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Student Conduct Process – A Parent's Guide

Disciplinary Procedures

When a staff member, resident, or any community member observes what they believe is a violation of University Housing Regulations, s/he will complete an Incident Statement (IS) describing the observed behavior. Residence hall/apartment complex staff will identify themselves, communicate what behavior has been observed that may be a policy violation, ensure that the behavior has ceased, and request identification from all present. If your student should find him/herself in such a position, s/he should remember two things:

  1. Don't panic. The student conduct system is an educational process and is very protective of your student's rights.
  2. Always cooperate. Your student should produce their U-Card or state ID immediately upon request.

When an IS is written, it should include the details of what the writer observed during the incident. Each individual involved in the incident has the right to complete an IS giving his or her perspective. The Residence Director/Assistant Residence Director (RD/ARD) then reviews the IS and acts upon it, if deemed appropriate.

Your Resident’s Options

If a Housing & Residential Life professional staff member, after reviewing the incident statements and/or police reports, determines that regulations have allegedly been violated, the student will receive a notification letter describing the alleged violation(s). Students are asked to attend an administrative conference meeting with the RD/ARD to attempt to informally resolve the matter. Should a student wish to dispute the decision made during the informal resolution, the student may request a subsequent formal hearing before a board of his/her peers or the Coordinator of Student Conduct.

Administrative Conference

During the administrative conference meeting, the student will meet with the RD/ARD to review the incident statement/incident reports and discuss the incident. The student will be asked if they are responsible for the alleged violation(s) and be given the opportunity to discuss their perspective on the incident. Based on the information presented, the RD/ARD will make a decision. If a student is found responsible, a sanction(s) will be imposed.

An administrative conference can be advantageous to students for several reasons. The administrative conference takes much less time and preparation than a formal hearing. Additionally, an administrative conference can feel much less stressful and allow students to acknowledge mistakes they may have made with minimal negative attention. It allows for a candid, educational conversation with a professional staff member who can either dismiss the charges if inaccurate or help challenge the student to take responsibility for their actions and, when charges are accurate, learn how to better live within a community.

In accepting the outcome of an administrative conference, a student is agreeing to attempt to informally resolve the allegation without going through the full due process offered to them. Because of the fair, non-threatening, and educational manner of these conferences, 99 percent of students utilize the administrative conference meeting to resolve complaints. As this is an administrative conference meeting, the student has the option to accept or reject the decision. If a student chooses to decline the decision, he or she must do so in writing within three business days of the decision. If a student does not request a formal resolution within three business days, the administrative conference resolution becomes official. Should the student wish to have a formal hearing, the written request for a formal hearing can be obtained from the RD/ARD or BOS and must be presented to the RD/ARD who will then forward the request to the Coordinator of Student Conduct.

Formal Hearing

The accused student may request a formal hearing at any time in the student conduct process. Generally, a hearing is only requested when the student and RD/ARD cannot reach agreement about the facts or severity of an incident. A formal hearing gives the student the full due process to which he/she is entitled under our conduct system. A hearing must be conducted as part of the formal resolution. Whenever possible, a Student Conduct Board serves as the hearing body in formal hearings. When a Student Conduct Board is not available, the Coordinator of Student Conduct or his/her designee serves as the hearing officer. The Student Conduct Board will not hear cases during the first three weeks of school, over breaks, or during finals week. All hearing notes or evidence presented will go in the student’s central housing student conduct file.

Your Student’s Right to Due Process

Should your student be accused of violating a residence hall/apartment complex regulation, s/he have the following rights:

  1. A timely hearing.
  2. Presumption of innocence unless responsibility can be established by weight of evidence.
  3. Notification of exact nature of complaint, time, date, and place of hearing.
  4. Knowledge of complainant’s identity.
  5. A hearing available by peers, when available.
  6. To be informed about the range of sanctions.
  7. To be represented by a procedural advisor during a formal hearing.
  8. To question adverse testimony during the hearing.
  9. To present his/her case, including the personal or written testimony of witnesses on his/her behalf.
  10. Formal notification of decision made.
  11. In a 'found responsible' decision, notification of the appeal's procedure.

University Housing Regulations

Students are considered adults, and University-student relations are founded on this principle. The University Student Conduct Code and these University Housing Regulations govern all students. The regulations that follow pertain specifically to residence hall and apartment living, whenever you are on the grounds or within the University Housing system.

Any behavior that would endanger the safety or well being of other residents or the University Housing system could result in a student’s interim suspension from University Housing or relocation to another University Housing assignment. An interim suspension would stand pending student conduct action at the Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.

Students are responsible for the use of their room/apartment, and they are responsible for their guests and the behavior of those guests while they are in the residence hall, apartment or on University housing property. The University may bring disciplinary action against your student for their guest’s behavior.

To locate the full list of University Housing Regulations, go to http://www.housing.umn.edu/publications, choose the Application-Contract Booklet.

FERPA

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, also known as the Buckley Amendment), mandates by law that college students are considered responsible adults and are allowed to determine who will receive information about them. Under this law, parents/guardians who want to receive information about their student’s behavioral records can only do so if their student signs a “Release of Information Form.” These waivers are available through the RD in each residential community.

In most cases, the University will not contact parents/guardians or provide disciplinary information without the student’s permission. In the case of an extreme emergency, where the student's health is in serious jeopardy, or if there is a concern that the student poses a threat to his/herself or to someone else, the University will contact parents/guardians. As a general guideline, if the student is able to communicate about the situation, it is up to the student to decide whether and how to discuss the issue with parents.

For more information on FERPA go to: http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa