My son/daughter received a letter about a conduct code violation. Can I call the Office of Student Accountability & Support and find out more about what happened?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of all students’ educational records. Due to this privacy protection, the Office of Student Accountability & Support cannot give out information about a student’s disciplinary record, even to parents who are paying their child’s tuition, unless that student has completed a release of information form, which waives their FERPA protection. A signed FERPA form must be submitted by the student to the Office of Student Accountability & Support in order to release information from the student’s disciplinary records.
What is my role in the university student conduct process? How can I help my student?
You can help to guide the student through the process and be supportive while holding the student accountable to your expectations and the university’s. Allow and expect the student to set appointments, attend meetings, and fulfill sanctions. It is usually not helpful to the educational development of the student, or resolution of the matter, for you to take over the process for your student.
Do I need to hire an attorney?
It is not necessary. However, some students choose to have an attorney accompany them. An attorney may serve as an advisor, but—generally—counsel may not represent the student during the hearing. Once again, attorneys, like parents/guardians, cannot speak on behalf of the student, but can whisper or write notes to the student.
Will my student be able to tell you his/her side of the story?
Yes. This is the purpose of the conduct hearing. A student who is suspected of a Standard of Conduct violation is given the opportunity to meet face to face with a representative or committee of the University to discuss the charge at issue and their account of what took place and to present additional relevant information through witnesses or other means.
Can I attend the student conduct meeting and/or hearing with my student?
Yes. The student may have an advisor present, who may be a parent/guardian. The role of the advisor is to support and advise the student but not to speak for or represent the student. You may whisper to the student or write the student notes.
This incident happened off campus. Why is the university involved?
The university has an interest in maintaining a safe community and appropriate standards of conduct for its students. This includes both on-campus and off-campus behavior, which can have an impact on the university community and the university mission. Furthermore, the jurisdictional statement, contained in the Standard of Conduct, states that the University could take appropriate action for conduct on or off University premises. To review the jurisdictional statement, see CRR 200.010 (A).
How are sanctions decided?
Sanctions are determined by considering the following factors: nature of the violation, the student’s role in the incident, the effect of the incident on others and on the student, the student’s developmental and educational needs, and the student’s prior disciplinary record. Mitigating and aggravating circumstances are considered.
What does it mean for a student to be placed on disciplinary probation?
Probation lasts for a specific period of time, and is usually implemented by semesters. It is notice to the student that any violation of the Standard of Conduct or the conditions of probation, committed during the probationary period, will subject the student to further action up to and including suspension or expulsion.
The student was charged criminally. Why go through Student Conduct too?
The criminal justice system and the Standard of Conduct are independent from one another. By virtue of being a member of the University, the student is held responsible for upholding the standards of behavior and following all University Policies, as well as public laws.
Isn't the student conduct process double jeopardy for someone also facing criminal charges?
No. The Constitution’s “double jeopardy” clause applies to successive criminal prosecutions for the same offense. The university’s disciplinary proceedings are an administrative system, not a legal one. Thus, students may have to face both criminal charges and university disciplinary charges.
What is the burden of proof in the student conduct process?
Deciding if a student is responsible for a conduct violation is based on a preponderance of the evidence; that is, the hearing panel or administrator will determine what is “more likely than not” to have taken place. Keep in mind that preponderance of the evidence requires less “proof” of evidence than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, having charges dropped or being found “not guilty” in a criminal proceeding does not excuse one from being held accountable in the student conduct process.
Why isn't my student being afforded the same protections that he or she would receive in the criminal process?
The student disciplinary system is not judging criminal guilt, but rather whether a student has violated campus rules. The courts have long recognized the differing interests of the University community from that of the criminal justice process. Although there are basic concepts of fairness that apply to student disciplinary proceedings, the student disciplinary system serves administrative and educational functions relating to the mission of the University of Missouri. Many of the intricate rules and processes found in a court system are not necessary for the campus.
How long does a violation stay on my student’s record?
The Office of Student Accountability & Support maintains records of conduct violations for seven years from the date of the last University incident for which the student was found responsible; unless the student is expelled, suspended or dismissed, in those cases the records are held permanently.
What is the judicial processing fee?
Any student who is found responsible for violating any part of the Standard of Conduct will be charged a $125.00 processing fee by the Office of Student Accountability & Support to off-set the costs associated with the judicial process. At the conclusion of the judicial process, students who are found to be responsible for violating the Standard of Conduct will have the option of paying by personal check or cash, or charges will be automatically applied to the student’s account. Students who are found “not-responsible” will not be charged a processing fee.