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Conduct and Discipline

Policy Overview

Students of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center are responsible for knowing and observing the University regulations concerning student conduct and discipline.

A student is defined as a person who:

  1. Is enrolled at MD Anderson
  2. Is accepted for admission or readmission at MD Anderson
  3. Has been enrolled at MD Anderson in a prior semester or summer session and is eligible to continue enrollment in the semester or summer session that immediately follows
  4. Is engaged in prohibited conduct while meeting one or more of the criteria listed in 1-3

The terms "dean" and "program director" as used in this policy refer to the administrative officer(s) responsible for the administration of the disciplinary process. Primary responsibility and authority for student discipline lie with the dean and the program director, who are responsible for investigating charges of misconduct as well as assessing disciplinary penalties, if appropriate. The dean is authorized by The University of Texas Board of Regents to proceed with an investigation and disciplinary process as outlined in this policy, notwithstanding any action taken by other authorities. [Board of Regents, University of Texas System, Rules and Regulations, Part One, Chapter VI, Section 3]

The term "hearing officer" refers to a fair and impartial individual who has been selected to hear disciplinary charges, to make findings of fact and, upon the finding of guilt, to impose appropriate sanctions.

The MD Anderson campus is defined as all real property, buildings or facilities owned or controlled by MD Anderson.

All MD Anderson students are expected and required to:

  • Obey federal, state and local laws
  • Comply with the Regents' Rules and Regulations
  • Comply with MD Anderson and The University of Texas System rules and regulations
  • Comply with directives issued by administrative officials of MD Anderson or The University of Texas System in the course of their authorized duties
  • Observe standards of conduct appropriate for an academic institution

Any student who engages in conduct that violates the Regents' Rules and Regulations, Rule 50101, MD Anderson or The University of Texas System rules, or federal, state or local laws is subject to discipline whether the conduct takes place on or off campus and whether or not civil or criminal penalties are imposed for such conduct.

Provisions: Conduct

Unacceptable conduct that would subject a student to disciplinary action includes but is not limited to the following:

Engaging in scholastic dishonesty such as cheating, plagiarism, collusion, submitting another person's work or materials for credit, taking an examination for another person, acting in a manner that would give unfair advantage to himself or herself or another student or attempting to commit such act.

Engaging in unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials, including peer-to-peer file sharing, that may also subject students to civil and criminal penalties.
17 U.S.C. 506

Illegally using, possessing or selling alcohol, drugs or  narcotics on campus.

Endangering the health or safety of another person on the MD Anderson campus or on any property or in any building or facility owned or controlled by MD Anderson or The University of Texas System.

Obstructing, disrupting or interfering, individually or in concert with others, with teaching, educational, research, administrative, disciplinary, public service or other activity or public performance authorized by MD Anderson to be held on campus or on property or in a building or facility owned or controlled by MD Anderson or The University of Texas System. Such behavior includes but is not limited to interrupting, modifying or damaging MD Anderson utility service or equipment; communication service or equipment; and computer hardware, programs, records or networks accessible through the university's resources.

Engaging in speaking or writing that is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and that is likely to incite or produce such action.

Engaging in the unauthorized use of property, equipment, supplies, buildings or facilities owned or controlled by MD Anderson or The University of Texas System.

Engaging in hazing, singly or in concert with others, with or without the consent of a student, either on or off campus, is prohibited by state law [Texas Education Code, Section 51.936], and both the person submitting to the hazing and the person inflicting the hazing are subject to discipline. Initiations or activities of organizations may not include features that are dangerous, harmful or degrading to any student; both the organization and participating individuals are subject to discipline.

Altering or assisting in the altering of any official record of MD Anderson or The University of Texas System, or submitting false information or omitting information required for or related to application for admission, award of a degree or any official record. A former student who engages in such conduct is subject to a bar against re-admission, revocation of his or her degree and withdrawal of his or her diploma.

Defacing, mutilating, destroying or taking unauthorized possession of property, equipment, supplies, buildings or facilities owned or controlled by MD Anderson or The University of Texas System.

Possessing or using any type of explosive, firearm, imitation firearm, ammunition, hazardous chemical or weapon as defined by state or federal law, while on campus or on any property or in any building or facility owned or controlled by MD Anderson or The University of Texas System, unless authorized by federal, state or local laws.

A student is also subject to discipline for prohibited conduct that occurs while participating in off-campus activities sponsored by MD Anderson or The University of Texas System, including field trips, rotations or clinical assignments.

A student who receives a period of suspension as a disciplinary penalty is subject to further disciplinary action for prohibited conduct that occurs on campus during the period of suspension. A former student expelled or suspended for disciplinary reasons is prohibited from being on any campus of The University of Texas during the period of expulsion or suspension without prior written approval of the chief student affairs officer of the institution at which the suspended student wishes to be present.

For more information related to to this topic, "Provisions and Conduct", please refer to the Examinations policy outlined in the Academic Policies and Procedures section of "Policies and Procedures"..

Provisions: Sanctions

The following penalties may be assessed by the dean or the dean's designee:

  • Disciplinary probation
  • Withholding of grades, official transcript and/or degree
  • Bar against readmission
  • Restitution or reimbursement for damage to or misappropriation of institutional or The University of Texas System property
  • Suspension of rights and privileges, including participation in extracurricular activities
  • Assignment of a failing grade for an examination, assignment or course and/or cancellation of all or any portion of a prior course credit
  • Denial of degree
  • Suspension from the institution for a specified period of time
  • Expulsion (permanent separation) from the institution
  • Revocation of degree and withdrawal of diploma
  • Other penalties as deemed appropriate under the circumstances

If a student is found to be guilty of the illegal use, possession and/or sale of a drug or narcotic on campus, the minimum penalty must be suspension from the institution for a specified period of time and/or suspension of rights and privileges.

Procedure: Process

As stated in the Policy Overview, the dean is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct, namely, that a student has engaged in conduct that violates the Regents' Rules and Regulations, the rules and regulations of MD Anderson or The University of Texas System, instructions issued by an administrative official of MD Anderson or The University of Texas System in the course of his or her authorized duties or federal, state and/or local laws.

If the dean finds that the allegations against a student are not unfounded, and pending a hearing or other disposition of the allegations, the dean may take such immediate disciplinary action as is appropriate under the circumstances, including a) suspension and bar from the campus when it reasonably appears to the dean from the circumstances that the continuing presence of the student poses a potential danger to persons or property or a potential threat for disrupting any activity authorized by the institution, or b) the withholding of grades, degree or official transcript, when such action is in the best interest of the institution.

Any student may be summoned by written request of the dean for a meeting for purposes of the investigation and/or to discuss the allegations. The written request shall specify a place for the meeting and a time at least three weekdays after the date of the request if the request is sent regular mail, or at least two weekdays after the date of the request if the request is sent by e-mail or hand delivered. The written request may be mailed to the address appearing in the records of the registrar, e-mailed to the student at the student’s University of Texas issued e-mail address or hand delivered to the student. If the student fails to appear without good cause, as determined by the dean, the dean may bar or cancel the student's enrollment or otherwise alter the status of the student until the student complies with the summons, or the dean may proceed to implement disciplinary hearing procedures (described below). The student's refusal to accept delivery of the notice, failure to maintain a current address with the registrar or failure to read mail or e-mail are not considered good cause for failing to respond to a summons.

If the student does not dispute the facts on which the charges are based and waives the hearing procedures in writing, the dean shall assess an appropriate penalty as noted above and inform the student of the action in writing. The student may appeal the issue of penalty only; such appeal should be directed to the senior vice president and chief academic officer.

If the student disputes the facts on which the charges are based, the dean will arrange for the facts to be heard and determined by a hearing officer or committee.

Hearing Procedures

Pending a hearing or other disposition of the allegations against a student, the dean may take such immediate interim disciplinary action as is appropriate to the circumstance when such action is in the best interests of the institution. This includes but is not limited to a suspension and bar from the campus when it reasonably appears to the dean from the circumstances that the continuing presence of the student poses a potential danger to persons or property or a potential threat for disrupting any activity authorized by the institution.

When interim disciplinary action has been taken by the dean, a hearing of the charges against the student will generally be held within 10 days after the interim disciplinary action was taken; however, at the discretion of the dean the 10-day period may be extended for a period not to exceed an additional 10 days. Notwithstanding the above, the dean may withhold the issuance of an official transcript, grade, diploma or degree to a student alleged to have violated a rule or regulation of The University of Texas System or its institutions which would reasonably allow the imposition of such penalty. The dean may take such action pending a hearing, resolution by administrative disposition and/or exhaustion of appellate rights if the dean has provided the student an opportunity to provide a preliminary response to the allegations and in the opinion of the dean, the best interests of The University of Texas System or the institution would be served by this action.

When interim disciplinary action has been taken by the dean, a hearing of the charges against the student will generally be held within 10 days after the interim disciplinary action was taken; however, at the discretion of the dean the 10-day period may be extended for a period not to exceed an additional 10 days. Notwithstanding the above, the dean may withhold the issuance of an official transcript, grade, diploma or degree to a student alleged to have violated a rule or regulation of The University of Texas System or its institutions which would reasonably allow the imposition of such penalty. The dean may take such action pending a hearing, resolution by administrative disposition and/or exhaustion of appellate rights if the dean has provided the student an opportunity to provide a preliminary response to the allegations and in the opinion of the dean, the best interests of The University of Texas System or the institution would be served by this action.

In any case where the accused student does not dispute the facts upon which the charges are based but does not agree with the sanctions proposed by the dean, the student may execute a written waiver of the hearing procedures yet retain the right to appeal the decision of the dean only on the issue of penalty (see Appeal section below). The appeal regarding the penalty must be made to the president of the institution.

In those cases in which the accused student disputes the facts upon which the charges are based, such charges shall be heard and determined by a fair and impartial dean’s designee. The institution’s rules may provide for a Committee to hear cases involving scholastic dishonesty in accordance with the procedures herein.

In cases other than those in which immediate interim disciplinary action has been taken, the accused student will be given at least a 10-day notice of the date, time and place for the hearing, the name of the dean’s designee or committee, a written statement of the charge(s) and a summary statement of the evidence supporting such charge(s). The hearing notice may also set a deadline by which the student must notify the school if he or she intends to appear through a designated representative or counsel. The notice will be delivered in person or mailed to the student at the address appearing in the registrar's records. A notice sent by mail will be considered to have been received on the third day after the date of mailing, excluding any intervening Sunday. The date for a hearing may be postponed by the dean’s designee or committee for good cause or by agreement of the student and dean.

The accused student may challenge the impartiality of the hearing officer up to three days prior to the hearing by submitting the reasons for the challenge in writing to the dean’s designee or committee through the office of the dean. If the dean’s designee disqualifies himself or herself, a substitute will be appointed in accordance with university procedures.

On a hearing of the charges, the dean or other institutional representative has the burden of going forward with the evidence and proving the charges by the greater weight of credible evidence.

The dean’s designee or committee is responsible for conducting the hearing in an orderly manner and controlling the conduct of the witnesses and participants in the hearing. The dean’s designee or committee will rule on all procedural matters and on objections regarding exhibits and testimony of witnesses; may question witnesses; and is entitled to have the advice and assistance of legal counsel from The University of Texas System Office of General Counsel (OGC). The dean’s designee or committee will render and send to the dean and the accused student a written decision that contains findings of fact and a conclusion as to whether the accused student is responsible for the violations as charged. Upon a finding of responsibility the dean’s designee or committee shall assess a penalty or penalties as noted in the Provisions: Sanctions section. When an accused student is found responsible for the illegal use, possession or sale of a drug or narcotic on campus requires the assessment of a minimum penalty.

The hearing will be conducted as follows:

Each party shall provide the other party a list of witnesses, a brief summary of the testimony to be given by each and a copy of documents to be introduced at the hearing at least five days prior to the hearing.

Each party has the right to appear, present testimony of witnesses and documentary evidence, cross-examine witnesses and be assisted by an advisor of choice. The advisor may be an attorney. If the accused student's advisor is an attorney, the dean's advisor may be an attorney from The University of Texas System OGC. An advisor may confer with and advise the dean or accused student, but not question witnesses, introduce evidence, make objections or present argument to the dean’s designee or committee. The dean may recommend a penalty to be assessed by the hearing officer, and may base the recommendation on past practice for violations of a similar nature, the student's past disciplinary record or other factors the dean deems relevant. The accused student is entitled to respond to the dean's recommendation.

The hearing will be recorded. If either party wishes to appeal the dean’s designee or committee's decision, the official record will consist of the recording of the hearing, the documents received in evidence and the decision of the hearing officer. At the request of the chief academic officer, the recording of the hearing will be transcribed and both parties will receive a transcript.

The dean’s designee will send a written decision to both parties that will contain findings of facts, conclusions as to the guilt or innocence of the accused and the disciplinary action, if any.

Appeal

A student may appeal a penalty assessed by the dean following the student's waiver of the hearing procedures, and either party may appeal the decision of the hearing officer or committee, as follows:

Either or both parties must submit a written appeal stating the specific reasons for the appeal and any argument to the president of the institution with a copy to the other party. The appeal must be stamped as received by the President’s Office no later than 14 days after the appealing party has been notified of the penalty assessed by the dean or the decision of the dean’s designee. If the notice of penalty or decision is sent by mail, the date the notice or decision is mailed initiates the 14-day period for the appeal. The non-appealing party may submit a response to the appeal which must be received by the President’s Office no later than 10 days after receipt of the appeal.

In cases of appeal of the penalty assessed by the dean following the student's waiver of the hearing procedures, the chief academic officer will review only the written arguments of the student and the dean. In cases of appeal of the dean’s designee's decision, the president will review only the record from the hearing. The dean will submit the record from the hearing to the president no later than five calendar days after the appeal if filed with the president. At the discretion of the president both parties may present oral argument in an appeal from the decision of the dean’s designee or committee.

All documentation to be filed by the appealing party, including written arguments, must be filed with president within 14 days after notice of appeal is given. The president may approve, reject or modify the decision in question or may require a reopening of the original hearing for presentation of additional evidence and reconsideration of the decision.

The action of the president will be communicated in writing to the student and the dean within 30 days after the president receive the appeal and related documents. The decision of the president is final.

Records

A permanent written disciplinary record will be kept for each student assessed a penalty of suspension, expulsion, denial or revocation of degree and/or withdrawal of diploma.

A record of scholastic dishonesty will be maintained for at least five years unless the record is permanent in conjunction with the above-stated penalties.

A disciplinary record will reflect the nature of the charge, the disposition of the charge, the penalty assessed and any other pertinent information. This disciplinary record will be maintained by the office of the dean. It shall be treated as confidential and will not be accessible to or used by anyone other than the dean and the program director, except on written authorization of the student or in accordance with applicable state or federal laws, court order or subpoena.

 


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center