Student Code of Conduct

A. Purpose – The freedom of individuals to inquire, study, evaluate, and gain new understanding and maturity is essential and must be protected against suppression. Dissent plays a vital part in the role of the University. However, freedoms cannot be protected or exercised in a university that lack order and stability. Students at New Mexico State University and branch campuses at Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Dona Ana, and Grants have an obligation to uphold the laws of the larger community of which they are a part.

The intent of this Code is to ensure that students at the University neither lose their rights nor escape the responsibility of citizenship. While the activities covered by the laws of the larger community and those covered by NMSU’s rules may overlap, it is important to note that the community’s laws and NMSU’s rules operate independently and they do not substitute for each other. NMSU may pursue enforcement of its own rules whether or not legal proceedings are under way or in prospect, and may use information from third party sources (such as law enforcement agencies and the courts) to determine whether University rules have been broken. Membership in the NMSU community does not exempt anyone from local, state, or federal laws, but rather imposes the additional obligation to abide by all of NMSU’s regulations. It is the personal responsibility of every member of the campus community not only to protect his/her own rights, but to respect the rights of others, and to behave in a manner conducive to learning and/or living in an educational environment.

Just as individuals within the community have a responsibility to adhere to a code of prescribed behavior, the institution assumes the obligation of clearly codifying and fairly enforcing the same. New Mexico State University upholds the belief that those who do not conform to established standards set forth in this Code of Conduct must be held accountable for their actions. Therefore, the purpose of the Code of Conduct is to inform the student body of the rules and regulations that are essential to the normal operation of this University.

B. Definition of Student – For the purpose of application of this Code of Conduct, “student” means any person enrolled at New Mexico State University, which includes the main campus and all branch campuses, and any person who resides in New Mexico State University on-campus housing facilities. Persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with New Mexico State University are considered “students.” Students who violate the Code of Conduct can expect prompt and deliberate adjudication, whether or not they choose to be present, or remain at the University. Furthermore, if a decision has been made within the disciplinary process which impacts a person who is not currently enrolled, he/she still remains subject to the determination upon re-enrollment.

C. Student/Student Organization Rights and Responsibilities – By enrolling at New Mexico State University, a student accepts responsibility for compliance with all local, state and federal laws, and University regulations, while retaining the rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States. A student or student organization alleged to have engaged in any misconduct shall have the right of due process and appeal as delineated in this Code and it is each student’s/student organizations’ responsibility to represent themselves in this educational administrative process. This is not a criminal process, and the University is not bound by the rules of evidence normally used in cases brought before the State or Federal judicial systems. The standard of proof will be “preponderance” not “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The University expects all students to show respect for the rights of others and for authority, to protect private and public property, to execute contractual obligations, and to take responsibility for their own actions and the actions of their guests.

D. Student Organizations – A student organization, its officers and members, may be held collectively and individually responsible when violations of this Code, by those associated with the organization, occur and such violations are authorized, encouraged, directed, tolerated, supported by, or committed on behalf of the organization.

The responsibility of administering the discipline system is delegated by the President of the University to the Vice President for Student Services/Dean of Students (VP Student Services/DOS) for nonacademic discipline and to the Provost for academic discipline. In turn, these individuals may delegate authority to other groups or individuals for handling violations of the University Code of Conduct. All activities shall be monitored by a central administrative authority to ensure fairness and consistency. All discipline sanctions imposed campus-wide will be reported to the Coordinator of Student Judicial Services for record-keeping purposes.

The University attempts to handle discipline matters at the lowest possible level by recognizing a variety of hearing officers. Each Hearing Officer is a University official who is an administrator, faculty member, graduate assistant, or staff member. Hearing Officers adjudicate cases when violations are alleged. The Hearing Officer is authorized to exercise active control over the proceedings in order to elicit relevant information, to avoid needless consumption of time, and to prevent the harassment or intimidation of witnesses.

Disciplinary regulations at New Mexico State University are set forth in writing in order to give students general notice of prohibited conduct. These rules and regulations should be read broadly and are not designed to define prohibited conduct in exhaustive terms. It is recognized by New Mexico State University that students are adults and are expected to obey the law and take personal responsibility for their conduct. A student is therefore subject to two sources of authority, civil-criminal authority and University authority.

Violation of any municipal ordinance, law or regulation of the State of New Mexico, or law or regulation of the United States, which may cause harm or endangerment to self or others, or somehow compromises the educational mission of the University, may result in disciplinary action. The University does not normally take disciplinary action for off-campus violations, but it retains the right to act in special cases. Disciplinary action imposed by New Mexico State University may precede, and be in addition to, any penalty that might be imposed by an off-campus authority. When accused of a violation, the student has a right to review the evidence against him or her, but this does not necessarily mean the right to confront a witness. Attorneys will not be allowed to attend or participate in hearings.

The procedures to be followed in matters of academic and nonacademic misconduct differ and are outlined in the following sections. In exceptional cases of academic misconduct, the “Procedures for Dealing with Cases which May Result in Expulsion or Degree Revocation” will be followed instead, and are located in the Administrative Policy and Procedures Manual or may be obtained in the Office of the VP Student Services/DOS.

A. Persons and/or groups involved in Academic Discipline Cases

1. Campus President – When an academic violation occurs, the Campus President (or a designee) will dispose of any violations referred or appealed to the Campus Executive Office.

2. Academic Appeals Board – Within each undergraduate college of the University, a student appeals board shall be established for each academic year as a standing committee consisting of three (3) faculty members and two (2) students to be appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. In some cases, the Vice President for Academic Affairs may convene the Academic Appeals Board and solicit its recommendation.

3. Misconduct Review Panel – At the graduate level, a Misconduct Review Panel shall be established consisting of the Chairperson of the Graduate Council, the Chairperson of the Faculty Senate and/or the Chairperson of the University Research Council, and an administrative officer of the unit in which the suspected misconduct occurred.

The decision of the Campus President is final and will be reported to all parties concerned within three (3) working days under the general process and ten (10) working days in special graduate cases.

B. Academic Misconduct

– Any student found guilty of academic misconduct shall be subject to disciplinary action. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following actions:

1. Cheating or knowingly assisting another student in committing an act of cheating or other forms of academic dishonesty;

2. Plagiarism is using another person’s work without acknowledgment, making it appear to be one’s own. Any ideas, words, pictures, or other source must be acknowledged in a citation that gives credit to the source. This is true no matter where the material comes from, including the internet, other students’ work, unpublished materials, or oral sources. Intentional and unintentional instances of plagiarism are considered academic misconduct. It is the responsibility of the student submitting the work in question to know, understand, and comply with this policy. If no citation is given, then borrowing any of the following would be an example of plagiarism:

  • An idea or opinion, even when put into one’s own words
  • A few well-said words, if these are a unique insight
  • Many words, even if one changes most of them
  • An argument, pattern of idea, graphs, pictures or other illustration
  • Facts
  • All or part of an existing paper or other resources

This list is not meant to include all possible examples of plagiarism. See the University Library’s web page on plagiarism for further examples.

  • Unauthorized possession of examinations, reserve library materials, laboratory materials, or other course-related materials;
  • Unauthorized changing of grades on an examination, in an instructor’s grade book, or on a grade report; or unauthorized access to academic computer records;
  • Nondisclosure or misrepresentation in filling out applications or other University records in, or for, academic departments or colleges.

Students who engage in disruptive activities in an academic setting (e.g., classrooms, academic offices or academic buildings) are subject to disciplinary action in accordance with Section IV-Non Academic Misconduct-All Students. Such students are also subject to administrative actions in accordance with the NMSU Graduate and Undergraduate Catalogs.

C. Academic Discipline Process

– General Cases (For all undergraduate students and graduate students referred by the Dean of the Graduate School, see IIID of the Student Code of Conduct at http://www.nmsu.edu).

1. Course or Departmental Level – For incidents that occur at the course or academic department level, the faculty member or department head must inform the student of the alleged offense within ten (10) working days of its discovery, and after an investigation and/or conference, will take one of the following actions:

  • The allegation may be dismissed as unfounded.
  • The allegation may be dismissed for lack of clear and convincing evidence.
  • The student may admit guilt and a sanction will be imposed.
  • The Hearing Officer will determine guilt based on clear and convincing evidence, and a sanction will be imposed.
  • The Hearing Officer will report the decision to the student and the Coordinator of Student Judicial Services.

2. Other Academic Misconduct – For those incidents involving academic misconduct not at the course level (e.g., falsification of academic records), the student’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, or a designee, will serve as the Hearing Officer and will follow the same process as outlined above.

3. Appeal Process

a. All possible levels of appeal should be exhausted before a case reaches the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The student must always be told the next level of appeal.

b. A student who wishes to appeal an instructor’s decision may do so by writing to the course department head (Vice President for Academic Affairs if instructor is also department head) within five (5) working days. The appropriate hearing officer will consider both sides of the case and report the decision to the student, the course instructor, and the Coordinator of Student Judicial Services within ten (10) working days. If extenuating circumstances prevent either party from meeting this time frame, an alternate schedule will be formulated by all parties involved.

c. Either party may appeal a department head’s decision to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. However, a request for a formal hearing need not necessarily be granted. The following points will apply in all cases of appeal:

  1. The appeal must be made in writing to the appropriate appellate person or body within the specified period of time.
  2. The appeal must include the name of the individual making the appeal, the action that is being appealed, the date the action took place, and the grounds for appeal. Appeals must be made on the basis of one or more of the following grounds:
  1. Procedural of prejudicial error was committed.
  2. The finding of facts contained in the decision included inaccurate information.
  3. Specific evidence presented at the hearing is objectionable. Reason for the objection must be stated, i.e., why evidence should not be considered.
  4. Evidence not offered during the hearing is now available. Reason why the evidence was not offered during the hearing must be stated.
  5. The sanction imposed is excessive or inappropriate. Reasons for believing this must be stated.

3. If warranted, the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall convene the Academic Appeals Board to solicit its recommendation before making a decision.

d. The highest level of appeal for academic misconduct is the Campus President whose decision is final.

4. Academic Appeals Board Procedures

a. If a decision is made to seek a recommendation from the Academic Appeals Board, Vice President for Academic Affairs, or a designee, shall assemble case materials for the Board which will normally meet within three (3) weeks.
b. The Vice President for Academic Affairs, or a designee, will inform all parties of procedures to be followed.

A.  Persons and/or groups involved in non-academic discipline cases

  1. Coordinator of Student Judicial Services – The Coordinator of Student Judicial Services will dispose of any non-academic violations referred by the VP Student Services/DOS or other University Officials, and also has the responsibility for maintaining all student records relating to both academic and non-academic student misconduct. Within this capacity, the Coordinator of Student Judicial Services acts as a resource person for administrators, faculty, staff, and students to promote consistency throughout the University community in adjudicating cases of student misconduct.
  2. Campus Discipline Committee – The Campus Discipline Committee hears non-academic appeals referred to it by the Vice President for Student Services. The Committee shall be composed of administrative, faculty, and students who comprise the Student Interest Governance Committee. A hearing by the Campus Discipline Committee is an informal procedure at which information is presented in an orderly manner so that the Hearing Committee can reach a fair decision. The Chairperson of the Hearing Committee is in charge of the proceedings at all times and rulings by the Chair are final. The Chair may remove persons, including the appellant’s advisor, if that person does not conform to Committee rules and procedures.

 Complaints regarding persons reported to not be in compliance with hearing proceedings will be filed with either the VP Student Services/DOS or the Student Judicial Officer. It is each student appellant’s responsibility to represent him/herself in this informal procedure. The student may elect to have an advisor present whose role is solely to advise the student appellant. Advisors may not actively participate (e.g., question, defend or directly respond to any information presented) in the hearing. More detailed “Rules and Procedures for the University Discipline Committee” may be obtained from the Coordinator of Student Judicial Services. All Campus Disciplinary Committee meetings are closed to the public.

3.  Campus President for the Campus – Should the decision of the Campus Discipline Committee be appealed, the appeal must be made in writing to the Vice President for Student Services within three (3) working days after receipt of the decision made by the Campus Discipline Committee. The Vice President for Student Services will compile and submit all relevant case records to the Campus President. Upon receipt of all information, the Campus President will have three (3) working days to review and render a decision. The decision of the Campus President is final and will be reported to all parties concerned.

B.  Non-academic Misconduct – The following list constitutes violations for which students and student organizations are subject to disciplinary action. This list is not designed to be all-inclusive, but offers examples of the types of prohibited conduct.

  1. Actual or threatened physical injury to any person (including self) on University owned or controlled property or at a University sponsored or supervised function, or conduct that endangers the health or safety of a person.
  2. Engaging in individual or group conduct that is violent (including sexual misconduct, attempted suicide, or threats of either) abusive, indecent, unreasonably loud, or similar disorderly conduct that infringes upon the privacy, rights, or privileges of others or disturbs the peace or the orderly process of education on campus.
  3. Unauthorized use, possession, or storage of any weapon or explosive (including fireworks) on University premises or at University sponsored activities.
  4. Forgery, counterfeiting, alteration, or misuse of any University record, document, or identification card of a non-academic nature (e.g., housing applications or parking permits).
  5. Unauthorized entry into or alteration of, any University computer records, or violation of Computer Center policies.
  6. Reporting the presence of a fire, bomb, explosive or incendiary device on the University campus without good reason to believe the facts reported are true.
  7. Unlawful possession, use, distribution, or sale of any narcotic or dangerous drug as defined by the statutes of the State of New Mexico.
  8. Theft of, or unwarranted damage to, University property or property of any member of the University community.
  9. Failure to comply with Housing regulations.
  10. Failure to comply with the lawful directives of University employees acting within the scope of their duties including those directives issued by a University administrator to ensure the safety and well-being of students (refer to the Student Special Care policy).
  11. Entry into, or use of, any building, facility, or room, or other University property or grounds without authorized approval. This also includes the unauthorized possession or use of University keys, lock combinations, or other access codes.
  12. Participation in illegal gambling activities on University owned or controlled property or at a function identified with the University.
  13. Possession, or consumption, of alcoholic beverages in contradiction of state law and/or University policy.
  14. Entering or attempting to enter any athletic contest, dance, social event, or other event without proper credentials for admission (e.g., ticket, identification card, or invitation).
  15. Failure to make satisfactory settlement for any debts to the University.
  16. Failure to comply with University traffic rules and regulations.

C.  Non-academic Discipline Process – All alleged violations of non-academic rules and regulations contained herein will be referred to the Coordinator of Student Judicial Services or other Hearing Officers (as appropriate). The following procedures will apply:

  1. The hearing officer may consider any documentation submitted, including but not limited to Police or other University reports, and may choose to interview persons who might have information relevant to the case. The student or organization accused of violating the Code of Conduct is responsible for providing any information that would be helpful in supporting a finding of Not Responsible for the alleged violation. The hearing officer will make a reasonable attempt to obtain all relevant information. As a result of an investigation and/or conference with a student or organization representative, one of the following actions may be taken:
    1. The allegation may be dismissed as unfounded
    2. The allegation may be dismissed for lack of evidence;
    3. The student or organization representative may admit guilt and a sanction will be imposed, or
    4. The hearing officer will determine guilt, based on a preponderance of the evidence, and a sanction will be imposed.

2.  A student or organization who wishes to appeal the decision of the Hearing Officer may do so in writing to the next higher level of authority within the disciplinary system. The accused must always be informed of the next level of appeal by the Hearing Officer. An appeal by the accused must be presented in writing no later than three (3) working days after notification of the decision. All appeals to the Campus Discipline Committee will be delivered to the Vice President for Student Services. The final level of appeal for all non-academic misconduct is the Campus President.

D.   Appeal Process – While all members of the University community have the right to appeal, a request for a hearing need not necessarily be granted. The following points will apply in all cases of appeal

  1. The appeal must be made in writing to the appropriate appellate person or body within the specified period of time.
  2. The appeal must include the name of the individual or organization making the appeal, the action that is being appealed, the date the action took place, and the grounds for appeal. Appeals must be made on the basis of one or more of the following grounds:
  1. Procedural or prejudicial error was committed.
  2. The finding of facts contained in the decision included inaccurate information.
  3. Specific evidence presented at the hearing is objectionable. Reason for the objection must be stated, i.e., why evidence should not be considered.
  4. Evidence not offered during the hearing is now available. Reason why the evidence was not offered during the hearing must be stated.
  5. The sanction imposed is excessive or inappropriate. Reasons for believing this must be stated.

3.  Upon review of an appeal, the appellate person or body may uphold, modify, or completely reverse the original decision. A written rationale will be provided and should be in accordance with one or more of the conditions delineated in Section IV-D-2 noted above.
4.  The highest level of appeal for nonacademic misconduct is the VP Student Services/DOS, whose decision is final.

A.  The following list is not designed to be all-inclusive, but offers examples of the more severe sanctions that may be imposed upon an individual student for infraction of regulations.

  1. Written warning – is a notice in writing to the student that they are in violation or have violated the student code of conduct.
  2. Disciplinary Probation – Disciplinary Probation is a written reprimand for violation of University regulations or local, state, and/or federal laws. Students placed on disciplinary probation are deemed “not in good standing” with the University. The duration of the probationary period, and conditions imposed shall be in proportion to the seriousness of the misconduct. Duration will be at least thirty (30) days, but may be extended indefinitely.

Depending on the circumstances and at the discretion of the Hearing Official(s), additional stipulations may be enforced. These additional stipulations may be, but are not limited to, withholding of transcript or degree; suspension of rights and privileges; suspension of eligibility to participate in official extracurricular activities; eviction from University-operated housing; restitution for damages incurred by the University, referral for counseling and/or participation in and educational program. Students who are assigned to an educational program and do not attend may be charged an administrative fee in accordance with policies developed by the Office of the VP Student Services/DOS.

During the probationary period, reported violations of the Code of Conduct or conditions of the probation will result in further action. This action may include, but is not limited to, extension of the probationary period, the addition of other restrictions or conditions to the probationary agreement, suspension, dismissal, expulsion, and notation on the student’s transcript. Additionally, if a student should have a previous NMSU discipline record it may be considered in determining appropriate sanctioning for any future code of conduct violations. A student may return to a status of “in good standing” with the University at the conclusion of the probationary period, assuming all conditions have been satisfied.

A student who has been placed on indefinite disciplinary probation, and/or whose probation has been indefinitely noted on the transcript, may petition to have the probation lifted and/or the notation removed from the transcript. This petition will not be acceptable if submitted sooner than one calendar year from the date the probation began. Students must petition to the Vice President for Student Services who may choose to convene the Campus Discipline Committee to review the petition and make a recommendation. The decision of the Campus President is final.

 

3.  Disciplinary Suspension – Disciplinary suspension is the disenrollment of a student from the University. Suspensions will last a minimum of one full semester. Students may reenter the University at the conclusion of the suspension, only by consent of the Campus President or Designee, in cases of academic and non-academic misconduct. A permanent notation of a Suspension will be made on the student’s transcript.
4.  Dismissal – Dismissal is the disenrollment of a student for an indefinite period of time. Students may not reenter the University for at least one year, and then, only by consent of the VP Student Services/DOS, in cases of non-academic misconduct, or the Provost, in cases of academic misconduct. A permanent notation of dismissal is placed on the student’s transcript.
5.  Expulsion – Expulsion is the disenrollment of a student whereby the student is not eligible for readmission to the University. A permanent notation of expulsion will be placed on the student’s transcript.

 

B.  The following are possible sanctions that may be imposed upon a student organization for the infraction of regulations.

 

  1. Written warning – is a notice in writing to the student organization that they are in violation or have violated the student code of conduct.
  2. Disciplinary Probation – Disciplinary Probation is a written reprimand to a student organization for violations of University regulations or local, state, and/or federal laws. Organizations placed on disciplinary probation are deemed “not in good standing” with the University. The duration of the probationary period, and conditions imposed, shall be in proportion to the seriousness of the misconduct. Duration will be at least thirty (30) days, but may be extended indefinitely. Depending on the circumstances and the discretion of the Hearing Official(s), additional stipulation may be enforced. These additional stipulations may be, but are not limited to, suspension of rights and privileges, suspension of eligibility to participate in official extracurricular activities, termination of housing privileges on University premises, and restitution for damages incurred by the University.

During the probationary period, reported violations of the Code of Conduct, or conditions of the probation, will result in further action. This action may include, but is not limited to, extension of the probationary period, the addition of other restrictions or conditions to the probationary agreement, or suspension or termination of University recognition. Additionally, if a student organization should have a previous NMSU discipline record it may be considered in determining appropriate sanctioning for any future code of conduct violations. The organization may return to a status “in good standing” with the University at the conclusion of the probationary period, assuming all conditions have been satisfied.

3.  Suspension of University Recognition – This sanction serves as notification to the organization that its conduct is in violation of University regulations, or local, state, and/or federal laws; and that its charter with the University, along with all privileges afforded a recognized student organization, is being withdrawn for a specified period of time. The suspension will last a minimum of one full calendar year and will take effect immediately upon notification. As with disciplinary probation, additional conditions may be attached and further disciplinary action may result if conditions are not met.

Reinstatement of an organization’s charter can only be granted by the Vice President for Student Services after the period of suspension when all conditions of the suspension have been met.

4.  Termination of University Recognition – This sanction serves as notification to the organization that its conduct is in violation of University regulations, or local, state, and/or federal laws; and that its charter with the University, along with all privileges afforded a recognized student organization, is being withdrawn immediately. The organization is not eligible for reinstatement of its charter for a minimum of five (5) years. Reinstatement of an organization’s charter can only be granted by the Vice President for Student Services.

Recommendations for changes related to the non-academic discipline process will be referred to the University Discipline Committee through the Coordinator of Student Judicial Services. Recommendations for changes related to the Academic Discipline process will be referred to the Provost through the College Deans. The University Discipline Committee will meet, as needed, to review the Code of Conduct and recommend changes to the VP Student Services/DOS.

No student or student organization shall be subject to disciplinary procedures due to alleged violation of University regulations unless procedures are initiated within one year from the time the alleged misconduct occurred, or was made known to the VP Student Services/DOS or Provost, whichever occurs later.

The one-year period of limitation, as referred here, will apply only while the student is enrolled at the University. If the disciplinary procedures cannot be completed for reasons beyond the control of the University, a time limitation will not be imposed.