Procedures for Institutional Disciplinary Action

If the respondent is a Nicholls State student, complainants are encouraged to file a formal complaint with the Office of Conduct and Accountability.  If the respondent is a Nicholls State employee, complainants are encouraged to file a formal complaint with Human Resources or the Title IX Coordinator.  Individuals are not required to file a police report or pursue criminal charges in order to pursue a formal complaint with Conduct and Accountability or Human Resources.  Mediation through informal resolution or other means is never appropriate in sexual misconduct or relationship violence cases, but may be pursued in sexual harassment cases. 

The Student Policy and Procedure Manual/Standards of Conduct and the University Employee Policy and Procedure Manual are both designed to provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution.  All hearings are conducted by members of the Nicholls State community who receive annual training on issues related to relationship violence, sexual assault, and stalking as well as how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of complainants and promotes accountability.

The primary adjudicator at Nicholls State when the respondent is a student is the Director of Conduct and Accountability, Dr. Tommy Ponson (985-448-4525).  This individual also determines sanctions in cases that do not go through the Discipline Committee and recommends sanctions for cases that do.    The primary adjudicator who also determines sanctions at Nicholls when the respondent is an employee is the Director of Human Resources, Mr. Steven Kenney (985-448-4041) or Compliance Officer in Human Resources, Ms. Patti Rasberry (985-448-4050). Should either the complainant or the respondent feel that any of the individuals involved in this process present a potential conflict of interest should provide a written statement to the primary adjudicator within 10 work days of the hearing. If the conflict of interest is with the adjudicator him/herself, the written request should be presented to the Title IX Coordinator or Dean of Students. 

During any disciplinary proceedings the complainant and respondent are required to have an advisor present.  In the event that either or both do not have an advisor, one must be appointed by the University.  However, the advisors will not be allowed to directly participate in the process by addressing or being addressed by the primary adjudicator or the committee members, witnesses, or the other party.

Both the complainant and the respondent shall be notified of any scheduled hearing.  Both parties shall have the opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence.  Note that questions or evidence about the complainant’s prior sexual conduct with anyone other than the respondent is prohibited.  Additionally, Evidence of prior consensual dating or sexual relationship between the parties by itself does not imply consent or preclude a finding of sexual misconduct. During any hearing proceeding, complainant and respondent shall not be allowed to directly question, examine, or cross examine each other. A full list of complainants’ rights and respondents’ due process rights can be found in the Student Policy and Procedure Manual: Standards of Conduct and the University Policy and Procedure Manual.

Both the complainant and the respondent will simultaneously be informed in writing of the outcome of the disciplinary proceeding within 10 business days; the procedures for the respondent and the complainant to appeal the results; any change in the results that occurs prior to the time results become final; and when the results become final.  The institution will not require either party to abide by a nondisclosure agreement, in writing or otherwise.

The standard of evidence used in institutions of higher education is different from the criminal justice system.  Nicholls State University shall use the Preponderance of the Evidence standard (more likely than not that the respondent is responsible or is not responsible)d.

Sanctions for students found responsible include but are not limited to restricted access to campus activities and organizations, restrictions from residence halls, community service, rehabilitative education, suspension, and expulsion.  The final level of sanctions imposed will be consistent with the severity of the violation and the respondent’s past violations of the policies.  Similarly, sanctions for employees found responsible for violating University policy include but are not limited to letters of reprimand, restricted access to campus events, suspension, and termination.  Additionally, the adjudication process may result in accommodations or situational remedies for the complainant and respondent and/or remedies for the broader campus community.

Both parties may choose to appeal the final decision.  Detailed explanations of procedures related to appeals

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