Changes and Amendments

The Vice President for Student Affairs has the authority to enact changes to the policies and procedures defined in the JMU Student Handbook at any time. During the yearly revision process of the JMU Student Handbook, OSARP drafts proposed changes based on the needs and feedback from the community. These proposed changes are distributed to the members of the Accountability Control Board, serving as the voice of the community in the review of any proposed changes. OSARP provides the proposed rationale and any feedback from the Accountability Control Board to the Vice President of Student Affairs who authorizes any changes to the JMU Student Handbook for the upcoming Academic year. The campus community shall be informed of any policy or procedural changes enacted.

The Accountability Control Board is convened by OSARP. The Accountability Control Board consists of the Student Government Association President, two faculty or staff members, and one student appointed by the SGA President. The Dean of Students, the Director of OSARP, and two Student Case Administrators serve as ex officio members.

The university reserves the right at its discretion to change or amend the handbook at any time. OSARP reserves the right to make grammatical, typographical, or other non-substantive changes to the handbook at any time without the approval of the Vice President of Student Affairs or feedback from the Accountability Control Board. Students will not be notified of grammatical, typographical, or other non-substantive changes. If any substantive changes need to be made to the handbook during the current academic year, the changes and rationale for those changes will be sent to the Vice President of Student Affairs for review; if the Vice President of Student Affairs approves these substantive changes during the current academic year, they will be enacted by OSARP and students will be notified.

Jurisdiction

Adjudicative jurisdiction for all cases shall be assigned by OSARP. Jurisdiction includes any alleged violations occurring on campus, on university leased or controlled properties, on Study Abroad programs, on service programs, at any university sponsored or endorsed program or event, or reported by JMU Police Officers. Jurisdiction also includes any alcohol, drug, or felony violations that occur off campus in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County. Further, jurisdiction includes student behavior that is against the mission of the institution regardless of the location in which it occurred.  

OSARP may initiate an adjudication process prior to the outcome of a court or other adjudicative decision. If the Accountability Process or Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process for an alleged violation(s) in OSARP stems from a current criminal case, civil case, honor council case, or case being adjudicated by another conduct process on JMU’s campus, the case may be heard concurrently by OSARP. If the case was heard concurrently and the Accountability Process or Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process concludes prior to the resolution of the criminal process, civil case, honor council process, or other adjudicative process on campus, the case in OSARP will not be revisited at the conclusion of the other adjudicative process.  

The university may proceed with notice of alleged policy violation(s), the Accountability Process, or the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process regardless of enrollment status if the Responding Party meets the definition of student as listed in the JMU Student Handbook, or have alleged violation(s) and/or sanctions remain pending until a Responding Party’s request to re-enroll, which will trigger the case to be heard at that time. In addition, OSARP reserves the right to retain information regarding alleged behavior that occurred while a person met the definition of a student, send notice of the alleged policy violation(s) to the student, and adjudicate the case should the person return to the university as a student. In the case of former students who return to the university and again meet the definition of a student, OSARP reserves the right to use previous OSARP cases retained under OSARP’s defined records retention policies as disciplinary history for any new alleged violation(s) that occur during the student’s current period as a student.

OSARP may address behavior that occurs at any point while a person is considered a student, as defined in the Handbook. Accordingly, this may result in the student’s diploma and/or official transcripts being withheld pending the conclusion of the Accountability Process or the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process and/or the completion of any outstanding sanctions as determined by the Director of OSARP or designee. In addition, for these cases, if the sanction is immediate suspension or expulsion, it will be deemed effective for the most recent semester the student attended, which may mean a loss of academic credits for that semester. 

For any student who receives an immediate suspension or expulsion, regardless of academic year, the immediate suspension or expulsion will be deemed effective for the most recent semester the student attended, which may mean a loss of academic credits for that semester. Further, an immediate suspension or expulsion will begin on the date of the initial Case Review even if the final decision in the case goes through appeal and review by the Dean of Students or designee. 

Records and Transcript Notations

As a part of the Accountability Process, Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process, and Interim Suspension Process OSARP creates case files to be used by OSARP staff members, University Case Administrators, and/or members of the Accountability Board, including Sexual Misconduct Case Review and Appeal Boards, in the adjudication of the case. For record retention purposes, these case files may include, but not be limited to, student directory information, information regarding the alleged violation(s), incident documentation or other statements and/or evidence and information gathered during follow-up conversations, correspondence between OSARP and the student, notes and/or audio or video recordings submitted to the case, audio and/or video recording made during Accountability Board Case Reviews, Appeal Reviews, Sexual Misconduct Case Reviews, or Sexual Misconduct Appeal Reviewsand record of the decisions and/or recommendations made in the case including any sanctions imposed. 

If a student withdraws after being properly notified of alleged violation(s) but prior to a decision being made in the case, OSARP will retain the case file and include a notation that the student has a pending case to be heard if the student chooses to return to JMU. 

If someone met the definition of a student, as defined in the handbook, and received notification of an alleged violation(s) while a student and leaves the university (e.g. withdrawal) but prior to a decision being made in the case, OSARP reserves the right to retain the information regarding the alleged behavior as a pending case in accordance with its records retention policy listed later in this section.

After August 2012 and aside from the exceptions noted in this section, after being found responsible for any violation in OSARP students are considered to have a university disciplinary record and their case file(s) is retained in accordance with the procedures outlined in this section. Students who were found not responsible for a violation, had a policy violation(s) Held in Abeyance, had alleged policy violation(s) Dropped, and/or had an alleged policy violation(s) Dropped-Amnesty are not considered to have a university disciplinary record for these circumstances; however, OSARP does retain the case file in accordance with the procedures outlined in this section. In some circumstances, students may need to disclose the status of their university disciplinary record or violation(s) (e.g. on applications to other universities, job applications, background checks, or some positions and programs at JMU); students who are unsure of what their response should be or who need verification of their violation(s) should contact OSARP. Students must provide permission for OSARP to release retained records; OSARP will provide the information requested by the entity upon receiving permission from the student so it is important that the student review both the questions asked by the entity and any release statements they agree to when they provide permission for a release of their records. If the release statement provides permission to release a conduct record, pending cases will be included in the information provided to the entity. OSARP may disclose information contained in a university disciplinary record to eligible persons as outlined in the exceptions listed in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In addition, a university disciplinary record and corresponding case files may be subject to disclosure through court orders or subpoenas. 

Aside from the exceptions noted, OSARP generally destroys case files, including records of violation(s) and/or findings in a case (i.e. the “university disciplinary record”), after eight academic years from when the adjudication of the case occurs (e.g. all information regarding cases occurring during the 2011-2012 Academic Year will be destroyed at the conclusion of the 2019-20 Academic Year). June 30 marks the conclusion of an academic year in OSARP. Upon destruction, OSARP will not be able to confirm, deny, or reference any university disciplinary record or case files that have been destroyed. However, the case files for cases that resulted in suspensions, expulsions, and in those that involve allegations of sexual misconduct are retained indefinitely along with any case files pertaining to the student’s disciplinary history prior to the suspension, expulsion, or finding of responsible in a sexual misconduct case and can be accessed if a university disciplinary record is requested and/or approved by the student. Case files for cases that are pending are retained indefinitely along with any case files pertaining to the student’s disciplinary history prior to the pending case. Further, if a student has a case that is indefinitely retained, the case files for any other case that student has in OSARP will also be retained indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of those cases or the academic year in which they were heard and can be accessed if a university disciplinary record is requested and/or approved by the student. If a student with a pending case returns to JMU, OSARP will hear the case prior to, or upon, the student’s return and retain the case files for the student’s cases for eight academic years from when the adjudication of the case occurs or according to OSARPs’ guidelines for indefinite retention as applicable. A student may also choose to request that a pending case be adjudicated without the student returning to JMU; in this circumstance, OSARP will hear the case and retain the case files for the student’s cases for eight academic years from when the adjudication of the case occurs or according to OSARPs’ guidelines for indefinite retention as applicable. 

Case files in OSARP are considered educational records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and are handled in accordance with any restrictions or rights students are granted regarding their disclosure or review. For the purposes of access to the educational record, the current or former student themselves must schedule a date and time with OSARP to view the documentation within the office during normal office hours. OSARP does not provide a process for a student to request the expungement of their university disciplinary record. 

Except for certain circumstances in cases alleging sexual misconduct, OSARP does not make notations on a student’s transcript of suspensions, expulsions, decisions, sanctions, or cases. Transcripts will reflect withdrawal from the university in accordance with the dates, deadlines, and procedures set by the Office of the Registrar for cases resulting in suspension or expulsion. 

In accordance with Virginia state law, in cases where a Responding Party is found responsible for and suspended or expelled for sexual violence, defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or against a person incapable of giving consent, a notation will be placed on the Responding Party’s transcript for the duration of the suspension or expulsion. If a Responding Party withdraws while under investigation for an allegation of sexual violence, a notation will be placed on the Responding Party’s transcript until a final decision in the case is rendered. Such notations will read, as applicable:

  • Expelled for violation of Student Standards of Conduct

  • Suspended for violation of Student Standards of Conduct

  • Withdrew while under investigation for violation of Student Standards of Conduct

Students receiving a transcript notation for a suspension will have it automatically removed by the Office of the Registrar once the suspension period has ended; notations in cases of expulsion are permanent.

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