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Office of Student Conduct
218 Hullihen Hall
Newark, DE 19716
Phone: (302) 831-2117
Fax: (302) 831-8191
Office Hours: 8am - 5pm
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Frequently Asked Questions By Parents

 

How many students find themselves in the Office of Student Conduct each year?
My son or daughter has talked about being given some sanctions? What are sanctions?
How do you decide what sanctions will be applied in a case?
Can a student receive more than the minimum sanctions for one incident?
Do sanctions ever go away?
If sanctions never really go away, what does the ending date of a sanction really mean?
What’s the difference between a suspension and an expulsion?
Are student conduct records included on my son or daughter’s transcript?
How does violating University policy affect my son or daughter's scholarships?
How does a student conduct record affect my son or daughter's application to graduate school?
Will my son's or daughter's college staff (faculty, dean's office, academic advisor) be informed of any student conduct proceedings?
Why weren't we notified earlier, such as when the incident happened or before the pre-hearing?
What options are available to my son or daughter during a period of suspension?
Can we attend the hearing for our son or daughter?
Can our family lawyer be involved?
My son or daughter was arrested in Newark and received Probation Before Judgment from the city court. How does that work and can it be removed?
What if a situation is being handled through the courts as well as the University? Isn't that double jeopardy?
What if my son or daughter is not satisfied with the outcome of the case?
What can we as parents do to help?

 

How many students find themselves in the Office of Student Conduct each year?
The Office of Student Conduct processes approximately 2,000 cases each year. This represents less than 12% of the total student population. First-year students make up the largest portion of this total. Our recidivism is very low; approximately 300 (15%) of the cases constitute a second or third violation.

 

My son or daughter has talked about being given some sanctions? What are sanctions?
Sanctions are the consequences applied in discipline cases. In each incident where a student accepts responsibility or is found responsible for violating the Code of Conduct, he or she will receive sanctions for that case. Sanctions are primarily educational, but may also have some disciplinary focus. Multiple violations of University policies may ultimately result in suspension from the University. One significant, serious incident may also result in suspension from the University. A record of all cases resulting in an outcome of responsible remains in a student's file even after the term of the sanction has expired, and is considered when sanctioning subsequent cases of Code of Conduct violations.

 

How do you decide what sanctions will be applied in a case?
While each case is look at individually, there are some standard sanctions applied for typical violations. For example, a violation of the alcohol policy will include an educational intervention regarding alcohol use, (possibly either attending a group seminar or an individual meeting with a member of Wellspring, the University's wellness office). Similarly, a violation of the Academic Policy will result in an academic penalty and an educational intervention regarding academic standards and expectations. Typically, students will also be charged and administrative fee, and notice will also be sent to the student's parents or legal guardians in cases involving alcohol, drugs or violence or in situations when the students have placed their on-campus housing or education in jeopardy if they are found responsible for subsequent violations of the Code of Conduct.

 

Can a student receive more than the minimum sanctions for one incident?
Yes. Sanctions are reflective of the nature and severity of an incident and factors taken into consideration when deciding the appropriate sanctions for a specific case include the number of charges applied in an incident, the severity of each policy violation and the impact of the student's behavior on the University community.

Also taken into consideration are the nature and timing of any prior cases. For example, a student who has had two alcohol violations within the same semester would receive different sanctions for the second case than a student who has two cases (one alcohol-related, one not) two years apart.

In all cases, education is the primary goal of any sanction applied. It is hoped that students will reflect upon the choices and decisions made in the situation, realize the impact these impacts had on both themselves and the community and determine changes that will ensure subsequent violations do not occur.

 

Do sanctions ever go away?
A student’s student conduct record is cumulative over the course of his or her academic career and is only destroyed after graduation. In the case of a suspension, a student conduct file is kept for five years after the actual or expected graduation date, whichever occurs later. In the case of an expulsion, the file is kept indefinitely.

 

If sanctions never really go away, what does the ending date of a sanction really mean?
The ending date of a sanction indicates the length of the “active” period of that sanction. While a sanction is active, it is most extremely important that a student is aware of all the policies and follows them, as another violation while a current sanction is active will result in more severe sanctions for the subsequent case. However, if a significant amount of time has passed since the sanction has expired, that would be taken into consideration when deciding the sanctions for any subsequent violations.

For example, if a student is on active Deferred Suspension from the University and has another case, the student will most likely be suspended. However, if the student’s period of Deferred Suspension has been over for two years when another case happens, the student might be placed back on Deferred Suspension.

Sanction end dates are also important for other University offices, who consider the students' conduct record and status of sanctions when determining if the student is eligible for employment or honors at the University.

 

What’s the difference between a suspension and an expulsion?
A suspension is a temporary (typically two semesters) removal from the University. Once the period of suspension is over, the student is eligible to re-apply to the University. An expulsion, on the other hand, is a permanent removal from the University. An expelled student is never eligible to re-apply to the University.

 

Are student conduct records included on my son or daughter’s transcript?
Most conduct records are NOT included on a student’s transcript, with two exceptions. A suspension or expulsion will be reflected as “Student was withdrawn from the University” and will always remain on the transcript. A serious academic honesty violation, which requires a failure in the course, will be reflected as an “F/X” with the “X” noting that failure was due to academic dishonesty. The “X” may be removed from the official transcript by the student completing the Academic Integrity Seminar offered by the Office of Student Conduct. The “F” grade, however, will remain.

 

How does violating University policy affect my son or daughter's scholarships?
Generally speaking, a student conduct record does not affect scholarships, nor is student conduct information on every student forwarded to the Office of Student Financial Services. However, there may be some scholarships that do include a “conduct clause” which states that students will lose a scholarship if there are any disciplinary infractions. If your son or daughter currently has a scholarship or is applying for one, be sure to read all the information carefully.

Once a semester, information regarding students who have been suspended is forwarded to the Office of Student Financial Services for their review.

 

How does a student conduct record affect my son or daughter's application to graduate school?
While a disciplinary record does not prohibit a student from applying to graduate school, it may be a factor considered when the school is deciding if the student is a good “fit.” Most graduate school applications ask about the student’s criminal or disciplinary history. Some schools request more information than others, so be sure to read the application carefully. Obviously, the student should be honest about his or her history. Occasionally, someone from the graduate school (most often law or medical schools) will contact the Office of Student Conduct to verify information included on an application or ask for more details. This information can divulged only if the student has waived his or her right to privacy. Most applications include this waiver in the “fine print” and by signing the application, the student typically waives the right to privacy.

When looking at the disciplinary record of a graduate school applicant, the admissions officer will take into consideration the type of violation, time of the event and the outcome. A simple alcohol violation during the first two weeks of freshman year would be viewed much differently than an academic honesty violation in a senior-level major class. The more competitive the school to which the student is applying the more likely a disciplinary record might affect acceptance to that school.



Will my son's or daughter's college staff (faculty, dean's office, academic advisor) be informed of any student conduct proceedings?
Disciplinary information is not regularly forwarded to deans, advisors or faculty members. However, there are times when a dean, faculty member or academic advisor will contact the Office of Student Conduct inquiring about a student. When this occurs, information will be shared on a “need-to-know” basis. In most of these cases, the person is concerned about the student and is trying to get a complete picture of the student’s behavior and participation on campus so he or she can best help the student.

 

Why weren't we notified earlier, such as when the incident happened or before the pre-hearing?
We believe college is an opportunity for students to grow, not just academically, but personally as well. College gives students the opportunity to begin to learn how to live in “the real world” with all the rights and responsibilities that go along with that. Ideally your son or daughter will confide in you when a situation involving conduct violations arises, and perhaps ask you for advice and support as he or she goes through the student conduct process. If, however, your child decides to resolve it on his or her own, thus increasing his or her independence and ability to resolve situations, that’s his or her choice.

As permitted by the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act of 1974, when a final outcome of responsible is reached in cases regarding alcohol, drugs or violence, or when students have placed their on-campus housing or education in jeopardy if they are found responsible for subsequent violations of the Code of Conduct, you will be notified with a letter from the Office of Student Conduct. This letter will include the charge(s) your son or daughter was responsible for violating, and a general discussion regarding the sanctions applied. If you haven’t already spoken about the incident, you can raise the issue with your son or daughter and offer support, advice and/or feedback.

Occasionally parents may be contacted before a case is resolved when it is believed the student is a danger to him or herself or others. In these rare circumstances, the combined efforts of you, the Office of Student Conduct staff and other University officials will benefit your son or daughter in addressing the situation.

 

What options are available to my son or daughter during a period of suspension?
While a student is suspended, he or she may continue his or her education at another college or university. Depending in which courses are taken, they may be transferred to UD and be counted towards the student's graduation total. Before taking any classes at another college or university, the student should consult his or her academic advisor be sure they will be accepted by UD.

To re-apply to the University after a suspension, the student must contact the Office of Student Conduct and inform us of the intention to re-apply. In addition, if treatment and/or counseling was assigned as a sanction (typically when a student is suspended as a result of alcohol or drug violations), documentation of its successful completion must be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct before re-applying. The student should contact the Office of Student Conduct approximately eight weeks before the beginning of the semester he or she wishes to return.

 

Can we attend the hearing for our son or daughter?
If you have factual information regarding the incident, then you will be permitted to participate as a direct witness. Otherwise, you will not be allowed into the hearing. If you wish to come to campus to offer moral support, you may certainly do so.

 

Can our family lawyer be involved?
As the student conduct process is an administrative one, rather than a legal one, lawyers are not permitted during the process. Legal procedures are different from the administrative student conduct process, and advice you receive from your attorney is likely to be inaccurate not applicable. A student may consult an advisor if he or she has questions or concerns about the disciplinary process. A student conduct advisor is a member of the University community (typically a faculty or staff member). A list of our current, trained student conduct advisors is available here.

 

My son or daughter was arrested in Newark and received Probation Before Judgment from the city court. How does that work and can it be removed?
Probation Before Judgment is a program that allows a first-time offender to avoid a permanent record. Provided a student is not arrested again during the period of PBJ, the conviction record may be expunged. Specific questions regarding eligibility for this program and the expunging of the record should be referred to Alderman’s Court #40 or a Delaware attorney. Further information regarding the PBJ program may be found at the Delaware State Court's website.

 

What if a situation is being handled through the courts as well as the University? Isn't that double jeopardy?
This is not a situation of double jeopardy, which prohibits a person from being tried twice in a court of law for the same crime, for two reasons: 1) an alleged violation of the Code of Conduct (the Off Campus Violation Policy) is not a crime; and 2) the student is being held accountable for his or her behavior through an administrative hearing process, not a criminal trial. While both the criminal charges and the Code of Conduct violation both ultimately have stemmed from one incident, the jurisdiction, procedures, and penalties for each are distinct and separate.

 

What if my son or daughter is not satisfied with the outcome of the case?
If a student accepts responsibility for violating the Code of Conduct during the pre-hearing, the case is closed and no further options are available. If a student is found responsible for violating the Code of Conduct in an Administrative Hearing, he or she may exercise the right of appeal. The appeal process is handled by the Appellate Board, which is comprised of students, faculty and professional staff. The Appellate Board meets regularly throughout the semester to review all written information available in a case. The Appellate Board may support the outcome and sanctions determined by hearing officer, may lessen the sanctions applied by a hearing officer (but may not increase them) or may recommend the case be re-opened. In all situations, the decision made by the Appellate Board is final and no further appeal is available.

 

What can we as parents do to help?
The most important thing you can do is talk with your son or daughter. Be very clear with him or her about what you expect regarding learning from the experience and what you hope he or she will do in the future. It’s also a good idea to check in regularly with your son or daughter about all things college-related – classwork, study habits, roommates, social activities. A well-rounded and academically-focused student is less likely to get into trouble. Resist the urge to jump in your car and drive to campus to “fix” every problem that arises. As was stated earlier, college is an opportunity for students to spread their wings, learn about independence and problem-solving and mature into an adult citizen. Offer support and suggestions, so your son or daughter learns how to solve and resolve situations on his or her own.