The Code of Student Life (Code) outlines the rights and responsibilities enjoyed by the students who make up our University community.
The purpose of the information contained in the Code is to promote and maintain a learning environment appropriate for an institution of higher education and to serve as a basic guide to help prevent abuse of the rights of others. Members of the University community are expected to be familiar with the policies and processes contained within the Code and to act in compliance with them at all times. The Code is intended to be a general handbook to give guidance and direction to members of a very diverse University community. Although it is not possible to cover every conceivable situation that might arise, specific questions relating to the Code may be directed to the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities or the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs & Diversity.
The authority for student discipline, also referred to as student conduct, is derived from the president, who has delegated authority to the vice president for student affairs and diversity (VPSAD). The VPSAD further delegates authority to the assistant dean of students. The assistant dean of students administers the policies, procedural rules, and programs for student conduct hearings consistent with provisions of the Code, federal and state laws, and University and SBHE policies.
FAQ's About Student Conduct
See the Code for more information.
How is a conduct complaint filed?
Any member of the University community may file a complaint against a student for an alleged violation of the Code. A complaint should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place or when an individual is made aware of a potential event of concern. The Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities assists members of the University community in answering questions, addressing concerns, and preparing complaints. (File Student Conduct Complaint Link Above)
If my student is a victim in a conduct case, what support do they receive?
UND is first and foremost concerned about student safety. The Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities can assist students with safety planning as well as inform them of the various options for resolving their complaint(s), as well as refer the students to other offices on campus that may provide additional resources.
How is someone found responsible of a violation within the conduct process?
All complaints will be reviewed by a SCA for consideration in the student conduct process. In review of a complaint, it may be determined that additional information is needed to determine a course of action. If it is determined that additional information is needed, an SCA may investigate the nature of the complaint to determine if a violation of the Code may have occurred.
If it is determined that the information indicates that a violation of the Code occurred, the complaint will be referred to the administrative student conduct process or the student conduct suspension process. If it is determined that the information indicates that a violation of the Code did not occur or that there is insufficient information to indicate a violation of the Code did occur the complaint will be closed. A closed complaint is a final decision. In rare circumstances, a closed complaint may be reopened if the University receives new information regarding an alleged violation of the Code. If a complaint is reopened, the accused student will be notified that the complaint has been reopened and have an opportunity to respond to the information. The assistant dean of students, or designee, has the discretion to reopen a complaint.
If the complaint alleges that violence, harassment, or an act of sexual misconduct has occurred, the complainant may have additional rights within the student conduct process.
Sanctions are assigned as appropriate for the violation.
Examples of sanctions include:
- Warnings or reprimands
- Probationary status
- No contact directive
- Referral for an assessment to a mental health provider
- Educational Programming
How is the campus process different from a criminal charge?
There are several differences between the systems. First and foremost, rules governing the handling of student conduct matters at institutions of higher education are different from criminal statutes. Criminal prosecutions take place only when violations of law are alleged. On campus, there are many types of violations that may not be violations of the law, but violate institutional community standards, such as academic dishonesty.
Another difference is that the campus process is usually confidential whereas a criminal prosecution creates public records. For more on the limitations on disclosure of student records see the section below on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Many states have laws defining public information and regulating its use.
Finally, the student conduct process is considered an educational tool. The sanctions imposed tend to focus on repairing harm to the community, to victims, and to the institution as a whole. They also take into account what the accused student needs to learn from the situation. The process focuses on helping the student understand why his/her behaviors violated community standards, and how the person can avoid making the same mistake again. It is also focused on helping the student see how the instances of misconduct affect others. These are generally not addressed in the criminal process. UND's primary concern is maintaining a safe environment.
Does being found in violation of the Code mean you now have a criminal record?
A college or university’s student conduct process does NOT lead to anyone being "convicted of a crime." It is a process to determine if a student is to be found responsible for violating the Code. It can only result in a student discipline record that UND maintains for seven years.
Can criminal charges be filed at the same time as a campus complaint?
Yes: the criminal justice system and the student conduct process are completely independent. Student victims are encouraged to discuss their situation with a police officer to help decide whether or not to file a complaint with law enforcement. In most cases, it is up to the victim to decide if he or she wishes to file a complaint.
What are the appeal rights in UND's student conduct process?
Any decision will be rendered to the student in writing within five business days of the conclusion of the hearing. Appeal information will be included in the written notification. See the Code for more information.
What are grounds for an appeal?
Grounds for appeal may be based on such things as:
- New information,
- Contradictory information, and/or
- Information that indicates the student in violation was not afforded due process
What are the long-term affects of being found responsible for violating the
Code of Student Life?
Generally, minor violations will really have no long-term impact. A more serious violation and sanction can have significant long-term impacts on your student. Graduate schools and some jobs typically look for a pattern of inappropriate behavior. One or two violations, if minor, probably won’t have a significant impact. It is generally acknowledged by most colleges and universities that testing limits and making mistakes are part of the “college experience.” However, if students aren’t able to show how they learned from those incidents, and changed their behavior over time, this will more likely impact their being hired or being accepted to graduate or professional school.
Student Conduct Administrators receive information from a number of different places; including the University and Grand Forks Police, other law enforcement agencies, faculty, staff, and students. When we receive a report about a potential violation, we investigate.
Investigations involve the reports we receive, parties involved, witnesses who we can identify, victims (if any), and the accused student.
The Code of Student Life includes a list of behaviors – we call them “Prohibited Acts” – that are not appropriate in our community. For example:
- Violate criminal or civil laws
- Acts of dishonesty
- Act against self or others
- Disruptive activity or disorderly conduct
- Violation of any University policy, rule, or regulation
- Sexual misconduct
If it is determined that the information indicates that a violation of the Code occurred, the complaint will be referred to the administrative student conduct process or the student conduct suspension process. For more information see the Code for the administrative student conduct process and/or the student conduct suspension process.
All hearings are conducted in private. Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as those that are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in the Code proceedings.
What is the standard of determination in finding a student responsible for a violation?
The student conduct process is educational in nature and determination of responsibility for all alleged violations of the Code is based on the preponderance of information standard. The preponderance of information standard is also used for appeals of student conduct decisions. The preponderance of information standard is defined as more likely than not. An anonymous complaint cannot provide satisfactory information to determine that a student has violated the Code.
A finding of a court of law after the completion of a student conduct process does not change the outcome, but it may be considered during an appeal process.