The University Policies for Student Life, the Hokie Handbook, and the Student Code of Conduct apply to all recognized student organizations at Virginia Tech, whether the conduct takes place on or off campus. The process for referring a student organization is similar to individual students. Student organization referrals can be submitted to Student Conduct.
Below you will find information related to the criteria used by our office to define an organization event, procedures, and range of sanctions. Organizational cases can be heard by administrative hearing officers or the Student Conduct Committee.
An incident may be an organizational activity, for which the organization itself may be disciplined, if any two of the following characteristics are present:
- The faculty advisor (if applicable), or any of the executive officers of the organization is aware of the incident sufficiently in advance of its occurrence to prohibit its taking place, and takes no action to prohibit it.
- The faculty advisor (if applicable), or any of the executive officers of the organization knows the identity of the members involved in the incident and refuses to divulge that information to the appropriate university authorities or the police.
- The incident takes place in any public area within a chapter house or in any public place.
- The incident involves the expenditure of any organizational funds.
- The incident involves or is actively or passively endorsed by a majority of the members of the organization.
- The incident involves six or more members of the organization.
Note: An organization may be held responsible for situations involving members though an actual organization event is not determined.
Student organizations must know and abide by all regulations and policies that govern their conduct as members of their national/international organization, the university community and the Commonwealth of Virginia. A list of applicable policies include: Virginia Commonwealth Statute and Blacksburg Town Code, University Policies for Student Life (UPSL), Student Activities Policies for Registered Student Organizations, Fraternity and Sorority Life Manual, FIPG Risk Management Policies, IFC, NPC, NPHC, and MGC Governing documents (for Greek-letter organizations only).
Educating members of all applicable polices and abiding by all risk management procedures can limit your organization’s exposure to policy violations. There is no sure way to prevent policy violations. If something happens at an organization function or your members find themselves in trouble, discuss ways to manage the situation with the university and/or law enforcement. The sooner you contact all of the aforementioned offices regarding an incident, the better we can help your organization manage it. In some instances, allowing the members responsible for the violation to be reported to the appropriate office/agency can remove and/or limit organization responsibility for the violation. This is not always the case and should not be used as a means to avoid organization responsibility. This should not be a deciding factor in reporting!
Virginia Tech has always had the right to enforce policies off campus. You represent Virginia Tech regardless of whether the alleged misconduct takes place on campus, across the street from the campus, or across town. Virginia Tech is highly concerned about high-risk drinking, drug abuse, physical and sexual abuse by students due to the threat these behaviors pose to student health, safety, and academic success.
The pre-hearing is a meeting with a staff member in Student Conduct to make sure your organization understands the process now that your organization has been allegly violated university policy. Just because your organization may have violated policy and has to meeting with Student Conduct it does not mean it is responsible for the violation, it just means that a situation occurred that requires further inquiry though a formal hearing. The pre-hearing is for your organization to understand the process, not contest the incident. A pre-hearing is a courtesy extended to organizations and is optional.
We trust that all students respect the integrity of the conduct review process and fully expect that all students enter testimony that is true to the best of their knowledge. We do not administer an oath prior to testimony. If it is later proven beyond a preponderance of the evidence that a student did not tell the truth during a conduct review, they would be subject to charges under the Code of Student Conduct (Perjury/Furnishing False Information). If you offered knowingly false information in a suspension-level hearing, then you might expect to be suspended if found responsible.
Yes. As the representative of your organization, if it is determined that false information was presented at any point during the process you can be charged individually with furnishing false information and/or perjury in a conduct hearing.
Maybe. As a result of information brought forward in the documentation alleging a violation of university policy, concern may arise regarding responsibilities and accountability of an individual(s) or officer(s) in the policy violation. In this circumstance, the individual(s) or officer(s) may be referred to the conduct system for for further review and action, if deemed appropriate.
An organization may be held accountable for the actions of its members’ misconduct. Conduct of individual members and the organization are not mutually exclusive. Organizational misconduct does not need to be officially endorsed by the entire membership in order for possible disciplinary action against the organization to occur. However, at least two of the prongs must be met in the organizational event definition in order for an organization to be found responsible for a university policy violation.
Unlike individual student conduct cases, organization cases in the university conduct system are not protected under FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). Therefore, student organization cases are not bound by confidentiality. This means anyone can request this information anytime-including the media!
This information is not intended to be a comprehensive overview of the organizational conduct process.
Contact Student Conduct to meet with a professional staff member should you have questions. Advisors are permitted to attend student organization conduct meetings and formal hearings, and organizations are afforded the same procedural guarantees (see The University Student Conduct System for more information) as individual students in formal conduct hearings.