CON Guidelines For Suspected Breach of Professional Behavior

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UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER
COLLEGE OF NURSING
Guidelines for Suspected Breach of Professional Behavior: Procedure Subsection: Appendix K
Appendix - Appendices Originating Date: June 2020
Responsible Reviewing Agency:
Undergraduate Admission, Progression, Graduation and Scholarship/Grant Committee
Professional Graduate Nursing Affairs Committee
General Faculty Organization
Revised: May 2021
Related documents:
Policy 4.1.4a


Procedure Definitions:

  • University Day: Various deadlines are stated in days. The term “University Day” means a week day during which the campus offices are open. Check the academic calendar on the campus website to determine the days during which the campus offices are closed. [link to calendar]
  • E-mail Address of Record: The “e-mail address of record.” means the student’s University assigned e-mail address. Because important notices may be sent to students by e-mail, it is extremely important that students make sure they check that email regularly. Delivery Receipt with University email is confirmation of the email being received and will be considered as the official date of delivery. A request for Read receipt will not be the date recognized in planning.
  • CON Conduct Officer: a CON program director or designee of the program the student is enrolled in. The CON Conduct Officer has the authority to hear and resolve allegations that a student violated the Standards and if the CON Officer determines that a violation occurred, for determining the University's response. The CON Conduct Officer has the authority to grant extensions of no more than sixty (60) university days per extension if the CON Hearing Officer applies in writing for an extension within the first thirty (30) university day period due to circumstances that exist and warrant an extension of time. More than one extension can be granted. CON Conduct Officer keeps the Dean, Associate Dean of Academic Programs, Division Assistant Dean informed as appropriate.
  • CON Hearing Board: is made up of 3 faculty drawn from a pool of 15 elected faculty (Disciplinary Appeals Committee) . The CON Hearing Board also includes 2 students to create a 5-member committee titled as the Disciplinary CON Hearing Board (DHB)
  • CON Hearing Officer: this individual is a faculty member of the CON Hearing Board and is elected to chair the hearing by a majority vote the 5 CON Hearing Board members.


Procedure Steps:


  1. Faculty identifies a breach in professional behavior
    1. If during a quiz or exam, faculty notifies student as soon as the exam is complete or as soon as software notifies the faculty of the breach.
    2. If breach is not identified during testing or examination, faculty confirms the breach with the student within 3 University days of receiving the information (either witnessed or reported).
  2. Faculty may address the breech with the student prior to speaking to the CON Conduct Officer.
    1. Faculty may resolve the situation if mutually agreeable terms can be met by both the faculty and the student.
    2. The agreed upon terms will be created in a written document provided to the student, CON Conduct Officer and to Student Services for placement in the student's file. This document for filing requests a student signature but the signature is not required as proof of consent/agreement.
  3. Faculty member may choose to discuss the appropriate disciplinary actions and options with the CON Conduct Officer, Division Assistant Dean, and/ or Associate Dean of Academic Programs if so desired.
  4. Faculty member will provide a written report of any disciplinary action
    1. such a written report may be a course final grade report submitted to UNMC Records or
    2. a document that contains the following:
      1. Date
      2. Time meeting was held
      3. Place meeting was held
      4. Who was in attendance at the meeting
      5. Information presented to the student regarding the breach
      6. Consequences identified due to the breach
  5. Disciplinary actions/options can include:
    1. Written Warning:
      1. A written warning is received when the student committed a violation of the UNMC Student Code of Conduct.
      2. A written warning can be from faculty. After meeting with the student and securing agreement regarding the warning, Faculty will provide the CON Conduct Officer a written report.
      3. A written warning can be from a CON Conduct Officer.
        1. The CON Conduct Officer receives the information from faculty and can:
          1. Agree and sign off on the required documents
          2. Agree but with a more harsh punishment requiring a meeting with faculty and the student regarding the new sanctions for the disciplinary action.
      4. The warning may also include advice on steps that the student may take to avoid future violations
    2. Grade adjustment
      1. Grade adjustment can be applied by faculty when reasonable and related to the violation.
    3. Disciplinary probation (specify time period):
      1. Probation may include conditions that must be satisfied.
      2. The conditions must be reasonably related to the violation or the reasons for the violation.
        1. Examples of conditions for students include the completion of educational programs and behavioral evaluations.
        2. The failure to satisfy a condition of probation may be treated as an independent violation of the Standards of Academic Integrity and Responsible Conduct (UNMC Student Code of Conduct).
          1. A violation of the Standards while a student is on probation may result in a more severe response.
    4. Suspension (specify time period):
      1. suspension is a temporary separation from the University of Nebraska
      2. During the suspension period, the student is prohibited from entering University property, functions, events, and activities without prior written approval of the CON Conduct Officer or Dean of the College of Nursing. The University response may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary
      3. A written report will be placed in the student's file at the College of Nursing.
      4. A notation is made on the student's transcript but will be removed after the suspension period ends.
      5. Conditions, including the reapplication for admission, may be imposed on the student returning at the end of the specified period, but any such conditions must be reasonable related to the reasons for suspension.
    5. Expulsion:
      1. Expulsion is a permanent separation from the University of Nebraska
      2. An expelled student is precluded from registration, class attendance or participation, and in residence on campus
      3. An expelled student is prohibited from entering University property, functions, events, and activities without prior written approval of the CON Conduct Officer. The University response may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary.
      4. A notation will be made on the student's transcript
  6. Faculty bringing forward the charge informs the CON Conduct Officer in writing of the charge, evidence, & action proposed. The notification must be sent within 7 University days after notification to the student on the breach of conduct. The charge; the evidence and action will be stated in a written report that is provided to the CON Conduct Officer.
  7. The Conduct officer can host an informal meeting with the student (following UNMC Student Code of Conduct guidelines) if appropriate.
    1. The CON Conduct Officer reviews all information and determines:
      1. there is not a reasonable basis to believe that the student violated the Student Code of Conduct and dismisses the allegation.
        1. This decision will be supported by the faculty alleging the breech, the assistant dean of the involved campus and one Disciplinary Appeal Committee member from an uninvolved campus.
      2. there is reasonable basis to believe the code of conduct has been violated and:
        1. Takes no further action.
          1. This decision will be supported by the faculty alleging the breech, the assistant dean of the involved campus and one Disciplinary Appeal Committee member from an uninvolved campus.
        2. Seeks administrative resolution of the matter.
          1. This decision will be supported by the faculty alleging the breech, the assistant dean of the involved campus and one Disciplinary Appeal Committee member from an uninvolved campus.
        3. Sets the matter for hearing:
          1. CON Conduct Officer begins notification for identification of CON Hearing Committee members and provides written material with instructions to the student
  8. CON Conduct Officer identifies the need for a hearing:
    1. the CON Conduct Officer sends a letter via email to the student with all the required information within 5 University days of receiving the written notice from the faculty about the breech. The required information includes:
      1. A copy of the faculty member’s written complaint
      2. Disciplinary action proposed for the student
      3. List of all documents included in the mailing to include the list of potential committee members for student to decide if there is any conflict with a committee member.
        1. the potential list of names of the members of the hearing panel must identify the name and whether faculty, staff or student.
      4. A signature page of the list of all documents requiring signature by the student with return to the CON Conduct Officer.
      5. Confirmation of the student receipt of the information from the CON Conduct Officer may be by delivery receipt via university email.
      6. The signature page signed by the student must be returned to the CON Conduct Officer via university email. The student is required to return the completed signature page to the CON Conduct Officer in 5 university days from the date of the notice in university email. Receipt of this signature page indicates the documents have been received by the student.
  9. The student has 10 university days to respond in writing to the CON Conduct Officer’s letter either accepting the disciplinary decision or noting the student will participate in the disciplinary appeal.
    1. In the student's response and with the decision to participate in the disciplinary appeal, the student will also acknowledge any committee name in which there is any conflict.
      1. If there is no conflict, the student is required to state: that all committee members are (or are not) acceptable and present no threat to the student in any way regarding fairness or impartiality.
      2. If there is conflict, the student will include that rationale for the conflict.
  10. CON Conduct Officer communicates the student's response within 5 University days of receiving it to:
    1. the faculty member bringing forward the charge.
    2. the (ex-officio) UGA member to convene the selection of DHB members to be chosen.


  11. CON Conduct Officer will create the agenda for the first meeting with the DHB to share the following information:
    1. A copy of the original documents sent to the student on the disciplinary action
    2. Written notice from the student that all materials were received; confirming receipt by the student.
    3. Written notice from the student that they will participate in the appeal process
    4. Written notice from the student on any conflict with committee members
    5. Any additional disciplinary action materials
    6. Choosing a chair for the DHB chosen by the committee members
    7. Identifying specific dates for the proceedings:
      1. A date the student is notified of the names of DHB chair and selected committee members for the DHB.
      2. A final date of submission for any and all documents from the student as well as identification and information on requested witnesses.
        1. This submission must request to appear before the DHB.
        2. The final date of submission eliminates any further data to be submitted UNLESS reasonable discovery could not have been known.
      3. The projected date(s) of expected completion of review of the documents by the DHB
      4. The date of the hearing with a minimum of 5 university day notice and the hearing is to be held no later than 30 university days after the notice was sent out.
      5. The date that a decision is expected and the report due to the Conduct officer. This date should be within 10 university days of the conclusion of the hearing.
      6. The date that the student will be notified of the decision
    8. The CON Hearing Officer will communicate dates and deadlines to the student via university email.
    9. The CON Hearing Officer may request deadline extensions in writing to the CON Conduct Officer
      1. The CON Conduct Officer has the authority to grant extensions of no more than sixty (60) university days per extension if the CON Hearing Officer applies in writing for an extension within the first thirty (30) university day period due to circumstances that exist and warrant an extension of time. More than one extension can be granted.


Procedure for the Hearing:

  1. The CON Hearing Officer must conduct the hearing in a manner that facilitates the presentation of relevant evidence and in accordance with the UNMC Student Code of Conduct.
    1. The Hearing Officer has the discretion to allow the use of a question-and-answer format or allow a witness to make an oral statement about what the witness knows about the matter.
    2. The Hearing Officer or the members of the hearing panel may then ask questions to clarify what the witness said or to elicit more detailed information.
  2. The CON Hearing Officer has the discretion to allow the DHB to question the witnesses directly or to require the parties to submit suggested questions for the CON Hearing Officer to ask.
  3. In exercising this discretion, the Hearing Officer or Chair should consider all the relevant circumstances, including whether there is animosity between the Respondent and the witness, whether the charges involve violence, threats, or harassment of the witness by the Respondent, and whether direct questioning would be more efficient or would better enable the Respondent to present their information.
  4. The CON Hearing Officer has the discretion to:
    1. allow the identified parties to make opening statements, closing statements, or both, with reasonable time limits;
    2. allow witnesses to testify by videoconferencing technology
    3. require that the witnesses who have not yet testified wait somewhere other than the hearing room until they are called to testify; and
    4. schedule separate hearings if charges have been brought against multiple respondents or multiple charges have been brought against a single respondent.
    5. remind the student that there is one designated date that materials can be submitted to support that student's defense.
      1. If such information was not reasonably previously known to the student prior to the deadline, that information may be forwarded to the relevant CON Hearing Officer, who, with the DHB, shall decide the relevance and admissibility of that information.
      2. Prior to the DHB's decision the CON Hearing Officer may consult with the CON Conduct Officer and the University regarding the relevance and admissibility of that information, share their insights with the DHB prior to their decision.
  5. The student has the right to be accompanied by an advisor when the student meets with the CON Conduct Officer; and
    1. that the student may choose anyone as the advisor, including an attorney, but that the student is responsible for any fees that the advisor may charge.
    2. The student’s advisor may provide guidance to the student, but may not otherwise directly participate in the conduct process. The student’s advisor may not speak on behalf of the student during the hearing and may not directly participate in any aspect of the hearing. Non-compliance with directions from the CON Conduct Officer will result in the student’s advisor being asked to leave the hearing.
  6. Within 20 University days of the conclusion of the hearing, the DHB will determine whether the disciplinary charges against the student have been sustained by the evidence.
  7. The CON Hearing Officer will send a report and conclusions with the final decision to the CON Conduct Officer via University email.
    1. If the DHB decision is for suspension or expulsion, the Dean must be notified prior to any findings being communicated elsewhere.
    2. If the DHB decision involves any other outcome other than suspension and expulsion, the CON Conduct Officer will provide information via University email to the: Faculty member bringing forward the charges, the student, Dean, Division Assistant Dean, and Associate Dean of Academic Programs within 7 University days after receiving notice of the DHB the final decision.
  8. The student will have 10 University days to respond to the CON DHB final decision via University email to the CON Conduct Officer.
  9. If no written response from the student is received during this timeframe, the DHB decision will be considered final.
  10. If the student’s written response is debating the decision of the DHB, the student will be directed to the procedures to follow in the appeal to the Vice Chancellor or his/her designee.
  11. If the faculty member bringing forward the charge is debating the decision of the DHB, the faculty member will be directed to the procedures to follow in the appeal to the Vice Chancellor or his/her designee.