Student FAQs

 

How do students find themselves in the Office of Student Conduct?

Any member of the University community may initiate a complaint against an undergraduate student with the Office of Student Conduct. (Note that complaints involving sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating or domestic violence or stalking should be directed to the Office of Equity and Inclusion, in accordance with the Sexual Misconduct Policy.) If the circumstances surrounding the complaint indicate that a violation of the Code of Conduct may have occurred, disciplinary charges will be brought against the student. Alleged Code of Conduct violations are generally reported to the Office of Student Conduct by Residence Life and Housing staff members, University of Delaware Police officers, faculty, staff from the Information Technology Center, and the Newark courts. Students will know that they have formal charges pending against them because they will receive electronic notification (sent to their University e-mail account) which will include a list of the pending charges, a short description of the incident and instructions for completing a pre-hearing.

 
What is a pre-hearing?

A pre-hearing is the first stage of the student conduct process and is a pivotal component of the student conduct system. During the pre-hearing meeting, students are invited to review and discuss information contained in their disciplinary file. They are encouraged to ask questions concerning the pending charges as well as options available within the student conduct system. By the conclusion of the pre-hearing the student will make a choice on how to proceed – accept responsibility, appeal sanctions or request an administrative hearing.

 
What is an administrative hearing?

An Administrative Hearing is the second step of the student conduct process. Students who deny responsibility for one or more of the pending charges, the case will be resolved through a hearing. Students are entitled to appear in person at a hearing and present information on their own behalf. They may call direct witnesses, and ask questions of others present at the hearing. A University appointed Hearing Officer presides over the case. If the Hearing Officer determines, based on a preponderance of the information presented, that the Code of Conduct has been violated, the student will then receive sanctions.

 
What is a sanction?

A sanction is a consequence that a student receives upon accepting responsibility or being found responsible for violating University policy. Sanctions can include, but are not limited to, the following: educational workshops, papers and projects; periods of observation and review; restitution; suspension from the residence halls or University; and expulsion from the University.

 
Can I receive more than one sanction at a time?

Yes. Most cases result in a combination of both educational and disciplinary sanctions. In addition, administrative actions (parental notification, fee) are also applied in cases.

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 choices had on both themselves and the community and determine changes that will ensure subsequent violations do not occur.

 
If I don’t like the proposed sanctions, can I plea bargain something less?

Plea bargaining is not a part of the student conduct process. The sanctions described in the pre-hearing are based on the initial report submitted from the reporting party as well as any past student conduct cases you may have. If you do not dispute any of the charges, but think certain sanctions are inappropriate, you may appeal the sanctions only and submit a Request for Reconsideration of Sanctions. If you disagree with some of the charges (“Yes, I was disruptive, but I was not drunk”), your only option is to attend an Administrative Hearing and present information regarding your involvement in the situation. The Hearing Officer will first make a decision about your responsibility on each of the charges, then decide what sanctions are appropriate for the charges you were found to have violated, based on all the information shared in the hearing.

 
I can appeal certain sanctions? Which ones?

Only disciplinary sanctions of Probation, Deferred Suspension from the Residence Halls, Deferred Suspension from the University, Suspension from the Residence Halls or University and Expulsion may be appealed. Educational sanctions (seminars, papers, etc.) and less severe disciplinary sanctions may not be appealed, nor may administrative actions of parent notification and fees.

 
Can a outcome of “responsible” be appealed?

It depends. A student who is found responsible for violating the Code of Conduct as a result of an Administrative Hearing may submit a written appeal explaining why that student disagrees with the decision. The Appellate Board will review the appeal and decide on the outcome. A student who accepts responsibility for violating the Code of Conduct in a pre-hearing waives the right to appeal.

 
Can students be represented by legal counsel during the University student conduct process?

In general, no. The student conduct process at the University of Delaware at its core is an educational process within the administrative structure of the University. It is not a criminal or civil proceeding. Students who are charged with violations that constitute a felony in law may be accompanied at the hearing by legal counsel, but the attorney’s involvement in the hearing will be limited to advising the charged student on whether to answer a question posed during the hearing. In such cases, the University may also have counsel present.
Students may consult a student conduct advisor if they have 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.

 
Are incidents that occur off campus reported to the University student conduct system?

Violations of local, state, and federal laws are reported to the University student conduct system through the local court. Incidents which are adjudicated by other courts are not automatically reported to the student conduct system, but can be, depending on the circumstances. Students are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with all laws and may be subject to University action. More information is available in the Violations of Law Policy of the Code of Conduct.

 
I received Probation Before Judgment as a result of my off-campus incident, which means nothing is on my official criminal record. Why does the University charge me for that? And isn’t that double jeopardy?

Accepting Probation Before Judgment requires a student to plead guilty or no lo contendere. With both these pleas, the person is accepting responsibility for the violation, in essence agreeing that the violation DID occur. While ultimately there is the possibility that a conviction record will not exist, the arrest record will still exist even after the Probation Before Judgment period. For more information regarding the Probation Before Judgment program, please click here.

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 Violations of Law Policy) is not a crime; and 2) the student is being held accountable for his or her behavior through an administrative University process, not a criminal trial. While both the criminal charges and the Code of Conduct violation have both stemmed from one incident, the jurisdiction, procedures, and penalties for each are distinct and separate.

 
Will my disciplinary record affect my future plans?

In most cases, there would be minimal impact on your future plans. Except in cases of suspension or expulsion from the University, a student’s disciplinary record remains on file at the Office of Student Conduct until that student graduates. If a student gives an employer or graduate or professional school permission to access disciplinary records prior to graduation, information about the student’s violation(s) will be shared. The Office of Student Conduct maintains records of suspended students for five years past the actual or expected graduation date, whichever occurs later. Records of expelled students are maintained indefinitely.

 
Will my financial aid package and/or scholarships be affected if I am responsible for a Code of Conduct violation?

The answer to this question depends upon the type of violation and the level of sanction applied. You should check with Student Financial Services for further information about your specific situation. When a student is suspended or expelled, this information is shared with Student Financial Services for their review.

 
Can I be held in violation if something’s posted on-line (like a picture on Facebook.com, a post to Instagram or Twitter)?

Information posted to sites such as Facebook, Instagram and the like can be very damaging to a student’s reputation and may show the student in an unflattering light. The Office of Student Conduct does not search on-line for pictures, video, postings, etc. of students violating policies, nor does the Office charge students solely on such on-line information. However, if a member of the University community brings information of alleged violations to the attention of the Office of Student Conduct, it is possible that this information will be forwarded to the appropriate University office for further investigation. If that investigation reasonably suggests a violation, then charges may be applied and the information originally sent to the Office of Student Conduct could be used as part of the information presented during the student conduct process.

 
If my friend and I are both drunk and I believe my friend needs help, if I call for medical attention for that friend, will I get in trouble, too?

Student health and safety are of primary concern at the University of Delaware. In cases of a concern for someone’s health due to consuming alcohol or other drugs, you are strongly encouraged to seek medical assistance for yourself or others.

If you seek medical attention (meaning you call 9-1-1 or contact a University official), the Office of Student Conduct may not pursue conduct sanctions against you for a violation of the Alcohol or Drug Policy.

As a result of being granted amnesty, educational requirements such as an alcohol/other drug assessment will occur, but disciplinary sanctions will not. A formal conduct record (shareable outside the University) will also not occur.

If you assist an intoxicated friend in obtaining medical attention (meaning you call 9-1-1), you may not receive student conduct sanctions for violations of the Alcohol or Drug Policy.

For full information about the Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan Protocol, please click here.

 
If I believe I was sexually assaulted after consuming alcohol or other drugs, will I be charged with violating the University policy if I report the sexual assault?

No. If you report an alleged sexual assault, you will not be charged for violating the Alcohol or Drug Policy if you consumed alcohol or another drug. For more information about victims’ rights in sexual misconduct cases, please see the Sexual Misconduct Policy (section VI). Counseling and support for victims is also available from SOS (Sexual Offense Support).