Student Conduct policy - FAQ
Who can make a complaint?
Any member of the university community can make a complaint under the Student Conduct Policy - students, staff, and faculty.
How long does a non-academic misconduct process take?
Administering a student conduct process that is grounded in respect, principles of procedural fairness, being trauma-informed takes time. There is no standard timeline for resolution. The length of a non-academic misconduct process also depends on the participants and the complexity of the complaint. Some may be resolved in 3-4 weeks and some may take a full academic term or longer.
The following factors can also contribute to the length of a timeline for a process. Each factor can add days and weeks to the time it takes to administer the process.
Availability of parties (complainant(s), respondent(s), witness(es)
Availability of investigator (internal or external)
A preference from parties to delay a process during peak periods for academic work, such as the final exam period
The need for a process to be suspended because of a party’s need to engage in support
The need for a process to be suspended in cases where there are multiple proceedings.
Time for the investigator to conduct initial interviews, follow up interviews and for careful review of the information gathered to arrive at the finding of facts.
If the complaint is resolved through voluntary resolution (non-disciplinary) or through a disciplinary process where an investigator authors a report for the decision-maker to determine a policy breach and disciplinary measures. The disciplinary process often takes longer than a voluntary resolution process.
In the case of a voluntary resolution process, the respondent must be given adequate time to review the resolution agreement proposed by the university. The respondent is encouraged to seek advice when reviewing and considering the conditions outlined in the agreement.
The Office of Student Support, Rights & Responsibilities will keep complainants and respondents updated on the status of a process which will give an indication of timeline.
What does ‘balance of probabilities’ mean?
Balance of probabilities is the established standard of proof in student conduct processes at post-secondary institutions. It is also referred to as a preponderance of proof or the ‘more-likely-than-not’ standard. In other words, it is understood that the standard of proof need only show that the facts are more likely to be than not. It is thought to be the appropriate standard of evidence for resolving student misconduct complaints, and the only standard that treats all parties with the most respect and fairness.
Student conduct administrators develop the skills and knowledge related to the standard of proof through specialized training and continuous professional development. Training includes, conducting trauma informed investigations and preparing investigation reports that report on the findings of fact (disputed and undisputed) in a complaint.
What is the role of a support person?
Complainants and Respondents can have a support person present at any meeting related to the student conduct policy. The role of the support person, primarily, is provide emotional support and to observe the process. At times, a support person may interject briefly during a meeting, to provide support to the complainant or respondent or to facilitate clarification about the process. The dialogue in a meeting is between the complainant or respondent and the investigator. A support person is not to act as an advocate or a representative for a student. In other words, the role of a support person is not to speak for a student.