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How do students find themselves involved with the Office of Student Conduct?
Any member of the University community may submit a report regarding an undergraduate student with the Office of Student Conduct. (Note that reports involving sexual assault, sexual or discriminatory harassment, dating or domestic violence or stalking should be directed to the Office of Equity and Inclusion, in accordance with the Sexual Misconduct, Non-Discrimination and Title IX Policy.) If the circumstances surrounding the report indicate that a violation of the Code of Conduct may have occurred, conduct 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, other University staff, faculty 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 case intake meeting.
Students may also choose to become involved with the Office of Student Conduct by becoming members of the Appellate Board. For more information on the Appellate Board, please click here.
What is a case intake meeting?
A case intake meeting is the first stage of the student conduct process and is a pivotal component of the student conduct process. During the case intake meeting, students are invited to review and discuss information contained in their conduct file. They are encouraged to ask questions concerning the pending charges as well as options available within the student conduct process. By the conclusion of the case intake meeting 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. For students who deny responsibility for one or more of the pending charges, the case will be resolved through a hearing. The hearing is an opportunity for the student, reporting party (such as a UDPD officer, faculty member or Resident Assistant) and witnesses to share information about the incident. A University-appointed hearing officer presides over the case. After hearing all information, the hearing officer determines, based on a preponderance of the information presented, if the student is responsible for violating the Code of Conduct. If so, the hearing officer will also then determine appropriate 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 are primarily meant to help students learn from their incident, understand how their behavior impacted themselves and others and reflect on how to change behavior to positively move forward from the incident. Educational sanctions can include seminars, workshops, papers and projects. Administrative sanctions can include 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 administrative sanctions.
Sanctions are chosen based on such factors as 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.
In most cases, administrative sanctions will include a fee (posted to the student’s billing account) and, if financially dependent, notification sent to the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s).
If I don't like the sanctions, can I plea bargain something less?
Plea bargaining is not a part of the student conduct process. The sanctions described in the case intake meeting are based on the initial report submitted from the reporting party (and the resulting alleged policy violations) as well as any past student conduct cases you may have. However, information you share during your case intake meeting may help the case manager to tailor the sanctions to benefit you most.
If you do not dispute any of the charges, but think certain sanctions are inappropriate, you may appeal the sanctions only and submit an Appeal 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. If you disagree with the sanctions chosen by the hearing officer, you may appeal certain ones by submitting an appeal.
I can appeal certain sanctions? Which ones?
Only the following sanctions may be appealed:
- Academic penalty (only applicable for cases involving violation of the Academic Honesty Policy)
- Deferred Suspension from University housing
- Deferred Suspension from the University
- Suspension from University housing
- Deferred Suspension from the University
- Expulsion from the University
Educational sanctions (seminars, papers, etc.) and administrative sanctions (including parent notification and fees) may not be appealed.
Can an 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 that decision.
A student who accepts responsibility for violating the Code of Conduct in a case intake meeting waives the right to appeal that decision.
Will my disciplinary record affect my future plans?
In most cases, there would be minimal impact on your future plans. Except in cases of expulsion from the University, a student’s conduct record remains on file in the Office of Student Conduct until that student graduates. (Records of expelled students are maintained indefinitely.) If a student gives a potential employer or higher education institution permission to access disciplinary records prior to graduation, information about the student’s incident(s) can be shared. Not every potential employer requests access to disciplinary records, but most institutions of higher education do.
Will my financial aid 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 get my conduct records expunged?
As noted above, records are removed upon graduation. That will expunge the records. In certain circumstances, though, prior to graduation a student can apply for a Limited Release of Records which means conduct records would only be released within the University and not shared outside of the University.
If a student has a single conduct case, and meets certain requirements (such as the type of violation, sanction applied and time frame) then the student can apply for Limited Release of Records. If granted and the student is not found responsible for a second violation, then the conduct record will not reported to anyone outside the University. For more information, please see the Limited Release of Records page.
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 is, at its core, 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 the criminal system may be accompanied at meetings by legal counsel. However, the attorney’s involvement will be limited to advising the charged student on whether to answer a question posed during the meeting. An attorney will not be permitted to speak on behalf of the student or otherwise represent the student. 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 online.
Are incidents that occur off campus reported to the University?
Violations of local, state, and federal laws adjudicated through local courts (Alderman’s Court) are regularly reported to the Office of Student Conduct. Incidents which are adjudicated by other courts are not automatically reported to the Office of Student Conduct, but can be, depending on the circumstances. Certain off-campus circumstances that become known to the Office of Student Conduct (such as an article appearing in the paper or a story broadcast on the news) can also be acted upon. 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 to the pending criminal charge. Therefore, 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 their 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.
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 911 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 911), you may not receive student conduct sanctions for violations of the Alcohol or Drug Policy.
Full information about the Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan Protocol, is available online.
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, Non-Discrimination and Title IX Policy. Counseling and support for victims is also available from SOS (Sexual Offense Support).