Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- For the student referred for misconduct
- What's the worst that can happen to me with the University if I have been involved in student misconduct?
- What if you don't believe me? What can I do if I am not responsible for the misconduct as charged?
- Who is going to know about my misconduct and my referral for disciplinary action?
- If a professor accuses me of misconduct, why won't you just accept the professor's word over mine? How will I be able to get fair treatment?
- For the person concerned about a student needing assistance
What's the worst that can happen to me with the University if I have been involved in student misconduct?
The worst that can happen is being expelled from the University, which is only needed very, very, rarely, as a consequence for student misconduct. In most circumstances, the student is placed on disciplinary probation with some conditions for successful completion of the probation, such as: involvement in an educational project, community service, restitution for damage or theft, or an assessment with a counselor to address concerns that might be related to the student's well-being.
You provide your information to the administrator so that they may carry out an investigation of the case to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed with the charge. If the administrator does not believe the student since the evidence against the student is compelling, they will then refer the case to a hearing. The student will have the opportunity to rebut the charge of misconduct in front of a hearing board, to know of all evidence proposed against the student (including witnesses), to bring witnesses on the student's own behalf, and to ask questions of the information provided by a witness at the hearing.
The good news is that there are seldom any cases involving charges that a student is denying that cannot be resolved through an informal meeting and investigation by the administrator. Our staff, faculty, and police officers who refer students for alleged misconduct are trained to understand the level of evidence and the type of objective information that is required to exist for all reports and referrals. Mistakes can occur in charging a student, but the procedures of fairness and due process rights afforded the student have worked well in rectifying any mistakes. Finally, it is a violation of the University Student Code of Conduct to knowingly submit a false charge or report.
The information is private, since it is a part of an educational record. A student has the authority to decide when and if this information may be released. As required by the Federal Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA), any record and information about the judicial process as it relates to the student referred is protected and confidential information.
If a student is a victim of a crime of violence, then that student may receive information on the outcome of the case they refer, but this information is privileged information as well.
If a professor accuses me of misconduct, why won't you just accept the professor's word over mine? How will I be able to get fair treatment?
The administrator of the student conduct process for this university is required to take action on student misconduct that can be proven. Whether the complaining party is a professor, a fellow student, or a visitor to the campus who is unknown to the administrator; the standard of objective proof remains the same. The burden of proof for any report alleging student misconduct is on the university representative, who must show by a preponderance of the evidence that it is more likely than not that the student was responsible for the misconduct as charged. Also, if the student charged with misconduct denies the charge, the administrator must call a hearing and invite both parties—in this case, both the professor and the student—to present their sides of the story and make their case. The hearing board, comprised of members who do not know either party, will decided whether there is enough evidence to find the student responsible.
Please consider making a referral to the Office of Student Conduct whenever a student expresses concerns about one or more of the following issues:
- The student is in conflict with another student.
- The student is worried about the lack of fairness of a university policy, or about the negative impact that a specific policy or practice is having on them.
- A student feels they have been a victim of sexual misconduct by another student