Dean's Discipline

A student charged with a disciplinary infraction subject to “Dean’s Discipline” is entitled to notice of the charges, an opportunity to be heard and an opportunity to appeal a disciplinary decision to the dean of the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S).*

Ordinarily, a disciplinary proceeding begins with a written communication from the Office of the Dean of Students requiring the student to attend a disciplinary hearing to respond to a specified charge. (In rare cases, the proceeding may begin with an oral communication requiring the presence of the student at a hearing.) The hearing is held before a committee comprised of the senior associate dean for student affairs and two other members of the faculty of P&S, appointed by the dean of P&S or his designee. The hearing is a fact-finding, not an adversarial courtroom-type, proceeding; the student need not be present to hear other witnesses and there is no formal cross examination of witnesses or objecting to evidence. In addition, although students are always free to consult an attorney, they may not have an attorney present during a disciplinary hearing or at any appeal.

The student is informed of the evidence that led to the charges against him or her and asked to respond. The student may offer his or her own evidence. This includes the student’s own appearance at the hearing and may include the appearance by others (witnesses) on his or her behalf and any written submission or relevant documents the student may wish to submit.

After the disciplinary committee has heard the student and others and considered all the evidence, it reaches a determination and the senior associate dean of student affairs notifies the student in writing of that decision. If the student is found to have committed a disciplinary infraction, the penalty can include censure, probation, suspension and dismissal.

The student has the right to appeal a decision that results from a disciplinary hearing to the dean of P&S and Executive Committee of the Faculty Council. The appeal must be made in writing within seven days of the time he or she is notified of the decision, and it must clearly state the grounds for appeal. Such appeal should be sent to the dean at P&S 2-401.

Normally, on such an appeal, the dean of P&S relies solely upon the written record and does not conduct a new factual investigation. Moreover, the dean focuses upon whether, in the dean’s view, the decision made and the discipline imposed are reasonable under all of the circumstances of the case. There is no further appeal within the University.

*The University-wide Rules of University Conduct govern conduct incident to demonstrations, rallies and picketing and may displace “Dean’s Discipline” in cases of serious violations.