I just received a charge letter – what does this mean?
If you receive notification from the Assistant Dean of Community Living regarding possible violations of the Honor Code or the Standards of Conduct, please keep in mind that it is just that – notification of possible violations. No decisions have been made yet about your responsibility, and there is a process in place that will allow you the opportunity to be heard and explain things from your own perspective.
The two most important things for you to do at this point are:
- Attend your scheduled informational meeting.
- Spend some time reading about the student conduct process and your rights and responsibilities as a student in that process. You can find that information on these pages or in the Student Handbook.
Does this mean I am going to be kicked out of school?
Expulsion from the university only occurs if a student is found responsible for the most serious violations of the Standards of Conduct. Once you go through the student conduct process, if you are found responsible, you will be issued sanctions that are appropriate and proportional to the violations you were involved in. During your informational meeting, the Assistant Dean of Community Living will discuss the range of sanctions with you and answer any questions you have about them.
Do I need to call a lawyer?
The Student Conduct process is not a criminal process and has nothing to do with the court system. It is designed as an educational experience that guides students to reflect on their choices and reminds them of their responsibility as members of a community. With that in mind, you may bring an attorney, or anyone else you choose, as an advisor to your student conduct meetings, but an advisor is there as a support role only. They may not directly address your charges or question anyone involved in the complaint. If an attorney does accompany you to your meetings or hearing, they will have to do so acting only as an advisor, and not as legal representation. Also, if you plan to bring an attorney to a formal Conduct Review Board hearing, you need to notify the Assistant Dean of Community Living 72 hours in advance of your hearing.
Don’t I have any rights?
You have rights and responsibilities, and they will be explained to you in more detail during your informational meeting, but in a nutshell:
You have the right to:
1. Fair Treatment – During the conduct process, you will be treated with respect. It is assumed that you are not responsible for the charges until you either accept responsibility or are found to be responsible as a result of your hearing. You will be given access to all information to be used in the student conduct process in accordance with federal privacy laws.
2. Privacy – Your involvement in the student conduct process will be kept private from anyone who has no involvement in the investigation or hearing. The record of your charges and the result of any resolution is protected by federal privacy laws which limit how that information is shared and with whom it can be shared.
3. Presence of an Advisor – As stated above, you can bring an advisor with you as a means of support. However, keep in mind that they are there in a silent role.
4. Notice of Charges – The first step in initiating the student conduct process must be notification of charges. Nothing else can happen until you have been notified that a report has been made against you and charges have been initiated.
5. Hear and Provide Testimony – You will have the opportunity to provide your own evidence, call your own witnesses (when necessary) and speak on your own behalf. You have a voice in this process, and it is essential that all sides of the story are heard.
6. Written Disposition and Appeal – Any decisions made regarding your case will be shared with you in writing. If your case is decided by a formal Conduct Review Board, you will also have an opportunity to appeal the decision. Details on the appeal process will be explained to you and your informational meeting.
You also have the responsibility to:
1. Communicate– notify the Assistant Dean if you suspect any bias or unfair treatment, if you feel your privacy has been violated, if you plan to bring an advisor to your hearing, and be sure to share updated and correct contact information.
2. Be Truthful and Forthcoming – You, and any witnesses you involve in your case, have a responsibility to be truthful and forthcoming when answering questions or making statements. Failure to do so may result in further charges against you.
3. Participate – You have the responsibility to be present and accountable throughout the process. If you request a hearing, attend the hearing. If the Assistant Dean requests a meeting with you, call to schedule the meeting and then show up! Although the student conduct process can and will proceed without your participation, your voice is crucial, and the process has been designed to allow you many opportunities to be heard.
How do I report a violation?
You can report a violation in several ways. The simplest option is to go to the online reporting form here:
Or, you can call the Office of Student Affairs at 770.426.2700 and ask to report a violation or walk in and ask to meet with the Assistant Dean of Community Living. The Office of Student Affairs is located in the Learning Resource Center.
André L. Clanton
Director of Conflict Resolution and Accountability