Office of Judicial Affairs
Information for Students & Parents
The Judicial Affairs Office is responsible for the Handbook of Rights and Responsibilities and the Non-Academic Code of Conduct that support the College's values, goals and priorities. The program strives to create an educational environment that promotes a safe and healthy environment for all of our students.
Utilizing an educational philosophy, the program informs students of their responsibilities as members of the community, administers the student conduct process, and assists all members of the campus community to live and learn in an environment that is orderly, peaceful and supportive of TC3’s educational mission.
The Office is part of the Office of Residence Life and has many of the same staff members.
- Darese Doskal
Director, 607.844.6591, email Darese
- Kimberly Kessler
Associate Director, 607.844.6584, email Kimberly
- David Benevides
Residence Director and Hearing Officer, 607.844.6590, email David
- Stacy Cowart
Residence Director and Hearing Officer, 607.844.6585, email Stacy
- Mark Ewing
Residence Director and Hearing Officer, 607.844.6583, email Mark
- Javied Townsend
Residence Director and Hearing Officer, 607.844.8222, Ext. 4531, email Javied
- Cynthia Hill
Assistant to the Director of Judicial Affairs, 607.844.8222, Ext. 4530, email Cynthia
All information regarding the conduct code and hearing process is contained within the Student Rights and Responsibilities section of the catalog.
Student Conduct Process
How does the student conduct process work?
When student behavior is documented, an incident report is submitted to the Office of Judicial Affairs. The Office of Judicial Affairs is responsible for reviewing and handling all reports of alleged student violations. When a report is received, a hearing officer begins processing the information for a student conduct hearing.
What is a Student Conduct Hearing?
A student conduct hearing is a meeting between the student charged with alleged violations and a hearing officer. During the meeting, the student is given the opportunity to discuss the situation and share their version of events. The student may choose to take responsibility for his or her actions or the hearing officer will make a determination as to responsibility. If a student is found responsible, he or she will be assigned appropriate behavioral sanctions
Can I attend the hearing with my student?
Students are entitled to have one advisor with them throughout the hearing process. If a student opts to have an advisor, typically the student will choose a parent, coach, academic advisor, or professor. Advisors can attend and advise the student but are not formally part of the process and cannot answer for the student.
Does my student need a lawyer?
No, the student conduct process is not the same as a criminal process, and lawyers are not necessary. However, a student is entitled to have one advisor for their student conduct process. Anyone, including an attorney, parent, coach, or faculty/staff member may serve as an advisor at a hearing. Advisors are NOT permitted to speak during a hearing. Students must represent themselves. Keep in mind that if a student is facing both college student conduct charges and criminal charges for the same incident, a student may wish to consult an attorney regarding any concurrent or subsequent criminal case.
Does being found responsible for a college violation give you a criminal record?
No, student violations do not result in a criminal record. However, if a student is going through the criminal process, as well as the student conduct process for the same incident and is found guilty in the criminal process, it may result in a criminal record. A student's college disciplinary record is considered part of the education record and a is maintained in the Judicial Affairs Office. Education records are protected by privacy laws as outlined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
How long does it take to resolve a case?
The Office of Judicial Affairs will try to resolve a case as quickly as possible. However, we are required by the Code of Student Conduct to give students at least 48 hours notice for a hearing.
How is a student found responsible in the student conduct system?
The standard of proof used within the Tompkins Cortland Community College student conduct system is the preponderance of evidence, or it is more likely than not (51% or greater probability) based on evidence presented that a respondent violated the policy.
Can a student appeal a hearing decision?
Students can appeal a hearing decision. To do so, he or she must submit that appeal in writing to the Office of Judicial Affairs. The letter must indicate the incident report number, the reason for the appeal and the justification for the reason. The letter must be submitted within 10 days of the student’s receipt of his or her findings notification letter.
A student may appeal based on the any of following:
- Procedural Error that can be shown to have had a detrimental effect on the outcome;
- Errors in the interpretation of College policy substantially denying someone a fair hearing;
- Inappropriate Sanction having no relation to the charges;
- New Evidence not available at the time of the original decision.
What are sanctions?
Anyone can make a bad decision here or there. We want students to learn from any poor choices. Therefore, sanctions assigned to a student are educational in nature. Our goal is for each student to learn from a bad decision and equip themselves with the skills to make better decisions in the future. While some sanctions may be perceived as punitive, the student conduct process seeks to assign sanctions with educational purpose, and sanctions are intended to balance the needs of the individual with the needs of the college community. Sanctions may range from probation to suspension or expulsion. There are a variety of sanctions outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities section of the catalog.
How are sanctions determined?
Each student and each student conduct situation is looked at on a case-by-case basis. Many factors go into reaching a decision regarding sanctions. For example, hearing officers takes into consideration the nature of the alleged violation and whether or not a student has a prior student conduct record. Precedent and consistency are important factors in the sanctioning process. We have developed typical sanctions for alcohol and drug violations in order to be as consistent as possible, however some situations may warrant departures from the typical sanctions.
How will I find out my son/daughter has a conduct hearing?
Communicate with your son/daughter. Judicial Affairs will notify a student of when their meeting will take place. Parents of resident students under the age of 21 are notified once the assigned sanctions are final, at the expiration of any appeals process, of any drug or alcohol incidents. Additionally, parents of students under 21 are notified if their housing or student status comes into jeopardy.
How will I be notified?
Parental notification will consist of a copy of the decision letter sent to the student, and a cover letter mailed to the parents from the hearing officer.
Will employers find out about a students conduct record?
Per FERPA, a student conduct record is part of their education record, which means it is confidential information and will not be shared without consent of the student. Employers are not informed of a student's prior student conduct record unless a student gives the employer permission. Typically, a student will sign a written consent form indicating that the College may release information to the employer or agency. Often, the employers interested in student conduct files include government agencies such as the FBI, CIA, NYPD, etc.
What happens to a student's conduct file after graduation?
Student disciplinary records are retained in accordance with SUNY Records Retention Policy (accessible at http://www.suny.edu/sunypp (Document Number 6609). Student records for major Code of Student Conduct violations and drug and alcohol policy violations are retained for a minimum of 7 years after the end of the academic year of said violation(s) to comply with federal recordkeeping requirements. Records of minor Code of Student Conduct violations will be retained for a minimum of three years after the end of the academic year of said violation(s). Cases involving Disciplinary Suspension will be retained permanently. Case files involving Expulsion will be retained permanently.
Association for Student Conduct Administrators (ASCA) Parent Publication The Student Conduct Process - A Guide for Parents