In order to promote the finest educational experience possible, the University of Delaware has established high standards of conduct for its students and student organizations. This Student Guide to University Policies explains standards of behavior for student members of the University community. Individual students and student organizations are expected to know and comply with the policies detailed in the Code of Conduct.
As stated in the Faculty Handbook, “Academic freedom is indispensable to effective teaching [and] excellent research/creative activities.” The spirit of this freedom applies to students as well. The freedom of students to share opinions, discuss differing viewpoints and speak freely, even when these activities may be unpopular or contrary to public opinion, can contribute to a robust learning environment and an enhanced campus experience. This freedom does not permit students to engage in behavior that violates the policies and expectations contained in this Student Guide under the guise of “academic freedom.”
The Student Guide to University Policies includes procedures for resolving reports regarding possible violations of the Code of Conduct. A variety of actions may be taken to resolve these reports, which may include both informal and formal processes. Decisions on which course of action to take will be made after considering the nature of the behavior, the impact on the community and its members and the needs of participants.
The formal conduct process, described herein, provides students charged with potential violations of University policies with an opportunity to review information regarding assertions of misconduct, and to offer a response before an impartial party. However, there are significant differences between the rights in the student conduct process and the rights offered to those accused of crimes by local, state, or federal authorities. Specifically, charged students’ rights in the student conduct process do not include: the right to be defended by an attorney during a case resolution conference; the right to rely on rules of evidence under state or federal law; or the absolute right to know the identity of those giving information to support the charge(s).
The primary goal of the student conduct process is to examine information, verify facts and determine the truth, resolve conflict and to effect change in behavior. Those making decisions in cases (such as the case resolution conference officer, graduate case resolution conference board or appellate board) may consider all information presented during the process, including components that might not be permitted in a criminal trial or other legal proceeding. Information that would constitute hearsay in the legal system may be considered, with the credibility of such information to be determined by those considering this information.
Based on the differences between the student conduct process and criminal or other systems, outcomes may differ, and an outcome reached through the student conduct process will not dictate the outcome in any other system nor shall an outcome through other systems dictate an outcome in the student conduct process.
Students are members of not only the University of Delaware community, but also their local city, home city and state and many more. In all these communities, students serve as representatives of the University. Therefore, students are expected to comply with all the policies within this Student Guide, as well as applicable laws, in all settings and locations. Students who violate, attempt to violate, or aid others in violating policies may face sanctions for their actions.
The University conducts regular reviews and updates to this Student Guide to University Policies. This is done on an annual basis, with input solicited from various campus partners and constituencies. At any time, a member of the University community may contact the Director of Community Standards & Conflict Resolution if they have feedback or concerns. The University may, due to legal or institutional need, make changes to the Student Guide at any time as deemed appropriate by University officials. The Student Guide posted online at www.udel.edu/stuguide is the current and active version.
Community Standards & Conflict Resolution is part of the Division of Student Life, which advances equity and inclusion, deepens student learning and drives holistic development through education, experiences and communities.