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Office of Student Conduct announces limited records release policy

Students and staff collaborate on sanction protocol

The University of Delaware has joined a small number of schools empowering students to apply for a limited release of certain conduct records. Created through collaborative work between the Office of Student Conduct and the StUDent Government Association, the new policy went into effect at the end of the fall semester.

Previously, any student found responsible for violating the Code of Conduct would need to disclose all details of their conduct record both with University officials and with inquiring bodies such as potential employers and graduate schools. This new policy takes a more nuanced and evidence-based approach on the issue, creating a process through which students with only one minor infraction committed three semesters or more ago may apply to have that information withheld from external parties. Conduct records continue to be maintained within the Office of Student Conduct in accordance with existing policy, and will still be released within the University as required.

Regina Donato, coordinator within the Office of Student Conduct, worked with SGA’s chief justice Haley LaMontagne throughout the past academic year to investigate a process that would minimize or limit certain types of conduct violations.

“We are pleased to offer this new policy in support of student success,” Donato said. “Our hope is to enhance students’ progress toward their career goals, while still providing those essential opportunities to reflect on past decisions and their growth as individuals.”

SGA approached the Division of Student Life in September 2016 to inquire about the possibility of record expungement, citing policies adopted by nearby institutions such as Rutgers University and the University of Maryland as well as others. In describing the subsequent research and focus groups to determine a best path forward, Donato offered a succinct summary that could describe many Student Life endeavors: “it was important for the students, and so we made it a priority.”

Certain types of infractions are ineligible for limited release without exception, including violations of Academic Honesty Policy and sanctions of suspension or expulsion as well as any case involving violence or threats of violence, sexual misconduct, discrimination or harassment. Students with more than one violation on their record cannot apply for limited release of records. Additionally, if a student is found responsible for violating the code of conduct after being granted a limited release, the limited release will be rescinded and information regarding all cases will be disclosed.

“At the core of our work as the Division of Student Life, we seek to intervene appropriately when students demonstrate poor decision-making and motivate them toward positive behavioral change,” said José-Luis Riera, interim vice president for Student Life. “In essence, our vision is for students to thrive and to learn by being educationally motivated to do so. This policy is another manifestation of our hopes to see students learn during their college careers, without necessarily being punitive to the degree that it could be a detriment to their success in the world beyond UD.”

The full text of the policy is available online in the Student Guide to University Policies under Retention and Release of Disciplinary Records. Students interested in applying for a limited release of records can find the application on the Office of Student Conduct website under Limited Release of Records.

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