Accountability Procedure (2022-2023 academic year)
Copied below is the 2022-23 academic year version of the Accountability Procedure, which rules are applicable to reports occurring on or after August 15, 2022.
For any incidents that occurred before August 15, 2022, please use the 2021-2022 Code of Student Life.
Section 1: Purpose
The University of Iowa’s Student Accountability Procedure is designed to provide a process to investigate and resolve alleged violations of University policies by students. This procedure is intended to be an educational process and is not a substitute for the civil or criminal court system. Rather, the Student Accountability Procedure provides a mechanism for the University to determine if University rules have been violated and act in accordance with the findings.
This procedure will provide all students:
- A summary of the allegations made against you and the corresponding policies you are alleged to have violated.
- The opportunity to have a support-person present with you, which may be an attorney provided at your own cost, if you wish.
- The opportunity to present your account to a neutral investigator who starts with the assumption that you are not responsible for the alleged behavior.
- The opportunity to request a review of evidence used to make a decision.
- The understanding that decisions regarding your responsibility will be made by the preponderance of the evidence standard, also known as the “more likely than not” standard.
- The opportunity to appeal the final decision and the sanctions imposed, if applicable.
Section 2: Reports
The following process shall apply to the Code of Student Life.
The University may learn of possible misconduct from any person, law enforcement agency, or a unit/department of the University. The report will ordinarily be in writing but can be received verbally as well. Online reports may also be submitted anonymously through the Dean of Students reporting form. Reporting anonymously may, however, limit the University’s ability to respond.
When a report is received:
Upon receiving the report, the Office of Student Accountability will consider the nature of the incident or report, the evidence available, and the parties involved. After a report is received, the Office of Student Accountability may:
- Make a determination that there is not sufficient evidence available to pursue an investigation (i.e. we cannot determine the identity of the allegedly responsible party);
- Determine that the behavior alleged would not violate the Code of Student Life if it occurred as reported (i.e. protected speech/expression, or allegations of behavior that falls outside of the jurisdiction of the Office of Student Accountability);
- Refer the matter to another University unit/department; or
- Proceed with an investigation.
Reports that involve any allegations of sexual misconduct, domestic or dating violence, stalking, harassment, bias, discrimination, equity or free speech will be forwarded to the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE).
Most reports occurring in the University Residence Halls will be referred to and adjudicated by Residence Education. If a student violates policies, rules, or regulations within University of Iowa Housing and Dining facilities, they are generally subject to the procedures followed by University Housing and Dining. However, the Director of OSA has the discretion to retain the matter within the Office of Student Accountability.
Reports involving alleged violations of other University policies (for example, the Human Rights Policy and the Anti-Harassment Policy) may be referred to the appropriate University office(s) for investigation and/or adjudication.
Reports of most other misconduct will ordinarily be handled by the Office of Student Accountability (OSA).
The Office of Student Accountability may impose sanctions on students under this procedure for violations of any university policy, even if the Office of Student Accountability did not investigate the allegation.
Section 3: Standard of Evidence
The standard of evidence used for cases investigated using the Student Accountability Procedure is a “preponderance of the evidence.” If the investigator determines that it is more likely than not that no policy violation occurred, the report will be dismissed. If the investigator determines that it is more likely than not that one or more University policies were violated, a sanction or sanctions may be imposed.
Section 4: Interim Measures
Pending the completion of an investigation and issuance of a report, a Responding Student may be subjected to any measure set forth in this Student Accountability Procedure, other than expulsion or restitution/fines, on an interim basis. The investigator or Director of Student Accountability will base an interim measure decision on evidence available at the time the interim measure is imposed. In cases where suspension is being considered as an interim measure, the Director of Student Accountability will consider whether the student’s continued presence at the University pending the outcome of the investigation creates a continuing danger to persons or property or constitutes an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process.
Within ten (10) University business days after an interim measure is imposed, a request may be made in writing to the Director of Student Accountability to review and reconsider the interim measure by following the procedures outlined in Subsection 5.
In situations where an investigation will take an extended length of time, and when serious interim measures are imposed against a Responding Student (i.e., interim suspension, interim building ban, interim housing contract cancellation, or interim housing transfer), the interim measure(s) will be continuously reassessed by the investigators based on available information. A Responding Student may request that the investigator reconsider serious interim measures at any time.
In circumstances where there is a Reporting Party for a case, the Director of Student Accountability will notify the Reporting Party of a Respondent’s request to reconsider or modify measures that directly impact the Reporting Party.
Section 5: Interim Measure Appeals
Within ten (10) University business days after receipt of the notice of the interim measure(s), a request may be made in writing to the Director of Student Accountability to review and reconsider the interim measures. A student may request an extension of the deadline by emailing the Office of Student Accountability at least two (2) University business days prior to the due date of the appeal.
The appealing party must support the appeal by addressing one or more of the following grounds:
- There was significant procedural error sufficient to adversely affect the decision (e.g., lack of notice, opportunity to be heard, or opportunity to challenge information);
- The decision was not supported by substantial evidence when viewed as a whole or not appropriate in light of the allegation(s);
- The decision amounted to misapplication of the rules;
- New, substantial evidence, not reasonably available at the time the interim measure was imposed, could materially change the decision.
Section 6: Support Person(s)
Any student participating in a meeting with the Office of Student Accountability may bring up to two (2) support individuals to a meeting. The support person provides emotional support to the party and helps clarify the process. A witness in the case is not eligible to serve as a support person. One of the support individuals may be an attorney or advocate, who may ask clarifying procedural questions of the investigator or Director, but otherwise, the support individual(s) may not speak during meetings with the investigator or Director.
Section 7: Investigation Procedure
All investigations will begin when the Responding Student receives a written summary of the allegations made against them and a copy of the corresponding policies they are alleged to have violated. It is possible that the investigation may conclude during the initial meeting with an investigator. More complex matters may require the Responding Student to participate in multiple meetings with an investigator, as well as time for the investigator to review evidence and interview witnesses, as applicable. If suspension or expulsion is a possible outcome of a case due to the severity of the allegations, the student will be informed of the serious nature of the case in the letter initiating the investigation or a subsequent letter should the situation warrant it at a later date. During their meeting(s) with an investigator, all students will be provided the opportunities outlined above in subsection 1.
Students who disagree with the jurisdictional reach as defined in the Code of Student Life, Section D, may mention their disagreement to the investigator during the investigation process. The investigator will provide and document their response to the concern raised by the student in the investigation report.
Following the first meeting with the investigator, students may request to be allowed to review and respond to all evidence that will be used to make a decision regarding the allegations. All such student requests will be granted and coordinated by the Office of Student Accountability. Depending on the nature of the information, some documents may need to be redacted as a matter of law (i.e., to protect personally identifiable information).
Following an investigation through the Office of Student Accountability, the possible outcomes include:
- A decision to dismiss the allegations. The matter is then closed and documentation in the Office of Student Accountability would reflect the allegations were dismissed.
- A decision that it is more likely than not that the Responding Student violated student conduct policies. The investigator has the authority to impose sanctions, with the exception of suspension or expulsion cases as detailed in Subsection 10. If the investigator recommends suspension or expulsion as a possible outcome, the Director of the Office of Student Accountability has the authority to suspend or expel as detailed in Subsection 11.
Section 8: Impact of Criminal Charges
University investigations may be initiated against a student regarding behavior that potentially violates both criminal laws and University policy, even if a criminal investigation or court proceeding is pending. The criminal and university processes are separate and distinct; therefore, each process can be resolved according to its own individual timeline. In this section, references to criminal court may include contempt hearings for violating a court order as well as violations of any federal, state, or local law or ordinance. The investigator or Director of Student Accountability may elect to delay the resolution of a report, in whole or part, if criminal charges are pending.
If convicted in criminal court of behavior prohibited under the Code of Student Life, a student also will be charged with violating Section E.2 Criminal Conduct of the Code of Student Life and subject to disciplinary sanctions. For purposes of these procedures, a conviction includes a guilty plea, jury verdict, misconduct decision, or deferred judgment.
Due to the differences between the standard of proof used by a criminal court and the preponderance of the evidence standard used in university misconduct investigations, a student charged but not convicted of a crime is still subject to the student accountability process and may be found responsible for a policy violation. Findings and sanctions imposed under this Student Accountability Procedure shall remain in place even though criminal charges arising out of the same facts may be dismissed, reduced, expunged, or resolved in favor of the Responding Student.
Section 9: Impact of a Student Withdrawing
As detailed in the Code of Student Life, Section D (Jurisdiction), withdrawal from the University, including failure to re-enroll in a subsequent semester, does not end jurisdiction under these rules for behavior that took place while the Responding Student was considered a student as defined by the Code of Student Life.
If a student is not registered when a report is filed against them, the Director of OSA may:
- Proceed with an investigation, or
- Restrict future registration, delay investigation, and/or resolve the report at a later date when or if the student seeks to register in a university course or program.
Section 10: Investigator Resolution
After considering the relevant evidence, when an investigator determines that it is more likely than not a policy violation occurred, the investigator has the authority to impose any disciplinary sanction other than suspension or expulsion. An explanation of potential sanctions can be found in Subsection 12.
The investigator will inform the student of the decision in writing and will include a summary of the evidence considered, credibility assessments when necessary, how the evidence factored into the outcome of the case, the sanction imposed or recommended, and a rationale for each sanction imposed. In cases where there is a difference between the information provided by the Responding Student and evidence provided through other witnesses or means, the investigator will conduct a credibility analysis to determine the facts that will be used to analyze the policy.
The investigator’s decision and/or sanction imposed can be appealed through the process identified in Subsection 13.
Section 11: Suspension / Expulsion Case Resolution
In cases where an investigator determines that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred and the most likely sanction for the behavior is suspension or expulsion, the Director of the Office of Student Accountability, or their designee, has the authority to suspend or expel the Responding Student.
The investigator will complete an investigation report including a summary of the evidence considered, credibility assessments when necessary, how the evidence factored into the outcome of the case, and the rationale for possible suspension or expulsion. The investigator will send the investigation report to the Responding Student and coordinate a meeting between the Director of Student Accountability and the Responding Student.
During the Responding Student’s meeting with the Director of Student Accountability, the student will have the opportunity to share their response to the investigation report and advocate for the sanction they believe is reasonable. Following the meeting, the Director of Student Accountability will issue a sanction decision, including the rationale for the sanction(s), an explanation of how the evidence supports the sanction(s), and why the sanction(s) was/were selected over any alternative sanction(s).
Section 12: Sanctions
When it has been determined after an investigation that one or more University policies have been violated, one or more sanctions may be imposed.
Sanctions will vary based upon the facts and circumstances of the specific violation(s). Sanctions are usually progressive in nature and include the probability of more serious sanctions if the student is found responsible for multiple violations of the Code of Student Life or other policies.
Most alcohol offenses and possession of cannabis under ten (10) grams may be sanctioned through a disciplinary reprimand, appropriate educational sanction, notification to a parent if the student is a minor, and participation in the Critical MASS program (see minimum sanctions for alcohol and drug violations in the Policy Regarding Use of Illegal Drugs and Alcohol).
Students who fail to comply with a sanction in a timely manner may be subject to additional disciplinary action, which may include a hold on the student’s ability to register for classes until compliance is achieved. The Director of Student Accountability has the authority to take such additional action in cases of non-compliance arising out of reports resolved by an investigator or another University department, such as University Housing & Dining.
In the event that a student fails to comply with a sanction and the Director of Student Accountability has decided to bar registration, the student will be notified of the apparent failure to comply, the Director of Student Accountability’s intent to place a hold on their ability to register for classes, and provided an opportunity to meet personally with the Director of Student Accountability and explain the circumstances prior to a final decision being issued by the Director. A student whose registration is barred for failing to comply with a sanction may appeal the Director of Student Accountability’s decision through the process identified in Subsection 13.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of potential sanctions that may be imposed individually or in combination:
Status Sanctions: Sanctions that impact a student’s status with the university, ranging from a Disciplinary Reprimand to Expulsion.
A. Disciplinary Reprimand: A written warning to the student explaining that the student's violation of university policy requires an official record to be kept in the Office of Student Accountability. A subsequent University policy violation following a Disciplinary Reprimand may result in the imposition of more serious sanctions. Students who have received a disciplinary reprimand may automatically have their sanction removed from their record. In order to be eligible to have the sanction removed, the student must meet the following criteria:
- It has been at least 12 months since the behavior occurred.
- The student has not been found responsible for any additional Code of Student or other policy violations, including any alcohol or drug related offenses, on or off campus in the past 12 months.
- The student completed all sanctions required by the University and, if applicable, actions required by courts having jurisdiction over the matter.
B. Disciplinary Probation: A written acknowledgement of a violation of university policy. The student may remain enrolled at the university only on the condition that the student complies with university policies including the Code of Student Life, and any other sanctions or restrictions on privileges, for a specified amount of time. Probation will typically last for the semester in which probation is imposed, plus two additional semesters, which will not include summer or winter terms. Probation duration will be based on the nature and circumstances of the incident(s), with less serious circumstances generally resulting in a shorter probation duration.
Students with disciplinary probation status are not considered to be in good standing with respect to the non-academic disciplinary system for the designated period of time. Students who violate university policy during the probationary period may receive more serious disciplinary sanctions, including the possibility of suspension or expulsion.
Once the designated probation period of time has elapsed, the student will again be considered in good standing. A record of the disciplinary probation sanction will be kept in the Office of Student Accountability in compliance with the university’s regular record retention schedule.
Students who are placed on disciplinary probation may be ineligible for certain campus jobs, leadership positions, or other academic opportunities, such as study abroad.
C. Disciplinary Suspension: Involuntarily separation from the University for a period of time after which readmission is possible. Conditions for return may be specified. The Director of Student Accountability may be required to approve any request for readmission.
D. Expulsion: Permanent separation from the University and all other Board of Regents, State of Iowa, institutions.
Restorative Sanctions: Sanctions that are intended to reestablish a student’s standing at the university. These sanctions are intended to be educational in nature and address the nature of the misconduct.
E. Student Wellness Sanctions: Students found responsible for alcohol and other drug violations may be required to complete alcohol and/or drug education. This education could be facilitated by Student Wellness or another local agency in the community. The student is responsible for the cost of completing this requirement.
F. Restitution and/or Fine: A student may be assessed reasonable expenses related to the misconduct. This may include, but is not limited to, the repair/replacement cost for any damage they caused to University property. In addition, University Housing & Dining may impose fines on students who are found responsible for violating alcohol or drug policies. In these instances, the fines are used to help pay for the student’s alcohol and/or drug education and for alcohol alternative events.
G. Educational Sanctions: A student may be required to provide an identified service or participate in a particular program, receive specific instruction, or complete a research assignment. The student may be responsible for the cost of completing this requirement.
Denial of Privileges: Sanctions that involve restricting a student’s involvement in a campus activity, academic course, or program as result of being found responsible for misconduct.
H. No-Contact Directive: A student may be prohibited from contacting a student, employee, or visitor to campus in any manner at any time. Such prohibition may be in effect for a specific or an indefinite period of time, and may be imposed on an interim or final basis.
I. University Housing Transfer or Contract Cancellation: A student may be involuntarily transferred within, between, or removed from, University housing or residence halls. The student may also be prohibited from entering any or all University housing or residence halls, including reapplying for future university housing accommodations. Conditions for readmission may be specified.
J. Building Prohibition: A student may be prohibited from entering a specific building or set of buildings. This prohibition may be in effect for a specific or an indefinite amount of time and may be imposed on an interim or final basis.
K. Campus Prohibition: A student may be prohibited from entering the University of Iowa campus. This prohibition may be in effect for a specific or indefinite amount of time, and typically is a component of suspension or expulsion sanctions.
Section 13: Appeal Procedure
In all cases, a student may appeal the decision of an investigator and/or the sanction imposed. The appeal must be in writing and filed with the Office of Student Accountability within ten (10) University business days following notification of the investigation decision or sanction imposed, whichever is later. The appeal form can be found here.
A student may request an extension of the appeal filing deadline by emailing the Office of Student Accountability at least two (2) University business days prior to the due date of the appeal and providing an explanation for the request.
The appealing party must support the appeal by addressing one or more of the following grounds.
- There was significant procedural error that materially affected the outcome (e.g., lack of notice, opportunity to be heard, or opportunity to challenge information);
- The decision was not supported by substantial evidence when viewed as a whole;
- The decision amounted to misapplication of the rules;
- The sanction imposed was not appropriate in light of the policy violation(s);
- New, substantial evidence, not reasonably available at the time of the investigation or sanctioning, could materially change the decision.
The Director of Student Accountability will send an acknowledgement of receipt of the appeal to the student, generally within two (2) University business days.
The Director of Student Accountability will transmit the student’s appeal and the record to the appropriate University office within two (2) University business days. Appeals of cases that involve suspension or expulsion are heard by the Office of the Provost. Appeals of all other cases (including deferred sanctions) are heard by the Office of the Vice President for Student Life. Sanctions imposed by the investigator or Director of Student Accountability will remain in effect while the appeal is being considered, unless otherwise noted.
The appeal officer will review the student’s written appeal and the case record, which includes investigator notes and evidence collected. The appeal officer will not meet with the student or witnesses, or engage in further investigation with respect to the allegations.
The appeal officer will transmit a written decision on the appeal to the Director of Student Accountability within ten (10) University business days from when the record was received by the appeal officer. The Director will circulate the decision on appeal within two (2) University business days after receipt of the decision.
The decision made by the Office of the Provost or the Vice President for Student Life on appeal is the final university decision on the matter. The student may appeal the University’s final decision to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, subject to its policies, procedures, and deadlines. The University’s final decision letter will provide a hyper-link to the appeal procedures for the Board of Regents. Any sanctions imposed will remain in effect until the Board of Regents appeal process has been completed.
Section 14: Withdrawal of Enrollment, Transcript Notations and Registration Holds
A Responding Student whose case could result in suspension or expulsion, either due to the severe nature of the allegations or a prior misconduct record, shall not withdraw their current enrollment without the permission of the Office of Student Accountability. Should a student withdraw without permission while an investigation is occurring that could result in suspension or expulsion, including failing to re-enroll for a subsequent academic semester, the Office of Student Accountability will place a notation on the student’s transcript stating “Withdrew After Disciplinary Complaint Was Filed.” The notation will remain on the student’s transcript until they elect to return to the University of Iowa and complete the process.
When a student is suspended, the transcript notation will read: “Non-Academic Misconduct – Suspension from (semester) to (semester).” The notation will remain on the student’s transcript until one of the following occurs: (1) the suspension is overturned on appeal; or (2) completion of the suspension period and, when appropriate, the Office of Student Accountability receives evidence that the student has met all requirements for other imposed sanctions.
When a student is expelled, the transcript notation will read: “Non-Academic Misconduct – Expulsion.” The notation will remain on the student’s transcript unless the expulsion is overturned on appeal.
The Office of Student Accountability may place a hold on a student’s ability to register if any of the following occurs:
- The student fails to meet with an OSA staff member after receiving correspondence by email and a phone call or text reminder.
- A report is received by OSA involving a student who is not currently registered, but is still considered a student as outlined in the Section D of the Code of Student Life.
- A student fails to complete a sanction required by the Office of Student Accountability or University Housing & Dining.
The Office of Student Accountability may place a hold on the conferral of a graduate or undergraduate degree until the student accountability process is completed and all sanctions, if applicable, have been satisfactorily completed, even if the student has satisfied all academic requirements for the degree.