Student Conduct

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Parent FAQ's

Welcome to the student conduct website. This page is designed to help answer some of the questions you may have about our conduct process and give you information that can help you best support your son or daughter.

Please know that we start with a basic assumption that all of our students are by nature motivated, energetic, creative, and good people. We also recognize that our students (like all of us) make mistakes and can utilize poor judgment. We believe that these are opportunities for reflection and learning and strive to create a process that allows space for student growth and development. These mistakes may involve the consumption of alcohol. Other times they may involve a rash decision made at a late hour. Through our process we hope that students will engage in personal growth, self-understanding in relation to one’s values and attitudes, a gained sense of personal responsibility and a greater appreciation for one’s impact on others and the community which will result in changed behavior.

The expectations we have in place for our students flow from our Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities. As students grapple with the developmental tasks identified for their age, they will make mistakes and poor choices. Some of these mistakes violate our Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities. As we all know, actions and choices carry consequences. This is no different at USD. We recognize that some of the most powerful opportunities for learning can often occur when students reflect on disappointments, lapses in judgment and unexpected experiences and conflicts in order to learn what caused them, what can be done about them, and how to avoid these mistakes in the future.

We encourage -but do not require- students to talk with their parents upon finding themselves in a tough situation that may involve a violation of a university policy. The University of San Diego knows that parents and caregivers of students want the best for their sons and daughters and, therefore, play an important role in helping the university develop them into responsible adults. Within the legal framework of FERPA, the university and parents can work in collaboration to support our students as they develop into “leaders dedicated to ethical conduct and compassionate service.”

Obviously there are some cases in which the behavior has a significant negative impact on the university community, poses a safety risk or situations where the student has demonstrated that learning is not occurring. In these situations, our student conduct process will still occur in the context of student learning and development, however, the sanctions may feel more like punishment.

Below are several common questions that our office receives from parents. We hope you find the answers useful. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us at 619-260-4590.

Thank you,

Office of the Assistant Dean of Students
University Center 132


My student has been asked to come in for a meeting about an allegation of misconduct. What can I do to help?
Often students and parents are anxious about the conduct process. One way to help is to become informed about how our process works. You can review our web site to learn about our expectations as well as how our conduct process works (www.sandiego.edu/conduct). Please know that our process is administrative in nature and not the same as the criminal or civil process you would find outside of the university. Our primary goal is to create a safe environment that supports the mission and goals of the academic community.

Although they are now in college, we encourage you to talk with your student about their values and how their actions can impact their future. While your student is now technically an adult, college is a time of growth, change and challenge and USD encourages parents to coach their students to make use of the established university policies, procedures, protocols, and resources.

If my student is found responsible for misconduct what will happen?

The conduct process allows for flexibility in determining the outcome of an incident based on the circumstances and seriousness of the incident and the conduct history of the student. There is no set sanction for any violation. Sanctions are primarily meant to be educational for the student. In some instances sanctions may also be designed to support the educational goals of the university or protect the community. Examples of sanctions available can be found at http://www.sandiego.edu/conduct/sanctions.php .

How will this impact my student’s school record?
A student’s conduct record remains in the Office of the Assistant Dean of Students for 7 years after graduation or last date of attendance (where the sanction included university probation, suspension, or removal from university housing). It is permanent (where the sanction included expulsion or withdrawal pending a disciplinary action), however, most records are maintained 1 year after graduation or last date of attendance (where the sanction did not include expulsion, university probation, suspension, removal from university housing, or withdrawal pending a disciplinary action). If a student gives an employer or graduate or professional school permission to access his or her conduct record prior to this point, information about the student's violation(s) will be shared.

A student’s conduct record may impact their ability to gain approval to study abroad, transfer to another university or gain entrance into a graduate program.

How does violating University policy affect my student's financial aid and/or scholarships?
You should check with the Financial Aid Office or your student’s scholarship provider for further information about your specific situation.

How does a student conduct record affect my student's application to graduate school?
While a conduct record does not prohibit a student from applying to graduate school, it may be a factor considered when the school is deciding if the student is a good “fit.” Most graduate school applications ask about the student’s criminal or disciplinary history. Some schools request more information than others, so be sure to read the application carefully. Obviously, the student should be honest about his or her history. Occasionally, someone from the graduate school (most often law or medical schools) will contact the Office of the Assistant Dean of Students to verify information included on an application or ask for more details. This information can divulged only if the student has waived his or her right to privacy. Most applications include this waiver in the “fine print” and by signing the application the student typically waives the right to privacy.

Will my student's college staff (faculty, dean's office, academic advisor) be informed of any student conduct proceedings?
Student conduct information is not regularly forwarded to deans, preceptors or faculty members. However, there are times when a dean, faculty member or preceptor will contact the Office of the Assistant Dean of Students inquiring about a student. There are also circumstances when our office feels that these individuals can help support your student through a particular challenge. In these cases there is serious concern about the student and we are trying to get a complete picture of the student’s behavior and participation on campus so that we can better support your student.

Why weren't we notified earlier, such as when the incident happened or before the Administrative Hearing?
We believe college is an opportunity for holistic growth and that students are learning both inside and outside of the classroom. College gives students the opportunity to begin to learn how to live in community with all the rights and responsibilities that go along with that. Ideally your student will confide in you when a situation involving conduct violations arises, and perhaps ask you for advice and support as he or she goes through it. If, however, your student decides to resolve it on his or her own, thus increasing his or her independence and ability to resolve situations, that’s his or her choice.

As permitted by the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act of 1974, when a final outcome of responsible is reached in cases regarding serious and/or multiple alcohol violations or any drug violation, parents are generally notified with a letter from the Office of the Assistant Dean of Students. It would include the violations your student was responsible for violating, a copy of the Conduct Contract your student signed, and information about the available resources and services on campus that can provide support for your student. If you have questions after talking with your student please feel free to contact the Assistant Dean of Students at 619-260-4590.

Occasionally parents may be contacted before a case is resolved when it is believed the student may be a danger to him or herself or others. In these rare circumstances, the combined efforts of you, the Office of the Assistant Dean of Students staff and other University officials will benefit your son or daughter in addressing the situation.

Can we attend the hearing for our student?
All hearings are closed proceedings so you will not be allowed into the hearing. However, if you wish to come to campus to offer moral support, you may certainly do so.

Can our family lawyer be involved?
The conduct process is an educational process rather than an adversarial one, therefore we do not permit lawyers to participate in our process. Legal procedures are different from the administrative student conduct process, and advice you receive from your attorney may be inaccurate and not applicable. Our office has worked with students' attorneys in the past to provide information about our process or specifics about a student's incident (with the student’s permission and a signed Release of Informationwhen the student faces a concurrent criminal or legal charge.

A student may invite an advisor into the hearing if they wish. The advisor must be a member of the University community (typically a faculty, staff, or student). They can accompany your son or daughter during the hearing but may not verbally participate in the proceedings. Every student also has the right and is encouraged to sit down with a University hearing officer to discuss in advance the process and important considerations.

What if my student is not satisfied with the outcome of the case?

Conduct appeals are only allowed from decisions made by the Critical Issues Board or when the sanction includes expulsion, suspension or removal from housing. Request for appeal must be submitted by the student in writing to Dean of Students within five (5) business days of the date of the letter notifying the accused student of the findings and imposed sanctions of the Critical Issues Board. Failure to appeal within the allotted time will render the original finding and imposed sanctions final and conclusive.

How do other universities respond to Student Conduct?

Please refer to: The Student Conduct Process: A Guide for Parents


What resources are available on campus to support my student?
USD has many valuable services that are designed to help students manage the conduct related challenges they face during their college career. We would be happy to discuss them more with you but some for consideration are:

Center for Health and Wellness Promotion:
This office provides clinical and education services on wide variety of wellness topics including alcohol and other drug use, misuse, and abuse as well as sexual assault. You can find more information at http://www.sandiego.edu/chwp/

Counseling Center:
This office provides free, confidential, counseling services to enrolled students. Most students’ counseling needs can be readily addressed by the center’s professional staff. You can find more information at http://www.sandiego.edu/usdcc/

Department of Residential Life:
The professional staff members living in each residence hall are dedicated to supporting students and referring them to appropriate campus resources. The Community Directors are an ideal resource for students unsure about how to locate information and services. You can find more information at http://www.sandiego.edu/residentiallife.