outline exactly why the group feels the decision was too harsh or the presentation of new information that would change/influence the outcome. Once a written appeal is received, the following steps are taken. A student organization found guilty of a violation may not be given a more severe penalty as a result of their decision to appeal. The Associate Director of University Unions for Student Activities & Involvement may take the following action:
1) Affirm the findings and sanctions issued by the Coordinator for Organization Development or hearing board.
2) Call a meeting of the hearing board, to address only the new evidence
3) Reduce the penalty
4) Dismiss the charges against the student organization
The following obligations are available to help repair the harm and restore relationships within the organization, but are not limited to the list below:
1) Prohibit or place restrictions on activities.
2) Issue a warning with conditions
3) Remove privileges in Club House.
4) Place on probation with conditions (probation indicates that further violations of university regulations can result in more serious actions.)
5) Place on suspension with conditions (suspension indicates that there is to be no activity of the organization during a specified period and further violations can result in more serious actions)
6) Limit or prohibit recruitment of new members.
7) Remove meeting room facility privileges.
8) Assign an educational or service task.
9) Issue a censure warning.
10) Revoke recognition.
11) Writing an apology/accountability letter
12) Restorative Practices
Levels of Discipline
- Written warning is placed in file
- Terms of warning are to be satisfactorily met
- Warning status will not exceed 2 months at which time organizational status will be reviewed and organization will be released from Warning Status or placed on probationary status
- If an organization receives 2 warnings in a calendar year the organization will be placed on probationary status.
- Organization is allowed to continue to meet and retain privileges but under probationary terms as set by the Coordinator of Organization Development and/or Hearing Board
- Letter of probation will be placed in the organization’s file
- Length of Probation shall not exceed one semester at which time status will be reviewed and organization will be released from probation or placed on inactive status or recognition will be revoked.
- If terms of probation are violated the organization will be placed on inactive status.
- Organization privileges are suspended (Club House, room reservations etc.)
- Length of inactive status will not exceed one semester at which time status will be reviewed and organization will be placed on probation or recognition will be revoked
- If organization has not fulfilled requirements/terms set by Coordinator of Organization Development and/or Hearing Board recognition will be revoked.
- Organization status and all privileges (Club House, room reservations, etc.) are revoked
- Organization must wait 1 calendar year before reapplying for recognition.
- During this time no organization with the same intent or purpose can apply for recognition.
*If the Coordinator for Organization Development is unavailable or there is a conflict of interest the case can be given to the Associate Director of Student Activities and Involvement or other designee.