Student Conduct

The University’s conduct process is housed in the Dean of Students Office. The conduct process is educational in nature and designed to help students understand expectations and accept responsibility for their actions. TCU students are expected to abide by all city, state, and federal laws and all policies of Texas Christian University. Students are held responsible for their behavior both on and off-campus (if the incident adversely affects TCU’s objectives.)  Student conduct is an integral part of the education process.

The Code of Student Conduct outlines student behaviors prohibited at TCU but is not exhaustive. Any conduct may be considered inappropriate and prohibited if it is inconsistent with the University’s mission, vision, or core values. For detailed information related to the discipline process and the Student Code of Conduct, reference the TCU Student Handbook.

Confidentiality
All proceedings under the Code are confidential. All proceedings and all documents generated by the process are confidential under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Student Conduct

The accused student has the right to a formal hearing before a conduct panel (excluding alcohol and community standards violations). At the Student Conductor Administrator’s discretion, the accused student may waive their right to a conduct panel hearing and instead, have the matter decided through an informal conduct discussion.

In either process, a student found in violation of a section of the Code by either a Student Conduct Administrator or conduct panel may appeal the hearing decision or sanction.

FAIR PLAY RIGHTSThe student involved has the right:

  • To be informed in writing of the charges and the possible punishment.
  • To have at least three school days in which to prepare a defense to refute the charges.
  • To a hearing which should elicit information from both sides. If possible, the accused shall be able to face his/her accuser(s) and have the right to be advised by legal or other counsel.
  • To be furnished a list of names of accusers and witnesses and a statement of facts they testified to, if the accused does not face his/her accusers. However, because of the close proximity in which students live and interact on campus, it is sometimes necessary to protect the anonymity of a witness or accuser. In such cases, the Dean of Students, or his/her designee, may verify the identity of a witness and accept a written statement from him/her without revealing the name of the witness or accuser to the accused.
  • To present oral and/or written testimony.
  • To remain silent about any incident in which s/he is a suspect. No form of harassment shall be used by a university representative to coerce admissions of guilt.
  • To be advised in writing of the results of the hearing.
  • To receive a transcript or audio recording of the proceedings, at the individual’s own expense, provided this is requested 24 hours before the hearing.

Right to Appeal

Any student has a right to appeal the decision and/or the sanctions assigned to them. Additional information on the appeal process can be found in the Student Handbook

Right to An Advocate/Advisor

Any student has the right to an advocate. This can be a person of your choice or can be provided through the Dean of Student’s Office.

Any member of the University community may make a complaint against any student for misconduct that violates the Code. Information brought to the attention of the Dean of Student’s Office alleging misconduct will be investigated or referred to the appropriate office for resolution.

  • Complaints involving sexual violence, harassment and discrimination; dating or domestic violence; stalking; or retaliation should be directed to the Office of Institutional Equity at (817) 257-8228.
  • For alcohol violations or community standards violations in
 or around a university housing facility, direct the complaint to 
the Office of Housing and Residence Life.
  • For alcohol violations or community standards violations in or around a fraternity/sorority chapter facility, direct the complaint to the Office of Fraternity/Sorority Life.

Conduct records are educational records protected by FERPA. As such, the Dean of Student’s Office does not share information regarding conduct records with anyone outside of TCU without a student’s written consent, except in certain limited circumstances.

If you are applying to graduate school or a study abroad program, you may be informed that you need to have a Dean’s Verification form completed. If your school has provided a form for completion, please sign the form in the appropriate location and deliver it to the Dean of Student’s Office. You may deliver it by e-mail to deanofstudents@tcu.edu, dropping it off in our office located in The Harrison, Suite 1600, or via fax at (817) 257-7314

You may have concerns about what impact your conduct records may have on your application. It is very important for you to honestly and accurately respond to the questions posed to you on the application.   It has been our experience that the lack of accuracy or honesty on these forms is more problematic than the incident we are verifying.

If you are unsure of how to answer the questions, you may contact the Dean of Student’s Office at (817) 257-7926.

Copyright and Intellectual Property (Illegal Downloading & File Sharing)

Unauthorized duplication of copyrighted works, such as books, movies, photographs, video games, music and software, is a violation of federal copyright law. TCU supports strict compliance with federal laws regarding copyright infringement. Anyone who engages in illegal copying shall be subject to disciplinary action under TCU’s policies and may be sued in federal court by the copyright owner.

Refer to TCU Security Services for Digital Copyright Information regarding internet violation notices.

TCU does not monitor what pages a student views while connected to the TCU Network.  Notices of Copyright Infringement are provided to TCU by the owner of the material.  These notices inform TCU that a user connected to the TCU Network has violated federal copyright infringement laws.  TCU has developed a response in coordination with TCU Information Technology department to respond swiftly and appropriately to alleviate any additional copyright infringement from occurring.

Enforcement

Suspected violations of this policy will normally be handled through TCU conduct procedures applicable
to the relevant user. In the course of such disciplinary procedures, TCU may:

  • Suspend a user’s access to University Computing Resources
  • Refer suspected violations of applicable laws to appropriate law enforcement agencies

What do I do after I receive a conduct notice letter?

  • Contact your assigned Student Conduct Administrator using the information published in your letter.
  • Refer to Code of Conduct for the description of violations and process

What’s the difference between an investigation conducted by the Dean of Student’s office and the Office of Institutional Equity?

  • All alleged incidents of sexual violence, harassment and discrimination; dating or domestic violence; stalking; or retaliation are investigated by the Office of Institutional Equity using policies 1.008 and 1.009.
  • The final resolution of the complaint is facilitated by the Dean of Student’s Office using a hearing process designed specifically to meet the federal Title IX regulations.

Are violations of the Code of Conduct considered criminal charges?

  • No, violations of the Code of Conduct are not considered criminal charges. Actions by members of this community that threaten the safety and security of the campus are taken very seriously.

What is the difference between the informal and formal hearing processes?

  • Formal hearing process: conducted before a conduct panel.
  • Informal hearing process: the matter will be investigated and decided by a staff member.

If I am being charged with a violation of the Code of Conduct, will I get a chance to share my side of what happened?

  • Yes, in both the formal and informal process, one may submit an oral or written statement and call upon witnesses to provide their perspectives.

If I am found in violation of the Code of Conduct, how do I file an appeal?

  • The appeal must be in writing and received in the Dean of Student’s Office within three (3) business days of the date of the letter notifying the outcome of your hearing.

If I am involved in a conduct case, will my parents be notified?

  • Our policy is to communicate directly with students on all disciplinary matters; it will be up to your discretion whether or not to inform your parents about the case.  The Dean of Student’s Office may contact your parents under certain severe circumstances.

If I am involved in a contact case, will I be able to participate in university activities (i.e. organizations, competitive teams, leadership roles, events, etc.)?

  • It is the intent of the conduct process to help students reintegrate with the University community; thus, participation in university activities are typically not limited.  However, students who are issued an outcome of Conduct Probation are prohibited from leadership roles in the student organization.

How do I complete the required community service hours?

  • Your outcome letter will provide details on hours and due date requirements.

Please refer to the Code of Student Conduct for details on violations and the University conduct process.,

What to Expect During a Zoom Title IX Hearing

Who will be attending the Zoom hearing?

Active Participants

  • Complainant
  • Complainant Advisor
  • Responding Student
  • Responding Student Advisor
  • Witness (Anyone identified by Title IX investigation that has relevant information about the incident under adjudication.)
  • Witness Advisor

Panel Members

  • Panel Chair: A hired professional, who may or may not be a member of the TCU community and will moderate the panel process; as a non-voting member of the panel, the Panel Chair will serve as an advocate of the process to ensure fairness.
  • Panelists: TCU Faculty/Staff member who will listen, ask questions, and ultimately deliberate and vote on a finding and sanctions.

Hearing Support

  • Procedural Chair: A non-participating and non-voting Dean of Students (DoS) staff member who will manage the Zoom functions including bringing witnesses in and out of the main Zoom hearing room, moving the complainant and the responding student and their advisors in and out of break out rooms if they wish to have a private conversation. The Procedural Chair will also record and document the hearing process (including any questions the Panel Chair determines is irrelevant); this summary document will be included in the final letter sent to the Complainant and Responding Student. For some Title IX cases, more than one Procedural Chair may be present to assist with the hearing process.

What kind of questions can the active participants (Complainant, Responding Student, and Witnesses) expect?

  • The panel members may ask direct questions regarding the alleged facts in dispute, evidence gathered during the investigation phase of the case, and about any statements made by active participants in the hearing (Complainant, Responding Student, or witnesses). An example of a direct question is: “Tell me about the events that happened on the night of . . . “.
  • The Advisor for the Complainant and Responding Student can ask cross examination questions of any active participant. An example of a cross examination question is: “Isn’t it true that the you were actually at the bar until 10 pm, not 8:30 pm as you claimed in your statement to the investigator?”
  • The Panel Chair will rule on each question asked by either a panelist or an advisor in real time during the hearing. No party or witness may answer any question until the Panel Chair has ruled on the relevancy and admissibility of the question. Only relevant questions may be asked of the parties or witnesses. Should a party or witness inadvertently answer such a question, the Panel Chair will instruct the panel members to disregard the inadvertent answer.

Can I discuss this case outside of the hearing process?

The information disclosed during the Panel Hearing is to be considered confidential. You are directed to not discuss this case outside of the hearing process. We ask that you find a private location for the Zoom call with stable and reliable internet. The DoS can help you find a private space if you are unable to get one on your own.

What is the role of the Complainant and Responding Student advisor?

The advisor to the Complainant and Responding Student is there to provide support to the Complainant and Responding Student and to ask cross-examination questions of the opposing party and of all participating witnesses with the goal of uncovering all relevant information for the panelists to make a fair decision. The advisor may also object to relevancy determinations made by the Panel Chair on behalf of their party. The advisor will not be permitted badger the Complainant, Responding Student, or witnesses.  The Panel Chair has the responsibility to monitor the process to keep it civil and fair.

How do I have a private conversation with my advisor?

If either the Complainant or Responding Student wish to have a private conversation with their advisor, the Procedural Chair will, at their request, move them into a private Zoom breakout room.  The Complainant or Responding Student and their advisor will leave the breakout room when they have completed their private conversation and return to the main Zoom hearing room.

What happens if an active participant does not show up for the hearing?

  • All active participants are expected to attend the hearing at the scheduled time. If the time conflicts with a class, the DoS will issue an official TCU excused absence.
  • If an active participant, including both parties and witnesses, does not show up and both parties did not mutually agree to the inherent credibility of the active participant’s written statement, the written statement cannot be considered by the panel in the hearing deliberation process. In such cases, the Panel Chair will instruct the panel members to disregard these statements when making a finding determination.
  • While the University cannot compel hearing participation, it is a strong expectation that all witnesses and the Complainant and Responding Student attend.
  • If a Complainant or Responding Student does not show up for the hearing, their advisor, or a University appointed advisor, will participate on their behalf, as cross-examination of the other party is an important component of the hearing to assist with testing the credibility of, and provide context for, the other party’s written statements.
  • Retaliation for participating or not participating in the Title IX hearing process is strictly forbidden and will be dealt with in a separate hearing, the outcome of which may result in suspension or expulsion.
  • Not attending the hearing is not valid grounds for appeal.

Can a witness bring an advisor to the hearing?

Yes, a witness can have an advisor attend the hearing.  The role of a witness advisor is to provide support to the witness. Unlike the advisor for the Complainant and Responding Student, a witness advisor does not have any active role in the process.   The witness advisor cannot speak in the hearing process. If the witness needs to consult with their advisor, the Procedural Chair will move them into a private Zoom breakout room. The advisor can also be in the same physical space as the witness during the hearing for simplicity; in such cases, the witness may ask the Procedure Chair for permission to place themselves on mute while they consult with their advisor.

How long will the process take?

The panel will do its best to keep the process moving forward while maintaining accuracy and fairness.  We recommend that witnesses bring something to keep them busy while they wait to be admitted for their time in hearing.  The overall hearing process could take several hours depending on the complexity of the case.

What happens if I get disconnected from the Zoom hearing?

Please attempt to reconnect as soon as possible. If you cannot, please call 817-257-7925 and the DoS will attempt to help you reconnect to the Zoom hearing.

Will the hearing be recorded?

The hearing will be digitally recorded to preserve the testimony and evidence presented during the hearing should an appeal be initiated by either the Complainant or the Responding Student. The digital recording will be retained by TCU until routine destruction of conduct records is completed no longer eight (8) years from the date of the student’s termination, transfer, graduation, or withdrawal from TCU.

Am I required to have my video on during the Zoom hearing?

Yes, according to federal law, the Complainant and the Responding Student must participate in a hearing that provides the opportunity to actively hear and see one another in real time. All hearing participants must have their video on and active during the entirety of the hearing. To limit disruption and ensure the focus remains on the active participants, the Procedural Chair will turn off their video unless they are needed during the course of the hearing.

As required by the Department of Education, all materials to train Title IX Enhanced Hearing decision-makers and panel chairs must be made publicly available. Click on the link below to view the most recent training materials.

Panel Training Materials