Case Resolution Process
The conduct process for Club Sports is initiated when a major incident is referred to the Competitive Sports office. Anyone can refer an alleged incident of behavioral misconduct. Upon receipt of a referral, the Competitive Sports office will make a determination of whether or not the alleged incident is within its scope of operation. For those incidents falling under the scope of the Competitive Sports office, the student(s) will receive an email notification from Competitive Sports professional staff providing information on the case resolution process. The Competitive sports office reserves the right to investigate any incidents reported to the office. Cases involving violation of the Code of Student Conduct or sexual misconduct will also be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct.
It is important to know that when working with students who have found themselves as participants in the conduct process, we approach each incident as unique. Cases are heard, and decided, on an individual basis taking each situation’s circumstances into account.
Our goal is to educate students about choices and to help them learn from past choices. (For referrals that allege violations of the Student Code of Conduct, these will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct (OSC).
Standard of Conduct (Club Sports Handbook)
Club Sport participants and leaders play a significant role within the George Mason University community and as a result serve as representatives of the University in all their functions both on- and off-campus. Accordingly, Clubs Sports organizations and individuals are held to a high standard of conduct. Club officers should ensure that their clubs’ membership adheres to policies and procedures set forth by the Club Sports program through the Club Sports Handbook, Mason Recreation, University Life, and the University. Individuals should always conduct themselves in a matter that does not detract from the image of the University.
Clubs or club members that fail to adhere to the appropriate standard of conduct will face sanctions determined by the Competitive Sports staff and/or ECCS. Severe cases of misconduct and violations of the University’s Code of Student Conduct will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct (OSC).
ECCS – Judicial Board
The Executive Council of Club Sports Judicial Board was organized to provide the club sport leadership community an opportunity to serve the University through the resolution of cases involving alleged violations of the Club Sports Handbook. The Club Sports Handbook establishes the behavioral expectations for the Mason Club Sports community and is important for maintaining the safety and well-being of the Mason nation. The ECCS – Judicial Board serves as the student hearing panel within the Club Sport program and provides students an opportunity to have their case heard by their peers. The ECCS – Judicial Board retains the responsibility and the authority to:
- Resolve allegations of misconduct
- Hear and make recommendations on club disciplinary issues
- Assist clubs that may be struggling or need guidance
- Determine whether a student or organization is responsible for a violation of the Club Sports Handbook
- Any and all matters deemed appropriate
The ECCS – Judicial Board may be comprised of both graduate and undergraduate students and has jurisdiction over violations of all Club Sport policies. This group adjudicates a wide variety of incidents, from failure to comply with an official Club Sport directive to violations that cannot be resolved internally within a club’s administrative structure. The ECCS – Judicial Board receives guidance and information throughout the resolution process by a Hearing Facilitator from the Office of Competitive Sports – Recreation.
“Act of Misconduct” means any behavior that is specified in Appendix 1.
“Administrative Hearing” means a hearing in which allegations of violations of the Club Sports Handbook by a respondent are presented to a hearing officer to determine whether the respondent is responsible.
“Advisor” means one other person who may accompany a complainant or respondent (at their own choosing and cost) to any proceeding in the conduct process. An advisor may consult with a student but may not speak on the party’s behalf.
“Appeal Officer” means an employee designated by the Office of Competitive Sports to resolve an appeal.
“ECCS Judicial Board” means a panel of University students designated by the Office of Competitive Sports to facilitate an ECCS hearing.
“Hearing Facilitator” means a staff member who advises the process of an ECCS hearing. Facilitators are present to clarify information, to ensure fairness, and to maintain an orderly process.
“Judicial Chair” means the chairperson of the ECCS – Judicial Board.
“ECCS Hearing” means a hearing in which allegations of violations of the Club Sport handbook or club policies by a respondent are presented to the ECCS Judicial Board to determine whether the respondent is responsible.
“CSC” means this Code of Student Conduct.
“Complainant” means a person who alleges that a violation of the CSC or Club Sport Handbook has occurred and provides that allegation to the Office of Student Conduct.
“Days” means business days that the University is open and operating, whether or not classes are in session.
“Hearing Officer” means a person, typically an employee, designated by the Office of Student Conduct to conduct and hear an administrative hearing.
“Hearing Facilitator” means a staff member who assists the hearing officer or board during the hearing and resolution process.
“Hold” means a temporary or permanent status on a student’s educational records that prevents a student from being able to register for classes, change registrations, obtain transcripts, receive a diploma, or perform other services.
“No Contact Order” means an order which prohibits a student from having any communication with another person or persons by any means, including, but not limited to, comments, words, gestures, texts, email, written notes, letters, social networking sites, or by having others act on the student’s behalf.
“Pre-Hearing Meeting or Conference” means a meeting with a professional staff member of the Office of Competitive Sports to discuss the Club Sports Handbook and other disciplinary procedures prior to the start of a hearing.
“Referral” means information received or obtained by the Office of Competitive Sports regarding an incident or student behavior.
“Respondent” means a student or student organization that is alleged to have violated the CSC or Club Sport policies or procedures.
“Sanction(s)” means a mandated program, activity, or restriction imposed by the University as a result of being found responsible for an Act of Misconduct.
“Student” means undergraduate, graduate and professional students who are currently enrolled, or who are not currently enrolled but have a continuing relationship with the University.
“Student Conduct Record” means a record maintained by the Office of Student Conduct when a student has been found responsible for a violation of the CSC.
“Student Organization” means a student organization or group of students that is recognized by the University or has completed the University organization registration process or has a continuing relationship with the University.
“Student Organization Headquarters” means any student organization’s “house”, or any office space on or off campus, leased, owned, licensed or controlled by the student organization.
“Student Organization Residence” means any dwelling where two or more members of a Student Organization: 1) live currently; 2) have lived in the past year, even if at separate times 3 or prior to membership; 3) are listed on the deed or lease at any time in the past year; 4) receive mail or deliveries at the dwelling; or 5) have hosted events or conducted organizational business at the dwelling.
“University Premises” means all property owned, controlled, or used by George Mason University, including but not limited to all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of, owned, used, leased, licensed, managed, or controlled by the University (including adjacent streets and sidewalks).
“Witness” means a person who has relevant information about an incident and who attends a hearing to share information about a particular incident. Character witnesses will not be considered in any conduct process. The role of a witness in Sexual Misconduct proceedings is further described in University Policy 1202.
The Office of Competitive Sports has authority over all disciplinary matters related to club sport and organizational matters.
Procedural Rights and Obligations of the Respondent
- Respondents must represent themselves throughout the conduct process and at conduct proceedings.
- A respondent, at the respondent’s own expense, may be accompanied at any time during the conduct process by one advisor of the respondent’s choosing. The advisor may be an attorney. The advisor may only consult with the respondent and may not participate in, speak, or be heard, in connection with the hearing. Advisors may not participate in a hearing as witnesses. If a respondent needs assistance in finding an advisor, the respondent should contact the Office of Competitive Sports or their assigned hearing officer for more information. University employees may serve as advisors at no cost to the student.
- The respondent has the right to be present at the administrative hearing or ECCS hearing; however, if the respondent does not attend the administrative hearing or ECCS Hearing, the hearing may go forward in the absence of the respondent.
- In any administrative hearing or ECCS hearing, the respondent is entitled to be informed in advance of the basis for the alleged violation(s).
General Provisions (Cs)
- The CSC applies to all students.
- Graduate and professional students may also be subject to additional requirements and procedures relating to non-academic behavior, and are responsible for being aware of such at all times.
- Students are responsible for their conduct at all times, including conduct occurring during the academic year, between academic terms, during periods of nonenrollment, before classes begin and after classes end, and during periods of suspension.
- Students are responsible for misconduct regardless of whether the Act of Misconduct occurred on University premises or elsewhere.
- Students are responsible for misconduct while a student, even if such conduct is discovered after their status as a student has ended. Conduct charges may be brought subsequent to a student’s graduation or separation from the University, if the alleged misconduct occurred while a student, irrespective of the time lapse between the violation and the report of the violation.
- This Code shall also apply to a student’s conduct if the student withdraws from the University while a disciplinary matter is pending. The University may proceed with the student conduct process after a student has withdrawn or is no longer enrolled.
- This procedure does not apply to alleged acts of sexual misconduct in violation of University Policy 1202. Allegations of sexual misconduct or other violations of University Policy 1202 are handled through the procedures described in the appendices to University Policy 1202.
- The CSC applies to all student organizations.
- A student organization shall be responsible for the conduct of its members as described below in 2(c) at all times regardless of location, including conduct occurring during the academic year, between academic terms, during periods of non-enrollment, before classes begin and after classes end, and during periods of suspension or dismissal. The CSC applies to student organizations even if the student organization disbands while a disciplinary matter is pending.
- A student organization shall be responsible for the actions or inactions of its members if one or more of the following apply:
- Such action or inaction was done on behalf of the student organization;
- Such action or inaction was sanctioned by an officer of the student organization;
- Student organization funds were used for financing such action or inaction;
- Such action or inaction was supported by a majority of the student organization’s membership;
- The action or inaction was committed by individual members or guests of the student organization acting in the capacity as members or guests of the student organization;
- The action or inaction was committed by the student organization and was not the actions or inaction of the individual members;
- Such action or inaction occurred during or as a result of a student organization sponsored function; or
- Such action or inaction occurred at a student organization residence or student organization headquarters.
- A student organization shall be represented in hearings by its president or equivalent representative.
- Student officers or leaders cannot knowingly permit, condone, or be complicit in any violation of the CSC or Club Sport policies by the organization or individual members. Officers, leaders, or other members may be held accountable to the CSC and Club Sports Handbook as individual students, as well as the organization as a whole.
The Club Sports handbook and organizational constitutions (bylaws) apply to all matters related to participation in Club Sports. The University, at its discretion, may pursue disciplinary action against a student or student organization while the student or student organization is also subject to criminal proceedings, even if such criminal charges are pending, reduced, or dismissed.
Each student and club sport organization is responsible at all times for knowing and complying with all provisions of the CSC and Club Sports Handbook, as it is subject to change at any time.
Notice by Email
Any written notice in the CSC or Club Sports Handbook may be provided to a student’s or student organization’s official University email account. Such notice shall be deemed actually received by such student or student organization on the day it is sent.
The headings in the CSC and Club Sports Handbook are for convenience of reference only, and should not be interpreted to limit or otherwise affect interpretation of the CSC or Club Sports Handbook.
Student Conduct Hearing Process
Any person may refer a possible Act of Misconduct by a student or student organization. The referral must be written and provided to the Office of Competitive Sports. All referrals should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place. Each referral must include:
- The name of student(s) referred if known;
- A description of the conduct alleged to violate the Club Sport Handbook, constitution/bylaws, or Student Code of Conduct;
- The name of the complaining individual;
- The date the alleged violation occurred; and
- The date of the referral.
Referrals may be emailed to email@example.com
Upon receipt of a referral, the Office of Competitive Sports and the ECCS Judicial Board will review the referral to determine whether there is enough information present to proceed. If there is insufficient information to substantiate the referral, or if it fails to allege an actual violation of club sport or organizational policies, additional information may be requested, or the referral will be dismissed.
- If a complainant serves as a witness in a hearing, the complainant may be accompanied by an advisor of the complainant’s own choosing, and at the complainant’s own expense.
- In certain circumstances a complainant may not be entitled to attend the entire hearing.
Charges and Notice
- If there is enough information to proceed, a hearing facilitator or a staff member in Mason Recreation – Competitive Sports will work with the ECCS Judicial Board to determine the charges against the respondent.
- The ECCS Judicial Chair will send the respondent a written notice including the following:
- A link to the Club Sport Handbook or any relevant policies;
- The provisions of the Club Sport Handbook or relevant which the respondent is alleged to have violated;
- The date(s) if known, of the alleged violation;
- The date, time and location of the scheduled conduct hearing; and
- A statement that the respondent may obtain a copy of the written referral and other information related to the charges by emailing a request to the hearing officer who wrote the notice.
At any time before the Administrative Hearing or ECCS Hearing date, respondents (and when necessary, the complainant) may challenge the objectivity or fairness of the assigned Hearing Facilitator, or ECCS member or members, by notifying the Director of Recreation or designee. The decision of the Director or designee will be final. The respondent or complainant can request the names of the Hearing facilitator or ECCS Members by submitting a request in writing to the Office of Competitive Sports.
Selection of ECCS Judicial Board
- The University, in its discretion, may assign any case to be heard by ECCS. The University will ultimately decide the resolution process for a referral including an ECCS hearing or administrative hearing.
- If it is not possible to assemble an ECCS Board with 3 or more members on the scheduled date of the hearing, the respondent may consent to proceed with a 2-member ECCS, provided that the respondent provides such consent in writing to the Office of Competitive Sports prior to the ECCS hearing. If the respondent does not consent, then the ECCS hearing will be rescheduled, or, at the election of the Office of Competitive Sports, the case will be heard in an administrative hearing.
- ECCS hearings are subject to student availability (which may be limited at times such as during final exams, summer sessions, or when classes are not in session). If an insufficient number of ECCS members are available to hear charges against a respondent, the University may elect to postpone the ECCS Hearing, or have the case resolved in an administrative hearing.
The respondent and complainant may elect to have a pre-hearing conference with a representative of the Office of Competitive Sports, at any time before the scheduled hearing. At a pre-hearing conference, the parties may ask questions about the ECCS case resolution process.
Effort will be made for administrative hearings and board hearings to be concluded within 30 days following notification to the respondent, but may be scheduled at a later date, in the discretion of the University, or if requested by the respondent. In general, requests to postpone an administrative hearing or a board hearing will be granted only for an academic or medical reason. The University will ultimately determine scheduling.
At any time, a respondent may choose to accept responsibility for the charges. In such case, the hearing facilitator will determine sanctions, or in the case of a board hearing, the board will recommend sanctions to the Office of Competitive Sports, which will determine sanctions.
Information Prior to Hearing
Respondents may request access to written information for use at a hearing, subject to University policy and state and federal law. Access will be provided to materials in advance of a hearing upon written request to the Office of Competitive Sports to the extent permitted. Requested information may be redacted, in the discretion of the University, in order to prevent identification in cases where retaliation or safety is a concern.
Process for Parties to Present Information at Hearing
If the complainant or respondent wish to present information (either in the form of documents or witnesses) at the hearing, they must follow the following procedure. Failure to follow this procedure will result in the party being unable to present the information at the hearing.
- Five days prior to the hearing, the complainant and respondent shall provide to the Office of Competitive Sports and ECCS any documents and/or witnesses they would like to present at the hearing. For any witness, the party must also at that time provide a witness statement providing the witness’s testimony. The Office of Competitive Sports shall send each party the documents and witness statements provided by the other party.
- Two days prior to the hearing the complainant and respondent shall provide the Office of Competitive Sports and ECCS any documents and/or witnesses they would like to present in rebuttal to documents or witnesses the other party intends to offer. For any witness, the party must also at that time provide a witness statement providing the witness’s testimony. For each rebuttal witness and document, the party offering it must identify the information they intended to rebut. The Office of Student Conduct may decide to exclude any material submitted that is not rebuttal information. The Office of Competitive Sports shall send each party the documents and witness statements provided by the other party. Rebuttal information may be submitted once per hearing.
Hearing Officers and ECCS Judicial Board
- Administrative hearings shall be heard by a hearing officer, and ECCS hearings shall be heard by a Judicial Board comprised of 3-5 members of the ECCS.
- Hearings under the Office of Competitive Sports and ECCS are administrative proceedings, not criminal or civil trials. Formal rules of evidence that would apply in a trial do not apply in a hearing. The hearing facilitator or ECCS judicial chair has discretion to interpret Club Sport and organizational policies to promote a fair decision.
Duties of Hearing Officer or ECCS Judicial Chair
- In an administrative hearing, the hearing officer is responsible for managing hearing scheduling and logistics. In an ECCS hearing, the Office of Competitive Sports is responsible for managing hearing scheduling and logistics.
- The hearing officer or ECCS judicial chair shall conduct the hearing. The hearing officer or ECCS judicial chair is authorized to maintain order in the hearing, and may remove any participant, including advisors and witnesses, from the hearing. Failure to comply with the instructions of the hearing officer or ECCS judicial chair is a violation of the club sport policy and the CSC and may result in disciplinary action.
- The hearing officer/facilitator or ECCS judicial chair has the authority to decide whether information presented is relevant. Information is relevant if it makes a fact in question more or less likely to be true.
- The hearing officer or ECCS judicial chair (or facilitator) speaks for the body in all exchanges with advisors, the respondent, complainants (if any), and witnesses; controls the proceedings and maintains order; instructs persons at the hearing on procedures; declares the rulings and orders; ensures proper completion and filing of all papers; and performs other duties as necessary.
- The hearing officer or ECCS judicial board members may examine all information presented at the hearing, and may also ask for additional information from the respondent, witnesses, complainants, or the University. If necessary, the hearing officer or ECCS judicial chair may continue the hearing or schedule additional hearings to allow for the opportunity to review additional information.
ECCS Board Composition
ECCS hearings shall be composed of three (3) to five (5) students selected and trained by the Office of Competitive Sports. ECCS Judicial Board members who have a conflict of interest should disqualify themselves from the board. One ECCS member shall be appointed by the Coordinator of Competitive Sports, or designee, to serve as ECCS Judicial Chair for that hearing.
ECCS Hearing Facilitator
The Coordinator of Competitive Sports or designee shall serve as a facilitator to each ECCS hearing, and may attend and advise the ECCS judicial board at all ECCS Hearings. The facilitator may ask questions at the ECCS Hearing.
The purpose of an appeal is to ensure all parties that the original findings of fact, the reasoned integration of them, and the imposition of sanctions or other solutions are consistent with University policies and procedures. An appeal is not a rehearing. It is a written review of the original hearing.
If an individual or organization wishes to appeal a decision, they must submit a written appeal outlining the individual(s) or club’s rationale for the appeal and any supporting information within 5 business days of receiving sanction(s) notification from the ECCS to the Associate Director of Programs, Well-Being, and Assessment. Please be sure to include all new and significant information on the form or in an attachment within five business days from the date of the decision. Requests for an appeal will only be considered for one or more of the following:
- The discovery of new and material information that was unavailable at the time of the hearing that, had it been available, it would likely have resulted in a different outcome of either the findings or sanctions. Information is unavailable if it was not known or could not have been discovered by the party through the exercise of reasonable diligence prior to the hearing. A witness or party failing to appear at the hearing is not valid grounds for an appeal.
- Material procedural irregularity in any part of the hearing process that had a material and significant impact on the outcome of the process.
- Bias of the hearing officer or a ECCS member or members, for reasons other than the stated rationale for the decision. or
- Severity of sanction(s).
Discontentment with a finding is never a valid reason for an appeal. It is the sole responsibility of the Club Sport to provide information to support the grounds for an appeal.
Link to Submit an Appeal: https://cglink.me/2d7/s81652
Once received, the appeal will be assigned to an “appeal officer,” typically the Associate Director of Programs, Wellness, & Assessment. The appeal officer will first determine if the student or student organization has grounds for appeal based on the criteria above. It is the sole responsibility of the appealing student to provide information to support the grounds for an appeal.
If there are grounds for an appeal, the appeal officer may:
- affirm the original decision
- remand the case for a new hearing
- modify the findings
- modify the sanctions; or
- modify both the findings & sanctions
Students who file an appeal will typically be notified of the decision within ten (10) days of the appeal review. However, the ECCS and Club Sports Office reserves the right to extend this timeline as needed to complete the appeal. Students have the opportunity to submit one appeal per conduct case.
The decision of the Appeal Officer is final.
Per the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 USC § 1232g, students have the right of privacy of their educational records. These records include, but are not limited to, records maintained by the Office of Competitive Sports and the Office of Student Conduct. Only with proper signed release are these records available to those other than the student, or as allowed by amendments to FERPA. A copy of the release can be found here: Privacy Waiver
The procedure observed by the ECCS – Judicial Board closely resembles the following:
Each party will have an opportunity to present a narrative statement, beginning with the complainant. The complainant will be represented by the university and will present pertinent information, including any relevant documentation. The respondent, followed by the board, will then have an opportunity to ask clarifying questions. The responding party will represent him/herself and present pertinent information, including any relevant documentation. The complainant, followed by the board, will then have an opportunity to ask clarifying questions. Following this, each party will have an opportunity to present relevant witnesses to supplement the narrative account. Questioning of witnesses will follow.
When both parties have presented their case, each will be allowed a closing statement, beginning with the responding student. All parties will then be dismissed while the board deliberates. If the student is found responsible for the violation(s), the board will solicit a sanction recommendation from each party before offering a sanction recommendation to the Office of Club Sports – Recreation.
Following the hearing, the student will receive an email (to their GMU email account) decision letter indicating whether or not they have been found responsible or not responsible. If the student has been found “not responsible,” the charges will be dismissed. When a student has been found “responsible,” the decision letter will detail any sanctions the student is then responsible for completing, as well as the date by which completion is required.
Upon receipt of the decision letter, students are afforded the opportunity to appeal the original decision. It is important to note that a responding student may request an appeal only if one or more of the following conditions is present: new and substantial information not available at the hearing which, had it been available, would likely result in a different finding; substantial procedural irregularity; hearing officer bias and; severity of sanction(s).